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30 December 2006 @ 09:34 pm
[fic] Veteran Dreams 1/1 (BtVS; Spike/Xander Pre-Slash, Xander/Willow Friendship)  
Author's Notes: Wow, it's been a while since I've written some Spander. *grins* Still, just as fun as I remember it being. This is just a little piece, really, and more heavy on the emotional innuendo than on any man-part action. ^_~ But still, I like playing with the early seasons of BtVS, and thinking about what it must have been like for Xander and Willow to actually grow up in Sunnydale. This was written as a Christmas present for my beloved lambykins, authoressnebula, who rocks so hard trained scientists have yet to find a way to describe it.

That said, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read my story, and I hope I can bother you just a little longer for some feedback. *puppy dog eyes* I'm a total feedback 'ho, and I know it. At least my poor mother is still in the dark. ^_~

And, without further ado-do....




Veteran Dreams 1/1
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory (garnettrees)
mallorys-girl@cinci.rr.com
http://www.demando.net/





"I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blossoming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain. I paused, examining and analyzing all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified in the change from life to death, and death to life..."*
Xander lies awake-- or believes he does-- listening to the somber, bronzed-soprano notes of Willow's voice, drawing him ever further into a flickering, apprehensive landscape. It is past midnight, and they are both twelve; they lie together, knees and elbows touching as easily as if it is their own flesh, on her narrow wicker bed. He's on his back, staring at the ceiling and the faint light-and-shadows thrown by Willow's flashlight. Outside, it's raining in a muddled, thick way that seems to have dragged on for days-- he's uncertain if the occasional distant thunder he hears is real, or merely some imagined counterpart to his best friend's voice. Willow loves to read to him, loves to share the worlds and wide images thrown open to her on the page and-- in his own, awed and boyish way-- he is grateful to her. Books don't hold the same allure for him and he honestly believes that, without her pale, tiny hand to guide him, he'd never find his way into these amazing, echoing caverns. He doesn't pretend to understand a lot of her more ambitious choices, but she's patient and helpful, gray-green eyes occasionally lifting from the page to gauge his reaction, to illustrate a point that seems lost on him.

Tonight, it's Frankenstein, as it has been for the last two weeks. Her voice is hushed, growing more urgent as the mad doctor approaches his goal. It's not at all like the movie, black-and-white, creature-feature frames flickering across the late night television screen; the cries of terrified villagers occasionally punctuated by his father's blustery snores. Instead, it's like a long journey up narrow attic stairs. Like venturing, one careful footstep at a time, into one of the many abandoned houses of Sunnydale. There's the same breathlessness there, and he can almost feel Jesse's hand, a reassuring weight on his shoulder. Now Xander looks up, to see if Willow has caught his thought, as she sometimes can. Jesse is away, visiting family in New Mexico during this Thanksgiving Break, and the missing member of their trio feels to Xander rather like having one arm tied behind his back. Sure enough, Willow's piercing gaze squints at him over the tattered paperback, the beam of the flashlight catching motes of dust in the air. She smiles at him, a little sheepish, and returns to her narration, kicking her bare feet a little as she shifts her weight to her stomach. She's a tiny thing in her blue-flowered pajamas and neat pigtail braids, but one stray lock of hair dangles before her face, illuminated, red as blood.

For a moment, he stares at it, at the deep crimson shot through with gold, and is almost aware that, yes, he is dreaming. That color stirs the future in him, reminds of monsters that have form and shape outside the covers of a book. Jesse's absence becomes more than a handicap-- it becomes an old ache, that of the veteran who wakes at night, having to remember how he has adapted to the loss. In this dream, which is also a memory, Xander fights through layers, through time cruel and elastic, while Willow's measured voice intones; "Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled amongst the unhallowed damps of the grave..."*

(Spike, a creature of preternatural beauty in the full bath of the moon's glow, smirking, strutting devil-may-care amongst the graves. Nothing but the sound of the vampire's boots on the dewy grass, and his own heart pounding 'where is buffy' as the bright shadows circle in. Hands on him, so much gentler than expected, and Xander-- never with much experience as the cradler-- suddenly knows what it is to be held. Brush of cool, firm-soft lips against his ear.
"Been looking for you, love.")


There's a loud creak, boards and hinges protesting-- reality, dream and memory overlap. They jump, the two children crammed into the virginal wicker bed, and the flashlight falls from Willow's fingers.
"It's my dad-- late night snack," his friend says, breathless, and he nods. They are afraid to look away from each other, afraid to find that her words have conjured something real.

"This is Sunnydale, baby," says the voice of Jesse; older, more confident, and oh-so doomed. "You just never know."

And, fighting his way up from the deep pressures of sleep, Xander has a single moment of horrid beauty. A moment of belief, like old soldier's dull and persistent, in which all wounds are healed and apendages restored. The future is suspended, for just a fraction of a second, before it falls over his conciousness like ashen snow.
Bringing memory and, with that knowledge, a type of aputated death.





*Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus. London, New York, Oxford U.P., 1969.


Ps. Feedback is your friend! ^_~
 
 
Emotional Temperature: hopefulhopeful
The Band Plays:: "Dancing in the Street"-- by Martha Reeves
 
 
 
Amberminttown1 on December 31st, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
This is beautiful.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: boomer2garnettrees on January 1st, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)
*blushes* You're so sweet. Thank you. ^_^
-Meredith
(Deleted comment)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: fab4garnettrees on January 1st, 2007 04:11 am (UTC)
I've always thought Jesse's death had a further reaching effect than we saw on the show, and I can't resist playing with it. I'm so glad you enjoyed that aspect!

Thanks for the feedback, as well. ^_^
-Meredith
Maz: Dovethismaz on December 31st, 2006 12:11 pm (UTC)
That was lovely - haunting and beautiful and ambiguous.
I thought it was set when they were 12, until but one stray lock of hair dangles before her face, illuminated, red as blood. and I thought 'no, it wasn't red until later'. And then the loss of Jesse, like a memory of the future, except it became the present and that becomes.... something else.
If you felt like developing this further, I for one, would not be at all sorry.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: darla_dru3garnettrees on January 1st, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
Wow, such kind words! Thank you!

I thought it was set when they were 12, until...
It was supposed to be set when they were twelve-- you've got it on the nose. You're right; I was sort of trying to mix times, filter in anachromisms, because that's really the way dreams work. I'm glad that made sense.

If you felt like developing this further, I for one, would not be at all sorry.
*grins* And that's the highest praise of all! ^_^
-Meredith
darkhavensdarkhavens on December 31st, 2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
Starkly beautiful, and a perfect story to choose for Willow too - about a monster who just wants to be loved. {{{smishes Xander and Spike together}}} *g*
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: darla_drugarnettrees on January 1st, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought about it, but you're right. Frankenstein works for Willow, too, both in relation to Willow/Oz, and her own black magic troubles later. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!
-Meredith
Ditto: PEACEBYSHAKATANYstretfordditto on January 2nd, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
Exquisite.
TJzowiebwalker on February 10th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC)
Holy crap, you're awesome!
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: darla_dru2garnettrees on February 11th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
*blushes* Wow, thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. *eyes TJ's Marsters icon appreciatively, as well* ^_~
-Meredith
TJzowiebwalker on February 11th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
thanks for writing! and yummy James. how could I resist!