"I miss John."
Crystal looked out from my porch at the snow covered lawn. Nick stood behind her, his arms protecting her from the cold. Nick smiled gently and kissed the back of her head.
"I do too. He was a great man. He gave a lot for us all. So did Ben."
Crystal smiled and turned, "You did too. I'm just glad you weren't taken away from me like they were."
She leaned in and just as they were about to kiss, a light flashed over them. Turning, Crystal and Nick looked out at the approaching car.
"Patrick is here!"
Crystal slipped out of Nick’s arms and smiled widely as she bounded down the steps.
"Patrick! You made it!"
The car slowly came to a stop. Nick turned to the door and called in, "Johnathon! Benjamin! Patrick is here!"
Down the steps the children leaped, running out to the car and in to the arms of Patrick as he got out of the car. Behind them came Saba, who stopped in the door and smiled at Nick, "You interrupted our game of Soul Caliber. I was winning."
"I guess you'll have to win another time.", Patrick said as he carried the two boys over his shoulders in to the house. In all the time that had past Patrick hadn't aged, not at all. He still had this presence about him, except it had long since become more benevolent.
Patrick set the children down and looked at Nick, "Are you ready?"
Crystal walked up to Nick and grasped his hand, "Do you have to? You go every Christmas."
Nick smiled and leaned in to kiss her, "I have to. One day he'll come out of it. I just know it."
Crystal returned the kiss and then pulled away, "Patrick, have you heard from Carl or Vincent?"
"They said they would be here for dinner, so I'd expect them to be here very soon."
"What about me?" Through the door he walked, a large smile on his face and two massive presents under his arms. He set the presents down and hugged both Saba and Crystal.
"Boy, do I have tales for you guys."
That was Will, always telling tales and catching every one’s attention. He and Patrick had decided to bury the hatchet, especially after he found out the truth.
Will turned to Patrick and shook his hand, "Have a good drive. Give him my regards."
And with that, Patrick and Nick slipped in to the car and drove off.
A few hours had passed when they finally pulled in to the driveway of The Bernauw Mental Institution. Nick and Patrick walked up to the doors, waving at an orderly as they passed. The two didn't talk much, this was very hard for both of them. No one enjoyed seeing John like this.
Possessed, only his will holding it inside. Protecting us all.
They could hear John's rants as they approached the door. The door they never opened, just listened through.
After seven years, the rants hadn't changed.
"They tell me things, then I eat them. O' Dorothy, Dorothy!"
"Merry Christmas, John.", Nick whispered.
I looked through the window at him and wished I'd taken his place. He'd have been better dead. Like me.