|John Winchester (daddywinchester) wrote in parabolical,|
@ 2009-05-18 00:43:00
|Over the years, holidays like Mother's Day or Valentine's Day, Mary's birthday, the anniversary of her death, and more had all hit John hard in their own unique ways, their wedding anniversary had been one of the ones to hit him the hardest each year, because it was the memorial of years they would never have together. Each year, the number of years Mary had been gone surpassed first the number they had been married, then the number he had known her, until the loss far outweighed the once-gain.|
Then Los Angeles had happened to the both of them, happened to their whole family. In the sixth months that he and Mary had both been here together, they'd celebrated holidays and birthdays and just the normal days that were, in many ways, just as noteworthy. And now they could celebrate their anniversary. Their sixth, in terms of time spent together and married, but nearer their twenty-eight, if one counted the years John had been alive and Mary still on earth as a spirit.
It was why John hadn't exactly picked a number and instead gone for gift-giving of an entirely different nature. Scattered around the room were presents, wrapped and unwrapped, of varying shapes and sizes, the only consistent mark between them coming in the form of folded cards with numbers on them, six through twenty-eight. One for each of those anniversaries spent not together, but noted by the passage of time just the same.
He was still uncertain how the gifts would go over, worried the sadness would outweigh all other emotions, but he'd thought of her on each of those anniversaries, pondered what he might buy her, how their life might have been if she hadn't died. In the end, the technicalities of how long exactly it had been didn't matter. What mattered was celebrating this day not just for what it might have been, but what it would be. These gifts weren't a memorial of those long years, they were a promise to repeat those anniversaries together with her, because he'd fight these goddamned powers themselves to keep this if he had to.
Hearing footsteps outside the bedroom, he slipped into the bathroom and then moved the door back into its same half-opened position, waiting to see her reactions.
Mary loved special days. She always had but since being back, she found a renewed sense of thankfulness for every day, particularly the ones with special meaning. She had been blessed with birthdays and Christmas, Thanksgiving and even the unexpected 'holidays' of a loved one feared lost returning home, but she had been looking forward to her anniversary with a special sort of anticipation for some time.
She and John deserved a special sort of day. They'd come so far since the years the spent together in Kansas. Then they had been little more than children with their own children, then there were secrets that she didn't think she could tell him. Now, after too many painful years apart, and a few awkward weeks where John tried to hold her at arm's length, they were together again, and closer than ever. That, if anything, was worthy of celebration.
That was why Mary was looking for her husband, because she wanted to celebrate, and she had one hell of a surprise for him. There was a present for him downstairs, a set of tools identical to the ones she got him for their first anniversary, she was betting that he'd like the surprise present a lot more. She pushed open the door to the bedroom and gasped softly. There were presents all over the room with small cards attached to them, and she knew just who they were from. It was so like her husband....so like the sweet man she fell in love with. Some days, when he was going through a dark period, Mary knew John questioned if he was even close to the man he had once been, but Mary could see 'her' John in the little things every day, and she loved him now more than ever.
"John Winchester..." She sighed, a smile large on her face, as she went to the closest box.
From behind the door, John held his breath until he heard Mary speak to herself, then moved quietly so he could peer around the door and watch her. Yet, despite the fact he wanted to see her reactions, he found his attention drawn just to her: the line of her body as she moved across the room, a figure of a woman in the best years of youth, because being in her twenties was still youth to John; the way her wavy blonde hair rippled over her shoulder as she bent down; the careful way long-fingered hands held the box, a care and gentleness she demonstrated with people and things.
He was so lost in his pondering, he almost missed her reactions.
Mary bent down, picking up the box. She glanced down at the small card, frowning momentarily as she tried to figure out what the number '9' inside meant. Very carefully, she unwrapped the box, gasping softly when she saw the pottery platter inside. She lifted it out of the box, one finger tracing along the outline of each name. They were all here, each and every one of them, and, if the forces that ran this city continued to bless her family, hopefully their numbers would only continue to grow as the years went on.
With a somewhat misty smile, her finger lingered over John's name for a moment before she carefully sat the platter down and moved on to the rest of the gifts. There were so many different things--so many she almost missed a few of the gifts. She sat on the bed to open one gift only to discover the silk pajamas and new duvet, she cooed over bronzed baby shoes, she all but squeeled to discover the antique china in a pattern so close to the one she had admired long ago...it was all wonderful. Somewhere along the way, as she saw one little numbered note after another, it sank in what her husband was doing for her. He was marking each of the years they had spent apart.
She reached what she thought were the last gifts near the bathroom, and bent down to retrieve them. She focused on the potted orchid first, her fingers moving over a few of the blooms tenderly, then looked up. John was there, in the doorway of the bathroom, and she quickly sat the orchid and the last unopened box on a table, going to hug him hard. "I love it..." She whispered. "Thank you."
There was something about watching Mary's joy that worked into John's very soul itself. He'd never be entirely 'fixed' after all he'd gone through, though dark places would never fade fully away, but time here with his family - especially with them all seeming like they were on an upswing finally - was slowly starting to heal it. Watching his wife, seeing her delight, knowing he'd made the right choice about the gifts - that Winchester smugness would even help to heal just a little bit more.
John's return embrace was tight, only just avoiding being too tight, and he buried his face in her hair as he held on to her, breathing her in. There was nothing else like it in this world, the smell of her, and there were times he clung to it as a parched man would cling to live-sustaining water.
"Not done yet, woman," he finally said, voice rough with emotion as he maneuvered them over to the table and picked up the ring box, flipping it open as he held it out to her.
Mary didn't need any of the presents in the room. She would have been perfectly content with a long hug or spending the day with John to mark the occasion, but that being said, she loved each and every one of the gifts.
Particularly the one that he was giving to her last. She sucked in a quick, stunned breath when he flipped the ring box open. She recognized why the ring had three stones, and that alone meant more to her than anything. She and John shared a strong past with lots of memories that would last them for the rest of their lives, they had a wonderful present with more blessings than she could count, and they had a future to look forward to as well. Together.
"Oh John...." She leaned in, kissing him gently. "It's perfect."
As far as John was concerned, Mary needed them all and more, because not only did he want to make those promises to her - some promises that maybe he couldn't keep anymore than he could promise to never get hurt or never die again - he wanted her to know there hadn't been a day he hadn't thought of her over and over. There hadn't been a day, and would never be a day, when she wasn't in just his mind, but his heart.
"You deserve it," he said gruffly against her lips and then deepened the kiss, the affection easier than the softer feelings by far. He might be an 'old man', might be a married man, but there were some Winchester traits that would always remain the same.
Mary only did what any wife, mother and grandmother would, but she chose instead to focus on the kiss. Sometimes she was still startled by the feelings John could awake in her with one touch, one gruff whisper of 'woman', but when he did something more, like an intense kiss, he could make her forget about anything and everything else.
However, today wasn't a normal day. Today was their anniversary, and she'd yet to surprise him with her biggest gift of all. Breathlessly she pulled back a little, proud that it took her just a minute to settle down to speak.
"Did you find the new tools downstairs?" She asked, an innocent look on her face.
Though Mary pulled back, John didn't let go of her entirely, choosing instead to keep his arms loosely looped around her. The vaguely prideful, smuglike look told him she was pleased with something, but he wasn't exactly sure what. She, sometimes, was still a bit of a mystery to him.
"No, ma'am, I did not," he said, rubbing his thumbs in slow circles over her lower back. "Are you wanting me to go see them now, or later?"
"Later..." Mary said lazily. She was quite proud of finding the tools, because she had looked over several internet sites as well as in a few specialized stores, but they could wait. John's fingers were working magic on her lower back, and going downstairs would mean that they'd have to lose at least a bit of the closeness, and Mary didn't like that idea at all.
She nuzzled her cheek against his chest, taking in his strength, the scent that was unmistakably 'John.' "Besides, you have to wait a while on your other present." Mary said mysteriously.
Chuckling softly, John continued with the slow massage, pleased that she'd said later. He wanted to see his gifts, certainly, but he wanted to be here with her more.
Of course, then she had to go and tease him like that. Poking her lightly, the action all but playful, John angled his head to see her face.
"Wait? Now how's that fair, woman, especially after I gave you yours?"
Mary pressed her lips against his cheek, laughing softly. "No one said anything about fair, John Winchester. That's just the way things are. Some presents just take longer than others."
She paused, a wave of butterflies going through her stomach. She wanted this...God how she wanted this, but did he? She knew they had once planned on having a larger family, but so much had changed between now and then. He was older, he had raised the boys nearly on his own, would he want to start the process all over again? Forcing herself to brush past the nerves, Mary smiled brightly up at him.
"Some presents take months and months to make, and, in my experience, the best ones take about nine months...give or take." She bit her bottom lip, her eyes studying John's face intently to see if he understood what she was trying to tell him.
What kind of present took nine months to-
John's thought processes and breathing screeched to a halt several moment later as understanding dawned, far slower than one might expect from the usually quick Winchester patriarch, but perhaps understandable giving what Mary was saying. He could see it in her eyes, it was the way she had looked the last two times in their lives that she'd delivered this kind of news.
It didn't compute, because John had never considered it. On the list of concerns about this life in L.A., prevention of pregnancy had been so far down that John hadn't even thought about it. He had been dead, been in Hell, perhaps been in Heaven, and brought back. Mary had been dead, a spirit, in Heaven and then brought back. He hadn't even imagined that two people who had been through that much would actually be able to have a child together.
Having a baby.
It didn't compute, yet it also made perfect sense. How she'd been falling asleep well before the normal hour recently, her particular sensitivities while making love to her, even the cease of the cyclical interruption of the aforementioned activities that he hadn't thought much of at the time - it all added up.
"You're pregnant." The first was a statement, roughly voiced, as he moved his hands up to cradle her face. "We're gonna have another baby?"
Mary just nodded, almost afraid to give voice to the one dream she was only just beginning to let herself believe to be real. She had ignored the signs for days before finally going out to pick up the test. How could they have a child, after all they had been through? Was that even possible? Then again, most of the other miraculous things that had happened in LA were probably not technically 'possible,' but they happened. Mary was still half worried that something would come along and jinx it, deny them the chance to expand their family the way they had always dreamed, but now, after taking no less than four pregnancy tests, she was starting to allow herself to dream.
Another child. Another Dean or Sam or even a daughter...She closed her eyes, nuzzling her cheek against John's hand. "Yes," She said finally. "We are. Happy anniversary." She peeked out at him from beneath her lashes, trying to decipher how he was taking it.
There were so many ways someone could react to this kind of news, so many way John himself might react, but the way he did perhaps told a great deal about the progress he had made within himself to this point.
He let out a whoop as he wrapped his arms around her again, and then spun her around before he held her, feet off the floor, and kissed her fiercely.
She was having his baby. It was yet another thing that had been a broken dream of the past - the maybe-someday that had never come, but that John had thought about even after she'd been gone so many years - and was now a renewed reality of this place and time. He knew when this initial feeling passed, there would be worrying, there would be concern, there would be the gamut of things to deal with because of the unique situation they were in, but for right now, John could pretend that the only thing that mattered was this news.
Mary held tightly to him, finally beaming as John whooped and spun her around. She let herself feel that unquestioning sort of joy as well, because for one moment it was best not to think about what if and simply be glad for what this place had given them.
When he kissed her, Mary returned his kiss wholeheartedly, giving herself over to it. He was happy, she was happy, and she had no doubt that when they told the boys later, after everything was more settled, they'd be happy too. That was what was important. "I love you." She whispered between kisses. "I love you so much, John."
John repeated the words back in ways both spoken and not, the gruffly whispered 'I love you' accented by the gentle turn of his mouth over hers, carrying with it an almost worshipful edge. Scooping her up, he moved to the bed to lay her down, then sat down so he could lean over her. One single kiss was pressed to her stomach, then he covered the spot with his fingers, holding to the initial feeling just a little while longer.
But he wasn't the same man he'd been for the first two announcements of news like this, his life and experiences intensifying aspects of himself, such as protectiveness and worry, so real world concerns quickly won out over start euphoria.
"Have you gone to a doctor yet?" Or would they need to find one now, one who knew about the not-so-normal in L.A. who would understand about Mary being brought back from the dead? Was that even possible now with Cox gone? And even thought pregnancy was clearly possible, would the rest be?
Rubbing his thumb over her stomach, he at least tried to reign it all in to one question, one concern, at a time.
Mary moaned softly when he kissed her stomach, and closed her eyes when his hand covered the spot. The baby was still so small, and yet there was something very right about feeling his hand there, knowing that he'd adore and care for this newest child the same way he had for his oldest two. When he spoke she shook her head, her expression clouding for a moment. Truth be told, she was a little scared that she'd find that this was all just some sort of dream, that the journey that had led them here would be too hard for her to carry another child...but she had seen the proof in the tests.
"Not yet... " She said quietly, resting her hand on top of his and focusing on that instead of the question for a long moment. "I thought you might want to go along too."
Nodding almost immediately, John's gaze settled on her stomach. He knew from experience that it would be some time before he could see any change, but he knew a child was growing within her womb. For a many who hadn't believed in God for most of his life, who even now took issue with much of it because of the impact to himself and his family, this was another level of those miracles he hesitated to call miracles, this one seemingly without the 'price' that others had come with in expectations to be useful here or be sent back.
"You should be fine," he said, as though trying to make the doctor's appointment sound like a formality, not a concern. "I might be too old for this, but you should be just fine."
She'd missed out on raising the boys, and Ben was the closest she would have otherwise had to knowing what those years in between were like, so in many ways he was happier still for her for the chance. She was still young, still the age when new babies were common, even if he doubted his own ability now with age and experience, but and this time he would do better for her, he would make certain that nothing would take her away before she was able to raise this new child.
Mary trusted him fully and completely, so for the moment she forced herself to believe his words without question. She wanted to believe that this would be fine, because as far as she was concerned, her family deserved this. She wanted to raise this new baby with John at her side, to see Sam and Dean adjust to being big brothers. She wanted it all.
"You're not too old for this, you know." Mary said sincerely. "The way you are with Ben, the way you still are with the boys...this baby's going to have so many people there who care, and the best dad there is."
John had made mistakes in how he raised the boys after her death, Mary knew that, but in seeing the many ways he tried to make up for his mistakes, the way he struggled daily to be a good husband and father despite the past, Mary knew there could be no greater man in LA to undertake this new challenge.
"We're ALL going to be just fine."
Iron trivet set (2) with cork feet, for kettles and smaller pots.
seventh anniversary – 1985;
Copper dragonfly in a garden fountain for the flowerbeds in the front of the house and a Aran wool cardigan in light blue. Aran sweaters have a zigzag design that represent the ups and downs of married life.
eighth anniversary – 1986;
Bronze rose and two sets of bronze baby shoes, chosen to be as similar to the originals as possible, with the boys' full names etched into them.
ninth anniversary – 1987;
Pottery platter with all the family's names on it.
tenth anniversary – 1988;
Picture of a pie safe with pinched tin doors. The original is now in the dining room.
eleventh anniversary – 1989;
Steel champagne/wine bucket with a bottle of wine.
twelfth anniversary – 1990;
Silk pyjamas laid out on the bed on top of a new silk sheet and duvet set.
thirteenth anniversary – 1991;
Lace fan jewelry holder.
fourteenth anniversary – 1992;
Set of ivory swans.
fifteenth anniversary – 1993;
Crystal marriage "make up" bell. In an age-old tradition, when a newly married couple has a disagreement, one spouse rings the bell to end the quarrel.
sixteenth anniversary – 1994;
Punch set While an anniversary with no traditional gift or substance, silver hollowware is considered the modern gift.
seventeenth anniversary – 1995;
eighteenth anniversary – 1996;
A porcelain vanity set (mirror, brush and several small jars) with custom bismuth decorations.
nineteenth – 1997;
Photo of the tree bench he installed this evening. While an anniversary with no traditional gift or substance, bronze is considered the modern gift. John didn't like the repeat gift theme, so he built something else.
twentieth anniversary – 1998;
An antique china dishes and accessories set in a pattern similar to one Mary had once wanted once they could afford nice dishware.
twenty-first – 1999;
A monogrammed brass desk set that consists of a stamp dispenser, pencil cup and letter opener. While an anniversary with no traditional gift or substance, brass is considered the modern gift.
twenty-second anniversary – 2000;
A set (8) of multi-image (collage) picture frames. While an anniversary with no traditional gift or substance, copper is considered the modern gift. John didn't like the repeat gift theme, so he bought something else.
twenty-third anniversary – 2001;
A silver serving platter with cover.
twenty-fourth anniversary – 2002;
A picture of a grandfather clock with display shelves and cabinets. The original is now in the front entrance. An anniversary with no traditional gift or substance.
twenty-fifth anniversary – 2003;
A complete set of antique genuine silver silverware in a monogrammed cedar box.
twenty-sixth anniversary – 2004;
A stack of photos from the last sixish months in Los Angeles, as well as copies of the few old snapshots John had, all meant for the frames. While an anniversary with no traditional gift or substance, original pictures are considered the modern gift.
twenty-seventh anniversary – 2005;
A set (8) of iris-patterned sculpture sprinklers for Mary's garden and flower beds. While an anniversary with no traditional gift or substance, sculpture is considered the modern gift.
twenty-eighth anniversary – 2006;
A potted orchid and a past, present, future diamond ring in a velvet box resting in the pot. While an anniversary with no traditional gift or substance, orchids are considered the modern gift.