Title: Research Girl
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All copyrights remain firmly in the hands of their copyright holders. This, surprisingly enough, isn't me. Sorry.
Distribution: The normal people.
Author's Note: I know, bad me, starting another fic. But I was watching Highlander reruns last night and 2 of them had good old "Adam" in them. *grin*
"They say she's from California. . ."
". . they say she's a witch. . ."
". . .barely eighteen. . ."
Methos, known to his fellow Watchers only as Adam Pierson, glanced up from the book he had been skimming through. The common room of the great house that served as the Watchers' Headquarters was normally a quiet place to come and relax. Not today, however. Today it was abuzz with talk and gossip. Never before had he seen such dignified men act like nothing more than gossipy girls. He rolled his eyes.
There was no secret about the woman that would be joining them today. She was, as he had overheard, just barely eighteen; fresh in life and ready to take on the world.
Yet she was coming here.
It really was a mystery to him why she would want to spend her entire life devoted to the kind of secluded research that the Watchers Society offered. One of her mentors back home had been in the Slayer branch of the Society, but that was more physical and definitely more exciting than this branch. Not only that, she was pure research from what he understood. Not a field agent. Just like him. Someone that would sit inside with the books all day or, on rare ocaissions, leaving the house to procure more books and artifacts.
Whatever the case was, it would be nice to have someone around to talk to during the long days hunched over the books, constantly looking for, well, himself. She could be nothing but a breath of fresh air in this place.
The day was already well under way by the time rumor began to spread that she'd arrived. Methos calmly put aside his book, making a mental note on where he'd left off, before leveraging himself out of the chair. He put on his best curious-smile and meandered in the direction that everyone else had gone.
And that's when it hit him.
He stopped in the hallway, another Watcher running right into his back with a muttered oath; the insistant buzz of another Immortal's presence making itself known in his head. He gritted his teeth together. Had someone brought their assignment home again? That hadn't gone over well with the superiors at all last time.
More cautiously than before, he walked towards the front hall. An impromptu welcome had been drummed up, with drinks and some small finger foods circulating. Leaning against one of the walls, he slid his gaze around the room, quietly searching for both the Immortal that had triggered his senses, and the newest member of the Watcher organization.
When he finally laid eyes on one, however, he knew he had found them both in one person. She was surrounded by a small herd of his fellow Watchers, each one eager to make the aquaintance of a 'real witch'. And 'such a charming young lady'. Methos rolled his eyes. She was beautiful, that was true. Coppery red hair hung to her shoulders in straight locks of fire. She was pale, but not too much so; and petite was a word that worked well with her structure. Intense green eyes roamed the room as well, searching for him, though she didn't know it yet. She was trying to be polite to those greeting her, but was otherwise very nervous and startled.
'Perhaps I should make it easier on her, then,' he sighed, pushing off of the wall. He plastered his best mild-mannered researcher smile onto his face and slipped between two of his associates to stand at her left elbow.
"Ah, Willow! Here's the man I was just telling you about," Conroy beamed, turning the red head to face Methos. "Adam Pierson, Willow Rosenberg. She'll be assisting you with researching the Methos chronicles."
Methos flinched inwardly, his smile never faltering.
"It will be a delight to work with you, I'm sure."
She raised an eyebrow, the corner of her mouth twitching upwards in a wry grin as she realized what he was. She tilted her head in silent recognition of his Immortality. "I'm sure the same can be said for you."
Methos chuckled. "If you have time later we can meet and I'll show you my research?"
She nodded, licking her lips absently. "Soon, maybe? So many new people," she added in a stage whisper. "It's making me jittery!"
The small group around her laughed.
"Don't worry, my dear; I won't let any of the big bad Watchers hurt you." Conroy laughed, winking at her. "Rupert would have me skinned alive if something were to happen to you under my watch."
Methos racked his brain, trying to place the name of 'Rupert'. None of the current Watchers came to mind.
"Pft!" Willow snorted with a laugh. "Giles is just a teddy bear."
"That very well may be," Conroy agreed with a nod of his head. "However he is still the Watcher to have coached the longest living Slayer in history. I somehow doubt he, or she, would be pleased if you were to come to harm - physical or otherwise."
Methos watched her with open curiousity.
"Buffy's afraid of flying," she whispered conspiratorily to the older Watcher, earning herself a few more laughs from those still waiting for a moment of her time. "As long as you stay here, across the ocean, you're gonna be a-ok." She glanced around, fanning her face with her hand. "It's a little hot in here. Would it be possible to go walking outside? As long as no one would be offended or anything, I hate to skip out on my welcoming, but this is rather much all at once."
Conroy nodded, patting her shoulder in a fatherly manner. "Adam can walk with you and the two of you can discuss his research. I'll hold the others back." He added with a wink.
"Thanks," she grinned, latching onto Adam's arm. "Lead me to somewhere cooler?"
Methos chuckled. "As my lady wishes."
They took a side hall and then one of the rarely used back entrances out to the gardens. Mid-afternoon had already begun to cool the heat of the day, and a refreshing breeze blew over them both.
"I'm not here to fight," she sighed once they were suitably far from the house.
"Nor am I." He admitted with a shrug.
"Oh. Good." She smiled briefly. "Conroy knows about me. Giles, back home, told him. This place," she waved at the house. "Is their way of hiding me away and protecting me." She snorted. "It was either this. . or a convent. . .and I think this is the better option."
"You still need to know how to fight," Methos insisted. "You can't hide forever."
Her eyes, when they turned to him, were sad behind the laughter. "I know how to fight, thank you. Had a great teacher."
"He lives in Washington," she shrugged. "I doubt you'd know him."
Methos stopped in his tracks, looking at her with surprise. "Even if I didn't work for the Watchers and know about many, if not all of the Immortals currently walking this earth, I think I would know who taught you. Let me guess - McCleod?"
She blinked in surprise. "Wow. Is he famous or something?"
Methos snorted. "Famous for getting into trouble, is more like it."
The red head laughed. "That sounds like him. First time we met it was right after my first death. I'm sitting there in the morgue, wondering what the hell happened, and he walks right in. Throws me some clothes he 'borrowed' from one of the hospital lockers and tells me to hurry up. Next thing I know we're ducking down halls trying to hide from a security guard who is, surprise, missing the set of clothes she brought to work with her."
That brought a full-blown laugh from Methos. He stole a glance out of the corner of his eye at her, hair shimmering like liquid fire in the waning sunlight. She seemed innocent enough. As innocent as anyone in their position could be. In fact, he'd have to check with McCleod, but he was pretty sure she'd never taken her first head. That aura of wide-eyed excitement still clung to her; something she would lose once she had to kill for that first time. Once she became bogged down with someone else's memories in their Quickening.
He hoped it wouldn't happen for a long while.
"So - we're going to be working together?" She ventured quietly.
"Right. The Methos Chronicles. Have you heard of him?" He asked quickly. If McCleod had said something --
"Duncan mentioned once this legend. . the oldest living Immortal or something. . . Is that him?"
Methos nodded, exhaling softly. "He is supposedly at least five thousand years old. . .and we don't know who he is."
It was a lie. He knew who Methos was, of course. He -was- Methos. But to tell her that. . . Well, McCleod's student or not, he just wasn't ready to trust her that much. In time he would have to learn to because --
"If anyone can crack the secret, it's me," she laughed. "That's what I was known for back home. . .research girl is what they called me."
Methos fought to keep the smile on his face. Yes, he'd have to work on that trust quickly if that was the case. Starting with a call to McCleod to verify her story.
Because sooner or later she was going to figure out that the person they were researching --
Was the same Immortal she was doing the research -with-.
~*~End Part One~*~