The Feeling Remains by Raine Wynd
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Author's Notes:
Disclaimer and Notes: Methos and Alexa belong to TPTB, no harm meant, no money made.

Lyrics to "Vienna" by Ultravox borrowed equally without permission, and provided to me by K'immielvr as part of the Lyric Wheel Challenge begun by Amand-r. The challenge: write a maximum of four pages using a line from the chorus to this song by Ultravox somewhere in the story (title doesn't count.) For the record, I was volunteered for this part of the challenge. Guess that's what I get for telling Amand-r that I needed a story idea.

Feedback greatly appreciated!

Methos was driving down the road with the radio cranked up when the song began playing. The haunting piano, the swell of the strings, the wailing guitar and Steven Tyler's voice... and Methos's vision blurred as the image of Alexa, laughing as he tried to explain how much better Aerosmith's "Dream On" was than a waltz, formed in his head. His blood soared with the unbidden recollection. As if she was sitting on the seat next to him, he could feel her quiet strength of spirit, the soft touch of her hand on his thigh as he drove, the floral scent of the soap she preferred... He breathed deeply, trying to clear his watery vision, not wanting to get into an accident.

Vividly aware that his emotions were too volatile at the moment to continue driving, he decided to pull off to the side of the road and let the memory take hold. The image formed with crystal clarity, and Methos felt the tears start to form. He told himself that he would only indulge this memory a moment. Any longer, and he would have to completely alter his plans for this beautiful midsummer day. He knew he was lying to himself even as he thought the words. He wasn't expected anywhere, and his plans consisted of driving until he got tired and then stopping wherever he ended up.

Heart aching with the memories, he wanted nothing more than to believe he'd get over her in time, but he knew better. The truly remarkable ones never let you really forget. Though he'd never say it aloud, he recognized the fact that he didn't want to forget. To forget was to take away the memory of a joy that had brightened his life more than it had been lit in longer than he cared to count. Gods, he missed her. He'd known he would be hurt by her death, but this sudden, sharp reminder of that precious time brought all the emotion into vivid focus. He closed his green-brown eyes and let himself remember Vienna in midwinter ....

"What is this music?" Alexa whispered as they walked past the ballroom towards their hotel suite. Her ocean blue eyes were wide in disbelief.

"A waltz," he informed her. "Singularly appropriate for oh, Vienna, and Duncan MacLeod."

She giggled. "Adam! Must you continually insult someone who isn't here to defend himself?"

He quirked a brow at her. "Okay, so let's do something else."

He paused, taking the moment to drink in the sound of her laughter, the bright spark in her eyes. Her cheeks still held the flush of the winter wind that had driven them inside after touring the old city for the better part of the day. They'd walked for hours in the cold air, their breath freezing on the window panes as they window-shopped and commented on everything.

She wore one of his old leather jackets with casual familiarity, and he thought again of how much better the battered coat looked on her than it had on him. Her hand was soft and warm in his own sword-callused one. She was so beautiful to him it made his soul ache — strong and yet so delicate, innocent and yet so much more aware than he would've guessed.

For this instant, he could forget she was more mortal than most, could pretend that one day he wouldn't wake up alone again, without her smile and strength of spirit to inspire him. He'd known the moment he'd seen her that his heart had been caught, but in the weeks since they'd left Seacouver, he'd come to realize just how deeply she'd taken it.

Already he loved her too much to let her go, and they'd only been together a handful of weeks. Some part of him wanted to deny the depth of feeling, wanted to delay the inevitable, but he silenced the conflicting emotions. For this moment in time, he wanted to forget that all that confusion, all that cursing of fate for its twisted sense of timing, and revel in the nearly overwhelming surge of love he felt. They had *now*. For Alexa, that was all the time they had left in the world, and he was going to make the most of it, no matter the cost.

How could one woman make him feel this way? Methos had loved so many others in the past, but they weren't Alexa. The enormity of that fact staggered him when he chose to think about it.

Words failed to describe how powerful and deep his love for her went. He knew he'd never forget her. A million years would go by and he would still be loving her. She'd touched a piece of his soul he'd thought he'd left behind on some forgotten knife-edge of existence when he'd had to choose between survival and caring too much. The gift she'd given him in doing so was at once humbling and painful and precious. He'd nearly forgotten what it was like to be this impulsive, this carefree, this in awe of places he'd gotten used to dismissing without a second thought.

"What?" she asked him now, and he realized he'd been caught staring.

Impulsively, he kissed her, saying with his lips what he could not vocalize in words. She leaned into the kiss, her hands slipping down his back in a clear indication that she wanted more, but he held back, not wanting to frighten her with the depth of his emotion. Still, both were breathless when he ended the kiss.

"You know," he told her, picking up the conversational thread, "I hate waltzes."

"Oh?" Disappointment at the brief kiss laid a light veil over her innate curiosity. "And what would you prefer then?"

He didn't hesitate. "Aerosmith. 'Dream On'."

She goggled at him. "You aren't serious," she accused.

"Waltzes have violins. 'Dream On' has violins, but they enhance rather than detract from the song," he began, ticking the points off on his free hand. He kept the other firmly clasped in hers.

She giggled, but listened attentively to his comparison as they made their way back to their suite.

The image faded like a TV scene dissolving to black, leaving him a lonely old man with far too many memories of people he'd loved who'd gone to dust, and of one woman in particular.

He'd known from the start the risk his heart had been taking, but that hadn't stopped it from breaking when she'd died. He didn't even want to think about his desperate attempt for the Methuselah Stone, didn't want to contemplate just how close he'd been. Playing what if scenarios only dredged out the pain. He preferred to remember her easy laughter, her strong spirit, her completely honest love for him, and the gift her presence in his life had been. He hadn't even realized what he'd been missing until she'd stepped into his life.

Life had gone on without her, but for him, it wasn't the same, would never again be the same. She was gone, but the feeling he had for her remained. He glanced over at the empty seat beside him, a sad smile crossing his lips. With a heavy sigh, he let the memory go, releasing like a balloon of melancholy. He checked the road for any oncoming traffic, and pulled back onto the road as the radio played a new song. As if in sympathy for his feelings, the sky darkened with the promise of heavenly tears.

== Finis ==


The lyrics are:

We walked in the cold air
Freezing breath on a window pane
Lying and waiting
The man in the dark in a picture frame
So mystic and soulful
A voice reaching out in a piercing cry
It stays with you until

The feeling has gone only you and I
It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Oh, Vienna

The music is weaving
Haunting notes, pizzicato strings
The rhythm is calling
Alone in the night as the daylight brings
A cool empty silence
The warmth of your hand and a cold grey sky
It fades to the distance

The image has gone only you and I
It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Oh, Vienna

This means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Oh, Vienna