threeguesses: ([downton abbey] hats are awesome)
[personal profile] threeguesses


Summary:  William meets a girl in the garden.  
Word Count: 600+
Disclaimer:  Ha-ha.
AN:  I have no idea where this came from. 

Silver Bells and Cockle Shells


William is nine.  He plays in the grass by the edge of the deck, where it’s long and tall in places the lawnmower can’t reach.  If he lies on his back he can pretend he is in the savannah, hunting elephants. 


When he first sees her, she is standing in the second flowerbed beside the pansies.  Her dress is yellow and when she walks through the marigolds towards him the stems do not bend under her weight.




William is adopted.  This means that his mum isn’t his mum and his dad isn’t his dad, but he calls them that anyway.  He doesn’t ask about his real parents because it never occurs to him that he has any.


When he starts spending all his time in the garden, his dad asks “like the bugs, eh son?” and William says “eh” and his dad goes back to reading the newspaper and it’s just another Saturday morning, only William can’t catch his breath.




“We should play hopscotch,” she says one day.  They have been making dandelion chains, but William’s fall apart where hers hold.  He can’t figure it out; he has not seen her tie a single knot.


She draws the template with chalk on the deck.  When she hands him the stone to throw it is white and cold and like nothing else in the garden.


William throws.  It lands on twelve.


He readies himself to jump, but she stops him.  “You lost,” she says.


“I can’t have lost,” William tells her, because she’s littler than him and maybe doesn’t know these things.  “I haven’t even taken my turn.”


“You landed on twelve.”  Her hands twist in her dress.  “Means you lose.”


William is indignant.  “That’s not how you play.”


“It’s how I play,” she says.  When she leaves he does not hear the back gate latch.




“Where do you live?” he asks her one day.


“Over the hill,” she says, and goes back to planting tomato seeds.




There is a footbath by the screen door.  You’re supposed to clean your feet off before you come into the house, especially if you’re nine and have been playing in mud puddles. 


“But I’m not nine,” she says, even though William didn’t say anything out loud.  “I’m fifteen.” 


“Are not,” William sneers.  And she isn’t – she’s too tiny, skinny wrists and big eyes.  She looks about four.


“Oh, that’s right, I forgot,” she looks down at herself.  “I stopped growing.”




It’s hot, the middle of summer, and everything feels like it’s melting sideways.  They sit in the green shade of the house.  The aluminum siding sticks to William’s back. 


“Come inside for lemonade,” he begs, but she says no, and so he drags the paddle pool out instead.  He fills it up with the hose and they sit side by side in the water, elbows touching.  Her yellow dress fans out around them like a nimbus.  William splashes and splashes her and she doesn’t get wet.




“Have we been out here all afternoon?” asks William, “Or is it still the morning?”


“I’m not sure,” she says, and selects another colour of chalk.




They draw until the deck is covered, every inch.  William has drawn dragons and Camelot and the round table, Harry Potter’s scar and half of Snoopy. 


She has drawn nothing but red flowers; her section of the deck is carpeted with them.  William tests the drawing with his fingertips and it's softer than wood ought to be.  He snatches his hand back.  

She signs her masterpiece in careful cursive.  Dots her "i" with a star.


“Emily,” William reads, “Is that your name?”  (He cannot believe he doesn’t know.)


“I can’t remember,” she says, and starts to cry.




William is nine.  His dad isn’t really his dad and his mum isn’t really his mum.  He has never asked about his real parents.


“I’ll take you to meet them,” she says.  When she takes his hand it is like holding air.  Her dress is yellow and the blades of grass do not bend under her weight.



Date: 2008-02-20 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good Merlin.

I love this!!

Wherever this come from, it's one of those bits of inspiration that hardly ever land on a mind who will make good use of them. Bless you for doing that!

Date: 2008-02-20 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like this very much as well. Great job!

Date: 2008-02-20 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I truly truly love this ♥

Date: 2008-02-20 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
followed the link from xfiles - I love this so, so much. Well done.

Date: 2008-02-21 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Reached your LJ via the x-files comm. I'm a very recent member so I haven't read any of your fics before. This one is very beautiful. It reads like a dream.

Date: 2008-02-21 02:13 am (UTC)
wendelah1: (children)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
This is really good. It feels both Magical and kind of scary. That line where she says, "I'll take you to meet them," and all that could imply. Chills. I hope you have more bits of inspiration, and I hope you continue to share them.

Date: 2008-02-21 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. I rarely read X-Files fanfiction, but I'm glad I looked at this one. Wonderful twist there! I should have thought of Emily, but I didn't. I was imagining some convoluted thing with time travel and him meeting Scully as a child. XD; I like your idea much better!

I also like the present tense narrative. That really works well for the mood, and somehow makes it more eerie, thinking of it happening in real time.

Date: 2008-02-21 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is beautiful--clean and sparse and yet with a wonderful story. And--thank goodness--not the same territory that's been retread a million times in XF fic. There are so many intriguing nooks and crannies in this universe, and yet most people stick to the same old beaten path. Thanks so much for wandering off in your own direction. And please keep writing!

Date: 2008-02-21 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Also reached your LJ via the x-files comm. Loved this! The end in particular... totally surprised me with Emily. Awsome!
(deleted comment) (Show 1 comment)

Date: 2008-02-26 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is great. I actually really liked the episode "William" (well, besides the beginning and end), and I sometimes think about how William would act. This seems really appropriate. Good job!

Date: 2008-02-28 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. I... yeah. Very nicely done!

Date: 2008-04-27 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Whoa. That was a perfect jewel of a story. Loved the last lines. Those will stick in my mind for a long time.

Date: 2008-04-27 11:39 pm (UTC)
maidenjedi: (sky)
From: [personal profile] maidenjedi
Oh, wow!

Got here via [ profile] dashenka. This is so haunting, and I am just amazed by the twists you take. It's a great brother-sister kind of story and more than that.

Thank you so much for writing this!
Edited Date: 2008-04-27 11:39 pm (UTC)

Date: 2008-06-11 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, how have I missed your stories until now?

This was so lovely. I kept wondering exactly what was going on, wasn't sure who it was at first and all that. I think this is one of those stories I'll read several times and never get tired of it. Such an unusual idea... I really never would've thought of it.

Date: 2008-08-02 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad I read Gardening first because the ending of this one would have creeped me out a bit. XF has taught me well that not all spirits are benevolent and benign. This is gorgeous. Lovely imagery, amazing story, and a mystical sensibility that completely enchants me. Thank you for posting!

Date: 2008-08-03 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh my God. this just... made my day.

Date: 2008-08-03 07:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh, jesus.

this is so marvelous. i'm not really big into william fic (this is because i haven't been able to bring myself to watch season 9 yet and thus i'm not attached), but this!

this is kind of marvelous.

Date: 2008-08-05 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
this is gorgeous!

Date: 2008-10-18 12:47 am (UTC)
idella: (Scully again)
From: [personal profile] idella
Oh, WOW. This is awesome. What a neat idea, and you've written it so well. I enjoyed this, and I don't even care for William, really.

So sad, but so GOOD.

Date: 2011-01-03 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh wow, this took my breath away a bit. Great job!!

Хороший блог!

Date: 2011-06-04 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Спасибо за инфуImage (