Hey my lovely readers and reviewers. It's been a while. A whole summer, actually. I had a lot going on, and needed to take a break from writing for a bit. But I am back at it, and just want to thank you for reading this.
I reviewed and edited all the previous chapters if you wanted to take a look, re-read or what not.
Thank you for your patience with me, and enjoy.
Chapter 15: Girls and Goodbyes
I left the room with my breath catching in my throat, my eyes were starting to burn. Was I going to cry? Jeeze, get a hold of yourself Suze.
But it was hard to get control of this feeling. This feeling of realization. After yelling, literally, at him… that I couldn't trust him. And it was true. After so long I realized why we never could have been together. I didn't… I couldn't, trust him.
My body was betraying me after realizing this. My eyes stung as I blinked back tears, my breathing came out chocked. I didn't want to react like this! Especially because of him.
I walked down the hallway and burst into a vacant room for a second to get myself collected, alone.
Paul didn't follow me. He usually came after me as I ran away with a, "Suze wait! I'm sorry!" for whatever he happened to do to me. But not this time. I think I cut him deep too.
Destroying the greenhouse had been a dick move. He was acting selfishly, carelessly, and like a child. But I was used to him acting like that. No, it was him blatantly lying to me. Acting so callous about it. He didn't care.
Knowing I couldn't trust him, my shifter, my supposed friend? It hurt.
'My shifter'? Get a hold Suze! You are unravelling! I wanted to smack myself for being so silly. Take a deep breath, get it together, let's go.
I calmed down, took a breath and turned to leave the room when a crushing pain hit my head. My vision blurred instantly and I grasped at the wall for support.
I wasn't sure if Gwen or Dean had maybe thrown something at my head, a freaking bowling ball or something?
My vision only turned from bad to worse, and all I could see was darkness. I fell to the floor from the pain and blindness, and started to crawl out the room.
"What's happening!" I screamed, louder than I meant to - but hey, from the excruciating pain and all…
"I see you"…
It was the voice. The dark voice from my nightmares. How was this happening? Was I dreaming?
I heard a muffled grunt from another room. It sounded angry. It sounded like Paul. He was clearly in pain.
Panic raised in my chest faster than when Dean had been strangling me.
"Paul!" I screamed.
I was blind. I couldn't see where I was damn well crawling to. I think I might have started crying.
"Paul!" I yelled in a miserable voice.
"Suze!" I heard him yell back, closer to me. I felt warm hands touch me and bring me close to his chest.
"What's happening?" He yelled, his voice sounding raw. Scared almost. Oh, the great Paul Slater is finally scared huh? Alright, no time to gloat as I was shaking pretty well with fear myself.
It was the blindness. Not knowing what was coming. It was terrifying. We could die right here, right now.
I felt his hand hold mine. Maybe he was scared to die too.
We sat like that on the floor for who knows how long. The pain eventually grew dull, and then it was all suddenly gone.
I could see again.
I looked up at Paul, and he looked back at me with a look of disbelief. Had that just happened?
His one arm was around me, my body crushed into his, as our hands were clasped together. I was so close I could smell his cologne, and see flecks of silver in his steely blue eyes.
Cough. I awkwardly pushed away from him and he did the same.
"What was that?" He asked, looking a little like a deer caught in the headlights.
"I don't know." I murmured, rubbing my eyes.
"Did you do something?" He asked. "With your powers? You shouldn't just experiment like that. You really could have caused irreparable damage."
"Oh, of course blame me!" I said in annoyance.
"Well, I've never felt anything like that!" He replied. "It's nothing a ghost could do. A shifter maybe…" He trailed off, eyeing me.
"Really Paul? Well I didn't do anything!" I said angrily. "Oh right, I'm supposed to be mad at you!" I yelled childishly, thinking of the trust issues I had previously been thinking about.
I pushed past him and stormed away.
"I think we have bigger issues going on here Simon…" Paul said, following me.
I knew we did. But I didn't want to talk to him.
"Oh really? You're the only issue I have Paul. So beat it." I huffed.
"Dammit Suze, you are so stubborn!" Paul growled at me.
We ran into Marcus who was walking out of the library.
"Hey Paul! Father Dominic wasn't in the library!" He said, doing his best at a glare. Cute.
"Oh really? Must have heard the message wrong." Paul said breezily.
"Well okay-" He began but I cut him off,
"Did you feel that? T-that thing? Not long ago?" I asked, nearly shaking his shoulders like a ragdoll.
He looked at me like I was crazy, which I think I was now. Officially crazy.
"I'm sorry, what do you mean?" He asked politely.
"A crushing pain… darkness!" I said with urgency.
"No…" Marcus said. He was starting to look freaked out by me. Paul and I exchanged knowing glances. He didn't know. Marcus had felt nothing. I wouldn't be surprised it if was only Paul and I who had experienced it, but that didn't seem like a good sign.
"Never mind Suze, Marcus. She needs sleep is all." Paul said with his trade mark smile, and led me away from a very confused looking Marcus.
"I don't think we should go advertising that this happened to us." Paul whispered harshly as we walked away.
"Why? People might think we are freaks? We're mediators. Freaks to the world. We are shifters, freaks to mediators. Really?" I asked in amusement.
"I just think it's better not to relay it to everyone." He said with gritted teeth.
Suddenly Danny came running up from the large foyer.
"Where have you been?" He asked in a hurry.
"At the back of the house, training." I jabbed my thumb in Paul's direction. Paul stared back at Danny lazily, daring him to have a problem with it.
"Okay." Danny said faintly, staring off into the distance. He looked shaky and pale.
"Are you okay?" I asked with concern. He looked back at me, startled, as if just noticing that I was there.
"Yeah, yeah, just out of it today." He said, putting a smile back on his handsome face.
Paul rolled his eyes and walked away. I glared at his back as he did so.
"If looks could kill." Danny said in amusement.
"Yeah, well." I muttered.
"I'm not complaining!" Danny said, resting his arm around my shoulder.
We walked into the kitchen, everyone looking at ease. But I knew it was more complicated than that; at least two of us were unhinged. And the crazy was just getting started.
None of us got much done with the rest of our day. See the thing about ghosts, they aren't dogs, they don't always come when they are called. Especially when they don't even like you, which was very true about Dean and Gwen.
Jesse loved me, and was still very close to my heart too; he would always come when I called. I had comfort in that at least.
Mrs. Hackteur wanted to have a long talk with Paul and I about our shifting abilities after dinner. She wanted to make sure we were not abusing our powers. That sounded boring as all hell, and I wanted to escape Paul so I bailed.
I know, I know, this is bad. I really shouldn't bail on my boss. Especially someone so intimidating as she was. I quickly mumbled to her about having some "girl issues", "time of the month" things and she grew very embarrassed and told me I could leave, and go straight to bed.
Paul saw through my little excuse easily, and glared at me with pure hostility as I backed out of the room and Mrs. Hackteur started her lecture to him. I stuck out my tongue at him and he looked like he wanted to kill me, so I took that as my cue to leave!
I giggled at my little escape plan and walked into the games room. Aimee was doing a crossword puzzle on one of the couches. Shannon was listening to music and Hannah was playing pool with Nate.
"Where's everyone else?" I asked.
"Oh, you mean Danny?" Shannon pointed out.
"No." I muttered in annoyance.
"Well Marcus, Jesse and Father Dom are chilling in the library." She said, "Dan is…" She frowned, "I don't know. Somewhere!"
"Alright, well, thanks." I offered.
"Did you want to go find him?" Hannah asked politely.
"No, no, it's okay." I said, giving her a warm smile.
"You know what?" Shannon said, getting our attention. "I'm sick of boys boys boys."
"Okay." Nate said.
"Oh. Sorry. But anyways, time for some girl time!" Shannon said, standing up from where she was sitting.
"That sounds-" I began,
"Awesome!" Hannah squealed. No Hannah, I was going to say 'horrible', but okay.
"What are we to do?" Aimee asked, gaining interest.
"Oh, I don't know. What can we do here?" Shannon asked, looking deflated.
"Well there is a pool and hot tub…" I mumbled, instantly regretting it.
"Perfect!" Shannon clapped. "Let's meet in the foyer in ten, and Suze can show us where it is!"
So that's how we ended up standing in the pool room, fifteen minutes later (Shannon was taking a while to find a bikini she wanted to wear.)
"Wow." Everyone breathed as they looked around the room. I remember it taking my breath away too, when I first discovered it.
The blue mosaic tiling, all blues, teals, whites. It looks beautiful and Grecian. The skylight showed the big moon and stars overhead.
"The water is chilly, but we'll be okay." I said to them, putting my towel down on a chair.
"How would you know? When did you go swimming?" Shannon asked, staring at me.
"Um. I wouldn't. I didn't." I said, trying to back track. Let's not tell her I went swimming with Paul. "I just tested it with my toes the other day…" I mumbled.
Not that I had wanted to go swimming with him, I mean, we were actually blasted back and into the pool from a ghost's powers but all the same not worth mentioning.
Shannon smiled and shrugged, tyeing the strings on her white bikini tighter,
"We shall see how long I can stand the cold."
She walked into the pool with a high pitch squeal, but laughed as well. Aimee slowly followed her, her face scrunching as she felt the water. She had on a retro style red one piece, it was cute.
Hannah sat on the edge of the pool, with her feet dipped into the water, her jeans getting wet at the bottom. But I knew they would dry quicker than a normal pair of jeans.
I stared into the crystal blue depths, my reflection looking back at me. I had on a black bikini, my hair as long as ever. Do they have a hairdresser in Dullsdrin? I needed a cut badly. I always let it get too out of control. Jesse used to love it. He used to run his fingers through it as I lay my head in his lap. A smile came to my lips as I thought about it.
"Come on in Suze!" Shannon yelled to me, splashing me a little. I jumped in beside her, effectively getting her hair soaked. I heard a scream of annoyance from her before I sunk to the bottom of the pool.
I stayed on the bottom for a while, relaxing in the quiet depths. It felt good not to hear anyone. No troublesome boys, no murdering ghosts, no gabby girls. Just silence.
If only I were a mermaid, I thought whimsically as I submerged to the surface.
I swam on my back, looking out the skylight. This reminded me of when Paul and I had been flung into the pool not long ago. I glanced over to where we had lent against the shallower part of the pool, where I had kissed him.
I doused my head underwater, embarrassment in my cheeks. I looked up to see Shannon and Aimee getting into the in-ground hot tub.
"I can't stand the cold any longer!" Shannon said, pilling her wet blonde hair into a bun on her head.
"How can you?" Aimee asked towards me, smiling in relief as she sunk into the hot jets of the hot tub.
"I like it." I said quietly, floating on my back again.
Eventually I got out and joined the girls in the hot tub, admittedly, it felt really good. Hannah sat on the edge, her feet in the water. She couldn't even feel it right? Maybe your brain tricked you into feeling these things by habit, when you were a ghost. I wasn't sure, and I didn't want to ask.
The girls chatted gleefully and I smiled to myself glancing around at them. I was finally feeling like I was belonging. Like MED was truly something. Some weird little family. Everyone was so different from each other, but we could come together for a common goal, we could be friends too.
I hadn't had many girlfriends, well, ever. There had been my only friend Gina, in New York. I had been too... unpredictable back then. No one wanted to be friends with the girl who was always causing 'trouble' and talking to herself. Which was all ghost related of course, but it certainly didn't help my popularity.
Then when I moved to Carmel, I made close bonds with Ceecee and Adam. And I eventually branched out to more and more people. I finally came into my own person, finally I knew how to balance my life and my spectral life. Sort of.
Admit-ably, Paul had been pretty helpful in the whole thing. He was the only person I could really talk to about being a mediator. No, about being a shifter. It made me feel... somewhat normal, that there was someone else like me.
What could have been a great friendship was ruined by lust, jealousy and confusion.
"What are you thinking about? You look so serious." Hannah asked, waving a hand in front of my face.
"Oh, sorry." I said with a sheepish grin. "Caught up in my head."
"What about?" Shannon prompt.
"Uh, just home." I said.
"Mmm." She agreed, caught up in her own memories.
"I do miss it sometimes." Aimee said out loud.
"All the time!" Shannon said dramatically.
"What's at home for you?" Hannah asked.
"Everything." Shannon said with a winning smile. "Seattle with my dad. He's awesome. I'm a bit of a daddy's girl, hard to believe I know." She said, rolling her eyes at herself and we chuckled. "But my mom left my dad and my brother when we were pretty young. He did amazing raising us. Once he had good money, she came crawling back but I don't talk to her much." She said with distaste.
"That must have been hard." Aimee noted.
"Yeah it was confusing. But my older brother, Chase, he's my rock. He kept me sain when the wicked woman of the west came rolling back through. I just want my dad to be okay." She added.
Hmm, I would have pegged Shannon to be an only child.
"How did you meet Paul?" Hannah asked. My stomach clenched a bit.
"Well, he came to my school in our senior year. It was a private school, small and pretty cliquey. Obviously everyone, every girl, wanted to know who he was and what he was about. But he was pretty stand-offish at first. Really cold. Too cool for everyone." She said rolling her eyes. I smiled slightly, sounded like him. Until you got to know him.
"But we bonded. One day I was crying over my family drama and he helped me out. He has his own family drama, so he understood. And he knew what heartbreak felt like." My stomach clenched harder. I tried not to change my expression. I didn't want her to clue into the situation.
"Aw, so cute!" Hannah said giggling.
"And he dragged me to Carmel. For this meeting thing, MED, he got a letter for it from Father Dominic." She continued. Damn, I knew Father Dom must have invited him! I will have to give him my mind on that later.
"Well it's now shared history from there on. I think he was always thinking of taking a year off before law school, to have some time off before so much more schooling. I had plans to take some acting courses. Move to Los Angeles eventually. But here I am." She finished.
"Maybe Dullsdrin has some good acting classes for you." Aimee said, trying not to laugh. We gave her a wierd look and burst out laughing anyways.
"For the Corn festival maybe." Shannon said, laughing harder.
"What about you Aimee, what's your story?" I asked, after we had all stopped laughing.
"Well, I have four brothers and two sisters." She said.
"What? Wow." Shannon said, her blue eyes big.
"I inherited three brothers when my mom remarried and that was enough." I said with a laugh.
"Yeah, it's overwhelming sometimes." She admitted. "I always felt small in a sea of big voices. Everyone was always a star. One brother was the football hero, another won almost every science metal. My sisters were always out on dates. But at the end of the day, after all the chaos of dinner and what not, me and my dad would be left reading our books in the family room. Thankful for any silence in that house, and every so often he'd look over his book, at me, and nod. And I knew he was proud of me in his own way." She said smiling, lost in her memory.
We all silently smiled to ourselves, thinking of our own happy home memories.
I realized in that moment how I had judged these people so wrong. For the first half of our trip I had had some preconceived notion of how everyone was, and I was wrong. Why did I have to be jaded? Because when I let them, people always surprised me.
I wished I was more like Jesse, he was kind to everyone. He always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. He was a good heart.
"You Suze?" Aimee asked, breaking my thoughts.
So I told them. About New York, about moving to Carmel, my new brothers and step dad. About meeting Jesse, I blushed, and soon falling for each other. And also that we broke up, and it was still hard. I barely mentioned my dad or Paul. My dad was too much to begin to talk about, as he was still ghostly around... well, hardly around but he popped in now and then. I didn't really want to tell them about that.
And Paul, well that was a whole other story. Too long to tell, too hard to explain. Even I still didn't understand it. Plus I didn't think Shannon would appreciate it much.
Shannon broke out a bottle of wine and we drank it, all telling stories and laughing. It felt so good.
Eventually, with the help of the wine, we asked Hannah about her past.
She told us about her family, she had lived on a farm in the southern part of California. She had plenty of big dogs, cats, horses. She had three little sisters. She sounded so happy talking about it. Then she mentioned how it happened. A drunk driver hit the truck her and her boyfriend were in. Her boyfriend survived and she didn't.
"Do you ever go back? To see your family?" Aimee breathed.
"I do check in on them from time to time." Hannah said. "I don't like to see them sad. It was horrible at first. I just wanted to touch them. To hug them and let them know I'm okay. But it's easier now. It's been a few years and they are getting on with their lives. But I can feel that they miss me. I always feel it. It tugs at me, even now. Tugs at me spiritually, like that's my home base. I could apparate there in a second. But I can't do anything for them now. I need to live a little," she giggled at her joke, "So MED seemed like a great idea."
"You're brave Hannah." I said with heart. Aimee sniffed and brushed tears out of her eyes. Shannon finished the bottle of wine.
The mixture of alcohol and hot tub was going straight to my head. We all got out and took a breather, getting our selves collected.
I felt a presence immediately.
I turned around and Gwen was glaring at us.
"What?" I demanded harshly. I was in no mood for her crap. We had had a great night and now she was going to ruin it.
"Excuse me?" She demanded hotly, stamping her foot down on the marble floor.
"What's she doing here?" Shannon asked, tying a towel around her waist.
"This is MY house!" Gwen said, color flushing to her face.
"Whatever." Shannon muttered in annoyance. I could feel the power growing in Gwen. Aimee looked over uneasily at her.
"Why don't we just call a truce for tonight?" She said fairly.
"A truce?" Gwen demanded. "No." She snapped, and Shannon said it as well, at the same time. They stared at each other.
"Look Gwen, it's four against one. And you can't hurt Hannah. As for me, well, we both know I'd destroy you, so let's just stop okay?" I said, folding my arms.
Gwens nostrils flared. "Last time, I'm pretty sure I blasted you away." She said with a smirk.
"Um, no. Pretty sure Suze and Paul kicked your ass." Shannon said, gloating. Oh god. Shannon was talking about when Paul and I had fought Dean and Gwen in the den. Gwen was talking about Paul and I, blasted back from her in this pool room.
"No. Are you stupid?" Gwen said towards Shannon.
"Are you delusional?" Shannon demanded.
"Uh, ok, who cares really?" I said, trying to get off the subject. I didn't really need Gwen outing out my lie over the whole pool room/Paul thing.
"You're outmatched Gwen." I said flatly.
"Try me." She hissed and blasted energy forward. It caught Shannon directly and blasted her back, luckily Hannah used her own energy to direct Shannon's fall into the pool, and not on her neck. Aimee was blasted indirectly and fell backwards onto the floor.
I blasted back Gwen twice, looking behind me for a quick second to make sure the girls were okay. Shannon was climbing out the pool, muttering in anger. Aimee was getting up, rubbing her sore back. She looked a little shaky but that also might have been too much wine.
Gwen blasted her powers at me but this time I was ready. I shielded it using a technique that Paul had showed me. I snapped my fingers and fire grew from them. I flicked my fingers towards Gwen and the fire shoot at her. She screamed as her blue dress caught a flame.
I heard the girls gasp behind me as Gwen screamed. Gwen dematerialized in a fit of rage and sparks.
"Nice Suze!" Shannon said, clapping me on the back.
"That was cool." Aimee said, handing me my towel back. I wrapped it around myself, turning to them, holding my head in my hand.
"You okay?" Shannon asked. "Too much wine?"
"No, well, yes. But it's a shifting headache." I said shrugging.
"Anything we can do?" Hannah asked sweetly.
"No, I"m good. Think I might just head to bed." I said smiling.
"Aw, stay!" Hannah said,
"Yeah Suze!" Aimee said and Shannon agreed with a wine induced giggle.
"We just kicked ass, well, you," Shannon admitted "We need to celebrate."
I opened my mouth to reply when the pool room door opened and Paul and Nate strolled through.
"The party has arrived!" Nate said laughing. "Or you girls already started?" He said, picking up the empty wine bottle.
"Sorry Nate!" Shannon sing songed.
Nate cannonballed in the pool, the girls shrieked in laughter.
"Suze just kicked Gwen's ass." Shannon said to the boys.
"We all did." I added.
"Some cool shifter stuff." Aimee said, blushing as Nate picked her up and threw her into the pool with a little scream.
Paul glanced at me, his cool eyes smiling. "Nice Suze."
I forced a smile and tried not to stare at his tan chest, or the pool that we had swam in not long ago.
"Anyways I'm going to bed. Night girls. And boys." I added with a small wave and walked out.
"You shouldn't walk alone!" Shannon called after me. Paul started after me to be kind but I gave a short "don't" and he backed off. Our fight was still too fresh in both our minds.
I got to my room, feeling like I weighed a ton. Either from the wine, shifting or whatever else... I was exhausted.
I got into some old boxers and a tank top, flopped into bed and my eyes closed heavily.
I should have asked Jesse to watch over me because next thing I knew, I awoke in a nightmare.
It was the voice. I was almost getting accustom to it. Except not at all, because it was horrible.
I was running blindly in the darkness. I wasn't sure where I was running or to what but I was running. I could hear someone crying out, someone familiar but I couldn't tell. I could see a far off figure. Who was it? Someone tall. I knew I had to get to them, had to run to them. I was so scared. I was scared for them. Something bad was going to happen.
"I will ruin everything you love." The voice said. I let out a ragged yell as I fell through the darkness, right before I could reach, whoever it was, I needed to save.
I awoke thrashing wildly in my sheets, in my room in the Willow's estate. The room was lit from the bright moon outside.
I was breathing unevenly, and I noticed I was drenched in sweat. I felt sickly. Feverish. These nightmares were literally making me sick.
I got out of bed shakily, my legs wobbling. I felt physically ill. I opened my door and walked down the dark hallway, silent as my bare feet touched the carpet. I blindly ran into someone else. I took in a rush of air to scream, so shaken up from the dream, when a hand shot out and covered my mouth.
"Shh. It's late." I heard Paul say. My eyes adjusted to the darkness and he lifted his hand from my mouth. He was wearing only low fitting, dark blue pajama pants. I noticed his eyes looked darkened and his chest had a sheen of sweat on it.
"You had a dream didn't you?" I demanded. He looked at me coldly.
"Why?" He asked.
"I can tell. You look as bad as I probably do right now. I told you it wasn't me who was doing it!" I huffed irritably. "This is real."
"I don't know what it is." He said quietly.
"For once." I said smugly. He rolled his eyes at me.
"Well I'm not going to bed anytime soon." He admitted. "Let's go to the kitchen, so we don't wake everyone up." I nodded and followed him there.
He made two sandwiches and I ate, realizing how hungry I was.
"It's making me sick." I said, after a full big gulps of milk.
"What do you mean?" He asked, looking at me.
"I don't know... I just... it feels like it's eating at my body. My soul? Hell if I know. But this is real. Too real." I said, with a shiver in spite of myself. Paul nodded in agreement, quietly mulling over his sandwich.
"I'll see if there is anything about this in the books." He said, talking about his shifter books.
"Okay." I said faintly, more tired than ever.
"Should probably try to get some sleep. Some real sleep." He said frowning.
"Y-yeah." I said, nervous even thinking about it. But I was scared. Scared to close my eyes and feel that pain and desperation again. To feel sick with fear.
"You okay to do that?" He asked. He didn't even ask it sarcastically or smugly, he genuinely wanted to know.
"Yes." I said. I didn't want to call Jesse to watch me in front of him. To admit to this weakness.
He walked me back to my room and I sat on my bed, he sat beside and leaned back, over the covers.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"You need to sleep. And I don't think you'll be doing it much if you're alone. I'll wait until you fall asleep." He said. I didn't know what to say, I was a little choked by emotion. This was stuff Jesse did. Used to do. This wasn't Paul Slater. Or was it just not the parts of Paul I ever saw, or let myself see?
"Ok." I agreed because I was too tired, and actually grateful that he was doing this. I pulled the blanket over me and glanced at him. "Thank you." I said quietly and he smiled smugly,
"Of course." And there's the Paul I know.
But I slept. And no nightmares.
The next day I awoke with new resolve. We needed to leave this place. We had been here for too long and it wasn't safe anymore. And these were people I cared about, I couldn't see us get hurt anymore. I flung the sheets off of me (at the point, noticing Paul must have left in the night) and quickly got dressed.
I marched into the den that Dean had once been choking me in. My anger flared up inside me quickly.
"Come at me." I muttered darkly. I was hoping they would show up. Hoping they would test me and I could end it with them. And move on.
I heard his voice behind me and turned around. He looked curious, but sad too.
"Jesse." I said. "What are you doing here?" I didn't mean to sound like an asshole. He was my bestfriend and all. But I knew he would ruin my plans.
"What are you doing?" He said, sounding disappointed. He already knew.
"But we have to leave this place." I said, desperation filling my voice. I needed to convince him.
"We will. In time. The right way." He said gently. "Have you not learned by now?"
He thought I was a child.
"Yes." I said with gritted teeth. This would have been better with Paul, or Danny. They would want to kick ass, and finish the job. But no, Jesse had morals. Jesse had heart. Of course Jesse was right. But I was stubborn.
"Jesse, it isn't safe here anymore! For any of us!" I said, stepping closer to him. "Don't you see? Something, something will happen." I said, my voice small and scared to my ears.
"I won't let it." He said, putting his strong arms around me.
"We need to leave." I whispered.
"Are you scared of Dean? Of Gwen? Or something more?" He said, his dark eyes boring into mine.
"N-no." I said. He could read me too well by now.
"What is it Susannah?"
It's the voice. It's something coming for me. I need to keep running. I'm always running.
"Nothing." I choked out. "Nothing." I said, a little more firmly, pushing him away a little.
Jesse looked sad.
"When did you stop talking to me querida?" He said.
"I am." I replied. But we both knew what he meant. He stood in silence for a moment until another presence swept the room.
"Cowboy!" Jerry shouted, hugging Jesse from behind. Jesse smiled warmly,
"How are you today Jerry?" He asked nicely.
"Sad." He said, his little face in a frown. " I never see Dean and Gwen anymore. They left me too. Just like mom and dad."
Dean and Gwen were just too busy planning our murders, but I didn't say that.
"Jerry, they are just... trying to find a way home." I said.
"We are home." Jerry answered.
"No, this was your home. A long time ago. Your home with your mom and your dad and your brother and sister. Home is your family." I said, my heart hurting a little.
"They are in hell." He said plainly. Jesse looked sad too. A little help here cowboy!
"They aren't." I said firmly.
"Pastor said!" Jerry argued.
"That was what he believed." I said. "And you know what? People can believe different things. I'm a mediator. I can see and speak to the dead. And I can shift. Shift to a place where they go. Where they need to go. Where they can walk through doors to a whole new life. Or whatever it is. Maybe it is doors to heaven, maybe hell. But that's just it. We don't know. We just don't know. But whatever it is, you will see them again. You will be home."
Jerry thought about it,
"Ok." He said simply, a smile on his face. Jesse was watching me with a curious look. He looked lost in my words.
I looked back down and Jerry had dematerialized.
"I hope that helped him a little." I said.
"Yes Susannah, I'm sure it did." Jesse answered.
I decided Jesse was right. I couldn't do this alone. Or I shouldn't. I had to do it right. MED met up in the gorgeous library of the Willow's estate.
"They won't come." Nate said, moving his shaggy hair out of his eyes. "They'll know how many of us are here. Pussies."
Aimee elbowed him.
"Sorry Mam." He said towards Mrs. Hackteur, who was glaring at him.
"We need to try to talk to them together. I feel as though we have gathered up enough information on their pasts and who they were, to try to help them move on to who they will be." Father Dominic said.
"Yeah, thanks to Suze's little inception trick." Danny said, smiling at me.
"Dean wasn't asleep. As per inception." Paul said dryly.
"Whatever you call it." Dan said with gritted teeth.
"I agree with Nate. Their too stubborn to talk." I said, doubting our plan now.
"Let the Padre try." Jesse said gently to me. I smiled small at him.
"Dean and Jerry can move on. Gwen can live here in hell." Shannon said, lounging on a chair. Hannah giggled. Oh the irony Hannah.
"What are ya all doing?" I small voice happily asked. Everyone looked alarmed as Jerry stood in the room.
"Uh, hi Jerry." I said meekly. "Not much." Ooh, just planning on how to get rid of you three?
"Well, we are actually looking for you and your siblings." Mrs. Hackteur said. Jerry looked scared at her. Do not blame the kid.
"Do you know where they may be?" Father Dom asked soothingly.
"I don't know." Jerry said mumbling.
"Try calling them." I said, holding his hand.
"Calling them?" Jerry asked.
"Yes. When you... have a connection with someone. Especially when that someone can feel the different spiritual planes, like ghosts, or mediators... shifters... you are bonded. Bonded by a connection that will forever bring them to you." I said, glancing up at Jesse. Paul regarded me with cool eyes and I looked down quickly.
"No matter where they are, you can find them. They will feel you tugging at them, at their hearts. So, call them." I said softly.
Jerry screwed up his face, closing his eyes.
"It's like making a wish." I whispered.
The room was deathly quiet.
I looked around nervously. If this doesn't work it's going to be really embarrassing dammit-
And they were there.
Dean and Gwen appeared in the middle of the room, I backed away, holding Jerry's hand.
"What is going on?" Gwen demanded, eyeing everyone in the room, looking like a deer caught in headlights.
Dean coiffed back his hair with his hand, standing and surveying everyone coolly. Looking dead sexy, so to speak.
"Why, I think this is an intervention sweet sister." He said, with slight humor in his voice.
"We should go." She said, fear rising in hers. Until she saw me holding onto Jerry.
"Give him to me." She demanded. "Give him to me!" She screeched and a vase shattered.
"Get yourself under control miss." Mrs. Hackteur said. Gwen spun around wildly,
"Who do you people think you are? Coming into our home! Wearing our things!" (We all looked guiltily at each other, hoping Mrs. Hackteur would't ask about that)
"You're dead. It's not yours." Shannon pointed out in annoyance.
"These are just memories now." Father Dom said, much more nicely.
"You can't do this!" Gwen said, getting hysteric.
"Like hell we can't! You hurt people, you hurt my brother!" Nate said angrily, putting a protective hand on Marcus.
"You tried to kill me. Again." Hannah pointed out. They all started yelling at each other. All the while, Dean was standing unaffected. Staring at me with cool eyes.
"Dean!?" Gwen said, angry tears on her pretty face.
"Yes?" He asked dryly, never taking his eyes off of mine.
"Help me out here!?" She said shrilly. He turned his head to her.
"They are right." He said calmly.
"W-what?" She sputtered.
"They are right." He said again.
"No!" She said, stomping her foot. "This is ours! It's ours!"
"It was ours." He said. "It was. But it's not anymore. We cannot continue to live in this past. How much longer can we hold on to something that was years and years ago? We are not young anymore. We have grown old together. All of us." He said, looking to Jerry. He stepped towards him, hand outstretched.
I stepped forward, leading Jerry to him.
"Dean.." Gwen said, looking at him with big blue eyes. "I'm scared." He looked back with a sad smile.
"There is nothing to fear," Father Dominic said, placing hand on her back. She looked at him, as if hoping he would have all the answers. "It is what must be done. It is the next step in this grand adventure." He said to her, and she nodded feebly.
Jerry reached forward and grabbed Dean's outstretched hand.
"Home now?" Jerry asked, looking back at me.
"Home." I said, smiling.
They started to shimmer ever so lightly.
Dean stepped forward to me, grabbing my arm and pulled me close to him.
Dan made a move towards me, but Jesse stopped him with his arm. Paul looked like he flinched but didn't make a move. Unless I probably imagined it.
Dean leaned in close to my ear and whispered for just me,
"You have something special Suze. Don't lose it. I can feel it in you... when you did that... mind memory sharing? I could feel it in you. I trust you will save them." He said.
"Save them?" I said confused.
"You'll know." He said. He lightly kissed me on the cheek, and then stepped back into his family. They soon were dematerializing, for good this time.
"Bye cowboy!" Jerry yelled happily before they were gone for good. They have moved on.
Everyone gave a sigh of relief. Finally, it was over.
"Well that went very well!" Father Dominic said, clapping his hands.
"Second assignment down." Marcus said with an accomplished smile.
"On to the next." Shannon said with a sigh, as Paul draped his arm around her. On to the next...
We were back on the bus, leaving Dullsdrin behind sooner than I could say. It suddenly seemed like it had all happened so fast, like we had just arrived there, even though it had been weeks.
The realtor, and woman who had hired us for the Willow's estate job; Mrs. Norwell, had been overjoyed that we had finished the job.
"I wasn't sure you could!" She said. Why, thank you.
Leaving the beautiful scenery of red, orange and yellow falling leaves was sad. I had wanted to get out of that place so badly, to run. But it was hauntingly beautiful, and I had grown so much as a person from the experience. This whole MED experience really.
We were going back to California. Back home. They were dropping us off at the Mission and we were to have a couple weeks off to go back to our families and such. After travelling for two months, it felt good to know I was heading back.
We were going to have a couple weeks off before our next assignment. I couldn't even imagine...
By the time we got back, the sun was setting into the sky.
Everyone was slowly lumbering off the bus, stretching and yawning.
Hannah had disappeared half way home, and Jesse was standing against the bus, hands in his pockets, looking at me with a lazy smile.
"I will see you later querida." He said, after a few warm goodbyes to some of the others.
"You better." I said teasingly, and waved as he disappeared.
I said my goodbyes as well, highfiving Nate, hugging a red faced Marcus, getting squeezed by Shannon, and a warm smile from Aimee. I shook hands with Mrs. Hackteur and gave the old priest a hug.
"Stay out of trouble over the break Susannah." He said.
"Oh, you know me!" I laughed. He smiled wearily at me.
I walked over to Danny, who was leaning up against his sports car.
"So." I said, leaning up against it too.
"So." He replied, with a lopsided grin. But the grin faded and he looked troubled.
"What's wrong?" I asked with concern. I wanted to touch his face. But I was also scared. I was scared that these feelings had returned again for someone who had hurt me so easily before. I had no control.
"I'm not coming back for a while." He said, looking up into my eyes.
"W-what?" I asked, startled.
"I need to figure some stuff out at home," He said, his accent mixing in his words. "I have things I need to get done before I come back."
"Why?" I demanded stubbornly. "We are getting a couple weeks off. Isn't that enough?"
"No." He answered simply. "I can't really do all I need to do right now. But I'll meet up with MED again down the road. No worries."
"But." I said, at a lose for words. "How do you know?"
"I will." He said. He grabbed my hands and spun me to face him. "Suze... I know things with you and I haven't always... been the best. Up and down and all over the place really. I know you could do much better."
I remained silent, listening to him.
"I don't have the tumultuous past you have with Paul. And Jesse? Jesse had your heart the second you saw him. I'm not even a good guy... but even if I try to deny it, and do stupid things to try to forget it... I do love you. I do." He said, looking at me, with a broken smile.
I didn't know what to say. I rested my forehead against his chest.
"Don't leave." I said sadly. We had a connection, there was no denying. Even though he had hurt me before, I could not deny we had this connection that I could not understand or pinpoint, but it felt familiar.
"I have to." He said, slowly pushing me away. He leaned in close to my ear whispering, "But I will come back for you"
And then he turned, got in his car and left. I sniffed back a tear as I turned around to a honking of a car.
I could see my mom and Andy, driving up, with Doc in the back seat hopping up and down, my mom waving at me wildly.
I couldn't help but break into a smile.
I walked over to their car, glancing over as Shannon was getting into Paul's car. Paul stopped at his door and gave me a nod goodbye. I nodded back.
And then I was in the arms of my mom, of family and of love.
And I was finally heading home.