DISCLAIMER - Highlander and its characters is the copyright of Rysher and Panzer/Davis Productions and no infringement is intended. The story, such as it is, is copyright Karen Colohan June 1999.

Methos yawned expansively and sighed as he looked around for Duncan MacLeod. He couldn't feel the Highlander's buzz and there was no sign of him in the crowd enthusiastically thronging the large, stylish shopping centre with every intention of shopping until they dropped. Well, thought Methos irritably, he was ready to drop. The only trouble was, no MacLeod, no car keys.

How had he let Mac talk him into a bloody shopping expedition, Methos groused to himself. Supposedly, the two Immortals were heading for London and a concert being given by Mac's friend and protege Claudia Jardine. When Mac had asked Methos along on the trip it had seemed like a good idea. Paris in springtime was, in Methos' estimation, severely overrated and it was a good few years since he'd last visited London. The drive into town had been proceeding uneventfully enough until MacLeod had seen the signs announcing the grand opening of the new shopping centre.

Despite Methos' vociferous protests the Highlander had decided this was the perfect time for him to update his wardrobe. Just for good measure, Mac had then added a few pointed remarks about Methos' well-lived in jeans and sweater and the unsuitability of his clothing in general for an event such as a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. In the end, in the name of a quiet life, Methos had given in to MacLeod's badgering and they had taken the turn off for the somewhat inaccurately named Bluewater - the only water Methos had seen during their long search for a parking space had been a dirty brown colour.

With the car finally parked Mac had waded into the fray enthusiastically. After watching the Highlander ooh and ah over various stylish but wholly impractical - in Methos' opinion at any rate - outfits the old Immortal had left him to it. His own shopping had taken very little time. A new pair of 501s and a couple of sweatshirts were all Methos really wanted. However, mindful of MacLeod's earlier complaints he had also picked out a pair of smart black slacks and a silk shirt to wear to the concert. His duty done, Methos was now ready to leave, but he had no idea where in the increasingly dense crowd Mac might be.

Methos muttered darkly as he trailed along past yet more clothes shops that failed to reveal the tall, dark-haired figure of the Highlander. He was about to give up and go outside to wait on one of the benches he'd noticed at the edge of the murky lake when an unexpected oasis of calm opened up in the midst of the crowds. Methos almost walked right past it, but something about the improbably titled Water Circus caught his eye and he backtracked. He noted the total absence of either water or anything resembling a circus, but what Methos did see led to a swift re-evaluation of his plans.

Set back from the ritzy arcade of shops Methos had been searching was a wide, circular area ringed by seating for the weary shopper. The place was also home to several small coffee shops. The smell of fresh ground coffee drew the old Immortal - beer would have been better, but one couldn't have everything - but what really pulled him up short was the nature of the seats on offer. No ordinary bench seating was in evidence, instead a ring of leather covered chaise longues beckoned Methos.

Well, well, so there was something new under the sun, thought Methos, even for a 5000 year old man who'd raised 'been there, done that' to an art form. He had to admit he had never come across such an admirably equipped shopping centre before! This was a real throwback to the good old days. All that was required to complete the picture was a willing slave to provide peeled grapes and whatever else a weary Immortal might desire.

With a grin of delight Methos left the crowd of bustling shoppers behind him and headed into the seating area. If MacLeod wanted to traipse around endless shops he was welcome to do so. Methos was going to put his feet up in comfort and style and wait for Mac to come to him.

Methos quickly purchased a steaming cup of coffee and then laid claim to an unoccupied chaise longue. He dumped his shopping bags on the floor and set the coffee cup down on a small table conveniently located at one end of the chaise. It was just within reach of an outstretched arm. These people had thought of everything. Next came the acid test, as Methos lowered himself onto the leather seat. Just enough give to make sprawling a pleasure, Methos decided. He stretched out full length with a sigh of contentment. Who would have believed shopping could be this civilised!

The coffee was more than acceptable and Methos sipped at it gratefully. Shopping was definitely thirsty work, but the beverage and the comfortable resting place soon had the old Immortal in a much better mood. Reclining back against the pink leather bolster positioned behind his head Methos studied his immediate surroundings more closely. Dark blue curtains draped the pillar the chaise longue had been placed against. The heavy material kept most of the ambient light out of Methos' eyes and he gradually relaxed into the pleasant gloom.

By the time Methos had finished his coffee there was still no sign of MacLeod. It seemed he was turning into as much of a shopaholic as Amanda, if that were possible! Methos decided he was damned if he was going to get up and go chasing after the Highlander, though. He was perfectly comfortable right here. Setting the empty coffee cup aside the old man lay back to wait.

Duncan MacLeod surveyed his armful of carrier bags with quiet satisfaction. This had certainly been a worthwhile excursion, he decided. Claudia would probably be mad at having missed it - she would doubtless have twisted his arm until he bought her a suitably extravagant present! Looking around, Mac suddenly realised he hadn't seen Methos in quite a while. In fact the last he'd seen of the old Immortal he had been headed for the Levis store. Damn, it wouldn't have taken Methos an hour and more to buy a pair of jeans, which probably meant he'd gone off somewhere to sulk. He wasn't exactly the world's most enthusiastic shopper.

Then Mac remembered seeing a very large bookstore at the far corner of the triangular shopping centre. Chances were that Methos was safely ensconced in there with his nose in a book and had no idea at all how much time had passed.

Mac turned and headed in the direction of the book shop, but long before he reached it the familiar buzz of Immortal presence halted him. Mac was pretty sure the only other Immortal in the place was Methos, but one could never be too careful. Cautiously he started moving again, tracking the telltale presence. Mac hoped it didn't come to a challenge. He hated to think what a Quickening would do to the elegant facades and sculptures of the newly opened centre, not to mention the acres of glass used in its construction!

A moment later Mac came to a balcony area overlooking what appeared to be a rest area below. The buzz was now very strong and Mac cast his gaze around, trying to pinpoint the source. Glancing down again Mac found what he was looking for and an expression of utter disbelief crossed his face.

The Immortal in question was indeed Methos. The old man was sprawled full length on a leather chaise longue positioned just below where Mac was standing. Methos had made himself completely at home and looked every bit as comfortable as if he were crashed out on Mac's couch back in the loft. The only thing missing from the picture was the habitual collection of empty beer bottles. Instead a stack of shopping bags had been placed on the floor beside Methos.

Mac shook his head as he stared down at the old Immortal. Methos, however, was quite oblivious to Mac's regard - he was sound asleep. Mac couldn't help it. A loud chuckle escaped him as he watched the Immortal "Sleeping Beauty" slumber on.

A staircase led down to the lower level and Mac quickly headed for it. As he approached Methos his buzz penetrated the old man's sleep clouded brain. Methos came suddenly awake, completely unaware of where he was, but recognising the presence of another Immortal close by. He was already reaching inside his coat for his sword when the sound of laughter registered with him. Methos aborted the gesture and looked up to find a highly amused Duncan MacLeod looming over him. What the...?

"Comfortable?" enquired the Highlander archly.

It took Methos a moment to realise what the jibe meant, but as he did he groaned. He must have fallen asleep waiting for Mac! Methos sat up quickly, looking around to see just how many other people had seen him make such an idiot of himself. There were enough of them, sniggering behind their hands, to bring a flush to Methos' cheeks. Oh Gods, MacLeod was never going to let him live this one down. Methos, the great survivor, falling sound asleep in the middle of a crowded shopping centre!

"Have you quite finished buying up every piece of clothing in this place?" Methos snapped, deciding attack was the best form of defence. "Or did you maybe miss a shop or two? Amanda would be so proud if she could see you now."

Gathering up the shreds of his dignity Methos scrambled to his feet and snatched up his own purchases. "You coming?" he growled as he stalked off, the sound of Mac's laughter ringing in his ears.

Mac trailed after Methos' retreating figure, totally unable to suppress the broad grin which had plastered itself on his face. Oh, no doubt Methos would find some way to make him pay for his hilarity, but Mac figured it was worth it. The sight of the oldest Immortal sound asleep, surrounded by the spoils of his shopping expedition, was one to treasure. Mac had no doubt Joe would get a good laugh out of it too. Oh yes, this was definitely one for the Methos Chronicles!


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