Author: A Lanart
Characters/pairing: Blaise (OC), Gaius, Methos
Rating/Spoilers: PG. No Spoilers.
Disclaimer: BBC own Gaius and this reworking of the Merlin universe. Panzer/Davis Productions own their concept of immortality. I own the OC and the myths are public domain.
No copyright infringement intended, no profit made.
Gaius sighed as he bent to pick up the scattered bunches of herbs and carefully put them back in the basket that had been knocked over – on purpose – by one of the other boys as they ran past; he was just thankful that this time they'd not spilled ink over his carefully scribed notes. The taunts he could stand, but the wanton destruction of his hard work rankled to say the least. He dropped one bunch of herbs with a startled gasp as a warm and heavy hand descended onto his shoulder.
"Master Blaise! I was just…"
"Don't worry Gaius, I saw." Without another word, his master Blaise knelt on the ground beside him and assisted him in clearing up the rest. Gaius tried to protest - such work was not fitting for his *teacher* - but Blaise silenced him with a gesture and a smile. "I was a travelling herbalist before I was the mad man of the mountain, you know. I am quite aware of how important it is to look after the tools of the trade." They continued in comfortable silence until Gaius' skin prickled between his shoulders. He looked up to see Blaise sitting back on his heels, a distracted expression on his face as he peered into the distance.
"Master Blaise, are you well?" Gaius asked with concern. His master shook his head as if he had just surfaced from water, sending the braids at his temples whipping round his face to catch in his beard.
"I do not know. Perhaps my life has caught up with me. Perhaps it is time…"
"Not today, old friend," a voice from behind them announced. Gaius jumped with an undignified squawk and nearly overturned the basket again, saving it from its fate at the last moment. Meanwhile Blaise was on his feet, laughing and hugging the strange man who returned the greeting in kind as if they were long lost brothers. For all Gaius knew, they could be – they were both dark with the sort of chiselled features that could be found in many places – but whatever they were to each other, their happiness appeared to be unfeigned. Gaius carefully got to his feet, ready to disappear if it was required.
"It is good to see you, if unexpected." Blaise said. The other man shrugged somewhat.
"You know me, when am I ever expected? Now, who is this?" Gaius met the man's eyes with his head held high.
"I am Gaius," he replied.
"My apprentice," Blaise added.
"Apprentice?" The man looked around taking in the herbs and the scrolls with a glance. "Well at least you're teaching him an honest trade instead of filling his head with nonsense."
"Magic is not nonsense, and you know that."
"Maybe not, but it still better not to rely on *just* magic. Wouldn't you agree, Gaius?"
"Er.. yes. Sir," Gaius stuttered. "So does Master Blaise." In fact, Blaise had been trying to convince Gaius of that for the longest time, despite what the other boys said to the contrary but Gaius had never quite believed him, feeling that Blaise was just trying to make him feel better about his lack of raw magical talent. It felt odd to have that view emphasised by a stranger.
"Glad to hear it. Now what does a man have to do to get a drink around here?"
"You never change!" Blaise said, laughing once more and clapping the stranger on the shoulder. Gaius gawped a little as usually his master was more serious in his bearing but he decided he liked this more easy going side of him. "Gaius, head down to the river and bring up the horse will you. I'll find a drink for our thirsty friend."
"But master, I didn't hear a horse."
"Neither did I, but there will be one." Blaise indicated his friend with a nod, "He never walks."
Gaius set off down the hill, laughter echoing after him and sure enough down by the stream he found a horse, hobbled carefully but still within reach of both water and food; the man obviously cared for the animal. On his way back up the hill to stable the horse more formally, Gaius realised that for all he'd told the stranger who *he* was, no name had been forthcoming in reply and Blaise did not seem either the least surprised, or willing to remedy that. He decided that if his master trusted the man, then he would too.
Later, when the flickering firelight shrouded them in shadows as much as it illuminated them, Gaius plucked up the courage to ask the still nameless stranger a question.
"Are you a wizard too, sir?"
"I've been called one, but magic is not my talent – I leave that to my far sighted friend, here."
Blaise snorted. "Seeing is easy if you have the talent, it's the interpretation that is the problem and no amount of magic helps with that unfortunately. Magic isn't the answer to everything, Taliesin taught me that."
"And you've been trying to teach Gaius the same. I approve."
"You would." A comfortable silence fell and Gaius wondered if dared ask more, he knew there was something very important that hadn't been said and was curious if he would be answered. As it often did, his curiosity overcame his caution.
"But if you aren't a wizard, then how did you meet master Blaise?" Gaius found himself pinned by a very cold and calculating glance from the strangely ancient-looking hazel eyes of Blaise's friend, he took a deep breath, half expecting to be turned into a toad on the spot, despite what the stranger had said about not having magic. The breath was released with a relieved sigh as the expression on the man's face softened.
"Would you believe I used to be one of *his* teachers?" Gaius stared at them both, wide eyed and disbelieving. It was obvious to him that Blaise was the older, so how could the other be the teacher. It was too confusing.
"But…" Gaius' voice spluttered into silence, he could not frame the words he needed.
"I'm a lot older than I look. For that matter, Blaise is older than he looks. For my part there is no magic involved, I was just born like this." Gaius could sense the truth in what was being said, it was one of the few magics he *did* have.
"You're immortal!" The man gracefully inclined his head in agreement. "But…" Gaius was interrupted by a laugh.
"So full of questions! Blaise was just as bad when he was younger." Gaius had to smile as Blaise aimed a half-hearted punch at his friend's shoulder. "I might even answer some of them if you promise me one thing." Gaius nodded, but he didn't miss the flicker of eyes toward Blaise which probably meant that whatever was said would be put under geis, leaving Gaius unable to talk about it even if he wanted to.
"I promise," Gaius said.
"Without knowing what you're promising? You're too trusting."
"You want my silence, you have it whether it be under geis or not."
"Thank you, Gaius. That means a lot. And now that's settled…" The stranger threw a few more branches on the fire and took a long drink from the cup in his hand. He glanced at both Blaise and Gaius with a fond smile. "Blaise will probably kill me for this..." There was a cough from Blaise. "But first, an introduction; my name is Methos and I've known Blaise for over a hundred years. Let me tell you of how we met…" There followed an incredible tale of swords and sorcery and lasting friendship but all Gaius could think of as he drifted into sleep was that he hoped that Methos would continue to be a presence in his life.