cascading keys

Clair de Lune + Sam Holland

Summary: You find yourself wishing to rekindled your love for piano, a childhood hobby you once loved but couldn’t find the time for in your early teenage years. So your mother sets you up lessons with her best friend’s son, who just so happens to be quite the musician(and quite the young man).

Warnings: FLUFF.

Words: 1,665


The blistery air of London’s winter hit your cheeks as you made your way to the Holland household. You hadn’t been to their home in quite some time, eight years to be exact, but the way there was almost ingrained in your head from the many trips as a young girl. The many times you’d skipped along this sidewalk with your brother and mum, on your way to the many play dates you had with the Holland boys, laughter filling your soul as your ran towards your best friends. But that was so long ago, and you had grown up, made new friends and found a life without the Holland boys. 

You still cared about them, and still stayed in contact. Liking each others Instagrams, and texting a ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Merry Christmas’, was a regular set of communication that the four of you kept. You had gone and seen Tom in Spider-Man, both in Civil War and the newest film, sending him congratulations with a smiley face. You had watched the twins grow from those annoying boys to handsome young men, and you would be lying if you said you weren’t excited to see them today. Specifically Sam, who was actually the one giving you these lessons.

As you walked up to the door, you felt a sense of familiarity as your reached out and rang the door bell three times. The chilly air nipped at your exposed hands as your rubbed them together, trying to create the friction you needed for warmth to course through them. Your teeth chattered as you waited for the door to open, patiently, and when it did you smiled widely at the red headed woman on the other side of it.

“Hey, Nikki. How are you?” You say as she ushered you through the threshold, closing the door and taking your coat and scarf before hugging you tightly. “I’m doing swell, thank you. God, you’re practically frozen. Come on, the boys are in here.” 

The two of you walked through the foyer and into the living area, chatting about the girls weekend that your mom, her, and you had just had two weekends back. Of course, you had seen Nikki and Dom at least twice a month, they were your parent’s best friends. The four of them did almost everything together when the Holland’s were in town, and sometimes you had the pleasure of spending a night full of stories and laughter with the pair of couples.

“Yeah, we’ll definitely have to do it again.” You said as Tessa ran up to you happily, jumping on her hind legs as she stretched to lick you. You laughed at the beauty, cooing at her lightly as you pet her, “Hello, darling, you can come too. Yes you can!” Nikki laughed as you invited Tessa to the next girls day, as she looked up at the boys that were seated on the couches.

“Boys! Look who’s here!” Their heads perked up as you stood from rubbing Tessa’s belly, looking at the boys who had grown oh-so-much. Paddy ran towards you with a huge smile plaster on his face as he exclaimed your name joyously. Tom’s smile was just as bright and confident, as he jumped up to give you a hug which you returned happily. Harry did the same, moving around Tom as you wrapped an arm around his waist in a side hug. Sam was the last one to approach you with an almost overly happy smile. His arms came to wrap around your waist, dipping his head in the crook of your neck, his hold pulling you slightly off the ground. You wrapped your arms around his neck, pressing against him in the tightest hug you could muster. 

As you pulled away, questions were shot your way from every direction, a blush coming to your cheeks as Tom boasted about how beautiful you had become since he had last seen you in a club about a year and a half ago. You chuckled as you swatted at the compliment, “It was dark, and you were drunk. How could you tell?” The boys laughed at their brother, Paddy going back to his video game console as he lost interest in the conversation. 

As your answered and asked question, the question of your relationship status was soon the topic of the conversation. The boys staring at you closely after Sam’s questioning eyes found yours. 

“I-I uh-,” You let out a soft chuckle as you tucked a piece of hair behind your ear, “I’m not in a relationship at the moment, and haven’t been since Tom called me hot in that club a year and a half ago.” Tom’s face went red and his eyes filled with an apologetic look in them which you just laughed at, “He was a dick anyways, toxic almost.” You confessed. Sam took this as his chance to suggest getting to the lesson, feeling guilty for even bringing up the subject, but feeling confident after receiving the newfound information. 

Sam had started feeling things for you when the two of you were ten, at the time he wasn’t sure what he was feeling but he knew it was something. And that something had to do with the way your laugh sounds like the most joyous thing he had ever heard, or how your smile was as warm as honey, or how your (y/h/c) always glowed in the sunshine. The feelings only progressed as the two of you grew older, even with those eight years you had spent apart. And now, the beautiful girl that he had only seen pictures of through Instagram was walking beside him to the family music room. It was where he did all his lessons, but it would soon become a scared place for the two of you.

“So what all do you remember from when you were younger?” He asked you, after he lightly led you into the room by placing a gentle hand on the small of your back. Your cheeks ran warm, a pink flush rushing over them. You tried to recall what you could remember, but the hand on your back sent your brain reeling. What was this feeling? And was Sam Holland making you feel this way?

“U-Uh, my scales and maybe a few nursery rhymes?” You asked as more of a question. His arm gestured towards the piano bench where you sat and rest your fingers lightly on the keys, almost as if it had been imprinted in your brain.

“Good, I want you to play them for me. But be sure to keep your back straight, love.” The endearing term and the gentle but firm hand on your shoulders and back made your mind buzz, you only nodded before beginning to go through the scales. Sam would call out a note and you’d play the scale effortlessly. 

“Well done, darling. Now, I’m going to see how well you can read a piece. Here is a nursery rhyme, play it to the best of your ability.” You nodded nervously while mumbling an “okay” as he placed the sheet in the stand that was built into the piano. You lightly started playing it, reading it with few mistakes making your heart swell with pride. You smiled up at Sam when you finished, him returning the smile before telling you the places where you messed up and how you can improve. 

“Let’s try something a little harder.” He said quietly after you quickly mastered that piece, he made his way over to a book shelf of folders, flipping through them quickly, “Here, let’s try this.” 

When he sat the piece down in front of you and you quietly hummed the first couple of notes, and you recognized the tone. “Clair de Lune?”, you questioned nervously.

He peered at you as he leaned over your shoulder, nodding as he smiled at you, “With practice, you’ll get it. We’ll work on it, and other things, during each lesson. These first couple of measures aren’t hard at all.” His arms wrapping around your shoulders, his hands taking yours in his own and moving them to play the beginning measures lightly. You turned your head to look at him, looking at his side features, the freckles on his cheeks dancing as he smirked to himself. 

“Play it for me.” You said in a whisper, to which he turned his head towards yours, lips almost touching. He looked down at them slowly before looking back up at your eyes. You swear your heart stopped, “Of course, love.”

You got up from the bench, watching him as he took your place. You sat down in a chair was a few feet away, one that gave you a perfect side few of his body. The way he held himself as he sat there was beautiful, confident and strong. But what made your breath hitch was when he started to play the piece, his eyes closed while his hands moved delicately along the keys. His body gliding with the notes that floated through the air as they cascaded down the keys.

Then you realized. So suddenly, with the notes rushing together in a magical melody, you realized that the reason you loved piano was because of him. He made it look like a dance, like the black keys were the male leading a waltz with the white keys. You stood up abruptly and made your way over to the edge of the piano, just as he began the last few measures, almost hypnotized by the music. 

His hands lifted delicately off the piano, the last note ringing through the air softly. His hands landed lightly in his lap, looking like the image of peace, completely consumed in the music. His eyes looked up to meet yours and he smiled at you lightly.

“When I play…I think of you…” He claimed lightly, a shy but warm smile on his face. 

“That was beautiful, Sam.” You gasped.


florida blues

standalone; pg; angst-ish; season 6, post-Agua Mala; Mulder and Scully stay the night at Arthur Dales’ to let the storm pass.

A.N.: So I actually really liked Agua Mala and it would be a great episode if it wasn’t so stupidly racist. It was tense as hell between Mulder & Scully and showcased an emotional continuity the show typically struggles with. 


Mulder consciously made the effort not to drink very often - certainly not with his blood, past, and his utter failure at dealing with life in a healthy and constructive manner. He almost politely declined when Arthur Dales placed a tray with two amber-filled tumblers between them. Watching Scully knock back the drink without a wince or moment’s hesitation, Mulder took a few weary sips, studying her oddly from the corner of his eye.

“My kind of girl,” Dales laughed, lifting his glass and tipping it back. Eyeing his own mostly-full glass, Mulder felt a little inadequate.

“Mind if I borrow your phone, Mr. Dales?” Scully pulled out her cell and shook it, grimacing at the impossible amount of water that cascaded from the keys. “I need to make a few calls to Washington.”

He waved her away and topped off her glass for when she returned. Sparing a glance at Mulder’s sad little tumbler, he screwed the cap back on the bottle. “You guys are welcome to stay ‘til the storm passes. I figure the airport’ll be open come morning.”

“Thanks, yeah,” Mulder replied distractedly. He could hear Scully making the reservations for that very thing over the phone. She said the words “ten a.m.” and knew they’d be bunking there for the night.

Dales went into some sardonic tale of a case-file Mulder remembered vaguely, occasionally veering off-topic in the way old men did, and for the most part Mulder was enraptured, pausing the story to ask questions and laughing in all the right places. He wore that look of boyish hero-worship that disturbed and tickled Dales. The ex-cop didn’t notice when Mulder’s eyes began to stray and the questions became few and then none at all.

After making their flight reservations, Scully dialed once again, and already Mulder was intrigued. This wasn’t a Bureau matter. Somehow he had talked her into a weekend of good old-fashioned monster-chasing, even now, when he was pretty sure she’d be delighted to see his body on her autopsy table. A weekend and a sick day with this flight delay.

When Scully’s voice took on a tone of intimacy, Mulder forgot Dales was talking to him at all. Dales didn’t notice.

“No of course … I didn’t plan on - mom.” Scully let her mother chastise her some more. Mulder wasn’t close enough to hear what was being said. “No mom, it’s the second birthday since - I know that, I really do, but there’s a storm …”

Mulder was a trained investigator who knew how to connect a few dots. Birthday. His mind conjured up an image of two plane tickets, unceremoniously slapped into the palm of Scully’s hand, leaving for February 21st. That was two days ago. Which meant …

“Tell Bill I said hi and I’ll try and call later,” she wouldn’t, “And I love you guys. You make every birthday special. We’ll celebrate when I’m back in town.”

Mulder felt worse that he didn’t feel all that bad. A birthday celebration with Bill and his perfect white picket dream-life would only depress Scully. But that wasn’t all. Long ago he’d pretty much figured Scully would be there when she was needed, no matter the day. He took it for granted, maybe, but here she was, on her birthday, shivering and bone-tired in a seedy trailer park. It was normal. It was right.

Arthur fed them all frozen dinners in front of a black and white television, grumbling while the reception wavered off and on and handing Scully the bottle of whiskey without even looking at her. Staring mindlessly at the fuzzy screen, Scully took a big gulp straight from the bottle and passed it back.

As night fell they rearranged themselves, her on the couch, Mulder in the armchair. The night sat above them and the silence between them, as obvious as the dark sky but just as elusive.

She wasn’t sleeping. She wore her drunkenness like a heavy body lying on top of her as she breathed hard and splayed her limbs about. Mulder watched her in the dark.

“Happy birthday, Scully,” he said.

“Thanks, Mulder.”


Alice Cohen - “Cascading Keys”

someday i’ll reshape your shattered pieces, melt down all the pieces that you’re spilling into my palms and rebuild the shores of your heart. someday i’ll tear all the right colors refracting from the sunlight, trickling through diamonds and repaint your portrait with no signs of ambiguity, no doubt that the curve of your lips, and the sapphire gleam of your eyes is a smile. someday ill know all the ways to recast your laugh with a cascade of piano keys, but for now i’ll just listen for the inspiration, look for the directions in the freckles on your skin.
—  Megan Madgwick