AN: Oh look, a new story! :) And I haven't even finished the other one. But I HAD to get this down. I personally like the idea, which I got by listening to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, obviously. It's not an ATU story, obvs, so if that's what you're looking for then you've come to the wrong fanfic. I apologize for at... Anyway, currently working on the second chapter which I will post over my break if you're interested! Please read and review, yes? :D
Chapter 1: Lucy
In early December one night, the world was alive with anticipation. People milling about in the chilly New York weather felt the minute telling of an evening no one would ever forget. They waked past the Dakota building, lingering a bit longer than they should, but they only assumed it was because they knew who was in there. Slightly giddy knowing they were mere feet from a celebrity, they continued their nightly stroll with a pep in their step.
Cool air swirled about, uplifting spirits everywhere, but for how long?
Stars twinkled overhead, lighting the path for one John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono. The pair emerged from a car, eager with the knowledge of the productive recording session they had just left. With a smile gracing his serene features, John wrapped his hand around Yoko's tiny one and together, the loving couple began the short journey to the entrance to their home. Before they made it, however, John caught site of a sinister-looking young man. He turned a quizzical stare on his wife, who raised her brows, and that was the last thing he saw before the world went black.
The night was eerily still.
John woke a while later, a great gasping breath leaving his lips as though he were afraid he would never breathe again. He placed a tender hand on his chest, which was throbbing uncomfortably but he could not figure out why. He then realized the throbbing was everywhere. What had happened?
Now that he was more aware, he suddenly found he did not know where he was. He sat up slowly, wonderingly. He was in a small boat floating down an odd orange colored river. A hand trailed lazily through the candy water in amazement. The banks were made of a gentle pink grass dotted with large, beautiful tangerine trees. Looking up he found comfort in the never-ending expanse of marmalade skies decorated with fluffy, cotton candy clouds. He could stay in this paradise for hours.
The voice startled him. He thought he was alone in what could only be described as a dream. Slowly, he turned and discovered what he assumed was an angel. She was tall and slender, her wheat-colored hair blowing gently in the nonexistent wind as she stood on the shore. He was immediately drawn to her eyes; they were a bright starry blue but there was something in them changing, churning. It was as if he were looking into a kaleidoscope.
"Hello," he called out tentatively. "Er, who might you be?"
She smiled tenderly and answered in a melodic voice. "My name is Lucy."
John smiled back without knowing why. Some part of him already knew who she was. "Hello there, Lucy. If you don't mind me asking, where are we?"
She followed his boat, walking gracefully as her eyes never left him. "You should know, John. You created this place."
He frowned. "I did?"
She nodded patiently. "Look around."
He reluctantly took his eyes off of her and did. "Well…I see…" He thought for a moment and suddenly, everything clicked. "Cellophane flowers of yellow and green towering over my head…" The brightly colored flora waved invitingly to him.
"Do you see now?" Lucy asked
"I think so," he replied, his back still to her. "Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she's—" He turned quickly, frowning when he found himself alone again. "Gone."
In an instant, the wind picked up and carried hundreds of invisible voices to him. The flowers, trees, sun, everything sang to him in an attractive tone. "Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Ahhh…"
His little wooden boat carried him farther down the river. Up ahead there was a bridge beside a handsome fountain. His heart swelled at the sight of a lone figure standing above him on the bridge. Her smile was radiant, as well as those of the rocking-horse people munching cheerfully on their marshmallow pies as he drifted past the incredibly high flowers. Suddenly, Lucy was beside him in the boat.
"Why am I here?" he asked after a comfortable silence passed between them.
She didn't answer immediately, instead choosing to twirl a finger in the river water. Finally, she asked a question of her own. "Do you remember anything that happened before you arrived?"
He thought for a moment, his brow furrowed. "I was…I was with someone. Yoko was it? She's my—"
Though he was terribly curious as to how she seemed to know so much about him, he continued on. "We were coming home from the studio. It was late at night. And cold, very cold. Why isn't it cold here?"
"Because you don't want it to be," she responded, as if it were the simplest thing in the world.
"Oh. Okay, then. Well, we were walking towards the Dakota when…when I saw someone. He didn't look right. I…remembered seeing him earlier in the day. He wanted my autograph. But now…I don't know what happened. Everything went black. Lucy, what happened?" He asked, his voice straining under the horrible realization. He knew, oh yes he knew. He did not want to believe it. Somehow, he knew she would know as well. If he heard it from her, than that meant…
"You're dead, John."
He shook his head vigorously, hoping that that would clear his head and the horrible words filtering through it. He couldn't be dead. "No, no you're lying. I'm not dead. I'm only sleeping. Ha, I'm dreaming. It's all a dream. This isn't real, you're not real. I'm dreaming. Pinch me. Wake me up. Wake me up, Lucy!"
She watched with sad eyes as he grew more frantic by the second. "Please, calm yourself child."
He scoffed. "Child? You're no older than my oldest son!"
"Nor are you," she told him softly. She gestured towards the water beneath them where the world was reflected. John's eyes went round at the sight of him. His hair was shaggy, much like it had been before he…But he was younger. He was nearly the same age as Julian.
"Wake me up, Lucy, please," he demanded in a strained voice. "This isn't real. It's not, it can't be!"
"John," she said in a firm but gentle voice. She placed a hand on his arm and with the other, she tugged at his shirt slightly, revealing a healed over wound.
"What…what is that?" he asked shakily.
"The reason you're here."
He shook his head again, tears welling in his eyes. "No…"
"I'm sorry, John."
'No!" he shouted. Lucy jumped back, startled. "This is some joke, yeah? The lads are going to come out of hiding and yell, 'Surprise!' and then you'll laugh and I'll laugh and we'll all live happily ever after. The end."
"John, why would I joke about something like this?"
"But…I'm in a fucking dream right now, talking to a girl me son drew. The sky is orange, the grass is pink, the flowers are made of cellophane…this isn't real."
"Why would Heaven be this?"
"Well, this is more of the In-Between. When you first go, you're brought to a world of your own creation. This is why we're here."
"But I look like Julian!" He suddenly stopped, horror taking over his features. "Oh God, I have to go back. My family! I have to take care of Sean, Julian, Yoko…" The tears returned. "Lucy, I have to go back to my family! Won't I ever see them again?"
"Of course you will. You'll be able to watch over them from the destination of our journey."
"Where is that?"
"There." She pointed towards a lone mountain in the distance. "That is where you will live out the rest of your afterlife."
"So you're saying I have to move on? And I'll never be able to actually talk to them?" She nodded. "I don't think I want to…"
"But you must follow me into the sky to live among the diamonds."
"Can't I stay here? In the…what do you call it? The 'In-Between'?"
"Not many people choose to remain here."
"But if I did I could travel back to Earth, couldn't I?"
"I suppose…" she answered slowly.
"Then let me stay here! I could live here and go see my family. I'd be like a ghost, wouldn't I?"
"It'll be perfect, then! I could hang out here and just float down the river and when I get bored I could check up on the family and—"
"—it'll be like I never even left! Maybe one of the boys will be a seer or something and be able to communicate with me—"
"—and then I could stay with Yoko and we'll just live together and—"
He looked up at Lucy. Her kaleidoscope eyes were churning with irritation. "Yes?"
"It doesn't work like that."
"What do you mean?"
"One person I met in the In-Between," she began. "He decided the same thing you're thinking. He wanted to stay in his world, a tropical paradise he often visited as a boy. It was beautiful and he thought he'd be happy. When he wanted to, he would return back to his original home. He watched his children and wife grieve over his loss. He wanted so badly to comfort them and tell them he was right there but he couldn't; he wasn't allowed to touch them or talk to them. His children grew up, his wife eventually moved on. He played witness to her fall in love with another man who his son and daughter began calling father. He was miserable and alone. He wanted nothing more than to take back what he had seen but he couldn't. Now the task of moving on was a difficult one. I've been trying to get him to come into the light—it's been over ten years and he's currently stuck on Earth, left to wander the plains alone."
John watched her, absorbing the words she had spoken carefully. "So you think I'll be miserable and alone, then?"
"It is a very likely possibility."
"Well, you're wrong."
"John, it happens all the time. In situations such as this, it is better to admire them from afar. But…" She suddenly trailed off.
He didn't press the subject. "Do you know this from experience?"
"What?" she asked distractedly. "Oh, no, I have a different situation than, say, someone like you."
"What do you do for a living, then? Or, a dying I suppose? What makes you so special?"
She chuckled. "I'm glad you seem to be back to some semblance of your normal self. I was given the task of assisting souls in the journey from the In-Between to the primary part of Heaven."
He leaned forward, intrigued. "So you're saying the man in charge made you his special angel?"
She quirked an eyebrow and smiled. "One of them, I suppose."
"There're others, then?"
"Why'd I get you, then? Not that I mind."
She laughed. The sound was light and carefree, causing John to smile. "You already know me."
"No, I know Julian's friend Lucy."
"You didn't make the song about her, though. The song was based on the drawing but it was about me."
"How's that possible?"
She flashed a mysterious smile. "One day you'll understand."
"You sure are a strange bird."
"Where do we go from here?"
She tilted her head towards the shore where newspaper taxis suddenly appeared, ready to take them away. He nodded in understanding and quickly pulled himself out. He offered a hand, which Lucy accepted with a smile. Together, they walked hand in hand to the vehicles and climbed in the back, their heads in the clouds.
"Now I must ask something of you," Lucy said once the cars began moving.
"Anything, my dear."
"You must promise me that moving on to the afterlife is okay with you; that you will not doubt this decision."
John scratched the back of his head. "I…I don't know. You say it's what's best?"
"From what I've seen, yes."
"Then I trust you."
She stared at him silently. "It's not a matter of trust in me. You must trust that you've made the right choice."
"I don't want to suffer. But I don't want them to suffer either…"
"My personal opinion on the matter is they will feel more secure knowing you are happy."
"How will they know, though?"
"They always do."
"Won't I ever get to have some sort of contact with them?"
"I also believe you have more power over that up there, in the sky." She pointed above them to emphasize her words. "You can throw little twists into their lives, things that let them know you're still with them even if you physically aren't."
"I think that'd be okay."
The taxis stopped moving. Lucy stepped out and this time, she offered a hand to John. He took it and immediately felt comforted.
"Where are we now?"
"A place where you must go on your own."
He began to panic. "You're leaving me?"
"Relax." She gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. "I will be with you shortly. But I cannot follow you now."
She ignored his question. "Close your eyes," she instructed and he willingly obliged. She began humming the tune to a song he was all too familiar with, a song about her. "Ahhhh…"
His eyes flashed open. He was alone. Somehow, he ended up on a train. Plasticine porters with looking glass ties meandered about, smiling kindly at him. He turned to gaze out the window and gasped. Images of his life flashed by as the train hurtled through his In-Between. He saw his mother, his Aunt Mimi, Paul, George, Stu, Pete, Ringo, Cynthia, Julian, Brian, George Martin, Yoko, Mae, and Sean. He saw his younger self performing at clubs in Hamburg and the Cavern. He witnessed Beatlemania again. He saw his marriages, the bed-in, Strawberry Field. He saw the man, Mark Chapman, shoot him dead. He saw the pandemonium it caused. He saw grieving people, memorials built in his honor, celebrations held worldwide to honor his birth and death. The train stopped moving and he stood woodenly. He got off slowly and there at the turnstile was the girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
"Are you ready to follow me into the sun?" She asked, extending her arm towards him.
He looked past her, into a great ball of light that loomed ever closer.
This is it, he thought. The end of the road.
"It's not the end," Lucy told him, reading his thoughts. "It's the beginning. Are you ready?"
He nodded and took her hand. "Ready." They walked into the sun, blinded by the bright light. John heard gunshots, followed by Yoko's pained cries of his name and screeches of shock.
Then everything went black.