Disclaimer: The tribe has spoken, and I own nothing but the hell I give my characters.
Notes: I want to thank Meneldur and WiseAbsol for their commentary on the last few pieces; it was in large part thanks to their interest that "Haunting" came together so quickly. I had the bare bones of it done long before "Patchouli," and bits and bats of the rest- in real-world time, Clair and Karin had that conversation two years ago- but chapters one, two, and five are completely new and the majority of four hadn't even gotten its act together in my head before it ended up on the page. I'm fortunate to have readers whose interest in my work is such an inspiration and I appreciate both of their support.
Timeline and Continuity: In my fic-verse, this final chapter takes place several days after "Lucky" which places it just a week or so before "Kindling."
Chapter Five: Ghosts Walking
Present Day: Indigo Plateau
When Karin woke the next morning- afternoon, rather- Clair was gone. She snapped bolt upright, panicked, before she saw the note on her nightstand. Shaky, not trusting her hand to pick it up, she leaned over to read it.
Good morning. I'm sorry that I had to leave while you were still asleep, but I didn't want to wake you and I need to be at the Den by noon. I'll be back tonight. There's a present for you under this note.
It had no signature, but that hardly mattered.
Karin sagged back into the pillows, smiling, boneless with relief. She didn't pick up the note for a good few minutes.
Under it was a small envelope, bearing the Indigo Plateau seal, addressed to Agatha of the Gravekeeper Clan, and with a note on the flip side in Clair's handwriting: "The rest of these went out today. It won't be missed."
Karin smiled, then grinned, and then started laughing. After awhile the laughter turned to sobs, which carried her back to sleep.
After dark, Clair found Karin still asleep, drew the curtains on the sliver of crescent moon, and slipped into bed next to her, deciding not to wake her.
Celadon City Game Corner- Subterranean Floor 2
"However, if you follow the theory that the types were created and established to control each other and check and balance each other as a means of population control and you also accept the rationale behind that theory, you would be forced to also accept her postulation that the three spirit-related powers are unrelated," Sabrina pointed out, clenching her teeth around a yawn and pointing to the relevant sentence in the old book that Giovanni had brought with him. "Which- ah, which we know they are not; in fact they are closely tied together, which-"
"Which is a topic for another day," Giovanni cut in smoothly, closing the book and placing it out of her reach.
She glowered at him. "If I wanted, I could bring that text right back over," she said.
"I trust you won't do that. You're intended to be healing."
"I am healed as much as I need."
"That is a bald-faced lie." Giovanni stretched, long and languid, and cracked his knuckles behind his fingers. "Rest."
"I am thoroughly sick of rest," Sabrina very nearly grumbled, aware she sounded petulant, but not caring- fast though she burned it off, morphine was morphine. "I want to do something."
"You are doing something. You are resting and healing. I will not have you getting out of this hospital bed before you are ready just so that you can fall down in the middle of a mission. Think of how it would demoralize the troops."
"I've had three days."
"Yes, and you also have several spinal fractures, disc trauma, and I'm told two cracked ribs, although I note you have not seen fit to mention that part to me."
"It was hardly relevant."
"It was extremely relevant."
Sabrina stared at the ceiling. "I do not like this at all," she commented, as though on the weather. "This room is a cage, and my body refuses to be much less of one." She shook her head, the only effect of which was to spill her hair about her eyes. "I cannot even braid this mess back without some part of my anatomy attempting to mount armed rebellion."
Giovanni rose to his feet and she closed her eyes, thinking he was about to leave her to her thoughts and the four white walls. "Can you sit up at all?" he asked.
She obeyed the order, although more through her power than through her body's own abilities. She ignored her back screaming as she levered herself up so that her head was clear of the pillows on which it had been resting.
Giovanni sat on the mattress beside her, and before she had more than opened her mouth he'd splayed his fingers in her hair, smoothing it and dividing it into three even sections.
"Sir?" she asked, neck burning with the effort of holding her body still.
He didn't answer. Instead he finger-combed a stray strand of hair back from her face, his finger whispering against her jaw, and slipped it into place as he twisted the sections around each other.
Sabrina didn't breathe, and not just because the edge of one of her ribs was jutting near her lungs. His fingers stroked her scalp, the side of his nail barely scraping the skin; his knuckles brushed against the back of her neck. She felt his breath faintly over her ear.
Giovanni tied off the braid with a piece of ribbon she'd used as a bookmark, curling the end around his fingers for a moment, then stood up abruptly. "Now it's out of your way," he said. "I would like you to rest, no matter how little you like it. I need you whole, Sabrina."
He slipped out the door, leaving her to her thoughts, which were every bit as disconcerting as they were interesting.
The brothers lay forehead-to-forehead, eyes closed. A year ago, before the overdose, they'd have been able to drop into each other's thoughts; now it was just Will. Morty hadn't lost the innate core of energy that had made him psychic, hadn't lost the basic things his mind could do when touched by another psi. He'd just lost his ability to affect anything outside of the realm of his own self, while the residual psychic energy warred with the ghost powers and made it nearly impossible for him to master either. The overdose had done for the rest, and would have done for his mind, if it were easier to kill a ghost.
"Flat out second rate," Morty muttered, and it took Will a minute to realize that Will must have voiced his thoughts, or something like them. Or Morty's were simply running along a parallel track, which wasn't in itself unusual.
((Exceptional in your way))
"Could have been better." He meant "if it hadn't happened." He meant "without the drugs."
((Could have been)) Will agreed. ((But you kept your mind, which is something)) He paused, then repeated himself. ((In the end, has it been worth it?))
Morty was silent for another moment, but then opened his eyes to lock onto Will's, pushed himself up, bent his head down, and, into Will's lips, breathed, "Yes."