"You're kidding me right? This is some sort of joke."
"What, you've never been snipe hunting Methos?" Duncan asked the ancient immortal with an evil smile.
"I can't say I have, as there is not such bloody thing as a snipe." Methos said quietly glancing at the seven children, but looking far more often at the brown paper bag in his hand. "Come on, Duncan, little brownie-like creatures you catch in brown paper sacks?"
Duncan also looked at the assembled children and leaned closer to Methos "Would you rather bring them to the movies?" Methos paled and quickly shook his head.
"How did you get me into this?" Methos whined.
Duncan smirked "Side effect of camping on my couch. Besides, seven kids are a bit much for me too." Duncan said before grabbing Chloe as she started to wander away from the park and toward the road.
"But snipes!" Methos called after him.
Methos didnt really mind. Though he would have paid to see Duncan handle them all by himself. Ranged in age from 6 to 11 they were absolutely fascinating separately. The reference to movies was the last time Duncan had needed help being baby-sitter extraordinare. They had brought five of the kids to see the Emperor's New Groove. Unfortunately they didn't get to see the end of the movie, having been asked to leave when Patrick started stood up in front of the screen and started doing the Macerena for the third time in addition to Sarah telling the screen loudly that the character was stupid ..and Jon falling out of his chair laughing. The other two just smirked when they left. Methos suspected it was Laura and Jim's idea that sprouted the younger three. So the movies were definitely out. Why, oh why couldn't Liz, Marie, and Julia have chosen not to go clubbing together, leaving Duncan, and consequently Methos to baby-sit. Though they were fun separately, all together well...he rather face two nutty immortals. Jim, the oldest at 11 was looking at his paper bag doubtfully so Methos decide now was the time to start the 'snipe hunt'.
"Okay, separate into two groups." Duncan, ever the leader called. Methos snorted. Ask children to separate themselves? Not going to happen. Methos waved his hand.
"Patrick, Laura, Marie, and Jon, go to "Uncle" Duncan. You know you can't catch Snipes when you're loud or in large groups." He said cutting of any protest. " Jim, Sarah, and Lilia come with me." He lifted Lilia, the youngest at age 6 to his side. She giggled and ruffled her paper bag.
"Snipes!" She giggled. Methos felt his mouth quirking. God, he was going to need a copious amount of alcohol tonight.
An hour later, and no snipes, save the times that he or Duncan threw a stick into the woods both groups, giggling and sweaty in the summer warmth, met again. Lilia tugged on Duncan's sleeve and said simply "Ice cream" The cry was soon raised by all including Methos, who when Duncan glared good-naturedly at him simply batted his eyes and said "Please, Uncle Duncan?" Laughing Duncan nodded.
At the ice cream shop Duncan said, "Their mothers are going to kill me."
"Oh, well, you'll come back." Methos said softly.
"Don't be so sure," Duncan whispered back. "Giving children sugar at " Duncan glanced at his watch. "8 O'clock is a sure way to have all three kill me."
"Or not let you baby-sit anymore. Nah, they wouldn't let their highlander baby-sitter get away."
"You know, despite all you say, you really like children."
"Of course I do." Methos said, surprised that Duncan had ever thought anything else. "I've had 23 children and then the village children."
"The village children?"
"It takes a village to raise a child. I've been a member of a great many villages .We'd do things like this, take a bunch of kids out and..well just play. But not in a while. The village idea, kind of died out. I kinda missed it," Methos said with a quirk of his lips.
Lilia came over to the immortals effectively ending the conversation by sitting on Duncan's lap and proceeding to show him the character chips in her ice cream bowl.
At 8:30, Duncan stood and told the children it was time to pile into his and "Adam's" car to go back to the loft. Once there they put in a Disney movie, the four youngest asleep in the first half and hour, the other three out when their mothers arrived at 10:00.
"Were they good?" Liz asked, waking Jim up, before waking Sarah and Jon.
"Angels" Duncan said, forgetting before the snipe hunt when Jon had asked a policeman if he ever got sick of eating just doughnuts, cracking Methos up. And when Sarah had pretended his ponytail was a snake. He suspected that Jim was behind both incidents.
"Uh-huh." Julia said picking up Lilia. "Did you have to drug them to go to sleep?"
"No, we gave them ice cream to keep them up." Methos said from his sprawl on the couch. He waved at the sleeping children. "To no avail, you see."
Marie smiled "Ice cream? Excellent. What else did you do?"
Laura grinned sleepily " We went snipe hunting, mummy."
"Snipe hunting? Did you catch any?" Liz said winking at Duncan.
"No, Auntie Liz. No snipes." Patrick said sadly. He then motioned to Methos to lean down to him. He did and he whispered in his ear.
"I don't think there were any snipes. But we can look again sometime right, Uncle Adam?"
"Of course, Pat" he said hugging the little boy. "We can snipe hunt again any time."