Feathers.

May. 1st, 2011 02:45 pm
devo79fanfic: (hear more)
[personal profile] devo79fanfic
Title: Feathers
Author: Devo79
Characters: Spike, Xander
Rating: PG
A/N: Inspired by the opening lyrics of Close to you by Ben Sollee.
Can be seen as a sequel to Seraph.

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Spike looked out into the sun drenched garden. He was standing just out of reach of the sunbeams shining through the windows. The Slayer’s bumbling idiot friend was mowing the lawn.

The sunlight picked out the lighter brown strands in the boy’s dark hair as he moved back and forth over the lush green grass.

The lawnmower made an ungodly racket. The old thing sounded as if it was trying to take off and fly away. The knives under the protective hood ate its way through the weeds and grass.

Suddenly Xander stopped the machine. He stood there staring at the ground just in front of the lawnmower. The boy tilted his head and squinted his eyes before he moved around the machine and knelt down in front of it.

Spike took a careful step closer, making sure he was still shrouded in the shadows. Xander reached out and picked up what looked to be a dead bird. He just knelt there on the grass with the dead bird in his hands.

Spike wished he could walk out there and ask the boy what the hell he was doing. Especially when Xander put the bird back on the ground and then marched over to the small shed in the corner of the garden.

Stretching as best as he could to get a better view, Spike suddenly felt very warm. Stumbling back half a foot he slapped at his t-shirt. It smelt a little burnt but at least he hadn’t caught fire.

Xander was back in front of the lawnmower now. A shovel in his left hand as he gently picked up the dead bird. Its black feathers moved a little in the breeze but the rest was like a tableau. Quiet. Unmoving.

Suddenly Xander put the shovel down and reached out. He slowly pulled a black feather from the dead bird’s wing. He held it up and looked intensely at it for a few seconds before he carefully put it in his jeans pocket.

Spike was disappointed to see the human step out of his field of vision. He debated for a few seconds if he should just go back to the couch and watch a bit of telly. Maybe, if he was lucky, he could catch a rerun of Passions.

But just as he was about to turn and sprawl on the couch, Xander reappeared sans shovel and dead bird but with dirty hands.

The boy rubbed his hands together a few times and then reached into his pocket and drew out the single black feather.

“What’s so bloody fascinating about a feather?” Spike grumbled to himself.

Xander held the feather in his lightly clenched fist and tilted his head back, letting the sunshine bath his face in light. Spike could see his mouth move but couldn’t hear the words.

Then Xander sighed and looked down at the feather in his hand. It was a little crumbled around the edges and the boy ran his strong fingers over it, gently straightening it before he put the feather back in his pocket.

------------------------------

Spike didn’t really think about the incident again. It was odd, sure. But this was the Hellmouth. Odd was normal here. If it wasn’t trying to kill you by ripping out your intestines and strangle you with them, then it was normal.

And since feathers rated very very low on Spike’s danger-o-meter he hadn’t spared it a single thought for weeks.

Until it happened again.

They were patrolling one of the older cemeteries. The majority of the graves overgrown by weeds and the words on the tombstones faded with age.

A single bird made a squeaking frightened sound as it was disturbed by their quiet voices. The rush of wings flapping overhead and Spike instinctively ducked his head. Xander just looked up and smiled as he watched a small white downy feather glide slowly through the air. It fell down on top of one of the oldest tombstones and seemed to quiver there for a few split seconds before it stop moving altogether.

Xander still smiled as he carefully picked it up and studied it.

“Another one for your collection?” Spike asked mockingly and watched as the smile disappeared. He could swear that the air suddenly felt a little colder.

“Shut up,” Xander simply mumbled and carried on walking. The feather held tightly in his hand.

-------------------------------------

Spike started keeping an eye on Xander.

The boy would pick up feathers where ever he saw them. It didn’t seem to matter what colour they were or from what kind of bird they originated from. Xander would pick it up and put it in his pocket. He always took the time to study it and sometimes, when he thought he was alone, he would close his eyes and tilt his head back and mumble inaudibly at the sky.

--------------------------------------

“Bathroom’s there,” Xander pointed at the closed door in the corner of the basement, “You’ll sleep there,” he pointed to the old ratty couch, “And, well, you probably remember everything else from last time your calm and sunny personality graced my living quarters.”

“Right,” Spike nodded absentmindedly as he turned on the television, “You’ve got cable?”

“No,” Xander sighed.

----------------------------------------

“Where are the bleeding keys?” Spike yelled at the bathroom door. He could hear the shower running and Xander’s muffled voice barely managed to be heard over the noise.

“In my pocket,” he yelled.

“What pocket?” Spike yelled back.

“The…in …jacket,” was all Spike could hear.

“I hope you bloody well drown, you nutter,” Spike mumbled as he walked over to the chair where the boy’s jacket was hanging. Spike stuck his hand into one of the pockets.

Surprised he withdrew it so fast that a small cloud of feathers followed his hand out of the pocket. They slowly fell to the floor.

“Oh,” Xander sounded a little embarrassed. He was standing there with a towel around his waist and his hair dripping down on the feathers, “I just remembered that I put the keys on the bedside table,” he said sheepishly.

----------------------------------------

He waited until the boy was asleep. Then he started his search.

The basement was a little mouldy and not really meant to be used as anything but a laundry room. The floors were cold, the walls a little damp in places but Spike had lived in worse places. But then again he wasn’t likely to develop asthma.

A few cardboard boxes were stacked ceiling high in the corner but apart from that Spike couldn’t really figure out where the feather collection, if indeed there was one, could be hiding.

He opened several of the boxes but only found old clothes and photos with their corners bent. A few of the older photos showed a younger Xander, all big eyes and white teeth, looking at the photographer. In all the photos there seemed to be a problem with the camera. A slight discoloration around Xander’s body as if the camera had been set wrong or as if sunlight had been shining into the lens.

Just when Spike was ready to give up he found an old wooden box. It looked deceptively plain. Just plywood. It hadn’t even been painted or varnished. He quietly lifted the lid and stared disbelievingly down at the content of the box.

Thousands of feathers. Every colour imaginable. Some nothing more than downy fluff, others long peacock tail feathers.

“When I start feeling homesick,” Xander’s voice startled Spike so much that he pulled his hands away from the feathers. His sudden movement caused the lid to slam back in place.

Xander smirked slightly and knelt down next to Spike, “I’ll just look at these. Just touch them a little. Run my fingers over their softness and I can almost feel it. The air. The way the wind holds you up just when you think you might have misjudged…” he bit his lower lip and shook his head.

“What are you?” Spike asked, his voice just above a whisper.

“Would you believe me if I told you I was once an angel?” Xander asked and caressed the black feather he had picked up from the floor.

“All I see is a tosser who likes to collect feathers,” Spike swallowed and stood up.

Xander smiled and looked up at the vampire, “Yeah, maybe it’s better that way. Safer.” Xander picked up a few of the feathers that had been swirled up when the lid had been slammed shut, “I’m going back to bed,” he said and walked over to his bed, the feathers still bundled in his hand.

Spike sat down on the couch. His eyes glued to the TV screen. He had no idea what he was actually watching and anyway he had muted it before he’d started his feather search.

“Sometimes,” Xander’s low voice filled the quiet room, “I carry feathers in my pocket to be closer to the sky.”

“Does it work?” Spike heard himself ask.

For the longest time Spike just watched the woman on the telly mutely trying to convince him that he needed new kitchen knives. The flickering light from the TV was the only illumination in the room.

“No,” came the soft reply.

--------------------------------------

The end

Date: 2011-05-01 01:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whichclothes.livejournal.com
This was so sad and sweet. I really enjoyed.

Date: 2011-05-01 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you :)

Date: 2011-05-01 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chaoskir.livejournal.com
Oh how sweet! Poor Xander. I hope he once can be an Angel again. Maybe with his Spike together. Yeah that would be nice wouldn't it?

Date: 2011-05-01 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thanks.

This one is pure gen fic so Xander won't be flying off with Spike...sadly.

Date: 2011-05-01 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] forsaken2003.livejournal.com
That was so sweet. I want to cry

Date: 2011-05-01 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you *hands you kleenex*

Date: 2011-05-01 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beccers4469.livejournal.com
I really liked this, well done. It's good to see a story with your name it again:D

Date: 2011-05-01 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thanks.

I've got plenty of stories saved on my laptop. Some of them just need the last bit of edit, others are halfway done.

I'm hoping to get more of them finished now that I don't have choir again before some time in September.

Date: 2011-05-02 12:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beccers4469.livejournal.com
YAY! I can't wait:D

Date: 2011-05-01 06:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emilygoober.livejournal.com
wow. very beautiful and captivating. loved this ficlet, it just has an unnameable quality about it.

Date: 2011-05-01 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you so much.

Date: 2011-05-02 09:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] annabuffy.livejournal.com
Wow, this was so sad.

Date: 2011-05-02 12:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thanks.

I was trying to get that across :)

Date: 2011-05-02 12:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iyalode.livejournal.com
Very cool. I like how this wasn't over dramatic and the story is all the better for it.

Date: 2011-05-02 12:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you.

I was very aware that if it became over dramatic it wouldn't work :)

Date: 2011-05-02 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akasakasan.livejournal.com
This was absolutely amazing, not that I expected anything different from you. =) I love how you use your words sparingly but each word you do use is so strong and adds depth and vibrancy to the story.

Poor Xander. The last paragraph, where Xander yearns to be closer to the sky, made me all sniffly. Absolutely brilliant work!

Date: 2011-05-03 07:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you :)

I always try to cut everything that's unnecessary away and to make the sentences as "clean" as possible. It means that I sometimes go over the same sentence 10 times before it sounds just like I want it to.

Most of my stories are already plotted and most of the dialogue has been worked out long before I even start writing anything down.

I have, thanks to my learning disability, the ability to imagine very intricate scenes complete with dialogue, scents, facial expressions and actions. Store them in my head and find them again months after I planned them.

Unfortunately it's also that ability that makes me sort of obsessive with some things.

Date: 2011-05-03 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you.

Date: 2011-06-09 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] samueljames
Gorgeous fic but sad and it made me teary.

Date: 2011-06-09 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you :)

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