The Sky’s Gonna Open
AN: Sorry about that long break. I've been busy. But I'll post a bunch more today, so that's good, right?
Back to the events mentioned in “The Sky’s Gonna Open.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Sky’s Gonna Open
He spends a few days in a demon-kept library located in a literary dimension (hey, no need to be racist - demons like a good book as well as anybody), searching, looking.
Then Eliot calls him.
There are tears in his voice, and he’s not even drunk or concussed. He’s six years old, and he’s scared and guilty and feeling all sorts of grown-up emotions, but they’re packed into a tiny body and there’s no outlet but to cry.
So he does, and it’s not Eliot.
Child or adult, Eliot never gave in to his emotions like that (don’t get Lindsey wrong - Eliot’s a better man than he is [well, was])
, and Lindsey feels lost
without his brother acting and reacting like he’s supposed to. He gets a sudden empty feeling inside of him, and all he wants is to be near Eliot.
Like now. Right now.
So he hurries back to his own world and is halfway to Boston when he sees the date. July 20. Oh, shit. Oh shit!
It’s their birthday tomorrow.
Birthdays are not
a big deal. They come around every year, after all. It’s kind of awkward and embarrassing swapping presents (“Uh, here. Heh. Hope you uh, like it.” “Oh, um. Thanks. Here. ‘S for you.” “Oh, thanks. Uh, yeah.”) because it’s not like it’s Christmas or anything. It’s just another day.
But they used to celebrate their birthday. When they were kids, Mama would bake them a cake, and they’d blow out the candles together, in one combined breath. After Mama died, Uncle Randy did his best, and Tina Martin would make them a cake (never as good as Mama’s), and Willie and Aimee would sit next to them at the table, cheering them on as they blew out their candles and made their birthday wishes. Those had been good birthdays.
The first year they’d ever been separated, when Eliot joined the army and Lindsey went to college, Lindsey had haunted his dorm room’s telephone, waiting for Eliot’s call. “Happy birthday,” then a reluctant “It’s lights out. Gotta go,” ten short minutes later.
Birthdays had gradually gotten to be special days only when they had the time to for more than a quick phone call. Even when they did have the time, well, it was just a day to celebrate another year lived, and life was hell anyway, so why bother?
But this year?
Eliot sounded like a kid, and a kid should have something
on his birthday. Even back then, when they’d been so poor that the roof leaked every time it drizzled, they had presents. The both of them. Some small toy each, a handful of candy bars, something.
One year, a good year, they’d gotten matching teddy bears. Sprout and Bean. Bean and Sprout.
Bean had been Eliot’s, then their baby sister Abby’s when she’d taken a liking to it, but Sprout…whatever happened to Sprout?
He’d packed the stuffed bear away long ago in a box of their old things from their poverty-stricken yet happy
childhood. And the box? In a storage depot smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt.
So he makes his way to the warehouse where he’d packed away his past (and Eliot’s), and pulls the roll-up door open. Once he walks in, he’s hit by a strange wave of nostalgia (he tells himself that it’s only the energy from the magical wards he has put up to keep enemies from stealing all the jealously guarded pieces of their pasts). Their mother’s wedding dress is packed away in that box over there, and their dad’s high school football trophy in that box there, faded old photographs here, and all of Lindsey’s report cards and school papers over there. A white dress that Darla had once worn, a necklace that Eve had given him. All squirreled away safely in a place only he knows of.
He makes his way to a box and slices the clear tape away with his knife. The last of the tape snaps as he lifts the lid up, and a cloud of dust puffs up into the air, making his eyes water and irritating his throat. There, snuggled down amidst the faded folds of an old quilt made by their great-grandmother during the Depression, is Sprout, as worn down and raggedy as ever.
A half-smile on his face, he reaches down and picks the bear up. The toy in his hand is smaller than he remembers, and he finds himself giving it a quick one-armed squeeze. Embarrassed, he looks around to check that no one is looking, tucks the bear under his arm, and cautiously makes his way out of the warehouse.
After that, it’s easy. He enchants a fly with a spell he’s used countless times before for surveillance, adds a little confetti magic, and sends the whole shebang off to Boston.
As he watches his brother, his twin brother who should still be twelve minutes older than him today instead of thirty-one years younger, having the best birthday he’s probably ever had, Lindsey wishes that he could’ve been there, too.
And then he berates himself for wishing such a thing; how could he want
Eliot to be a kid when he very obviously hates it and- and well, isn’t himself
when he’s like this? Lindsey should be working on a spell, but all the goddamn spells he’s found that could
work are too dangerous to manage or need some unforgivable deed to be done to make them work.
He looks at his list. All these rituals, all these counterspells. Not a decent one among them. He holds the notebook in his hand and thinks of his brother, thinks of his voice, sounding so small and scared and wrong,
and he makes up his mind. He’ll do it. He’s gonna do it, no matter what Eliot says if (when) he finds out. He’s gonna do it.
He can fix this.
He’ll take care of Eliot even if it’s the last thing he does (and it will be if he does it right), because they’re brothers and that’s what they do.
Besides, he’s the older one now, which automatically makes him the overprotective one.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AN: And that’s it. This is what Lindsey was doing while Eliot was adjusting to being a little kid in “The Sky’s Gonna Open.”
(Yes, I’m aware that this wasn’t one of my best stories, but I kind of wanted to try it out. I hope it didn’t ruin the verse for anyone. If it did, pretend you never read it!)