Disclaimer: Please see first chapter for disclaimer.
A/N: Well I wasn't planning on uploading this quite so soon. And I had actually had a completely different chapter written out for it. But I ended up letting my fingers do the typing and came up with this in stead...Besides, 'GeekdomBeckons-88' is going on holiday soon and I couldn't let her go away without this :D
I am so nervous to the reaction of this one. I know how much you've all been looking forward to this scene. So I really, really hope I haven't disappointed any of you. And that it hasn't shone through in this.
Anyway, thank you so much for all the fantastic feedback and support you have all given me through this arduous story. I had more than a few moments of total frustration with it, lol. But all your kind, funny, sweet words have spurred me on. You rocks, y'all! :D
Recap: Its the part you've all been waiting for...Nuff said ;P
When I eventually managed to tear my eyes away from Susannah's - my heart and soul lighter with a new release and a new realization - I looked back just in time to see the rip between this world and the next wink out of existence. We turned our attention to the mess and destruction that had filled the church. Our main priority being Father Dominic. He had been beaten around quite a lot, much to my disgust. His face was bloody and bruised and his silver hair was matted and messy. His robes were dusty with splinters of wood adorning them. He was a sorry sight and my heart instantly went out to him for having to endure so much alone.
Susannah had gone to his side straight away, trying to rouse him back to consciousness. Jack and myself lingered nearby, worry and concern etching young Jack's features. He looked pale and innocent. He had certainly witnessed far too much this night. More than a child ever should. Even though it was an extremely late hour, his eyes were still animated with the signs of exhaustion no where in sight.
His voice was tremulous as he asked Susannah if Father Dominic was going to be okay. His hands shaking slightly when he reached out to touch the priests hand by his side. His eyes bright with un-shed tears he stubbornly wiped away. Trying not to show how scared he was at that moment, now the true threat had been eliminated. The rush of the nights events catching up to him.
I laid my own large hand upon his slightly shivering shoulder. Giving him all the warmth and reassurance I could. He turned to me in acknowledgement and question. I informed him with a small smile that Father Dominic would be fine. That he had the best people here to help him now. Young Jack seemed to take comfort from my words, giving me a shaky smile in return. His gratitude at my concern for him clear in his innocent blue eyes, that have seen too much.
It was easy to forget he was just a child. He knew so much already. Being able to see ghosts with not having anyone else to share his knowledge or gift with, was a heavy burden he had to bare. One he had no explanation for. No help and no understanding. Until Susannah and Father Dominic had entered his life. From what Susannah had told me, he had lived a life riddled with fear. Hiding away whenever possible. Unwilling to try the joys of being a child. Afraid to be alone should any ghosts appear to him. Terrified with what he was supposed to do.
And yet all he needed, was for someone to tell him the truth of his extraordinary gifts. For someone to understand his fears and lay them to rest once and for all. That person being Susannah. The young boy before me was a completely different child to the one Susannah had described to me. The one that she would have to sit for all day too afraid to leave the comfort of his hotel room. This young boy had gained bravery and courage for all that he had done this night. Climbing up to the shadowland Susannah and myself had desperately tried to escape from. Coming face to face with his brother who somehow had the same gifts as himself, but had never once tried to reassure him. Staying in a church with two spirits who were bent of destroying anything and anyone in their path to cover up the truth.
He had endured so much, but yet here he still sat with Susannah and myself, watching over Father Dominic in concern. He hadn't run and he hadn't cried save for the small tears he banished before they started. Indeed he was brave and hardy. His time with Susannah well spent and evident. Proof in his sudden straightening of his shoulders and determination in his eyes. Definitely a protege of Susannah.
I turned my attention away from the young boy beside me to Father Dominic before us. His groans of pain were loud and audible in the tense silence of the church. The released breathes of relief issued from Susannah and Jack were equal to my own. As Father Dominic slowly and painfully came back to the attention and consciousness of his surroundings, his keen blue eyes suddenly filled with fear. His fright of the two vicious spirits that had been occupying his church and his time whilst awaiting on Susannah was apparent in his eyes.
Susannah saw the fear enter his eyes the same time I did. Instantly coming to his aid to reassure him they were gone. For good. That they couldn't hurt him anymore. His fear only diminishing once he had sight of Jack beside him and Susannah hovering above. Both of his charges were safe from harm. Enough for his mind and body to relax minutely. As much as he could with his wounds and pain he was enduring.
A plan was quickly set into action soon after. Jack and myself ordered to clean away the evidence of Susannah's exorcism. We blew out the candles still burning brightly in a ring that Susannah had been laying in a while before. The robes and candles put away in the respective places Father Dominic told us. His books and incense needed for the ritual also put away. All the signs of anything else other than a struggle on display in the quiet church were removed and away from sight. We returned to Father Dominic's side straight after, where he waited for us to finish so he could make the phone call and set the final part of our plan into action. To call the police and inform them of a break in. That he had stumbled across some youths trying to steal some priceless artifacts in the church. Of his own trauma during the incident.
A lie that was unfortunately needed in this case. One that I hoped would be easily forgotten due to the circumstances.
We waited for the police and the other emergency services to arrive - hidden and shadowed - before making our way from the sight of so much violence and destruction. From a sight that housed one of the biggest reliefs I had ever felt. So deep I could feel it in my entire being. I silently waited beside Susannah and Jack while we waited for the car that would escort Susannah and Jack to his hotel. To return him to his place of residence. We were all lost in our thoughts, each lost in the turbulent images of what had happened - what seemed so long ago now - in the shadowland church.
The silence that was tense and palpable was finally broken by Susannah voicing her questions to an unsuspecting Jack inbetween us. Her voice was strained and laced with an undercurrent of anger. Enough for me to turn to her in surprise. Her face showed nothing of her feelings.
"So, Jack. What is up with your brother?"
Jack scowled at the mention of his selfish and arrogant sibling. "I don't want to talk about it."
"I can fully appreciate that." Susannah replied, bitterly persistent. "However, he appears to be able to move freely between the realms of the living and the dead, and I find this alarming. Do you think it is possible he is the son of Satan?"
"Susannah," I warned in a low voice, seeing the darkening light in Jack's eyes at the partial truth of her words.
"I mean that in the nicest way possible." She quickly stated looking to Jack.
"I said I don't want to talk about it." Jack said again. I could hear the underlying tone of betrayal in his wobbling voice. Aimed at his brother for leaving him to live in fear for so long.
"Which is perfectly understandable. But did you know you know before now that Paul is a mediator too?" Susannah asked fake enthusiasm and cheerfulness in her voice. "Or were you as surprised as we were? Because you didn't seem very surprised when you ran into him, you know, up there."
"I really don't want to talk about this right now." Jack replied through gritted teeth.
"He doesn't want to talk about it, Susannah. Leave the boy alone." With a hint of finality in my tone, Susannah looked to me with a small glare. But I could see the fight had gone out of her eyes. I fought the urge to smile at the normal behaviour I expected of Susannah. At the feelings of contentment I was feeling even after all that had happened. Calm in my rightful place once again.
Not long after Susannah had halted in her small interrogation of Jack, did the car to escort him home arrive. Cold and exhausted, Susannah and Jack climbed into the back of the car. Susannah and myself on either side of him again. Comfortable ensconced in between us both. The ride to the hotel was just as quiet as the wait before hand. Susannah mixing between looking out the window and back to me. Each time receiving a small smile from me that I was still here. The flicker of relief and affection I would see in her eyes, was happily and quickly returned back to her in my own.
The ride was over sooner than I would have liked, but the tiredness that was weighing Susannah and Jack down was clear in their heavy eyed gazes and slumped shoulders. Susannah and I still had to make the long trek home yet. One that we soon started on as soon as Jack was in safely. Susannah heaving a weary sigh every now and again. The cold making her shiver slightly and break out into goosebumps. There wasn't anything I could do to help her to ease her discomfort unfortunately, so I tried to enthuse as much soothing comfort into my presence with her as possible.
We didn't talk too much on our way back home. I could tell Susannah was lost in her own thoughts, so we talked about small mundane things. Just to pass the time and keep my own thoughts at bay. Ones I would happily let invade my mind, but not until Susannah was home safe and in her bed.
I kept catching her glancing at me out of the corner of my eye still needing her own reassurance that I was there. In stead of fighting away the thought and action that came to my mind like I would have done months before. I accepted this one, deciding Susannah needed the soothing action more so now than before. Reaching out with my arm I hooked it around her slender shoulders, pulling her to my side. I met no resistance from Susannah, only a quiet sigh and the feel of her leaning into my side where she fit perfectly.
The warmth from her own body heat infused my whole being, making the hairs on my arm and back of my neck stand on end. The feeling was a sensation I could happily get used to. Leaning down I dropped a quick kiss to the top of her silky head, feeling her relax into me even more. With a smile of pure happiness on my face we carried on with our long trek back home. Susannah's shivering becoming less and less with each second she was wrapped in my arm. Secure and comfortable for the both of us.
Before long we had reached home. Looking up at the large, once boarding house. Dark and silently silhouetted against the backdrop of the night sky. I reluctantly took my arm away from Susannah's shoulders instantly feeling the rush of cool air replace where she had been. I followed Susannah up her porch stairs to her front door, her steps quiet and alert. Swiftly Susannah unlocked the door easing it open enough for her to sneak through. I met her on the other side using my glow to illuminate her way to the stairs.
Max had slinked away as soon as I had entered the house. Whining with his tail between his legs. Dashing off to a part of the house he felt safer in. Susannah made quick work of climbing her stairs and quietly entering her room. As soon as the door was closed and the light was on, she slumped against the door heaving a weary sigh of relief and pure exhaustion. I stood by my place at the window seat watching her with a slight hint of concern. She looked extremely pale now I could see her properly. The bruise on her head looked even more painful than I had first thought. And her hair was in disarray. With one last sigh, she levered herself off her door dragging her feet and herself over to her bed.
I heard the tell-tale thump outside her window on the porch roof. Quickly followed by the sounds of a very happy Spike. He made quick work of entering the room and across to me. His mewing and purring in full force the whole time. I let the grin that had been fighting to break through come to my face in full force now. Looking to Susannah, I saw her slip her shoes off by her bed and pull her bed-covers back and climbed straight underneath the comforter. Relaxing into the soft mattress. My smile still in force I looked down to the loud display Spike was making at my return.
I could feel Susannah's penetrating gaze burning into me and quickly looked up to see her staring at the display Spike was making. She met my eyes seconds later, her barriers down and her true emotions on display to me.
I saw what I had been hoping I would witness. The trust and disbelieving happiness at having me back by her side. Back where I belonged. Searching deeper I found what I was looking for. What I longed to see. The love she had for me was burning brightly in her emerald eyes. Reflecting back to me, all that was in my own. For the longest moment we held each others gaze, neither backing down or turning away. More than content to stay in this moment for the rest of time. My love for her shining through stronger with each second that passed. Accepted and returned.
I saw the flicker of exhaustion she tried to keep at bay and hidden. Smiling at her reluctance to break the tender moment, I spoke to her in the softest tone. "Go to sleep,querida. I'm not going anywhere."
With a last smile to me, Susannah finally slipped into the much needed sleep. Her breathing evening out before dropping into a deep restful dream. Her lips still twitched into that small gesture.
The look in hers stayed emblazoned on my mind for the rest of the night and there after. Right until she finally woke from her endless sleep. My own love for her swelling and rising with each passing glance I had given her still form. My smile growing bolder and more confident the more I admitted the truth to myself. The truth I had kept hidden to myself for too long. The truth I was willing to accept at last and relish in completely. Till the moment when I could look into her eyes again.
Letting forth the emotion I had tried fruitlessly to deny was there. That I was convinced she didn't care for me in the same way I did for her. What I had buried deep to never let my mind dwell on the thought, should it suddenly arise when I didn't want it too. For Susannah to never know it was there. I brought it to the light at long last. My fear vanishing from existence at my new knowledge. That I was in-love with Susannah. And that I been for so long, I was scared to admit the hold she had always had on me. Delirious that Susannah loved me too. That my love wasn't unrequited.
The sudden realization that Susannah had been trying just as furtively to ignore the rising love we had for each other, sprang to my mind. Our efforts going unheard and ignored. Clinging on with all the power so it could to never diminish. For it to never fade and be denied.
That had been the worst part to accept when I had thought Susannah had exorcised me. That she was so unhappy with my presence that she wanted me to leave. That she didn't love me in return and never would. My fear of an unrequited love was true. And that hurt the most. So much more than the knowledge that it was Susannah to have performed the ritual. My love for her had gone unheard and discarded.
I led my mind through all that happened in the past couple of days. The thoughts and images all seeming like a faraway dream. Seen through the eyes of another. With the same detached emotions and feelings. The only emotion I wanted to feel was the love I had finally unleashed. The true emotion now ruling my heart and my mind. Finally free from its restraints I let the glow and warmth fill me. Make me feel whole and complete at long last. To accept the missing piece. The part I have always longed for and finally found.
That Susannah had risked her life for me - to retrieve me from my personal anguish - was proof enough of her love for me. Because I knew then - as much as she tried to deny to me she wasn't doing it for her - that the truth in her eyes and her actions were all the evidence I needed. All the encouragement my heart and soul was given, to thrust on me the long suppressed emotion I freely and completely immersed myself in. Bathed in the warm glow and love Susannah returned to me.
I sat on her window seat, patiently waiting for her to wake. For the realization that I was really home to seep into her. So I could talk to her. My mind couldn't formulate what I was going to say to her yet, but I knew I was desperate to see her again.
As soon as she started to stir and become aware of her surroundings I left. Taking myself to sit on the porch before her house. Not wishing to go to far. To be away from Susannah for any length of time. I couldn't rid myself of the large grin I had been sporting an inordinate amount of the time wearing while she had been sleeping. My mood was so light and carefree I could do nothing but enjoy the feelings of peace and love. I wondered how I had managed to hold them at bay for so long. How much I had made myself suffer for it. But even these thoughts couldn't sway my smile.
After I had seen Susannah's mother and stepfather exit their home - muttering of their worries for the bruise on Susannah's head - I knew I could return back to her room. To my haven and sanctuary. Relieved to sit at my favoured place. To take in all of Susannah's presence radiating and filling the space in her absence. Please to see nothing had changed while I had been away. That everything was as familiar and welcoming to me as I had hoped.
I didn't know how long Susannah was going to be, so I had picked up a book I had seen sitting on her dressing table. Hoping it would help pass the time. Spike joined me before long, curled into a tight ball on my lap. His wandering from my side since I had come back was never for long. All that was missing to complete the moment was to have Susannah here with us.
I didn't have to wait long before the object of my love walked in her bedroom door. I instantly looked up to see her enter, radiating a calm and serene air. Her posture was relaxed until she saw me waiting for her. Startled by seeing me she blushed slightly quickly putting her arm behind her back hiding something from my view. I didn't pay any attention to what she was hiding I only wanted to stare at Susannah. To let the reality of everything that had happened settle in my mind. To see her bright green eyes sheepishly watching me. Her cheeks still tinted with a light pink. "You're awake," I said, finally breaking the silence.
"Um," She said nervously, sliding her way over to her bed. "Yes, I am."
"How do you feel?" I asked, my concern for her being my first priority.
"Me?" She asked, surprised.
I laid my book down flat on the cushions beside me with my eyes still boaring into hers. I fought to keep my expression devoid of anything. Still unsure of what I was going to say, but surprisingly unconcerned. The love I had acknowledged for her was thrumming in my chest. Making my skin tingle in anticipation. "Yes, you." I softly said. "How do you feel?" I repeated.
"Fine," She said quickly reaching her bed. She abruptly sat down leaning on her pillows slightly pushing something underneath them. She relaxed when she had hidden whatever it was she didn't want me to see.
"Good," I said. "We need to talk."
Instantly Susannah tensed up again shooting straight to her feet casting quick glances at her bedroom door for escape. Her movements shaky and her blush in full force once again.
"You know what," She said talking so fast I nearly didn't understand her. "I don't want to talk. Is that okay? I really, really don't want to talk. I am all talked out."
Keeping my gaze locked on her own, I lifted Spike from my lap settling him on the floor by my feet. My eyes were unwavering on hers. Slowly I stood up from the window seat taking a deliberate step towards her. Susannah sucked in a huge breath looking more nervous and panicked by the second.
"I'm just – Look," She said, swallowing as I took another step towards her. "I'm just going to give Cee Cee a call and maybe we'll go to the beach or something, because I really...I just need a day off."
I took one last step forward to Susannah completing the short journey. I stood directly infront of her unable to break my eyes away from hers. Showing Susannah everything that was in them. All that I was feeling for and towards her. To show her my happiness Ii was feeling to be home. My gratitude for her daring and dangerous plan to rescue me. My love that I had always tried to keep hidden and away from her. From myself. All there for her to see.
"Especially," Susannah continued. Losing herself in my eyes, like the many times I had lost myself in hers. Her voice was nothing but a whisper now looking up at me beneath her hooded eyes. "from talking. That's what I especially need a day off from. Talking."
"Fine," I said, leaning down to meet her and gently cupping her face in my large hands. My own voice nothing but a raspy murmur. "We don't have to talk."
And then I closed the final excruciating distance between us and kissed her. The touch of her lips beneath mine sent shivers of energy through me. Making my body come alive with just her.
Closing my eyes I leaned into the soft touch and presence that is Susannah. Breathing in her intoxicating scent. Letting her warmth flow through me and feeling it flaring in my chest. Feeling the soft pressure of her lips beneath mine as she returned my touch. Her hands gripping onto my shoulders keeping herself up. I dropped my own hands to her delicate waist, pulling her even closer to me. Hearing her soft sigh of contentment as I opened my mouth deepening the kiss even more. Delighted that Susannah was returning it with as much vigor and love.
I poured everything I had into that one moment. Showing Susannah how much I loved her, unable to pull away to speak the words. Of how much I would give to see her happy. Letting my actions tell her how much I needed her by my side and in my arms. Where I wanted her to always be...
A/N 2: I tried so hard to think of ways to drag that scene out at the end, but I didn't wanna spoil it. But I still got two other books of cuteness to go through so...Anyway, there is going to be a special edition chapter coming up too. One that 'ekmemerald' helped me decide to put on it's own. And who gave me the idea. So that you can go back and read it as a standalone if you want. But it is tied in with the series. And then were off to start on the 5th book...whoo. Anyway thank you so much for reading, please review. I hope you enjoyed this last chapter :D
Meg - Ohh, capitals! Lol. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your continued feedback. Its great hearing from ya each time :D I hope you enjoy this chapter :) Take care...
Coming up in the Special Edition chapter - 'May It Be': David interrupts the special moment between Suze and Jesse. Who makes a hasty apology and escape...letting the shock of what had just happened settle in. Only to discover he isn't as sorry as he thinks he should be...