A Favor for a Friend by Raine Wynd
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Author's Notes:

Disclaimer and Credits: I don't own Amanda, Methos, Alexa, or Duncan; those lovely folks at Panzer/Davis Productions do. I'm borrowing them for a trip into my version of Wonderland, so whenever they're through arguing over who gets to be the official tour guide, I'll send them back. Comments, bottles of Arizona Green Tea, and frus of Nick or Methos may be sent to: dayea@rainewynd.com. Well, maybe not the bottles themselves... <g> This was written for the Second Lyric Wheel, AKA the "Hands" cycle. Lyrics to Jewel's "Hands" borrowed without permission.

Thanks to Dana Woods for the super-quick beta after it was posted to the Clan MacBeta Forum and to the rest of the usual suspects for keeping me LOL all night while I wrote this. 


"I still can't believe you got me to agree to this," Methos grumbled as he stepped out into the Valley of the Kings. Secretly, he was glad that she had. He'd been in a funk over the second anniversary of Alexa's death, and Amanda's beguiling invitation had been precisely what he'd needed.

Amanda smiled sweetly. "Come on, my friend, who better to show me around?"

"That's what you said in 1922 when they opened King Tutankhamon's tomb, and you called me to try and wrangle a personal tour," Methos pointed out firmly. "I said no then. I should've said no now."

She shook her head. Stepping into his personal space, she leaned against his lean frame and looked at him. "So why didn't you?" she asked reasonably.

Methos favored her with a glare. "Do I have to explain my reasons to you? I don't think so."

She laughed freely then. "Admit it, you couldn't turn me down this time because you didn't want me here by myself, getting all sorts of wrong information." She punctuated her words with a finger into his chest, which caused him to frown in disapproval. She pretended not to see the look he gave her, and continued, "If it weren't for the fact the circus had called me right after you turned me down, you know you wouldn't have had any excuse."

Caught by the truth, Methos scowled. "You know, I liked you better when you weren't so serious." He ignored the fact that he was thoroughly enjoying her company, and the chance to see Egypt with a friend who understood, at least in part, what it meant to him. He had a reputation to maintain, after all. He knew, though, she wasn't completely fooled by his facade. He'd shared too many experiences with her for her to be wholly deceived by the front he put on.

"Darling, someone must stand up for what's right," she answered lightly. "Why not me? I might have small hands, but I'm perfectly capable of handling whatever comes my way."

"Oh, really? And what was the 'Methos, you've got to help Mac' speech I've heard a few times?"

She had the grace to blush. "That was different," she argued.

He let the statement go, knowing she was right. He had his reasons for helping Mac, reasons that he knew Amanda shared, if from a different perspective. Still, he couldn't resist the temptation to give Amanda his opinion.

"Besides, you make a lousy poster child," he sniped, even though he respected her for taking on that responsibility. "Mac's rubbed off on you too much."

"Is that a bad thing?" she asked seriously. "You know I've never meant anyone harm."

Methos sighed. "I know." Amanda could be ruthless in her approach to theft and to winning a fight against another opponent, but deliberately cruel was not in her nature.

He stared at the Sphinx, and remembered how it once had looked, with another face, one more regal than it held now. If he closed his eyes, he could see the scaffolding that had once encased it when it had undergone a facelift. A long-forgotten memory—of having helped build that scaffolding under the searing heat of the summer sun and the demanding crack of whips wielded by cruel masters—rose through the sea of stored experience. He caught the tremor that threatened to buckle his knees before it could become a full-fledged tremble. He knew, though, that Amanda had felt his posture stiffen, standing so close to him as she was.

"In the end, only kindness matters, or so I've heard. " His words came out harsher than he'd anticipated, no doubt influenced by the flash of memory.

Amanda stared at him a moment. Suddenly, Methos felt exposed, a roll of film torn out of its canister. Silently, he cursed his loss of control, and wondered why she was so able to see the parts of him he tended not to reveal. Still, her eyes were questioning, probing, seeking answers he wasn't ready to give.

"You've heard?" she teased him, stepping to his side and linking her arm in his as they began to walk towards the nearest monument. "You're not sure?"

Methos breathed a sigh of relief that Amanda hadn't pressed for an explanation of his statement, or his unexpected change in posture. Her unwavering faith and lightness of spirit was a beacon to him, and he was glad for her friendship.

"Sometimes, no," he answered honestly. "I look around here, and I think about how much simpler that time in history seems when we're looking through this end of the telescope."

Amanda nodded her understanding. "But the world never really changes, does it?"

"Unfortunately, no."

A thought occurred to her just then. "Though I'm sure everything will be okay, are you—"

"—Ready for the turn of the century, when technology will fail?" Methos finished. "What do you think?"

His companion laughed quietly. "Yeah, I thought so."

Smoothly, she changed subjects. "So, tell me," she began, "are you going to translate the hieroglyphics, or am I going to have to guess?"

"Oh," Methos said offhandedly, "I think it'll be more fun if you guess."

"Methos!!" Amanda protested.

He just snickered and, slipping his arm out of her grasp, walked on ahead to the entrance to the pyramid. She stared at him, disbelieving.

At the last second, he turned and called to her. "Well, are you just going to stand there, or are you coming? You dragged me all the way from Paris to here, and if you're going to just be overwhelmed by the grandeur of this place, I think I'll go back to the hotel and have a beer. There's nothing I hate worse than being dragged into something you want me to do."

Amanda's eyes narrowed at the barb. She marched up to him, aware he'd intentionally pushed her buttons. "You are insufferable, you know that?"

Methos shrugged. "Whatever works, Amanda." He stepped into the pyramid, Amanda close behind.

"And a fake," she informed him haughtily.

"Who, me?" He gave her his best innocent look. "Never."

Her laughter echoed through the narrow passageway. "Tell me another one, my friend."

Methos watched her laugh, feeling the joy surround him. He'd forgotten just how much brighter being around Amanda could be, even if it was also potentially insane, dangerous, and altogether far too interesting for a sane, cautious man. Amanda wasn't letting him wallow in his grief, but she wasn't letting him forget, either. Bringing him to Egypt, a place he had visited with Alexa before her death, had been a clever way of letting him do that. Had it been up to him, he would've stayed in Paris and gotten really drunk. Two years, and it still hurt. He breathed deeply, feeling the pain he kept buried make itself known.

In the same calm manner in which he'd been speaking, he told her, "Thank you, for doing this."

Caught off guard by the remark, she nonetheless recovered quickly. "Anytime, my friend.'

—Finis—


©3.21.99 Alice in Stonyland

The main line I used is "someone must stand up for what's right"; see if you can pick out the others. :-)

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all ok
And not to worry cuz worry is wasteful and useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won't be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
for light does the darkness most fear

My hands are small, I know,
but they're not yours they are my own
but they're not yours they are my own
and I am never broken

Poverty stole your golden shoes
but it didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
but i knew it wasn't ever after

We'll fight, not out of spite
for someone must stand up for what's right cause where there's a man who has
no voice there are shadows singing

My hands are small, i know,
but they're not yours they are my own
but they're not yours they are my own
and I am never broken

In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters

I will get down on my knees and I will pray I will get down on my knees and
I will pray I will get down on my knees and I will pray

My hands are small, I know,
but they're not yours they are my own
but they're not yours they are my own
and I am never broken

My hands are small, i know,
but they're not yours they are my own
but they're not yours they are my own
and I am never broken
We are never broken

We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
God's hands
God's hands

Endnotes: Okay. What I know about the Egyptian pyramids is based on what I've seen on The Discovery Channel, and from trips to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's King Tut recreation. I know that at least one of the structures is old enough to have been around when Methos was, 5000 years ago. If I'm wrong, please consider it literary license.

I chose to interpret this song as a message about friendship, the hands that hold you when you feel like falling apart, and pick you up when you least expect it.