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Date in Calendar: 11 December 2004
Rating: PG/PG13 at most for implied relations
Summary: While celebrating Christmas with Duncan, Methos and the diValicourts, Amanda tells a story of one Christmas she spent with her teacher, Rebecca.
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Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of Davis/Panzer, Rysher Entertainment, and Gaumont Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. . This site is in no way affiliated with "Highlander” or any representatives of the actors of the series.
Note: Utterly smutless, because a lady, and Amanda, never kisses and tells. Written for the FemSlash Advent Calendar 2004.
"Well, it was bitterly cold at the abbey one year," Amanda said, settling into the armchair across from Robert and Gina while Duncan and Methos bickered about the coffee in the kitchen. They'd been taking turns telling stories for Christmas Eve while sitting around the barge and now it was Amanda's turn.
"Hey! I thought you weren't going to tell..." Duncan protested, leaning out of the galley.
"I'm not." Amanda said primly. "This is not the story you're thinking of."
Duncan gave her a skeptical glare and went back to fixing the coffee. Amanda looked at Robert and Gina, who were also casting doubtful glances at her. "Well it's not." Amanda repeated.
"But Robert told you a story about Duncan." Gina pouted.
"It was about Adam as well." Robert pointed out, patting Gina's hand. "Hush, my dear, and let Amanda tell her story."
"Thank you, Robert." Amanda beamed at him, earning another pout from Gina, then cleared her throat and began again. "As I was saying, it was bitterly cold at the abbey one year."
Amanda shivered in her cloak and pulled it tighter, glad that her horse was well trained and knew the way to St. Anne's abbey with little guidance on her part. The mare was aging quickly, and Amanda knew it would soon be time for a new mount. Not that Amanda would have trouble buying one with the money she now had, but it would not be the same as one from Rebecca's stables, not at all. For now, though, the horse walked on through the woods towards the abbey, and Amanda could concentrate on keeping warm and being glad that she was not silly enough to wear skirts in this sort of weather.
Soon, the abbey was visible through the wind-driven snow, and Amanda heaved a sigh of relief. She'd been away for seven years now, and when Rebecca's letter inviting her back to the abbey for the winter had finally arrived, Amanda had answered right away. The plans for her trip had been made soon after, but a few problems had come up, delaying her departure and forcing her to take a longer route than she'd planned.
Amanda was welcomed back with open arms by Eleanor, the housekeeper who maintained the wing of the abbey in which Rebecca lived. There was no sense of Rebecca inside, however, and Eleanor refused to answer Amanda's questions beyond saying that Lady Rebecca had gone out, instead sending her up to her old chambers straightaway to change and rest.
Amanda paused and accepted a cup of coffee from Duncan, sipping it slowly and waiting for him to get comfortable with Methos on the floor by the stove.
"See? I told you this wasn't the story you were thinking of."
Duncan shrugged. "Okay, fine. But they do start the same!"
"Not every story I tell has something to do with you," Amanda informed him.
Methos smirked and whispered something to Duncan that Amanda would have loved to hear, but it did make Duncan smile and relax.
"So where was Rebecca?" Gina asked, adding sugar to her own coffee and stirring it absently. "Clearly something had happened."
"I was just getting to that," Amanda nodded. "I was far more tired than I'd realized, and fell asleep almost immediately."
The soft glow of a fire was the only light in the room when Amanda awoke. She almost went right back to sleep, as the bed was comfortable and the fire had warmed the room quite nicely, but she could tell that Rebecca was home. Of course, it might not have been Rebecca, it might have been some other, less friendly Immortal, but Amanda was certain that she would have awoken in the chaos that such a presence would cause. It had to be Rebecca, who would have definitely let Amanda sleep as long as she could, knowing that her student had made such a long journey.
Amanda got out of bed and pulled on a robe and slippers then left the comfort of her room to go find Rebecca. The hallways were as cold as ever, with no good way to keep them heated for long aside from braziers, which needed more attention than they were worth. Fortunately Rebecca's rooms were not far from Amanda's, and it was clear that Rebecca was within.
"Amanda, I'm so glad you could come." Rebecca's voice was soft as she stood to embrace Amanda and close the door, keeping the heat of the room contained. When Rebecca released her, Amanda was instantly aware that the room was far warmer than her own had been, much too warm for the mountain of furs and blankets on the bed. Rebecca had clearly been sitting by the fire, where a bowl and spoon had been left.
"I'm sorry I took longer than I planned. Are you alright? Eleanor would not tell me where you had gone," Amanda asked as Rebecca led her over to the fire to sit down.
"Eleanor worries, she thinks me a fragile creature who should be cosseted." Rebecca set the bowl aside and drew a blanket over to cover herself. "I had a challenge, one I could not refuse."
Amanda slipped under the blanket with Rebecca, glad that she had not met any challengers on her trip. Even the thought of having to go out in the cold and try to wield a sword against an opponent was enough to make her shiver. But there was no need to go outside into the snow right now with a fire in the bedroom, and furs and blankets, not to mention Rebecca.
"It's been so long, I wasn't certain if Eleanor would still be here, or remember me," Amanda sighed, curling into Rebecca's arms and tucking the blanket in around her side.
Rebecca shifted and settled against a large carved wooden chest. "Eleanor will stay with me for as long as she lives I believe. She knows what we are, as does Melucine, as have most of my people since I came to St. Anne's. They know, but they do not like to speak of it." Rebecca shrugged and tightened her hold on Amanda, which was not entirely unwelcome.
"Did you ever find out who her challenger was?" Gina asked.
Shaking her head, Amanda paused to take a sip of coffee before speaking again. "No, but that's not part of the story."
"I'm afraid I don't see how this is at all like the one about me and Duncan." Methos commented. Amanda threw him a quelling glare at the same time as Duncan's hand connected sharply with Methos' shoulder. "Ow! That hurt!"
"Shut up and listen, Adam," Gina and Robert said in chorus.
"But this isn't funny at all." Methos pointed out.
Amanda's glare deepened. "Who said it had to be funny? I thought we were telling romantic stories."
"Just because ours happens to be funny too doesn't mean Amanda's has to." Duncan explained to Methos while Robert and Gina nodded. "Amanda? Please continue."
The warmth combined with the pop and crackle of the fire to be all but hypnotic, lulling both Amanda and Rebecca into silence for some time. Melucine came in to retrieve the bowl and spoon, replacing them with a pitcher of mulled wine and a small round of cheese. They ate slowly, lingering over the wine even after the cheese was gone.
"I am sorry to have ruined your return," Rebecca said softly after they'd finished the wine and were once more merely staring into the fire. "The holiday should still be a good time, I'm simply not..."
Amanda silenced Rebecca with one finger on her lips. "You could not have ruined my return. You are here, and safe, and we will spend the holiday together and Eleanor and Melucine will fuss over us both and we'll be snowed in and have no choice but to spend all month long bundled up in here in front of the fire."
Rebecca smiled. "I could have turned down the challenge. I am on holy ground, and it is Christmas time."
"You taught me never to run from a fair challenge I had a chance to win. You taught me that holy ground is not a hiding place, merely a safe place," Amanda reminded her. "Now, I know how unpleasant you find challenges to be, and I well recall how you took care of me after my first. Let me take care of you tonight."
Amanda leaned forward to pick up a cookie from the tray on the table, then sat back to nibble at it, looking quite content with herself. Methos appeared to have fallen asleep against Duncan's shoulder at some point, but now opened his eyes to look at her expectantly. Robert and Gina traded glances with Duncan while Amanda ate her cookie.
Brushing crumbs off her lap, Amanda looked around and feigned confusion. "What?"
"Well, there must be more," Robert said, taking a cookie for himself. "So go on, no one's interrupting now."
Amanda shook her head. "No, that's it. The end."
"Oh come on," Methos groaned, tossing a wadded up napkin at Amanda, who dodged it easily.
"Really, do you dirty-minded louts truly think I would kiss and tell? I was raised by Rebecca to be a lady, after all." Amanda sat back and smirked, taking in the rolling eyes and disgusted looks of her listeners with much satisfaction. Robert looked quite disappointed, while Duncan and Methos merely looked resigned after a moment if initial annoyance. Gina, however, had taken on a thoughtful gaze.
"My turn, is it not?" Gina asked, taking a last sip of her coffee before setting it down. "You see, Amanda, I have a very similar story."
"You do?" Amanda asked at the same time as Robert. Duncan and Methos were looking interested as well as all attention focused on Gina.
"Oh yes. This also involves Rebecca, and you as well, Amanda." Gina nodded and smiled at everyone. "Now, it was bitterly cold at my teacher's manor one year..."