Little Bird
by Skinner Box
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Spender/Krycek
Spoilers/Timeline: none to speak of
Disclaimer: The X-files and these characters belong to Chris Carter and Fox Broadcasting. I play with them out of love and for no profit.
Note: Thank you to M. T. for getting me thinking about finches and then betaing the result (all remaining infelicities are mine, of course) and to drovar and the fine folk of the Spenderfic list.
Archive: please ask first

Little Bird
by Skinner Box
(For M. T.)

He's thinking about the birds.

Alex is thinking about the birds.

He's Alex.

There was this lady. Older, grey haired, with wide puffy cheeks. She had an aviary in her sunroom, a big big mesh cage full of finches. Tiny little birds with perfect orange triangles for beaks. He remembers them swooping back and forth between branches wedged into the corners, matchstick toes lined up on the ash-grey bark. They were awfully quiet for birds, he remembers thinking, just the odd little chirrup now and again. Swoop and cheep. Swoop and cheep. And he remembers them setting to with an awful din the moment he thought it.

It's funny that he can remember so much: the yellow and cream of their plumage, the exact spacing of the squares in the wire mesh, but he can't remember who the lady was, or how he came to be in her sunroom. Can't even remember if he was man or boy or that awkward place in between.

His logical mind tells him it must have been one of the ladies Mama cleaned house for and he must have been young enough that he couldn't stay home alone, but something seems off about that. Not quite right. Cheep and swoop, swoop and cheep, and then that awful cheep cheep cheep insistent cheep cheep-

And there are white coats all around him and he hears a faraway male voice shout, "clear!" And the finches go back to cheep and swoop, swoop and cheep, fluffy little breasts of soft soft grey.



Mist? Cloud? No. Smoke. But it's okay- soft and pretty and not so hard to breathe as one might think.

Something. Not quite visible. Dark column, resolving itself, and he thinks he knows what it is. Yes. That statue of St. Francis from outside the church by Clifton Park. He wanted to look at the man with all the birds, but Papa wouldn't take him into the courtyard to see. Papa was afraid of churches.

He's shocked back into a man's eye view as the figure resolves itself. Not Francis of Assisi. It's Jeffrey Spender, coming towards him, hand outstretched, tiny puff of grey and yellow and equilateral popsicle orange triangle beak clinging to his finger.

'Fly away,' Alex wants to tell it, 'fly away!'

But it won't and he can't. It's clinging so tight to that blunt finger there are dents in the callused flesh. It's hanging on. The stupid goddamn bird is hanging on.

The End

Archived: July 04, 2001