When sharing mediating duties, Jesse and Suze come across a desperate ghost trying to avenge her boyfriend's untimelydeath, with great cost to herself. It stuns them how similar the ghosts' relationship is to their own, and causes them to re-evaluate their situation. Set after Twilight.
Only the Good
Prologue -Sunday Dinner
If I told you that seeing ghosts doesn't still give me the willies sometimes, I would be lying. It's alright when they shimmer into view right infront of me, because at least then I get some kind of warning. But not this time. It would have been alright even if they had materialized behind me when I was gazing at my reflection in the mirror, trying to fix whatever was up with my hair that day. But oh, no. This one had to appear on my window seat (which had remained unoccupied ever since Jesse and Spike left), sobbing, so that when I walked out of my bathroom, I jumped a mile.
"Holy-" I exclaimed, stopping myself from cursing just in time. "Don't DO that!" The ghost, however, just continued to sob. It was a young girl, not much older than Jesse. Her long, auburn hair fell loosely on her shoulders and her dark blue eyes were bloodshot from the tears.
"What do you want?" I demanded, a little more harsh than I had intended. But this girl had scared the bejeesus out of me. She just gazed up at me, her eyes all teary and her expression folorn.
"Not guilty," she whispered, wiping her tears with the sleeve of her sweater.
"Sorry?" I asked as gently as I could. She just stared at me, the same way that David's mom had all those months ago.
"He's not guilty!" And on that note, she vanished. I just sighed and flopped down onto my bed. Sometimes I wish they would be a little bit more clear. I mean, last time, I had mistaken the person the spirit was talking about and ended up bein forced into a red bathing suit by a psychopathic serial killer. Nuh-uh, not again.If I had got it right that time, I wouldn't have had to ruin my batgirl boots by jumping into the killer's brother's pool. Never mind that fact that his gorgeous son wouldn't have had to move away, leaving me once again dateless. Until the whole incident with Paul, however.
As much as I had hated that guy, he ended up giving Jesse and I everything we had always wanted (although, only because he screwed up...or maybe that was me? I don't like to think about it too much); me, a live boyfriend and him, a life. Although Jesse kept insisting that I was all he ever wanted. I would never forget the day that he woke up in the hospital, alive but very much confused. When he got over the inital shock, and was able to talk again, he had told me that the thing that made him most happy wasn't the fact that he was alive, but the fact that he was now able to give me everything that I needed. Such as a boyfriend with a pulse...someone to grow old with. I don't know how many times I had to drill it into his skull that those things didn't matter to me. That I would rather die an old, wrinkled, childless bachelor as long as it meant spending eternity with him. Although I don't think he would have hung around after I started to shrivel like a prune. Even though our relationship when he was a ghost wasn't all that physical, it probably still would have grossed him out. Not that our relationship had picked up much since he got his body and his life back. Even as a man of flesh and bone, his virtues remained the same, and everytime we kissed and he got carried away (which was practically every time), he apologised non-stop until I assured him that he hadn't offended me in any way. That guy's gonna take some work, I tell you.
My musings on my very strange relationship were interrupted by a knock on my bedroom door. The knock was followed by a head topped with fiery red hair emerging from the gap between the door and the frame. It was David, my youngest stepbrother. Even though he knew that Jesse was alive now, and that our house was no longer haunted, he still felt nervous about enterng my room uninvited. Like I could blame him, I mean the kid had walked in on me doing what it must have looked like making out with thin air.
"Um...Jesse is here," he said, blushing slightly as he always did when mentioning my boyfriend's name. I smiled in return. Of course. Jesse had told me the night of the Winter Formal dance that Andy had invited him over for Sunday lunch. Jesse couldn't make it the Sunday after the dance, but he promised to attend the next feast. Which was now. I was slightly worried, I admit, of what Jesse would make of Andy's dinner. Andy, bless his soul, had tried his best to make Jesse feel at home by creating a Mexican-themed dinner. Thank God he gave the Somberos a miss. I told him that Jesse was American, although he did have Spanish lineage, but he had insisted on the Mexican food. I also had to point out that the food was Mexican and Jesse wasn't, but Andy had just replied "Well, It's close enough" and continued cooking.
Which brings me to another thing. Father Dominic had succeeded in getting Jesse a birth certificate. Only he was Registered as Jesse de Silva, not Hector de Silva, which would have no doubt raised a few eyebrows, what with the skeleton that had been found in our garden months ago. I don't even know if anyone even recalls finding a skeleton in the garden, what with me accidentaly bringing Jesse's body back to the twenty-first century with me. All I knew was that there was a grave in the Mission cemetary that bore the words 'Here lies Hector 'Jesse' de Silva, beloved son, brother and friend'. Whether that grave was empty, or contained the skeleton of Felix Diego (whom Jesse fought to the deathback in 1850), I would never know. What I did know is that the $3000 that I had spent on the headstone never reterned to me. Much to my chagrin.
Anyway, according to the birth certificate, Jesse de Silva was born June 14th (his actual birthday) 1986, making him 20 years old. Father Dominic had also faked school records for him, as he was well aware that Jesse was up-to-date on modern education, having read not only every book in my house, but also every book in the Mission's (not to mention Father Dominic's) library. And he was getting started on the local library.
Father Dominic had persuaded Jesse to enrol in the Junipero Serra Mission Academy (in the senior year, of course) just so that he could study for his SATs with the guidance of the school's many teachers. And, of course, experience modern culture first-hand.( Did you honestly think that Father D would drop him in the deep end and send him straight to college without helping him find his feet first?) No-one had seemed to mind much, after having found out (of course, he hadn't yet started attending, since it was the winter holiday). The girls in the senior year were apparantly delighted at the prospect of having a gorgeous latino in their class. I made it clear to them at the winter formal that they couldn't lay a finger on him. Hah, I'd like to see them try. I've kicked the crap out of countless angry ghosts, not to mention electrocuted a crazy murderer, I'm sure I can handle a few senior girls. Even Paul seemed fine with Jesse's enrollment, having happily accepted the fact that Jesse and I were the 'real deal'. They still weren't what you'd call buddies. I mean, after what Paul did to Jesse (and me), there was no way that those two would ever get on.
As I made my way downstairs, David leading the way, I couldn't help but grin to myself. I mean, after 17 years of hell, things were finally starting to look up for me.
When I got to the dining room, Jesse was already seated and talking - to my complete and utter amazement - to Jake. From what I could tell, Jake was trying to explain the finer points of surfing. I could tell by Jesse's expression that he didn't understand a word that was coming out of my stepbrother's mouth, but being the gentleman that he is, he nodded every now and then. I was surprised at how much my stepbrothers had warmed to him, well David and Jake anyway, Brad was just peeved that he no longer had anything to blackmail me with. My mom wasn't to sure about him at first, what with his age and everything, but once they got talking, she was telling me how wonderful and polite he was. Yeah, so polite that he apologises everytime he touches his girlfriend below the neck. It's not so good in that sense. Andy, of course, loved him. Even more so after Andy had handed out the food and he hadpraised him on how good it was. Jake simply replied with a slurred remark about how his dad could make even the worst food taste good.
"So, how have you been holding up?" I asked Jesse once my family stopped throwing questions at him. He didn't answer for a few seconds as he tried to figure out what I had said (I had been trying to teach him the modern lingo, so to speak) and then smiled.
"I'm fine, querida." I tried not to go all gooey when he smiled the way he did when he called me that, but I couldn't help it. And to think that once upon a time, I had warned him not to call me querida.
"Have you had any, you know...visits yet?" I enquired, keeping my voice hushed so that no-one could hear me. I doubt that they would have if I'dyelled, it was that noisy.
"One or two," he said, cutting up something that I didn't recognise. "Just messages I had to to pass on." I laughed.
"You've had it easy so far,then," I replied with an amused grin on my face. "But it's only a matter of time until you get a Heather on your case." I was, obviously, referring to the first ghost (well, second if you count Jesse) that I had met in Carmel; the crazed ghost of a cheerleader who had killed herself after her boyfriend dumped her. It all ended in me having to exorcise her (which she did not take kindly to) and then getting crushed when she brought the breezeway down on top of me. Some people just don't appreciate the work I do for them.
"When are we to let Father Dominic know about my...um...abilities?" He asked. I paused, fork halfway to my mouth. I had tried to persuade Jesse not to talk to Father Dominic about his being a mediator yet. Mostly because Father Dom prefers to talk than fight, which has put him in hospital a fair few times. While most ghosts will have a problem with attacking a 60-something-year-old Catholic priest, I didn't think they would hesitate to attack a fit, healthy 20-year-old guy. Even though I knew that Jesse was capable of taking care of himself. Back when he as alive he had wrestled his would-be murderer to the death, and I had seen the ferocity he had attacked some ghosts with, back when he was one. Then again, these ghosts were trying to kill me. I just felt that he might hesitate, and this hesitation wouldcause him to once again resume his ghostly form. I figured after a few hands-on mediating tasks, Father Dom would be informed. Maybe.
"When you're both ready" I replied with all the sincerity I could muster. I thought about mentoning the sobbing girl in my room, but decided against it. I remember the way he reacted when David's mom had appeared. Besides,he seemed to take more of a passive interest in mediating.
"So, Jesse," I heard my mother say, having laid down her knife and fork, waiting for others to finish. "How did you and Suzie meet?" I nearly choked on my tortilla. "She's been avoiding the question ever since she introduced us."
Jesse threw me an inconspicuous, pleading look.
"Um..." He started. "I actually met her when she moved here. I was on...vacation." He smiled, apparantly pleased with his answer.
"Oh," Andy added. "So you didn't live around here?"
"No, sir." It wasn't actually a lie, either. He hadn't lived around here for 150 years. "I was here for some unfinished business." I couldn't believe how well he was twisting the truth. I had never known Jesse to lie before. "But it's finished now. I had a chance to go back where I belonged, but I wanted to stay here with Susannah."
"Aww, isn't that sweet, honey?" My mom cooed. I don't know what was more disgusting, the fact that she said that Jesse was sweet, or the fact that she had called my stepfather 'honey'. I saw her place her hand over Andy's when she said 'honey'. It was then that I felt a hand over my own. At first I thought it was Brad, with him sitting the other side of me, but thank God it was Jesse. He smiled down at me and said softly "see, I didn't even have to lie".
It was my turn to put the dishes away this week, but Jake volunteered on behalf of Jesse being here. It wasn't fair, brothers are meant to me mean and threaten to beat your boyfriends up. Not, as Jake was doing, invite them surfing and be all nice to you. You know, I couldn't imagine Jesse surfing. It was strange enough seeing him dressed in modern clothes (like right now he wore jeans and a pale blue Ralph Lauren shirt - I hadbought him a whole wardrobe once he had left the hospital Imean, he couldn't exactly wear his cowboyish get-up now, could he?and even when it comes to other people I still seem to have a weakness for designer labels), let lone riding the waves down at the beach. Though any excuse for him to take his shirt off would be good. He's rather reserved, if you know what I mean. But he's catching on to the ways of modern society fast enough.
I was about to stand up when yet more questions were fired in our direction.
"So, what about your family?" Brad asked, joining in. Jesse glanced at me.
"Dead," he replied in a tone that stated 'and I don't want to talk about it'. I was sure Brad was going to reply until David pretended to choke. Brad thumped him on the back, a little harder than he should have an I took the opportunity to make up a lame excuse about needing some help on my homework and leading Jesse upstairs. Before I left, I heard my mom scolding Brad "you've probably upset the poorboy now". I noticed that she always used the term 'boy' when talking about Jesse. As if to convince herself that that's what he was; a boy, not a 20-year-old (alright, 170-year-old, but she didn't need to know that) young man who was dating her 17-year-old daughter.
"Thank God for that," I said, bursting into a fit of giggles as soom as we entered my room. My family can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. A quick glance at my clock told me that we had been downstairs for two whole hours.
"Jesse, I think we need to talk," I spoke, once my giggles had subsided. He raised the scarred eyebrow at me questiongly.
"You mean talk or 'talk'?" He asked, genuinely confused. I laughed again.
"Talk." I said. "About mediating. Before father D gets to you."
"Ah, I was waiting for this." He sat down on my bed beside me. "How do I say it? Shoot?" I smiled and nodded.
"Father D believes that mediators should talk things through with spirits." I began. "Which is, you know, fine, as long as the ghost is willing to co-operate. But there are people like Craig Jankow and Heather Chambers who are too far gone to talk. Now, when something like this happens, we have to kick butt. And I mean serious butt, because if we don't they will kick ours." Jesse was nodding, but I could tell that he wasn't listening. Sure, he was staring at my lips, but he just wasn't hearing what was coming out of them.
"Jesse!" I cried, and his gaze darted up to meet my eyes.
"I'm listening," he assured me. I just sighed and continued.
"I need to know that you will be ok with this...that you won't expect every ghost to be all nice and polite to you. Some of them will hurt you, and you aren't invincible anymore."
"So you are worried about losing me again, is that it?" He smiled again, obviously amused by everything that I was saying.
"Of course I am!" I mean, how could I not be. Now that he was flesh and blood and there wasn't much anyone could do to get rid of him, short of murder, but I still worried about him. "After everything that we've been through, everything-" I was cut short as he placed one hand on my neck and pulled me towards him, the other reaching down towards my waist. Then, more to shut me up I guess, he kissed me. Now I know it was unfair of him to cut me off like that, but I couldn't exactly stop him and tell him off, could I? OK, so I could, but the truth is that I didn't want to. I mean, this is the guy I have been hopelessly in love with for the past year. He was perfect; kind, caring, protective...and gorgeous to boot. I pulled myself closer to him, feeling myself melting into his arms, and reached down for the hand at my waist. Right then, I didn't care if he was a gentleman, I was just going to have to teach him how not to be. So, my hand on his, I guided it upwards. He broke off the kiss when he felt it had gone far enough and said "Susannah-" but now it was my turn to cut him off.
"Jesse, don't even bother." I said flatly, pulling him close to me again with my free hand. I guess he had finally given up, since he started to kiss me back again, but then I heard it again. It caused us both to jump. Jesse pulled back, removing his hands from me and turning to look at the source of the noise. I looked, too, to find that the crying girl was once again occupying my window seat.
"Look, missy," I said, frustrated as hell. "This is not a good time!" But did she care? Did she hell! This time she was looking at Jesse...she had obviously come to him now.
"He didn't do it!" she wailed, tears streaming down her rosy, glowing cheeks. "He died for it but it wasn't him!"
"Who?" Jesse asked in a cool, calm, collected voice I guessed was his 'mediating' voice.
"MyStanley," she sniffed. "He died for trying to protect me."
"Stanley? What did he do?" Jesse asked in his mediating voice. But this just upset the already devastated woman.
"Nothing!" She screamed and then vanished.
"Jeez, I thought you would have gotten the message" I chuckled, then looked away when I saw that Jesse didn't appreciate my joke.
"We have to help her." He said, standing up. I laughed again, obviously much to Jesse's annoyance.
"Sorry," I apologised, "but I don't have a clue what she's talking about! Do you know how many Stanley's there must be living in and around Carmel?"
"That's no problem," he told me. "We just need to find one who died recently."
Ok, my teaching him about my ways of mediating? Yeah, not such a good idea.
A/N - My first Mediator story :). My first story in a while, actually. Reviews will be much appreciated.
Disclaimer -I don't own the Mediator series, or any of the characters (though I wouldn't mind Jesse), and I don't own Ralph Lauren. Or Mexican food...which I don'treally like.