Solstice Reprieve

Posted By: ShelBel MacViking <ssatre@hotmail.com>
Date:
Tuesday, 19 December 2000, at 1:59 p.m.

The snow was falling softly on Paris, like it always seemed to this time of year. It never stayed, though- like so many things in her life…

Amanda sighed and turned from the window. She was beginning to think coming back for the holidays had been a mistake. Yes, it was beautiful- but Paris always was. The new snow covered the dirty sidewalks and perched precariously on bare branches, lending an unearthly air of- something. Amanda struggled to find an appropriate word. Artifice, perhaps. A covering up- no, a temporary ignorance- of the true nature of life. That even when it was cold and bleak and frozen it still went on in it’s eternal rhythm.

The barge was gone- sold a long time ago. The river still rose and fell according to it’s ancient schedule, like the ebb and flow of blood through veins, pushed by it’s heart, the sea. Or would it be the moon? she wondered. The moon controlled the tides…

She tried to shake herself out of her reverie. C’mon, girl, she chided herself. It’s Christmas. Drag yourself out of your rut of self-pity and introspection and do something fun- like shop.

But even the thought of beautiful things failed to cheer her. It was only fun spending money when it was someone else’s- especially Duncan’s. She smiled at the memories of the many times she’d absconded with his credit cards. Half the fun was watching his expression when he realized what she’d done. She didn’t even mind the fact that he usually made her take everything back. Well, almost everything, anyway.

Damn it- damn HIM- it always came back to Duncan. It wasn’t bad enough that it was Christmas season- her favorite holiday- but his birthday as well served to remind her. She’d never missed him like this before, but then, she’d always known that he would be there, that she could find him when she wanted. This time, it was different. He was the one who had left, left the barge, left his life- left her. She sighed again and leaned her forehead against the glass, the cold creeping through the single pane to slowly chill her face.

The soft knock on her door startled her. She frowned and straightened, wondering who in their right mind would be making social calls on a night like this. The snow was beautiful, yes, but it coated the streets and walks in slippery muck and made driving and walking an adventure that not many cared to court.

Half way across the flat the buzz hit and she froze. The knock came again, and with it came the tiniest flicker of hope, a tiny flame of chance… She fairly flew across the apartment, paused at the mirror to check her hair and face, practiced her most winsome smile, and flung open the door without checking the peephole.

“I wasn’t expecting…” Her voice trailed off into a confused mumble. She frowned again. “Methos?”

The oldest living immortal stood there, snow still melting on his shoulders and in his hair, mouth quirked into a self-depreciating smirk. “Not who you were expecting, eh?” he drawled. He handed her a bottle of champagne with one hand and with the other gently shut her still-gaping mouth. “Thanks, I’ll come right in.”

He shed his wet trench coat and shoes, hanging the coat on the rack and leaving the shoes- rather neatly, she noticed numbly- on the entry mat. She shut the door behind him and watched as he opened the doors to her china cabinet and drew out two flutes, went to the sofa, then proceeded to light the candles that populated the coffee table. Then, with the ease of long practice, he settled himself onto the cushions in a loose-limbed sprawl and looked over his shoulder at her expectantly.

“Well? Are you going to join me in getting rip-roaringly drunk this dreary December day, or am I going to have to do it alone?”

A slow smile crossed her face and she sat down on the sofa next to him. Methos took the bottle, deftly loosed the cork, and smoothly poured the two flutes. Setting the bottle down, he raised his glass.

“To old friends,” he said softly. Amanda inclined her head slightly, her heart aching, her mouth curling up into a reluctant smile.

“To old friends,” she echoed. The flutes clinked together with a gentle chime, the bubbles tickled her nose, and she thought for a moment that old friends really weren’t so bad- when they brought the champagne.

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