10. Pre·cious: Of great value or high price

Used in a sentence: Nothing is more precious than the zombie's friendship with Hanna. Nothing.

You've got a lot of time on your hands.

A lot of time on your hands. And as such, you've read quite a few books.

You're often drawn to suspenseful crime thrillers or detective novels, but you're becoming increasingly alarmed that the real life scenarios you find yourself in with Hanna seem to be echoing the thick black text on the yellowing pages of your library books.

It's quite unnerving, actually.

You've read about goosebumps, and people being so scared that their hair stands on end. Only read about those feelings, because it's not like you can actually experience that.

Instead, fear leaves you with a dull ache in your long-dead stomach. It takes the form of a paralyzing focus that consumes your whole being.

But if you could feel all of those fearful sensations, you imagine it would feel just like this. You feel like you've lost something, and if you don't hurry, it'll be gone in a blink of an eye.

You're too much familiar with this situation. It's as familiar as an old friend, peeking out just when you expect not to see it again.

And it's frighteningly disturbing.

You're almost angry, actually. No matter how many times you tell Hanna that you've got his back, that you won't leave, you still don't understand his reluctance to bring you along. You try to tell him that you can't get hurt, that you can help him, but he still often runs ahead to keep something from you.

What he doesn't realize is that he's hurting you more than any punch in the face could. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but you wonder if he'd stop if you told him that.

You're honestly not sure how he'd react.

So here you are again. Hanna ran ahead and left you behind, again.

"Are you trying to shake me?" you found yourself saying again.

And of course Hanna replied, "Of course not!"


So you're searching everywhere for him, wishing he wasn't quite so fast.

As you go farther into the area where Hanna went, you hear the unmistakable sounds of a fight. Suddenly nothing else in the world matters—your anger and frustration, or the situation you're in, or even the fact that if you sat down and thought about it (and there will be plenty of time to do that later), you'd probably come to the conclusion that this is all Hanna's fault in one way or another.

Not that anything else ever mattered. You've had years to ponder life and the lack thereof, and in a few short months, you've found more of it in the body of a short, skinny redhead

Hanna is all you have in the world. He's loyal, and loving, and your best friend. You can't lose that because he's careless. You can't lose that because he thinks he's saving you by keeping you out of the fight. It's not fair to both of you.

You hear the sounds of the scuffle suddenly stop, and it makes you go that much faster. You dash up the stairs, your footing much too rhythmic and precise to make you fall. Maybe you should share that method with Hanna.

You burst into a messy room. There's obviously been some sort of fight here. You walk around, surveying the broken and shattered surroundings…

…and find Hanna lying much too still on the ground near a wall.

You sprint next to the motionless figure on the ground and drop to your knees, examining Hanna's prone form.

He's hurt, but it doesn't look like anything too severe. He's bruised all over and you're pretty sure that gash on his head means he has a concussion, but at first glance, you don't find anything life threatening.

That's good.

You put a hand on his shoulder. "Hanna? Hanna, can you hear me?"

You let a sigh of relief when he stirs beneath your fingertips, letting out the quietest of groans.

"Is 'e gone?" Hanna slurs, eyes only half opened.

You glance over your shoulder. No one seems to be around, so Hanna either scared whoever it was off or made them really, really mad. "I think so, Hanna." Looking back at him, you predict that he's probably going to pass out again in a moment or two. He looks exhausted.

"That's… that's good," he says in a shaky voice. He coughs a bit, and a skinny trickle of thick red blood runs down his chin.

You instantly panic, wondering if your initial assessment of Hanna's injuries was dead wrong. Did you miss something? Was Hanna really dying, right there next to you? You look down at his body, looking for an answer.

Reading your thoughts, Hanna shakes his head. "'M fine, Atticus. Just over… Overdid it a bit. But it worked, and he's gone, so…"

That's when you look him right in the eyes, really look at him. There's so much you want to say right now. You want to say how worried you were a moment ago. How worried you are. Because Hanna's okay this time, but there's no telling what might happen next time.

He nods, wordlessly understanding as always. "Sorry for worrying you," he whispers. "And for running off again."

You look at him sharply. "Please try not to do it again." Please, you echo in your head.

"I'll try," he murmurs as his eyes flutter closed again.

As you scoop him up in your arms and head to Worth's you can't help but feel like he's lying.

Author's notes: I revised some of the older chapters for spelling/grammar and everything. These are posted pretty much after two readings, and I don't have a beta for this, so I catch things later.

Story-wise or un-story-wise, nothing's changed, though.

By the way, I'm posting these on DeviantArt every ten, so look for them on there!