The new bartender
Disclaimer: Everything Buffy belongs to Joss and ME. The Highlander stuff belongs to
Davis/Panzer and Rysher. The point is, none of it belongs to me. I’m just an impoverished law student – please don’t sue.
Rating: The story as a whole would be a 13. The "little bit 'o sex" chapter has, you guessed it, sex. I don't think it's terribly graphic, and I hope it's on the happy side of tasteful, but I'm giving it a 21, just to be safe. You can skip that chapter without missing any plot.
Notes: This is mostly set in the Highlander universe. The timeframe is after the end of
the series and then it goes AU. (I thought Highlander: Endgame was ridiculous enough to qualify for its own AU, so in my little world it never happened.) Also, I’ve just decided that the Ahriman story arc in Highlander never happened. Those episodes always felt a little off kilter to me, and it was making my head hurt trying to reference that stuff smoothly in the story. Members of the Clan Denial don’t rejoice too much, Richie won’t put in an appearance. He’s off on his motorcycle somewhere. For Buffy, there are spoilers up through the end of Season 6.
/indicates thoughts/ *indicates emphasis*
One last note: This was my very first attempt at writing fanfiction. I would really appreciate feedback. Thanks!
Methos came into Joe’s at about 10:30 on a rather unremarkable Thursday night. The bar was fairly empty except for a few couples and groups sitting at tables enjoying each other’s company and listening to the quiet blues being played by the musician on stage. The old man had been hoping to surprise Joe (Methos was supposed to be in Paris), but the Watcher was noticeably absent. Methos parked himself on a barstool and decided to wait. He was facing away from the bar watching the blues player on stage when a disembodied female voice suddenly spoke behind him.
“What can I get you?”
Methos turned and was about to reply, but when he caught sight of the woman his mouth hung open and he was struck dumb for several moments. The silence became just a bit obvious and the woman raised her eyebrows in a slightly inquisitive gesture.
“Um, a . . . draft beer, please,” he finally managed to mumble. She smiled and nodded and moved off down the bar to fetch the beer. Methos took the opportunity to stare at her while her back was turned. She was one of the most beautiful women he had seen in a *very* long time. The first thing he noticed was her hair. It fell halfway down her back, and it was red. It wasn’t strawberry blond or auburn. /I bet it looks like living flame in sunlight/ he thought, and then mentally laughed at himself for his sudden inclination to wax poetic. /Not that she doesn’t deserve to be the subject of poetry. I bet that Byron would have given a small body part to be able to write about her./
As she turned back toward him with his beer he could see that her skin was pale with a dusting of freckles. Her eyes were a lovely shade of green and, for a moment, Methos felt caught up in their depths. The old man gave himself a mental shake. She set his beer on the counter in front of him and he automatically thanked her, but he was distracted by the pain he had seen in her eyes. /This is one young woman who’s had more than her fair share of heartache in her handful of years on this earth./ Methos had a sudden longing to talk to this woman, to help her exorcise her demons. He thought frantically, trying to come up with a topic of conversation, but his usual eloquence had abandoned him.
“So . . . um . . . is Joe around?”
“Are you a friend of his? He didn’t say that he was expecting anyone to come by tonight.” The redhead was being polite, but Methos could hear a trace of suspicion in her voice. /Hmm, very interesting. She’s protective of Joe./
Methos grinned and projected his ’harmless grad student’ persona for all that he was worth. “ No, Joe wouldn’t be expecting me. He thinks I’m still in Paris. But, I came back to town a little early and I thought I’d surprise him. I’m Adam Pierson, by the way. I really hope he hasn’t told you anything about me. If he has, then all my efforts in working up the courage to ask you out will have been in vain.”
Methos took a sip of his beer and enjoyed the slightly stunned expression on the redhead’s face.
“Don’t waste your time.” This comment came from a man who had just walked up to the bar. He threw a fifty-dollar bill on the counter and jerked his head in the direction of a table where three other men were all getting up and putting on their coats. The woman gave him his change without a word. He gathered up his money and threw one last comment over his shoulder as he headed for the door. “I don’t know what Joe was thinking, hiring some stupid dyke to tend bar.” Methos’ eyes narrowed and he started to get up off his stool to go after the guy, but the woman’s hand covered his and stopped him.
“He’s not worth it. But thank you.” She gave Methos a smile and squeezed his hand. “It would appear that chivalry isn’t dead. Who knew?” She went to go clear the glasses and bottles from the jerk’s table. For the second time in five minutes Methos was rendered speechless. /Chivalrous? ME? I don’t think so. I’m the one who has to protect MacLeod from his boyscout sensibilities whenever he runs across a damsel in distress. MacLeod, that’s it. That thrice-damned Highlander is rubbing off on me. Bloody Hell./ Methos sighed and picked up his beer. He glanced over and saw the redhead transferring empty beer bottles to her tray when she suddenly stopped and looked at the loud-mouthed bigot who was standing by the door with his friends. He saw her staring and simultaneously grabbed his crotch and blew her a kiss. His buddies slapped him on the shoulder and laughed. /That’s it!/ Methos thought /It’s going to be a pleasure to introduce that asshole to the business end of my sword./ But before Methos could display some unabashedly chivalrous behavior something made him glance back at the redhead. Her expression had hardened and her eyes looked . . . dangerous. /Damn, she could give Death a run for his money. This is one damsel who can take care of herself./ Methos settled back on his chair to watch the fireworks. For a moment he thought he’d be disappointed. The woman’s expression relaxed and she looked back down at the table. Then he heard her whispering under her breath.
“Nemo me impune lacessit.”
At that exact second Loud-Mouth tripped over his own feet and fell gracelessly to the floor. On the way down his face collided with the edge of a table and there was an audible *crunch* as his nose acquired a new profile. Loud-Mouth’s friends grabbed him and hustled him out the door and the redhead returned to behind the bar with a rather satisfied smirk on her face. She handed Methos a towel to help mop up the beer he had choked on when he heard her whispered words.
“That was nicely done,” he commented.
“What do you mean?” she replied.
Methos made little quote marks in the air with his fingers. “‘No one provokes me with impunity.’ Isn’t that what you said?”
Her eyes widened and then narrowed. “You speak Latin.” It wasn’t a question, but Methos acknowledged her with a nod anyway. “And you’re a witch.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking . . .” she started to say, but she was interrupted as Joe finally put in an appearance. He walked over from the direction of his office.
“Red? Is everything OK out here? I thought I heard . . .” Just then Joe’s gaze fell on Methos. “Adam!” he said with a huge grin, “What are you doing here? I thought you were still in Paris.”
“Yeah, well, people may write songs about Paris in the springtime, but it’s bloody miserable in the winter. I don’t know how MacLeod can live on that damn boat of his. I feel a case of hypothermia coming on just thinking about it.” Methos gave an exaggerated shudder.
Joe turned back to the redheaded bartender, “ So what was that crash I heard?” Joe’s gaze shifted to Methos and a grin tugged at the corners of his lips, “Are you causing problems already?”
Methos responded with an insulted expression, “ Absolutely not! I’m shocked that you would insinuate that I could possibly be the source of any unpleasantness. Seriously Joe, it was just some bigot with verbal diarrhea. He got some instant karma courtesy of his own two left feet.”
Joe’s expression became concerned, “Was he giving you trouble again, Red?”
“Oh, nothing she couldn’t handle.” Methos interjected.
Joe gave Methos a curious sideways glance just as the redhead shot a glare at the old man that he clearly interpreted as vehement request to shut up.
“Well, even so, he’s not welcome here anymore. Nobody’s allowed to mess with any of my people. I sure as hell don’t need his business that badly.” Joe paused, and looked at Methos and the redhead. “So, you two have met?”
“We haven’t exactly been formally introduced,” answered Methos.
Joe gestured toward Methos while addressing the bartender. “Red, this is Adam Pierson, the never-ending grad student. His beer tab is the one that needs it’s own ledger.” Methos managed to roll his eyes and look greatly put-upon without losing his urchin-like grin.
“Adam, this is the best damn bartender I’ve ever had, Willow Rosenberg.”