arianne_maya: (Ashley staring)
arianne_maya ([personal profile] arianne_maya) wrote in [community profile] glam_100 on August 27th, 2013 at 08:12 pm
Prompt #097: Spirit
Title: Music Spirit
Pairing/Characters: Ashley/Tommy
Rating (Word Count): G (12 X 100)
Warning(s): None
Author's notes: Many thanks to @aislinntlc for the beta. Any remaining mistakes are mine.

Realizing that Tommy can see her surprises Ashley so much that she messes up a song for the first time in years.

She’s used to people hearing her and wondering where the music is coming from. She feels safe in the shadows, where she can influence the mood of a room without anyone paying attention to her.

Tommy, however, is staring at her. Not just a point on the wall behind her, like he has a vague idea where the music is coming from but no clear feeling; he’s watching her fingers move over the strings and smiling at her.

***

It takes her a couple of seconds to start playing again.

She acts as if she has no knowledge of the way Tommy can’t tear his gaze away from her and she ignores him as best as she can. She’s relieved when he doesn’t approach her. The fact that his name comes to her so easily as soon as he enters the bar is enough to leave her unsteady on her feet. Trying to talk to him would make everything worse. She just isn’t ready.

One more time, she allows herself to hide behind the safe curtain her music offers.

***

She expects that evening to be an anomaly, no more than a blip on the radar, soon forgotten.

Instead, Tommy’s back every night. He sits at a little table by himself, sipping his whisky and watching her.

She lets him. She can’t tell him not to come back, not without acknowledging that she knows he’s there. And she’s learned over the years that the best way to deal with humans, especially nosy ones, is not to deal with them.

So she acts as if the music is all that matters, as it should be. As if she doesn’t notice him.

***

There’s no doubt that, after a couple of nights, Tommy will lose whatever fascination he has with her and leave.

Tommy surprises her again when, one evening, he drains his whisky and walks up to her.

“Who are you?”

She doesn’t mean to answer him, yet she does. “I’m Ashley.”

“Am I the only one who can see you?”

Being a musical spirit means that music is so much easier for her to comprehend than words are. She gives a small nod.

“Why is that?”

She hesitates. She wonders about Tommy, as she does with everyone who can see her.

***

But she doesn’t know the answer. Most people who can see her recognize her for what she is because they’ve already seen spirits or fairies before in their lives. Because of that, they stay as far away from her as they can, and she never sees them again after that first evening.

And if Tommy knew what she is, he wouldn’t be asking.

“Do you believe?” She asks on a whim, elaborating when Tommy stares at her, looking lost. “In magic. Or spirits. Or… you know. Those things people believe in.”

He shrugs. “I believe in music. That’s about it.”

***

She remembers what she’d been told before she crossed the frontier between their two worlds. To stay away from humans who don’t believe because you never know how it will go. If you’re lucky, you’ll find someone who’s incredibly sensitive to magic because there’s nothing shielding them from it beyond their own will. If you’re unlucky…

They never told her what happens if you’re unlucky. But she thinks that whatever they meant to warn her away from wasn’t Tommy.

“It might be why you can see me. I am music.”

And she’s nothing without music, but she won’t say that.

***

Tommy smiles. “That’s what I think sometimes…” He trails off, staring at her like he’s seeing her for the first time. “You really mean that, don’t you?”

She nods. “Music feeds me. It keeps me alive. I couldn’t live without it.”

“What are you?”

“You won’t believe me if I tell you.”

When Tommy walks away from her that night, Ashley expects never to see him again. She refuses to acknowledge the unexpected pang of longing the thought causes. She’s being ridiculous. Getting attached to a human, to someone who will eventually die, is the worst thing she could do.

***

Tommy comes back, though. Night after night. It makes Ashley happy to see him again. Happy enough to send a smile his way once he’s settled at his table. She feels warm all over when he smiles back.

She realizes that she enjoys the way he looks at her, like she’s some kind of puzzle that he wants to try and decipher.

One night, he approaches her again. “What song was that? I didn’t recognize it.”

She tries to figure out a way to say it, then shakes her head. “There isn’t a word for this, not in your language.”

***

“Tell me anyway. Please?” He takes her hand in his and she doesn’t want to pull away, even though it feels so strange to have his warm fingers encircle hers.

When she says the word, she watches Tommy frown. She expects him to call her out on speaking nonsense words or rubbish instead of the knowledge he’s asked for.

That’s the way humans like him always react, in all the stories she’s been told before.

Instead, he asks, again, “What are you?”

She can’t help but smile at how stubborn he can be.

“I’m something that you don’t believe in.”

***

Every time, she thinks that Tommy won’t come back. Every time, he does.

They share secretive smiles. Once, he even brings his guitar. He still has no idea what song she’s playing, but he follows her lead as best as he can. She loves the little harmonies they come up with, like Tommy’s answering to something deep within her soul. They can talk without saying a word.

That always feels safer, because she always thought that music didn’t give away that much about her. Now she realizes that, with someone who understands that language, it can.

Yet she doesn’t mind.

***

One evening, Tommy waits until the bar is about to close before he comes to sit right next to her.

“Do you always play here?”

Ashley nods. She’s used to the place, and the place is used to her. The little bar feels like an old friend.

“Why?”

“It’s easier to hide in plain sight, to disappear in a crowd.”

“Don’t you want to be seen?”

A few weeks ago, the answer would have been easy. Today, she needs to really think about it.

“I don’t know.”

Again, Tommy takes her hand, traces little circles on it with his thumb.

***

That simple sensation makes it hard to focus.

“The guy I play for,” Tommy says. “Adam. He’s looking for a bassist. I think you’d be a good fit.”

She should be telling him that she doesn’t play bass, even though her instrument looks like one. Once upon a time, she might have. Today, she’s thinking that she would love to learn.

Still, she has to remind him, “I’m not human, Tommy. Haven’t you figured that out by now?”

“I don’t care. Neither will Adam.”

She isn’t human, but it might be fun to pretend for a while.

So she agrees.
 
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