Three months. That was how long it had been since he'd seen Shade get her life stolen from her. He hadn't seen her, he hadn't tried to look for her. But his birdies told him that she was picking up the pieces slowly but surely. She'd been reunited with her brother Caleb and life looked bright, at least for her.

But he would never be the same. He couldn't forget her even if he tried. She would always take up a space in his heart that nobody would be able to fill. Shade was that girl – his girl – and nobody would ever be able to replace her.

"D'you really think you did the right thing? Letting her go, I mean," Joker said quietly, from his right.

"Yeah," he said, after a moment of silence. "We took care Harry. He can't hurt her anymore. And Caleb is home. She has everyone she needs."

"She needs you, too, Spot. Just because she can't remember you doesn't mean her heart has forgotten you," Wicked said, from his left.

"I liked you two a lot better when you were obnoxious instead of wise. It's creepy," he said, giving the twins a weird look.

Both Wicked and Joker's faces light up at the same time, in that strange way they always had. "We can certainly return to obnoxious if you like, Spot," they said, in their equally strange way of speaking together.

"Sorry I complained," he muttered, rolling his eyes as he watched the girls head into the Lodging House, congratulating each other on their effective annoying habits.

Sometime later, he found himself meandering through the Brooklyn sidewalks, doffing his cap apologetically when he accidentally bumped into someone. His attention was pulled to a very pretty dark-haired girl holding a wicker grocery basket, seeming to be getting very annoyed with a man that was selling fruit. He looked at her like a wild animal that was sizing up his prey.

Against his better judgment, he turned on his heel and bee-lined towards the pair. "There you are, love. I thought I'd lost you." He turned and winked at the man behind the cart. "My wife likes to wander off on her own. I'm sure you understand." He turned his attention back to her. "Are you having any trouble?"

The pretty girl glared at him, but softened when she must have noticed the way he begged her with his eyes to play along. "Ah, some. It seems this gentleman refuses to give me apples until I give him a kiss."

Spot turned a caustic eye to the now nervous-looking man at the fruit cart. "I didn't realize that was the new form of currency in the market today."

"Uh, here. You can just take the apples, no charge. Sorry for the hassle, miss," the fruit man said, shoving a bag of apples into Shade's hands.

To keep up the act, Spot extended his arm to her, which she took albeit begrudgingly. She looked as if she'd rather been harassed by the fruit man than take any sort of help from him.

"I didn't need your help, you know. I was doing fine on my own. I had everything under control," she said in a hushed voice, since they were not far enough away from the fruit man yet.

Spot smiled. Where had he heard that before? Deciding to be masochistic, he said, "Right. So you'd rather I would have let him continue to make you uncomfortable? I think a 'thank you' is in order here."

She blinked and paused, turning to stare at him. He held his breath, wondering if she remembered him. If she remembered this argument, from the very beginning, and was remembering that she loved him, that he loved her. However, something didn't connect in her brain, and she softened slightly from the feeling that she should remember him, but did not.

"D-Do I know you?" she asked softly, her strange eyes boring into his own.

He smiled again. "No, you don't know me. But I know you." Nervously, he extended his hand. "Spot, is what they call me. Spot Conlon."

"Shade," she said, without thinking. She slipped her hand into his own. "Well, it's really Pippa. Though everyone calls me Shade."

He bent and kissed her hand. "We were very great friends, you and I, in another life."

She smiled in a way that made him wonder again if she was trying to remember him but the lobotomy pulled her up short. "Do you believe in the red thread of fate, Mister Conlon?"

"I'm not sure I've heard it, Miss Pippa," he told her, smiling when he caught her teasing smile.

"I cannot recall where I've heard it, but someone told me that you are connected to your soulmate via a small red thread around your little finger, and that the thread can be twisted and mangled, but it cannot be broken." She lifted her eyes and smiled again. "Do you believe such a tale?"

"I believe so, Miss Pippa. I believe that no matter what, you and your soulmate will find a way to be together, no matter what circumstances have befallen you." Spot smiled. "Your brother is coming this way. Good day, Miss Pippa."

Just as he turned to go, her hand shot out and grasped the elbow of his shirt. "Will I see you again?" she asked curiously.

"Look for me on the street corners. I sell newspapers," he told her.

She straightened up slightly and smiled. "Then I shall have to think of an excuse each morning to buy a paper," she said casually. "Good day… Ben."

At the mention of his Christian name, Spot turned fully back around and stared with wide eyes at Shade, who smiled at Caleb and then took his arm when he offered it to her. She gave him a coy smile from over her shoulder and Spot turned and walked down the street, whistling brightly. Somewhere in his head, he heard a familiar whisper.

So it ends, so it begins.

So all two of you are probably wondering what the hell you just read. Let me explain, briefly since I tend to get long-winded and annoying. I didn't like the direction that GONE was going in, so instead of re-writing it to a better direction, I decided to let it hang here open-ended and let you all decide how the characters end up. I know, that's lame and everyone hates writers that do this, but I'm doing it anyways. So hush.

Hopefully you liked where this ended, because I do. I think it's interesting. :]

Anyways, reviews?


xx Wicked