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Peekaboo, Mandy...

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I jumped in the car with Jemmy. He was sighing dramatically. He had an early class at college and dad had asked him to drive me to school, he wasn't happy but he did it. 

I have a study period before my first class but I couldn't focus at home so I go into school to use the library. Jemmy smiles at me and then reaches over and opens the door for me. I blow him a kiss and walk into school. 

In the library, I waved at Steve. Steve was cute and he liked me, at least I thought so. I tried to concentrate on the book I was studying from, and it suddenly became easy. I'd been studying for almost an hour when I heard popping going on. It sounded like firecrackers. Jason went over to the door and stood there or a little bit looking down the hall, he ran back over and yelled "Get under the desks. They have guns!" 

My heart almost pounded out of my chest as I got down on my knees under the table. Keith, a disabled student and someone I had talked to, didn't understand and didn't hide. 

They burst in and yelled: "Get up, now!" I recognised one of them as Luke, a guy I'd stood up for a while ago, then shot Keith. My eyes started to water and my heart hurt. I clamped my hand over my mouth to stop the whimper coming. They're shooting indiscriminately right now and I feel a wetness at my legs...I've pee'd myself out of sheer terror. My mind is screaming at me to run but I know if I do then I become an easier target so I stay put and try not to cry out. 

This has gone on for what feels like forever, no one is standing up so they're going under the tables to shoot people now. Oh God, They're right next to me and have shot both Steve and Marcus. My heart is grieving and I try not to make a sound. But my table is next to be crouched under. "Peekaboo!", do they think this is a game of 'hide and seek or something?' He laughs, "Hey, Luke get over here! This one's pissed herself." The one I didn't recognise was the one pointing a gun at me. "Scared?" I didn't need to answer as he then let out a roaring laugh. 

"Please..." I begged, please what? Please don't shoot me? Please stop? I don't know what I was begging for...

"Please, what?" It was as if he read my mind and let his gun off, the bullet piercing my leg, I whimpered. "Oh, little girl, don't be scared." He was mocking me. "It'll all be over soon..." he shot at me again, this one grazed the side of my right arm I screamed, I couldn't help it, the pain from my left arm adding to the pain in my right leg. He just laughed. Luke stared at me. I met his gaze.

"Luke? That's your name, right?" I hoped he'd remember me. "It's me, Mandy. We met a few weeks ago." my voice is thick with the tears of what I assume is pain and fear intermingled. 

He nods, "I'm sorry you had to be here today, Mandy...You have to understand why this happened, but it shouldn't have happened to you." I shook my head, It didn't have to happen, why are they saying it had to happen?

After shooting a few other people they left the library and we took stock of what had happened. Jason looked around, he pulled Steve out from under the desk, he was dead, so was Marcus. My heart is hurting but at least we can look out the window without getting shot. I can see some of my friends on the grounds. Jason has ripped a strip of fabric off his shirt and he tied the wound on my leg. The fire service has gotten a crane and is up at the library windows. Jason picks me up and hands me out to the fireman. My leg is searing and I had to sit on the floor. I turned my head and looked at Steve's body one last time. I thought of my dad, mom, and Jemmy. I saw news cameras, mom would've been watching and freaking out. 

I was bundled into an ambulance, and taken to the hospital. I hadn't been here since I was 10, getting my check up for my heart condition, and I wanted my mother. I started crying, the terror and the pain of today getting to me finally. "I want my mama..." the tears are streaming down my face, the nurse is fussing me while the doctor sews up the bullet wound in my leg and tends to the graze on my arm, I wanted my grandma as well...she'd help me calm down and my grandpa's strong arms would comfort me. 

They put me in a ward, in a bed, I still can't stop sobbing.

My mom's red hair is the first thing I see, followed by daddy and Jemmy. "Mama." My uninjured arm came out and my family pulled me close. 

"It's alright, baby girl. Mama's here..." she pats my unruly curls and speaks soothing words. I just mumbled into her shoulder than I couldn't help anyone...that Steve was dead and I was so terrified I pee'd myself right there where I was hiding. She shushes me, there was nothing I could do about it now. 

"I want grandma and grandpa!" I was terrified and wanted my entire family. Mama nodded and said as soon as I was discharged we would go and see them. I start to relax. Everything had changed but soon I'll be with my entire family again. Daddy holds me close as I drop into sleep. "I love you, daddy..."

Daddy smiles and kisses the top of my head, "I love you too, a leannan. You get some rest, my wee darling". The last feeling I remember before I fall asleep is feeling safe, the last thing I remember is my daddy's arms around me.

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"Mama, I don't have to take Mandy to school, right? I mean she has a study period and can go in later, right?" Dad waggled his finger at me.

"She disnae want to study tae study at home, so ye will drive her as I've got tae go tae work..." I opened my mouth to argue that he could take her, "which is in the opposite direction! Yer college is on the way, ye can take her." His tone left no room to argue. So grabbed my keys and got into my car.

Where the hell is she? I honked my horn forcefully and she finally bounded out of the house and into my car. Sighing dramatically I start the car and drive her to school. 

"Don't get into too much trouble today, Mandy." I told her playfully as I opened her door. She giggled and blew me a kiss. We had a code, like twins do, that meant different things.

For me and Mandy: Blown kiss meant 'no promises'. 

In my class I'm sitting making notes and almost dropping off, then a message comes over the P.A system. All classes are canceled and students will be escorted back to their dorms or cars. That was the weirdest thing ever. Individual classes have been canceled before but not school-wide.

I drive home to find my mother on the phone, Columbine is on the news and they're saying there was a shooting...Mandy...

"Mama?" She hugs me tightly, "What's going on?" 

"There's a shooting at Mandy's school...I'm talking to your father..." She breaks down and I take the phone.

"Bree? Bree, breathe! I'm sure Mandy'll be fine, she's not daft and she'll have gotten out o' there..."

"Dad?" I hear him sigh. "Mom's broken down...I...I don't know what to do...I'm scared, for Mandy and for mom..." I hear him swear and talk to someone else in the background.

"I'm comin' home, lad. Keep calm." He hung up and I try to comfort mom the best I can.

Dad arrives home and he's actually as frightened as the rest of us...Mom screamed when the news told us that most of the dead were killed in the library...that was where Mandy held her close and she screamed into his shirt and she cried. 

The odds were getting slimmer that Mandy was still alive. Then finally the news gave a hotline for anyone worried about relatives to call so dad lets mom rest of his shoulder while he calls the hotline.

"Right, the wounded were taken to hospital...the non-wounded to the elementary school...where dae ye want to try first?" He was looking at mom, and I understood why; mom felt out of control, giving her the choice put her in control again.

"I don't I choose hope, or the most likely?" She wipes at her eyes "let's go to the hospital first..."

 Mama hasn't stopped wringing her hands, "If I hadn't let you drive her to school she wouldn't be caught up in this now...God, forgive me..." Dad grabbed her hand from the driver's seat.

"Dinnae fash, Bree. God kens ye did nothing wrong..." I can't believe this. I've never seen mama so frightened...even when Mandy had her operations as a baby there was nothing like this. I suppose until she sees Mandy she won't calm down.

Dad stopped a nurse, "We're looking for Amanda MacKenzie, I'm her father." The nurse nods and leads us to a door where mama pushes past everyone and runs through.

"Mama!" my breath hitched as I heard my sister's voice again, a sound I was afraid that I'd never hear again. And yet, here she was. Her arm opened to welcome us. I run behind mama and beside dad to hug her. 

"I told you not to get in trouble, Mandy..." I hope I'm being playful. "I'm so glad you came home." I smile at her. 

Mama's practically smothering Mandy, "let's go get coffee mama." She shakes her head. "Mama, you need a break. Dad'll stay with her, she won't be alone." 

When we come back, Mandy's asleep on dad's chest, he's running a hand through her wild curls. I smiled at the scene, Mandy's curls reminded me of Granny's hair and I suddenly miss my extended family. 

Mama's saying that we can go through the stones after Mandy comes home. Of course she didn't say 'stones' but we're finallly going to see granny and granda again... 

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I held her close as she spilled her story; how she had hidden under a table, how she had watched her friends die and couldn't do a thing about it, how she had been so afraid she pissed herself. But the part that made me more furious than anything was how the bastards taunted her. 

Bree didn't want to leave her, I tried to convince her to leave her wi me but she wasn't fer it. It wasn't until Jemmy practically tore her away from the bed. Mandy cooried into me. 

"I love you daddy." she hadn't called me 'daddy' since she was a wee lassie, it makes my heart melt.

"I love you too, a leannan. You get some rest, my darling." I moved the stray hair out of her face so she could actually get a rest. 

I'm cuddling her close when Bree returns. I put my finger up to my mouth. "It's okay, she's resting." Bree tries to smile but I've known her for too long. She's entirely relieved, so are we all, but our lives have changed. Even if Mandy has no problems with her leg in the future, there are the mental scars to deal with. I just hope that spending some time at the ridge would make a difference to her.

Jem finally starts crying. From the moment he was on the phone to me, after Bree broke down, I could hear the worry in his voice. I could see the tears in his eyes. Tears of relief, that's what those tears were. "Come lad. I know yer relieved." I put Mandy on the pillow and opened my arms to my son, which he almost fell into. "You let out yer fears, my boy." 

"Will she be okay?" He sounded like a wee boy I kent when he was younger...him. 

"She'll be fine...physically. We just don't know wi her mental condition to be honest." I rub my hand on his back, comforting him. "We have to hope visiting yer granny and granda will help her."

He nodded and wiped his eyes, he was tired. "Listen, they want to keep her overnight for observation. She's resting now so why don't we go home and get some rest of our own?" Bree shakes her head vehemently, "Sweetheart, there's nothing more we can do, I'll leave our number wi the nurse and she can call us if Mandy needs us. Deal?" I knew bargaining was no good but I had to try.

"No, you go home with Jem if you want but I want to be here." I open my mouth to argue. "Roger, I thought we had lost her today. I'm not letting her out of my sight." I sigh, deep down I knew she wasn't going to agree with me I had to try.

"Babe, yer no use to her if you're exhausted. We will go home, get some rest, get Mandy some fresh clothes, and we will come back later. When we're all refreshed."

"Roger Mackenzie Wakefield, stop trying to manage me. I'm your wife! I need to stay with our daughter, if only for my sanity, so will you bloody well let me?!" She was furious. Jem was staring at Mandy in the bed. I nod.

"I better get Jem home though. He's absolutely shattered. Both physically and emotionally." I look at Jem, he's asleep on his feet but won't take his eyes off of Mandy. They've always been close, even if they had moments where both of them coulda killed each other, this morning fer example, but there's no bullet in the world they wouldna take fer each other. 

I take Jem by his shoulders and tell him to give Mandy a kiss on her forehead, I do the same for myself and then give Bree a proper kiss goodbye. "I'll see ye in a few hours." 

Jem and I sit in the car ride home, "Dad, what are we gonna do when we get home?"

"The 3 S's, son." I answered without looking at him.

"which are?"

"Sleep, shite, shower." I smile at him. 

"What about 'shave'?" he laughs. Good, he's laughing again. Now he knows Mandy is safe he's starting to relax. 

"Ye can do that if ye want, son. Ye ken yer ma likes my whiskers though." I chuckle. It's been a running joke between Bree and myself that we keep my beard the same as it's been since I returned from the Mohawk village and met Jem for the first time as a baby. It's not such a joke that I actually do it. 

"Dad?" Jem's voice brings me out of my thoughts, I grunt an answer, I'm listening. "If I'd not taken her to school, would she have been put in danger still?" He's looking to his old da fer reassurance...the truth?

"God alone knows, son." I answer honestly to his question, "And God alone knows they chose to dae it. They pulled families apart today and they didna care." Jem nods and we pull into the diveway. we both go into the house, there both he and I go up to our bedrooms where we both close the doors, and I start weeping softly...they almost pulled my family apart today...were we strong enough to go through this?

Eventually sleep overtakes me and I collapse on the bed.  

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My darling Mandy was sleeping soundly. I sank into the chair and let out the breath I'd been holding. 

I had never understood mama until I'd had Jem. Then nothing would stop me from being worried or would keep me and him apart. 'A mother's love' mama had called it, no matter the time or distance we would never be apart in our hearts. 

Mandy's brow furrowed and my back straightened and I reached for her hand. "It's okay, baby, mama's here." She relaxed under my ministrations, the same thing she used to do when she was in the hospital with her heart. Ironically it was the same hospital we were in now. 

I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I know I'm being shaken awake with a "mama, are you awake?" Rubbing the sleep from my eyes I look up and see the doctor. "Is she going home then, doctor?"

The doctor nods and hands her some paperwork. "I need to call my husband, to get a ride home." I ask the nurse for the phone as I sign the last piece of paper. Mandy is wheeled out with crutches next to her. 

"She'll need the chair for getting to the car, leave it out front, someone will collect it. After that she'll need to make use of the crutches." The nurse tells me as we wait for Roger and Jem. Mandy smiles as she sees them approach. 

between them Roger and Jem get Mandy in the front seat and Jem and I sit in the back seat. I hold Jem's hand all throughout the journey. Mandy is gabbing to her father. She's excited to be going back through the stones. 

"remember we don't have to take too much, grannie and granda have a place for us and clothes and the like. just take soap and other hygiene products." Roger was taking charge and already had our washcloths, toothbrushes, and toothpaste in a plastic baggie. He took something off of Jem, "If ye were to show that ye'd be arrested as a wizard and tried." I smiled as I knew he'd be telling him not to bring his Marvel comic books.

"Dad..." Mandy piped up, she was struggling to get her stuff together with a bad arm and on crutches. 

"Mandy, you need to sit. Your father and I will get your toothbrush and toothpaste." I started to fuss Mandy as she sinks into a chair and Roger gets her things together. "Get bunny as well." I had given bunny to Mandy when she was born and she had taken to him just like I did. He had gotten her through many an operation aftermath, and I hoped he will get her through this as well. Roger handed me bunny and I gave him to Mandy, who teared up.

"Mama, I'm not three anymore..." Jem's eyes went wide and he gaped.

"So I can't bring my comic books but Mandy gets her stuffed bunny?!" I arch an eyebrow. "That's not fair." he crossed his arms and so did Roger, you really could see the resemblance straight away, how we ever thought there was a possibility he was Bonnet's I'll never know. 

"Let's let them take one thing each, Mandy gets Bunny, and Jem gets his comic books so that it's fair." I suggested to my husband who relaxed a little. "And they could only have them in the cabin. If you and Jem needed to go to the town for anything then he leaves the comic books behind?" He arches an eyebrow at me then nods, he sees I'm talking sense, Jem is ecstatic and grabs his comic books. So it's off to 1797 we go...

 "One of us will have to help Mandy to the stones..." Roger stares at me, I frown. 

"Why not let her go through first with Jem? Then us?" We were all dressed in period clothing standing at the stones. Roger nods.

"Lad, ye and Mandy will go through first, wi you helping her. Can ye do that for us?" Jem nods and takes Mandy around the waist. 

"Let's go, sis. Grandma and Grandpa are waiting on the other side..." I see Mandy light up, they both touch the stone and disappear.

I take Roger's hand, it's been a while but I'm ready to see my parents again. We reach out and touch the stones and I feel the familiar, familiar by now at least, pull of the stones. 

There's a wagon on the other side, curious but we don't question it for very long, we hop on and drive the wagon to the ridge where we see my parents working away. 

Here we go.

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I'm feeding Clarance the third when I see a wagon coming over the road, frowning I scrutinise the occupants of the wagon. "Jamie! Jamie. Bree and Roger are here with the children." He grins and looks for them.

"Where are they, Sassanach?" He's looking for them in the distance, "In the wagon? Why a wagon?" He's right, they normally walked to the ridge.

Roger stopped the wagon in front of the cabin and jumped down, Jem jumping off of the back and both help the girls down. The first thing I notice is Mandy's leg and arm in bandages, "Mandy, what happened?" She wraps her arms around me.

"I'll tell you soon, granny. I just want to be hugged by you right now." I felt Jamie hug us both from behind Mandy, then I heard a sniffing. I look down at Mandy and the tears are streaming down her face, "I'm sorry."

"Dinna weep a lennan." Jamie rubs her back.

"After I was...hurt...all I wanted was my family...all of you." Jamie and I smiled at each other. Bree gives me some sterile bandages.

"The nurse showed us how to change her bandages but we thought since you were a doctor, let you take care of it. That way we know it'll be done properly." I nod, of course Bree would think that I'd be better than her.

"Jamie, would you go with the others and get them some refreshments while I tend to Mandy, please?" Mandy grins and hobbles on her metal crutches over to my surgery.

"Of course Sassanach, we will have a feast." Bree and Roger smile.

"Thanks, da, but I want to go with Mandy." He nods. He understands her.

As I had Mandy in my surgery I asked her what happened, it all came pouring out and my heart broke to know my granddaughter was terrified before being shot in the leg. Bastards wanted her to suffer before they blew up the library. I pulled her close and Bree cuddles into my back. "I saw my friends die...I can't believe I just knelt there and let them do it."

"If you had you'd be dead..."I pet her hair. She's so precious to us all. "And we would be devastated if that happened to you. Our little girls." I kiss both their foreheads and sniff a little, the emotions are so raw for me. Both Bree and Mandy stay in my arms for a while. I see the pain in my girls' eyes and I can't help it, I cry hard.

"Granny, don't cry." Mandy really is a sweetheart and she wipes my eyes for me. "I am alive and I'm here." She takes my hands in hers and rubs them with her thumb.

For a little while, we stay and we talk Mandy laughs with us. Then we head to the cabin for dinner. Jamie immediately jumped up and helped Mandy into a chair, she smiled at her grandpa. 

He looked older now, with his white hair and his wrinkles, Oh, and his sun-damaged skin that makes it seem rather leathery. He's got some age spots on his hands and as I look down at mine I see mine too. He grasps Mandy's hand. We eat and talk, Jem gives Mandy bunny. I didn't know that Bree still had bunny let alone passed him onto Mandy. Jamie frowns and looks at the cuddly toy. "Oh, grandpa. Almost forgot to show you bunny." Mandy holds him out to Jamie. "He's my good luck charm. Got me through the operations when I was a little girl." Jamie grins.

"A stuffed rabbit, lass?" He seems confused. "The foot is probably the luckiest part of it, but why do ye have the whole animal?"

Bree and Mandy start laughing, "It's not a real stuffed rabbit, Da." Bree tells him when she's finally stopped laughing. "It's cloth sewn into the shape of a rabbit stuffed with cotton." Jamie looks even more confused. "And bunny is more like a security blanket to Mandy rather than a good luck charm. Bunny makes her feel safe."

"Bunny is also somewhat of a family heirloom. Brianna had bunny when she was a baby." Jamie smiles down at the stuffed animal with this revelation. "I had no idea she still had him let alone passed him onto Mandy." I grinned at the little family. One by one they announced their intention to go to bed until it was just me and Jamie.

"Three against one, the odds are getting slimmer..." I frowned, "Now I have three women in my life that laugh when I dinna ken something from the future."

"Oh." I look down. "Well, it makes sense you wouldn't know about cuddly toys as they won't be invented for a little over 100 years from now." I rubbed his back. 

"Mandy. Did she tell ye how she happened to get a wound on her arm and her leg?" I nod.

"Yes, she did...but I think she'd like to tell you herself." I sigh, he looks at me pleadingly. "I can tell you that she had no one in the family around her at the time, and Bree, Roger, and Jem didn't know if she was living or dead for hours after the news." His lips purse. "And that she asked to come here. In the hospital the two people that came to mind after her parents and brother were us." He nods.

"And whatever she tells me, ye want me to make ye a promise, Sassanach?" I nod, he knows me so well, too well almost. "Then ask it of me, I'll ken if I can make it then."

"Don't be angry. She doesn't need anger. She needs understanding." He nods.

"Ye have my word, Sassanach. I willna get angry. But I canna promise that in private I willna be upset."

"I understand, my darling." I kiss him gently and then yawn. "I think it's time for bed." He nods.

"Aye, 'tis." He laughed, "let's go to bed together then, Sassanach." He picks me up bridal style. "In the morning I'll spend time wi our Mandy, hopefully then she'll tell me what happened."

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I was sleeping when I heard a small sobbing sound from my left, turning and opening ma eyes I saw Mandy. "Yer leg botherin ye lass? Or yer arm? I could wake yer granny..." she shook her head and looked at me.

"I just need a cuddle, grandda." There's tears streaming down her face. I get out of bed; my auld, well-worked joints creaking, and move over to the table wi her. She sobs on my shoulder. "I can't believe I did nothing. I just lay there..." Now it was pouring outta her, and I'm no sure she could stop it even if she wanted to. "They came into the library, with guns, and they started shooting...Keith first..." she looked up at me. "He didn't understand that he needed to hide...he was sweet and caring, and they...they just shot him like he was an animal they were hunting." My teeth are clenched, it was getting harder, and harder to keep the promise I made to Claire before bed last night. "Then they started shooting under the tables...there was a boy I liked, Steve, we had a few classes together and I was sure he was going to ask me to the prom...they shot him dead. Him and Marcus...then they came to my desk and said 'peekaboo' like it was some twisted game and started to taunt me because I'd wet myself after they shot Keith. Then the bigger one shot me in the leg. Then taunted me some more when I started begging. Then shot my arm." she cuddled into me tighter and I gripped her shoulder a little tighter but not tight enough to hurt her arm. "They shot more people before leaving and that's when we got out through the windows." I sigh a little knowing she didna need to be subjected to that for long even if the little she was subjected to had her weeping in my arms.  "Jason helped me out the window...a friend from history class. I'm so grateful to him." I was grateful too. "after that, it was a hospital, my family, the stones, my family, and now this." She had stopped crying, thank the Lord above. 

"Ye dinna need to say if ye dinna want tae, nor if ye dinna know, but what happened to the two boys?" I needed to know so I could be sure they'd never hurt her nor any of my family again, if they could neither she, nor Jem, or Roger, or my Brianna for that matter, would be going back to that time.

"From what's been reported they went back to the cafeteria and shot at police before shooting themselves. They're dead too." Mandy sighed in relief, "I knew one of them...he was bullied by a group of 'jocks'...meatheads really..."I didnae ken what a 'meathead' was but I gather it wasna any good. "his name was 'Luke', he was actually really kind, but I guess he found someone to stand up for him who wasn't as kind as he was...or used to be..." she let out a breath. "He said that he was sorry it had to happen to me but that it had to happen...I don't understand grandda, why would he say that?"

"I dinna ken, mo chailin milis. I didna ken." I kissed the top of her head, my sweet baby that I had held in my arms on the day she was born, here she was; heartsick over this 'Steve' and his death. "Tell me more about this 'prom' that Steve was gonna ask ye to." She smiled dreamily.

"It's a formal dance that the school throws every year, and as a junior it would be my first time." She grinned. "I had already seen the dress I was going to buy." She sat up and started excitedly describing it to me; "It's this floor length, deep purple, polyester-type fabric, it had a matching shawl, and purse, and everything." She grinned. "All I needed was for someone to ask me to prom."

"Is this the done thing? The lad asking the lassie? I mean, is it all proper?" Mandy blushed and looked down, "Dinna tell me ye dinna ha' a chaperone..."

"oh, no. Nothing like that. Teachers and volunteer parents act as chaperones." She breathed in a little as though she were gonna tell me a damned curse. "But a lot of couples sneak away from the chaperones and..." She hesitated, this really must be bad. "They have sex on prom night...for some girls it's losing their virginity, for some it's getting an STD, for some still it's getting pregnant..." She looked up at my horrified face. "Not that I was gonna do that with Steve..."

"Disna matter, I dinna think I would let you go to this...whoor-fest it turns out to be." I shake my head, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. "Girls gieing away their virtue and fer what? Tae get so sick they die? Or to end up wi a bairn and no man tae show fer it." I felt sick. Mandy laughed, honest to God, I didnae know why she was laughing so. "What?"

"You, grandda, you get so cute when you're angry." She tried to pinch my cheek withering stare I was giving her be hanged. "but some girls want a baby young."

"Dia Math!" I exclaimed, "They shouldna want such a thing. Gun phòsadh mar a tha iad!" She laughed even harder.

"So it's not their age you disapprove of, it's their marital status?"

I had forgotten she had the Gaelic.

"Tha Prom dha-riribh na am sporsail dha caileagan mar mise!" She recited, ah! So this conversation was to take place in my native tongue, was it?

"Caileagan mar thu fheign?" I asked, curiously.

"Yeah, girls who just want to dance and have a good time with a guy and some friends." She slipped in and out of Gaelic with ease I noted. 

"Tha goal agam ort, air an ogha agam." I kissed the top of her head again.

"I love you too, Grandpa." She replied with a yawn. "Am foad mi cadal comhla ruit agus a sheanmhair?" Her request was so pure I couldna deny it.

"Aye, that ye can, my darling." I picked her up and carried her to the bed where she curled up between myself and Claire. And not another nightmare was had that night.

Chapter Text

It had been 10 years since I saw my friends die while I cowered under a desk. Exactly 10 years since I was shot in the thigh, and arm. I moved away from Columbine, and Colorado, in the aftermath, to Florida. Not because of the memories, because of my husband's job. 

"MA!" I was startled out of my thoughts when my wee Willie barrelled towards me, 6 years old and so rambunctious. He was followed up the sand at the beach by his father, laughing and his hair blowing in the wind. He looked as handsome as the day I married him 7 years ago. They're playing a game of chases, and Willie was using me as protection, laughing madly he peeked from behind my back.

"Ah, daddy needs a break..." He had sighed and sat down next to me. "Can you believe that I used to play football in school, and now I can barely run across the sand?" He pulled me close.

"Well, you know you didn't keep that up. If you had maybe you would be able to keep up with Willie." I laughed at him. 

I had gone to a memorial for the dead, with my crutches and bandaged limbs and all, the television cameras were there and I could feel the lens of the camera trained on me because I'd survived the so-called Library massacre and would generate into viewership numbers. I cried and didn't pay much attention until I saw Jason's shadow on the ground. He was wearing his junior varsity jacket with a black armband and carried a candle, I couldn't carry one because of my crutches. I frowned a little, wondering what Jason was doing until I actually saw the camera at my back...he was shielding me from their sight. They weren't too bothered about not getting me now because Jason Halperin was in their line of sight and the "hero of the library massacre" was better than some random survivor. I sniffed as they read out the names of the dead, Jason pulled me closer to him and kissed the top of my curls...That was the start of something beautiful between us.

Jason kissed my knuckles and brought me out of my musing, "What are you thinking about?" His brown eyes danced with the joy that had been there ever since he had proposed to me.

"Not much, just the first time we really met each other..."He knew I was talking about the library.

"Well, it is the anniversary..." I could tell he was uncomfortable so I fell into his arms. "I'm glad we got out of the house. Ten's all anyone can talk about..."

"It was the worse massacre in American history...until 9/11 that is." I reach up and touch his face, stubble forming on his chin made me chuckle, "I love you. And you're my hero from that day, you know that?"

"I'm everyone's hero..."

"Not to me. if it hadn't have been for you I'd have been up in that library until it was all over...and if you hadn't been there, I bet none of us would've survived. You warned us. It's thanks to you that I was able to walk down the aisle to marry you and that we have our little Willie." I sighed. He always got more depressed on 4/20 than any other day of the year but he just didn't realise that he had saved so many people.

Our reminiscing was interrupted by a delighted squeal from Willie. "Ma, da, come see, come see!" We couldn't help but indulge our little warrior, he stood proudly next to a sandcastle that looked a little like my parents cabin on the Ridge in the 1800s...

Jason met my grandpa before we were married. Unfortunately, granny died the year after Columbine, but grandda had met Jason and had thanked him for saving me. Grandda died 5 years after the shooting so he got to meet Willie. He almost cried when we told him his name; William Brian Reginald MacKenzie Halperin. And yes, this means that Jason can travel.

It's a good thing too, cause mama, daddy, and Jemmy decided to stay in the past. I don't think I could live without my family in the past.

"It looks great, son." Jason smiles at our son and then kisses the scar on my arm. My arm scar I'm not too bothered about but there's a sarong on my lower half as I'm too self conscious about the scar on my thigh. 

"He will never know how we met...if he asks how we met what do we say?"

"half-truth, Mandy...we met at school...we don't want him scared." I know. I don't want him scared either but we do have a really inquisitive boy and he won't stop asking until he has the truth. 

I sigh heavily, I will never forget that day and now my son may have to deal with it: "Oh Dhia! Mo ghille beag boched." Jason's looking at me and I realise I've slipped into Gaelic.

"English, Mandy." He chuckled and that felt good to hear, "Dos iz vi ikh redn eydish aoyf eykh!"

"Okay, okay." I'm chuckling now, I don't know what he said but he slipped into Yiddish as easily as I did Gaelic. "I get it, you can speak Yiddish!"

We sat back down and he looked at me, "I'll make you a deal...You teach me the language you were speaking, and I'll teach you Yiddish. Deal?" He held out a hand for me to shake but I wasn't going to take his wording lying down.

"First of all..."I feigned hurt at his words, "'that language' has a name. It's called 'Gaelic' and it's a beautiful, ancient, language of my ancestors that my grandpa taught me when I was younger. And then promptly forgot he taught me and started to swear in Gaelic." I was laughing through the sentence, partly at Jason and partly at the memory of me, aged 5 learning Gaelic and then grandda forgetting he was getting me to repeat what he said back to him and shouting out 'cac, am bugaire!' when he remembered he had left the stew for dinner on the fire. I obediently repeated what I heard and got a telling off, not a whipping as I had thought but because I was repeating not saying it myself. "And once you admit that Gaelic is just as important as Yiddish then we have a deal!" I grinned at Jason.

"You're right as usual, honey. Gaelic is just as important as Yiddish and that's why I want to learn how to speak it." He held out his hand for me to shake on the deal but I had a better idea. I kissed him gently. "Ah! Sealed with a loving kiss? Why didn't I think of that?" 

"Um..."I pretended to think about it for a hot minute then replied, "Cause I'm awesome?" 

The ride home in the car was great. We had stopped off for McDonalds and then Willie had fallen asleep in the car still clutching his happy meal toy. "tha gaol agam ort..." I whispered to Willie gently as Jason got him out of the car. He frowned at me. "First lesson, Jase. That means 'I love you'." Jason nodded his understanding and carried Willie up to bed and we taught each other loving phrases in each language until we fell asleep on the couch.