Joe's Bar was Richie's special place. It had come to mean home for him since all the trouble in his life. It was a place devoid of memories of Tessa... not that Richie ever wanted to forget that great and giving lady, but every place that he had gone with Tessa held her ghost. Tessa had never seen Joe's. She was dead before Joe gave himself the present of booze and jazz that the bar entailed. Joe's was also the place where Richie and Mac were on somewhat equal terms, no struggle between Mac-Daddy and Mac-Friend. And most importantly Joe's had Joe. Wise, funny, never frightening Joe who cared about Richie more than he was supposed to. So coming into Joe's bar and finding that his way was barred REALLY pissed Richie off. Like that was supposed to happen.
The bouncer was an immortal Richie didn't know, a tall, slim, but fit immortal with sandy blond hair and green eyes.
"It's a private party," the man said.
"I'm a friend of the owner," Richie said.
The man simply stared at Richie with the coldest eyes that Richie had ever seen. "It's a private party," the man repeated.
At this point, bad news approached.
"What's up, Johnny?" a cheery voice asked.
"Kid trying to crash the party," the man said.
"Let me..." the happy voice said. Then, "Richie! Richie Ryan! You did get my invitation then!"
No way in hell! Richie looked at the widely smiling face of Cory Raines. Raines had been drinking; his face was high in color and that grin could have stretched around the room twice. Before Richie could do the sensible thing and run like hell, his arm was caught by Cory and he was dragged into the room.
"Richie!" Amanda squealed. "I knew you wouldn't let a few mishaps stand in the way of fun. See, Cory, I told you that Richie was a good sport."
Amanda was wearing something unusual even for her flamboyant tastes, a green jerkin with green tights. She had on a perky little hat with a feather wedged into the brim. Richie wondered if this was a masquerade, which would explain why the man at the door was wearing a western hat, a rough woolen coat that looked like it came from a movie set, and six guns. Before Richie could say a word, Cory swept him into his arms and bent him back, giving him a long through kiss that, despite every objection that Richie had, made heat surge from Richie's lips down his middle and straight to his cock. Oh shit! Oh God. Don't stop!
"I am so glad that you came," Cory said.
The guy in the cowboy outfit looked even more green-eyed. He said, "This party was for your birthday, Cory. All your friends and lovers."
Now Richie saw Mac sitting at the bar, somehow trying to look very small and not saying a word. That was one thing Richie could say about the immortal Cory Raines; he flustered MacLeod and seemed to puncture Mac's 'I'm always in control' attitude.
"As if there was a difference," muttered Methos, who leaned back against the bar with his usual coolly amused look.
Slowly Methos' words sank in. "As if there was a difference" and what had the guy in the cowboy suit said? "All your friends and lovers." Mac? Richie spared a sharp look at his mentor, who was staring fixedly at a stain in the ceiling. And Joe was blushing. Methos rolled his eyes when Richie glanced his way.
The old man took another drink of beer and said, "Grow up, kid."
"Cory, what's the idea with this infant?" the cowboy said.
"He has... potential," Cory remarked, licking his lips.
"For what?" the cowboy said.
"Oh, do be nice, Johnny," Cory said. "It's my birthday and I want all my friends to enjoy themselves."
"Richie, you may find this interesting," Cory said, as his nimble fingers untied the scarf that was wound around the cowboy's neck. Pulling the bandana loose, Cory smiled seductively at the man. "Have you met my student, Johnny Ringo?"
"I thought you didn't have students?" Richie said.
"Oh, well, there are always exceptions to every rule," Cory said. "Have a drink, Richie, you have catching up to do. Johnny, my love, this is my dear young friend, Richie Ryan. Be nice to him and I'll be so nice to you."
Now Cory was running a finger teasingly down the cowboy's face, preening his mustache. The man went from tough to melted butter in a few second. The name was familiar from some place. History lessons? No, movies! Richie remembered where he had heard that name before, Johnny Ringo, gunfighter, friend of Ike Clanton, and enemy of the Earp brothers. Richie looked at the man with increased interest.
"Come on, Richie, sit down with us," Cory inveigled. He sat in a chair, his jean clad legs sprawled wide and his big white shirt open to his clavicle bones.
The door looked like a safer bet, but Johnny Ringo? Despite the number of immortals, the number of roles each had to play because of the limitations of how much makeup could help to mimic the effects of age, there still weren't that many famous immortals. It didn't make good sense to attract attention to yourself once you were immortal and the odds were against the relatively few immortals winning prominence before the first death...
And oh yeah, about that...
"How the hell do you know your birthday?" Richie said. "We don't have birthdays!"
Richie knew they didn't have birthdays. Mac had stopped celebrating Richie's birthday after the first death. Not that he had ever instituted the idea, Tessa had. Among the other things, Richie lost when he woke as an immortal was the date written on his birth certificate as well as any hope of every filling in the 'unknown mother, unknown father' on his file.
With an elegant and airy wave of his hand, Cory said, "You can celebrate any day you choose, Richie. Besides this is the celebration of my birth as an immortal. Matthew, over there, was my midwife."
Matthew McCormick...immortal agent of the law. Richie didn't like him at all. He had met him once at Mac's and that was more than enough.
"I hung him by his neck," McCormick said. "And then I tried to do the right thing and teach the lad to make an honest living. I think back in horror."
"Oh, posh, Matthew," Amanda said, plunking herself in Cory's lap while Johnny Ringo put his hands on Cory's shoulder as if he thinking of putting a brand on him. "You know you had fun."
"Sinful fun" McCormick grumbled, but his eyes went to Cory the way Richie's eyes went to Amanda sometimes. Longing for the not quite forbidden fruit...
Since his thoughts were leading him to areas where Richie Ryan did not want to go, Richie sat down, accepted the drink that Joe brought him and said, "You were really Johnny Ringo?"
"The same," the man said. He leaned further into Cory.
"So, I mean, I read about it and all," Richie said. It had been one of Tessa's attempts to refine him after they attended one of the several recent movies about Wyatt Earp. She had assigned Richie to research as many real facts about any of the characters as he could. He had chosen Johnny Ringo to spite her, a villain instead of a hero. "Um, they said your body was black when they found it."
"Wasn't mine," Johnny said, nuzzling Cory's ear. "Cory found a guy who looked a bit like me. After the sun was at it, it was good enough."
"Oh," Richie said. "Did you know Wyatt Earp claimed to have killed you?"
"Earp? Over-rated jerk," Ringo said. "Nah, it was Holliday. At least, he was the real thing. I would have rolled over in my grave if I had one if it was Earp who shot me."
"Cory found you?" Richie said. Like be obvious.
"Yeah, Cory," Ringo said. "Damn, I woke up to the kiss of life. Or something like that."
"I thought you could use something sweet after that abrupt departure from this mortal coil," Cory said, reaching up to capture Ringo's hand.
"That was right," Ringo said. "I was not a happy man. Nothing had ever gone right. I never fit in my family...know why now. Only thing I was ever good at was drawing my gun."
"A criminal," McCormick said in disgust. "Of course, Cory Raines would find you."
"I was a constable myself at one point," Ringo shot back at McCormick.
"We live long enough to see both sides of the law," Methos reminded the room.
"If we're lucky," Mac said, his Scottish brogue doleful. He tossed back a shot as if it was water.
Richie winced and hoped that if Mac did get drunk, it would be a happy drunk. Mac on a mean drunk was bad news. Sighing, Amanda wiggled off Cory's lap to go tease Mac back into a good mood.
"Can I see you shoot?" Richie asked, not quite understand why that set Cory into peals of laughter.
Ringo smirked and said, "We've only just met, Richie. Maybe later."
Oh. Oh, again.
Richie decided to ignore the innuendo and took another drink. Cory put his hand on Richie's leg. Richie moved it off. Two drinks later and Richie didn't move the hand away. Mac always said that you should try everything once.
Hours later, Richie climbed off the floor to find himself almost alone in the bar. Mac was sleeping on top of the bar, covered up...sort of, by his kilt. Joe was half heartedly cleaning up and that was it. There were a vast pile of wrappings on the table, but no presents left. On top the other wrappings was a stack of clothing, all western in nature. A cowboy hat jauntily sat on top.
"Where did Cory go?" Richie asked.
"Off with Ringo," Joe said. "Ringo forgot to shop so he gave Cory the only thing he had with him."
Richie tried on the hat. It fit well. He admired himself in the mirror and announced, "Next year, I'm having a birthday party."
"I'll send invitations," Joe replied.
Richie smiled and picked up a broom.
Lucky Johnny Ringo...
Clever Johnny Ringo.
Richie hoped that Cory would steal the idea for Richie's birthday party.
Finding an intact glass of beer, Richie tossed it down. "To the thief of hearts. May he have a hundred more birthdays!"
"Salud," Joe said. "Slainte mhath."
And that was all she wrote.
Happy Birthday, Tarlan
Summary: Cory Raines has a birthday party and invites all his friends and lovers, which may be one in the same thing. Johnny Ringo is on the list.
Categories: Highlander:5x07 - Money No Object
Characters: Cory Raines, Richie Ryan