Disclaimer: Don't own anything. Not the characters, not their abilities, not even the title of the story. Nothing. Just a rabid cage of plot bunnies deseparate to be fed. So there.

A/N: In case you didn't see the summary, this follows after the last chapter in Messenger, Chapter 21. Please do review, as this is my first attempt. Thanks!

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CHAPTER 22

The keening was over. Exhausted, Leader returned to his dwelling, thinking about Village, and how it had seemingly changed in a split second. He stood at the window, just as he had on that fateful day when he sensed something wrong with Forest. But as Leader looked out, he could see that everything was alright now, that Forest had, really and truly, returned to its original condition. He could see beyond it easily, looking into the next village, the one where Healer had come from. And where so many more will, now they have the chance.

Suddenly, Leader turned around. He thought he had heard someone calling his name. Recognizing him, Leader smiled. "Healer," he said.

The spectral figure grinned boyishly. "Just Matty would do fine. You could've given me that name earlier, you know?"

Leader sighed. "I didn't know, Matty. I'm sorry. I didn't see this."

"Don't apologize. It was my choice, like you said. I knew my gift was needed. So I used it." Matty shrugged.

The pair lapsed into silence, man and boy.

Matty spoke up. "Just tell them I'm sorry, okay? Kira, Seer, Frolic, Jean… I never said goodbye to them." He looked sad for a moment. "I hope they won't forget me," he whispered, barely loud enough for Leader to hear.

Leader looked up, smiling sadly. "They won't, don't worry. I don't think anybody will. You can go in peace." Then he thought of something. "Wait. If you see an old man named Giver, or a girl named Rosemary, would you please tell them that Jonas sends his love? Thanks."

Matty nodded, smiling contentedly. He reached out a hand as if to hug Leader. But then he waved goodbye, and began to fade right before Leader's eyes. Soon he was gone, and Leader couldn't see him anymore.

"Goodbye," Leader murmured. And it seemed that a breeze had come in through the open window, bringing a single flower with it as his final parting gift.

Leader sighed. Tomorrow he would go and tell Kira, and Seer, what had happened. He would tell the whole village about a brave young man, who thought of himself as the Fiercest of the Fierce, who had gladly given up his life for others.

And then they would live together again, as Village, with the second chance Matty had given them.