Falling Stars by Rhi
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Author's Notes:
Disclaimer: Rysher: Panzer/Davis owns the characters; Core Music & Rush own the lyrics. Written for the ‘Quickening’ lyric wheel. Lyrics used marked with a *.

Rated: PG-13 for language and the inevitable regrets of growing up.




The teachers never tell you about this part of a quickening. Oh, they warn you about memories pounding at you, but they never mention that the thoughts aren’t synchronized to the lightning strikes. That the energy is contagious, the storm without becoming the storm within. That your enthusiasm spreads with each harsh blow survived, even when you don’t know how long it will go on, how long you can last out the pain.

They think you should know, ahead of time, that it’s going to hurt like nothing else in your life ever did, even dying. That every lightning strike is a hammer blow pouring down your nerves and veins, and all the sparks ignite and spread new information through your mind, your soul. That every memory burning across your mind will hunt for its new, proper, place in your mind, for the closest match in your own experience that will let it settle comfortably into place. That you’ve just become the anvil, and this strange mind is determined to hammer its core essentials so deeply into your memory that you’ll forget there was ever a time that they weren’t there.

No teacher ever seems to mention the sheer inappropriateness of some of the physical reactions, either. That you’ll feel the hairs on your hands and arms stand upright, feel the hair on your nape trying to do the same even as gravity drags it down. That you’ll want to cry or jump out of your own skin for fear of what your body is doing. That in the middle of agony, with the smell in your nose of your own skin blistering and scorching at the lightning’s contact point, you’ll feel pleasure run along and around the pain searing to your center.

So you scream your defiance, your rage, your need into the thunder and winds around you... and find that laughter is infectious, ripping up out of your belly and chest while your cock hardens until you wonder if you’ve always liked pain with your pleasure. And then all you can do is groan into a windstorm, lightning storm, hailstorm, hell storm of feeling and knowing and remembering, until your vision goes haywire.

Sounds echo in silence or drop away into a complex mesh of noise that ought to sound like chalk on a slate board and instead roars into your ears with the comforting familiarity of waves on the shore. Words and phrases you’ve never heard and shouldn’t know strike chords in you until you respond, vibrate, feed back, resonate... tuned to some new key and pitch you didn’t know a minute ago and can’t imagine forgetting now.

This moment may be brief, but it can be so bright. So burningly, searingly bright as it remakes you in an image melded from yourself and someone else you can only see reflected in another source of light. And when the eternal moment dies, when the lightning and soul are gone, the spark still flies within the confines of your skin, your skull, your very blood, until all that’s left is waiting for it to subside, and wondering which parts are you and which parts aren’t. Wondering if you’re still yourself and if marriage, or shared death, or the driving, pounding need of a ‘Cause’ would ever have made you this close to another person....

* * * * *


And only as the storm flickers, gutters, subsides--dies, like its source--does Rich Ryan realize that the voice he’s been listening to, the source of the amused, ironic, gentle voice he’d have liked to bullshit the Game with over a few beers… sounds shockingly like the remembered voice of the youthful looking man who’d said they didn’t have to do this. The tall, blond, friendly man who’d offered to buy Rich a beer, who was just ‘waiting to meet someone.’

And that someone has found them, it seems, if a few strokes and lightning strikes too late for-- well, all of them, maybe.

The roar of the car’s engine penetrates the lingering haze of the quickening. Rich leaves then in a flurry of thrown gravel, some of it thrown at him by the furiously approaching immortal and some of it fishtailing behind his rear wheel as he guns his motorcycle. The tides respond to the moon, iron filings to magnets, and there are forces loose here, too, that will change... everything, probably.

So Rich Ryan runs from the black man with his fine suit and shaven head, as he wishes to God now he’d run away from every fight he’s picked since Duncan MacLeod tried to kill him. The no longer young redhead doesn’t try to question the tears running down his face, or put them off to the wind of his escape. There’s no wind inside his helmet, after all. And if there’s no escaping the knowledge of what he’s done, the sudden odd clarity with which he looks back over the last few months of his life and regrets more of it than he likes, well there’s no rejecting it, either. Not in the new quietude left from the quickening and the lingering remnants of its first owner.

It’s an odd quickening Rich has taken, though: surprisingly calm and accepting, with a bubbling humor underlying that. All of it still sparking and shooting through him like falling stars, until he wonders if it will ever settle, if he’ll ever be the same person again. Memories flash through him of the unending black horizons of a desert night without moon, of stars falling in blue and silver torrents across a sky, poured from some invisible pitcher across that jewel-strewn veil. In his remembrances, a deep, rumbling voice woven through with layers of love and need, strengths and weaknesses in perfect balance to... someone’s, asks what he wished for.

Then the road’s unwinding under his wheels again, and his hands are cramping around the handles of the cycle with tension, his stomach cramping with hunger and some nameless need that might settle for sex and might not. And Rich wonders if the night sky will still look the same tonight or if it’ll be empty. If the stars are still there, after all, or if the lights will be gone, vanished, fallen across his field of vision and lost--as lost as he feels at this moment.

He wonders, too--when they fell across the sky, across his mind, across his fate-- What did he wish for?


~ ~ ~ finis ~ ~ ~

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Sheerly for my curiosity -- does anyone recognize the two unnamed immortals?

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"Chain Lightning"
by Rush

Energy is contagious *
Enthusiasm spreads *
Tides respond to lunar gravitation *
Everything turns in synchronous relation
Laughter is infectious *
Excitement goes to my head
Winds are stirred by planets in rotation
Sparks ignite and spread new information *
respond, vibrate, feed back, resonate *
Sundogs fire on the horizon
Meteor rain stars across the night
This moment may be brief
But it can be so bright
Hope is epidemic
Optimism spreads
Bitterness breeds irritation
Ignorance breeds imitation
Sun dogs fire on the horizon
Meteor rain stars across the night
This moment may be brief *
But it can be so bright *
Reflected in another source of light *
When the moment dies *
The spark still flies *
Reflected in another pair of eyes
Dreams are sometimes catching
Desire goes to my head
Love responds to your invitation
Love responds to imagination
respond, vibrate, feed back, resonate