Disclaimer: Nope, nothing is mine. The Mediator belongs to Meg Cabot... ; )

Rating: T

A/N: Hi ya! How is everyone? Welcome to Book 4, of 'The Shock Of A Lifetime' series. All together now – WHOA! I personally can't get my head around it, lol. For the any new readers, this is Jesse's POV of his encounters with Suze in 'Darkest Hour'...and some ;P

Now it gets fun, hehe. I want to say a very big, large, massive THANK YOU for all of your continued support and encouragement. If it wasn't for all your awesome reviews and enthusiasm, I wouldn't have gotten this far. You all make me want to work, twice as hard and twice as fast :D I hope you enjoy...

Recap: Jesse thinks over the past couple of weeks. Learning of a new Mediator and senses a malevolent Spirit haunting Susannah's room...


The Sacrifices For Truth...

It had taken a couple of weeks for Susannah to recover properly form her ordeal with the Angels. I knew her ribs were quite painful, but her bruising deminished quite quickly. Much to her delight, Gina had spent the rest of her vacation at the beach with Susannah, giving her time to relax and rest properly. As much as I appreciated Gina stepping in to inform Father Dominic of Susannah's whereabouts - the night the Angels attacked - I was enjoying the peace after she left.

I had finally had the opportunity to talk with Susannah about that awful night. To apologize properly, for my own lack of foresight. We were both feeling remorseful and blamed ourselves. Neither willing to admit the other was at fault. Eventually coming to a compromise. But by the end of the whole ordeal, I felt alot more confident. And that Susannah and I were closer.

Now it seemed everything had gone back to normal. Susannah had finished the last couple of weeks of school, before finishing for summer vacation. Including the prom she was helping with. The same one, that never fails to make me smile at the memory. We never spoke of our dance again, I didn't want to embarrass Susannah, or make her uncomfortable. But the memories and tenderness, are still fresh in my mind.

I knew Susannah had every intention of spending as much time at the beach as possible this summer. To languish and enjoy herself. At least until the next wayward Spirit seeking her help. But as she kept telling me, this was her first summer here and she wasn't going to waste any of it, by not being by the ocean every chance she got.

Or so she planned until her stepfather told her otherwise. Susannah had given me quite a shock when she had stormed into her room, crashing onto her bed. Letting loose a frustrated scream into her pillow. I had been quite concerned at her entrance and shrieking and was preparing to get up to see what was wrong, when she had quickly jumped to her feet, pacing her room. Muttering about stepfathers spoiling her summer and taking her away from the beach. Trying to make her responsible. Robbing her of her youth.

All I could do was sit and try to understand her muttering. My eyes following her backwards and forwards. She turned sometimes, speaking directly at me. I didn't understand half of what Susannah was saying and didn't dare interrupt her to find out what was wrong. She did eventually calm down though, collapsing onto her bed again. I finally found the courage to ask Susannah why she was upset, hoping her frustration and anger wouldn't be directed at me.

Susannah informed me - with a sigh - that her stepfather wanted her to find employment for the summer. I listened carefully taking in everything she was saying. He apparently expected Susannah to find a job, instead of sitting around doing nothing. The same was expected of Jake. Brad was having to attend school everyday, due to his failing a couple of lessons at school. And David was going to a camp for the month.

I thought it was a great idea. Susannah had the opportunity of work experience and to earn herself some money. She often complained she never got paid for being a Mediator. It would give her a good sense of responsibility too. Of course pointing this out to Susannah - apparently - wasn't the best idea. She just groaned at me, falling back onto her bed and choosing to ignore my presence all together. I just shook my head at her in mock disgust, trying not to laugh.

Though I did understand what Susannah meant. She hadn't really had a break since she arrived here. And I knew she was hoping this summer would be the perfect opportunity for her. And rightly so. She deserved it.

But Susannah and I both knew, there was no way she was going to be getting out of it. Her mother thought it was a wonderful idea and had sided with her step-father. So Susannah surrendered to the inevitable and got to work for the summer. She managed to procure a placement, at the same hotel Jake was. Looking after the guests small children, much to Susannah's dismay. She often come home grumbling and tired after a long day. I would offer a small smile and my own condolences, helping any way I could.

While Susannah was working, I would stay in her room, becoming deeply engrossed with her school textbooks, often asking her about them. I was slowly making my way through them. Some I found fascinating, others frustrating. Spike would often join me on the window seat, but just like most animals, tended to stay in the sun most of the time.

Susannah and I still got to spend time together in the evenings. When she didn't have plans with her friends or was too tired to stay awake. We would lay on the porch roof, looking at the stars. I was slowly teaching Susannah some of the constellations you could just about see, becoming engrossed with my own knowledge. We would lay there for hours sometimes, talking and laughing.

I could feel myself falling deeper and deeper. Helpless to stop, unwilling to try. Enjoying the feelings and emotions, but terrified of the outcome. Learning to reign it in was becoming more difficult. I would catch myself staring at Susannah, with such a look of contentment and affection on my face. And an emotion I dare not name. Worried Susannah would see it in my eyes. Or hear it in my voice.

I strives to try and act as normal as possible. To be as friendly as I could be, without pushing her away from me. I was sure Susannah didn't suspect anything, for which I was extremely grateful. I didn't want to do anything to jeopardise our friendship, we had worked so hard to build. The trust and honesty that had been achieved, from all we had been through together. That - at this moment - was more important. Or so I tried to tell myself.

It was as I was sitting in Susannah's room, becoming increasingly annoyed with my reading material, when the object of my thoughts had burst into her room. Susannah had looked flushed and clammy. Her cheeks tinted pink and a nervous look in her eye. She had been surprised to find me in her room with Spike sitting in my lap. But the shock was swept away so fast, I wasn't even sure I had seen it there.

I looked up at her, a questioning look on my face. "This book is very difficult to understand." I said, by way of greeting. Nodding at the textbook by my side.

Susannah blinked at me, slightly dazed. "If Sylvester Stallone understood it," She replied, looking at the title. "I would think you could."

I carried on, regardless of Susannah's sarcasm. "Marx predicted that the contradiction and weaknesses within the capitalist structure would cause increasingly severe economic crises and deepening impoverishment of the working class," I said. "which would eventually revolt and seize control of the means of production...which is precisely what happened in Vietnam. What induced the U.S government to think that they were justified in involving themselves in the struggle of the people of this developing nation to find economic solidarity?"

I looked up at Susannah questioningly, seeing her shoulders slump with fatigue. She walked over to her bed, falling down face first. Making my worries for her resurface again.

"Are you all right?" I asked quickly.

"Yes," Was Susannah's muffled reply.

I left it a minute or so, waiting for Susannah to say more, or talk to me. When nothing was forth coming I spoke again. "Well, you don't seem all right. Are you sure nothing is wrong?"

Susannah had laid there in silence for a minute, before she answered. "Well, I met another Mediator today, and I guess that kind of freaked me out."

That certainly had my attention. I closed my book, looking at Susannah. She turned over from her face down position, to tell me about her young charge, Jack, who was only eight years old. I listened carefully and with rapt attention. She told me of his fear at seeing the ghosts. How he had told numerous adults, with none believing him. That she had spoken to him about being a mediator, putting his fears to rest. And how he had dramatically changed over just one day, into a bright cheerful child.

Once she finished, I gave her my own advice. I mentioned that she should inform Father Dominic of young Jack, to see what he thought she should do. I knew he would want to know of something this important, straight away. "Good idea," Susannah had replied, turning to her phone to call him.

I listened to the one sided conversation, not bothering to hide my curiosity. "Is Father Dominic there?" She had asked sweetly, staring up at her ceiling in boredom.

I watched as a look of horror crossed her face, turning into a scowl. She listened to what the other person was saying, who I assumed wasn't Father Dominic. "I know," She said in answer, careful control in her voice. "Only – "

Susannah was cut off by the other person, listening for a second, before replying again. "Retreat?" She asked. She thanked the other person, who I had discovered was Sister Ernestine and apologised for disturbing her so late, then hanging up.

"What is a retreat?" I asked when she had turned back to me. We sat there for a long time, with Susannah explaining to me what a retreat was. Where Father Dominic had gone. She went on to tell me what she knew about the Vietnam War and the fall of communism in the former Soviet Union. I asked questions where it was appropriate, listening to what Susannah was telling me, but not giving her my full attention.

I sat and observed Susannah while she talked. There was no enthusiasm in her voice. No effort to what she was saying. She seemed pre-occupied with other things. Other thoughts. Her eyes constantly drifting to the dark view behind me, outside her window. I watched as the waves of tiredness and exhaustion took over her as we talked. Causing her to yawn in between her words. I called a halt to our talk not long after. Content to pick the conversation back up, at another time.

I wished her goodnight, depositing Spike on the seat and leaving Susannah to get ready for bed in peace. But I still couldn't rid myself of Susannah seeming to have something on her mind. At the faraway look in her eyes ever since she had entered her room. Her quiet distant voice as she spoke. It seemed a little more than just her finding another mediator. And one so young. But it could also have been tiredness. I may have been reading to much into it I thought.

I didn't want to pressure Susannah into telling me if she wasn't ready. I knew she would talk to me when she was ready to. I took myself to the beach after I left Susananh's room. I wanted to enjoy the beautiful clear night. I had been spending a lot of time in Susannah's room than normal. Reading as much as I could, happy to sit in the silence. But I had missed the beach. The soothing sounds of the waves crashing on the shore. The way the full moon sparkled on the water's surface. Tiny pinpricks of light.

I became caught in the rhythmic sounds and sights before me. Losing all track of time around me. I was contemplating this when a odd, strange feeling came over me. I was so engrossed in my surroundings, that I nearly missed the odd tingly sensations overcoming me. The same sensations that indicated another spectral visitor. I quickly pulled myself from my musings, concentrating harder on the vibrations around me. The sense of fear and panic. I knew instantly where those particular feelings were coming from. The same location, it seemed, as the ghostly presence.

Not hesitating any longer than was needed, I took myself there. I appeared in Susannah's room, expecting to see another Spirit, but there was no-one. Susannah's covers were thrown back, her bed devoid of her. The air was tingling slightly with energy, of malevolence. The room seem darker than normal, the moonlight no where to be seen. I could smell a faint aroma. Almost like oranges. The smell slightly familiar, but was evading my grasp.

Susannah emerged from her bathroom, jumping slightly at seeing me. I took in her rumpled appearance, straightening up from my position of leaning against her bedpost. I noticed Susannah was avoiding my eyes, but I could feel the impressions of panic still. The fear seeming to have subsided for now. I narrowed my eyes at her behaviour, thoughts and questions running through my mind.

"Are you alright?" I asked worriedly. "I thought I...Susannah, was somebody just here?"

"No," Was all Susannah said. She walked over to her bed, climbing in underneath the covers. "Look, Jesse," Susannah continued, pulling her covers up all the way to her chin. I scrutinised her, seeing the defensive move. "I'm really tired."

"Oh," I said, suddenly realizing the time. "Of course. But...You're sure there wasn't anyone in here? Because I could swear – " I trailed off, confusing taking hold.

Susannah looked at me, waiting expectantly. She was hiding something, I knew she was. Why would she get up in the middle of the night. The same time as I felt the presence. And why was she panicked and frightened. It wasn't making any sense. I shook my head, saying a quiet apology before abruptly disappearing again. Leaving her to go back to sleep.

I took myself to the Mission this time, sitting on the bench in the courtyard. I put my head in my hands, trying to shake the emotions radiating off of Susannah. The questions running through my mind, one after the other. Why couldn't Susannah tell me know what was going on, more importantly. I wasn't angry, only concerned. Who was she trying to protect by withholding the information. I didn't think she had lied to me purposefully. But she obviously was too frightened to tell me. But why?

I shook my head again, sitting up properly not getting anywhere with my rapid thoughts. Susannah was right, it was late and I couldn't go back tonight, she needed her rest. But tomorrow, tomorrow I will find out what is going on. To discover who had been visiting her so late at night, and with such an air of malicious intent. If she was being threatened and scared, then I wouldn't stand back and let that continue. Not to Susannah. And certainly not if I had the power to find out who by. And for it to stop...


A/N 2: Thanks for reading, please review : ) And I'll see y'all in chapter 2, coming soon... ;D

Anonymous Review:

Meg – Hey! Thanks for reviewing! So glad your still enjoying all these :D And that you liked 'By The Glow Of The Moon' I really had lotsa fun writing that one. It had to be done. Here's book 4, for ya...thanks for all your continued support, take care. And thank you :D

Satellite Falling – Shucks, thank you : ) I wanted to make 'By The Glow Of The Moon' as light-hearted as possible, so I'm glad you really enjoyed it. Thanks again, take care :D

Coming in Chapter 2: Suze spills all to Jesse...Including about Maria's threats...