Title: Of books and children

Characters: Methos

Rating: PG

Archive: Just ask

A/n: Inspired a conversation with Ryenna. Please whack me with a Silas axe if you find any mistakes.

Summary: Sometime after the debacle with the Horsemen and Duncan, Methos finds himself in a Library in Greece. His plans to read in peace are disturbed by his own thoughts and another library patron.

Books always had the power to calm him and Methos needed that calm today. He'd escaped to Greece to find peace, to get away from the world's oldest Boy Scout. What had chased him into the library, he couldn't say. Other than the lure book always held for him.

The only sounds in the library were the rain hitting the roof, and the hushed voices foot steps of the few others in the library. There was row after row of books, the air musty and thick with the smell of old books.

Methos had found himself an out of the way corner in the cathedral, to peruse through a book he had donated almost a century before. It had been a church once; Methos remember the cathedral newly built. Turning the page of the old dairy he held delicately, he studied the words without really looking at them. Christianity had been the new up and coming religion back then.

He smiled slightly, he giving the religion a hundred years at best. It was on the few bets he had lost to Kronos, he still thought he was simply a lucky guess. Methos smiled faded at the thought of his dead brother. In the background a librarian, shoes made muffled foot falls as she pushed along her cart, returning books to their proper homes. The Greek letters in front of his eyes, held no meaning for a moment.

Kronos never understood his love of books and learning.  This was something he could never share with his brothers. Something he couldn't share with Mac either. Shaking his head, Methos looked up at the titled ceiling. If he came back in another hundred years, would the title still be there?

Shifting in his chair, he felt the cool wood through a hole in his sweater. Probably the same hole he had mended last month had worked lose again. Back in his closet sat three new sweaters that Duncan had brought him but he still wore this one. 

A chair scraped softly against the stone floor making Methos look up. A young girl, maybe ten or eleven, sat down at the table. She sat on one of her legs placing her books down by a pad of paper.  Methos grimaced slightly as he looked at the leather bound volumes of the Iliad and a few on Greek myths; childern today had no respect for books of that age.

Methos looked back down to his book, trying to ignore the scraping of pencil to paper.  Children were in his experienced noisy and bothersome. Modern children were worse it seemed from what he seen of them at dinners with fellow researchers. Parents spoiled their children allowing them to do whatever they liked. If there had ever been a time where he mourned the lose of ever being able to have his own, he couldn't remember it.

When he rode as Death, children were nothing more that a tool to be used then disposed off. Silas never liked that part, but Silas had a soft spot for children. Once when he'd become overly attached to one little girl, Kronos had her killed to teach Silas a lesson.

 As he watched her careful turn the pages to the book, he felt her potential. It was barley noticeable, and a younger immortal probably wouldn't feel it at all.  He hadn't been around to many pre-immortal children, so perhaps there was something different about them.  Head bowed over her book, she was quite and serious. Her face a mask of consecration he'd expect to see on a college student, not a young child. Had Richie seemed this strange to Duncan when he had taken the boy in?

Mentally he cursed himself; he was not supposed to think about MacLeod today. He was supposed to lose himself in the sweet seduction of the written word. Shifting in his chair, he started to read again.

There was almost something calming about the sound of writing in the background. A half-forgotten memory of long years spent in study. Methos became lost in the words of his book again, the sound becoming almost like an old forgotten friend. It was not until almost a half hour later that he realizes the soft sound of writing had changed to the tap of a pencil.

When the change registered, he tried to ignore it. Methos shifted in his chair, trying to listen to the rain. Methos tried to listen to anything but the tap-tap of her pencil. Did the girl have no clue how aggravating that was to hear? His annoyance with children came back in a rush, as he lifted to head to hush the annoying girl.

Looking up he saw the girl puzzling over the volume of Odysseus in front of her. Out of the corner of his eyes, he watched her brow furrow and her nose wrinkle. For a moment, she reminded him of Alexa when she had not understood something. Alexa had loved childern.

"You look puzzled," He finally said to the girl.

Her head came up in surprise as if she had forgotten he was there. "I didn't mean to bother you." She told him apologetically, her voice low and hushed.

Methos smiled a bit, she sounded more like a student at a university.  "You aren't." He assured her. "I just couldn't help but notice you seem stumped over something."

"It Athena," She said after a moment. "I don't understand her." Her brow furrowed again, as she taped her nose with the pencil. The librarian's cart squeaked by barley noticed.

Methos considered just leaving it at that. In another row, someone coughed. "What don't you understand about her?" He missed talking with people about myths and history since he left the watchers. Perhaps more than he had known to be so taken in by her puzzlement.

The girl gestured to the book, and then tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear. "If she wants to help Odysseus, why doesn't she just send him straight home? She's a Goddess; she can do anything can't she?" 

Methos wondered if he had ever wondered that in his life. Maybe he had, when he still believed in gods and monsters. "Perhaps she wanted Odysseus to learn something through his trials. Or perhaps Zeus forbad her to help him to that extent." Methos offered, watching her eyes light up a bit.

She looked back down at her notes. "So it wouldn't be as simple as doing whatever she wanted with her power. She had her own rule and the rules set down by Zeus to follow. I didn't think of it like that. She couldn't break the rules without being punished by her father. That I understand."

Methos shook his head. "That's why this text is normal held to give students until their junior year in high school." He told her, watching as she scribed some notes in a wide wavy cursive. He wondered if hundred years from now he'd be discussing history with this same girl. He almost looked forward to it.

"I'm going to the Pantheon with my mum and da tomorrow. Since its Athena's temple I wanted to know about her." The girl told him honestly, barley looking up from her notebook. "History is more interesting than things that happen now. The stories are tons better than anything on TV. Wouldn't it have been cool to live back then? When there were gods and monster walking around with humans?"

Methos had to fight to laugh at that statement and the innocence behind it. From the main isle, the found of footsteps quick and gaining echoed a bit through the library. A moment later, a black hair man clad in business suit and wire rims appeared.

"There you are, Nicole." The man said, as he saw the girl. "I thought I said for you to meet me outside at four."

Nicole gathered up her notebook and pencils, and then looked up at her father. "Sorry da, I lost tract of time. I was learning about Athena." She told him, nodding a Methos.

"I hope my daughter wasn't bothering you." The man said looking over at Methos with a combination of fatherly suspicion and apology. Nicole chair strapped against the floor as she got up.

Methos shook his head. "No she wasn't a bother at all. You have a very bright daughter." He looked at Nicole, wondering if the next time he saw this knowledge hungry youngster would be on the other side of a sword.

"Bye!" Nicole chirped, waving with her free hand before she took her father's hand.

Methos found himself waving back, as he watched the pre-immortal leave. With a bemused smile, he sat back down, and re-opened his book. After a moment, he put down the diary and picked up the copy of the Odyssey that Nicole had left out. Opening the leather volume, he started reading with new eyes.