Disclaimer: Highlander don't belong to me...whimper.
~~~A Tale of Diamonds and Drawers~~~
The yacht's decking creaked as they stepped onto it and Methos sighed as he felt the sway under his feet. Amanda leaned into him.
“Relax, darling,” she said softly. “Nobody is going to throw you overboard.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure of that,” Methos muttered back, “I googled this guy. He’s a privateer in a pinstriped suit.” He eyed the party, in full swing, in front of them. A big band was playing on an assembled stage on the foredeck, and the waitress who offered them champagne as they stepped aboard, was dressed in a 1930’s cocktail dress.
“Smile, Adam,” Amanda said, through gritted teeth, as she handed him a flute from the tray. “And try to look suitably impressed.” Methos took a sip from his flute and raised an eyebrow.
“Cristal,” he said. “Although, of course, that doesn’t change the fact we’re on a boat….have I mentioned the fact I hate boats?”
“Oh, only about a dozen times since this morning - and it’s not a boat, it’s a luxury yacht,” Amanda said. “And the Seine is not the sea, although it might look a little murky in places.”
“My point exactly,” Methos said. “Do you know how many times I’ve fallen or been pushed into that cholera trap over the years?
Amanda rolled her eyes. “Adam,” she said, meaningfully. “There hasn’t been a cholera outbreak in Paris since 1849, and I don’t see you complaining to Duncan about his barge when you visit.”
“Sophistry,” he said. “And Mac’s barge is moored; this monstrosity is not even anchored. It’s moving! There’s a difference, and I can feel it under my feet.”
Amanda looked at him speculatively. “Why do I get the feeling there’s a story in this?” she asked.
“It has monks in it, you wouldn’t be interested,” Methos said. “And why did I agree to this again?”
“Because you’re a great big softy, that’s why,” Amanda told him, pinching his check as a female passenger suddenly passed by in a waft of silk and expensive perfume. He caught the smirk on her face as she continued down the deck. Marvellous, now he wouldn’t merely be Amanda’s husband, he’ll be Amanda’s whipped husband. His evening was complete.
“How did you get my new number anyway?” he wondered aloud. “I’m not exactly listed.”
“I have my resources,” she said primly, and Methos gave her a flat look.
“You mean Joe has his resources,” he drawled.
“Now, Adam, don’t be grumpy,” Amanda said, as she fussed with his tie. “Think of this as some quality time together…we’ll have some Cristal and caviar, dance a little, pick up a diamond - forty carat, square bevel cut - and be home in time for a nightcap.”
“Yes, and if the night goes really well, we’ll end up in adjoining cells.”
“Oh ye of little faith.” She grinned impishly and filched a blini smeared with Beluga from a passing tray. “Follow me.”
Methos watched as Amanda popped the delicacy into her mouth and strolled in the direction of the deck cordoned off as a dance floor. What was the bloody woman up to now? Methos sighed, Amanda was practically impossible to say no to; maybe he should work on that. He dropped his glass onto a passing tray and followed her onto the dance floor, just as the tempo quickened and Methos frowned as he tried to place it. He hadn’t heard a swing band since the second World War.
”The Balboa?” he said, into Amanda’s ear, as he caught up to her.
She turned and smiled up at him. “Obviously our host is going for authenticity,” she said.
“Authenticity is all very well, but it’s a bit redundant if nobody on the dance floor knows the steps,” Methos countered, as he looked around. A few people were attempting to jive to the tempo, but none of them were attempting the original dance.
A gleam showed in Amanda’s eyes. “Oh, you’re no fun,” she said, pouting up at him. “Come on, why don’t we show them how it’s done?” She tugged at his hand, and Methos let her pull him into the centre of the dance floor.
“You’re assuming I can dance,” he said.
“Well, can’t you?” she asked archly.
Methos sighed. “I am so going to regret this,” he said, as he pulled her into her arms.
“Oh, stop being such a worrywart, let’s swing!”
It had been seventy years since Methos had danced the Balboa; it had been the year before the war had broken out, and he had been living in California at the time. Mainland Europe had become a tad uncomfortable for his tastes and he hadn’t been ready to face London yet, so soon after his last sojourn there. Too many ghosts.
“What are you thinking?” Amanda asked.
“I was thinking of the last time I danced this,” he answered.
She studied his face “Good memory?” she asked.
He gave her a look. “It might be more accurate to describe it as bittersweet,” he said, and it had been. He should have known better than to fall in love with a gangster’s moll. He had woken up in a shallow grave in the desert. Not one of his more pleasant memories. They called it Death Valley for a reason.
After that incident, Methos had decided London was calling after all.
A tap on his shoulder disturbed his reveries. “Mind if I cut in?” a voice asked, and Methos turned to see a well groomed man in his forties, dark hair greying at the sides. Methos had seen his face before: David Davies, Amanda’s mark.
“David, darling,” Amanda thrilled. “But of course you may cut in!”
Methos stepped aside with a wry smile, noting how the music suddenly changed tempo and slowed to a waltz. Methos smirked as Davies swept her across the dance floor. He wondered exactly who was playing whom.
“Champagne, sir?” one of the waiting staff asked, waving a tray in front of him.
“I don’t mind if I do,” he drawled as he took a flute and sipped; it was still Cristal, most hosts would have switched to a less expensive champagne by now. This little party of his must be costing him a fortune. With one eye still on the dance floor, Methos studied the guests. There was an unusually high proportion of security guards, but that didn’t necessarily mean that Davies expected to be robbed. There were a lot of local dignitaries on the yacht, most of whom should have known better than to accept the invitation. He eyed the dance floor warily.
Amanda was laughing at something Davies was whispering into her ear, and Methos sighed. Davies was obviously quite taken with her; he hoped that didn’t complicate things. He didn’t particularly like the idea of swimming with the fishes, especially the kind of fish that thrived in the Seine.
The music changed again and became a Tango, and a few of the more adventuresome guests drifted out onto the dance floor. He watched as Davies kissed Amanda’s hand, and the bright smile that spread across her face. Methos was actually beginning to feel sorry for him. He watched her cross the floor as she walked towards him, a self satisfied expression on her face.
“Did you get it?” he asked, as she took his flute out of his hand and sipped.
“Of course,” she said lightly. “And try to not look so amused. You’re supposed to be my husband, remember? Try to glower at him a bit more, next time.”
“I’ll make a note of it,” he murmured, as she hooked her arm through his and steered them towards the starboard section of the yacht. A few of the more suspicious security guards looked as if they might intercept them, but Amanda wielded her smile at them, and they backed off. “We need to hurry,” she murmured. “I promised him my last dance before we left, and I want to slip the security card back then. With a little luck, he’ll never know it was missing, and he’ll be mystified by the theft.”
Methos sighed. “I foresee a sticky end to this evening,” he said.
“You sound like a fortune cookie,” Amanda muttered, looking around before pushing him through a doorway. “Follow me,” she said. “His suite is below the foredeck.”
Methos almost laughed as she threw him a pair of latex gloves she had stuffed into her purse. “I thought I was just your cover,” he said.
“There’s no such thing as being too careful,” she told him. “And do you really want Davies to find your prints in his cabin?”
“Point made,” he muttered, as he pulled them on. Amanda, with her elbow length silk gloves, didn’t need any. The narrow corridor was covered in a luxurious thick pile carpet, which muffled their steps and he eyed the surveillance cameras above them. “Are you sure they’re out?” he asked. Amanda pulled at his arm as she quickened their pace.
“I’m positive,” she said. “I’ve seen my man do this a dozen times, and a close circuit system isn’t as secure on running water as it would be on land - no ground wiring to secure the signal with. Right now, Davies’s security are being fed an image of a empty corridor. It should fool them if we don’t get physically caught.”
At last, Amanda stopped outside a door with a security swipe. She produced the pass card from her cleavage, and ran it through. The door opened with a low beep, and Methos followed her inside. He watched her make a beeline for the walk-in closet, and let out a surprised laugh as she opened his sock drawer and started feeling his socks. “Have you developed a new fetish, Amanda?”
Amanda smirked at him. “I’m afraid I’ve already met my quota,” she said mischievously.
“Don’t tell me he hides his valuables in his socks?”
“Don’t be silly, of course he doesn’t; he puts them in his safe,” she said, “It’s behind the suits.” She waved at the far end of the closet.
“Then, excuse me if this is a silly question, but why are you feeling up his socks?” Methos asked.
“Because Davies has a terrible short term memory and his security team won’t let him use birthdays,” Amanda said, “The rumour is, he forgot the password to his last safe, and had to hire a professional safe cracker to break into it for him. After that, he started – ah!” Triumphantly, she produced a little black leather notebook, and began to rifle through it. “Here it is!”
Methos watched, bemused, as she pulled the suits aside and exposed a keypad. She tapped in a ten digit code and, suddenly, part of the closet wall slid aside, revealing a sheaf of documents and a small velvet box.
“Am I good, or am I good?” Amanda asked, as she opened the box and showed him the diamond necklace inside.
“You absolutely brilliant, he told. “Now let’s get out of here.”
“Right!” she said, as she closed the safe, and put the notepad back in its place. He noted the lingering glance she’d given a few of the other pages, and wondered how much of Davies’s wealth would be missing by the end of the week.
“Now, please try to remember,” Amanda said, stuffing the necklace into the pocket of his dinner jacket as they hurried down the hall. “You’re my jealous husband, act accordingly!”
He resisted the urge to roll his eyes, and peeled off the latex gloves, stuffing them into his pocket as they stepped onto the deck again. A security guard caught sight of them, and Methos felt himself stiffen, even as Amanda started her performance. “But darling!” she said. “He is our host, and I did promise him a dance before we left. It was perfectly innocent, honest!”
“Sometimes I don’t know why I married you,” he declared loudly. Some of the background noise dimmed, as the other guests listened in on the drama unfolding.
“But, Adam, my love, there’s nothing going on!” Her eyes fluttered up at him, hamming it up, and it was all he could do not to laugh.
“Don’t you ‘my love’ me!” he said. “It may have taken me a while, but now the scales have been lifted from my eyes. You’re nothing but a two timing s—”
Methos turned and smiled inwardly; Davies to the rescue, right on cue.
“Amanda, are you alright?” Davies asked.
“I’m fine, David, it’s nothing...Adam and I just had a little misunderstanding,” Amanda sighed dramatically. The evil husband and the melodramatic angst; all she needed to do was faint and she’d have the full hat trick.
“Oh,” Amanda said. “I don’t think I feel so well…”
Davies pushed him aside, catching Amanda just in time as she swooned, and Methos struggled to look offended rather on the verge of laughter. He put his hands on his hips, ready for his denouement, when he felt a tap on his shoulder.
“I think you’d better come with me, sir,” a grim voice said. Ah yes, the security, he’d forgotten about those. He turned to look at him.
“And where are you taking me?” he asked loudly. “I can’t exactly leave without my wife!”
“Oh, that’s alright, I’ll make sure she gets home safely,” Davies purred.
. Methos felt a moment of misgiving, and looked to Amanda for a signal. “It’s okay, darling,” she breathed. “Don’t wait up.”
A hand fell on her arm, and Methos let them lead him away. “It’s okay,” he muttered, once they were away from the party and approaching the stern of the ship. “I can find my own way to the shuttle boat.”
“I don’t think you understand, Sir,” the security guard said. “Mr. Davies is very fond of Mrs. Winters, and he would like nothing untoward happening to her.”
“You mean, something like what’s about to happen to me,” Methos said, suddenly understanding, and cursing Amanda in his mind. She’d obviously gone overboard when she was telling Davies her tale of woe.
The security smiled humourlessly at him. “Exactly, sir,” he said, as he pulled a berretta from his jacket. “Now keep moving.”
The stern of the ship was completely deserted and Methos stopped as he saw the plank extending over the ship’s wake. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he spluttered.
“Mr. Davies never jokes about such things,” he said. “He is very much the traditionalist.”
This time, Methos didn’t resist the urge to laugh. “You do realise that this particular maritime tradition doesn’t extend to river yachts, don’t you?” he asked. “For one, the plank is hardly a very efficient form of execution when there’s a river bank nearby.
“Mr. Davies thinks that this small disadvantage is more than offset by the yachts engine blades, Sir."
Methos felt his mouth go dry. He’d seen what those things could do to a body. It wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility that he’d lose his head.
The guards face softened. “That’s why it’s better to jump, rather than be pushed,” he said quietly. “It will up your chances.”
“And if I live?” Methos asked.
“We’ll never know, because either way we’ll never see you again, understand?” the guard said pointedly.
“With crystal clarity; thank you for your words of wisdom,” Methos muttered, as he eyed the river bank; it was a good fifty yard swim, but that was the least of his problems. “Ah well, it’s been interesting and all that, and the champagne was rather good.” Methos stepped onto the plank, and looked back at the guard, whose jaw had dropped. Obviously, nobody had taken him up on his advice before. Methos smirked. Amanda wasn’t the only one who could ham it up.
“Farewell, my glittering Paris,” he declared. “You’ve treated me abysmally! Well, except for that one time in nineteen fifty—“
The guard lifted his gun. “Jump,” he said.
Methos sighed. “You’re no fun,” he complained, as he leapt.
The churning water swallowed him up.
Amanda eventually tracked him down to his little beach house in Barbados. He was cooking lobster on an outdoor grill when she arrived.
“I hope you brought a good red wine,” he said.
“You did a runner!” she accused.
“I walked the plank,” he countered. “Consider yourself lucky that the diamond wasn’t the only thing I took.”
She folded her arms. “Fine,” she bit out. “I’ve learned my lesson, now hand it over.”
Methos shook his head. “If it only it were that simple,” he said sadly. “But, you see, my little dip in the Seine had an unforeseen consequence.”
She blanched. “You’re kidding me,” she said.
“I’m afraid not,” he drawled. “And to think that if you’d informed me beforehand of Davies’s tendency to make people walk the plank, I could have made contingency plans…salad with your lobster?”
Amanda’s eyed narrowed. “You’re lying to me,” she said.
“Amanda, you wound me,” he said, straight-faced, and watched Amanda’s cheeks go pink.
“I brought a Bordeaux,” she eventually said.
“Ah, good, there’s a wine opener on the patio table. I’ll get the glasses.”
Methos managed to keep the grin off his face until he slipped through the glass doors and into the kitchen. She was so predictable. Tonight, she’ll pull apart the house when she thought he was safely asleep. He retrieved a pair of wineglasses and looked up as Amanda walked into the room
“The wine needs a few moments to breathe, so I thought you might need a little help,” she said chirpily.
“How charming of you,” Methos said. “But I think I have everything in hand, thanks all the same. Tell you what, how about you bring these outside while I grab the lobster crackers!” He beamed at her as he held out the glasses, and she beamed back as she took them.
“Of course, darling,” she said, “Anything to help.”
Methos opened the silverware drawer and grinned suddenly as he paused. “Are you sure you don’t want some salad,” he asked, as he pulled the lobster crackers out.
“Quite sure,” she said, looking at him curiously. “Is there something wrong, Methos?”
“Oh, nothing’s wrong, he said, as he looked down at the diamond winking up at him from amongst the salad forks. “I’m just…appreciating the moment.”
FICTION : BUFFY/ANGEL
FICTION : CROSSOVER
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