Ruffled Feathers by Rhi
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Author's Notes:
Disclaimers: The characters below are the intellectual property of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, various publishers, Rysher: Panzer/Davies, and/or God. Given all of the above, I should like to make it quite, quite clear, that dear gods, no, they're not mine. I'm also not making money off this I couldn't stand the commentary from some of them if I did.++
Rated: PG at absolute worst. Written for Crossovers100, prompt #81 -- Mountain.
General warning: Put down food and especially drink before reading. Management refuses to be held responsible for your keyboards, monitor, desk, and/or mouse. If in doubt of our liability, please be advised that our warranties and waivers were written by one A. J. Crowley, whose signature nonetheless looks nothing like his name. Or, come to think of it, words.... Thank you.







" 'I don't know who or what you are, Methos.' That's what the bastard said to me." Methos snorted, wistfulness lying beneath his outrage, and tilted the bottle up again. He hadn't noticed yet that the vodka hadn't run out despite the quantities he'd poured down his throat over the last three hours.

About time he'd gotten down to the real hurt, as far as Aziraphale was concerned.

"Well," the angel pointed out, "his parentage is hardly his fault, Methos. It's not as if the Nephilim were allowed to marry. You know that."

"Oh, quit being reasonable," Methos snarled. "I don't want reasonable, angel."

Aziraphale sighed and peeled out of his favorite jumper (light cream, with a lovely emerald knotwork border at neck, wrist and waist, and the 'herringbone' was actually crossed swords) before he let the wings out. Methos didn't blink, even when Aziraphale extended a wing to wrap around him. "If you didn't want reasonable, Methos, you really should have called Crowley."

Methos sighed, wrapped an arm around his waist (Aziraphale didn't ask which of them Methos was comforting; the immortal's answers were never predictable), and absently started preening feathers back into place with his other hand. That it left the vodka untended was not, of course, Aziraphale's intention. Neither was cosseting one of His old tools.

"For an angel, you always make a right mess of your wings. I don't know how you do it. And I don't care about MacLeod's parentage nearly so much as he does. I just... he's four hundred years old. How can he still be such a child?"

"Well, he is only four hundred and eight, Methos. Give the man time. He'll get there." Aziraphale sighed. "You always do get the pinfeathers just right. Thank you. Er. Which aspect of childishness did you mean?"

"People change. Oh, not you, I suppose." Methos glanced up from his work, hazel eyes glinting wickedly under his lashes in a way that made Aziraphale faintly nervous about whether he'd made his bed this morning, and had he remembered to turn off the kettle that he didn't actually own, and surely the immortal wasn't saying Aziraphale had changed, just because of the Agreement. Surely Crowley hadn't influenced him. Surely....

Aziraphale pulled himself back to the conversation with a start as Methos went on, remarkably steady for his drunken state, "He's not always 'Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod,' for example."

"Well, yes, dear boy, really, he is."

Methos paused, hand ominously still around a pinion. "Not the way you mean, Aziraphale. The way I mean. That's always his name and his clan affiliation -- and why he won't use another name, I can't understand; it's not as if that would make him someone else entirely -- but sometimes he's the heroic sept chief, and sometimes he's Mackie-boy who goes bank- and jewel-robbing with Amanda--"

"And don't think he confessed half of that to Darius," Aziraphale muttered, shaking his head.

"Don't start. Cory's not bound below, and you and I both know it," Methos sidetracked with a snort. "If there was an ever an exemplar of 'Heaven doesn't want him and Hell's afraid he'll take over'-- "

"--it was you," Aziraphale finished inexorably. "No more speculation on ineffability, thank you, Methos. You're not divine; it just gives you headaches. And I'm not telling you where anyone is bound. It could interfere with free will."

"Fine, Aziraphale, I don't actually care; I can't find any fools to take the bets. But damn it, MacLeod's different people at different times for different reasons: the lover who dances with Amanda on the Eiffel Tower, and the bank robber, and the assassin for military intelligence -- yes, he thinks I don't know about that," Methos muttered, rolling his eyes. "As if I don't know what sorts of things he got up to in those innumerable wars of his...."

"Seven," Aziraphale said helpfully. "On four continents. Of course, that's leaving out the undeclared wars, the skirmishes, some brigandage, and several cattle raids."

"Cattle raids aren't wars," Methos sighed. "They're social events. Here, shift sides, I'll get the other wing." He took a long swig from the bottle while his hands were free. "And I'd say Connor was a bad influence on him, but really, I wish he'd been a worse one. How that man can be so smart and Duncan so dense...."

Aziraphale stretched his other wing out and said primly, "I'm sure I don't know."

"Oh, it's Crowley's fault," Methos said, comprehension sinking in. "Now that you don't mention it, I can see that. I'd send the devil flowers or wine, but he'd terrify the one and come to expect the others. Maybe I should, come to that." He started in on the feathers and admitted, "But I don't see why MacLeod can be different things at different times or for different people, but I can't. He doesn't know who I am? He's a child."

Crowley materialized in a quiver of shadows and a faint hint of Drakkar Noir# and glared at Aziraphale. "Did you have to give him my vodka, angel?"

"Well," Aziraphale said reasonably, "Methos was looking for you, you know, and it would be inhospitable not to help him get drunk when he needs it. He did such a good job for us back in those days, after all--"

"He was working for us, not you," Crowley spat, tongue forked and flickering with indignation. A very nice Moroccan leather ottoman materialized, however, and he crouched on it, leaning forward to keep the argument up.

Methos sighed when the devil settled into place. "A backless chair, meaning you want your wings preened, too. Take off the sunglasses, at least. It's a cave, Crowley. And I'm off both payrolls, you realize?"

"Well, yes," Aziraphale admitted, "but you never did collect your pay, so what's a bottle of vodka to that?"

"An ever-full bottle," Crowley pointed out, still angry, "that I had earmarked for someone else." Black wings erupted, feathers quivering with his annoyance, but he did drape a wingtip over Methos' legs; the immortal promptly scritched under the feathers, unstringing the devil's temper just a notch further.

Methos sighed, though, smoothing the last few white feathers down the inside of the wing. "Almost done with him, Crowley. And you never have answered me, Aziraphale."

"Well, really, Methos. He's not a child at all, you know. He's just confused. MacLeod will get over it." Aziraphale sat back, resisting the urge to purr. It just wasn't done when one was working. "You always did have a deft touch at that."

"Must be Duncan," Crowley said, snagging the vodka bottle back. It vanished in his hands, but he passed over a tall glass full of golden liquid instead. "Here. Some of the last of Darius' metheglyn. What's the overgrown hero done this time?"

"Listened to Cassandra over me. I've only saved his life a time or three, abandoned drying parchments, and bailed him out of jail, not to mention taken a couple heads for him. She, of course, seduced him at fourteen. Naturally he believed her explanation before asking me for one."

Crowley folded his sunglasses away so that Methos could see it when he rolled his eyes. "Oh, he's being human. Well, you're here talking to us, Methos, having refused to let either side pay you for work performed.... Which one of us were you thinking should explain the situation to Duncan MacLeod, then?"

Ever-full bottle of vodka or not, that was enough to sober Methos up. Almost. "Explain things to--" Methos tried to picture it. He contemplated the look Mac would give Aziraphale's clothes, manner, and attempts to find a decent cologne; managed to summon up the expression on Mac's face when Crowley got annoyed with him waving a blade around and either dispatched it elsewhere (sans map) or summoned a sword of his own (flames included, battery not needed); ... and fell onto the cave floor laughing helplessly and, soon enough, breathlessly.

Crowley studied him, then shook his head and turned to Aziraphale. "Next time, handle him yourself. Honestly, angel. You always forget to aim for his sense of the ridiculous." Crowley vanished again in a blaze of smug sparks that gravitated to Methos like metal filings to a magnet.

Aziraphale just sighed, murmuring to himself, "I did get him drunk for you first, old boy," and waved a hand in Methos' general direction. The soles of his boots thickened, the seams sealed themselves again, and the laces shifted to nice, thick leather instead of nearly frayed-through cloth. His coat changed to dry down instead of faintly damp Thinsulate, his sweater steamed itself dry with a bare whiff of sandalwood and cedar, and his jeans acquired a layer of flannel under the denim. His pack filled with dried fruit and dried meat and a small flask of good whisky securely sealed and packed under a leather-bound copy of Dante.

Only fair, truly. It really was quite kind of Methos to travel to Ararat to visit them; Aziraphale so rarely saw this old mountain anymore. The worshippers just weren't where they'd been.... "Have a safe trip back, Methos."

The angel disappeared in an appropriately subtle shimmer of gold and white, leaving behind a faint scent of apples and a slow decline in the comfortable warmth he'd imbued into the cave.

A couple minutes later, his jumper vanished, too.

Methos laughed even harder.


----------


# Brimstone was passé, Crowley felt, an attitude that was only reinforced by Aziraphale's insistence upon heaping rose petals around to cover the scent when Crowley showed up smelling of it. Drakkar Noir, however, had a cool name and was the sort of cologne a man like him might wear. Well. If he was a man. Besides which, the drifting scent of cologne confused onlookers about Crowley's exact relationship with Aziraphale, and left vague tricklings of homophobia behind, when it didn't leave people cheering Aziraphale on for being 'out and proud of it.' The nice part of that, of course, being the way the angel always ended up trying to figure out why forgetting his umbrella should be cause for congratulations.##

##Aziraphale would figure it out one day, Crowley knew, and the recriminations would fly, but really, it couldn't be any worse than the time Jean d'Arcy had turned his attempts at temptations into a workable battle plan.+

+ Crowley's foresight failed him there, but it couldn't be expected to cope with visions of Aziraphale kneeling before Crowley with a marriage license in his pocket, a ring in one hand, and an appointment booked at a registry that took same-sex couples. Some things not even foresight will look at.

++About the comment in the disclaimer. Look. If I made money off of fanfiction, this one in particular, but any of them in general, Aziraphale would be 'disappointed' at me (no, I do not mean 'with'; I meant 'at'); Crowley and Methos would want to know why I wasn't making more money off this, regardless of the sum involved; and I'd end up with a headache when they started arguing with each other. Believe me. I'm not making money off this. It isn't safe.





~~~finis~~~

Comments, Commentary, & Miscellanea:


Written with a mad sense of 'I'm writing what?' and periodic pauses to stop giggling. Beta'd by Devo, tarsh, Misha, and Raine, who fixed unnecessary phrases, promised me that yes, it was crack fic but I'd be okay, and didn't kill me for the footnotes. Thank goodness.

Aziraphale and Crowley are, of course, from Good Omens. Methos is grousing about events from "Prophecy," "Comes A Horseman," "Revelations 6:8," "To Be," and "Not To Be." Set in/on Mt. Ararat because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Other notes as needed; some footnotes may require batteries.