DisclaimerI do not own the characters in this story. They belong to Rhyser-Davies (or somesuch).
Paris was dark, still, in the evening. A dusting of snow frosted the ground. In the light of the street-lamp a lanky young man huddled into his grey trenchcoat. He stared up at the lighted window of the apartment above the bar.
Cautiously, a blonde head looked out at him. A few minutes later she was at the back door waving him up. "Hey, Methos. So you heard?"
She didn't look well. Dark circles marred her cheeks. Her ususal make-up was missing. She was too thin. Her typical fasion model clothes had been traded in for jeans and a tee-shirt. She seemed younger, more vulnerable. Methos dropped his trench over the back of a chair and opened his arms. "Amanda." She let herself be enfolded in the embrace and buried her face against the soft cotton sweater. "Come on. Put on a jacket."
"Where are we going?" Methos just smiled.
They walked along the silent streets of the shopping district. The dark windows reflected a young couple. The young woman had an arm around the young man's waist and her head on his shoulder. He had an arm over shoulders.
"I promised myself never again," she stated. Her tired voice was choked with tears. Her eyes betrayed one too many heartaches. "Kept it too, for over 300 years. Flings. No commitment… well, one, but he wasn't… I didn't have to…"
Amanda nodded. "It's not fair! He was too young!" A brief tightening of Methos' arm broke her resolve. They stepped into a doorway and she cried into his sweater.
"He was supposed to stay around forever," Methos wispered.
"Yes! He didn't even see forty!" Methos rested his cheek against her hair and stayed quiet. "Does it ever get easier?"
"No. When it does you should worry," the very old man wispered to her. They started walking again without any real purpose in mind.
They stopped in a small church. Amanda lit one of the candles and wispered a short prayer. They sat in one of the pews facing one another. "Why here?"
"No memories here."
"No, I couldn't bear not seeing Darius in his church." He hands were trambling.
From the rectory door the old priest watched the young man take his friend's hands. "He was just a child! How could someone kill him?"
"'Manda, some people care only for power, some people want to hasten the end. There are even those who'll say it was to save him from the pain of life."
"Yes. Reality, Amanda. People die. Even the one's who shouldn't. Teachers. Students. Lovers. Enemies. It tears your heart out. It hurts like the depths of Hell, but you survive. You loved him and he loved you. Nothing ever changes love like that."
"He was too young!"
"The very young and the very old often die."
"Will I see him again?" she asked, desperate for the assurance of 5000 years of experience.
"Oh, 'Manda." Methos pulled her into a hug. "There are some questions I can't answer, but I have always believed in the soul. Some part will survive and we will be together again. In the end we are One, Amanda."
She sat up quickly, gaping at him. "I that the REAL rule?"
"Yes, Amanda, but it got misused."
"Oh, honey." She smiled, the first one since the news of Nick's death had reached her. "Let's go home."
Methos sprawled on her couch with a beer. Amanda was asleep, head in his lap. He stroked her heair gently. In sleep her grief eased. The practical broadsword was in easy reach. A soft knock on the door heralded Joe's arrival. He entered quietly with the key Methos had copied for him. He set down the album and went into the kitchen and made coffee.
He settled down with his mug after delivering a steaming mug into the elder Immortal's hands. He set his gun on the side table. An hour later Methos was asleep.
Amanda warily opened an eye. The warmth of a hand on her temple kept her still. She blinked at the sight of Joe Dawson standing vigil beside her. A moment later the hand moved and she sat up.
Joe got her a cup of coffee. "Thanks, Joe." She didn't move away from Methos' side. "How long have you been standing guard?"
"We've been taking turns since the report came in."
"I didn't feel…" She blinked as Methos' signal disappeared from the back of her head. "Handy."
"I'll teach you in another few centuries. Now, Joe brought you a present."
Without pretense Joe handed over the simple blue album. "Here, Darlin'. It'll help."
Amanda gasped as she opened the book. "Nick! Oh, Joe. I don't have any pictures of him. He hated getting his picture taken."
"I know. These are curtesy of the Watchers." Amanda paged through the book.
"I… Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Methos."
"You're welcome, Darlin'! Just get yourself back into condition to fight. Until then," he patted the gun.
"Anytime, Amanda. Anytime."
Methos' cloaking device: Evidence in "Chivalry" -- Richie considers Adam younger than Mac, but Mac had to swim through a slow-mo buzz when he first met Methos. Evidence in "Til Death" -- Mac couldn't feel Methos when he ran up to talk to Gina, but suddenly feels him right before he stands up.
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