Series Title: Take the Peanut from My Hand …

Written for: idontlikegravy for the hlhshortcuts on Live Journal

Beta: Huge gratitude to my beta amandr

Fandoms:Highlander

Characters: Richie Ryan, Methos, a little Joe Dawson, and mentions of Duncan MacLeod

Spoilers: Present day. "Archangel" never happened.

Chapter Summary:Methos offers advice to Richie based on his 5,000 years of Immortality.


Chapter 1: Grasshopper

Richie sat next to Methos, finishing his beer. He watched as Methos exchanged silent signals with a pretty blonde at the opposite end of the bar. Richie wasn't much in the mood for flirting these days but his companion seemed to be on a roll.

In response to Richie's signal, Joe came by with a fresh beer and moved on to serve others without saying a word.

Truth was, Richie was bored. Even though he'd turned 33 last month, he still looked 19. Everything was the same: work, eat, sleep and an occasional drink at Joe's. No different than if he was mortal, except there would be no retirement at 65. If he were lucky, he'd never retire.

Richie snorted. "Lucky, right," he mumbled as he picked at the label of his beer.

"You say something?" Methos asked, turning to give Richie his attention.

He looked over at Methos and realized he'd spoken aloud. "I was just wondering how you do it."

"I'm incredibly charming and the woman just flock to me." Methos quipped as he sent another smile toward the blonde at the bar.

"I'm sure you believe that."

"Well the truth is the truth," Methos stated simply and gestured for the peanuts sitting in front of Richie.

Richie slid the snack bowl toward Methos. "No old man, I mean how do you not die of boredom?"

"The operative word there being 'die'. Not something I intend to do." He saluted Richie with his drink and took a swig.

Richie knew that Methos was just being his witty, evasive self. But the future just looked like one big dull march toward nothing and he needed to understand what drove Methos to keep going after 5,000 years. "But why not die? Haven't you lived long enough?"

Methos responded with mock seriousness, "Excuse me? You're not actually challenging me are you?"

"What?! No…Methos... I'm just bored… and…," Richie sputtered into silence.

Methos chuckled and clapped him on the back. "You're too young to be having a mid-life crisis, my friend. By the time I was your age-"

"I know, you'd conquered half the known world," Richie finished before returning to the important task of peeling the label from his beer. "Not exactly an option these days."

Methos smiled, "You work with what you're given. And I'm not suggesting you over throw a small government. Though," he paused thoughtfully," if you do, can you start with France because I owe them about seventy thousand euros."

Richie stared at Methos in the mirror over the bar. In the reflection, Methos' face seemed older; less the callow youth he tried to portray to everyone. "Back taxes?"

Methos dug through the peanut bowl. "Apparently, they consider their library books government property."

Richie pulled the bowl from him and fished a pretzel from the bottom. "You could just return them."

"Oh no. First I'd have to remember where they were." Methos shrugged. "And then I'd have to actually care." He reached for the peanuts again. "Easier if you just conquer the country and then give me amnesty."

"World domination's not really my style," Richie quipped.

"Not really mine anymore either," Methos agreed. "So we're agreed, conquering the world as way to alleviate boredom is not an option." Methos paused to sip his drink.

"That's it, that's the best you can do, old man?"

Methos gave him a grumpy stare, "So impatient. That's your problem. I was about to suggest that you stop following Mac around like a trained puppy."

Richie glared at him, "I am not Mac's errand boy."

At that moment, Joe walked by and handed Richie a piece of paper. "I almost forgot, Mac asked me to give this to you when you stopped in."

"Thanks, Joe." Richie unfolded the note and groaned. It was a list of supplies Mac needed him to pick up for the dojo. He cast an accusatory glance at Methos, "You planned this, right?"

Methos grabbed the paper from Richie and burst out laughing as he read it, "Nope, you're not his errand boy at all."

"Is it that obvious?" Richie asked as he snagged the shopping list back from Methos and slipped it into his pocket.

Methos calmed his chuckling. "Look, I love Mac as much as anybody but he tends toward the boring, and you spend too much time around him. He's settled in to a comfortable Immortal middle-age routine. Which is fine if you're four hundred years old; but you're still in your first century."

"I don't spend too much time with him and how can you say Mac's boring?" Richie insisted, but the crumpled paper in his pocket told a different story.

Methos sat there smirking at him. "Okay, maybe a little boring," Richie admitted, returning Methos' smirk.

"You go where he goes, you do what he does. Hell, you work with the man everyday. It's time to make your own way in this world, little grasshopper." Methos held out the flat of his palm. "Snatch the peanut from my hand."

Richie stopped himself from instinctively reaching for the peanut. "Very funny." He turned back to his untouched beer. "You're a wealth of fortune cookie wisdom."

"Don't knock fortune cookies. They're delicious." He said as he plopped the peanut into his mouth and signaled to Joe for another scotch.

"Well that's helpful. I'll just file that away for when I go to China." Richie was getting frustrated. This conversation was not providing the insight he'd hoped for.

Joe walked up with a fresh drink for Methos and a concerned expression for Richie as he eyed the tatters of the beer label strewn across the bar. "You okay, kid?"

Richie was about to remind Joe that he wasn't a kid when Methos spoke-up, "I got this, Joe."

Joe waited a beat and then nodded. He walked away, giving them their privacy.

Richie picked up the thread of their conversation. "I've been on my own before you know," he reminded Methos.

"Ah yes. The year of the famous killing spree."

"Hey, Mac tried to kill me first, and I'm not proud of the things that happened that year." He took a swig of the warm beer and grimaced. He didn't like remembering that time when he'd felt so alone and out of control.

Methos dismissed Richie's guilt with a wave of his hand, "I doubt that. You'd be dead if you hadn't played The Game. But you were running without a plan and you came back too soon."

"I had to make things right with Mac," Richie insisted softly. He could feel Methos staring at him as he played with the torn pieces of the label; arranging them and rearranging them into a square. That year had been fueled by fear and anger. Ultimately, it had been a necessary rite of passage into the realities of the Game. But the one thing it had never been was boring.

Methos swept the tiny papers out of his reach. "You are making excuses. Do you want my advice or not?" He demanded, forcing Richie to meet his gaze.

Shrugging he admitted, "You make some good points -"

"Was there ever any doubt?"

Richie scowled at him. "Yes, of course. Methos knows best."

"See you can learn. So here's my advice. Go to college or go climb a mountain or go to China, but just go and do. Come back in a few decades. I guarantee I'll still be around." He paused. "But maybe not in France."

"I'm sure you will be," he laughed. It pained him to admit it, but Methos was right. There were a lot of options in this world for an Immortal, but not if he stayed here living the same day over and over. "You know I've always wanted to go to college. It could be a lot of fun."

Methos nodded, "A good place to start. I went to college a few times. It can be a very stimulating experience." Methos stopped and eyed Richie suspiciously, "Of course you'd be going for the academics and not the co-eds, right?"

"No, I'd be going for the co-eds."

Methos patted his shoulder sagely. "You're learning already, little grasshopper."