TITLE: Getting to know you
AUTHOR: Hilton K
SERIES: Set in the same 'verse as "Curiosity Killed the Cat". Probably best to read that first, as it sets the scene.
SUMMARY: Methos gets involved in far more than he planned for.
DISCLAIMER: Highlander and Stargate SG1 - They're not mine I'm just having fun.
EXCUSES: Better call this AU. Anything I've watched is fair game,
history and canon subject to change :0) I have a short attention span so this is my little universe with a number of short stories: plot holes and inconsistencies to be expected!
Thanks to RevDorothyL for the beta. All remaining errors and typos are mine all mine.
Methos stretched languidly in the chair. He caught the General's disapproving glare from the corner of his eye and grinned inwardly. His gaze travelled around the others at the briefing table.
Samantha Carter with her agile mind intrigued him and had proven a good source for baiting to amuse himself. Next to her was his old friend Daniel Jackson-- smart, kind and terminally curious. From what he'd heard the young archaeologist had died nearly as many times as himself in the last few years. Then there was Teal'c, the stoic alien, both an honourable and formidable warrior. Finally, Jack O'Neill, grizzled and gifted commander, with a wit nearly to match his own. The Colonel was currently giving him a look that expressed displeasure with just a hint of jealousy at his irreverent attitude. Someone should tell him that competition is best nurtured in order to allow oneself to grow.
He snorted to himself at that little pearl of wisdom which, even if voiced, would most likely go unappreciated. Unfortunately it caused Daniel to elbow him in the side, displacing him from his comfortable sprawl.
Shooting the young man a dirty look, he shifted position and plastered an attentive expression on his face. Ignoring Major Carter's sigh, he waited for O'Neill to finish his report.
"Mr. Pierson, do you have anything further to add?" Methos regarded General Hammond for a moment. He hadn't had a chance to properly assess the man's character. From what he'd heard he was a staunch commander who looked out for his people, but who would he best respond to - Adam, Methos, or a little of both? In the end he decided to start out with professional and see where it led.
"As I understand it, General, you were hoping that the walls of the temple would provide you with intelligence regarding the factions of these aliens who currently dominate our galaxy." He paused mulling over the implication of what he'd just said. It was incredible. "Sorry, that just sounded . . .," He didn't need to finish and acknowledged the sympathetic nods from round the table.
"Right, so, from what we we've been able to translate so far, it's written like a fable. Extracting the data you require isn't going to be simple. I can translate it into a written form as it was derived from my shorthand. I can only assume one of my apprentices must have been captured in the raid and became the scribe on the new planet." He found himself wondering who it could have been before mentally shaking himself. "My point being that not only is it using an abbreviated and cryptic script, it reads like fiction, so the degree of accuracy is going to be unknown." The General nodded.
"I understand that, son." Jack bit back a bark of laughter at Hammond's words. "We appreciate whatever you can do for us. I realise that you've put yourself at some risk in coming here." The General's expression became more serious. "However, despite your outburst in our infirmary earlier, if you're going to be on this base and possibly going on missions through the stargate there are rules that will be followed." Methos sat back and crossed his arms defensively.
"The medical check-ups are compulsory. There are a lot of dangerous things out there, and even if you do consider yourself immune, the rest of us aren't. That includes scans to ensure you have not been taken as a host by the Goa'uld. The second thing concerns your swords. I understand you consider them essential to your survival, and from what you've told us they're a necessity, but I have the safety of everyone on this base to consider. Therefore while you are on this base your swords are to remain either in the armoury or secure in your quarters unless you are going on a mission."
Methos sat silently, his gaze not dropping from the General's. He had to grudgingly admit that the reasoning was sound even if he didn't like the situation he would be put in. His only hope was compromise. He knew he could, and possibly should, just walk away, but the whole situation with the stargate appealed to him, both mind and soul. There were so many possibilities, so many new things to be learned.
"As I understand it, at present the only people aware of immortals are those of us in this room, am I correct?"
"At this time that is indeed that case, although I am going to have to brief the President at the very least," Hammond answered. Methos sighed; it was to be expected he supposed.
"Understood. However, may I ask that you amend your report slightly?"
"In what way?"
"I'm asking that you don't include the fact that there are others like me and, preferably, not that there is a method of killing me. In exchange I'll agree to your medical exams and some minor testing of my healing abilities, on the condition that it is all done solely by one of your most trusted personnel and that person reports only to you. And finally, I'd like your permission to carry at least a knife with me while I'm on base," Methos finished.
General Hammond looked at him thoughtfully before replying. "I'll take your requests into consideration, Mr. Pierson, and will contact you with my final decision shortly. Dismissed."
Methos was left sitting in his chair as the others stood to attention and then made to leave the room.
"Are you coming, Adam?" Daniel waited expectantly at the foot of the table.
"I'd forgotten how menial the military makes you feel." Methos rose and joined him. "So, what wonders are you going to show me next?"
"And this from the 3500-year old man."
Methos rolled his eyes.
"I can tell I'm really going to regret letting that slip to you." He saw his salvation slipping out of sight down the stairs. "Colonel!"
Jack was surprised when the new guy shouted down to him but the unholy gleam of curiosity shining from Daniel's eyes gave him all the answers he needed.
"Well, Mr. Pierson, what can I do for you?" Jack couldn't hold back a grin as the other man mouthed, 'save me.'
"Call me Adam." Methos fell into step with the Colonel.
"Is that your real name?" Daniel piped up from beside him.
"It is for this lifetime, Daniel." Methos kept his answer short, hoping to discourage further questions.
"Yes, but do you have a name that you carry throughout the generations, something that identifies you to others like you?" Methos frowned; this was getting a little too close to matters he'd like kept permanently secret.
"Daniel, have you ever spent time with any Native American tribes?" Daniel was brought up short with the sudden question.
"A little, I'm aware of some of their traditions and customs." Methos relaxed a little; at least now he had something to work with.
"Some believe that names hold power and as such their true names are kept secret from all but those closest to them. My name has the power to harm me." Daniel nodded in understanding, but Methos could see the flash of hurt in his face at not being trusted.
"Cool. You have a secret name. Can I get one too?" Methos frowned as Jack mocked them.
"I'm afraid it's only bestowed once the individual has reached maturity." Daniel tried and failed to hold back his laughter as Adam swept regally away.
As he turned into the corridor he caught a glimpse of Teal'c's back as the Jaffa disappeared around the corner. Again he found himself in an undignified haste but he didn't want to lose the alien warrior in the warren of tunnels.
He caught up to him at the elevator.
"Teal'c." He bowed his head to the warrior, pleased to see a hint of pleasure on Teal'c's face at his customs being acknowledged.
"AdamPierson. May I be of assistance?"
"I was wondering, as no one has seen fit to provide me with anything to entertain myself, if you would be available for a sparring session." The warrior simply raised one eyebrow in question.
"What?" Methos asked.
"Most humans find themselves daunted by the prospect of fighting against an alien warrior such as myself. I see only curiosity, not fear in your eyes."
"Well, as long as you have no plans to decapitate me there's not really anything long-term you can do to me. However, I can safely say I don't feel that today is a good day to die. Besides, I've always thought that the best way to learn is through experience." If only Duncan could see me now, Methos thought to himself, volunteering for a fight. On the other hand, what better way to learn your enemies' weaknesses?
"I would be honoured. Would the gym in an hour be acceptable?"
"That sounds fine. I'm sure I can find someone to show me the way."
"In an hour, then." Methos was left alone once more in the corridor. What to do for an hour?
After some frantic dodging at Daniel's expense he finally found himself back at the quarters he'd been allocated. Changing into some comfortable slacks and a t-shirt he decided that technically the General hadn't made his mind up about his sword and so he'd keep it on him for now.
He was vaguely aware from his initial tour around the base that the gym was somewhere on the level below him. It had only taken two sets of directions for him to reach his final destination.
Not seeing the tall Jaffa, he began some stretching exercises in one corner where he could observe the other occupants. There seemed to be quite a range in the room, from a group in one corner he suspected to be marines, to some fairly weedy looking academics who were being encouraged by soldiers around them. As the door opened again he saw his opponent enter with Colonel O'Neill close on his heels.
"Teal'c, Colonel," Adam addressed the pair. The big man smiled in greeting before beginning a kata that exhibited a lot more grace than Methos had given him credit for.
"So, enjoy getting whaled on, do you, old fella?" Methos didn't dignify Jack's prodding with an answer but continue to watch the other man.
"I don't want any tears, you two." Jack spoke up once Teal'c finished his warm-up and turned to face his opponent. "And no blades, Mr. Pierson." O'Neill shrank back slightly at the look he received. What happened to the mild scholar?
"How would you like to proceed?" Adam smirked as Teal'c also ignored O'Neill's comments.
Methos looked the other man over. "Shall we begin with hand to hand?" At Teal'c's nod they both fell into a defensive stance.
"Try not to break him, T," Jack called out.
A hush fell over the room as the two began to spar. After the first few tentative blows the action became a fluid dance between the two combatants. What Pierson lacked in strength he made up with speed. Jack was secretly impressed at the way he was taking the hits, as well. Having been on the receiving end of some of Teal'c's 'training' blows he had full sympathy for the man.
Finally Teal'c gained the upper hand and forced Pierson to yield.
"You are a most worthy opponent, AdamPierson." The pair bowed to each other over the scatter of applause.
"You are too kind, Teal'c. You could have had me a number of times and yet you held back."
"The General does not approve when people end up in the infirmary," Teal'c replied stoically.
Methos chuckled. "Will you give it your all if I promise not to go to the infirmary?"
Teal'c simply raised an eyebrow.
"How do you fancy a round with staff weapons?" Adam offered.
"No blast weapons either, Pierson." Methos looked in confusion at Jack's quip.
"A Jaffa's weapon is known as a staff weapon," Teal'c explained. "It is capable of firing a blast of energy at one's adversary. However, we are also trained to use it as a staff. We have training units if you require."
"That sounds fine." Methos had to admit he was glad of the breather while someone went to fetch the gear for the next round. He grimaced as he felt his quickening flicker through his body: sometimes bruises healing felt worse than broken bones. Eying up his opponent once more he suspected he'd have a proper chance to judge after the next bout.
The replica staff weapons were an unusual shape but a few practise swings made him realise that not only were they well-balanced but would act as formidable hardware as well.
Again they began by circling each other and testing the other's defences. Once the bout began in earnest Methos was amused to hear the grunts and gasps from their audience. Teal'c, he noted, had indeed stepped up his game, but with a weapon in his hands it evened the odds between them.
Jack looked on in concern as they continued to trade blows. They didn't look like they were sparring any more and the General would have his head if anything happened to their 'guest'. He motioned to a couple of marines to back him up as he moved forward to break up the fight.
Both fighters were aware of the approach of another but neither was willing to end the battle just yet. Ignoring O'Neill's cry to stop, Methos saw his chance as Teal'c's last swing forced him back towards the Colonel.
Grabbing O'Neill's arm he threw him between himself and the alien warrior. While they both knew O'Neill wasn't in danger of being hit by either of them it did cause enough of a distraction for Methos to close on Teal'c.
He took the swing that Teal'c had already begun on his upper arm and winced at the audible crack but completed his move regardless. Sweeping the Jaffa's legs out from under him he brought down the killing blow to his enemy's head.
A flash of blue energy rushed over him as a marine discharged an odd-shaped weapon at him but he gritted his teeth together against the pain. Finishing the manoeuvre he brought the wooden staff crashing to the floor millimetres from Teal'c's ear.
"What the fuck was that!" Methos ground out as he collapsed, gasping, next to the prone alien, groaning as the move jolted his broken arm.
"I could ask you the same damn thing, Pierson." O'Neill stood over them glaring fiercely.
"We. Were. Sparring." He enunciated the words carefully, grimacing as Teal'c sat up beside him.
Daniel hurried over to Adam's side. "Let me get a doctor for your arm."
"There's no need, remember?" He grasped Teal'c outstretched arm gratefully as he struggled upright.
Straightening his arm there was another crack and he tensed as his quickening healed the injury. Yep, definitely not as bad as bruises -- maybe because it was over quicker, he mused.
"What the hell did the two of you think you were playing at? Someone could have been killed -- including me, I might add," Jack finished with another glare at Pierson.
"You were never in any danger, O'Neill." Jack looked surprised as Teal'c spoke up in Pierson's defence.
"You were a convenient diversion. I just wanted to win." Daniel quickly grabbed Jack's arm as he reacted to Methos' glib reply. "And what the hell did he shoot me with? That bloody hurt."
"It's a stun weapon; usually it incapacitates a person." Daniel had a note of apology in his voice that appeased Methos, a little at least.
"Which is another point: how come you didn't go down?" Jack stood accusingly between Pierson and Teal'c.
Methos leaned in close and hissed in his ear, "I am not like you, remember! And I would prefer not to advertise that fact to everyone on this base."
"Don't you think it's a bit late for that?" O'Neill retorted, still angry that things had gone so far.
Methos was ready to strangle the man before him. But before he had a chance to carry out his revenge the General came storming into the room.
"Colonel O'Neill!" Methos took some satisfaction at Jack's wince to the commanding tone. "Would you care to explain why a weapon was discharged without my authorisation?" Hammond glanced around the room. "And since when did the gym become a circus? Dismissed, ladies and gentlemen!"
The room emptied with a few furtive glances towards the group until they were finally alone.
Methos just stood silently beside Teal'c. The two of them had nothing to worry about as far as he was concerned. It was everyone else that had overreacted. Okay, he had to admit to himself that maybe it had got a little out of hand, but it wasn't like either of them would have been permanently injured. They were both fast healers from what he'd heard.
"Sir," O'Neill shifted slightly before answering stiffly, "Teal'c and Mr. Pierson were just going through training exercises to ensure our newest member was up to gate certification. The discharge of a weapon was in order to see how Mr. Pierson and his unique, er, condition would react to a zat blast, as well as how he coped with surprise."
Methos was surprised at O'Neill's apparent cover-up. One look at the General showed he didn't believe it for a second.
"Mr. Pierson, do you have anything to add?"
"No, Sir." O'Neill's slight relaxation was almost imperceptible but Methos had, after all, had many years of watching people under his belt.
"Very well. I want the footage from your little training exercise on my desk in an hour and then, Colonel, we will review your assessment methods." The General snapped off a salute before leaving the room.
There was an audible sigh
"What an exciting life you lead." Methos sank to a bench against the wall and regarded them all. There was a small commotion at the door as Samantha Carter joined them. "Ah, the gang's all here. Don't suppose there's any chance of a beer, is there?"
"Not on this base, AdamPierson."
"Teal'c how long are you going to insist on using my full name?" Adam queried wearily.
"I wouldn't hold your breath, Pierson. Although for you it wouldn't mean much, would it?" Jack snorted.
"Did I detect a hint of bitterness there, Colonel?"
"Only in the sense that your apparent invincibility seems to result in a low regard for other people's lives." Methos felt his anger rise at the unjustified accusation in O'Neill's voice.
"I can assure you, Colonel O'Neill, that at my age the sanctity of mortal life is as precious to me as my own head. You are gone in the blink of an eye and my memories are all that's left as testimony to those brief candles. I have loved and lost more times than you can imagine. Perhaps you would care to think before you speak in future." Methos left the room without a backwards glance, mentally cursing himself. He had revealed more of himself than intended in that little impassioned speech. Clearly he was getting soft in his old age -- that, or else this was further evidence of corruption by the evil Highlander. Shaking his head he chuckled softly to himself.
In the gym the members of SG1 stood in awkward silence after Adam's departure.
"Okay, okay. You're right. I was wrong and I feel like a complete heel." The lack of argument from the others proved to Jack how far over the line they all felt he'd gone. "I'd better go talk to him."
"No, Jack. It's probably best if you don't for now. I'll find him." Daniel was subdued but firm in his declaration. He really hadn't given much thought to how much loss an immortal must go through. He'd experienced more than enough in one lifetime, but Adam had lived through many. Sighing he left to find his friend.
Jack watched Daniel go. He'd not missed the pain that flickered across Daniel's face. No doubt he'd been thinking of Shau're or his parents. Hell, they'd all lost people-- friends, family and loved ones. It was amazing they were still sane, although at times even that had been doubtful. He looked to the others, two of his closest friends.
"So, do you think after a couple of thousand years flowers still say 'sorry'?"
"Honestly, sir? I think he'd prefer beer'" Sam replied with a smile.
Daniel fell into step beside Adam with only a quick glance but didn't immediately say anything.
Methos noted with some satisfaction that he had successfully navigated back to his quarters without needing to ask for directions. He strode into his room and dropped to the chair.
"Come on in' Daniel."
"Adam, Jack didn't mean--"
Methos held up his hand to quiet him.
"There's no need to apologise for your friend, Daniel. I do actually understand the position he's in: after all, he's responsible for the welfare of others. Having been in that situation in the past I certainly don't envy him." He watched Daniel's face flicker with curiosity before thankfully subsiding.
"Thank you." At Methos' raised eyebrow Daniel shrugged. "Jack's known to rub people the wrong way. He takes some getting used to."
"I must admit, yours seems an unlikely friendship."
"We've been through a lot together." And what an understatement that must be, Methos thought to himself. There was a hardness in the younger man's eyes, which formerly only shone with the light of love and joy of discovery.
"We never did have much of a chance to catch up and, despite the deplorable lack of alcohol, there's no time like the present," Methos offered. Daniel grinned in return.
"I've got a great coffee blend from South America. Had it sent up special."
"Not from that fantastic little place you found near the '92 South American dig?" Adam replied hopefully.
"That's the one."
"Then what are we waiting here for? Lay on, MacDuff."
Jack rapped on Hammond's door. At the gruff command to enter he approached the desk and saluted.
"Sit down, Jack." Hammond glanced back to the monitor that was paused on the moment after Pierson had been struck with the zat blast.
"He could be quite an asset. What's your assessment of Mr. Pierson?"
"Well, sir, he's condescending, arrogant and aloof, with complete disregard for authority." Hammond's gaze didn't waver. Jack broke first. "And I like him. Aside from anything else, knowing that a man like that has got your back and will survive pretty much anything you throw at him would make life a lot less stressful. He can translate more languages than Daniel and has a truly unique view of things. I believe the benefits to this command outweigh the demands he asked of you, sir."
"I agree." Jack's surprise was short lived. George always was able to look at the big picture.
"Inform Mr. Pierson that he is to report to Dr. Fraiser at 08.00 tomorrow, armed with a knife if he so wishes. Although you might want to enlighten him on the danger involved of threatening Janet," Hammond added with a twinkle in his eye. "I'll brief the President personally with regard to Mr. Pierson's abilities, without mentioning there may be more of them out there. Give him this. Dismissed, Jack"
"Sir." He took the package and left to find their newest addition.
Jack finally found the two of them in Daniel's office, groaning as he realised that Daniel had been at his 'special blend' again. He'd be bouncing off the walls for hours.
"Jack, Adam's been telling me about life in the army." Daniel grinned at Jack's confusion.
"But we checked: there's no record of you in the armed forces." Jack looked between the grinning pair.
"The Confederate army!"
Jack's jaw dropped momentarily. This was going to take some getting used to. "We need to update your weapons training then, Pierson; we only break out the muskets for special occasions."
"Shame, I'd got my reload time down to 15 seconds. I guess this will have to do." Methos casually drew a gun and laid it on the desk.
"How the hell did you get that on base?" Jack couldn't decide whether to be angry or impressed. At Adam's smirk he became more serious. "No, really, if there's a weakness in our security I need to know. Lives are at stake."
"I have had a lot of practise at being devious, O'Neill, but I'd be happy to help you close up some the loopholes," Adam drawled.
"Well, at my age a back-up plan is a survival trait. I'm sure you'll understand." Methos watched as the argument died on Jack's lips.
"We'll talk about this some more but for now the General wanted you to have this." He handed over the package. Methos couldn't believe the contents.
"I take it this means you're offering me a permanent job."
Daniel made a pleased sound before realising Adam hadn't actually accepted. "Well?"
Methos looked thoughtfully at the papers in his hand signing him up as a civilian consultant.
"General Hammond agrees to you carrying a knife," Jack prompted. "We'll discuss the gun later, and you can report to Dr. Janet Fraiser tomorrow morning for your medical. As you killed the only other one like you that we are aware of, the President will be informed of your unique status."
Methos remained silent as he considered the possibilities.
"The General has authorised the use of blackmail," Jack administered the coup de grace. "There'll be beer at the celebration barbeque at my place tonight if you agree." A smile quirked at the corner of Pierson's mouth.
"Well, when you put it like that, I'd love to join you." They all broke out into smiles.
"That's great, Adam," Daniel enthused. "I'm really looking forward to working with you. I've got so many questions." Methos groaned.
"O'Neill, do something!"
"What? I can't control him. Wait 'til we get somewhere where people are trying to kill us, then you'll see the true horror of insatiable curiosity and eternal optimism."
Methos gave a shudder. Oh, god, another boy scout!
"You never told me that before I signed up for this insanity. I can still back out, right?" The two of them left together leaving Daniel protesting weakly before following them.