TITLE: The Path of Enlightenment.
AUTHOR: Alyssa C

CATEGORY: Epilogue.

PAIRINGS: Lara/Amanda
SPOILERS: General spoilers for Tomb Raider Legend, Anniversary and Underworld.

RATING: T

WARNINGS: There will be mention of a relationship between two women.

STATUS: Unfinished.

FEEDBACK: Please! Please I'll do tricks for reviews. Which? Well. Review and see. ;)

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Tomb Raider's copy right. That goes without saying. I'm not making any money out of this either. Bummer that.

AN: I've just finished playing Tomb Raider Underworld (took me a while to be able to afford PS3 so that I could play it so yes, I know I'm behind, or was…) and this just wouldn't let me go. I've been playing with the idea of starting a Tomb Raider fic for ages (after Legend really). Here's my attempt at it, I hope you enjoy and more importantly, lol, I hope you review.

Prologue: Falling Snow.

'So, this is hell,' she thought quietly as she lay on the cold stone floor, feeling flakes of snow landing on her face and melting there to form tears that she couldn't cry. 'A place not filled with fire and demons and torture, but snow and bitter memories and an old friend who wanted to see you dead.'

Lara Croft pushed herself up and looked around her. 'A full circle,' she thought as she stood up and walked to where the Excalibur look alike was lying. 'Everything started here and now, this is where I end up. Older, wiser… I know now what happened to my parents. Both of them. The truth that was supposed to set me free…'

She turned to see Amanda push herself up, her hand clutching the Wraith Stone. There was hate and pain in her old friend's eyes as she balled her fist, making the stone burn with its dark light.

For a few seconds Lara looked at her, then clutched her sword, feeling its ridges and familiar power.

"So, it's back to this, is it?" She asks, her voice conveying her bitter pain and exhaustion. If Amanda wanted a fight, she would give it to her.

The blond woman grimaced at her, the scar on her face making her appear flawed and wronged. "What?" She exclaimed, though Lara could see the hesitation that she needed in her eyes. "You think we're even?"

She thought about this, deeply and quickly. She had left Amanda to a watery grave, buried and lost, thinking her dead. She's regretted it since learning her fate in Kazakshtan, wondering how things would've turned out if she had gone back. Amanda would never have activated the circle and through that, her mother would never have been taken to Helheim. Inevitably, she had played a hand in her own fate. Amanda had in turn done her many wrongs, had been responsible for Alistair's death and the destruction of her home. They had done each other so many wrongs that somehow; she knew that nothing could fix it.

Lest of all revenge.

"Would killing me make us even?" Lara asked bitterly and put the sword on her back before Amanda lowered the Wraith Stone. If she wanted to continue this fight, so be it, Lara was going to have no part in it. It had to end somewhere and, if Amanda killed her now, it would just give her an easy out to all the problems and heartache that lay before her.

She could see Amanda consider this, see her mulling the thoughts through her quick and sharp mind. Then, slowly, she saw her own bitter defeat reflected in her old friend's eyes as she lowered her stone and turned around sharply, limping to the exit.

Lara didn't follow her, not immediately, but turned again to look at the broken dais. She saw something on the floor and walked towards it, picking up the drawings of a young girl, long dead and forgotten. The young girl would never have dreamed that one day she would meet Yeti, and they would be just as fierce as she had depicted in her pictures. Lara bit back tears as she looked at the stones around her, thinking of her mother and the final kiss she had given her so many years ago.

'You never have to be cold Lara,' her mother had said. 'Not if you don't want to be.'

The sad fact was that she had been cold after those fateful events and she might well be cold for the rest of her life.

Letting the drawings drop, Lara turned around with a heavy heart. "Good bye Mother," she whispered softly, trying to remember the woman she had lost and not the thrall she had to kill. "Rest in peace."

She walked back to the entrance of the chamber, finding it ironic that she'd returned here twice in just a few months after vowing years ago that she'll never come back. The irony was that once again, she was trapped as she had been when she was younger, with no supplies, no proper clothing and no way of contacting help. Yet, this time, she wasn't alone.

She found Amanda standing by the exit of the chamber, clutching her leg and looking out to the vast snow ridden landscape that stretched before them. She didn't turn to see Lara coming up behind her, but shivered and leaned against the wall to get the weight off of her injured leg.

"Where are we?" she queried, though from the doubt in her voice, Lara could hear that she didn't believe that she could give her an answer. She felt bitterly satisfied to be able to supply it.

"Nepal," she said. "In an old monastery." She saw a brief flicker of hope in Amanda's eyes and quickly stopped it. "Abandoned," she added. "There's nobody around for miles and it's winter."

Amanda raised an eyebrow and mouthed the word 'Nepal'. Her eyes widened as she turned to Lara. "Where your mother…"

Lara nodded and leaned against the opposite wall. She wasn't feeling the cold, not yet. She hurt too much to.

"Yes," she said simply. "Where my mother left me. And I was stranded. Alone."

Always alone.

Amanda didn't look at her, didn't ask any questions. She was one of the few people who knew the full story, who had heard first hand what hardships Lara had to endure when she was younger.

Lara had told her; when they were still friends, in a time now seemingly so far out of reach and memory that it felt as if it was another person's story.

A story told to a friend, one night in a university dormitory, when the world was very different and pain, although acute, had not yet turned bitter…

&&&

To Be Continued…