Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. No copyright infringement is intended and I make no profit from this story. Kripke owns John Winchester and Whedon owns Illyria.All My Days Will End With You
The sky, awash with pale watercolor shades of red and orange, is still and heavy, the sun reflecting weakly off the clouds and casting them in hues of oxidized gold.
The grass is scratchy against their skin, expanding endlessly in all directions in a splotchy pattern of beige scrub and cracked dirt, melting into the ragged line of trees reaching nearly barren branches to the sky – pleading supplicants or ravening worshippers depending upon the time of day and the weight of the heat curling from the earth and sky.
A treasured breeze gusts up, shaking the branches soundlessly in the distance, deceptively cooling with its soft brush against parched skin, making them miss the dance of the trees when they had last been in full bloom.
They sit side by side on the hilltop, the world open and unending before them, the tops of the hills still bright with the paling sun as the lows and valleys between them wind like a graying river, circling and looping around the islands of light.
“Will it be today, do you think?” he asks, not with real curiosity, but more from expectation. A lock of black hair drapes low across his forehead, somehow stark against his tanned skin, making his eyes glow almost green in the slanting sunlight.
“It seems likely,” she replies, her unblinking gaze directed out to the emptiness stretching at their feet.
“Good,” he says gently, his eyes sliding closed. “I’m tired.” The distant trees agree with him, applauding noiselessly in the slight wind as their branches tangle and tear at each other with a subtle sense of agitation.
“I know,” she says softly. “It has been a long, long time.” She brushes tangled curls of blue-brown hair from her eyes, uselessly fighting the wind since there is nothing else left to fight.
“Do you think we’ll see them?” he asks, a frail hope almost daring to tinge his tone.
“Perhaps,” she replies. “I do not know.” She turns her bold blue gaze to his and he drinks of its coolness, feeling the calm settling into his bones with a growing lassitude as her hand comes up to rest on the nape of his neck, a hint of a question darkening her eyes as her fingers tighten just a touch.
He fights the urge to continue drowning in the cleansing tranquility she offers in those tinted blue depths, denying her unspoken proposal. He shakes his head and her hand falls away, his resigned impatience not greater than his need to remain by her side. He confesses with muted remorse, his voice barely a whisper, “I can’t remember all of their names.”
“They will remember yours,” she tells him, hoping to ease his worry.
The wind blows more insistently, demanding and needy, almost tempting them to strip and stand with arms splayed open, if just for the sensation of movement on their lethargic skin. With it comes the scent of dust, and the illusory perfume of dried flowers and the wide sky in mid-summer.
He opens his mouth, trying to taste it before it is gone again, and the underlying staleness weighs heavily on the back of his tongue. A small gleam of yellowed bone appears a few yards away as the dust swirls in the breeze, but neither of them is fooled into thinking it is anything but animal – not after so long.
“It will be soon,” she states in an attempt at comfort. “Do you feel it?”
“Yes,” he whispers, relief washing over his face. “I do.”
Their hands creep towards each other, the sharp, dry grass blades beneath them leaving pale white scratches on his skin. They clasp hands, his palm damp and clammy, grasping onto each other with anticipation and a little bit of joy.
They sit quietly, watching as the sun drags lower. The black river of shadow between the hills gradually rises, leaving their lonely isle of sunlight adrift in the roiling dimness. The silently clamoring trees lose their only audience as the colors bleed slowly from the sky, their gazes now locked onto the horizon. They lean towards each other, shoulders and hips brushing as they hold their breath, the endless waiting almost done.
The shadows lap at their toes, bringing with them a faded memory of the ocean – the scent of salt and the echoing shrieks of the seagulls.
His thumb brushes over the back of her hand.
The universe flickers…and goes out. Author's Note: Thanks to hakirby for beta-ing this story. It makes me sad that this is the end of the John/Illyria 'verse, but I truly enjoyed it while it lasted. I hope everyone who waded their way through the monstrous epic enjoyed it, as well.