TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2001
"Are you completely out of your mind, MacLeod. You promised Anne you'd baby-sit your godchild. She's not in any way related to me."
"Come on, Methos. What is it, scared of a five-year-old?"
"No." The ancient immortal glared at the Highlander. "And you're not going to dare me into doing this." He shifted into a more comfortable position on the couch. "No. And that's my final answer."
"So clever, old man." MacLeod snorted. Switched tactics.
"Oh, well, you'll just miss out on all the chocolate."
"I can get chocolate any time."
"And the candy corn."
"Don't like candy corn."
"Oh, did I mention that they need a barback for the Halloween party at the Joe's? Four to midnight? I told him I'd ask you--if you weren't going to be busy doing something else."
"So, which neighborhood are we taking the kid to?"
3:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2001
"Uncle Duncan!" Methos squeezed his eyes shut as the little girl's delighted squeal echoed in the foyer. Then Uncle Duncan picked her up and swung her around until she was giggling breathlessly.
"MacLeod, please don't make her vomit."
"It's okay, Adam. She hasn't had dinner yet." Dr. Anne Lindsey came down the stairs and greeted her guests. "Duncan, that child can walk perfectly well. Please put her down."
She sighed, and gave Methos an exasperated look. Then she kissed his cheek. "Don't let those two make you crazy, okay," she whispered.
Methos nodded. "Oh, I'll only have the migraine for a day or two."
Anne laughed. "I really appreciate you helping me out this way. I know Duncan can handle her alone. But you've seen how they get." In the living room, Duncan and Mary were playing 'bear.' Anne gathered up her things, and Methos helped her into her coat.
"You have the list of numbers. I've ordered pizza. The costumes are in her closet. Trick-Or-Treat is five to seven. Bed by eight-thirty. Two pieces of candy, four tops."
"I should be home by midnight. I promise. Really." She grinned at Methos. "Absolutely no later than noon tomorrow."
Methos laughed at that. "Mothers and doctors--their work is never done."
Anne laughed in agreement and went to say goodbye to Mary and MacLeod.
4:45 P.M. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2001
Methos looked at the Scot. Anything but this, his eyes pleaded. But the other man studiously avoided his gaze.
No, he just couldn't do it. He'd had to eat his pizza without beer because of the kid. And now that he thought about it, if it hadn't been for the altruistic Duncan MacLeod. Running barback at Joe's at least had some drinkable fringe benefits.
"Uncle, Adam, don't you like the costume? I picked it out just for you."
Gah. Bah humbug. Methos' resolve to run crumbled under a ton of innocent five-almost-six-year-old frown. And when those doe eyes filled with tears, and that bottom lip trembled.
Good god, she was taking lessons from the Highlander.
"No, it's a nice costume, Mary. Really. I, you know, Halloween is for children..."
"Uncle Duncan is wearing one."
"Yes. Well." And why not? The Scot was getting to play Charming to Mary's Cinderella Methos got cast as--a rat. His nose almost twitched. Yes, he could see the bloody Scot's large-size hand prints all over this one.
"Come on, Adam. It'll make Mary happy."
The ancient man sighed. Little pout. Big pout. And two sets of shining chocolate-brown doe eyes. He didn't have a chance.
Oh, Duncan MacLeod was definitely going to pay for this, Methos thought.
"All right. Fine. Whatever." Methos slipped the mask over his head. "Let's go," he said. Before I just kill myself, he didn't say.
6:55 P.M. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2001
MacLeod's cell started pinging at the last house, so Methos got to escort Mary to the door.
"Oh, how cute," the woman said. "Mary, you are so adorable as Cinderella." The woman perused Methos. "I was hoping to see your Uncle Duncan." She looked again at Methos. "Hello, 'Mickey,' she said. And handed him a packet of candy corn.
The ancient immortal had had enough. He stomped down the walkway.
Mary took his hand. "I don't like candy corn either," she said. "You can trade it for something else." She looked up at Methos and grinned. "It's okay. Mom and Duncan like it."
Methos stopped. And studied the child in the light of the street lamp. "Mary, you are a very bright little girl." He would have continued, but the Scot was muttering something vile in Italian under his breath.
"Trouble?" Was the man Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod? Immortal boy scout and a champion for truth, justice and... Oh, that was Superman...
"Yes. A break-in at the shop. I have to give the police the inventory. And no, they can't wait."
"Oh, really...?" Methos let the question hang as they walked up to the front of Anne's house. He snagged a PayDay out of the almost empty help yourself bowl.
"Now, that means that you have to take Mary with you. Or. someone has to stay with her here." He stood back while the Scot opened the door. "Got someone in mind, Uncle Duncan?"
Mary began jumping up and down. "You. You. You, Uncle Adam. Please?"
Methos looked solemn. "Well, I don't know...." He turned to MacLeod. Waiting.
"Please, Adam. Pretty please."
"Nicely said, MacLeod. You know the magic word."
7:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2001
Mary came into the living room in her pink Barbie ensemble. She carried a brown bear, a baby doll, her brush, and a book.
"Bed is in one hour," Methos reminded her.
"I know," she sighed. She handed Methos the brush. And began chattering on about her kindergarten teacher.
It took a second before the old man could take the brush. How many little girls and boys had come to him in exactly the same way. He closed his eyes and saw a line that seemed to spiral into infinity.
"So, what's the book?"
"'Harry Potter.' Mom reads me a chapter a night."
Methos took the book and smiled. He quite enjoyed the novels himself. And hoped the movie did them justice.
"And who's your favorite?" He fully expected to her he say Harry, or Hermione.
"Dumbledore! He's so old and wise. I like him bestest."
"Hm. Yes, he is a good chap, isn't he? I like Hagrid quite a bit, myself. Reminds me of someone I know." Methos smiled as he opened the book to the marked chapter. He began to read. "Chapter Ten. Halloween. Malfoy couldn't believe his eyes..."
11:29 P.M. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2001
Methos was watching Anne's DVD of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' for the umpteenth time. And softly singing along, when he heard the first mumbled cries.
Mary. He knew the troll was too much. He had seen the terror in her eyes, but she wouldn't admit she was scared. He jumped up from the couch and sprinted up the stairs.
The softly glowing angel nightlight showed him a child in the grips of stark fear. "Mary, Mary," he said softly. He crossed to her princess bed and knelt beside her.
She threw her arms around his neck, and wet his cheek with her tears. "Uncle Adam," she whispered, "I don't like trolls. What if one came in my room?"
"I know you don't like them, Mary, and there's no troll. Remember, we could smell it if one was here?"
"Can you look," she asked in a tiny voice.
"Of course." Methos opened the closet door and moved things around. Opened and closed drawers. Looked behind the curtains. Lifted the dust ruffle and peered under the bed. Wondered how many times he'd performed this particular routine.
"There, nothing. No troll." He helped her to lay down, then arranged her stuffed animals and dolls again. "Now, I'll sit here until you fall asleep, will that be okay?"
The child pulled the comforter close under her chin and nodded. Smiled, yawned, and smiled again. Methos leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose. Then he pulled the rocker over and sat down.
1:43 A.M. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2001
Anne and MacLeod arrived back at her house together.
"So, what did they steal? Anything valuable?" Anne opened the door and went to check the alarm.
"No. Not a thing. There wasn't even a break-in. Well, there was a break-in. But it was the police. A rookie looked in and saw one of the statues, thought it was an intruder... You get the picture."
They were both laughing when they went into the empty living room.
Anne started up the stairs. "I bet she had a nightmare." She went tiptoeing down the hall and stopped in her daughter's bedroom doorway.
"Duncan," she called softly. She pointed toward the bed.
Mary lay on her side, doll clutched under one arm. And Methos had pulled the rocker up against her bed. They were both asleep. Holding hands.
The Highlander smiled and backed out of the room, and Anne closed the door.
He shook his head ruefully. "Looks like I got the 'Trick.' And he got the 'Treat.'"
Originally posted c 2001
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.