alter UMY: Phoenix Smith AU

Clearing out the WIP/rough drafts in my Googledocs that won’t get fics anytime soon. If anyone wants to add on/chime in/create something, feel free.

An alter UMY AU. Smith is a phoenix, living alone in a tower to keep himself from destroying everything around him. One day, he meets a self-proclaimed “solutionist” named Strife.

cw: body horror, burning/burns, arson, fire, major character death I guess? but reincarnation,
If I need to tag something, let me know.

Phoenix Smith
Wings, red-gold.
Like Geoff the silverfish, every few years bursts into flame and is reincarnated
Also has short burns, burning seasons, in which he’s flammable.
has caused a lot of arson accidentally for this reason
Feathers are very oily, so he basically uses a bird bath in his nest.
Has to let wings dry in sunlight or else they’re too damp. Wears sunglasses a lot, khaki shorts, burgundy sweatshirt to hide wings under. Taking shirts on and off is always a pain. Only a few he wears to sleep in during the winter have slices for his wings to get through. Otherwise he just throws his hoodie on over himself and calls it a day.
Runs a warm body temperature and slightly faster heartbeat.
Burning is annoying. It’s a whole-body itch, a sensation of peeling, raw pain and aching bones. Nerves literally on fire.

Watches the sunset from the top of the defunct belltower he lives in (Moroccan in style, clay-colored.) Only time he allows himself to stretch out his wings in broad daylight.
Doesn’t own much, save for small amount of clothes and winter blankets, a few books and old journals. all stored in a fire-safe locked trunk. Minimalist by necessity, not choice.
Tends to keep to himself and stay away from structures that would catch fire easily.

On his burning days, he seals himself in his tower and painfully submerges himself in water. Buys ice from gas stations. Often sick after, coughing and getting chills, weakened, clammy skin, shaky and faint. Shuddering and wrapped in blankets, wings spread over the sheets.

When the end days come, the end of his solar eon basically, it’s a rushing feeling of power and adrenaline. He goes out in an inferno, a ball of flame that roars up into the sky like an explosion. Flames burst from the top of the belltower. The ashes rain down, the majority of the embers collecting where he once stood. The ash solidifies and remains as volcanic rock until his next solar eon. Then he breaks from the shell like a newborn bird. Wrists and hands first, then head to feet. Unsteady on his legs and with smaller wings than before. Dazed, sleeps most of the day for the first month or so. When he gains his energy back he starts spring cleaning- scrubs the inside of the belltower clean and sweeps everything out.

Before solar eon, his wingspan is at max. As his wings grow, the feathers molt. He constantly sweeps the belltower. Sells a lot off to private magic shops and industries.

Bell tower has two sections, a basin where he draws water to wash in up a series of pipes (pump mechanism), and his “nest” which is another basin with magically fireproof blankets, pillows, sheets, comforters, mattresses. Very plush and soft. Well-worn and warm and cozy in the winter.
Hollow cutout in the wall, across from the main window, where he runs a fireplace during the winter. Has a cast iron pot which he boils warm water in and cooks stews and soups.

Summer is the hottest time, and the most likely that a solar eon will end in. Winter, though his body isn’t built for it and dislikes it, is actually the best because he can keep his internal temperatures down. Less heat, less burning, less chance of fire.

Sings quite well. Warbling noises when petted. Medium pitch. Between his shoulder blades/wings is sensitive- not erogenous but feels nice. Back rubs are really great, once he opens up and lets someone give him one. Base of his wings are like this too. Melts under tactile touch here, with those he trusts.

Phoenixes are probably rare considering they would have been hunted to near extinction for burning towns.

phoenix Smith x Will
they meet when Will falls off a building, and Smith catches him
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.”
“You fell off a building…”
“I was pushed.”
Will dusts himself off and then stares, wide-eyed, at Smith, and his hands still.
“What’d you do, that you got pushed off a building?” Smith asks.
Will tuts, and clears his throat. “Some people have unsavory business methods that involve interrogating their clients. I normally avoid such matters, but when your *insult* intern doesn’t bother to refill your jetpack, things get messy.”
“Jetpack, huh? So that’s the thing on your back.”
The man gives a look over his shoulder at the metal protruding from the harness strapped to his back. “Yes, and it’s currently out of juice.” He looks back to Smith, blatantly staring at his wings. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but those aren’t any sort of jetpack I’ve seen before.”
“They’re wings.” Smith grumbles, getting defensive. He tucks them behind him, mostly out of Strife’s sight. “And they’re none of your business. Who are you, anyway?”
Will puffs up “My name is William Strife, CEO of Strife Solutions. And you are…?”
“Well…’Smith’…” Strife drawls skeptically. “if you’re ever in need of any assistance, or a solution to a problem, Strife Solutions is always interested in-”
“I don’t need any of your help.”
Smith’s curt reply cuts Strife off. He stares back, determined. “Well, if you’re ever in need. My card.” He reaches into his pocket and hands Smith a card.
Strife walks away, Smith watches him leave. looks down at the card, black with a red starburst design and contact information. lets it fly into the wind

give me snarky Strife Solutions Strife
annoying intern Parvis
in a magi-tech world

Smith pauses in his sweeping to answer the door of his belltower.
“Why are you here? How’d you find this place?”
“It’s a tower, it’s not that hard to find. I saw you perched on the roof the other day.”
Smith purses lips.
“Are you going to let me in?”
“Tell me what you want.”
“I want to offer you a business proposal.”
Smith raises eyebrow
Will continues “I’m interested in designing a new jetpack, one that’s more aerodynamic and collapsible.”
“And let me guess-” Smith snarks, folding his arms across his chest. “You want to look at my wings in closer detail.”
“Yes. Strife Solutions will compensate you for your time, of course-”
“Hell- fucking- no,” he spat
“-and we’d be willing to cut the profits once the prototype is on the market.”
“No. Now get the fuck out.” vehemently
stare back. Will sighs and takes off his sunglasses, folding them and tucking them into the front of his shirt. “Look, you don’t need to be so rude about it.”
Smith flips him off.
Strife purses his lips. “I’m not trying to screw you over here.”
“Screw yourself, you *insult* *businessman*.”
“Fuck you.”
“Go fuck yourself.” Smith has half the mind to slam the door in his face, but Strife speaks up.
“Look, I get it,” he huffs. “It’s your body, I’m not trying to con you-”
“No, you really fucking don’t get it.” Smith snaps in reply. “Anybody with a decent set of morals would take the hell no I gave you and fucking leave. What makes you think I’m going to believe you? Just because you say you’re truthful? No fucking way. I don’t give a shit what you say to my face, underneath it all you humans are all the same. Greedy, and ignorant.

“Now get the fuck out of my home.” heavy breathing. feeling hot. Will leaves, and Smith slams the door locked. strides over to his water pump and puts his anger into pumping. water rushes out the spout and he cups his hands underneath it and starts splashing it on his face. water runs down his chin. sighs and runs his fingers through his hair. shaking his head, he shuffles over to his nest and flops down dramatically. sprawled out on his back, legs stretches out, with his arms over his head. the breeze coming through the cracks in the wall makes the water on his skin cold. sighs again and closes his eyes.
What would he do with money? honestly? all the money in the world doesn’t change what he is. it doesn’t mean he can live a normal life.
dammit, now the bastard knows where he lives, too. Smith doesn’t think Strife will push any further to get information on him, but he doesn’t know. He can’t trust him.
Fucking dammit.
The belltower is his safe haven. it’s the only thing he has left.
He doesn’t want to lose this, too…

flashback burning days, arson

Will in trouble with deals gone bad again, hanging onto the side of a building.
“Having trouble? you look like you’re in a bit of an ordeal, Strife.”
“fuck fucking just omg help me”
“help you? I mean, I guess I could”
“you fucking asshole just get me off this roof!”
“how about a deal.”
agonized inarticulate screech
“you keep my location a secret, you don’t betray me to any hunters, ever, and I’ll save your boney ass. deal?”
“deal, fucking deal, I’ve done that already, just get me down! safely!”
“okay,” grab around middle. “let go, I’ve got you.”
Will shakily releases his grip, shudders as Smith flies them up and over the building, onto the next roof over. practically starts kissing the ground gasping for air, when Smith sets him down. “thanks.” he stammers once he’s caught his breath.
smith nods. “what’d you get messed up in this time?”
“same thing. different people.”
raises eyebrow. “does this happen often?”
“it’s my fucking intern again. he sees cases before I do. says if a deal sounds alright or not. and then I end up getting screwed over.” shoes scrape concrete as he turns over to sit back
“so fire your intern.”
sighs heavily “I can’t”
“why not”
“I owed someone a favor by hiring him.”
“so pay off the favor.”
huff and looks away, at the building he’s nearly fallen off of again. “thanks, again.” says quietly. meeting Smith’s eyes.
Smith nods, wondering why Strife wears sunglasses all the time when he has such pretty green eyes. “you’re welcome.”
“really. I, uh.” looks away and then back again. “I really owe you. You know, for saving my life I guess. twice now”
Smith chuckles at Strife’s bashfulness. “Yeah, well, you might want to reinvest in better jetpacks, princess.”
laugh at indignant splutter
Strife chuckles, shaking his head “I’m no princess.”
“whatever you say, Strife.”
“you can call me Will.”
“okay. Will.”
this was weird, not cussing each other out. weird, but…nice.
“you know…you’re not too bad. near-death experiences probably make you less of an asshole.”
“just don’t hold it over me.”
“Oh, I’m going to. I bet you’re softer under that suit you wear like armor.”
“I’d say you’re not as much of an asshole, too, but…well…”
Smith scoffs good naturedly. “okay, nevermind, fuck you.”
Strife- Will- chuckles. “Same to you, Smith. Same to you.”

Smith agrees to work with Will to make new jetpack designs, on the idea that with them Will won’t fall off of buildings as much.
“just you, though. no one else.”
“of course”

Will measures Smith wings, they talk about how Smith’s wingspan grows over time
“what works best for flying?”
“I’m not sure. not the full size, but more than my height in terms of wingspan”
Will’s hand hovers over his chest, surprised at how much body heat Smith gives off. “You’re so warm…”
“Warm?” Smith laughs softly as Will strokes his hand down Smith’s chest. “That’s the first thing that comes to mind?”
His wings fan out behind him. Will’s fingers brush slowly along Smith’s shoulder blades.
“May I?” he stills at the joint where Smith’s shoulder and wing meet.
Smith nods.
The feathers along the underside of Smith’s wings are more sensitive than the rest.
Smith shivers at the feeling of Will’s fingernails.
Will gets more confident, spread palm over wings, stroke to feather tip
“Mmm.” warble in Smith’s throat.
Will brings his hand back to his side. “You’re beautiful.”
Smith scoffs and folds his wings back again. “My beauty is a lie,” he replies, turning from Will to walk towards the windowsill where his clothesline is. “You’ve never seen me go up in flames. The destruction in my body is enough to bring the city to its knees.”
Will shrugs. “There’s beauty in destruction,” he says.
Smith’s demeanor gets darker as he rips his shirt of the clothesline and pulls it over his head.
“Tell that to the lives I’ve taken. Tell that to the homes I’ve burnt. There is no beauty in my mistakes.”
“You didn’t do it on purpose.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Smith snaps.
The tone in his voice means they’re done with the conversation.


Smith having a burning day, Will stopping by and helping take care of him. getting snow and ice from the balcony (it’s winter)

later, maybe Will and Smith talking on the roof of the belltower, WIll drawing up schematics, them talking about Smith being a phoenix, and rebirth. Will being more relaxed around him, not wearing the suit he normally does. Smith takes Strife’s sunglasses off and puts them on himself.
They kiss.

massage, spending time together, warm in the nest. more talking about being a phoenix. reassurance. Will talking about confidence, and growing into yourself. more kissing, non-sexual touching, petting wings.

winter turns to spring, ice thawing, rain pelting the roof of the bell tower.

sometime even later, have Smith’s solar eon come up. talk about it to Will on the roof, wind blowing their hair. really big wings means Smith has to be shirtless all the time. no complaints from Will on that.
“You mean you’re going to leave?”
“I mean…I won’t really be around for a while. After it happens.”
“How long?”
“I don’t know. Could be _, could be _.”
“You’ve still got time left, right?”
“how much?”
shrug, look away from green eyes. “maybe a month.”
can hear Will swallow.
“there isn’t a way to delay it?”
“I don’t want to lose you.”
sigh. “I’ll come back.”
“it’ll hurt.”
“it always does.  you’ll be fine without me.”
Smith frowns at the question in Will’s voice. “yeah. of course you will. you were fine before.”
Will says nothing.
“…weren’t you?” look over
shrug. “I’m better with you around. I don’t want you to go.”
throat feels tight. blinks. “I don’t have a choice.” voice strained. “I’ve never had a choice.”
“I know.” takes his hand. “I know.”
Smith kisses him, and Will threads his hand through his hair, and they sit on the roof of the belltower.


Strife watches the sky from the window of his office, coffee untouched. He can see the belltower from Strife Solutions.
sees the flames burst from the windows, doesn’t hear anything other than the office around him, but his heart is heavy and there’s an aching inside him. because he knows what that means.
he watches the ashes from the fire turn the sky grey, and knows now he waits.
and inside the bell tower, under ash and rubble, Smith waits, too.
psychedelic phoenix Smith/Will
phoenix smith x will


phoenix Smith

phoenix smith?
phoenix Smith burning book


Arsonist’s Lullabye- Hozier
I’m on Fire- JJ & the Pillars
Smoke- Pvris (phoenix Smith? other alter Smith?)


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