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08 October 2007 @ 06:34 pm
Bow Shot by Lferion  
And she slides in under the wire ...

Title Bow Shot
Author lferion
Rated G
Claim Methos
Prompt Technology, Breeze (HL50)
Fandom(s) Highlander, an oblique reference is made to "Robin of Sherwood" (1984 - 86)
Characters Methos, Duncan, Richie
Pairing None - DM/M implied
Spoilers/Warnings None. Set sometime after "The Messenger" Not beta'd (yet).
Disclaimer Not mine, no harm, no foul, no funds
Summary Technology may change, physics does not.
Wordcount 2,325




"That's a bow?" Richie looked down in something like horror at the deceptively simple strip of wood in Methos' hand. "And you expect to hit the target with it? Maybe if you walked up to it and" he made a club-swinging motion, "literally hit it, I guess."

"I could ask you the same question about the object you have," Methos replied dryly, "except that I have seen what passes for a bow in this day and age." A sardonic eyebrow indicated the complex squiggle of polycarbon and wire propped in its holder at Richie's feet. "And I wouldn't care to try using one of those as a club."

Duncan managed to keep from sniggering out loud at the look on Richie's face, while at the same time enjoying the swift elegance and grace with which Methos strung his bow and stood, not unlike a strung bow himself, poised on the firing line of the archery range. Richie was still fussing with getting the pulleys tensioned as he wanted them. When he judged that Richie was as ready as he was going to get, he spoke. "All right, gentlemen, a warm-up round first. Six shots each. Bows up, draw at will."

Richie knocked his first arrow and drew, focused on the target. Six arrows grouped nicely in the paper target.

The boy had been practicing, Duncan noted. His stance was good, and he held the compound bow with confidence. He didn't flail for his arrows, nor did he try to go too fast. More than competent. But competence wasn't going to win him this little contest.

Methos nodded as Richie put down his bow, and raised his own, eyes flicking from the short grass to the distant trees and up to the slow clouds. An arrow appeared between his fingers and suddenly the shoulders which so often seemed rounded in a scholar's slouch were wide and straight. Six arrows found their marks in the target, spaced a little wider than Richie's but all within the rings. Richie had been watching the target, not Methos. Ah well, he'd learn. Eventually.

"Bows down. Retrieve your arrows."

"Pretty good, old-timer," Richie laughed as they walked to their targets. A small breeze tugged at his short curls, ruffled through Methos' short hair. Duncan could practically see Methos tasting the air. His student forged onward to the bales, oblivious. When they were back at the line, arrows in hand, Richie took up his stance as before, but Methos took a moment to adjust his position, settling his feet back from the mark and a little further from Richie than he had been.

"All set?" Both of them nodded. "Good. This round is for accuracy. The next will be distance. One arrow in each ring. Did you guys figure out a forfeit yet?"

"Loser buys the first round at Joes tonight. The winner chooses where we go for dinner. And I've got the place all picked out," Richie laughed.

Duncan just shook his head and decided not to say anything about chickens. Methos' eyes were narrow with amusement, but his back was straight and his hands steady. "And you, Highlander, are the judge."

"Then I'd better pay close attention, hadn't I. Richie, you first. Bows up. Draw at will."

The boy took even more care with his aim than before, drawing and firing smoothly, and he got all his arrows between the different lines, though there was no particular order to the placement. His last arrow hit the center with a satisfying "thwip". Again Methos watched carefully as Richie shot, looking at the target and nodding thoughtfully only after the last arrow had left the string.

When Methos lifted his bow and nocked his first arrow, it was as if he drew the air to stillness about him. He shot with precision, placing each shot deliberately. Duncan noticed that he was not taking the bow to full draw, and wondered for a moment. Six arrows flew neatly to land in a line, center to outer ring.

The three of them walked out to the target bales together this time and Duncan looked carefully at both targets. Aside from the line of Methos' arrows, there was little to choose by the goal he had set.

"Are you giving points for style, Mac?" asked Richie as they walked back with their arrows.

"Should I?"

For the distance shooting they moved to a different part of the range, and Methos was again observant of the breeze and the way he set his feet. Richie was relaxed and confident – he'd won several of the impromptu distance matches that he and his friends had put together. That was part of the reason he'd dared Methos into this excursion after the discussion they'd had the previous evening watching some modern survival in the wilderness thing on television.

The breeze was light and steady for the practice round, and none of the arrows went far from the mark. Richie made good use of his rangefinder and sight, achieving several 100 yard shots in the ring.

"Adam, you first this time."

Methos nodded absently and centered himself. Duncan admired the line of his spine, the level breadth of his shoulders and the startling strength of his arms as he pulled the tall bow to full draw. It was so easy to forget that Methos was as tall as he was. Five arrows landed solidly In the center of the distant target. Then Methos flexed his shoulders, adjusted his stance, and sent the sixth arrow flying past the 100 yard bale to land quivering in the wooden piling that marked the far end of the shooting range, nearly twice the distance to the target.

Richie picked up his jaw. Duncan took a moment to wonder what the draw weight was on that longbow, and how far Methos could shoot pure flight. Nobody said anything for a moment. Methos put his bow down and folded himself back into Adam Pierson.

"Your turn, Rich."

Duncan was pleased to see that Richie did not allow himself to be rattled by Methos' skill. Instead he seemed to take inspiration from it, and his shots into the target were very clean and strong, even allowing for the strengthening breeze.

With his sixth arrow on the string, Richie quirked an inquiring eyebrow at Duncan. Duncan smiled and nodded encouragement. Visibly concentrating, the young man raised his bow and tried to gauge the wind. His arrow went respectably far, landing several yards short of the back line, bright fletchings standing up in the grass.

As they walked out to the targets, and retrieved the arrows, Duncan mulled over an idea. Methos apparently saw the considering look on his face and grinned side-long in return. Well then. It would be a real challenge for both of them.

Richie's step was light as they returned to the line, and his clowning told Duncan that he thought he was still winning. The smile which had been lurking in the corners of his lips broadened as he sprang his idea. "Both of you are very good with your chosen bows. I want to see how you do with each other's before I decide who has won. Rich, you up for that?" A hint of wicked glee entered his voice, "Adam, you're up for most anything."

The glare Methos gave him was worth the ribbing he would get later. Richie'e expression was beautifully horrified.

"You want me to shoot that … thing?"

Duncan kept the laughter out of his tone. "I think it would be a fair assessment. Can't get too dependent on technology, after all." He scanned the range. They were still the only people using it. "Line's clear. Two ends should give you both a familiarity."

Methos had already gone over to where Richie's bow stood in its stand. He picked it up and was looking it over critically. Long fingers curled around the draw-point and tested the tension. To Duncan's eye the modern bow looked small and almost flimsy in his hands. "Light," was Methos' even remark. "Forty-five pounds?"

"Fifty-five. The pulleys are soft. Makes the draw smoother." Richie was always happy to talk about mechanical details. He was looking at Methos' bow as if he wished it had some mechanism that might make it easier to understand. The longbow was deceptively simple, not unlike Methos himself.

"Ah. About the same as mine, then." Methos took up the stance he had seen Richie use, experimenting with the best way to grip it, and working out the balance. Without fuss he put one of his arrows to the nock-point and drew. Duncan forbore comment when the string abruptly jerked out of Methos' fingers with several inches of arrow still in front of the bow-face, sending the shaft skittering off into the grass.

"Compound bows can't be over-drawn. Better use Richie's arrows."

"Thank you, Highlander," Methos' tone was dry as he looked up. "But I think Richie will need his. Mine will be too long for him. I'll compensate."

Richie was struggling somewhat. It didn't help that the bow was taller than he was, but at least he hadn't had to string it. Before too long, though, he had a reasonable handle on it, and was gamely making a go at it. The first three or four shots went nowhere near the target, and getting a smooth pull was obviously an effort, but he kept at it, determination drawing his brows together. Methos was not having much of an easier time until he started simply ignoring the 'helpful' devices on the face and as far as Duncan could tell thinking of it more like a crossbow. After a dozen arrows apiece, both of them were reasonably in control of what they were doing, if not precisely happy.

Cheerfully, Duncan called bows-down, and helped them gather up the arrows on the ground. Most of Methos' had found the bale after the first wild one, but only about half of Richie's had.

"Nothing fancy this time," Duncan announced when they were back in position. "Six arrows in the target, as close to center as you can. The highest score wins. Unless you want to try the distance again as well." Both of them shook their heads at that. "Didn't think so. Richie, you ready?"

Methos bent an eyebrow at him, and Duncan grinned back. Richie was concentrating on not letting Methos' bow get the better of him and nodded.

The wind snatched the first of Richie's arrows, and he over-compensated with the next, but he managed to put five of the six into the target bale, even if only four of those five made it into the rings. He put the long bow down with a sigh of relief, and this time he watched Methos shoot, rather than where the arrows fell.

The modern bow still looked odd in Methos' hands, but not as alien as it had when he first picked it up. He shot without the fluid swiftness Duncan had seen before as well, setting up each shot singly. The line of his mouth spoke of concentration, but the tension in his long back was only that of a spring. Each shot found the target, all but one in the center ring.

Richie looked from the target back to Methos, holding his state-of-the-art bow, and down at the strip of yew at his feet and was gracious in defeat. "Ok, point made. Age and experience and all that." He smiled and shook out his arms as he went to pick up his arrows. "You're really good with that thing, Adam."

Methos followed a step behind. "You did very well yourself, all things considered." Long fingers pulled the arrows from the bale. "And neither old nor new is particularly easy."

"First round's on me, I guess." Richie laughed as he came back and began putting away the shafts and packing up his bow. "At least it will be cold beer. And dinner, wherever we go, will be hot."

Methos laughed with him as he retrieved his bow and unlimbered it. "Just be glad you don't have to go hungry tonight because you didn't manage to shoot some dinner."

"Oh, I am." There was a brief pause as both of them gathered their equipment and started off the range. "Teach me, then, Old Man. How to properly shoot longbow." There was an unexpectedly serious note in Richie's voice. "I can show you some of the fine points of the compound one if you want."

Methos smiled, but there was no mockery in it. "You sure about that? You want me to teach you something 'old-tech'?"

"Yeah. I mean, what if I did have to shoot my own dinner? After all, we're immortal, what if the apocalypse comes and civilization collapses, like in those TV shows. Or if I find myself on 'Survivor: Sherwood Forest'."

All three of them laughed at that, but Duncan was pleased to see Richie truly taking the future into consideration. With that thought he herded them out the door and on the way to the restaurant. Appreciating the past, anticipating the future, but living in the present.

-----

Much later, as the faint breeze from the open windows brought in the distant night sounds, Duncan asked "So, should Joe be adding "Robin Hood" to your 'Known or suspected aliases' list?"

Methos chuckled, and despite the darkness, Duncan could see the light in his eyes. "I did once have the pleasure of ... shooting ... with Robert of Huntington. But no, Highlander, he and Loxley were both far better with a bow than I."

"'Shooting.'" For some reason, Duncan was quite sure that Methos did not mean archery, and guns hadn't been invented yet.

"Shooting." There was laughter in his voice and the gleam in his eyes grew brighter. "It was surprisingly educational. Shall I show you?"

And presently the breeze bore only the sound of mingled happiness and sated joy.

-----
Notes

A picture of the type of bow Methos is using is here. A picture of one like Richie's is here.
 
 
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Katremydesire on October 9th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)
Very cool. Personally prefer the recurve bows. :D
Jennifer/Gail: Methos_LGSFADlferion on October 9th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
So do I, actually, but Methos told me in no uncertain terms that he was shooting longbow in this story :-)

Thanks for the feedback, glad you liked it!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: Richie2idontlikegravy on October 9th, 2007 12:30 pm (UTC)
This was wonderful, thanks for contributing. I've only ever shot with a longbow myself, but it was easy to visualise the whole scene, you described it all so perfectly.

As you are probably aware, I always love Richie & Methos together and this was no exception. :)
Jennifer/Gail: Methos_MGift_Shadowslferion on October 9th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
Richie has been growing on me, and I've always liked the young/old | knowlegable/student dynamic, which is fun in HL because there are many levels that can work on with Methos -- I've enjoyed your stories with both of them, so I'm particularly glad this one works for you.

Thank you!

Slazer: calmslazersc on October 9th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
Loved the imagery of Methos and Richie competing at archery. For someone who's not familiar with the sport, you really brought the scenes to life. Great work!
Jennifer/Gail: Methos-Adamlferion on October 9th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad it worked for you -- I was hoping the archery stuff would read as accurate but not technobabbly. Thank you for the feedback!
The other Weird Al: richieaeron_lanart on October 10th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
Oh this was lovely. I'm not an archery person (apart from being a Robin of Sherwood fan) but you didn't step into the realms of archery technobabble at all. Visual and rather scrumptious.
Jennifer/Gail: Methos_sourcelferion on October 11th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
I am so glad you liked it! I am considering expanding this with a RoS-era flashback before I post it to the HL50 list.

Thank you!
amonitrateamonitrate on October 17th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
Nice! I was just thinking of Methos and archery the other day, wondering why there hadn't been any stories featuring such a great combination. And Voila, here it is.
Jennifer/Gail: Methos-memorieslferion on October 17th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)
Thank you! I am very glad you liked it.

I'm still trying to decide if it is actually *finished* -- one of the people who read it felt that it needed a turn/reveal/some kind of thing that gives the end more of an oomph, but I'm not sure.

And I have Ideas for actual Methos-in-Sherwood flashbacks, but they aren't very concrete either.