FEEDBACK: I live and breathe for it. Pretty Please?
DISTRIBUTION: Shadows & Dust, Twisting the Hellmouth, anyone else please ask. If you have permission for any of my other stuff, feel free to have this one too.
SUMMARY: Johnny adjusts to his new life as a vampire.
SERIES: Salvation II. To read the previous story, go here:Salvation
SPOILERS: Through the second season of Dead Zone, no spoilers for BtVS or AtS, could be set anytime after season five on BtVS, season two on AtS.
RATING: ruminations of the recently deceased. some violence and death and mayhem.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters. They belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox, WB, UPN and their associates, or Steven King and USA Television.
DEDICATION: For Ebony Silvers.
In his next life, Johnny Smith was going to invest in GM or 3M or M&M or whatever the company name was the invented the sticky note. And then he was going to buy boxes of those little square pads of yellow paper by the truckload. Sure, they didn't really stick to much, just gathered dust and hair and dried up, dropping to the floor. But, in the grand scheme of things, they might just stay up on the wall long enough to get their hastily scribbled point across.
He was going to be that squirrel, the one from the commercials that put little notes up all over the inside of his hollowed out tree after stealing them from some unsuspecting human's desk. The walls of the tree house were papered, each and every inch, with directions where to find nuts for use when the squirrel's tiny little mind was overflowing with the locations of hidden dinners.
Of course, he wouldn't use them to find nuts. He wasn't much for nuts anyway; they sometimes gave him a rash. Or used to, before the world turned upside down. No, he'd use them to remind him of the important things, the thing that you should never forget. The really necessary ones would go on the door to the refrigerator, or the bathroom mirror, or even the doorjamb to the garage or front door. Always eye level where he couldn't miss them, and wouldn't be tempted to forget. Because sometimes you should never forget.
Sticky on the refrigerator: Eat your vegetables.
This one was important for reasons he couldn't remember. He was sure his mother said it, almost as often as she reminded him to pray. But since praying didn't do a whole hoopla of good in his opinion anymore, he'd stick to vegetables.
Sticky on the bathroom mirror: Marry her before it's too late.
Maybe he should rewrite it to Seize the Day, or something else appropriately clichéd.
Regardless, if he had just gone ahead and done it, then little Johnny wouldn't belong to someone else, no matter if Sarah got remarried. She would have been his, till death do us part, and all that. Because, after all, coma patients are still alive.
Sticky on the bathroom mirror: Make up your mind.
This could mean several things. Johnny thought that it should say 'Avoid Comas: Pick Life or Death, but get it the hell over with', but he didn't think that would fit. Limbo was not a good look for him, and only led to unpleasant things. If he was going to discover his life DOA upon waking up, he'd rather not. Or maybe not always, not the days he watched little Johnny play soccer or bitch about eating his vegetables. Maybe he'd give Sarah one of those sticky notes for her fridge too. Boy wouldn't that be a sight to see.
Sticky by the mail slot: Don't touch anything.
Or, not anything you don't want to know the intimate details behind. Honestly, do the papers really think he wants to know the graphic story of some poor shmoe's sex life? It really turned him off of eating; these flashes of other people's existences taking over his mind, filling him with an overwhelming desire to go all boyscout. Sure, it came in handy sometimes, but what's the good of being the psychic wonder if his spectacular Dead Zone activity didn't help him out once in a while. Which leads directly into the next note…
Sticky on the doorframe: Don't invite Death in for tea.
Fairly self explanatory, but it seemed that Death wasn't always a skeleton in a cloak carrying a sickle. Sometimes, Death was a beautiful woman with bewitching eyes like the midnight sky over the ocean, her skin whispering sweet seduction, and the air around her filled with promise. Bible school never warned about that kind of Death. Or the fact that death didn't seem to be permanent. On second thought…
Sticky on the doorframe, covering up the first sticky: Do invite Death in for Tea.
Death, also known as Drusilla, promised him wonders, and wonders he got. He didn't ache with every step, he didn't need glasses to read, and his cane was now utterly pointless. That didn't mean he cast it away. His cane was as much a part of him now as the visions and the distinct lack of heartbeat. Ah the heartbeat, the thumping, driving reminder that your time was almost up, your race was all but run. He didn't miss it one iota.
Sticky on the garbage can: Clean up after eating.
In the old days, this would have meant putting dishes and glasses in the dish washer, trash in the garbage, and food away in the fridge. Now however, there was the little matter of corpse disposal. When he awoke that first night, ravenous and addled, he found a bound and trussed delivery man in the corner, a calm Drusilla presiding over him like a grand lady at a banquet. At the first drink of heady, red, fear laced delight, he was hooked. It was so… different from before. But, when it was all over, there was this lump on the floor, taking up space and cluttering the room. Johnny Smith hated mess. So he wandered out in the large backyard and dug a hole. In went Ahmed and down went the dirt. His lady seemed so pleased. She clapped her hands and gave him a kiss that tasted of dark and cold, the sparkle of starlight, and he was lost.
Sticky on the car keys: Choose your friends wisely.
Eternity is a wonderful prospect, but if you're going to be eternal, you should be awfully careful who you asked to join you, Johnny thought. When Drusilla asked him what he wanted to do and Johnny said he wanted to go for a drive to see some friends, she tilted her head and asked whether his mother was still alive. She said it in such a cross, unhappy manner that Johnny was happy to tell her that she was, in fact, previously deceased. She muttered something about William being tied by apron strings, but he paid it no mind. He thought briefly for a moment about stopping into see Sarah and little Johnny, but found he didn't want to bother just yet. Sarah was perfectly capable of making herself miserable in her marriage all on her own; she didn't need his help. And little Johnny was a prize not yet ready to be won. The sheriff on the other hand…
Sticky on the steering wheel: Journalists are already vampires.
The thought of Dana around for the rest of eternity, as entertaining as she was, was enough to make Johnny bend the steering wheel out of shape. He could only imagine how she'd be, completely indiscreet, consuming her sources even more thoroughly than she did as a human. Besides, if he wanted beauty, he had all he needed. Drusilla sang in his veins like blue fire; he was drunk on her.
Sticky on the inside of his wallet: Insides like outsides.
The friends he wanted to visit had turned out to be Stilson and his flunky, Sonny Elliman. Stilson seemed so happy to see him, Elliman less so. Guess Eillman remembered the little fistfight. Stilson oozed charm, wondering what finally brought Johnny around to his way of thinking, and wouldn't he introduce him to his lovely lady friend. Johnny had just smiled, informing Stilson that he must have misunderstood; his lady friend had no interest in getting acquainted.
Which brought them to the now. No more sticky notes; they weren't necessary. Johnny gave Stilson's corpse one more good shake before letting him drop to the floor.
"Dru, dear, why didn't you tell me politicians tasted so horrible?"
She flashed her incisors at him, the liquid gold of her eyes reflecting the incandescent lights from above like brilliant cut topaz. "Because you never asked, pigeon." She licked Elliman's neck once more, grimacing as the stubble prickled her tongue.
She stood, all graceful predator, and smoothed her skirts. She wrapped her arms around his neck, nuzzling his chest and he smiled. It was indescribable, the freedom, the utter lack of concern for the death he handed out like it was nothing. He frowned a bit at that, but didn't dwell. He dislodged her gently and knelt to the floor. Reaching one tentative hand out to grasp Stilson's cold fingers, he laughed out loud.
It was gone. The apocalyptic destruction was no more real than a puff of smoke in the wind. He leapt back to his feet and swirled the vampiress around. "You are a goddess."
She giggled, and traced a finger down his cheek. "For you, anything." Back on her feet, she pulled him to the door. "Shall we dance with the dark? Hell is calling us home, my love."
Johnny tilted his head. "A trip? Where to?"
"The land where fire rains from below and the night walks with sharp teeth."
He took one last look around the office, flipping off the over head lights out of habit. "For you, anything."