Read this at your own risk, my worms.

Disclaimed to Meg Cabot.

This is kind of dark.

This is from the POV of Paulie. I haven't read Twilight yet, so there. Blah. I haven't a clue if I have gotten any facts wrong, or whatever.

PLEASE REVIEW. PLEASE, PLEASE.

This idea just popped up, thankies to SharkFin. In fact:

This is dedicated to SharkFin.

Lolly.

- 8 -

She stopped coming to my shifter lessons.

Well, I warned her what would happen if she did.

Oh, I wouldn't exorcise Jesse.

I'd do worse than that.

I'd make him alive.

As in . . . stop him from dying in the first place.

A simple, delicate procedure if there ever was one. I was worried that I'd screw something up, because I was so mad. You know, really mad. That she wouldn't SEE. You know, how badly I want her. All of her.

Oh well, it's too late now.

With shaking hands, I opened my shamanic book to the correct page.

You don't have the guts to do anything to Jesse.

I had the guts, Suze.

Look, BACK OFF. Can't you tell that I hate you?!

You don't hate me . . . you just don't see what's right in front of you. You don't understand the concept of love. That I actually do love you, damn it. But no. You're too hung over your pathetic cowboy.

Well, not for long.

By the time I'm done, you and him would never have met.

You're all talk. You'd never do anything, anyway. Besides try to kiss me and accuse me of enjoying it. I never want to speak to you again.

Once he was out of the way . . . it would be only me in the running. And finally, I'd make you see that I'm the only one that you could ever love.

With a slightly shuddering breath, I set up candles all over my bedroom floor. In the right formations. Then I placed a ripped out picture of Jesse from an old history book, My Monterey, in the center. My eyes narrowed with an unbridled loathing, as he stared solemnly back at me.

Suze didn't know hate. Not like I hated her stupid lover-boy.

. . . He'd be out of the picture soon enough. All I had to do was simply stop his murder.

It was dark, except for the flickering candles around me. With heavy breathing, I wiped the sweat from my forehead.

And I said the Latin words . . .

- 8 -

I'd succeeded. De Silva's murder was prevented. His killer – well, the guy who I'd decked on the back of the head with a wrench just in time – was arrested. Jesse, that stupid fuck, thanked me for saving his life. He said he owed me his life.

I could not hide my glare, as powerful hatred had come surging back. I wanted to kill him. There and then. Take the wrench that I'd dropped on the ground, and beat him to death with it. Blunt blows to his temple, hard and murderous.

. . . But I didn't. It would defeat the purpose of this whole thing.

With a nod, I left him to get married to his precious Maria. The bitch who'd ordered his murder. The more-flies-with-honey-than-vinegar chick. He'd live not-so-happily in this nineteenth century hell. I'd go back, and Suze would be mine.

Finally.

. . . Oh, if only it went as smoothly as that . . .

- 8 -

I woke up, sweating. Well, I hadn't actually woken yet. I knew that I'd come back to the present, and that I was now lying in my bed. Exhausted. Traveling back that far can do that to you. I could barely think, my head was in so much pain. Screwing up my face, I flopped onto my side, my pillow clenched in my hand. Air felt hot against my bare chest, which too, was damp. I felt like a had a fever. I didn't really care. I should have expected this. I mean, a hundred and fifty years is a long way to haul your body through time. Such speeds of travel aren't achievable to humans yet.

I'm a shifter though. I can do things that normal humans can only dream of . . .

I was all twisted in my covers. Agitated. Like I needed to run, or release energy, despite previously mentioned exhaustion. With a grunt, I sat up.

And stared.

. . . This wasn't my room.

Well, I mean, it was.

But –

. . . Why was I back in Seattle?

- 8 -

I scrambled out of my bed. My old bed. Before I moved to Carmel, chasing Suze. I had a very, very, very bad feeling. One that was making my blood flow painful, and all my muscles ache. With an ever-pounding head, I glared at all of the things that surrounded me. My old room. New things that I couldn't remember.

Starting to get freaked, I jerked around, and ran out of the door, up through the house that I knew so well.

I went to Jack's room, to his bedside, and angrily shook him awake.

'Aaah!' he whimpered pathetically. 'Just – just leave me alone, please – '

Again, I stopped.

. . . He wasn't supposed to be so scared anymore. Suze had made him practically fearless.

'Jack, you loser,' I snapped at him. In the darkness, his face was in deep shadow, only randomly highlighted by the moonlight from outside. 'What day is it?'

'Paul?' he asked, his voice sounding rusty from being asleep. 'Is that you?'

'Of COURSE it's me,' I yelled. Yes, I yelled. I was angry. He wasn't ANSWERING ME. Stupid brother. He was a waste of space, and a waste of mom's labor pain. 'What day is it?!'

'W-Wednesday,' he stuttered, his voice high pitched.

Shifting lesson day. It had been Wednesday. Had I – was I dreaming this?

No way. This wasn't a dream.

'Paul – what are you doing?' he asked in a squeal. I'd forgotten how embarrassingly pathetic eight year olds can be. With a vicious glare at him, I squeezed his shoulders tighter, and demanded through gritted teeth, 'Do you remember Suze?'

His silence was attacking me like a thousand knives.

Please know her . . .

'Who?' he said, scared to ask.

Shit.

'Suze? Susannah Simon? She's a mediator. She sees dead people,' I said. I was starting to panic.

In the darkness, I saw him brighten up. 'You believe me?' he beamed, a joyous smile spreading across his features.

. . . Again, shit.

'No way,' I sneered, and shoved him back against his bed. He lay there, his pitiful frame still and frightened. Like I said. Pathetic.

This was not happening.

How could this be happening? Had I materialized to Seattle, in my sleep?

This WAS a dream. It had to be.

I didn't know what I'd done wrong. I'd performed the stupid ritual! De Silva hadn't been killed!

SO WHY THE HELL WAS I IN FUCKING SEATTLE?!?!

Furious as hell – I didn't understand, and I LIKE to KNOW – I ran back to my room, pulled on a leather jacket straight over my naked torso, and threw on black jeans.

Oh yeah. What are you planning to do, Paul? Catch a flight to Carmel?

This was screwed up. This was SO SCREWED –

I stopped, mid-thought.

Wait.

Cell phone.

I had Suze's number in my cell phone.

. . . First one. I wanted her on hand.

I wanted her, full stop.

I scrambled around my room like a madman, looking for it. When I found it on my desk, I went to my list of contacts.

Suze Simon wasn't there.

I scrolled through, my heart pumping faster and faster with each passing moment. I slapped the light switch, so warmth flooded the room. But I felt freezing cold, despite the fact that I was dripping with a terrified sweat.

WHERE THE HELL WAS HER DAMNED NUMBER?!

That wasn't happening.

It WASN'T.

I was twitching with my movements. They weren't fluent. I felt stiff, and God forbid, scared.

What the HELL was going on?

Recklessly, I ripped my quilt right off of my king bed, and yelled loudly in fury. I didn't know why, but I was shaking. And I couldn't actually breathe like normal.

THIS WASN'T MEANT TO HAPPEN.

I had no one to get in touch with from Carmel. NO ONE.

. . . Wait. Phone book. Ring the Junipero Serra Mission . . . Father Dominic, or whatever.

He'll tell me what the hell's going on.

He'd BETTER.

God help me – if SUZE did this, I'll KILL HER.

Practically falling down the stairs as they spiraled down to ground floor – this house seemed so brown, as opposed to Pops' glass house – I fell across the floor, knocking over a chair on the way. I made it to the phonebook, seizing it and slamming it on the table.

Carmel, J . . . J . . . Junipero Serra Mission Academy. Bingo.

Not giving a shit about the time – 3am – I grabbed the cordless off the hook, and dialed frantically. Still not breathing properly, I waited with bated breath for the dial tone to stop ringing, and for someone to pick up the fucking phone

A bleary, irritated voice answered after forever. 'Hello?'

Sister Ernestine.

'Whatever,' I snapped. 'Can you put Father Dominic on? It's an emergency. Wake him up if you have to. Tell him it's Paul Slater.'

'Father Dominic is very much so asleep, I'm sure this can wait till morning – '

'NO IT CAN'T,' I roared into the phone. She went quiet, and there was a moment of silence. 'One moment please,' she said after a second.

I started breathing harder . . . he'd know. He'd tell me what that stupid bitch had done. SEND ME BACK TO SEATTLE?

Only, I happened to be in love with that stupid bitch.

There was movement on the other line, like, gentle scuffling. 'Father Dominic?' I asked brusquely. 'It's me, Paul Slater. Listen, I need to ask you, what the HELL has Suze done, I know she's done this – do you KNOW what she – '

'Excuse me,' the weary, old man's voice said. I paused, panting again. 'Who did you say you were?'

'Paul,' I said quickly, 'Paul Slater. You know, Suze – '

'I do not believe that we have met,' he said quietly. He was TOO CALM.

'WE HAVE MET!' I shouted angrily. 'I WENT TO YOUR DAMNED SCHOOL. AND NOW, SUZE HAS – '

'Suze? Who are you talking of?'

This was BULLSHIT.

'Susannah Simon?' I supplied acidly. 'She's a mediator.'

There was a long silence.

'You knew Susannah?' he asked in hushed tones.

Was he KIDDING? 'Of COURSE I knew her,' I spat into the phone. 'I was – '

Wait.

Wait one second.

'Knew?' I asked slowly. 'You said knew. You mean know.'

That horrible, horrible feeling that I felt before crept across my skin, and made me go numb.

'You heard me correctly, Mr Slater,' Father Dominic said with a heavy sigh. 'Susannah is dead.'

No . . . no way . . .

I think I dropped the phone.

- 8 -

I was in Carmel the next day.

No, my parents aren't the kind to really get in my way. I didn't really tell them. I was eighteen. I had access to my own bank account. I could buy a ticket on my own.

. . . I felt numb, the entire trip.

How could Suze be dead?

It wasn't possible! I'd only seen her that afternoon, yesterday. When she'd said those nasty things, and I'd lost it. I'd lost all capacity to think straight, and I'd gone and ruined her love life. Proved her wrong . . . I DID have the guts . . . I WASN'T just all talk –

Suze was dead.

. . . God . . .

No way. This was some HUGE joke. She'd got me REALLY drunk, had flown me back to Seattle . . . everyone was in on the joke. Let's ALL get back at Paul Slater, shall we?

But honestly. The priest, I couldn't understand. It's a sin to lie.

Shame on him.

. . . Suze wasn't dead. No way.

No freaking way.

Pops was still in Carmel. And Mark – Pops' day attendant – was still here. With suddenly no recollection that I'd ever lived in the same HOUSE as him.

He's in on it too.

They all are . . .

It's just a joke, Slater.

Joke.

I made him come and pick me up. He did, of course. I sat at the airport, barely thinking.

I couldn't think.

Of course it was a joke. It's not possible, for Suze to be dead. There wouldn't have been enough time for –

Ha, time. Yeah, that thing you screwed up.

I still didn't have a clue.

Mark was delighted to have me staying with him and Gramps "for the first time." First time my ass. This was not even funny anymore. I mean, joke's a joke. That's enough already, right? So what, Jesse's gone. THIS was taking it to far, Suze.

. . . Talking to a dead girl.

I TALK TO FREAKING DEAD GIRLS ALL THE TIME.

SHE WASN'T DEAD!

The car ride with Mark was excruciating. He asked a couple of chirpy questions about my useless family, before I let loose a long list of colorful words for him to shut his face. And the rest of the drive was pretty silent.

A numb reality was ready to crack over me, like an egg. I was still moving jerkily. Loud noises made me jump. The honking of the horns around me startled me.

This wasn't like me.

I told Mark to take me straight to the Mission Academy. He did, without hesitation. I think he was scared of me.

. . . Usually, I like power. I like them being afraid.

Not now, though.

It wasn't fun, anymore.

He dumped me at the entrance to the Mission. I didn't stop to appreciate the beauty. I didn't have time. I marched straight in here, clearly knowing my way around.

This was a horrible joke.

Suze was TWISTED. This wasn't even FUNNY.

Through the breezeway, which looked different, down the halls, into the Staff Office, straight to the secretary, who sat beneath the usual crucifix. The one meant to weep blood for something or other – I couldn't remember.

'Yes?' she asked with a polite, impersonal smile.

I'd seen this woman before. She'd issued me with my paper for suspension.

I pelted her with an ireful glare. 'Where is Father Dominic?' I demanded.

She stopped smiling. 'He's in his office. I'm sure he's busy – '

I slammed a shaking, clenched fist on the desk top, giving her a look that I'd usually only reserve for Jesse de Silva. 'Now,' I said quietly.

Her pretty brown eyes widened. She just about shat herself, and quickly got on the phone to Father Dom's office, just behind her.

'Father . . . there's a young man here to see you – '

'Tell him to hurry up,' I snapped at her.

She winced. 'He would appreciate it if you would – no, it's not Monsignor Constantine. I – I don't know who he is – '

Oh, for CHRIST'S SAKE.

She put down the phone, and Father Dominic burst out of the office, in his black clothes and priest's collar. A Roman Catholic wasn't supposed to lie.

'Aaah, Mr Slater, I assume? Excuse me,' he said, in a calm, quiet and rational voice, 'If you would be so kind as to continue this in my office – '

'What's going on?' I yelled at him, taking a threatening step towards him.

I DO NOT LIKE BEING FUCKED WITH.

He raised his white eyebrows elegantly. 'I do not know what you are talking – '

'You know DAMNED well. STOP PRETENDING YOU DON'T KNOW ME!' I bellowed at him in rage. 'It's not FUNNY! Someone like YOU shouldn't be playing along with this!'

He just stared at me some more, with cold blue eyes. Mine were colder than his. However, now, his harbored no warmth. 'I would appreciate it,' he said again slowly, in case I was simple, 'If we could talk in my office – '

I moved past him, fast, and entered his damned office, standing up and waiting impatiently. He walked in coolly after me, and sat down. 'Now, Mr Slater,' he began, 'It is not acceptable for you to enter my school and harass my secretary – '

Oh, please.

I closed my eyes with a grim grin on my face. This was past funny. Past anything.

Shaking my head, I snapped my eyes open again. My heart still was beating irregularly. 'Where's Suze?' I hissed at him. 'I know she's not dead. Why's she doing this?'

'I believe I informed you about this on the phone last night,' Father Dominic said, in a tone that was slightly louder than before. He looked pained, but detached. 'Susannah Simon is indeed, deceased – '

'BULL,' I punched the wall viciously. The concrete grazed my knuckles. 'I was talking to her YESTERDAY, and she was ALIVE – '

He continued to stare at me, as if I was a boring documentary. 'That is not possible. She died very shortly after coming to this school,' he added, his voice slightly quieter. 'You mentioned that you . . . knew she was a mediator?'

I shook my head again, my grin now twisted. Man, this guy could act like hell.

'I've been teaching her about what she is for weeks, Gandalf,' I snarled at him. 'Stuff that YOU didn't teach her.'

'I had not the chance to teach her a thing, Mr Sla – '

'CALL ME PAUL!'

' – Paul,' he nodded. 'She was killed, while trying to perform an exorcism.'

I started shaking again. My whole body was shaking. I gazed at my fingers. They were the worst. I looked like I had Alzheimer's. Shaking.

It was seeming too real.

This joke that she was playing on me, I mean.

Hell . . . WAY too real.

'Killed?' my voice crackled suddenly.

'Yes,' Father Dom's voice was filled, for the first time, with grief. 'Headstrong girl,' he muttered in deep regret. 'She insisted on mediating a ghost. Heather Chambers. Susannah seemed particularly fond of exorcism. She snuck into the school one night, and attempted to perform this. I know. Candles and a photo of Heather were found in the courtyard by myself. Susannah's body was discovered under the breezeway. She'd been crushed to death.'

A moan so anguished and unanticipated escaped my throat, and I suddenly fell sideways into the wall.

'Why are you doing this?' I asked him pitifully, looking around to him with eyes that were clearly full of hurt.

Pathetic. Just like Jack.

Why were they messing with me like this? Because of de Silva?! God, GET OVER IT.

Father Dominic bowed his head. Man of God. He should stop lying.

He's not lying, Slater.

'I am doing no other thing, besides telling you the truth,' he said respectfully.

I just breathed.

'Did you know Jesse?' I asked him quietly.

Shaking.

'No, I do not know a Jesse,' he said.

'Of course you don't,' I whispered.

Of course he didn't. No one knew a Jesse.

'Her mom?' I asked. 'Suze's mom? How's she about it?'

Again, he looked aggrieved. Really aggrieved. 'Sadly,' he sighed, 'Shortly after their marriage, Helen Ackerman divorced her husband Andrew. Bradley Ackerman, Andrew's middle son, is also dead.'

No way.

NO FUCKING WAY.

'Why?!' I demanded. I clenched my fists tightly, which made them shake even harder. Everything that I knew was shattering before my eyes. A world that I'd destroyed.

I was beginning to see that, now . . .

He was talking. The priest.

'. . . Bradley was run off the road. It was premeditated murder. He was killed by a former student named Michael Meducci. This boy had killed four others. Bradley was yet another target. It was vengeance, apparently. Michael was arrested, and almost was killed by the people he murdered. All five of them. They were hard to mediate, Bradley especially.'

My knees stopped working. Heavily, I leaned on the large chain in front of Father Dom's desk, crawled around it, my muscles suddenly weak as wet paper. I stumbled into it.

'Would you like something to drink – '

'No,' I said. 'No.'

Wow.

Fancy that. So the lover-boy had saved Suze's life then.

Suze was crushed to death.

And guess what, Paul?

You killed her.

I think that I was perfectly within my rights to cry. I couldn't help it. First, I was just staring at Father Dominic in total and utter disbelief. Next . . . the room got blurry. As in, really blurry.

What have I done?

. . . You killed her.

YOU LOVED HER AND YOU KILLED HER.

I didn't know this would happen. How was I supposed to know that de Silva ran around lifting breezeways off of Suze, or what EVER THE HELL HE DID? How was I supposed to know that changing one little event in history would not only kill Suze, but her stupid asshole step brother too?

I DIDN'T KNOW.

I screwed up my face against the intensity of the pain. The unbearable pain. The knowledge. The truth. I hid my face from the priest, burying it in my hands. No, no, no, NO, NO!

Yes.

Suze was dead.

I'd made a mistake. A horrible, horrible mistake. One which had cost Suze her life.

This isn't a joke, Slater.

This is the world that you've created.

You killed the only girl you've ever loved.

. . . And there's not a damned thing you can do about it.