Title: in silvery days of silence they go
Character(s): John Winchester / Mary
Word Count: 1310
Summary: He thinks of body bags and body counts; about the sounds and smells of the jungle, moisture plopping on the ground from the constant rain.
Author's Note: Thank you to chaoticpoetry for the beta.
in silvery days of silence they go
He lies in bed bathed in pale moonlight, listening to the clock tick beside him. Tomorrow he flies home for the first time in two years.
Will they even recognize him?
He stares at the ceiling, nervousness eating away at his stomach, wondering as he has every day since receiving his orders home, why him? Why was he able to walk through the jungle everyday and remain unscathed, unscarred, and still alive?
He’s always thinking of Vietnam. He remembers those kids on the flight line at Bien Hoa, wrapped up like mummies, drugged out of their minds by pain killers, staring at him in his starched fatigues with a duffle on his shoulder. He remembers the sounds of Jimi Hendrix following him as he climbs aboard the chopper. He’s haunted by sight of so many amputated legs as the medics load them into the Huey beside him at dust off.
He thinks of body bags and body counts; about the sounds and smells of the jungle, moisture plopping on the ground from the constant rain. The noises the lizards and bugs made in the dark surround him in the cold, sterile motel room.
The sounds of chopper blades and crickets follow him into sleeping and he sees two soldiers, naked to the waist. Their shadows are long in the creamy light spilling from the open doorway. He can hear their whispering from within, softly blending with the sounds of running water. One of them wrestles with a garden hose, while the other steadies the body that dangles from the stirrups in the ceiling.
John knows where he is, and he wants to turn away. He shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t watch their act, but curiosity pulls him forward. The back and legs of the body are pierced by hundreds of tiny holes and even as he watches, bloody water washes down the torso, flows along the arms and head and plunges in a crimson stream curling into the drain in the floor. He’s inside the building, and approaching the body when the washers of the dead raise their blank, silvery eyes to his. They stop cleaning and move away.
John Winchester stares down at his own dead face.
When he awakens with a start the next morning, he imagines Mary beside him, her long fingers stroking his shoulder and whispering in his ear, “Love me slow, John.”
Even the anticipation of feeling her body against his again is not enough to chase away his blood-stained memories. His feet hit the rough carpet as he rubs his hands roughly over the stubble of his hair. He grabs the bottle of Jack from the bedside table and drinks deeply, elbows resting on his bent knees.
He snorts and presses the back of his hand against his nose as he remembers the daydreams that helped him while in the jungle. How he used to imagine himself a family man, with Mary as his wife and their babies at her breast.
He drinks again until oblivion chases his dreams away.
He’s home for two weeks before he finally has the courage to tell Mary he doesn’t love her anymore.
He’s lying, and it’s killing him, but he knows it’s the right thing to do. She’s graduating high school in two months and has a full scholarship to Kansas State.
Two days ago, Mary’s father invited him over for a beer and a smoke. Even before the old man got down to it, he knew Mary deserved better. John was a broken man. His only solace was in the pot he smoked and the Jack he drank
How could he expect anyone to marry him and have a family when he wasn’t even able to sleep without nightmares?
He was distant for a few days before, watching her when she wasn’t aware. His heart breaks as she throws her head back and laughs at something one of her friends says. He’s always loved her laugh, the way she covers her mouth with her fists and how her eyes crinkle at the corners. He memorizes everything he can of her, the smell of her hair, and the feel of her breasts against his chest as he kisses her good night.
Two days later, Mary’s face falls as he says the words he’s practiced in his head for the last few hours. She stares up at him with her damn blue eyes and calls him a liar. It takes every ounce of liquid courage he has to take her by the upper arms and shake her a little bit. “It’s over,” he spats, furious with himself for being a coward and not being the man Mary deserves.
Instead of crumpling and crying, she watches him steadily for a moment and then wraps her arms around him.
“When you’re done running,” she whispers into his heart, “I’ll be here waiting for you.”
She stands on her tiptoes, kisses him on the mouth and then turns and walks away.
Eight years later, he’s finally saved enough money to open his own garage in Lawrence. He’s working as the mechanic on the day a shiny new red Corvette pulls in. The man behind the wheel opens the door, stands and pulls out his wallet as Butch whistles appreciatively at the car. He unhooks the gas nozzle and makes small talk with the guy.
John moves closer to open bay doors, wiping his hands on his dirty rag as he allows himself to daydream about the Corvette’s slim lines for just a moment. He’s pulled from his reverie when the woman in the passenger side opens the door and steps out.
The putz calls something to her back, and she just waves a hand over her head at him as she pulls her large black sunglasses from her face.
John bends at the waist with the shock of seeing Mary again after all this time. He moves deeper into the shadows of the garage as she passes close enough for her perfume to wash over him. The smell of lilies transports him back to their first date, her pigtails and braces, his nervousness when he stretched his arm over her shoulders in the darkened movie theater.
She looks older now, more sophisticated. Red lipstick stains her lips and her black Capri pants hug her hips in all the right places. She’s more beautiful then he remembers and for the millionth time, he curses himself for letting her go.
He follows her with his eyes as she enters the office. “Can I use your phone?” she asks Wally, the other attendant and John frowns at the lecherous grin spreading across his friend’s face.
She dials the heavy black phone quickly, barely giving the rotor a chance to wind back before her fingers push around the circle again. “Hi Daddy,” she says, her back to him and John’s fingers burn to touch her hair. “I’m in Lawrence. Yes, I know,” she nods her head and moves into a sunbeam streaming through the dirty windows, lighting her hair like white fire. She turns then and sees him, her mouth opening, her eyes widening in shock
Dammit, John thinks. This wasn’t how he wanted her to see him again, dirty and covered in grease. “I’ve got to go Daddy,” she says slowly into the receiver, her eyes never leaving his. “I’ll be home at some point.”
The phone is forgotten and she’s flying into his arms before he has a chance to react. Wally’s standing behind the desk, his smile widening as he places the heavy black receiver back on the cradle.
Her mouth finds his as her long legs wrap around his overalls-covered back.
“Is that your boyfriend?” John asks when they finally break apart. Mary looks at him quizzically until he gestures with his head towards the corvette and the man waiting behind the wheel.
“Never had another boyfriend but you,” Mary whispers as she tilts her head down and kisses him deeply, her tongue sweeping into his mouth.
John’s knees weaken and finally, he comes home.