The beeping of the microwave alerted John about the popcorn's completion. He grinned, placing the DVD on the tray and closing the holder. The machine churred as the sound of falling popcorn drifted from the kitchen.
It was John's monthly Disney movie night, and since his Dad would be joining it only seemed appropriate to let the man pick the film. John had been looking forward to Leroy and Stitch, but The Lion King was an awesome movie as well.
John plunked onto the couch, shifting pillows around him and pulling the table closer. Previews flashed before his eyes until he grabbed the remote, hitting the menu button the moment his Dad walked in.
He hadn't changed that much in the year since the game ended, but John was constantly seeing him in a new light. Dad had a job, liked hideous pranksters, and probably smoked a bit too much. He was overall a lot better than John had taken him for. The boy was grateful to have him back.
The two settled down after the lights flicked off. Munching noises played over the opening song, but soon both Egberts became drawn into the film.
The popcorn bowl was half empty by the time Simba arrived in the elephant graveyard. John's hand froze on the way to his mouth during Scar's song. He had forgotten a lot more of the movie than he had thought.
That was even more evident when Mufasa jumped into the stampede.
A white shirt covered in blood, leaking and staining the floor as well as skin and cloth.
He forced his eyes on the movie screen, forced his body to function. It was just a film. There was no reason for John to be thinking of this.
A giant tear ran down it, revealing a gash far too deep and too colourful. Whites and pinks, bones and organs peeking out.
It was a movie about lions. Mufasa died. John knew that. He remembered that. He'd seen this movie a million times before. Mufasa died. Simba's dad died.
The face was recognizable, though the expression was unfamiliar. A mixture of fear and surprise, twisted in the completely wrong direction.
John wiped his hands on his pants, unaware that he had been sweating. Blink, he willed. Breathe. Simba was trying to move his dad and it wasn't working. Because Dad was dead and why couldn't Simba see that?
It had felt like so long since he saw his father, and a mess of red and white and black and dead wasn't what he wanted. Why hadn't his father gotten up yet, why wasn't this another one of his jokes? Why was the world frozen at this moment?
It took a moment for him to realize the movie had stopped, because the images swam in front of his vision. Tears trailed down his face, and it wasn't just because of Mufasa.
He had killed his own Dad.
There was a strong arm around his shoulder, and John couldn't choke back the sob that escaped his lips. He buried his face into his Dad's shirt, and it smelt like tobacco and pastry. But Dad was breathing, at least the game had given him back.
His father's voice was loud and strong. "I didn't die because of you."
It wasn't quite the words John had expected, but he nodded. There was something in him that couldn't believe his father's words. He sat back, taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes.
His Dad pulled him back for a hug, before offering his son a tissue. John took it, smiling sadly as he noticed the Betty Crocker logo on it. Typical.
When he put his glasses back on, he grabbed the popcorn bowl as well. He leaned against Dad's arm and the movie resumed. However, as the songs and scenes passed John knew he couldn't get back into it.
The images of his dead father danced in his mind, as the feeling of guilt rooted itself in the middle of his thoughts.
He wondered if Simba blamed himself for what happened. Even if Scar had killed his father. Did he see his father fall over and over, watch himself try and move his father's corpse in his nightmares? Did he hold one thought in his mind, repeated over and over, that made him sick to the core?
Had he been the one to kill Dad after all?