<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
The sidewalks of Hope's main street was filled with people. Every Immortal in town was out, as well as most of the mortals who lived among them. The treaty declaring Gamma an independent colony had been signed. As luck would have it, the day it was signed was June 30th. So the people of Gamma adopted July 1st as their Independence Day.
Daniel was pushing the stroller as they wandered through the crowd. They were supposed to meet Sam and Jack here, as well as Duncan and Tessa. The parade was due to start within minutes.
Casey spotted Duncan’s dark head and wide shoulders. "There they are," she said, pointing in the direction she had seen them.
As soon as they were close enough, Duncan picked Emily up.
Sam and Jack were already sitting on the curb; Teal'c and Carlotta Sanchez were sitting beside them. Greetings were exchanged all around, and the group settled down to watch the festivities.
Casey sat on the pavement directly in front of where Daniel sat on the curb. Tessa did the same thing, sitting in front of Duncan, beside them. Duncan still had Emily in his arms, and was talking to her, laughing with Daniel as she smiled and blew bubbles. When she realized her father was within sight, she began to wiggle and coo at him. Daniel took her into his arms and hugged her against his chest.
"Guess we know who rules in that house," Tessa teased.
"It’s all Daniel's fault. He’s called her ‘Princess’ from the very beginning of my pregnancy," Casey replied, a smile on her face.
The parade had reached them and they watched as floats and the high school band and several children’s groups marched past them. When the float bearing the newly adopted flag of Gamma passed, they all stood and paid their respect. The flag was white, with a large, navy blue ‘I’ in the center, circled by yellow stars. It was a simple design, but symbolized exactly what Gamma was. It was the free, hope filled home of the Immortals, children of the Ancients. Nothing more needed to be said.
When the Immortal Council rode by, they waved and grinned at the group. They waited until the crowd thinned out before making their way to the carnival that was set up along the side streets. Daniel managed to win a tiny teddy bear at one of the booths, which he gave to Emily. It went promptly into her mouth.
Casey was getting corn dogs, onion rings and sodas at one of the concession stands when Methos approached her.
"Hello, Brat," he said, a crooked smile on his face.
"Hello, Old Man," she replied. "And don’t call me brat."
"Ah yes, here to eternity, wasn’t it?"
"Something like that." She tried to glare at him, then broke into a smile.
He grinned down at her. He gave his order to the young man who was taking them. "So how is that daughter of yours?"
"Why don’t you come see for yourself?"
Methos looked over at the large table where Daniel sat with Emily. Duncan and Tessa were there, Jack and Samantha O’Neill were there, as well as the Jaffa and Carlotta Sanchez. He shook his head. "Looks like you already have quite enough company."
"Methos, if you don’t come over and say hello, and tell me what a beautiful baby I have, I’m going to tell Daniel to beat you up," she threatened, her eyes dancing, her cheek twitching as she tried not to smile.
He threw his head back and laughed. "Well, if you’re going to threaten me-" he broke off when he looked at her.
"Please? I would love for you to come see how much Emily has grown, and I know that everyone would enjoy having you join us," she smiled.
"Ah, now see how easy that was? Works much better than threats any day." He took his order and helped Casey carry hers.
"Look who I found, wandering around unsupervised," Casey said as they approached the table.
Methos was greeted warmly. Duncan slapped him on the back and insisted that the lanky young/old man sit beside him. It had been a long time since he had felt this welcomed, warmed by the emotion he felt. He must be getting sentimental in his old age, he thought. Casey took Emily from Daniel and held the baby close for his inspection. He could already see her beauty in the child. When Casey began to feed her, he was unable to tear his eyes away. There was something about the sight of her - so beautiful, so desirable - cuddling a baby, that totally disarmed him. He shook his head mentally, glanced around to make sure no one had noticed. He looked back, met her green eyes. Her smile was soft and warm. He managed to finish eating, then with an excuse that sounded lame even to his own ears, he went on his way.
Carlotta watched him leave. "There goes a man very much in love," she said softly.
Casey looked over at the Spanish woman, then at the Old Man’s retreating back. "Really? I didn’t know he was seeing anyone. Who’s he in love with?"
Everyone at the table reacted to that one word, looking first at Casey, who sat in a state of shock, then at the dark haired woman.
"Me?" Casey squealed.
"Yes, my dear. Don’t worry. He’ll never act upon it. He’ll never even admit it to himself," Carlotta said.
"Personally, I think he is in love with her because it is safe for him to be," Tessa said softly. She hadn’t missed how Methos had been looking at Casey.
"Safe?" Duncan asked. "How?"
"Because Casey is married, and very much in love with Daniel. She’s bound to him for eternity. Thus, there is no chance she’ll ever reciprocate his feelings," Tessa explained.
"Which leaves him free to do nothing at all, and that is so typical of him," Casey said, shaking her head. "We need to find a woman who will knock his socks off," she said.
"Don’t go there, Case," Daniel said, a warning tone in his voice. "If Methos wants a woman in his life, he’ll find one. You stay out of it."
Duncan looked over at Tessa. "Same goes for you, sweetheart."
When Jack glanced at Sam, she shook her head. "Don’t even think about it, general," she said.
Teal'c looked down at Carlotta. "Is there a woman among the Immortals that Methos would be worthy of?"
"Teal'c, help us out here, buddy," Jack begged. "If you let Carlotta play matchmaker, these three will get involved. Which means they’ll drag us into all the planning and scheming."
The Jaffa raised an eyebrow.
"Teal'c, it’s a well known fact that every happily married woman insists on making sure every woman around her is also happily married, and a single man is a challenge to them. They won’t rest until he’s married, too," Duncan explained. "Which means endless dinners where he’s invited and ‘paired’ with whatever available woman they find. Over and over again until he either runs screaming mad into the woods, or gives in and gets married."
"That is so not true," Casey argued. "It wouldn’t be endless."
"Wouldn’t even have to be dinners," Sam added.
"Exactly," Tessa agreed.
Three men moaned in unison. "I say we go after him and tell him to run for the hills now," Jack said.
"I say we join him," Duncan groused.
Carlotta looked up at Teal'c. "I can think of one woman who would be up to the challenge of taming Methos. I don’t know if she would be interested or not. Do you want me to talk to her?"
The three men at the table looked at Teal'c. The Jaffa shrugged. "If you feel it is the wise thing to do."
Daniel tossed his paper napkin into the tray his food had been in. "Teal'c, you’ve never witnessed a group of women who are bent on hooking a guy up."
"Never been on the receiving end of it, either," Duncan said, shuddering.
"Oh, yeah, that’s a nightmare," Daniel agreed. Memories of a former, elderly neighbor had him shuddering mentally.
Carlotta laughed. "You can all relax. Your wives won’t be throwing dinners or parties to force him into the company of some woman. I’ll make one phone call. From there, the rest is up to Methos and…the woman. Isn’t that right, ladies?"
The women agreed that it was all that would happen, all that they were interested in seeing happen. The men didn’t believe it for one minute.
<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>