"Hey." Her broken smile.

"I'm back."

"You're back." The smile starts to reach her eyes.

"Are you gunna welcome me back proper or what?"

"Welcome back, Todd." She starts to grin. She's grinning now, and it seems like a halo of light engulfs her. It makes me smile, too.

"Good to be back, Viola." And she's all over my Noise now, too, cries of Viola and She`s here and Ben? Ben? And Angharrad? And Lee? And Viola? Viola? Viola. Viola!

And everything comes rushing back, and then it`s all over my Noise, the memories of what we`ve done, and there`s us, running from Aaron, and Manchee, ruddy good effin` dog.

And when I try to get up, she shoves me back down, and stands up herself, this angry glow in her eyes. I don`t think I`ve ever seen her so angry.

She whacks me one across the head, and I bring a hand up to the spot.

"Who do you think you are, Hewitt?" She yells, the angry glow not fading from her eyes.

"You just… Die on me, and expect it all to be okay? You expect me to just… allow all this to happen? Just stand by and watch as you fade away?" Her eyes narrow, and a piece of thick, dark hair falls twixt her eyes.

I think about how I want to push it back.

And how I want to feel her in my arms again. Feel her comfortable weight leaning on me, her familiar silence settle in the midst of all that Noise I spill out.

My Noise, speaking of which, is bellering like a calf with a leg cut off.

And all I can say is,


And her face softens, and I stand up, and she crushes me in a hug with strength I didn't know she had.

My Noise goes yellow with embarrassment when I notice the watchful Spackle sitting at the foot of my bed.

And then, I notice the band on his arm.