Author's Note: Yes, I'm doing it! I'm finally getting around to writing an Audrey/Uriel fluff story. This idea came to me rather haphazardly, just as we're saying goodbye to summer in my part of the world. I suppose this fic is my way of holding onto all that green leafy goodness I'll miss so much when winter rolls around.
In addition, I've been wanting to experiment with a slightly different style of writing, so I thought this little ficlet would suit my purposes nicely. This story was written as a rather long one-shot, but then I broke it down to a series of short chapters. I know I have a tendency to be long-winded, so I thought I might try working with smaller sections of prose just for a change. ;)
Thanks a million for stopping by! I do hope you enjoy this first installment.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of Legion nor any of the characters associated with the movie.
Part One: As You Sow…
Spring came. Audrey wasn't sure why she hadn't expected it, hadn't been able to envision the land underneath a curtain of green, the sky a mild blue and touched with porcelain clouds on the horizon, where the curved shoulders of the mountains rose. The change was subtle at first. A bud on a branch. Rivulets of melting snow. A wet, warm wind that brought with it the scent of pine and maybe, just maybe, the gossamer odor of flowers. And then, without entirely meaning to, Audrey started walking barefoot on the thawed soil and she would dip her toes into the lake and dry her feet on the grass and spend hours on the porch every night, just to watch the twilight lengthen day by day. Slowly, the darkness ebbed. Slowly, hesitantly, the world came to life again.
Audrey only realized how much she had hated the winter when it was gone. She told this to Raphael one morning, when they were in the kitchen sitting across from each other at the breakfast table.
"It's weird. I never thought I'd get tired of the snow," she said, dropping a tea bag into her mug. She had run out of tea leaves about two weeks ago. The stainless steel canisters sat tauntingly empty in the pantry. But somehow, Raphael had scavenged a couple dozen tea bags from an abandoned supermarket and brought them to Audrey. The paper box they'd been in was water stained, giving off the odor of peppermint where the tea had left muddy stains on the cardboard, but Audrey was grateful for any small comfort in a broken world.
Raphael looked at her impassively. Her shoulders were hunched as she tried to keep the tips of her wings from scraping the back of her seat. The low chair on the farther side of the table had been informally designated as her chair, with its chips and gouges running lengthwise in the wood where the angel had not been so careful.
"That's the luxury of human life," Raphael said, "its impermanence."
"Only someone immortal would say that," the girl rejoined. Unconsciously, she craned her neck in the direction of the window to listen to a sparrow chirping on the sill.
"We are all immortal." Raphael lowered her chin so that it touched the harsh edge of her collar.
Audrey's lips pressed together in a grimace. She had a very particular hatred of those collars, the mechanical looking devices that seemed so out of place on the otherwise fluid, lithe bodies of the angels.
"Yeah right," she mumbled, taking a sip of her tea. The liquid was near to scalding and the heat brought unwelcome tears to her eyes.
Raphael, not so careful this morning as she usually was, fluttered her wings and left another shallow dent in the back of her chair. Through the open window, the sparrow trilled a greeting. A fellow, feathered friend.
Audrey gnawed on a hard biscuit, sucking air into her mouth to cool her tongue. She wasn't a good cook to begin with and the limited supplies Raphael brought every two weeks weren't exactly conducive to making gourmet meals. Audrey frowned and reached for the pot of honey on the table. She drenched the biscuit with it until she was sure she wouldn't break her teeth.
Silence stretched over the kitchen, pressed against the walls and the floor until Audrey was sure she could feel the house straining under the weight of it. Ever the pragmatist, she knew that things between her and Raphael had yet to be mended. There remained those frayed edges, the hard questions neither of them had dared to pose since the night of the fire, since the angel had insinuated herself into Audrey's life again, just has she had entered it so heedlessly back in December.
Sucking the honey from her sticky fingers, she ignored the sourness in her stomach and the treacherous burning sensation behind her eyes that dared her to cry. They were many things she hadn't exactly sorted through yet, like the death of her parents and the enormity of the ruined world around her, the devastation that, according to Michael, stretched across continents, although wasn't as obvious in her isolated cabin.
At times, Audrey felt like someone stricken, like someone standing amidst the rubble with not the faintest idea of where to begin, where to start to pick up the pieces in this complicated mosaic that was human life.
It could have easily become overwhelming. And it could have easily destroyed her, had she not been lucky enough to have a little help.
Audrey smiled as if she were hoarding the most delicious secret. Raphael still sat across from her, keeping her company as she wont to due in the mornings before Audrey went about her chores and before Raphael flitted away to deal with her own celestial business. She couldn't admit it yet, but she found she liked being mothered in this way. And even though she wouldn't dare say it aloud, or within hearing distant of her strange little family, Audrey was grateful for the angels. Almost as grateful as they were for her.
Gulping her tea, she finished her breakfast, leaving only a vague scattering of crumbs on the table and spread over her lap. She piled the dishes in the sink, promising she'd do them later and stood with her back to Raphael so that she could look out the window. The evergreens were bright with new pine needles, but the garden behind the house seemed drab. Old leaves, leftover from the fall and winter, lined the gravel path and stuck between the chalk-colored pebbles. The wooden planters that Audrey guessed had once held fresh herbs, judging from the quantity of rosemary and basil, thyme and sage she had found in the pantry, sat depressingly empty.
She leaned against the sink, remembering the hours she had wiled away watching their Ukrainian gardener, Alexander, during the summer when she was a child, the loving way he had cared for the plants and flowers, which her mother viewed as mere ornamentation. There had been an unstated grace to his movements as he stooped over their chaotic hydrangea bushes and climbed the small step ladder to prune their orange trees. Audrey could still see the nutty brown shade of his palms, with the dirt worked down into the creases of his skin. Sometimes, just sometimes, Alexander would let her weed around the tulip bulbs. It was tedious work, but rewarding, especially when the spring came around and the flowers would burst up from the ground in a shower of brightness, reds and yellows, a lion's mane of color lining the walkways in her old backyard
But now it seemed as though only a few bulbs were going to come up in this abandoned garden, not enough to even cover the spaces of open dirt and scraggly grass. The thought made Audrey sadder than she could explain, or care to understand. She looked down at her own hands, which were quite pale, her white skin marbled by narrow, blue veins.
"Why so quiet?" Raphael asked shrewdly from her perch by the table.
Audrey turned to glance at the angel, and in looking at her, she remembered the lilacs.
"I have an idea," the girl said. And then she had to clap her hands over her mouth, to keep back the echo of laughter.
Author's Note: Yes, a short chapter. But the good news is, I've already finished writing this story, so updates should be quite regular. I plan to have a new chapter posted every 5-7 days and yes, I promise that Uriel will indeed make his appearance in the following installment. ^_^
Thanks again for reading! If you have some spare time, please leave me a review. As I writer, I adore any and all feedback. Take care and be well!