Very Young

Disclaimer: Not mine! At least until I find my real-life version of a Ring of Wish! is not a D&D nerd

Author's Note: Yeah, so, the Highlander universe and Immortals especially have always fascinated me. And considering how old the Autobots and Decepticons are, I couldn't help but eventually come up with this little plot bunny. You need to have seen, or at least know a fair bit about, the last few seasons of Highlander to get the full impact of this. And apologies if it seems a little cut-off, it tried to grow, but I pruned it back, because otherwise it would never get finished. (See: Highlander/SG1 crossover - 759kb txt file and still growing)

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"So what's this big...holy flaming rat on a spit!" Methos spat the curse out in ancient Latin before he could stop himself. He couldn't help it - the giant robot now staring down at him curiously had startled him. Would startle anyone, actually.

"Doctor Greyson, meet Ratchet. Ratchet, meet Doctor Adam Greyson." Methos' guide, one Maggie Madsen, introduced with a smirk.

"Whowha?" Methos asked blankly, unable to tear his gaze away from the robot.

"Ratchet. The 'robot'. He's part of the big secret that you signed on to find out about." Miss Madsen answered easily. "You're lucky, actually - when the government decided they wanted one of our doctors to work with Ratchet to determine if there would be any detrimental effects of having his kind amoung us, they tried to assign a military doctor here first. Ratchet insisted on picking for himself, though, and you were one of two that he came up with after two weeks of studying bios. The other was deemed a potential security risk by the Pentagon, so you got the job."

"You're intelligent." Methos guessed, pointing to the robot, having absorbed bits and pieces of what Miss Madsen had said.

"I am." the robot replied. "And you are giving off some unusual energy readings."

"What?" Methos' eyes widened, then as the implications of what the robot had said sunk in, he instantly denied it, "No I'm not."

"Yes, you are." Ratchet insisted, reaching forward and picking Methos up.

"Whoa! Hey!" Methos protested immediately.

"Put him down, Ratchet!" Miss Madsen said sternly from the ground, but the sentient robot seemed to be ignoring her. Deffinately independant thought - no remote control.

"Hmm. Your cellular structure seems to be constantly regenerating itself with some form of organic energon." Ratchet mused, bringing Methos close to his face.

"Um." Methos stared at the robot, wide-eyed. Franticly, the thought crossed his mind that it was entirely unfair that he met a giant sentient robot only to have it figure out about Immortals in seconds.

"Does your body regenerate when injured, as well as when aging?" Ratchet asked curiously. "Replace lost limbs, perhaps? It doesn't seem that powerful, however...hm." Methos whimpered slightly, even his five thousand year old brain having problems coping, and the robot seemed to frown. "Are you alright?"

"Of course he's not alright, Ratchet. The poor man obviously has no idea what you're going on about. He was given a thorough medical exam before he was allowed in here, and nothing out of the ordinary showed up. Plus he hardly knows anything about you, and you just picked him up!" Miss Madsen piped up angrily from the ground, and Ratchet seemed startled, glancing down at her, then gave Methos an apologetic look.

"I'm sorry, you just surprised me. I've never seen such a phenomena in a human before." the robot said somewhat sheepishly.

"Feeling's mutual." Methos finally managed to choke out as the robot gently set him down. "Only, not with the human...part..." he trailed off as he slowly clamped down on his voice, aware he was close to a panic-ramble, something he hadn't done since...well, since the last time he found himself facing an Immortal older than himself.

"Are you OK?" Miss Madsen asked him, and Methos forced himself to look away from Ratchet, focusing on her worried face.

"Yeah, I'm...fine. Just a little startled." Methos said carefully.

"Understandable. The Autobots are a little startling normally - and that's when they don't randomly pick you up and start asking strange questions." Miss Madsen said apologeticly.

"Um...yes." Methos said, glancing up at the robot, which was still regarding him curiously, before focusing on Miss Madsen again. "Ah, Autobots?" Miss Madsen nodded, then launched into an explanation of who and what the Autobots were, and about their enemies, the Decepticons, and what they were doing on earth. Then she further explained how Methos had been selected by the American government and Ratchet to work with the giant robot on figuring out whether there would be any problems with their kind staying on earth, around humans.

"How did I rate?" Methos asked slightly wonderingly, then suddenly straightened, looking up at Ratchet. "Wait, how long has your war been going on?!"

"Millions of years." Ratchet replied with a shrug, then sighed. "Long enough for the Golden Age to fade, and it's last remnants destroyed." the robot looked...wistful.

"You were...around for the start of the war?" Methos asked cautiously, and Ratchet nodded.

"Most of us were. Bumblebee is the only one we know of that was brought online during the war and survived." the robot said, then looked curiously at Methos. "Why do you ask?" Methos just stared at him. The sudden urge to panic-ramble was returning as he realized that not only was the robot in front of him actually older that him, the world's oldest Immortal, but he and his fellows had several digits on Methos. Then, slowly, a wide grin spread across Methos' face as the recently very unfamiliar, but not unknown, feeling of being very, very young swept over him.

"Hey, earth to Doctor Greyson!" Miss Madsen's voice brought Methos back to the present, and he turned to her, still grinning. "You know, this is not how this usually goes. I'm beginning to think there's something wrong with you."

"No, nothing wrong." Methos said, still grinning like mad. "I'm just feeling very young."

"Yeah, it won't last long once you see them squabbling." Miss Madsen said with a roll of her eyes. "The act like children, sometimes." Ratchet made an offended-sounding noise. "Oh don't give me that! You know you guys do, and from the stories I've heard you tell about certain other Autobots, it's not just being on this planet."

"What good is living forever if you can't have fun?" Miss Madsen looked surprised at Methos' comment, and she stared at him for a moment.

"That's what they use for an excuse." she said flatly.

"Excuse? It's a perfectly legitimate reason." Methos said sollemnly.

"And what would you know?" Miss Madsen asked crossly, and Methos caught himself before answering, suddenly realizing that he was saying too much.

"Ah - nothing. It's just, I would think -" Methos' stumbling was interupted by Ratchet.

"Just how old are you, Doctor Greyson? With that regenerating ability, I'm finding it impossible to determine your age, save through physical appearance, and from your insightful comments, I doubt that's correct." the robot asked, and while he sounded mainly curious, there was an edge to his voice that suggested he would get an answer, no matter what it took. Methos looked up at him, the feeling of being a young Immortal under the wing of an older one that was scolding him for doing something wrong hitting him full force. He hadn't felt like this in over four thousand years. Still, he contemplated lying, especially as Miss Madsen began ranting to Ratchet about how there was nothing odd about 'Doctor Greyson', and would he please stop asking the doctor weird questions.

"Over five thousand years." Methos finally replied truthfully, decided, and Miss Madsen fell silent beside him, staring at him in surprise. Methos grinned up at Ratchet. "And I'm feeling very young for the first time in several millenia. It's a nice feeling." Ratchet snorted.

"Isn't it? That was half the reason I followed Optimus when he asked - I'm one of the older 'bots around, and all the younger ones were always making me feel so old, looking up to me and asking for advise and what-not. But Optimus is older than I, and so is Ironhide, who had already decided to go with him, so even though the youngest of all the 'bots was coming, as well, I figured it would be good for my sanity to be around bots that made me feel young every once and awhile." the robot - no, mech, according to Miss Madsen's explanation - replied.

"Yeah, I can see why." Methos said with a nod. "The last of my kind within a millenia of my age died over a decade ago. I've been feeling a bit old since then."

"What?" Miss Madsen blurted out, it being her turn to be surprised. Ratchet frowned at her, then at Methos in confusion.

"Those of us with regenerating capabilities aren't exactly common, and we've been around since before humanity was, ah, as enlightened as they are now. It would have been dangerous for us to expose ourselves in the past, and most are convinced it would be even more dangerous to do so now." Methos explained delicately. "Plus there's this crazy idea that someone started awhile ago that all of my kind are destined to fight to the death until only one remains, and that one will recieve a prize...though no one seems to be able to determine what that prize will be." Ratchet gave him an odd look.

"That is...odd." he said after a moment.

"I know, isn't it?" Methos asked with a sigh. "I tried to stop it once - so have several others - but all it takes is one blood-lusting idiot to make everyone pick up their swords again, 'for defence', and then before you know it, the killing is on again." Ratchet didn't seem to know what to say to that. "Many of us experienced the dark ages. What do you expect? Besides. You've been fighting a civil war for millions of years."

"True. Our war does have a point, though." Ratchet tried tentatively.

"So instead of it being every mech for themselves, you've taken sides because a bunch of you agreed on the prize at the end of your battles." Methos said with a shrug. Ratchet seemed ready to reply, then shook his head.

"I suppose it is not all that different." he said musingly.

"Only on the surface." Methos replied with a shrug.

"Excuse me, could I get an explanation?" Miss Madsen chose that moment to interupt, and Methos turned to her, startled, having forgotten for a moment that she was there. Then, slowly, it sunk in what he'd just done.

"Crap." he said. The government were the last people that should know about a group of Immortal people going about killing each other in perfect secrecy, breaking laws every which way to do so. "Heh, uh, Ratchet, buddy, I may need your help." Methos said nervously, eyeing the frowning Miss Madsen. "A lot of your help, actually."

- END -