General Disclaimer: Methos and the gang belong to the creators of the HL series, D/P production people, and I'm sure that these writers didn't profit anything from writing it. We only borrow them for a while. =) But the bad guy is theirs.

Feedback: Oh yeah!!


by Blue Buick R & Blue Buick S

Part 1:


MacLeod placed the last of the bags by the dojo's lift and turned back to his companions. "All right. Looks like we've got an hour before we have to be at the airport."

Joe looked up from his position on the couch. "We could always get there early and spend some quality time in the airport bar."

"You'd think you of all people would have had enough of bars," Richie chimed in. He was leafing through some pamphlets and papers he had strewn about the counter top.

Joe shrugged. "I'm a blues man at heart. Bars and blues go together. You can't really have one without the other."

Mac and Richie both looked up at the same time as a familiar buzzing filled their heads; their gazes locked before sweeping to include the loft door. A light knock was heard.

"Must be a friend. Enemies don't exactly knock, more like break the door down," Richie said as he stood and gripped his coat.

Mac, too, had grabbed his jacket. He removed the katana from the folds and headed towards the exit. A second knock was heard before Mac slowly opened the door. Across from him stood Methos, bag in hand, infuriating smile in place.

"Nice of you to open the door. Hope I didn't catch you at a bad time?"

Mac frowned. "Since when?"

Methos looked hurt. "I always have your best interests at heart. Not my fault you don't recognize true selflessness when it smacks you right in the face." He brushed past the Scot and noticed Joe and Richie. "Joe, Richie, looks like the gang's all here."

"Actually, we were just leaving. You've wasted a trip." Richie pointed to the bags packed by the lift. "If you had called, we could have told you we were going out of town." Served the old man right for never calling. He was like a bad penny. Whenever you thought you'd finally got rid of him he popped back into view spouting some nonsense he tried to pass off as the wisdom of the ages.

Joe smiled at the Immortal. "We're going to Vegas."

Methos dropped his bag by the others. "Really, where are we staying?"

Mac put a hand on the older man's shoulder. "Wait a minute. Joe, Richie and I are going to Las Vegas. You can amuse yourself here. I have no problem letting you use the loft while we're away." As if he could stop him anyway. Sometimes it was just easier to give in and pretend it was your idea all along.

Methos ignored Mac's hand and his words. "Actually, I don't care where we're staying, as long as it has blackjack... and hookers." Methos realized MacLeod's loft had probably seen an abundance of both and therefore met his criteria, but he wasn't going to mention it.

Placing the pamphlets into a neat pile, Richie grimaced. "You didn't hear correctly. 'We' doesn't include 'you'. I only won accommodations for 'us'."

"What? I can't be hearing you correctly; did you just say that I, the man who has flown thousands of miles to spend some time with you lot, is being left behind while you go enjoy the neon lights and tacky theme hotels of Las Vegas? My good friend MacLeod would never do such a thing.

He wouldn't be so callous." Methos had turned to watch Mac. "Besides, I'll just follow along behind you. I could be useful. I've spent some time in the city."

"Vegas isn't exactly that difficult to figure out," Richie returned.

"Mac?" Methos asked.

The darker Immortal was now by Joe's side. "It's not my show, Methos. Richie won the trip on some radio call-in contest. An all-expense-paid trip for two to Las Vegas."

"I count three sojourners," Methos pointed out.

Joe shrugged. "I decided it was time I tighten up on my watcherly duties. I do have an expense account."

"Oh, and I'm sure the cheap all-you-can-eat buffets and showgirls had nothing to do with it. Just plain old professional ethics."


"I still don't see the problem. Mac can pay my way." There was a slight pause, then he added, "He's loaded."

Mac sat up straighter. "What? Since when did I become your expense account? If you're coming, you're paying your own way."

Joe just shook his head. Mac was so easy. The guy just invited Methos along and didn't even know it.

"Whatever," Methos said. Mac was so easy. "Now that we have that all figured out, where are we staying?"


Part 2:


The airport was busy but not to the point of claustrophobia. The four men walked up to the ticket counter. Methos turned to Mac and held out his hand.

"What?" Mac asked, eyeing the proffered hand.

"Your credit card." Methos wiggled his fingers impatiently.

"I already told you, if you wanted to come you had to pay yourself."

Methos sighed. "Adam Pierson has maxed out his own card in buying a ticket to Seacouver. That means that I, Methos, have maxed out my card. The life of a student is full of Kraft Dinner and Tuesday cheap movie nights. Now give me the damned card so I can buy my ticket!"

Joe watched as Mac struggled for a moment. He opened his mouth only to close it again; no words came out. Grumbling, Mac fished out his card and handed it over to the waiting Immortal. Methos smiled once then walked up to the counter.

"I really hate it when he does stuff like that," Mac complained.

"You didn't have to give in, you know," Richie answered.

"Oh, yes I did. There's no winning with him. He would have come up with some complicated explanation of why I owe him this or something."

Joe watched the old man as he addressed the ticket attendant. "He does it on purpose. He gets a high off watching you get frustrated and angry. I should know; he does it to me too."

"I still can't believe you let him come along." Richie still didn't like the idea of the added company. This trip was supposed to be Richie's way of spending some time with Mac and paying the man back with an all-expense-paid trip. When Joe hinted that he might like to come along, he had gracefully acceded, but adding the acerbic Methos to the mix was not going to make this much of a vacation.

Mac ignored Richie's comment and looked at his watch. He turned to glare at Methos. "What the hell is taking so long?"

All three men observed the lovely, fair-haired attendant write something on Methos' ticket as he leaned over the counter.

"Probably writing down her phone number," Joe observed with a grin.

Methos placed the ticket in his pocket and approached his friends. He handed the card over to Mac. "Thanks."

"Don't mention it," Mac said through a frown.

"I won't"

Joe decided to head off any argument. He could see Duncan working his way up to something and didn't want to start this so-called vacation off on the wrong foot. "Lets get going. We don't want to miss our flight."

Chipper as ever, Methos nodded and led the way.

As they boarded the plane, Methos headed off in the opposite direction to the others. Mac placed a hand on his arm to stop him.

"Where are you going?"

Methos carefully peeled the fingers off. "To my seat."

"They're back here." Duncan indicated by tilting his head.

"Not mine," Methos answered. Seeing Mac didn't get it, he continued. "The flight was almost booked. They only had First Class seats available. You'll just have to enjoy Business Class without me. Don't be sad; it's only for a few hours."

Mac's mouth had reduced itself to a slit. His lips had even disappeared. Never a good sign. "I don't believe you," he said between clenched teeth.

Richie and Joe watched as Methos fished out his ticket and handed it over to Mac. "That's what I told the ticket attendant. Sometimes you can be so predictable. Evelyn was nice enough to write you a note explaining the problem."

Mac grabbed the ticket and looked down. In a neatly inscribed hand was a short note exonerating the oldest Immortal from any wrongdoing. The flight was truly booked and only First Class seats were available. Mac also noticed her phone number at the bottom, along with what looked distinctly like a small heart.

Methos snatched the ticket and placed it back in his pocket. "My friends, and Richie, the land of milk and honey awaits." Turning to go, Methos heard Richie ask Joe where THEY were going. Methos looked back and replied, "The land of stale peanuts and body odor."

Waving, Methos shot over his shoulder. "Ta-ta! I'm off to get snookered."

Mac was silent as Richie leaned over to Joe and whispered, "I didn't know the stewardesses in First Class did that."


Part 3:


Methos walked up to the two men standing by the carousel, watching the assorted pieces of luggage move past. Joe and Richie glanced up as he stopped beside them, then returned their attention towards the passing bags once more. He guessed they were still a little irritated that he had flown First Class. Sometimes the immaturity of grown men staggered him. Granted, those two only made up one and a half grown man, but that was no excuse. Sighing, he put his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels.

"Soooo, where's MacLeod?" He ventured, deciding to be gracious and the one to extend the olive branch.

"Went to rent us a car," Joe replied as he spied his bag and stepped forward to snatch it before it flew by.

"Good, good," the old Immortal commented, also spotting his luggage. "We're to meet him out front then?"

Richie grunted what Methos supposed was an affirmative as he also hauled his suitcase, along with MacLeod's, to his side. The three men exited the baggage pick-up area in silence and made their way out the front doors of the airport keeping an eye out for Duncan and his borrowed transportation.

They waited perhaps ten minutes before the Scot pulled up driving a blue Buick. The trunk popped open and they scrambled around to the back of the vehicle to throw their bags in. Methos had just finished jamming his in amongst MacLeod's and Joe's when Richie stepped up and realized there wasn't enough room for his. Turning to Methos he shot him a scathing look.

"It's not like you can't keep it in the backseat with you and Joe," Methos defended himself.

"The back..." Richie couldn't finish the sentence, his outrage was so great. Not that he was given the chance. As soon as Methos had finished slamming the trunk closed, he'd hopped over to the passenger side of the car and got in.

"Come on, Rich," Joe said, snapping the young man out of his murderous thoughts and giving him a gentle shove in the direction of the rear door. The kid still hadn't learnt that the easiest way to handle Methos was just to let him do and say what he wanted without blowing a gasket. As long as it wasn't hurting anyone, it was just the simplest and least aggravating way of spending time with the Old Man. He had caught on really fast, while MacLeod had taken a bit longer, but the Immortal was eventually getting the hang of things. Richie just seemed to be a slow learner.

Joe and Richie buckled themselves in with half the young man's suitcase sitting between Joe and the Immortal while the other half rested on the young man's lap. It was too big to fit any other way.

"Geez, Richie, what did you bring, half your wardrobe... AND your bike?" Joe asked as they maneuvered the large bag into a workable position. The army had taught the Watcher how to choose only the essentials needed for a journey and how to stuff them into the least amount of space. MacLeod's centuries of travel appeared to have done the same for him and Methos, the grandfather of hasty departures, won the gold star for packing technique. The youngest of the four men obviously needed to be a bit more observant.

"I didn't know exactly what to bring. I wanted to be prepared," Richie replied by way of answer.

"We're in the Nevada desert kid; you can leave the parkas and booties at home next time," Methos shot over his shoulder as he pulled a pair of shades from his carry-on backpack and slid them onto his face.

"What hotel are we staying at again Rich?" Mac changed the subject, knowing full well what the answer would be.

"The Excalibur," Richie told his teacher, pulling out a map from the pocket on the back of Methos' seat.

"You're kidding right?" Methos choked.

"No," the young man snapped. "Why, what's wrong with it? Doesn't meet the standards of a man who used to live in a manure hut?"

Methos didn't respond to the insult; he just shook his head and chuckled. "At least it isn't that new one that's a replica of Paris! That would have been just plain silly. Imagine waking up to the sight of the Eiffel Tower each morning. Oh wait, that's right, we do half of the time anyway. I guess you lucked out this time kid, instead we'll be staying in the only hotel in Las Vegas named after a sword."

"Shut up, Methos," Mac growled, as he pulled out of the airport's main entrance.

"But Mac, the irony, oh the irony!" Methos rolled his eyes melodramatically.

They drove through the billboard-packed and casino-cluttered streets of Sin City until Mac parked the car in the underground lot of the hotel/casino. Methos was going to comment on the hotel decor but even he knew when he'd complained too much. They had reached that point a while back. Checking into the front desk, Mac retrieved the key to his suite while Richie was given the key to his smaller, contest-provided room. Richie's room just wouldn't do for the planned trio, now quartet. Mac had reserved a suite once Joe had joined the party. His treat. Richie had declined the invitation, claiming he wanted his privacy if needed.

The entire group moved to the elevator, bellboys in tow. The elevator stopped at Richie's floor and the young man told the rest of them he'd meet them in their room after they got settled. They could then go down and take a look at the casino.

Once again, they moved up the many floors of the hotel until they reached Duncan's floor. Filing out, they moved to the appropriate door and MacLeod swiped his key card, unlocking it. Once inside he tipped the hotel employee and shut the door. The suite had a large master bedroom with another, smaller one, a large spacious bathroom, a main sitting room with a couch, love seat and two chairs, a fireplace set into the wall and a Jacuzzi off to the side, sunk into the floor. Joe picked up his bag and wandered over to the smaller of the two bedrooms. Throwing his bag on the bed he stepped in and turned to the other two men.

"I'm going to change; try to be ready for when Richie shows up," Joe said. With that, he moved to close the door, casting Methos one quick and triumphant look before doing so. Ha, take that Mr. First Class!

Methos stared at the closed door for a moment before turning his head to look at the long, narrow, let's reiterate, narrow couch, then slowly looking up to the open door of the master bedroom with its big soft bed. Duncan, seeing the little hamster running a mile a minute inside the Old Man's head at same time, lunged for the open door. The two Immortals pushed and elbowed their merry way towards the room only to have MacLeod's superior weight throw the lither Immortal off-balance with a well-placed shove. The smaller man attempted to keep his balance by hopping on one foot but the maneuver lost him some time and MacLeod reached the room first. Turning and standing in the entrance of the room, leaning on the door frame, the Highlander looked to the other Immortal and smirked.

"I suppose I'll have to sleep on the couch," Methos stated as if the little battle had never occurred and his sleeping arrangements had been a forgone conclusion. Walking over to the couch, he tested it by lying down for a second, then sprang back up to his feet indignantly.

"Why do I have to sleep on the couch; why can't you?" He came very close to whining.

"I AM paying for the room, Methos," he reminded the other man.

"Exactly! I'm YOUR guest, show some common courtesy, MacLeod!"

MacLeod said nothing to this, only throwing the other Immortal a 'nice try but no go' look.

"The couch it is." Methos conceded.

The three men were changed and cleaned up by the time Richie knocked on their door. Deciding to get a look at the casino before dinner, the four men made their way down to the bustling heart of the hotel. As they walked by the stage set up for what must be the hotel's booked entertainment, they passed a karaoke machine sitting in the corner. Methos, once he got a look at the piece of equipment, sidestepped the thing, giving it wide berth and an evil look. Duncan, Richie and Joe looked on in confusion.

Up in the control center of the casino where the rows of security cameras sent their images, a lone man stood behind the technicians and the man monitoring the floor. His eyes flitted over the many video feeds of people playing a myriad of games when something or, more to the point, someone caught his eye. Walking up to the video screen and adjusting some switches, the image on the screen zoomed in toward one figure in particular. There on the screen, the laughing and muted face of Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod stood out in black and white. Staring at the face on the screen, the fingers of one mechanical hand began to close into a fist (cue the foreboding music of your choice).

on to part 4

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