Footsteps Dressed in RedRemix Author: elohveeOriginal Story: Bones of an IdolOriginal Author: mceeRating:
[ one ]
He wakes disoriented, with a pillow pressed tight to his chest. In those first, dazed awake moments, he thinks the fabric takes her shape. He thinks it feels like her skin and smells like her shampoo and perfume.
Alert trickles in, replacing Sleeping, and his eyes seek out Dean's shape curled, protective, around Sammy in the next bed. He looks at his hands, twisted in the pillowcase, a grip that would leave bruises if there was actual flesh to harm. He wouldn't hold so tight if there was.
He dreams of her, of crackling fire and her skin melting like floral-scented candle wax. Drifting back to sleep, he swears he can feel smoky fingertips drift up over his spine.
[ two ]
The first time is near the docks. Alone in a motel with dirty water lapping at the wall below the window, he breathes in out in out and the candle flame dances at the tip of the wick.
The guy at the desk drowning his sorrows in a cup of cheap coffee over the Reader's Digest by lantern light didn't even look up when he said, We got no power, buddy. But I can get you a room and some candles real cheap.
And John ran a lined hand over his face and said, Okay. Yeah. Whatever you've got.
It was a mistake. He knows it. A mistake to say yes, because he's reading about malevolent water sprites and all he can think is, Mary
. All he can think is that he'd go to her before any siren ever got its chance.
The first time is in a room by the docks with the stump of a candle in a tarnished holder on the desk, and he thinks he's dreaming. He wakes up with the smell of singed flowers in the space by his bed, and he thinks he can hear her voice, gentle assurances of everything and of nothing in his ear, like it's echoing around the room. He thinks he can hear her footsteps around the corner.
He goes back to sleep and dreams about drowning.
[ three ]
New Year's is the peak of demon activity. In Times Square, it's worse: all that energy, all that confusion, all that noise.
He's got a contact in New York with a studio apartment and plenty of room. The boys sleep in the loft and John takes the couch, and Mary sits next to him and he doesn't yell and he doesn't start. He leans his head into the stroking of her fingers and listens to the lull of her voice. He tries to ignore the smell like fire that clings to her body and clothes and he says, Mary. God, Mary, I miss you. I don't know what to do. I miss you.
And she kisses his forehead, his mouth, tasting like ashes and dust, and she whispers, It's okay, baby. You're okay.
He falls asleep with her small palm pressed down over his heart and wakes to Sammy and Dean arguing about breakfast cereal. The whole day feels like the world's worst hangover and all he wants is to sleep, to see her again, but she doesn't come. For almost a year, she doesn't come.
[ four ]
He never tells them. They never know.
Sammy sits in his lap in November and says, Do you remember, Dad? I don't remember.
Dean sits with his homework balanced on one knee and his shoulders tighten, but he doesn't say a word and he doesn't turn around. And John sighs and strokes a warm palm over his son's back and he says, Yeah, Sammy. I remember.
At night time, he can taste copper dripping onto his skin from the ceiling, and he can feel the heat curling into muscle and bone, like it was his death. Because it always feels like dying, every single time.
[ five ]
He opens his eyes and she's there, kneeling at the edge of the bed as if in prayer, but her eyes are wide open and focused on him. She stands and smiles a smile like crying when he pushes back the covers and falls to his knees with a soft thump at her feet. She threads her fingers in his hair and he kisses her thigh through her nightgown and breathes in deep, smoke and maybe sulfur, flowery candle wax and blood.
What feels like hours later, she sits by his bed with one hand covered by both of hers, and she answers all of his questions with Hush now
and It's all right. Everything will be all right.
She kisses him and for days, all he can taste is cinders, and all he can hear is her voice: Be brave now, John. It's almost over. It'll be over soon.