Chapter Sixteen

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AN: I did not mean for this to go on so long. The first draft was short. BUT Granny sort of...arrived...and...well...there's some characters I don't like to argue with. Self-preservation and all. Almost done, I think. FINALLY.

* * *

He commandeered the kitchen (complete with barricade to make sure) and set everything up. He'd very nearly considered not doing this-she'd been right about Granny-but then her fever had decided to spike.

This is insanity...

Hallucinations, were we hallucinating?

But the marks around his neck were real enough.

Self-induced?

No. No, no. Thinking about that now would only make this harder. Set it aside, deal with it later.

Scarecrow, for once, was silent-probably traumatized. Good. One less distraction.

Granny...

He had to wonder, now, if Kitty's ghost was here, or if it existed at all, or...

"Jonathan?"

"How'd you get in?"

"You missed the other door."

Ah. So he had.

"What are you doing up?"

"Couldn't sleep."

"Couldn't or didn't want to?"

She didn't answer, preferring to settle into the chair next to him and watch him with sleepy eyes. There was no point in arguing with her. He would lose and Mrs. Richardson might come in.

He sighed and went back to chipping pieces off the chunk of wood he'd brought back and trying not to think about what had gone on.

"What're you doing?"

"Checking for something." There, that should be enough for now. "I think you triggered a booby trap."

"Mm."

Why wasn't she pretending to be affronted, rambling on about god-knew-what, doing anything besides being still and quiet and not-distracting?

"It would be you." Years of practice had honed his skills of talking and working at the same time. "You trip over air, for heaven's sake..."

"I check to make sure gravity's working."

He'd take it.

"Whatever makes you feel better." He braced himself for the usual poke, but it didn't come. "Go back to bed."

"No."

He dropped a chip of wood into one of his test tubes and the liquid inside turned green and bubbled over. Good. Granny's spice cabinet had at least some of the ingredients, then. He didn't really want to go back there, in case...

I imagined it, all of it...

But she...

No. Not now, later. Much later. Or never.

No matter. This was something he recognised, and he could work with that.

Usually a reaction like that would have garnered something, but not this time. When he looked over, she'd fallen back asleep.

And you tell me I'm a terrible patient...

It wasn't worth it to take her back to bed and he ended up tucking the blanket she'd brought down around her and letting it go.

* * *

He was startled into the real world by a coughing fit.

Granny, please-!

No, not Granny, he'd imagined that, he'd imagined that.

"Kitty. Kitty, wake up."

He jostled her a little

She hasn't always been this thin, surely...

before giving up and getting up to get a glass of water.

"Kitty, wake up."

Please.

She finally came to, bedraggled and wheezing, and he pressed the water into her hand.

"Come on, up to bed."

"He's still up there."

Granny please no I'm sorry I'm SORRY

"Okay."

She settled back into the chair, clutching the cup, and he went back to his work.

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