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Wishlist 2010

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Ficlet(s)

This story is No. 2 in the series "Wishlists". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Twenty-four gifts for twenty-four people giving me twenty-four prompts. Ficlet collection. Part II. - Now Up: To The Ground! verse Christmas fluff.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > General > Ficlet Collections - Other(Moderator)FaithUnbreakableFR152440,119311735,51330 Nov 1024 Dec 10Yes

feathers and light - SPN/BtVS

Warnings: Pretentious purple prose from an angel’s Pee Ohh Vee. Also, muchly illogical angst, which is sooo not my fault. *glares at the prompt*

Prompt: missindelible, also known as Pax asked for BtVS/SPN, Buffy, Castiel, She bends like a willow and endures like a mountain.

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feathers and light

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You watch her fall from (and into) grace.

That in itself is nothing worthy of notice because half of Heaven is there, silent and invisible, watching the martyr fall, arms spread wide and back arched, as your Father’s son once hung on the cross.

She dies not for humanity’s sins, but for its virtues. She dies for love, for passion, for friendship and family. She dies for hope.

Her body shatters with a crunch and a crack that you imagine humans must find sickening. To you, it only marks the end of her journey, of her suffering. It marks the beginning of her salvation.

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Watching her fall is noting worthy of notice.

But following her afterwards into your Father’ fields and dreams, is. The dream, the heaven she makes for herself is a simple thing, entirely different from what most humans create. You have walked the Garden before, many a time, and you have seen the things they create for themselves. Cherished memories playing in an endless reel. Beloved faces, remembered childhood homes.

They have the entirety of the universe at the tip of their fingers and they recreate what they have already seen, already lived. If you were so inclined, you would find that flawed, would find it a waste of Father’s gift to his children of clay.

Alas, you are not so inclined.

And to set foot into her heaven…

It is boundless and colorless, or perhaps, it is all colors. An entire rainbow pressed into a single atom; white light. But not blinding. There is sound, but it is not deafening, smell that does not overpower the senses, touch that feels like feathers and sighs. The space pulses with her heartbeat, slow and sure, and the air she breathes inside this nothing is permeated with certainty. Certainty that the fight is over, that the rest is well deserved, that her beloved ones are safe. Certainty that she is done, and her duty with her.

You step into her place, her dream, her heaven, and you feel as close to the beginning as you have since Father pulled matter from nothing and the universe became more than warm darkness and distant starts.

This woman, this warrior, does not dream in memory and the known. She dreams in absolutes and abstracts. She dreams in peace and perfection.

So different from the others, so fascinating.

Can anyone blame you for wanting to know more of her?

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You have your duties to attend and you do so diligently, but between those duties, you always take a second, just a second (forever in Heaven) to find her dream and step into it, to feel the utter peace she feels, the dreamless dream she dreams.

Once, feeling bold and sharp, you step up to her sleeping mortal shape, suspended in the middle of the white space, and touch her cheek. The vessel is mostly empty, you know, her soul scattered and spread far and wide, all around you. This shape will fade, in time, as she forgets she ever had it. But for now, a fraction of her remains within that vessel and as you touch her with feathers and light, she stirs and blinks green eyes at you.

She speaks, in a way that is not language at all. She says, I felt you before.

You nod and apologize quietly, for intruding upon her space, her afterlife. The impression of laughter surrounds you. You are forgiven, she tells you. I like how you feel.

You take that as permission to keep returning to her. She does not negate that thought, her laughter drifting into the distance like the clouds that hide Heaven from Earth.

You make to leave when she speaks again.

Yes, she breathes into your soul, Come back.

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You do.

Time and again, you do.

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And then, an age or a single day later, you fly to her dream and find nothing. You scour Heaven for her, search every nook and cranny of the Garden, and find only an echo of her, a memory of her eternal dream.

So you widen your circles, you fly higher, fly lower. You search Creation for her spark, her soul, and you find it, compressed into physical shape, tiny and injured, a bleeding, sharp-edged thing.

You find it back on Earth, back among the living.

You look down at her and you reach out your hands, desperate to hold her, to soothe her, but her senses are numb, her mind dull. Her endless soul is a tiny ball of agony, too pained to even scream inside her mortal chest. Compressed until its light is almost gone.

You hang above her in mid-air, light and feathers, and you weep.

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After that, leaving her becomes a thing of impossibility. You try, oh, you do, but something tethers you to her, to her fate, her mortal shell. Something that is curiosity, is desire, is sorrow and love and care and sadness.

Something that is altogether human.

Uriel laughs at you, calls her a mud monkey, a broken toy. He warns you, of disobedience, of human emotions. Warns you of Falling and you turn away because for a second, a split second, you find yourself thinking, if it would return her to her peace…

It would be sacrifice, you tell yourself. Sacrifice for a warrior, a pure soul that has suffered enough. It would not be sin, to give your grace for hers and then you freeze and tremble in fear of your own thoughts because surely Father has meant for this to happen. Surely, this is part of his Plan.

Surely, there is a point to her suffering.

Surely.

Uriel leaves you in a rush of wind and you stay where he parts from you for hours, watching her house, the place that has ceased to be a home to her. You watch and you do not doubt because it is not allowed.

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A mortal year passes fast for you, who has seen the world created, but this year, the year after her resurrection, feels endless to you because it does to her. She trudges on, tired but smiling, numb but moving, hollow but laughing.

She trudges on and you follow in her footsteps, one after the other, day and night, waiting.

You tell yourself you don’t know for what but that is a lie. Lying is a sin. She is teaching you that.

You are waiting for her to break.

But somehow, she never does.

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She, who was without body, endures beatings that leave her bloody. She, who was without sight, finds the strength to step into the blinding daylight time and again. She, who lived in the silence of her ever slowing heartbeat, lives among screams and white noise.

Every time she hits the ground, she gets back up and every time your arms itch to reach out and catch her, because she will surely fall, she balances herself at the last possible second and remains on her feet.

You do not understand how she does it, do not understand why.

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You do not know if her memory of Heaven grows duller, or if her skin simply grows thicker, but ten months after she rose, she smiles for the first time and her soul, once so strained, to tightly compressed and tortured, heaves a big breath and unfurls.

It’s the first smile you have seen that she actually, truly means. Impossibly, she heals.

And there is still something of Heaven in her.

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By month twelve she leads her sister out of the earth and promises to show her the world, to show her life.

You smile in misplaced pride, filled with joy for her and a gentle sadness for yourself.

You watched her all these eons Above and an entire year Below and it feels like forever to you, feels like you have always lived inside her shadow, waiting to catch her.

But she didn’t need you for she never fell. She never broke.

You think that means she is stronger than you, better. She never wavered, despite her pain, but you…

Maybe Uriel is right and you should be more careful.

Maybe it is time to leave her, for good. She will return to Heaven, one day soon, a year or fifty from now. You will see her again then, unbound and beautiful as she was.

Until then, it is time to say your goodbyes. She does not need you and you do not need her.
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You think I’m less now than I was Above, don’t you?

You jerk in surprise, meeting her gaze in the mirror she is standing in front of. You didn’t know she could feel you, didn’t know she could see you.

You thought that part of her was lost.

(You should have known better really. There is still something of Heaven in her.)

You shake your head. I admire your strength. You bend like a willow, you tell her, and you endure like a mountain. You are indomitable.

She smiles. But you don’t understand how, do you? Because I’m human again.

I have never been that, you admit, without shame.

I miss Heaven, she tells you suddenly, lips mouthing the words she does not speak out loud. I miss it so badly, some days I feel like I can’t breathe or move.

You do not tell her that you know, even though you do.

But being human is… before I died, I wanted nothing more than to be rid of all of this. But while I was dead, I… I forgot about it. I forgot what kissing feels like, and touching, and breathing. I forgot what it feels like to have a heartbeat.

Hers was almost gone, before she rose again, faded to something slow and endless, only background noise.

She shrugs and the movement is fluid, smooth. She is sure of her body in a way you can never understand. Sure of herself, here, on mortal soil, content to be flesh when she was once so, so much more.

I guess what I’m trying to say it that we always want what we haven’t got. I’ve had it both and lost it both and I think… I think I’m at peace with that.

She smiles at her reflection, and at you.

Thanks, by the way. For sticking around, I mean. For letting me feel that bit of Heaven. But now…

She turns to look at you and she looks older than when she fell. She ages. She breathes. She decays. Uriel warned you of this, but you were dazzled, dazzled by her soul.

You forgot that here, now, she is not only soul. She is body again, too.

You’ve got to go now, please. From here on in, I need to manage on my own.

You nod, not understanding but willing to obey her, the most beautiful of all souls, living, dead and living-again.

You disappear in a rush of wings and light.

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(A year later Jimmy Novak says Yes and for the first time since your Father created the world, you have a heart to beat.

And you understand.)

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