Part 6

"Peggy says they were head hunters," Miranda told Richie. They sat in the in the kitchen of his apartment, beers in hand. "They teamed up a few months ago and have been making their way up the West coast."

Richie nodded. Joe'd said the same thing. But the retired Watcher had also added that he thought they would have turned on each other once they ran out of Immortals on the coast to kill. He sighed. "I'm sorry I blew your cover," he told her.

"But you didn't," Miranda countered. "They would have come after me anyway," she pointed out. "and even if they hadn't, Declan would have eventually found out."

"Are you sure?"

"Are you kidding? The way this year has been going? I'd have been lucky to keep it from him for another year."

Richie smiled a little. "So, what now?"

"Well, Peggy convinced Declan to call the "miracle" unexplained and leave it at that. Only us four know what went down at the race track, and none of us is going to go to the police."

"What about the guy who witnessed the first one?"

"Larry Wales?" Miranda shrugged. "He's a traveling salesman here for a business convention. Declan will tell him he couldn't explain it and the guy will go home with an outrageous tall tale to tell his family."

"All this is okay with your friend?"

Now it was Miranda's turn to sigh. "I have a lot of making up to do, I think."

"Wasn't happy about it, huh?"

"You could say that." Miranda took a swig of her beer. "So... you sticking around?" she asked after a while.

"Well, recent events aside, I actually like it here. Portland's been good to me." It had, Richie realized. His friendship with John, the shop, and now Miranda... things couldn't get much better than that. "You?"

Miranda shrugged. "For a little while longer, anyway. Declan needs me."

"Hadn't you better start making those apologies now?" Richie commented, teasing.

~*~*~*~

Miranda wasn't the only one waiting for Declan in his office when he got of his last class of the day. Peggy met her in the office a few minutes before they expected Declan.

"A Watcher, huh?" Miranda said quietly, sizing Peggy up. "Mine?"

Peggy looked away. "You're not supposed to find out about that, you know."

Miranda gave a little snort. "It's been known to happen."

"So... what do we do now?"

Miranda shrugged. "Go with it, I guess. I'm more worried about Declan anyway."

Peggy nodded in agreement. "He was pretty--" Her sentence ended when the door opened and Mole trotted into the office, followed by his owner.

"Hey." Miranda and Peggy said at once.

"Hey," he echoed, not looking at either of them as he crossed the room to his desk. "A heavy silence ensued.

"Declan... I... we..." Peggy began in her best "Dr. Flower" voice.

"How could you two keep something this big from me!?" he blurted out suddenly, face etched with confusion and hurt. "I thought we were friends!"

"We are!" Peggy countered, Miranda nodding her head in agreement.

"Declan, I'm sorry," Miranda added. "I should have told you sooner," she told him. His face went livid.

"Yes! You should have! Peggy, too, for that matter! This... this changed everything!"

"It usually does," Miranda said, her deadpan stopping him cold. She sighed. "I wanted to tell you, really I did. I just... wasn't sure you ready." Miranda smiled then, imagining the reaming out Peggy must have gotten when she explained Watchers to him. "It's kind of a big secret, don't you think?"

"Yeah, but... " Declan looked between his two best friend, a sad, kicked-puppy look in his eyes.

"Our friendship means a lot to me, but something like this... " she continued. "I couldn't let you get involved in the Game. It would have been too risky."

His expression started to soften. "You mean a lot to me, too," he admitted. "You and Peggy both."

"I know. We know." She smiled at him gently, Peggy imitating it with a smile of her own. "So... forgiven?"

"Well... "

"Declan!" Peggy prompted.

Okay... but on one condition." Declan teased.

"What's that?" Both women looked nervous.

"Tell me more about this Game of yours."

Miranda laughed. "Well, to begin with... there can be only One..."


~*~The End~*~