Disclaimer: I almost always forget these, but anyways I don't own anything, I'm just a simple "JD" fan who thinks it's about time some stuff got written for this little-ff.net represented show.

A/N: Damn. I was hoping I'd write the first "John Doe" fanfic, but oh well. Anyways, I wrote this right after watching "Ashes to Ashes" and think it's pretty darn good. It does, obviously, hold HUGE spoilers for that episode, but it's not one of those super-angst fics, I swear. By the way, words inside these are thoughts. Enjoy!


"Goodbye," the unknown man called John Doe (for that very reason) finished with a heavy heart. He had hoped this little speech would make him feel better but it didn't, and he knew he would have even more trouble going to sleep than usual. He stepped away from the beautiful painting of a flower-filled field and bright blue sky with a trembling sigh. It's all my fault; it will always be my fault she's dead. the thought chased him in different forms while he prepared for bed.

Why did it have to be Karen? The most innocent of the few people John could call his true friends, the one with the most to live for, why her? So many questions, these and others just like it fell onto the pile of unanswerable questions in John's head. It only hurt him more that they were connected to another pile of questions, those revolving around her murderers- Phoenix. John wasn't lost on the irony that while he knew so much, he didn't have clue one on what was most important. But I'm going to make it up to her, he asserted as he lowered himself into bed, She won't die in vain. I'll make it up to her- somehow. To his future amazement in the morning, he fell asleep moments after that thought.


John didn't open his eyes when he felt his environment change. The air grew warm, but not stifling, a bright light grew before his eyelids, and he realized he was now leaned back in a plastic chair that for some reason was still very comfortable. He inhaled deeply and detected the light scent of a familiar incense.

"Hi, John. Was wonderin' when you'd stop by." Only then did he open his eyes and view his surroundings. He immediately recognized the eclectic, colorful tastes of Karen's apartment. Plain white walls that didn't seem as dirty as they used to were covered in deep red, orange, and green fabrics and scattered pictures and paintings Karen had picked up here and there. He sat at her Formica table in one of her three plastic chairs in the kitchen. He was dressed in the same dark sweater and pants as he had been the previous day, after Karen's memorial service. Alternative rock, Coldplay he was pretty sure, played softly in the background from something he couldn't see. That didn't bother him as much as it might have, under normal circumstances, but he knew from the gentle light that everything, even himself, seemed to emanate that these were definitely not normal circumstances.

He turned his eyes from the kitchen onto the living room, where she stood in her torn and stained smock, painting. He felt the breath catch in his throat when she turned to him and smiled. Gone was the horrific whiteness of her skin and blood-stained dress from when he and Digger had found her body, replaced by her shining face and usual funky clothes. For once Doe was speechless.

"I hope I didn't keep you waiting long," John replied once he was able. He was trying unsuccessfully to hold back his tears at the sight of Karen. He desperately didn't want to upset her, not here.

But she did notice, and her smile dimmed slightly as she abandoned her painting to walk up to the table, "C'mon, Doe," she took his arm and pulled him away from the table and into the living room, "You look tired," she said as she sat him on an Indian-patterned couch facing her painting and the enormous windows that lit up the apartment. But something caught his eye before sitting down, and he stood back up. He gasped slightly to see out the windows not the grave, abandoned building that should have been there, but a near-perfect replica of Karen's painting, the one he'd said goodbye to. The only thing different about it was it was real, John was sure of this as a warm breeze blew in through the partially open windows bringing with it the scent of poppies, forget-me-nots, goldenrod, and a million others. A dazzlingly blue sky that could've only come from Karen's palette draped overhead and connected with the blanket of flowers with a seam of distant mountains.

Karen had joined him in his gazing at the landscape below and above, "Great, isn't it? What I always wanted." He knew she was right, and the pain and guilt came rushing back, suddenly making the light that glowed from his body dim as his head dropped.

"Karen," he said with a broken voice. He lifted his head to look at her still smiling face, "How could this have happened? Why didn't you listen to yourself when you said you didn't think you could handle it? Why did you let me leave you alone? Why did you have to-"

Karen put a hand to his mouth, effectively stopping his growingly- heated questions. This was good because he doubted he'd have been able to finish his last one, "Doe, calm down, okay? I'm not mad at you for what happened, I never was." Her smile had dissipated, though her eyes still shone with it. John tried to speak, to make her mad with all his reasons she should hate him, but her hand was still covering his mouth, "It wasn't your fault, no matter what you say. You can still think that if you want, but just know that I won't, not ever. Besides, I'm doing exactly what you wanted me to do now, painting my heart out," she ended the statement with a questioning voice and lifted his face with her hand, smiling like a mother at her petulant son. She took him by the arm and led him to her painting.

"That's beautiful, Karen," John said quietly as he took in the explosion of colors that sprawled from the center of the canvas. Red and orange seemed to be the overall motif, though streaks of purple and green peeked from behind waves of the stronger colors.

"Thanks, John," Karen replied as she too fixed her green eyes on her work. She turned to him abruptly, "Oh yeah, before you go, how's my cat?"

John looked around, he was still in the living room staring at Karen's genius, and he certainly had no plans of going anywhere, "He's fine, Karen, but I'm not going-"

"Thanks for coming, Doe. I hope I see you later," she turned away from him and continued working, ignoring his assertion to stay a while. As he took a step away from her he realized he couldn't feel his feet. He looked down and saw the last misty remnants of his legs up to his thighs before they disappeared like so much steam.

He wasn't as alarmed by this as he thought he should be as the mist worked its way up his body, past his hips and up his torso. Just before he was completely gone he said once again, "Goodbye, Karen." He just caught her smile before sinking into the black of sleep.


John woke up almost thinking he was back in Karen's apartment, the sun was so bright in his eyes. He didn't normally sleep this late. But the notable lack of that indescribable warmth told him that, no, he was in his apartment where he'd gone to sleep in the first place. Opening his eyes only confirmed the fact that, yes, he was in his apartment, and, yes, he had slept late, it was nine o'clock. Luckily he had little to do that day, and even then it wasn't until the afternoon. He decided to head down to Digger's place for some breakfast.


"You're looking fairly cheerful this morning," Digger greeted John from behind the bar. The place was quiet with the light crowd of customers for the breakfast special the owner had started a few weeks ago.

John sat on a stool in front of the older man, "Feeling fairly cheerful, Digger. Could it be post mortem psychosis?"

Digger didn't laugh at Doe's joke, "Let's hope not," he replied and moved further down the bar to put away some glasses.

"I had a dream last night," John called down the bar. Digger didn't respond, "About Karen." At that the older man glanced up at him and John felt suddenly reluctant to share his dream. He almost didn't even want to call it a dream, because that labeled it as something he had made up in his subconscious mind, to him it was more like an... experience. An experience could be something that really happened, which was what John truly wanted to believe.

Thankfully Digger wasn't the prying type, besides the fact that he was hurting almost as much as John over Karen "Got to say goodbye proper, huh?"

Doe nodded, "Yeah, I did."

"We should all be so lucky," Digger said solemnly and turned back to his work.

John sat silently, thinking on Digger's words and particularly Karen's. Another reason why he so wanted his dream to have been real: it meant Karen was well, wherever she was. She wasn't hurt or angry, she was happy, at peace. This didn't change the fact that John would find her killers and stop them before they hurt another innocent person, but it would definitely help him through the day, and that was the most important thing to him. A few of his questions had been answered at last, and he could walk just a little lighter finally knowing some things he was supposed to know. A wisp of music drifted over the air to him, Coldplay he was pretty sure.


A/N: Well, that's it. I hope you all liked it. If you did, feel free to review, or maybe even check out another of my stories. They are unfortunately not nearly as uplifting as this one, but I still think they're worth a shot. K, c ya'!