Zebediah Walker watched Jesus Christ Superstar for the first time when he was six years old and still had nightmares about Eve and the serpent.
It was one of his mother’s good days, when she would still smile at him and wear long sleeves so he didn’t know how much she was hurting. He had just finished his PB&J sandwich, putting his plate in the dishwasher carefully and making sure he left no crumbs behind when Rebekkah Walker suddenly picked him up and placed him on her hip, closing the washer up for him.
“Come watch a movie with Mummy.”
Setting him down in the big armchair usually reserved for his daddy, he watched as Rebekkah set up the VCR and fiddled with a few buttons and knobs and cords before finally pushing the VHS into the machine. He crossed his legs, gripping onto his ankles and leaning forward with interest to see what movie his mummy had chosen – there was always singing, and he always liked to see the smiling faces and the dancing people. Mary Poppins had become a recent favourite, it being the last movie he watched with Rebekkah.
The movie opened with a black man singing, wearing a red suit with tassels and seeming to be upset about something. He didn’t dare speak up to ask who the man was or what the movie was – as soon as Mummy sat down and started to watch, she did not like to be disturbed.
Zebediah learned the hard way once what it meant to disturb Rebekkah during her movie time.
He stayed very quiet throughout the entire film, pushing back against his seat and feeling his insides twist uncomfortably as the music turned louder and more dramatic and more frightening. He didn’t like Harod and he didn’t like Judas, and he really wasn’t sure Caiaphas or Annas.
He was starting to become a little frightened of Jesus, too, but then he started to sing Gethsemane.
It started off very quietly – quiet enough that Zebediah could hear Rebekkah’s quiet snores, since she had fallen asleep around ‘Everything’s Alright’. It eventually got louder, of course, and Zebediah whimpered when he saw all the art of Jesus on the cross, bleeding and dead and terrible.
But the song stuck with him.
It had not been a very good day for Zebediah Walker.
It had been a long day of phone calls: phone calls to the bank, to an architect, to a lawyer. Anyone, really, that he needed to talk to so that he could rebuild his shop and finally get off his lazy ass. The prices he was quoted made his head spin, and he had had to hang up on a contractor so that he didn’t end up yelling at them and telling them exactly where they could shove their prices.
Rubbing his forehead, he looked into the kitchen to see Adiel dragging a bag of flour to the counter in the middle of baking cookies. Allen was probably in his office – the hospital was crazy right now, what with the backlog due to that freakish week.
Once sure that Ellie wasn’t going to accidentally feed Dinah chocolate chips because the German Sheppard had made the begging-puppy-dog-eyes face at her, Zebediah wandered over to the living room. Heading straight to the DVD collection, he rifled through the musicals that were sitting there, finding the one he wanted and pulling it out.
He set up the DVD player, popping in the disc with careful fingers and sitting down in the armchair once everything was settled. Making sure that the volume wasn’t too high (not wanting to bother anyone with his movie choices), he went to press play before stopping. Moving to select ‘Scenes’, he searched until he found the one he wanted, pressing play and watching as Jesus began to make his trip up the mountain, talking to God.
Someone sitting on the arm of his chair alerted him that he hadn’t been as quiet as he’d hoped.
Pressing pause on the scene, just as Jesus was about to sing ‘just watch me die’, Zebediah looked over to see Allen staring at the screen with curiousity.
“I didn’t bother you with this, did I?”
“Hm?” Blinking, Allen looked down at Zeb before smiling and shaking his head, patting his shoulder reassuringly. “Oh, n-no, no, I went to g-go see what Ellie was up t-to and heard the music.” He paused, turning towards the screen again, his hand not leaving Zeb’s shoulder. “…D-Did you start from the beginning…?”
“Nah,” Zeb smiled thinly, closing his eyes and lifting a hand to wrap around Allen’s wrist quietly. The doctor shifted their grip until they were both holding onto one another. “Skipped to this song.”
“A-any particular reason?”
“…I like it,” Zebediah murmured, looking at the scene again with faraway eyes. “It’s helped me through a lot of shit that’s happened last few years.”
“…‘I will d-drink your cup of poison, nail me to your cross and b-break me; bleed me, beat me, k-k-kill me take me now, before I change my mind’?”
Zeb huffed a laugh, looking up at him. “Yeah, somethin’ like that.”
“Not v-very optimistic.”
“Never said I saw the glass half full.”
Allen fell silent, frowning faintly before kissing the back of Zebediah’s hand lightly. “…W-want to know my f-f-favourite bit?”
“Thought you were more of a King and I man, love.”
“Oh, I am,” Allen assured, smiling. “B-but I enjoy the m-music in this one, too. I’m…r-rather fond of one of M-Mary’s songs.”
“Mmhm.” He closed his eyes, clearing his throat and squeezing Zebediah’s hand in his before singing softly. “Try not to get worried, t-try not to turn on to problems that u-upset you – don’t you know e-everything’s alright, yes, everything’s fine? And we want you to sleep well t-tonight…”
“…let the world turn without you tonight…if we try, we’ll get by, so forget all about us tonight…” He closed his eyes when Allen pressed a quick kiss to the top of his head, smiling vaguely.