Written for the June Mediator fanfiction challenge. Come check them out in the Mediator forums!

Inspired by Evanescence's "Field of Innocence"

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The girl with the pink dress was sitting on the couch.

I wasn't really surprised, she usually showed up on Saturday mornings. We'd watch cartoons together and then she'd take off to wherever she stayed when she wasn't visiting me.

We never talked, or played stupid games the way Gina and I did. We just chilled together, neither of us needing to fill up the silence with empty sounds. Gina says it's because I'm an only child. The not needing to talk every minute like she does thing. Maybe she's right. I mean, if I had as many brothers and sisters as Gina did, I'd have to learn to talk loud too in order to get my lunch money or permission slips signed.

But it was nice, you know? Just sitting there, watching the cartoons. During the commercials, I'd sneak a peek over at her dress, and wish I could have one just like it. Of course, I wouldn't be able to wear it anywhere without people laughing at me. But it was this beautiful ballerina princess dress, the kind that I could pretend to be Cinderella going to the ball in.

I loved that dress. I would do anything to have one like it, but I knew my Mom would never go for it. It wasn't 'sensible'. Where would I wear it to?

I still remember the world
From the eyes of a child

Slowly those feelings
Were clouded by what I know now

I was admiring the way the skirt kind of poofed up at the ends when loud knocking intruded. Actually, I barely noticed it. But the girl whose dress I adored jumped up, and I turned to see what had bothered her.

My mom was standing in front of the door, blocking my view. I could hear hushed voices, my mom's low and throbbing. Confused, I glanced back to the couch, but the girl was gone.

I didn't know then that I wouldn't see her again.

My mom was kneeling in front of me, gripping my hands. Tears were running down her face and I stared in disbelief as her mascara smudged. I think that's what I remember the clearest, the black trails wending down her face, finding every nook and cranny. I was so preoccupied by the living map my mom's face was becoming, that I couldn't process her words. It wasn't until she was holding me, sobbing into my hair, that I understood what she was saying.

Daddy wasn't coming home.

I still remember the sun
Always warm on my back
Somehow it seems colder now

The next few days were a blur. Grandma came and stayed with us, and lots of people came by with food and sweets. Gina's family stopped by, and that was nice, but I didn't really want to talk to her right then. Gina was… big. Big ideas, big voice, big emotions- and normally that was okay. But right now I was curled up inside into a ball and I couldn't deal with all the exuberance that being around Gina brought. She wanted to talk, to know how I was feeling, but I couldn't talk to her. It was too hard to put everything in words.

For the first time, I really wanted one of my imaginary friends, the ones that my overactive mind dreamed up, even when I didn't want to see them. Usually they were everywhere, on the street, in the stairwell, in the Laundromat… but lately, there were none. No familiar blue glow or whispered words that only I was privy too. But now that I actually wanted the comfort of one of my creations, I couldn't dredge one up.

Nothing.

Zip.

Nada.

And then the night after the funeral, he came.

I thought I was dreaming. I was clutching his shirt, the one he had died in, crying silent tears so I wouldn't wake my mom. And then he was stroking my hair, his voice murmuring sadly.

"Daddy?"

He was there, wearing the same shirt I was clutching desperately. But it was him. It was him! I didn't understand, but I didn't care. He came back, he came back to me…

Where has my heart gone
An uneven trade for the real world
Oh I... I want to go back to
Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all

But the joyful reunion that I anticipated was short lived. We talked, argued more like. He said I was a mediator. That I saw ghosts. It was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of. And then he said it, the fact that made me start to realize the truth.

"But honey, you see me."

I still remember the sun
Always warm on my back
Somehow it seems colder now

In one night, I grew up. I was no longer a little girl with imaginary friends; now I was a mediator. Ghosts came to me and it was my job to make them move on. And I mean what I said – I had to make them go. The first time I tried to make this little old lady move on, she smacked me with her purse so hard I hit a light pole and got a concussion.

My mom thought I was mugged.

Where has my heart gone
Trapped in the eyes of a stranger
Oh I... I want to go back to
Believing in everything

That was the worst part. Not being able to tell anybody. I mean, it was cool still being able to talk to my dad and stuff, but I could live without being the human punching bag to a bunch of angry spirits.

And even though my dad was still here, we weren't really a family anymore. It's like, my mom didn't know he was there and she definitely didn't know about my paranormal visitations. I guess that's when she really stopped knowing me. Don't get me wrong, it's not her fault or anything. But everything's different now.

Where has my heart gone
An uneven trade for the real world
Oh I... I want to go back to
Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all

She bought me that dress you know. The unpractical pink billowy one. She thought it would cheer me up. I didn't have the heart to tell her I was past that phase.

Where has my heart gone
Trapped in the eyes of a stranger
Oh I... I want to go back to
Believing in everything

The little girl who dreamed of being Cinderella is gone. The imaginary friends are gone. Now there's just Suze, the mediator. Ridding the city of ghosts, one soul at a time.

I almost never look at that pink dress anymore.

I still remember.

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