This takes place in April of 2063, after "Not Without Loss" (which is over on the sidebar), and during some of the flashbacks in "The Last Time We First Met". The idea came to me during a chat with Mischief, and was partly inspired by the photo of Methos holding a large old book from the upcoming Highlander movie "The Source".
This is a story in the Bloodties series, and this particular one takes place during the events on Earth during the ST:TNG movie "First Contact". It was actually that movie that threw our series into the Star Trek future, when on IRC one night, one of us wondered 'what would happen if a Borg tried to assimilate an Immortal?'. We never did discover the answer to that question, but the damage was done :)
Rated PG, gen for the most part. Methos and Amanda don't belong to me - as if!
Thanks for reading.
Cock-Eyed Optimist by Ithildin
"What have you got there?"
Methos looked up at Amanda has she moved farther into the library, and then down at the large old book he was holding before returning his attention to her. "It's called a book, Amanda. You read them. And amazingly enough, you'll find them in rooms like these that are called libraries," he finished scathingly.
"Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning," she observed wryly, perching on the edge of the table next to the stacks of old books Methos was sorting through. "Or is it that someone wasn't in your bed this morning, hmm?"
The book snapped shut. "What is it you want, Amanda?"
"Ahhh..." She smiled innocently in response to his glare, gently swinging one leg under the table.
"Amanda!" he snapped, this time slamming the book down onto the table next to her. The sound echoed around the room.
"Fine! If you're going to be grumpy..." She pouted. "I just got in a few hours ago, and I was looking for Triona. But Mac tells me she left weeks ago -- and that you didn't go with her."
His jaw tightened. "She didn't ask."
"And you didn't offer," she shot back.
"And just how did this become my fault?" he snapped. "Just because Duncan always takes her side doesn't mean it's true, you know!"
"For god's sake, Methos, for someone so old you sure do act like you're twelve a lot of the time!" she scolded, obviously exasperated by his peevishness. "No one's taking anyone's side. I just want to know what happened, okay?"
"This may come as a shock to you, but it's none of your bloody business, nor am I interested in assuaging your curiosity. Besides which, if you've talked to Mac, you already know what happened. So why the hell are you here annoying me?" he demanded.
Amanda was totally unfazed by his foul mood. "Because I always like to get my gossip straight from the source, darling. You should know that by now. So tell me what happened," she instructed.
Methos shook his head in sheer disbelief, exhaling explosively. "Fine! We had a fight!"
"And...?" she prompted, when it seemed that was all he was going to say.
"And? And what, Amanda? We had a fight, she left, I left, I came back, and she hasn't. The end." He picked up another book from the stack, obviously under the impression that was the end of the conversation. But Amanda had other ideas.
"And what exactly did you fight about?"
His hands tightened around the book and he closed his eyes as if praying for the strength not to throttle his very persistent questioner. "You aren't going to go away till I tell you everything you want to know, are you?"
She smiled. "Nope. So you may as well just get it over with!"
Shoulders slumped in defeat he did as she asked. "We fought about Zefram bloody Cochrane and his bloody warp rocket, what else? Triona's obsessed with the damn project! Nothing else matters and it's the only thing she cares about these days."
Amanda wisely refrained from pointing out the hundreds of books on the table, and the hundreds more in the library that Methos had spent months, at great hardship, to rescue from the remains of libraries in cities and towns that had been decimated by the war. When it came to obsession, he really wasn't in a place to accuse. "So you fought about the project."
"Yes, we did. It's a waste of time and emotion for something that probably will never work! And even if it does, it's useless! It will be centuries before civilization has rebuilt back to a point to go into space. What the hell does she think is going to happen? That the rocket will go up and little green men will see it and decide to come visit?" Exasperated, he started pushing books around the table aimlessly. "Foolishness," he muttered.
"Oh come on, Methos! So what if it's foolish? Did it occur to you that this project is how she deals with the loss and grief of the war? Everyone needs something to hold on to, something to pin a hope onto."
"Hope is one thing, complete denial of reality is quite another." Scrubbing at his hair in frustration, he continued on his tirade. "She thinks that there's some better future out there, that she can do something to make a difference, to make things better - whatever that means."
"Maybe she's right," Amanda offered quietly.
"Oh, please! You and I both know better, Amanda. This is reality -- civilization constantly reaching just so far, only to be torn apart by our own stupidity and weakness. She needs to accept that and not pin false hope on some ridiculous dream of humanity reaching out to the stars."
"The starry eyed optimism of youth." Sighing, she continued, "She's young, Methos, barely a century. Can't you cut her some slack? They're her dreams and her disappointments, and you can't protect her from them. You know that."
"She isn't hard enough, and she needs to be if she's going to make it to her second century." His hands stilled over the books. "Triona cares too much, and that's going to get her killed. I only want her to survive. Is that so wrong?"
"No, honey, it isn't. But you worry too much. And she's a lot tougher than you give her credit for."
"Maybe she is and maybe I'm too emotionally involved to judge, I don't know anymore."
"Don't be so over protective that you suffocate her, Methos. That will drive her away surer than anything; you know that. Let her find her own way."
"I should have never arranged for MacLeod to be her teacher. The two of them are peas in a pod," he said in disgust, "with damn rose coloured glasses permanently affixed!"
Amanda laughed. "And you and I both know we hope that will never change; no matter how irritating it can be. Can you imagine if they were as cynical and jaded as we are? We need their cock-eyed optimism, their hope for the future, their belief in humanity."
He sighed softly. "Their belief in us?"
"Yeah, especially that," she agreed quietly.
His reply was interrupted by the arrival of a guard. "A messenger brought this letter for you, sir," the man said, handing Methos an envelope.
Methos thanked him, already opening the letter as the guard left. "It's from Triona," he told Amanda as he scanned the contents.
"What's wrong?" she asked, concerned at the look of shock that had appeared on his face. "Is everything okay? Is she okay? Methos! Damn it, what's wrong?"
He shook his head. "Fine, she's fine." He handed Amanda the letter, slumping against the table. "There'll be no living with her after this," he muttered.
She read the letter, a similar expression of shock appearing on her face. "Oh... Oh my...." Silently, she handed the letter back to him, digesting the news. Then she looked sidelong at Methos. "I guess those little green men did decide to drop in and say hello after all, huh?"
"So it would seem."
"I foresee a lot of groveling in someone's future," she said mischievously.
Waving his hand towards the bookshelves he said resignedly, "I'm sure there's a recipe in one of those somewhere for crow pie."
COCK-EYED OPTIMIST from the musical South Pacific
When the sky is a bright canary yellow
I forget ever cloud I've ever seen
So they call me a cock-eyed optimist
Immature and incurably green
I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
that we're done and we might as well be dead
But I'm only a cock-optimist
And I can't get it into my head
I hear the human race is falling on its face
And hasn't very far - to go
But every whippoorwill is selling me a bill
And telling me it just ain't so
I could say life is just a bowl of jello
And appear more intelligent and smart
But I'm stuck like a dope with a thing called hope
And I can't get it out of my heart
Not this heart.