blame it on the white rabbit by Raine Wynd
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Author's Notes:
Disclaimer and Notes: Panzer/Davis owns them. After over a year of playing with them, I'm still content with the fact that they're not mine, never will be, and that I'll never make a profit off of them even I wanted to do so.

This is yet another Lyric Wheel Challenge story, although with a twist. After sending out the initial Millennium Lyric Wheel challenge, Amand-r and I got to talking...and anyone who's been reading my fic for a while ought to know that when she and I get to talking, anything's liable to happen. In this case, she challenged me to write a genre I've never written before: horror. Not quite sure what this constitutes, but I hope it meets the challenge. This is set a year after HL:TR ends. Why a year, you ask? Because I've never really liked Amanda as a blonde. :-)

And oh, Amand-r? This one's for you. You thought I was kidding about the bunnies? <weg>

Lyrics are "H" by Tool, and are courtesy of Chuck.

As Methos stepped into The Sanctuary, the old grandfather clock in the foyer of the club chimed six p.m. in deep, resonant, stately tones just loud enough to be heard over the slow, seductive, saxophone-based jazz being piped through the stereo system. Methos paused after he'd shut the door behind himself, his eyes searching for Amanda, who normally greeted him within seconds of his entrance. To his surprise, a white rabbit darted across the floor.

One regal eyebrow went up at this sight.

"Amanda?" he called, moving farther into the room. Above the insistent, discordant throb of Holy Ground, Methos could feel her Presence drumming in his head. He knew she had to be somewhere in the building; it just was a question of where.

He took a deep breath, willing his body to harmonize with the sacredness of the earth on which The Sanctuary had been built, but the tempo remained off. The sensation bothered him; only in places where the holiness had been defiled in some way did he feel this way. Briefly, he mused that it wouldn't be the first time someone had built on Holy Ground and not known it. He wasn't much for spirits, but he had a healthy respect for Holy Ground — and knew that some things just couldn't be explained rationally.

As he wandered, he saw that the bar had been recently used. A pair of highball glasses — one half-filled with an amber liquid, the ice in it still slowly melting, the other filled with something green — sat on the bar. Near the glasses, a grungy white dishtowel rested, its wet folds still shaped like the hand that had grasped it. A black top hat and a magician's wand on the other side of the rag, thus explaining the rabbit's existence. The distinct aroma of a cigar hung heavy in the still air, and Methos recognized the scent as belonging to a brand of cigars he knew Amanda sometimes favored.

Still, she made no move to greet him.

He reminded himself that she would not be the first nor the last Immortal to take living on Holy Ground for granted. Certainly, a year was more than enough time to get used to living this way. He'd spent a number of years doing exactly that, securing himself with the knowledge that only the foolish and the naïve dared to break tradition. Sometimes, he'd even allowed himself to forget that potential risk. He wasn't above believing that Amanda would choose to forget that danger.

It took him a few minutes, but he found her huddled in the middle of her bed, rocking silently at something only she could see. The curtains were pulled shut tight, blocking any light, but even with the darkness Methos could see the tiny bolts of Quickening lightning flash over her skin. Cautiously, Methos approached her and touched her gently.

Her head shot up at his touch, and the curtain of raven-black hair covering her face flipped back. Instinctively, he fought to maintain his calm even as a part of him wanted to revolt. Another, darker, baser part of him critiqued the effect and found it lacking a certain amount of finesse.

Where Amanda's face had been was a bloody mess. He could literally see the lightning working to sew the torn, ragged flesh together. One eye was still blind, but the one that was good focused on him and pleaded with him. Her lips were rapidly healing, and he suspected she'd be capable of speech soon. For the moment, though, she looked like Freddy Kruger-sponsored beauty pageant queen.

Methos shook his head, denying the simple mercy. "No, Amanda. Killing you will not stop the pain."

The temptation to kill her, though, was there. Like an addict who knew where his danger lied, he could hear the snake calling him, hissing at him with a song he knew all too well. Healing didn't come without a price, but he was aware that facial wounds wouldn't heal any faster if she was dead. He didn't understand why she wasn't completely healed yet; even though the damage was severe, she should have recovered more fully in the short time he'd spent with her.

Then again, he reminded himself, you've never seen her recover from wounds this bad, much less a Quickening. You have no idea how quickly she recovers from anything other than a night of sex with MacLeod or a couple of drinks.

Suddenly, she lunged at him.

Taken off guard, he was ill-prepared to defend against the first strike. Only centuries of honing quick reflexes saved him from getting stabbed in the chest. As it was, the knife he hadn't realized she'd held sliced his left arm, rendering it temporarily useless.

He didn't bother with questions as he rolled off the bed. He scrambled to his feet, but didn't draw his sword. Aware that fighting on Holy Ground was not a smart idea, he had to find another means to disarm her. "Amanda, no."

"Yes," she rasped in a venomous voice, and following him off the bed, lunged again.

He danced out of the way of her reach. At the last second, he grabbed the wrist of the hand holding the dagger, and pressed down on a nerve point. She screamed in agony and frustration, but dropped the weapon. As an added measure, he kicked the weapon across the room and shoved her against the wall.

"No. I am not killing you on Holy Ground, though the temptation to do so is killing me right now."

She twisted, trying to escape using the acrobatic skill she'd employed successfully on numerous occasions, but he held onto her. "No, Amanda."

She glared at him, but ceased struggling.

He looked at her carefully, studiously masking his reaction to her slowly healing face as he tried to assess whether or not she was going to remain peaceful. The unfortunate part about this process was that he knew how tricky Amanda could be. Slowly, he stepped back, but kept his hands on her arms.

"What happened?" he asked quietly.

"Magician," she bit off.

He stared at her as dread slithered up his spine. Magic and Holy Ground was not a good mix. "Didn't you think of what the damage might have been?" he demanded.

As best as she could with his hands still gripping her upper arms, she shrugged helplessly.

"I didn't think it would do anything," she told him in a voice underscored by pain. "It was just a cute little rabbit trick, and Pierre was so charming."

Methos rolled his eyes and let go of her arms. "Where's the magician now?"

"I don't know," Amanda replied. "I wasn't exactly seeing anything after the explosion." Her voice was gaining strength as her body healed. She shook her head experimentally and reached up to touch her face.

Methos grabbed her wrist before her fingers could contact. "Not yet," he warned her. "Can you see out of your right eye?"

"Not quite," she answered, then released a heavy breath at his knowing look. "Still blind."

"Then don't touch it yet," he admonished her. "I'm surprised the bar didn't blow up."

"I think it did. I don't remember. It happened so fast.."

"Well, if it did, nothing got broken, so far as I could see." He let go of her wrist.

She sighed with relief, then looked stricken as a thought occurred to her. "Methos, I think I killed him."

"The magician?"

She nodded. "He was playing it up, you know, saying stuff that I didn't think meant anything just distract me from watching his hands. Next thing I know I couldn't see and — Damn, my face feels like it's been burned."

"Looks like it went through a shredder," Methos told her bluntly. "A minute ago you were begging me to kill you."

She frowned at that. "I hate pain," she replied. "Must've been out of my head there."

Methos snorted. Beneath him, he could feel the ground beginning to settle like some indignant hen, placated now that the disturbance to itself was over. The power of Holy Ground surged through him, and he knew Amanda felt it too, for she hung her head.

"Sorry," she apologized, and he knew it wasn't just to him Amanda was apologizing.

The ground rattled a bit at that, then was silent. In the wake of that, Amanda's face began healing more quickly, until she was back looking like her usual self.

"Come on," Methos urged. "Let's go see if we can find your magician." He doubted it, though.

They did find two rabbits, however, the white one Methos had seen pass by earlier, and another, black and tan one with curiously shaded eyes. The black and tan one seemed unusually frightened.

"Guess that answers my question," Methos commented.

Amanda made a noise of agreement. "So, want a rabbit for a pet?"

**** THE END****

©1.16.00 Alice in Stonyland

Oh, and here are the lyrics:

What's coming through is alive.
What's holding up is a mirror.
But what's singing songs is a snake
Looking to turn this piss to wine.

They're both totally void of hate,
But killing me just the same.

The snake behind me hisses
What my damage could have been.
My blood before me begs me
Open up my heart again.

And I feel this coming over like a storm again.
Considerately.

Venomous voice, tempts me,
Drains me, bleeds me,
Leaves me cracked and empty.
Drags me down like some sweet gravity.

The snake behind me hisses
What my damage could have been.
My blood before me begs me
Open up my heart again.

And I feel this coming over like a storm again.

*chorus*
I am too connected to you to
Slip away, to fade away.
Days away I still feel you
Touching me, changing me,
And considerately killing me.
*end chorus*

Without the skin,
Beneath the storm,
Under these tears
The walls came down.

And the snake is drowned and
As I look in his eyes,
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of those times.

I could have cried then.
I should have cried then.

And as the walls come down and
As I look in your eyes
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of the time
I have died
and will die.
It's all right.
I don't mind.

*chorus*
I am too connected to you to
Slip away, to fade away.
Days away I still feel you
Touching me, changing me,

And considerately killing me.
*end chorus*

*end chorus*