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Feathers Of Silver And Gold

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He is of the andain, child of a goddess, yet he carries a name from a different world.

 

Kevin knows his origin as all andain do, as all andain remember, has seen a glimpse of his mortal father's face through his immortal mother's eyes. He runs barefoot through the trees beside her as she hunts, and grows up between one breath of summer and the next, from toddler to adult male andain in a couple of eternities.

He knows whose name he carries, has seen that face, too, not so different from his own. Not a mirror image, and surely no twin either but still, the resemblance is striking even to his own eyes. He wants to ask his mother where it comes from, whether or not it had been her will that shaped his face thus. But Green Ceinwen laughs, too wild, too honest, and he remains silent.

There's something within, deep down in his soul that knows, even if his conscious mind doesn't.

 

It is summer again when he first beholds his other. The waters are a deep bluish green where Pendaran Wood meets the sea, and an albatross and a fish are playing hide and seek in the waves. Kevin knows who they are, of course, long before Liranan in his silvery robes rises from the waters and tells the one who'd been a bird just moments ago to try harder next time.

“I caught you once,” Pwyll replies, his voice like velvet and pain against Kevin's skin. “I can do again.” Sadness woven in that voice, and power.

Kevin hides deeper in the bushes. This moment is not for him to witness, and yet he can not stop.

“Not today.” Liranan laughs, and so does this other, sadness gone, playfulness so rarely expressed. “But thank you nonetheless, brother. I rarely get a chance to play.”

“Neither do I.”

This, this Kevin knows. Albatrosses are strong, independent. Solitary, always.

 

One day in winter he finds a feather, black as night, soft as silk, sharp as any decision ever made. It's beautiful, and cuts his hand even as it fades through his fingers.

Thought. Memory.

He learns to fly that day, shifts through many birds before settling on a golden eagle, another strong bird, because he needs to be strong this time. Silvery white feathers fill his mind. Shy laugh, gray eyes.

Eagles mate for life.

 

He doesn't remember what or who awakens him to the knowledge within. It seems utterly natural to him, to open his eyes to snowdrops and bannions in this first moment of another spring. Time passes differently for the andain and somehow doesn't add up in his head, but there's no gap in his memory. He senses energies shifting already, beginning to rise, humming with life, ready to burst into leaves and flowers. He wonders if Paul can feel it, too.

Paul.

Inside Kevin the andain, Kevin Laine cries.

God, Paul.

 

He shifts.

 

When he reaches his destination, hours have passed that were the length of ages, and ages that lasted only hours. His wings hurt.

Thought. Memory.

A basketball game Paul never should've played, and the crystal notes of Brahms F Major Cello Sonata, a song, and tears, and rain.

Silky feathers caress his face as he walks to the cottage. Unseen wings touch his hair as he knocks on the door.

We are the total of our longings .

Paul knows. Of course he does.


Paul doesn't know.

He senses an andain on the other side of his door but that's not such a rare occurrence lately. Since Jaelle's death, everyone mortal and not seems to think he needs someone to talk to. Or a distraction. Or sex. Or getting drunk. Or all of the above, and not necessarily in that order.

He's cried for Jaelle, before she died and after. He doesn't know how to explain, doesn't even want to explain in the first place. She had been ready to go, her song was complete, she wasn't Rachel, wasn't Ke-

He stops himself right there.

Thought. Memory.

The ravens settle on his shoulders, light as snow, heavy as guilt. Pain and love fill his heart.

He opens the door.


Paul hasn't aged at all, all that dark hair and smooth pale skin, Kevin Laine thinks, and yet ... Pwyll Twiceborn looks back at him from behind those beloved gray eyes, ageless and wise, and powerful enough to raise the seas, and challenge gods. For three nights and forever...

“Kevin,” the painfully familiar voice says, as beautiful as that day on the shore, and a hand, Paul's long-fingered musician's hand is stretched out to him on an impulse too powerful to be controlled. Grief in that voice, at so many things unsaid but there is more, had always been more, and he curses himself for having been so, so blind.

He takes those fingers into his own, raises them to his lips, presses kisses to the sharp knuckles.

“Paul,” he says, then again, “Paul,” and raises that hand to his own face and places the other man's palm against his cheek, trapping it with his own.

“Oh, Kev...”

Something blossoms inside Kevin then, his soul a bannion flower opening its petals to the blazing light of Paul's eyes even as he closes his own when their lips meet.

They fly together that day, and every day since, silver and golden feathers forever touching.

 

FIN