Ring, ring, ri- "Hello?"
I smiled, feeling a million years older than I had that morning. The little girl had been one thing; I hadn't actually
known her. But I knew Becky. Becky was my friend. And I'd just seen her die.
"Oh, Miranda... Are you alright? You sound... odd."
I shook my head and closed my eyes, smiling sadly. "No, mommy. I'm... I'm not alright. Can I come home?"
"... sure, baby. You can come home. I'll send a driver. Is that alright? Will Sam do?"
"Yeah, mommy. Sam's fine." I sighed, opening my eyes and offering the worried-looking secretary in the office a small smile.
"I'll see you when I get home."
"Okay... are you going to tell me about it?"
I didn't know what I was going to do, so I pretended not to hear her and just hung up. I sat down in one of the chairs
set out for people waiting to see the principal and tipped my head back, staring up at the ceiling.
After a moment, the secretary sighed. "... Will you be okay, Miss Micheals?" she asked.
"Yeah. Peachy," I replied, not really in the mood for talking.
She looked uncomfortable. "Alright." She paused, looking out the window in the office that displayed the hall outside it.
"She's still standing there."
I knew what 'she' the woman was referring to, but I couldn't talk to her. I couldn't look at her; hell, it hurt to think
about her. Maybe if I never so much as thought about her again, she wouldn't die because of me. Somehow, I doubted it. I wasn't
My luck seemed to have dried up lately.
The silence of the office was just becoming unbearable five minutes later when Sam, my favorite driver, walked into the
room. This man was the closest thing I'd had to a father since my own died at gunpoint several years prior. Sam had always
looked out for me. He'd always been there for me.
He took one look at my face and picked up my bag and purse. "I'm her driver," he said to the secretary gruffly. "I'll be
taking her home. Thanks."
The woman nodded, eying Sam like I would a new pair of shoes. I couldn't fault her. For a forty three year old man with
just-starting-to-grey hair, he looked pretty damn good. I was under the secret suspicion that he worked out regularly, just
to impress the ladies.
I smiled a little at the thought, but when I glimpsed Becky – face damp with tears even as she tried to rub them
away when she realized I was coming out – out the office window, my smile faded away. Sam caught the look but didn't
comment as he lead me out the door.
Becky stepped forward, eyes downcast. "I'm sorry," she said, voice almost a whisper. "I... I just got a new... a new fr-friend
and I already blew it." She laughed hoarsely.
I sighed and pulled her into a hug. "I'm still your friend, Becky. Don't worry," I said.
She swallowed and nodded. "Can... can I call you later?"
I wanted to tell her no, but that would be suspicious. I didn't want her to get hurt... "Yeah. Sam, you got my number on
Sam nodded and pulled a card out of his pocket. "Third one down," he rumbled, eying my new friend. She gave him her timid
smile and nodded, and he nodded back before escorting me out to the car.
"You okay, sugar?" he asked after he'd buckled in. He was looking at me through the rear-view mirror, and I somberly met
"Drive, Sam. I'm sorry, but I don't want to talk about it."
He sighed but nodded. "Alright. But if you find yourself needing an ear, you know you own mine."
I smiled a little. "Yeah, Sam. I know."
Once we got home and I took in the two people sitting on the porch, I just sat there for a moment. Clare was grinning,
but Yoru-Ssori was staring at the car intently. Waiting. My best friend got up and hurried to the car, pulling open my door
"That's him?" she asked, looking at me.
I stepped out and smiled at her. "Yeah. He introduce himself yet?"
She stared at my face. "Yeah... Yoru Hissori," she said softly. "... Mir, are you okay? You look like you've been-"
"You should go home," I said, hugging her. "Call me before you and Frank bury Abbey and I'll come over to pay my respects."
She pulled back, looking hurt. "Miranda..."
"I'll talk to you later, okay? I just... I want to be alone right now."
Clare swallowed and nodded. "Sure, Miranda. I'll call you before we fill in the hole."
"Okay. Sam, give her a ride home?"
"Yes, ma'am," he said.
Clare sighed and got in the car after hugging me again. "Tell me later?"
"Maybe." I closed the door and trudged up the gentle incline to the porch. I stopped as the limo rolled away and stared
up at him. "Hi."
"... I am sorry. I should have been there," he replied, looking almost as old as I felt.
I shrugged. "You couldn't have known. You're not the Seer," I pointed out.
"I am supposed to protect you, Miranda," he replied sharply, standing. "From all things!"
"So what?" I snapped, hand tightening on the strap of my purse. I wasn't carrying my bag, so I must have left it in the
limo. Sam would return it later. "Are you going to shield me from violence? Are you going to numb my pain?" I yelled. "What?
Are you some sort of voodoo god that's so perfect that he can protect me from heartbreak and agony? From insanity? I feel
like I'm going crazy, 'Ssori!
"I'm going fucking nuts! And all because of you, and these... these things I keep seeing! I don't want to see
this!" I said, my eyes starting to blur and my voice fogged with tears. "I don't... I don't wanna know these things,
'Ssori. Is that so wrong? Am I... am I committing some sin because I don't want to watch my loved ones die?"
He stepped close but stopped, merely standing in front of me. "I am sorry. I wish my presence was not such a burden to
you, and that these visions would not come to you. I wish I could take that away," he said, sounding resigned and hurt.
I sobbed and wrapped my arms around his waist, crying into his plain black T. "Oh, 'Ssori. I'm sorry. It's not your fault,"
I whispered, somehow knowing that he could hear me. "I'm... I shouldn't have said that. I didn't mean it. I'm just... I'm
at my wits end."
He kissed the top of my head and sighed. "Your mother is approaching, Miranda," he said, but held me close anyway.
I heard the door open and the approaching footsteps halt. My mother didn't say anything and I pretended not to notice her
as I clutched at my demon. "I'm sorry I yelled at you," I said after a moment.
"It is alright, Miranda," he replied.
Kandy, my mom, spoke up. "Miranda? Mr. Hissori? Would you like to come inside? It's looking like rain."
I pulled back from him and nodded, grabbing his hand. "Yeah, mommy."
She eyed Yoru-Ssori for a moment before smiling up at him almost resignedly. "Lemonade?"
We just sort of sat around the table, staring at each other. I sat next to 'Ssori, mom sat across from me, Jake next to
her. It was his day off.
Of course he had to pick today. That was just my luck. Now he was staring (read: glaring) at Yoru-Ssori, mom was smiling,
and I... was just sort of... there. Truthfully, I wanted all this to be over with, but we had to come up with something to
get mom to let 'Ssori stay here. Something, preferably, that wasn't the actual truth.
"So," Jake said, staring at 'Ssori. I could tell he was trying to be brave, but you'd feel kind of pathetic staring down
a six-foot-five-or-something demon with way better looks than you (not that Jake was bad-looking, but he was my brother. Ew).
"How long have you known each other?"
"A little less than a week," I said immediately, staring back at Jake and trying not to let the vision of his death over-ride
He met my gaze and then looked at 'Ssori. "A little less than a week."
"That is what she said," my demon replied coolly.
I pinched him and he blinked, shooting me a shocked look. I don't think anyone had ever pinched him before. Mom's mouth
twitched and I braced myself as she smiled a little. "You two are very cute together," she said, winking at me.
My face turned red. I just knew it. "Wh-what!? No! I mean-! W-we're not-! We don't-!" I shut up and covered my face with
my hands. The truth was, I wasn't sure what we 'were'. I had just been sort of... floating. Going with the flow. It wasn't
usually my style, but when weird, unexpected shit started happening, if I didn't brace myself, I'd have full-blown panic attacks.
One of which I was very close to right now.
Yoru-Ssori touched my elbow. "We are merely friends. That is all," he said, looking at me.
Mom smiled. "Uh-huh." She eyed 'Ssori. "So. What was it you needed, anyway?"
I grimaced and dropped my hands. "Well-"
"I asked him, sweety," Mom said, not looking at me.
I stared at her, but 'Ssori shrugged. "I travel. Quite a bit. When Miranda and I met, I was attempting to find a proper
Mom smiled. "Oh? And when exactly did you meet?"
We exchanged looks and I grimaced. "Alright, go ahead," I muttered. "Clare already knows."
"Miranda fell off a bridge," Yoru-Ssori said without preamble.
Both my mother and brother stared at me in shock. I was tempted to pinch 'Ssori again, but I resisted the urge and let
my head drop onto the table. "Yeah... About four days ago. That night I went out to dinner and stuff with Emily, Justin, Micheal
and Phoenix." Phoenix's real name was Sarah Sharon, and she was Emily's twin sister. Both were blonde, both were annoying.
She dated Micheal McKinley, Emily dated Justin Flynn. Sometimes they switched.
Yoru-Ssori sighed when I didn't continue. "She fell off, I heard her screaming and helped her back. She had been hanging
onto the edge of the bridge when I found her."
Jake gave me a 'what the fuck' look. "How did you fall off a bridge, Miranda?"
"I slipped. In the ice. It's February, yanno," I said defensively.
"Yes, I understand this," he said, twitching. "But a bridge? Really?"
I crossed my arms, and brought out a full-on pout. "What do you want me to tell you, Jake? I'm a clutz. You know
He made a face at me, which I returned with equal exaggeration. "Fine. But this conversation is not over, Mir, I-"
"Shut up," I snapped, having a flashback of his death again. And that little girl's. And Becky's and- "Just... shut up.
I don't want to hear it, Jake. You're not my father. Hell, you're not even my real brother, so stuff it!" I shoved back from
the table and got to my feet, feeling angry and sad and numb all at once. I just wanted to leave and not have to look at his
face anymore. I didn't want to have to think of that stupid vision, or anything. I couldn't stand it. It was driving
Jake's jaw dropped and his face paled, and he quickly scrambled to his feet as well. "Miranda!" he snapped angrily, leaning
"SHUT UP." I picked up my glass of lemonade and threw it on him, then slammed it down on the table and stormed off. I ran
as fast as I could up the stairs, miraculously keeping from slipping. I didn't want to hear him yelling at me. I didn't want
to see Mom's disappointed look. I didn't want to witness their deaths over and over and over again. I just wanted it to "SHUT
UP!" I didn't even realize I'd screamed until I heard a gasp beside me.
There was a maid cleaning the second floor hall. She apologized for bothering me and scurried away. I didn't care. I was
already in the throws of another vision.
"Do you really think you are so special?" he purrs in my ear. "Do you think there is something about you that draws
us? Do you think you are some sort of... treat or something?" He laughs. "You are nothing, little Seer. Just
someone that will assist me. I could have picked someone else, but with your death, it will be so easy to kill that
charming prince of your's. Silly girl. You should not have come."
I didn't realize I was sitting in the middle of the hall, screaming 'Ssori's name until he shook me roughly and then abruptly
slapped my face. I was suddenly snapped from the vision, the blur of his eyes inches from mine. "'Ssori?" I whispered haltingly.
He frowned at me. "What is it? What did you-" But he stopped as my brother and mother arrived.
Jake reached out to grab me, but I shoved away, thunking into the wall hard enough to knock me breathless. "Stay away!"
I gasped, the sound ripping from my throat as more of a choke than a gasp or a scream. "Don't touch me!"
"Miranda!" Mom gasped, eyes hurt. "What is wrong with you?"
Yoru-Ssori reached out for me then, but I slapped his hand away. "Go! I don't want to see you! Run away! I'm nothing but
a danger to you!" I turned and stumbled to the door of my room, but Jake grabbed my arm. "STOP!" I jerked away, opening the
door behind me and stumbling back into it.
There was a sharp pain in the back of my neck, and my knees were buckling underneath me. Suddenly, the visions didn't matter.
Nothing did. I was just unconscious.
When I woke up, the room was dark. In fact, I wasn't sure I was actually in my room. This room was white and sterile
and... Oh. Mom had probably brought me to the hospital. Made sense, I guessed. Maybe. Then again, I was I here? Had something
happened? And where was 'Ssori?
Then, like a rush of adrenaline or something, I remembered it all. I remembered breaking down into a fear-induced psychotic
fit. I remember screaming at 'Ssori, I remembered the look in Momma's eyes and the pale hue of Jake's face. I remembered Becky's
death and the vision of that dark-haired demon... Oh, god, what was wrong with me? Maybe I belonged here...
I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and nearly rolled out of the hospital bed in fright. However, when I looked
over, it was just Yoru-Ssori standing against the wall, watching and waiting. I gulped. "I... are you oh..." I closed my mouth
and my eyes. How could I face him like this? I just couldn't.
"I am fine," he replied softly, knowing instinctively what I was going to ask.
I nodded and swallowed, but my mouth had gone dry. "Good," I said weakly. I hesitated for a time, letting the awkward silence
fester between us. Then, I sat up and looked at him. "You... In the movies... and... and books, you know, in the stories..."
I lifted a shaky hand to touch my throat. Even the skin there was unbearably warm, but my cold fingers felt good against it.
"They always talk about Seers, and the future, how it's not set in stone... The future is... it always changes. You can fix
things, prevent them from happening if you act soon enough... Is that true, 'Ssori?"
"Yes." I saw his arms drop from where they'd been crossed over his chest. "It is true."
Was he lying? I hoped not. I didn't want to be lied to. I wanted to know, but I knew at the same time that I wouldn't be
able to take the truth. Letting out a sob, I closed my eyes and let my shaky hand drop to my lap. "I really hope so. Because
if... if not, I can't bare to live. Not without you. Or Jake. Or... or Becky. I-"
"Rebecca Summers is dead," he said, almost hesitantly. "Her body was found this afternoon."
I stared up at him, feeling my face pale. No. No. It couldn't be! I'd never... "Oh my god." I buried my face in
my hands, crying. "Oh my god. He killed her. He killed her! Because of me. Because she knew me!" I started
crying like a little baby, feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. If I couldn't save Becky, could I save