Notes 1: Written as part of the Fairy Tale Picture Wheel
Notes 2: The pic I received was pretty open to fitting into many different "fairy tales" and so I auditioned several for Connor, who is the main subject of the picture and who I felt should be the "star" of my story. He was ambivalent and just not feeling anything in particular. I drifted for days uncertain which "fairy tale" I would try to write. Then I read a slash story by Matthew Time where the character of Nick Carter (yes, from the Backstreet Boys. Shut up.) was singing a silly song about going on a "pixie hunt." While the lyrics are probably not suitable for mixed company, Connor was immediately intrigued. He insisted that he needed to go on his own "pixie hunt" and this story was born. I'm almost certain that this was NOT what Amand-r intended when she said we had to write "fairy tales". Heh. Heh heh...
To Disclaim: Not mine. Yes, this is probably illegal, but I swear that I am only doing this out of the love in my heart ::bats eyes:: And dude, if you recognize the "OMC," yeah, it's probably him. And no, I don't own him either. And, dammit, 'cause I want the puppy. (Props to any who know who the puppy is.)
Thanks, Sarah, for the pic!
The sun had already finished rising by the time Connor MacLeod found himself standing on a lonely hilltop in the backwaters of Ireland. Connor blinked and took stock of his surroundings, wondering, yet again, what the hell he was doing here. One word, "Chris," flitted across his exhausted brain and he nodded to himself. Of course it was Chris's responsibility. Only his old, old, *old* friend Christopher could have gotten him out of bed at four a.m. and *walking* across miles of deserted Irish hillsides without even telling him exactly why he was doing so.
"Get your ass moving, Clover," Chris had said.
Connor had muttered, "I told you not to call me that," before hanging up the phone and wondering how many pillows he'd have to smother himself with before he wouldn't hear the phone that he knew was going to ring again in four...three...two...
"You call me anything but MacLeod and I swear, I *swear* by all that's holy that I will rip your head off with my bare hands and feed it to the town goat. And I'm not kidding this time."
Chris's only response was to laugh delightedly.
Connor sighed in defeat. "Christopher," he finally mumbled into the phone pressed against his pillow, peering at his clock with one bleary eye. "It is 3:52 a.m."
"And the temperature is 47 degrees. So come on, clan-man, let's hustle. Day's a-wastin'!"
Connor hung up. Then he pulled himself out of bed and was already dressing when the phone rang again.
"Yep! And bundle up. You know how you get chilly."
"I do not!" Connor huffed, indignant because he knew his own needs and didn't need advice from Chris, of all people.
"Do I need to remind you about that terribly embarrassing time that you tried to borrow my coat? You almost, uh, poked yourself with my sword," Chris paused to snicker, "in a very sensitive place." More snickering. "I had told you to wear another sweater."
"Okay!" Connor almost yelled. "Okay. But if you weren't so very tiny then I wouldn't have had to squeeze my manly shoulders into your puny coat and I would have been perfectly safe from your sword."
There was icy silence on the other end of the line and Connor smiled in triumph before Chris grumbled, "Bring the coffee," and hung up.
Chris hated to be reminded of his size for some reason; he was a few inches shorter than Connor was. Connor just loved having some sort of ammunition against his unpredictable and snarky friend.
Connor shook off his reverie and looked around, taking his bearings, breathing in the cold, clear air and admiring the green, green hills. He loved it out here, even if it was a huge hassle to just drop everything and come here from New York. He almost never saw grass in New York City. Especially really, truly green grass like this. He loved the clean, pure, Irish countryside. Every time he left he promised himself that he wouldn't forget what it was like, but he almost always did. He tended to lose himself in his life back home. Coming to Ireland to see Chris was like taking a vacation from his entire life--an experience so outside the bounds of his day-to-day existence that it didn't mesh with anything else. He really didn't mind, for all his grumbling. He just wished that he didn't forget so quickly how much he loved it. So he took the time now to savor. Closing his eyes and redrawing the landscape behind his lids, taking deep breaths of the delicious air. Knowing Chris, this would be the last chance he'd have at true peace and quiet for God knows how long.
By now they had a set pattern for it. Years would go by and Connor would live his life, a non-Chris life, a serious, deadly, dangerous life. And then he would get the mail one day and there would be a plane ticket and hotel reservation in it. No note or explanation, but none was needed. He would go; he always did. He knew Chris was expecting him at the other end of that ticket and he didn't want to let down a friend who only made demands on his time every decade or so.
And besides, Chris was a hell of a lot of fun.
Connor had asked, "why," the first time that he had been summoned, several decades back.
"Because I know you, Mr. Serious."
"After two hundred and fifteen years, I should hope so."
Chris had laughed. "No, what I mean is that, I know you. If I left you on your own for too long some headhunter would find you huddled in a dark corner wearing a hair shirt and eating moldy bread. You suffer too well."
Connor had shrugged and never asked again. He couldn't argue with the facts. Chris did know him.
Connor had found the younger man about two hundred sixty years ago wandering around a little corner of Ireland. He made his living by entertaining a circuit of half a dozen towns. Sometimes, his laughing fans would ask him to watch their children. Everyone knew him. Everyone loved him.
Except, apparently, not everyone did. Because Chris had been killed somehow, hadn't he?
He had had no clue that he was immortal. He had had no clue that he had died. They had only figured out later that it must have happened the night he had managed to offend the older three brothers of a traveling family that had caught the tail end of one of Chris's performances. They had taken offense at the eyes they thought Chris had been making at their little sister. What they had failed to realize was that Chris made eyes at everybody. They had taken him around back and shown him exactly how much they were offended and Chris had woken up the next morning with a memory of pain and vaguely aching ribs, thinking that the brothers were far drunker and much weaker than they had appeared. He had never thought of that night since.
Connor had dreaded the thought of taking on another student, but Chris had won him over. Connor had been unable to walk away from Chris's flashing brown eyes and pointed wit and energetic demeanor. And he had been extremely relieved at how quickly Chris had picked up the lessons he had to teach.
He had been even more relieved when he had seen that the quick smile and bright eyes were undiminished by lessons in the Game. In fact, the only thing that becoming immortal changed about Chris was the sword that he had begun to carry buried in the lining of his instrument case.
What Connor understood about Chris now was that things were largely unchanged in his life, even the better part of three centuries later. The differences were in that, as far as Connor could figure out because his friend rarely went into detail about his daily existence, Chris was rather famous in his job and that he had quite a bit of money. He still traveled from town to town entertaining people that loved him and he still carried a rusty sword buried somewhere in his belongings. From what Chris would tell him, Connor thought that Chris had almost never had to use the sword. Connor was very glad for that.
Connor waited on his green hilltop, knowing that Chris would arrive soon. He pulled out a silver thermos of coffee and drank out of the lid, wincing at the lukewarm bitterness.
Connor toed at the turf under his shoe and wondered what Chris had planned for him this time. Surely something completely insane that would turn out to be way more fun than it sounded.
Connor jumped up, unsheathing his sword. "Wha-?!"
Suddenly, a furry beast of some sort tackled him from behind. He landed on the grassy ground with a startled cry, but luckily still clutching his sword. He forced the beast into a roll and curled his body so that he was able to give a lunge and a buck and then jump back to his feet, ready to battle. He whirled to face his attacker only to see the furry mass still on the ground making a wounded noise.
He hesitated for a second, still pointing his sword at his opponent, and tried to figure out what to do. He edged around the unknown creature, cautiously assessing which was the end with the head, what the heck it was because it was shaped unlike any animal that Connor had ever seen, and making noises unlike any animal Connor had ever heard.
The noises...they weren't entirely unfamiliar, actually, Connor realized, as he stood there ready for further attack. They grew far more familiar as the beast rolled onto its back and the noises grew louder and more enthusiastic.
"CHRISTOPHER!" Connor bellowed.
The creature at Connor's feet could only laugh harder.
Connor re-sheathed his sword and started tapping his foot.
The beast, or rather, Chris in a gorilla suit, started trying to get itself back under control. "Your...your face, oh..." Chris gasped.
Connor's foot tapped harder.
Chris heaved one final giggling breath and then sat up, removing the rubber gorilla mask. "Hey! So glad you came! Meet the Abominable Chris-man!" Chris spread his arms out wide. "You like?"
Connor scowled. Chris waited. Connor melted a little and said, grudgingly, "I wasn't expecting to be attacked by a gorilla in the middle of the Irish outback."
Chris pretended to be shocked and widened his big brown eyes innocently. "But Clover! Didn't you tell me to always," and here he tried to affect Connor's growling Scottish accent, "expect the unexpected." He batted his eyes.
Connor caved even more and chuckled softly. "I do not sound like that." Chris raised one eyebrow. "And don't call me that."
Chris was dismayed that most of the coffee had spilled in the Abominable Chris-man attack, but Connor was secretly relieved that Chris's caffeine intake was partially curtailed, though he watched with amusement as Chris gamely guzzled down what had been left in the thermos, including the dregs.
"I need to be as alert as possible. This isn't going to be easy," Chris explained.
"What isn't going to be easy?"
"You'll see," Chris replied mysteriously.
Chris finally removed his gorilla suit, tossed it nonchalantly off to the side and started to walk away.
"Aren't you going to be needing that?" Connor eyed the abandoned furry mass.
Chris looked at him in shock. "Why Connor, what would I ever need a gorilla suit for? What do you think I am, some kind of weird-o?"
Connor could only stare at his friend in disbelief.
Chris led him into the woods that edged the hilltop that was their standard meeting place.
"You need to speak as softly as possible from now on, ok?" Chris stage whispered to him, picking his way across the ground in exaggerated care.
"What on earth for?" Connor asked in his normal tone, kicking aside a pebble.
Connor rolled his eyes.
Chris gave him a look drenched in meaning and spoke in his loud whisper again; "You're going to scare them away!"
Connor stopped abruptly. "Oh no." Chris kept walking. "No! Chris you did not drag me out here for another one of your...your...escapades!"
Chris finally stopped and turned around, looking exasperated and like he was speaking to a particularly backward four-year-old. "Connor, you like my escapades." Connor hurumphed. "Remember that one time? At the gypsy camp?"
Connor couldn't help but grin a little. "I still donít think that woman was a real witch."
"But she could play the flute like nobody's business." Connor had to agree with that. "And then in the sixties when we went to Loch Ness..."
"There is no *way* that you're going to get me to admit that I saw the Loch Ness monster."
"You saw something."
"Chris, you gave me acid. Of course I saw something."
"Ok, ok. But what about the lephruchans?"
"What about them?"
"Oh, so you admit that you saw them?!"
"I admit to nothing!" Chris glared at him. Connor fidgeted. "Although, I still want to know where you got those gold coins from."
Connor sighed. "So what is it this time?"
Chris's eyes flicked around the clearing they were in. He shuffled closer to Connor and leaned in to whisper, loudly. "Pixies."
"What?" Connor said more softly.
"Pixies. You know...pixies." Chris studied Connor's face for any hint of comprehension and Connor knew he would find none. "Pixies, pixies, pixies!" Still nothing. Chris grinned and put on a professorial air. "I can't believe that you've never studied pixies before."
"I had other things to do. Besides, I learned all sorts of things when I was a kid and when I grew up," he shot Chris a pointed look which Chris ignored, "I found out that most of it wasnít true."
The look Chris gave him was one of pity. "Aw, Connor, that sucks man. Ok, it is clearly my job to help you out." He straightened and reassumed the look of a professor, or at least did the best he could since he had messy, spiky hair and was wearing a pair of jeans with flame designs on them and a fleece jacket with the large logo of a clothing company that Connor had never heard of painted across the front. "Pixies are a lot like elves, and share with them a vulnerability to iron. They also share the nature-loving attitude and peaceful demeanor. They are extremely magical, winged creatures that fly everywhere they go. They are a very small size, and because of their inquisitive nature and mental power, tend also to be pranksters. While a pixie may be thousands of years old, almost all of them act like human children."
"You memorized that, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I got it off a website."
"I can see now why you, of all people, would relate to pixies..."
"Since you are one."
"Living forever, playing pranks, acting like a human child..."
Connor laughed, and after awhile of trying to be mad, so did Chris.
"So why are we here again?" Chris seemed to be making himself more comfortable so Connor found a rock to settle against and watched Chris unpack some food and supplies from the backpack he had been wearing.
"'Cause we, my friend, are goin' on a pixie hunt!"
"A pixie hunt?"
"A pixie hunt!" And then Chris started to sing a very bawdy song about pixies and what they liked to...do.
"What?" More innocent blinking.
"Oh, the locals said that there are legends told about what people find in these woods."
"So I remember. This is how the gypsy and lepruchan things started."
"Apparently the locals see lots of stuff in the woods."
"One wonders why they haven't bulldozed the place and dug it up to find all the treasure and creatures that are supposed to be out here."
"Connor! You wouldn't!"
Connor shot him a withering glare. "Of course not!"
"I just want to find one, not destroy its natural habitat."
"'Destroy its natural...' You really are rolling with the times, aren't you?" Connor accepted a flat pastry from Chris that Chris told him was a "Pop Tart" and a can of Coke.
"Well...sure." Chris shrugged. "Of course." He grinned then, nibbling on his own Pop Tart. "It doesnít hurt that I spend most of every waking hour with a group of mortals that don't let me grow up. They worry if I start to talk about 'the old days.'"
It was Connor's turn to blink. "You didn't..."
"Nah, I didn't tell them. They just think I'm at least five years older than them, which to them is ancient." They both laughed.
"So, what did you hear about this particular clearing?"
"That there would be pixies in it! If we wait long enough."
"No fancy stories or fairy tales?" Connor liked to hear Chris's stories. He never just told you a story or repeated something he had heard. He always had to make the tale one of his own, adding jokes and hilarious riffs on what a character should or shouldn't have done, in his opinion.
"Hmm, well there was this one girl at the bar who said her grandfather had told her..." Connor settled back against his rock, letting his friend tell him the stories.
Connor glared at the man lounging next to him. "Will you stop humming before I rip your lips off and feed them to...to..."
They had been in the clearing for most of the day. Connor had heard all the fairy tales that Chris had said he could remember for now. Once Connor's ribs had stopped aching from laughter they had eaten again. This time it was Cheetos and fruit punch Powerade. Connor always had the strangest meals when Chris was providing them.
Now, however, Chris must have been bored again because he was singing and humming the "Pixie Hunt" song. Incessantly. Connor really had a hard time believing that pixies were as horny as Chris was making them out to be, but no matter how amusing it had been, an hour of hearing it was really too much.
"Aren't we supposed to be quiet to wait for pixies?"
"Hmm, maybe you're right." Chris stopped humming.
"Thank god!" Connor muttered.
"You're not wearing iron, are you? Pixies are afraid of iron. Maybe your big ironic self is scaring them off."
"I somehow think that I could be as ironic as I wanted to and the pixies wouldn't care one way or the other."
"You said it."
"Well, check your clothes and stuff. Make sure there's no iron."
"Chris--" but before he could continue, Chris threw up a warning hand.
"I'm really getting sick you saying that."
"No! I heard something. Something that sounded like...buzzing."
Connor leaned against the rock and tried to hear the buzzing. Faintly, he did.
"It could be the buzzing of little pixie wings. Stay low!"
Chris whipped out a pair of binoculars and peered over the rock they had been leaning against. Connor shuffled down and peered in the same direction as Chris. Again, he faintly heard the buzzing, but it didnít seem to be coming from the direction of any pixies. In fact, it seemed to be coming from Chris's backpack.
"Chris--" he tried again.
"I said, 'Shh!" That means you shut up now," he hissed.
Connor gave up and grabbed Chris's backpack and started rustling through the pockets. A moment later he pulled out a cell phone that was vibrating for all its worth. The buzzing.
"Chris." He pressed the vibrating phone against the back of Chris's neck.
"Shit!" Chris yelped and dropped the binoculars.
Connor laughed and laughed. He tossed the phone at Chris's head. "I believe that's for you."
Chris fumbled with the phone. By now it had stopped vibrating but instead was blinking with a message indicator. He glared at Connor as he pressed the button to retrieve his message. "I have to get this. It might be a friend. You know, someone who's *nice.*"
"Aw, Chris..." He grinned at his friend and laid his head on Chris's shoulder. Chris didnít shrug him off.
Chris got off the phone and sighed. "I have to go already. That was Johnny. Something about a tabloid fashion disaster and a crying JC. I hate it when JC cries so I have to go stop him now."
Connor smiled sadly. "Ok. We didn't find any pixies."
"S'ok. There's always next time."
Connor nodded and stared off in the direction they had been watching for pixies. "Maybe I'll stay here awhile. You never know." For some reason that he didn't examine too closely, he wasnít quite ready for this escapade to end. "You'll keep in touch, of course." He knew that he wouldn't see his student again for another ten years, maybe.
He felt Chris studying him as the younger man packed up his supplies. "No," Chris finally said.
"No?" Connor glanced over at him.
"You're not done being Clover poopy head. You're coming with me."
"Oh, I am, am I? And donít call me that."
"Yes. And you love it." He tugged at Connor's arm and hauled slowly him to his feet. "Come on! I'm not done making you forget rain clouds and runaway puppies yet. I'm taking you home with me to Florida. You'll love where I live. My friends are...well, you'll like my house anyway. I bought it near this field where I heard that the local Swamp Man lives. Now, I haven't actually seen him yet, but..."
As they made their way out of the woods and back down the hill, Connor could still smell the cold, clear air and even when he closed his eyes he could see the green, green grass of the hills without having to try to remember. He smiled.
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