Disclaimer: Please see the first chapter for disclaimer.
A/N: Well I wasn't planning on writing this quite so soon, but all of your encouraging reviews, kinda spurred me on. Its only short, but I'm kinda happy with it. Especially the end with Dopey, lol.
Thank you to all my readers and reviewers, for making me smile reading your awesome words :D You've made me laugh and made me wear a silly grin for the rest of the day so many times, I've lost count. So huge THANK YOU's and HUGGLES to you all...
I hope you enjoy this last chapter.
Recap: The end scene of Ninth Key. Jesse and Suze have a little talk about Marcus' fate. And Dopey makes a discovery and an enemy of Spike...
It was late afternoon when Susannah arrived home, being dropped off in a police car. She Stepped out, a young police officer along side her. Susannah looked extremely bedraggled and fatigued. She stood looking up at her home for a few seconds before she heaved a weary sigh and walked up the porch stairs, the officer right along side her. She was no doubt dreading having to face her mother and step-father. At least if her expression was anything to go by. I knew she would be in a lot of trouble for what happened this afternoon. Susannah's parents didn't know the whole truth, they just thought she had skipped school. I would hate to be in Susannah's shoes, should they ever find out the real truth.
I had a visitor not long after I arrived at Susannah's home. I recognised her to be the lady who had lead the revolt against Marcus Beaumont, back in the dark room. She introduced herself as Mrs Fiske. She wasn't as intimidating as she first came across. She was a strong, willful lady. She ad been waiting around for someone to finally recognise Susannah's captor and Mrs Fiske's killer for the evil, spiteful person he really was.
She explained how she had rounded up his other victims to step in and pay their murderer back for his sins. She explained about his three other victims he had direct connections with their murders. And about the two poor Souls who had died from the stress and pressure he had put on them when they were alive. The two that got caught in his crossfire and desire to advance his blood-money business.
I didn't ask about their plans for their murderer, she just said he wouldn't be hurting anyone ever again. That he was taking an indefinite trip across his homeland. She left shortly after, with a pleasant farewell and a wish of luck.
I watched the police officer leave a few minutes after Susannah had arrived home. He climbed into his car and drove away, leaving Susannah to her fate with her parents wrath. I heard Susannah traipsing up the stairs a while after, but by-passed her bedroom. I knew where Susannah was heading. She was going to see David. To talk to him. I hoped he would find the comfort needed from Susannah's message for him. I knew it would help his mother to move on. I stayed where I was - although curious to she his reaction and Susannah's words - it was private and confidential. That wouldn't stop me from asking her after though.
When Susannah had come back from David's room, I saw evidence of tears in the eyes and face. Realizing that must have been a very emotional moment with David. I asked her how it went and she waved off my question, instead throwing a letter onto her bed and walking straight to her dresser, retrieving a clean set of clothes and retreated to the bathroom to clean her self up.
She emerged again a while later, clean and fresh, grumbling about her ruined Betsy Johnson skirt and stupid mean people trying to kill her. I sat observing her from my usual window seat, petting Spike, watching her with amusement.
She sprawled out flat on her back, reading her letter with little pictures of hearts and rainbows on the envelope. I had a quick flash of the letter's Maria used to send me. Boring, flat, and mundane. They were never a joy to read. I shook myself out of the spiteful memory, watching Susannah turn onto her front, looking for a magazine under her bed. I waited until she was comfortable before I plunged into my question about David again. "So?" I asked casually. "How did he take it?"
"I don't want to talk about it." She quickly and quietly answered. Not even bothering to glance in my general direction.
I shook my head at her stubbornness. "Come on," I coerced her, slightly shocked by my use of that term I had quickly picked up off of Susannah. "Tell me what he said." I was using my best persuasion voice I used to use with my own mother. And to get my sisters to do ask I asked.
Susannah flipped a page of her magazine, an idle look on her face of disinterest. "Tell me what you guys did to Marcus." She simple stated. Turning the question around on me.
I looked at her with surprise, feigning innocence at her question. "We did nothing to him." I told her, 'Yet' on the tip of my tongue. It wasn't me anyway. It wasn't my fight to interfere with.
"Baloney. Where'd he go, then?" She asked, seeing right through my innocent act. I had a feeling she would, but it was worth a try anyway.
I shrugged at her question non-committed. I looked at Spike, avoiding her intense stare. I would admit to anything when she looked at me like that. It was hard not too. Just as hard as it was, not to tell Susannah the full truth. I didn't like keeping things from Susannah. It's not in my nature. With the exception of some things. Like the mystery around my death.
I continued scratching Spike underneath his chin, making him purr even louder in ecstasy. I love having a pet. Its been so long since I've had an animal to fawn over, it felt good to be able to have a creature to care for who was tactile with me and wouldn't run away from my ghostly presence. I missed my horses a great deal. But Spike was happily easing that burden in me. Filling the tiny space left in my heart and soul. The tiny space left for my love for animals. The majority of the rest taken up by Susannah, much to my dismay and delight.
"I think he decided to travel for a while." I simple answered, coming back to the question still simmering in the air. Making sure to keep my sight away from Susannah's eyes.
"Without any money? Without his credit cards?" Susannah asked, not believing my innocent words. This was harder than I thought it was going to be.
"There is something to be said," I told Susannah, trying to be careful with my words. I swatted Spike on the head playfully, after he lazily swiped at my hand with his retracted clawed paw. "for seeing this great country of ours on foot. Maybe he will come to have a better appreciation for it's natural beauty." I evaded.
Susannah made a noise of disbelief, turning another page of her magazine. "He'll be back in a week." She said, making her own assumption.
"I think not," I quietly said. Hoping she would leave it, and move on to another subject. I should have known better by this point.
"Why not?" Susannah suspiciously asked.
I hesitated in answering her question. I wasn't sure how Susannah would take the truth, how she would react, to knowing he was dealt his punishment, by his victims. I didn't want her to feel the guilt. "What?" She said. "Telling me, a mere living being, is going to violate some spectral code?" Was Susnnah's flippant question.
She was becoming impatient and annoyed. She wouldn't be satisfied until I had told her. I smiled at her retort. "No," I said. "He's not coming back, Susannah, because the souls of the people he killed won't let him." I knew I was going to have to tell her at least part of the story now. I just hoped she would be able to sleep soundly and wouldn't dwell on it, that she would take my answer for what it was and forget about it. To be able to move on.
I looked up at her now, looking her questioning gaze straight on. She raised her eyebrows. "What do you mean?" She curiously asked.
I took a breath, steeling myself for my tale and then I started. "In my day, it was called bedevilment. I don't know what they call it now. But your intervention had a rallying effect on Mrs Fiske and the three others whose lives Marcus Beaumont took." I left out the part about the other two Spirits who had unfortunately crossed Marcus' path in their lives. Susannah didn't need to have the added strain. "They have banded together, and will not rest until he has been sufficiently punished for his crimes. He can run from one end of the earth to the other, but he will never escape them. Not until he dies himself. And when that happens" – My voice turned hard and unemotional – "he will be a broken man." I concluded.
I hoped Susannah would leave it at that. I looked intently at her face, seeing the shock, flash threw her eyes. I thought I saw a hint of disapproval, but it was gone so quickly I wasn't sure I had actually seen it. Susannah composed her facial expression after a few moments, assimilating everything I had just grudgingly told her.
She nodded her head at me in acknowledgment of my words and turned her face back to the magazine in front of her. I caught her looking at me, out of the corner of her eye with a spark of determination in her emerald gaze. I braced myself, waiting for the next onslaught. "So," She said. "I guess you did the same thing, huh, to the, um, people who killed you, right?"
I smiled at her tenacity and curiosity surrounding my untimely death. I had to give her respect for trying. "Tell me what happened with your brother." I asked in stead, ignoring her question and changing the subject quickly.
"Stepbrother," She automatically corrected me. But made no other move to answer my query. Just like I wouldn't answer her inquiries around my demise. I watched as she sank into the memory of her visit with David. A look mixing between sadness and satisfaction at helping him. At doing the right thing. I'm sure it was moments like this that made all the trouble and pain, worth while for Susannah.
I could see it in her expression and her far-away look. She was lost in thought, so I brought her back round to the present. "Still," I said, grinning at her startled embarrassment. "You must be feeling good. It's not every mediator who single-handedly stops a murderer." I stated.
Susannah grunted, flipping her pages quickly. "It's an honor I could definitely have lived without," She said, "And I didn't do it single-handedly. You helped." I had harldly done anything. Just answered her call. Except blow open the windows, which I was quite proud of. "Well, sort of." Susannah concluded, making me smile a little harder.
"Thanks for showing up the way you did." She surprised me by actually saying, albeit grudgingly. Susannah didn't always accept help graciously I knew.
"How could I not? You called me." I said, reaching down to pick up the piece of string I saw on the floor. I dangled it in front of Spike's face, trying to get him to play with it. He wasn't falling for it unfortunately, in stead giving me a reproachful look. It was strange how harsh or soft an animals expression could be.
I looked up, locking eyes with Susannah's adamant look. "Um," She said, tone tinged with confusion. "I did not call you, all right? I don't know where your getting this."
I looked back at her, equally determined. The setting sun silhouetting me against the carpet. "I distinctly heard you, Susannah." I firmly said, remembering her voice echoing around in my mind. Like it was sweeping through clear and strong on a summer breeze.
Susannah frowned back at me, seemingly lost in thought for the moment. But she made no more claims of not calling me for help. Just accepted my word, for what it was. She let that one topic drop, but picked up another. "Well, while we're on the subject," She said. "how come you didn't just tell me that Red was Doc's mom's nickname for him?"
I looked back at her perplexed. "How would I have known?" I didn't dare tell her what else I knew, making sure to give my best clear expression before she asked anymore. I knew she suspected I knew more than I was letting on. She narrowed her steely eyes at me, trying to break me. I stood firm.
Susannah heaved another weary sigh, giving up. For good I hoped. I changed the subject before she changed her mind. "What did the priest say?" Susannah had called him after she had cleaned her self up. Having a stubborn conversation with Father Dominic, placating him. From her tense form, while speaking with him, Father Dominic was mad. Very mad. Somehow I suspected it had a large amount still to do with Susannah and mine's arrangement. "When you told him about the Beaumont's, I mean?"
"Not a whole lot. He's pretty peeved at me for not having filled him in right away about Marcus and stuff." I noticed she neglected to tell me about his anger over our situation. I didn't no whether to be relieved or not.
The telephone rang then, pulling me from my contemplation. I looked at the device with distaste. It was one of my least favourite inventions to have been brought about. It seemed so in personal. Invading your privacy at the most inopportune moments.
Susannah acknowledged my sour look, with a shake of her head in disbelief. I went back to petting Spike, listening in on Susannah's conversation unashamedly. "Hello?" Susannah politely asked.
She blinked in surprise at who was obviously on the other end. "Oh, hi." She said shocked.
Susannah, to my amusement, rolled her eyes at the answer she got, climbed back onto her bed throwing her magazine onto the floor. A look of boredom on her face. "I know it's you, Tad." She said, picking up her letter again, re-reading it.
I felt a scowl come to my face, hearing who Susannah was talking to. She was listening to Tad speak, more absorbed in her letter than what the boy had to say. "Really?" She said distractedly.
"Wow, Tad," Susannah said, faking enthusiasm. "That's great."
Susannah took her eyes off of her letter, listening to what Tad was saying. He seemed to be going on and on. Finally getting bored of listening to what he had to say, Susannah returned her attention back to the letter in her hand.
She finished reading it again, putting it down on her bed. She picked up the envelope, tipping it upside down, letting a small card fall out. It wasn't like a playing card, it had an intricate design on the front, with a picture with writing on the back. Susannah broke out into a smile reading the card, still listening to Tad rambling on.
"Yeah," She said. "I'm still here. That's really too bad, Tad. I'll miss you." I determined from that small sentence that Tad was leaving. Meaning he probably wouldn't be seeing Susannah again. At least not anytime soon.
I let the scowl leave my face immediately at that piece of good news, leaving it to be replaced with a look of pleasure and humor. "Yeah," Susannah said. "That's a real shame." Was her pitiful response to whatever it was he murmured. Susannah said one last goodbye and hung up the phone.
She avoided eye contact with me I noticed. And didn't seem in any real hurry to fill me in on their conversation. "So," I said, amusement and sarcasm dripping from my voice. A wide grin, splitting my face. "You and Tad? You are no more?"
Susannah glared at me, making me chuckle at her reaction to my question. "Not," She stiffly replied. "that it's any of your business. But yes, it appears that Tad is moving to San Francisco." She didn't seem that upset about it, but I don't think I was supposed to know that small piece of information.
Susannah ignored my knowing look and picked up the card that had accompanied her letter. She sat up in the middle of her bed, crossing her legs underneath her, staring down at the card. A wondering look marring her beautiful, sun kissed face.
I looked away before she caught me staring. Not that she probably would have, she seemed quite intent thinking about something. There was a harsh knock at her bedroom door, making Spike raise his head, glaring at the interruption of his sleep.
Susannah now distracted called out a simple. "Come in,"
Her stepbrother Bradley swung the door open, strolling in with a bored, frustrated look on his face. There was an undercurrent of anger coming off of him, directed at Susannah. Who in return just stared back at him, a smug look on her face. I had seen the punch she had delivered to him this morning. I had winced along with him, when she had landed it. He went down very hard from the punch too. He was obviously still sore from the blow to his ego and pride.
It still blew me away, watching Susannah fight the way she does. "Hey," he said. "Dinner's ready. Dad says for you to come downst – Hey." He cut off, spotting Spike sitting on the window seat besides me. Spike stared back at him, a challenging look on his fat, mean face. My heart swelled with pride. Bradley's face twisted into a look of pure malicious delight. "Is that a cat?"
Susannah quickly looked over towards us. A look of panic in her eyes at Bradley's observation. "Um," Susannah said, audible swallowing. "Yeah. But listen, Dope – I mean, Brad. Please don't tell your –"
"You," Bradley sneered at Susannah. "are . . . so . . . busted." And then he spun around, running out of the room in a rush. You could hear his footsteps thumping on the stairs and then the loud shout of. "DAD!" echoing up the stairs.
Susannah groaned and dropped her head into her hands. I sat their, a dumbfounded look on my face. Staring at the wide open door, Bradley had just been standing in. Spike, as if sensing what was coming, got up and jumped out of the open window, scattering to safety, somewhere other than here.
Susannah got up, her shoulders slumped, a look of dejection on her face, also knowing what was about to come. "I guess I better go face the music." She muttered, not bothering to even look in my direction.
"Good luck," I called after her.
"Heh, yeah." Was her downcast response. And then she too disappeared to face her parents, closing the door with a soft click behind her. I shook my head chuckling at the her.
If this was what the after-life was going to start to be like from now on. I best prepare myself. Only, I didn't quite anticipate what was about to come my way...
A/N 2: Please review and tell me what ya think. Hopefully I'm getting Jesse's character right. I noticed he seems a lot more relaxed in this chapter, lol. But I want to know your views and opinions, so don't be shy, tell me what ya think :D
I hope to see ya all in the next story, 'The Fight Against Fury'. Take Care all and PEACE OUT!!
Meg –Thank you for the encouragement and all your reviews. I'm glad you enjoyed this and the last chapter. I hope to see ya in the next installment :D Take care...
Hikari Reizumi – Wow, cool name :D Thank you for reviewing, its much appreciated. And don't worry, I fully intend to finish all of Jesse's POV in the books. I won't let any of ya down : ) It's fun adding in the little tidbits of his time when Suze is off doing her own thing. The next story should be interesting with the RLS Angels...lol. Thanks again. Take Care...
Coming in Story 3 of The Shock of A Lifetime Series: Jesse meets Gina and brings news of some new ghosts in-town. And with it, indication of a new danger on the horizon for Suze...