Title: All Kinds of Masks
Summary: How can Rachel get close to Frohike without his being aware of who wants him? Happy Halloween!
Notes: This takes place before all my other stories. Think of it as a kind of flashback past vignette. When you get used to someone looking a certain way, a radical change can keep you from recognizing them. That's not always a bad thing. To see Rachel's mask, go to this webpage and scroll down for the butterfly ones. http://www.cosmicpussycat.com/bugsandbotanicals.html
Ah, Halloween. A time when you can become someone new, if only for a night. A night when the veil between this world and the next draws thin and glamour can hide the truth. When a mask can be the only thing that keeps your face a secret while your heart is bared...
She watched him move across the room. Frohike had noticed her about an hour before when she'd first entered. The past three years, the costume had been extremely similar, but in different colors. The first time she had come outside and sat beside him for a few silent moments, the dress and mask had been silver and white, like a living ice crystal. The second time, she had been in aqua and teal, a wave dancing on the shore. Last year, her guise was green and gold, the essence of a lush summer forest.
This year her costume was in shades of red and yellow. A delicate leather mask in the shape of a butterfly covered her eyes and cheeks and swept back into her hair. Her hair was loose, dark copper curls spilling in a mass down her back. Bands of iridescent feathers shimmered around her upper arms, holding on wispy trails of chiffon in various flaming tones that fell to just below her elbows. A strapless corset-style top nipped in her waist considerably and created some impressive cleavage. Matching falls of chiffon, like myriad rows of scarves on point, filled out her skirt and stopped at mid-calf. The material shone with a gold overtone as she moved in the dim party lights. Her feet were encased in what looked like ballet slippers with ribbons criss-crossing up her legs. An occasional sudden turn to avoid an over-amorous barbarian revealed a flash of pale skin above the knee. Underneath the mask, she had covered the exposed area around each eyes with gold color so that it was hard to tell where the mask ended. It made the whites of her eyes even brighter, and her leafy green irises sparkled.
That first year, he'd gone outside during the party to get some air and sat on the hood of his old black Caddy with a drink. He'd closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them, she was there next to him. She smiled widely as he took in her beauty. He'd asked her name, but she remained silent and simply handed him a piece of paper that said "Fey". The irony made him laugh. She'd stayed about an hour, then fled as Langly came outside.
The second year, he'd gone out to sit on the car and closed his eyes on purpose. Would he have a lovely vision again? When he opened his eyes, she was there. She still wouldn't speak to him. He stared into her eyes as she gently placed her hand on his cheek. She caressed his face for several long minutes. She drew back when he reached to touch her in return. She lay her palm over his heart and felt it beat warmly. When Byers came up the stairs, she quickly gave him a kiss on the cheek and hurried off.
Last year, she'd come up to him as he approached the car. She went to the hood and patted the space beside her. They sat closely as she touched his face again, running her thumb over his lips. Finally, she'd leaned in and lightly kissed him. She planted slow butterfly kisses all over his face, and even kissed his palms through the gloves. He'd rested his hands gently on her waist as she kept kissing him. That year, it was Mulder who came outside. He'd grabbed her hand to keep her there, but the strange combination of fear and sadness in her eyes made him release her quickly. She ran off as Mulder started teasing him about his "fairy lover".
This year, this night, he lost track of her. He saw a flash of moving flame heading out the door. Giving her a minute, he soon followed into the chilly night air. She was waiting for him. Perched already on his car hood, she smiled widely as he came closer. Instead of sitting next to her, he stood in front of her, their knees almost touching. She looked concerned and cocked her head in a questioning manner. She started to reach for his face, but he grabbed her hands and held them.
"Fey, I can't do this anymore. I'm not getting any younger. I am very interested, and you are very beautiful, but I want to know who you are. Speak to me or take off the mask, please. I want to see you more than one day a year." She pulled her hands out of his and hopped off the car. Unshed tears glittered in her eyes as she gestured that she wanted something to write with. He opened the car door and rummaged in the glove compartment, coming up with the back of a bill and an old pen. Handing them to her, she lay the paper on the hood and wrote furiously. After a moment, she straightened up and handed him the pen and paper. He took them and looked down at the note. As he started to read, he heard her start to run. He looked up and yelled after her. "Fey! Fey, please come back! Wait!" Realizing he wouldn't catch up to her, he angrily looked back down at the missive in his hand. The writing was vaguely familiar and shaky.
"I am not myself on this night. If I were myself, the courage to come so close would flee from my being. All Soul's Night allows us to be what we never could be, or to show our true image. Either option is preferable to the self you know and never see. Forgive me, my dearest human heart. I became someone you could want for one night of the year. I became someone with the courage to kiss you, to touch you, to love you magically as you so deserve to be loved. It was not that I wore a mask, but that for one night, I dared to take mine off."