Damn it, Nick, it was too soon, Amanda swore, even as her dark eyes re-confirmed the date engraved on the headstone in the old Parisian cemetery. Half a century wasn't long enough.
She thought about all the things they'd shared, how she'd tried to protect him, how angry he'd been when he'd woken up to Immortality and how he'd eventually come around. Oh, they had still had their share of disagreements; Nick had always managed to remind her of her conscience when she'd least wanted to be reminded. Their love had run the gamut from reluctant allies to business partners to sometime lovers to occasional enemies to intimate friends who hadn’t needed words to know just how they felt. Still, the words had been nice…when they’d managed to stop fighting over whatever issue had spurred the argument. Oh, the sex had been as passionate as they were, and the heat of it was warm even in memory.
She shivered now, remembering the last time. He’d slipped into bed with no warning other than his immortal signature, and taken her slowly, as though she was a wine he was trying to savor, kissing her with all the love and skill he had. The dagger she'd instinctively reached for had clattered to the floor. He’d immediately taken advantage of that fact to lift her more firmly onto him, causing her to gasp at the deeper sensation. Then he’d rolled onto his back, his hands gripping her hips firmly so that she stayed connected, and then began to thrust into her with maddeningly measured strokes. She’d tried to get him to speed up, but he had refused to be swayed until she’d come hard not once, but three times. Then he’d increased his pace, taking her up with him one more time.
In hindsight, Amanda suspected that Nick had known he couldn’t beat the immortal who'd challenged him, and so had given her one last night to remember him by. When she’d woken that morning, he’d vanished as mysteriously as he’d arrived. She’d had to resort to bribing her Watcher double what Nick had paid him not to tell Amanda to find out just where Nick had gone. By the time she’d arrived, the challenge was over, the victor long gone.
With a quiet sigh, she set her bouquet in front of the marker, and rose to her feet. It wasn't as if she'd never had a broken heart before, but it wasn't often she fell in love with another immortal, either, someone who had as much of a chance as she did at living forever. Nick was the third immortal to capture her heart, but she'd thought that maybe third time was the charm.
Strong Presence assaulted her as she became upright. Warily, she reached for her sword, but did not draw it. The cemetery was Holy Ground, and she had no wish to defile it with blood, particularly her own.
Her brown eyes soon found the source of the signal, striding towards her as casually as he would greet a mortal. In deference to both the sword he carried and the cold weather, a gray trenchcoat was wrapped around his lean, tall frame. He moved with the exaggerated grace of a feline and the apparent indifference of the college student his appearance declared he must be. Amanda knew better.
She blinked past her tears, feeling the first stirrings of joy she'd felt all day. "It's been too long, Methos," she greeted the newcomer. "Where have you been?"
"Oh, here and there, trying not to be noticed," he shrugged casually, "but I heard about Nick." The ancient immortal's gaze assessed her in one swift motion before he said gently, "Come on, I'll take you home."
She smiled wanly and linked her arm with his as they walked the short distance back to his car.
She was surprised to discover he'd taken up residence in an old estate. Another time, she might’ve made a disparaging remark about that fact, but she just felt too worn out to make the effort. If Methos noticed her uncharacteristic silence, he made no comment. Instead, he helped her undress, as impersonal as any valet, and tucked her into a massive bed that looked like it could sleep four. Exhausted by grief, assured that Methos would keep watch, Amanda slid into sleep. Tomorrow would be soon enough for vengeance and the hunt.
Leaves of September by Raine Wynd
This was originally written to get Trisha Yearwood's "Like We Never Had a Broken Heart" out of my head, which partly inspired the Lyric Wheel Challenges. Many thanks to Amand-r and idyll for the encouragement back then. Rediscovered on a backup disk when I found Rhi's "Thistle & Shamrock", I've revised it slightly.