"That stuff tasted terrible. Remind me why we had to go through with that, again?"
His voice wasn't as hoarse. Rosalie rolled her eyes and helped dust off Skeery's fancy coat. The tall man smiled and stretched like a cat, clearly appreciating the help. She looked him up and down before hastily pulling out drawers and opening boxes. She pulled out her favorite black winter coat and light blue scarf that looked like a carpet on her.
"We're leaving. And now that Hanna's case is solved, he won't be coming back. No one is in our way anymore."
Her voice was choked with tears. She hated to admit it, but she had come to love her home with Nora and Jacob. But it wasn't the home she wanted. Hanna had shown her that. Skeery put a hand on her shoulder and looked down at her with a weary expression. He had to go where she told him, had to do what she told him, but that didn't mean he didn't look both ways before crossing the street.
"Are you sure this is what you want, Rosie?"
Hesitation. In the mirror, Rosalie could see Skeery's worried face, and his curly brown hair that twisted around his face and his simple brown eyes.
"I'm sure, Skeery."
Four years passed. She would have been sixteen, Hanna thought idly. Contrary to what Rosalie believed, Hanna did go back after Skeery's death, because he said he would. Her parents told him everything they knew, and Hanna had come to believe that she was lost without Skeery. Many kids were after losing an Imaginary Friend. Hanna found himself wishing he'd done more, because Rosalie's disappearance was certainly preventable. He found himself grieving her.
It didn't help that her parents were constantly inviting him over.
He'd visited Worth more and more after that, finding it harder and harder to stay in the apartment. The doctor would roll his eyes, light up a smoke, crack a joke, and then insist it wasn't Hanna's fault. Lamont would, when he was around, put on a similar show. It wasn't for the reassurance that Hanna kept going back for.
Before Hanna met Rosalie, before he even moved into number 306, he met Luce Worth. Hanna's chest was in staples, his face was covered in bruises and cuts, and he seemed to be in quite a bit of pain. Being the nice guy that he was, Luce Worth took the kid in, and did what he could. The surgery had clearly been performed with paranormal instruments, so nothing Worth had with him could do much. But Hanna found ways to make it better. Worth told him to check back often, that he would be in pain for a while, that they would find who did it to him. So Hanna held on. He decided to take on a job as a paranormal investigator, and when Worth demanded why, Hanna only responded, "to be prepared next time."
Hanna took friends were he found them, under Lamont's advisement. That was certainly not a good time to be picky.
Rosalie had become a friend to Hanna, in the few years they contacted each other. She had been his first case (aside from helping Lamont deliver stuff) as a paranormal investigator. One way or the other, Worth found out about her. Both he and Lamont uncharacteristically tried to make him feel better, to no avail. He didn't know why he felt so guilty about the whole thing - he hardly knew her. He couldn't have done anything, so why did he blame himself?
Hanna had started and finished several more cases, none of them of much interest to him. He became very distant with clients. It wasn't until the next year, on May 9th, Rosalie's birthday, did the interesting things begin to happen. Hanna was sitting on his mattress, his head in his hands, wondering about her. Where did she go? Did she remember him? Was she even alive? He became fed up with those questions, he hated himself for thinking her leaving was his fault, and decided to take her advice.
"I'm not faking. I'm genuinely happy. I'm always looking for reasons to smile, and you should too, Hanna."
He became determined. He made it his goal to smile every day. Worth told him the pain would go away from the surgery, so there was a reason. He would get better. He would smile again. Right.
Hanna fell into a light sleep, occasionally waking up, forcing himself to smile whenever he moved and his chest didn't hurt. He forced himself to remeber what Worth told him. That he'd be okay. They'd find who did it to him. They had to.
Then came the knocking. Hanna jumped a foot into the air, leaping off his mattress, sending debris flying in a desperate attempt to grab his glasses.
Still not over! Please review! HiNaBN belongs to Tessa Stone! Blah!
I've got the epilouge to write - which is actually more important to the story than I thought it would be.
Here's the plan - we're going to see a few short bits from a few character's perspectives. A few things that were referenced earlier in the story will make more sense. Rosalie's real affect on Hanna and the rest of the cast. And maybe Skeery's, too. UNFORTUNATELY - I couldn't find a spot for Adelaide. So she's not there.
But we'll start out with Gallahad.