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Highlander Holiday ShortCuts
Oh, My Mountain, for Nirva 
20th-Dec-2011 10:27 am
Title: Oh, My Mountain.
Author: Stale Pine Needles aka merriman
Written for: Nirva
Characters: Methos, Duncan, OFC villain
Rating: PG-13 (gen)
Author's Notes: Not being a climber myself, and having never been to Mount Everest, I might well have gotten some details of the location wrong. For that, I apologize. The Khumbu Icefall is a dangerous part of the ascent from the southern slope of the mountain and its shifting terrain has claimed lives in the past.
Summary: Methos really shouldn't have taken a challenge on the mountain. He shouldn't have been on the mountain in the first place.

Khumbu Icefall - Mount Everest:

"This is ridiculous," Methos snapped as he dodged out of the way. "Why are you doing this?"

"Because this is what we do," his opponent said. She was a previously unremarkable woman who'd shown up with the latest group of would-be summitters. He wasn't even really sure of her name. Cameron? Carrie? It didn't really matter now that she'd come at him with a sword in the middle of a mountain he was pretty sure counted as holy ground.

"It's not what I do," he pointed out. Though he had brought a small sword with him on the expedition. Not the usual, since that one was a little on the bulky and hard-to-explain side, but a perfectly serviceable blade. Unfortunately, it was in his tent back at Base Camp and all he had was an ice pick.

"Then this should be quick," she said, laughing as she swung at him again.

Methos had a split second to wonder if he was right about the mountain. Sure, it wasn't just one big temple, but that didn't mean it wasn't holy. Then again, those rules had always been a little fuzzy and he'd never been entirely sure whether a place had to be officially sanctified by someone to qualify. But then he didn't have time to think about it and could only hope that if he won, the mountain wouldn't come down on his head.

It wasn't easy, fighting with crampons strapped to his boots, uneven ground, limited space and of course, no sword. At least she wasn't trying to push him over the edge. After all, if he fell into a crevasse then she'd have to climb down to take his head. But she wasn't letting him win, by any means, pressing forward and slicing up his outer coat so the down drifted out like snow. Still, she'd been right about one thing: It was quick. Whether it was the mountain protesting the duel or just bad luck, before they'd been fighting five minutes the weather turned, sending a storm howling down on them.

Back at Base Camp:

"What do you mean, he's missing?" Duncan demanded. He'd come all this way and Methos was missing. Of course. Just like him.

"I'm truly sorry, Mr. MacLeod," the man said. He'd introduced himself as the expedition leader, which meant he was the perfect target for Duncan's growing anger. "One of the smaller expeditions radioed down from Camp 2. They had an injured climber they were trying to send down and Dr. Adams agreed to meet them at Camp 1, above the Icefall. We had no indications a storm would come through! It was one of the worst I've seen and I've been doing this a long time. He never made it to the camp. We're missing a climber too. We've had search parties out since the weather cleared but there's no sign of either of them and all our fixed ladders and ropes are gone."

Duncan glowered but the man was clearly too busy trying to cope with the aftermath the storm and of losing both a climber and the expedition's doctor to react much to him.

"I'm going up to look," Duncan said after a moment of strained silence. "I came to climb anyhow, so I might as well go."

"You just got here," the man protested. "You're not acclimatized!"

"I'll be fine," Duncan assured him, turning to leave before the man could stop him. If Methos was alive on the mountain, he'd find him.

Khumbu Icefall - Deep in a Damnable Crevasse and Covered in Snow:

This is all MacLeod's fault.

It was the first thing that Methos thought when he came back to life wedged deep in a crevasse. He was pretty sure that was going to be his first post-death thought for as long as he associated with the man. It was a nicely simple thought, uncomplicated by actual events. Of course MacLeod wasn't there and he hadn't been the one insisting on a bloody duel on a mountain that clearly hadn't appreciated it, but blaming him was so much more satisfying than blaming anything else, like Carmen. Which he now remembered was her name. Hopefully she was stuck in an even deeper crevasse than he was. Or buried. Of course, he shouldn't have let her challenge him in the first place, but there'd be plenty of time to acknowledge his own stupidity when he was warm and safe and not stuck between two chunks of glacier that he wouldn't have been anywhere near had he not had to get out of Paris to avoid yet another of MacLeod's old 'friends' and yes.

It really is all MacLeod's fault.

He could get back to the specifics of blame and death and MacLeod when he was out of the damn crevasse. Now, to get out. One mitten was was long gone, which meant that unless he could get up to a slightly warmer elevation, his hand would freeze faster than Immortal healing would keep up with. And that was an unpleasant cycle to consider. Amazingly, he still had the ice pick in one hand. Between that and the crampons he hoped were still on his boots, he figured he'd be able to climb out. Not quickly, of course, but he'd get there.

Two hours later he'd gotten himself several meters up a sheer wall of ice and was taking a much needed break, braced against the opposite wall while he was still close enough to it to do so. The gap just got wider and wider the higher he got. Eventually breaks wouldn't really be a possibility. But he wasn't really sure how long he'd been out after the storm, so the sooner he got out, the better.

Methos made a mental note as he started moving again: Always bring rope. Really, why hadn't he? He was climbing a mountain, after all. Which he now vowed to never do again. But if he did, he'd bring rope. And a grappling hook. And a gun.

Khumbu Icefall - The Surface, Which is Much Larger Than Expected:

Granted, Duncan had known how large the area was, but knowing it and seeing it were different experiences. It was vast. He was undeterred, however, and began his search on instinct. It was still early in the morning and the sun hadn't been on the Icefall long enough to start things melting and shifting.

"Methos!" he called out, but the only answer he got was a slightly ominous cracking sound from somewhere not too far away. He headed in the opposite direction, using what was left of the ladders and ropes from previous expeditions to get across. And over every crevasse he paused to look down.

When it felt like he was smack in the middle of the area he took out a pair of binoculars and started to look around for any sign. Snow, ice, bits of rope, bits of ladder, more snow, more ice. Sword.

There was a sword sticking out of the ice not too far from where he was. He lowered his binoculars and the sun glinted off the blade, making it an easy beacon to head towards.

"Why couldn't the mountain have swallowed you?" a voice called up from nearby as he approached the sword. "Holy ground, you absolute idiot!"

"Methos?" Duncan tried to follow the voice to its source and looked down to see one very cold and very wet and very pissed off Methos scaling the ice.

Methos stared at him, then closed his eyes, shook his head and continued climbing.

"I'd ask what the hell you're doing here, but I'll wait until I'm up there with you. You wouldn't happen to have some rope, would you?"

The Relative Luxury of Base Camp

No one had even tried to make Methos explain how he'd survived or why his bare hand wasn't frostbitten, let alone still in one piece. They'd just welcomed him back to camp with obvious relief and made sure to get him plenty of warm food and drink. The only question anyone had asked him was if he'd seen the climber who'd followed him up, claiming she didn't know if he had the experience to cross the Icefall without help. And to that he answered no. He hadn't seen her.

"So she challenged you on the mountain?" Duncan asked later that night while they sipped their tea in Methos' tent.

Methos nodded and pulled his hat down to cover his ears a little better. "Probably thought the only holy ground around here is the temples. Maybe the summit. No clue why she'd risk it."

"Maybe she knew who you are," Duncan suggested.

Methos shrugged and focused on his tea and adjusting the pillow on the camp chair he was seated in. Hardly the five star accommodations he'd spent much of his climb imagining, but really, it wasn't bad. And he wasn't inclined to move just then.

"Doesn't matter," he said after a while. "I don't think the mountain cared what her reasons were." If it had indeed been the mountain. They'd tried to remove the sword from the ice, but it was stuck fast, sandwiched between two gargantuan seracs that had fallen against each other to form a tight seal. So they'd left it for future climbers to puzzle over, or for the mountain to claim, which honestly, Methos thought was far more likely.

"So!" Duncan said, making Methos look over. "What do you say to actually climbing it? I mean, I did come all this way and that was before I knew you'd gotten yourself into trouble."

Methos stared at him. "You're joking, right? You found a sense of humor somewhere and now you're making a joke? Because I really don't think I'm welcome up there right now. Give it a few thousand years and enough incense to choke a monk and maybe." Or maybe never. Never sounded perfect right about then.

20th-Dec-2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
Hah! Fabulous. Definitely all MacLeod's fault.
28th-Dec-2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was the first line that came into my head. It's always MacLeod's fault.
20th-Dec-2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor Methos! Of course the whole mountain is Holy Ground, and he would know that. Well done indeed.
28th-Dec-2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Obviously that's why he's not carrying his sword up in the icefall.

Thank you!
20th-Dec-2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
This is all MacLeod's fault -- )))))) adore this line! *wink*
28th-Dec-2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was the first thing into my head. Methos in a crevasse? MacLeod's fault!
20th-Dec-2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
Hahaha)))Thank you for the present, dear author!! I wonder if the plot of this story has anything to do with the fact that I've been to my beloved Himalayas for three times or it's just a coincidence, because I don't remember telling anyone here about it.
Methos not only shouldn't have taken a challenge on the mountain, he shouldn't have climbed it in the first place))))) And there is another funny coincidence: in this very moment I'm writing a story about MacLeod climbing Mount Everest. But Methos refused to go with him) So thank you one more time for your story))
28th-Dec-2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
You are so very welcome! I had so much fun writing this and I had no idea you'd been to the Himalayas. I've been fascinated by the location and the whole idea of people climbing Everest and I thought having Methos act as a doctor for climbers would be interesting. Then it turned into this.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
20th-Dec-2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
:0) well everything's MacLeod's fault. And of course it's holy ground. I really liked this, I have a soft spot for a freezing Methos.
28th-Dec-2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
You know, I found I've got a soft spot for freezing Methos too. Thank you!
20th-Dec-2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
Do not piss off the mountain!

28th-Dec-2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
Definitely do not piss off the mountain. Going up against a mountain seems like such a bad idea!
20th-Dec-2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
I love your headers. Deep in a Damnable Crevasse and Covered in Snow indeed! But the story itself is fascinating - seriously interesting setting, and the relationship between Methos and Duncan is so sweetly antagonistic. I think your last paragraph's just perfect, too.
28th-Dec-2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was hoping the headers would read well and I'm so glad the rest worked too!
21st-Dec-2011 10:40 am (UTC)
Of course it's MacLeod's fault. Love it.
28th-Dec-2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
It's always MacLeod's fault. He just can't help it. Thank you!
21st-Dec-2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
Only Duncan or Methos would be challenged up on a mountain. Since it was Methos, of course it was Duncan's fault *snicker*
28th-Dec-2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Duncan's a trouble-magnet no matter where he goes. Or hasn't gone yet.

Glad you liked it!
21st-Dec-2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
LOL! Blame MacLeod - that's always the safe thing to do. What kind of idiot Immortal challenges someone on a big damn mountain, anyway? What an idiot! I love that the mountain claimed the sword.
28th-Dec-2011 09:00 pm (UTC)
It just seemed right that the mountain would keep the sword. And the answer to your question is: An immortal with delusions of grandeur challenges someone on a big damn mountain. Silly immortal.
(Deleted comment)
28th-Dec-2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I admit, I snickered to myself at the image of Methos climbing his way out.
21st-Dec-2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Loved everything mentioned by everyone else, especially the wonderful headers. Also loved ""Methos?" Duncan tried to follow the voice to its source and looked down to see one very cold and very wet and very pissed off Methos scaling the ice."

Wondering what 'old friend' of Duncan's induced Methos to flee Paris and why on earth he ended up where he did. I want to read more of this adventure.

Very nicely written indeed. Both of our guys were just totally in-character.
28th-Dec-2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
You know, originally I had intended to do more about the friend of Duncan's, but it just didn't work. Maybe I'll do a prequel!

Thank you!
22nd-Dec-2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
Khumbu Icefall - Deep in a Damnable Crevasse and Covered in Snow:

This is all MacLeod's fault.

Echoing all the others: this is a classic line. Well, two. :)

Love it! Great storytelling. I love how it starts in media res, and how much vivid picture you paint with a few words.

Always bring rope. Really, why hadn't he? He was climbing a mountain, after all. Which he now vowed to never do again. But if he did, he'd bring rope. And a grappling hook. And a gun.

I am rather shocked he didn't have all these things. :D

"You just got here," the man protested. "You're not acclimatized!"

"I'll be fine," Duncan assured him, turning to leave before the man could stop him. If Methos was alive on the mountain, he'd find him.

So Duncan! ♥
28th-Dec-2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
I honestly don't know why Methos wasn't better equipped other than that he didn't want to be climbing in the first place and was out of sorts.

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!
23rd-Dec-2011 06:29 pm (UTC) - "Holy ground, you absolute idiot!"
This little adventure is lots of fun, and very well crafted to fit its size (that is, the plot fills it up without spilling over or leaving air bubbles, so to speak).

The "rules" of holy ground were never quite canonically settled, of course, and in the later seasons, I used to go into a huff when a new episode would add some twist on what I'd previously worked out. ;-) With that in mind, I greatly enjoyed the looming but amorphous holy ground in this piece.

Thank you for sharing.
28th-Dec-2011 09:11 pm (UTC) - Re: "Holy ground, you absolute idiot!"
Thank you! I really appreciate the comment about the story fitting its size. It's something I strive for. Glad you enjoyed it!
26th-Dec-2011 07:18 am (UTC)
Oh, I can just picture Methos muttering maledictions at MacLeod as he's trying to chimney out of a crevasse. Methos was right about one other thing--he should never have transgressed on the spirit of the mountain. Nice portrayal of Everest's fickle and bloodthirsty streak!

28th-Dec-2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Everest doesn't seem like it would put up with any nonsense.
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