rated T for teen
main character: Maddie Summers-Pryor
disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to Maddie, Scott or any other characters from Marvel Comics. They belong to Marvel Entertainment, Stan Lee and an assortment of past and present Marvel writers.
distribution: PEJA, Luba, Mental Wanderings - anyone else ask first.
notes: canon divergent pre-Inferno.
Maddie dreamed of fire, and of flight. Falling through the air wreathed in flames. Except... in the dream, she wasn't screaming, or afraid, she was laughing. Laughing as she twirled through the air, her hair flowing over her shoulders, hands reaching out to grab the air. Utterly certain that she was safe, that she was in no danger – that she was free. It was a freedom that she couldn’t enjoy in her waking life, bound by duty, and schedules, and gravity.
Dreaming of fire wasn't unusual for Maddie. It happened often, at least once a week, sometimes more. Sometimes they were bad dreams, of screaming and falling, surrounded by a fire that sought to keep her away from everything else even as it burned her, a fire that seemed to think. Sometimes she dreamed of things burning.
She'd been told that she'd been involved in a plane crash, one with flames and plentiful injuries. Told that this crash had left her in the hospital for 'quite a while' and was the cause of both her childhood memories feeling fuzzy and vague as well as the gap between her prom - there had been a deep green dress, or perhaps teal? - and waking up in the hospital with Dr. Essex helping her recover. The nurses had agreed that her crash was probably why she kept dreaming of falling and fire.
Dr. Essex had explained the memory gap as trauma induced amnesia. Perfectly normal. He'd even helped her make arrangements to relocate to Anchorage, so she could start over without reminders of her previous life. Dr. Essex had murmured that a fresh start could help her heal, help her build a life without reminders of the past.
Except that Maddie wasn't sure that she believed him.
Maddie didn't have any scars. Not one from falling out of a tree and breaking her arm like she almost remembered, not one from stepping on broken glass left on the tiles by a sandy haired boy beside a swimming pool. None from this alleged awful plane crash that had supposedly left her comatose for a while and then with partial amnesia. None, anywhere on her body.
Her husband didn't mind when she dreamed of fire and falling, when she woke up frightened and needing comfort and reassurance. She suspected that it made him feel much better when he could be the one to comfort her, to calm her racing heart and wild fears. Scott was always so pleased to help chase away the bad dreams, calling her his marvel, and his wonderful, marvelous girl.
Some of that comforting might well be how they'd wound up with little Nathan Christopher. With his brown curls and bright blue eyes and tiny dimple, Maddie thought he was the most adorable baby in the whole state. Though she did consider that she might be a little biased.
They both liked the idea of building a family together. Neither had great pasts, both of them orphans with no relatives, or at least not close enough to count. But together, they could build a new family, a father for guidance, a nurturing mother, and bright, inquisitive, wonderful children. So far they had Nathan Christopher, but she thought that she'd like him to have younger brothers and sisters. Maybe three or four more children... The idea of a warm, large, loving family made Maddie feel happy inside, like slipping into a fuzzy robe in front of the fireplace.
She'd learned that Scott didn't like it when she talked about the good flying dreams, not unless there was an airplane involved. Any dreams of free flight - of soaring through the air unsupported, feeling the wind in her face, tugging at her hair and spilling through her fingers like silk ribbons - made him go tense and quiet. He didn't say anything to her about them, but if she mentioned them he didn't say much of anything at all. It bothered her when he went so quiet, feeling like some sort of wound had been opened up inside. Like she'd done something wrong, swatted some hidden emotional wound.
Maddie had given up on trying to control her dreams. Actually, she rather liked the dreams of flight. She had just decided not to talk about them anymore. Not to her friends, not to her husband Scott, who was somehow everything she’d never known she wanted in a man.
Slipping out of the bed she shared with her husband, Maddie shook her head and went to check on her son. He was sleeping quietly, all curled up with his little bottom in the air and his thumb in his mouth. Smiling, Maddie tugged the blanket over him, not wanting her darling to get too cold.
"They aren't bad dreams, Nathan. They feel... good. Like I'm free," Maddie whispered. “What’s wrong with dreaming about feeling so happy, so free?”
Her sleeping infant son didn't answer.
Maybe the dreams represented her rising above the crash, above the disasters and problems of her life. Especially the ones lost to that blankness. Maybe it was some sort of hidden symbolism. Or maybe she just needed to stop staring at the fireplace before going to bed.
"We're building a new life here, a good one," Maddie whispered. “Scott and I don’t need to be bound by our pasts, we can make a better future. Together.”
She smiled as she tried to picture Nathan older, running and asking for a puppy, with a little brother toddling after, maybe with a red cast to the brother's hair. And her watching and holding a little girl with a tuft of brownish red curls, a dimple as she sucked on her fingers.
"Everything will be perfect." Her words were half plea and half promise.
Maddie dreamed of fire again when she slept.
end Maddie Dreams: Fire.