Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Real People Fic
Character/Pairing: David/Iman, hinted past David/Mick
Challenge/Prompt: whatif_au 17: Warm Fuzzies
Word Count: 2,222
Date Written: 19 August 2018
Disclaimer: This one's mine!
He watched her through eyes of love, this woman who had changed his world and turned his whole life upside down. In another lifetime, she could have easily been an Empress or even just a prophetic Priestess. Her grace and dignity were unlike any other Earthling’s. She was a woman out of time, both beyond her own time where humans seemed to be constantly degrading one another and their own selves and behind time, belonging, again, to a time where humanity had been better, more powerful, more graceful.
He doubted there were any humans alive who still remembered those times, but he knew their history well. At one time, they could have stood a chance at traveling the stars, perhaps even of conquering some distant worlds, though they never would have represented a risk to his own world. But they’ve moved beyond that now. Too few people still believed in the things they could see through their own eyes or even feel with their own hearts and souls if they could not be explained by science. The magic in this world was dying. It had been for a long time.
But there was more than just the magic dying in this place. His precious Queen no longer cried as often as she once had, when he’d first given up his last role. She still missed him. She still loved him. She always would. There was no doubt in David’s mind as to that fact, but he also knew that she was beginning to move on. That was the way of humanity, and the way it should be. It was the only method of survival in this painful world after all.
He lifted his head up off of her pillow as she picked up her favorite picture of him, the one she’d kept by their bed since the day they’d wed. He watched her trace his face with her delicate fingertips and saw the tears shining in her beautiful, dark eyes. “Oh, David,” she whispered. “Why did you have to leave me?” Heaving a great sigh, she sat down on their bed while still holding to his picture.
He rose from her satin pillow with all the elegance he’d always possessed, padded over to her, and laid his head against her arm. She caressed his fur absent mindedly, but when she heard his purr, she stopped and looked down at him. “You still love me, don’t you, Davy?” His purr deepened.
She laughed through her tears. “You know, they said it was wrong of me to name you after him so soon after his death, but he would have loved you. And you’re really very much alike. Both so graceful and so handsome.” She drew her thumb softly across the top of his head. “You even have two differently colored eyes. I wonder how you came by yours? Were you injured like he was? I didn’t even know cats could have brown eyes until you.” Her hand, which had stopped to linger on his furry head, now stroked down his back. “Of course I don’t know all that much about cats, just you.”
She leaned down and kissed his head. He arched upward, his head butting against her mouth as though he was kissing her back. Indeed he would love nothing more, save her, than to turn back into his human form, take her once again into his arms, and kiss her as the man he was. He could not do that, though.
He had to continue with his plan. It was the only way to keep the woman he loved and their children safe. The enemy was still too close. He had hoped that they would leave this galaxy when the news of his death had spread worldwide, but they had lingered behind, proving their intelligence was more advanced than he’d previously believed and hoped. They knew their target too well and realized that he had only faked his death.
While his family, friends, and fans had mourned for him, they had continued searching for him. If he hadn’t taken on this feline persona, they probably would have found him, and it was a wonder neither they or Iman had put two and two together and come to the inevitable conclusion. He had shown up the very day of his own funeral, after all, but he’d been unable to stay away and watch his wife and children crying from afar.
It had not been easy to cheer them. They had barely noticed him at first, but his beautiful Iman, a lover of all living things, had taken pity on him when she’d seen how thin he was, his bones nearly sticking out from his white and ginger fur. He’d almost taken the image of a pure white cat, but he’d been afraid that that would be even more obvious, going from the Thin White Duke to a thin, white tom.
Iman stood suddenly and walked to their mirrors. The three mirrors stretched from the floor to the ceiling and stood in one corner of the room, providing reflections of all angles of the person who stood before them. They had both enjoyed spinning in that tiny circle before, watching their reflections. He glanced above his head at the mirror fixed into the bottom of their canopy bed’s top. His tail swished, and he began to knead the silk sheet beneath him. They’d often enjoyed watching their reflections together in it as well.
“He’s going to be here soon,” Iman announced, drying her tears. “I hope David can understand why I’m doing this.” She glanced at the reflection of the cat on the bed, who stopped swishing his tail and kneading and steadily returned her gaze with his unblinking eyes. “Do you think he would?” she asked. “It’s not like I plan on marrying this guy, but I do need someone I can trust to go with me to events.”
“And it’s not like David wouldn’t want me to be happy.” More tears fell, and she brushed them away with the delicate fingers whose caress he remembered so fondly. “He was always telling me he wanted me to be happy, no matter what happened to him in the future. You know, I think he knew it was coming even before the doctors did. We tried to pretend it wasn’t. We tried to live life to the fullest. I think he died happy.”
He began to purr again and rose his decibel until the comforting sound reverberated in the room around them. She smiled at him through her tears. “Of course he was. You’re right -- and here I am talking to a cat!” She laughed, and it was as musical a sound as it had always seemed to him. “See, I am in desperate need of adult companionship before I truly become a crazy cat lady!”
“Not,” she added, walking back to the bed and scratching his ginger head, “that I don’t love you.” She bent down and kissed the top of his head. “I don’t think I would have made it through these years if not for you,” she confessed. He rubbed his head against her face. She only broke their contact when she heard the sound of a vehicle approaching outside.
She stood and crossed gracefully to the window. She drew the white curtains aside just enough that she was able to peek out and confirm her suspicion. “That’s him,” she said with a nod. She dropped the curtains back into place, wiped the last of her tears away, turned, and smiled shakily to him. “Time to put on my best face, Davy.”
He meowed. There she went again, calling him Davy. He had fervently hoped that she would eventually listen to her heart and realize who he was, but he had to remind himself yet again that that would never do. If she knew he was alive, they would know it, and they would come down on her and their children to force him to appear. They were the large part of the reason why he had changed his persona so many times over the centuries, going from a King right down to a common child, building himself back up into a King of rock and roll, and now once again becoming naught more than a commoner, a common cat at that! They would never look at him now and guess that he was the powerful ruler for whom they had searched for so long, unless someone else knew the truth first.
It was time, he realized though his heart ached with a painful pounding in his furry chest. Their mutual friend would take care of Iman, and their children, and if they somehow found love along the way, well, he’d already given them his blessing long ago. It was time for him to take the final step to protect his family. It was time for him to leave.
He realized, with a start, that Iman had left the room. He glanced at his favorite picture which he kept on his side of the bed, a picture taken the day they’d been married. She was his favorite part of the life he was leaving behind, but he had to leave it. He had to leave them for their own safety. With a loud meow, he bounded from the bed and raced after his mortal wife.
He had just reached her when she opened the door. “Hi, Mick,” she greeted, leaning against the wood frame for support. He stopped running and looked at his old friend, who had also been much more than that. Beyond Iman, Mick had been his favorite lover, the only one, in his younger days, who had ever come close to keeping up with him. Now Mick looked at the woman David loved, saw the tears in her eyes, and wordlessly took her into his arms. They held to each other for a long time before he chastely kissed her long, soft hair and whispered, “I miss him too.”
They stepped inside, still holding to one another, and David stole that opportunity to slink out pass their feet. He looked left and right, making certain there was no one else in sight. Then, sitting on the steps like a common housecat, he looked up at the sky. He watched it for a long time before, satisfied that no one was watching him, he streaked down the steps. He pounced after a butterfly but then felt the earth underneath his paws after he’d missed the insect by a hair’s breadth. His tail swished from side to side as though he was still on the hunt, but he used the moment to feel deep into the earth.
Once satisfied that there was no one watching him from that direction either, David started down the path he’d walked as a human many times and as a cat, only once before when he’d followed his family home from his own funeral. He paused at the end of his driveway and looked back over his furry, sleek shoulder. He could see no movement from where he stood, but he knew Iman was safe inside their home with Mick. His children were safe therein as well. All those he loved the most in this human world were safe.
They would stay that way as long as he left them, he knew, and so he turned his back to his family and stepped out. On the streets, people watched him wherever he moved, but they only saw a cat. They would never guess who, or what, he really was. He moved amongst them like any other commoner, and soon he’d left his family and his past behind yet again. He had buried Ziggy Stardust twice now, once here on Earth and once in a galaxy beyond the Milky Way system. He had buried himself as a child and a man many times over, and now he was simply adding David Bowie to that ever growing list of characters he could never play again.
But he was free, and his family was alive and well, safe with Mick and guaranteed the love of a father and a husband, if Iman decided to accept him when, in ten years’ time after his death, Mick proposed as they had agreed. It was funny, David thought, the things human beings could look right at and never accept for being real. They’d never seen him as the alien he was even when he’d practically told them what he was, and they had never accepted that Mick did not age properly because of his Vampire blood. Oh, yes, Iman and the kids would definitely be safe with his old friend.
Now he had a chance to begin again, rather he wanted it or not. He stopped at a shop and gazed into its glass door at his own reflection. He sat down, licked a paw, and set to cleaning his thin fur. He was rather a handsome cat indeed, he thought, and cats were the very essence of freedom. They could pass among anyone unseen. Maybe he would stay in this body for a while. Content with his appearance, David rose and strutted down the pathway of life and on to his next character, his next life, and his next adventure.