Chapter 12:

Halloween was colder than usual that year, in sunny Wilson. The leaves of the trees in the school court yard were purple and orange in the October light.

Squibs had left the hospital earlier that week, with only a broken arm and a large scar across his forehead. He waved a good-bye to the girls as he climbed on the back of Edge's motorcycle headed for Jeanie's. He and the blue-haired college boy had become an item while Squibs was still in traction.

One must feel a little sorry for Edge, though. After the two announced their relationship that weekend, three very scary friends pulled him to the side to inform him as to the immense bodily harm he shall face if he ever does anything to make the red-head cry.

Mitsy and Sherr waved back. They would have followed, to spy on the boys' date, but they had to be at Rocky's new apartment at five to help him move in. After a long argument with his parents, and an assertion of his right as a, now legal, adult, he had transferred back to Wilson High for the start of third quarter.

They decided to burn up some time till then and headed over to the big maple tree in the middle of the courtyard. Grabbing a hold of one of the lower branches, Sherry hoisted herself up into the tree. She new she'd catch hell for it from some administrator later, but at the time, she didn't really care. A strong breeze shifted the branches around her like a cloud made of sunset light. Her mind was at ease. One day, her strange blood-gift might re-manifest itself, but she had resolved not to worry about that day till it came.

Mitsy stared up at her friend. That gold hair now had bronze and copper leaves tangled in it, along with silver bark. The thought stuck her that her friend was like a Greek goddess made of metal, Pandora with out the baggage. She got the feeling that she was forgetting something important, but she couldn't place what it was, as she followed the blond into the tree.

"You know," she said, "I found a picture of Edge in last year's year book. His real name is, get this, Edger!"

"Are you serious? No wonder he changed it!" They started laughing together.

Sherry suddenly got quiet. She remembered that night, when everything had changed. It had taken her a while, but she had finally figured out why she had pulled back from Zack so quickly. Her chest was still tight with guilty for the way she had acted to her best friend. She wasn't sorry for yelling at her parents, because they should have and could have told her, but she was sorry for how she had treated Mitsy, who hadn't had a choice.

"Um… Mits? I've got something I have to say, and it real important, so listen up."

She really hoped this wouldn't blow up in her face.

Mitsuko sat on her branch in rapt attention, though the back of her mind was picking up some serious de'ja vu.

"Alright. What's up, Sunshine?"

She gulped. "Well, first I want to apologize for, you know, what happened with the whole Burning-Red thing, and me basically treating you like shit. It wasn't right of me to blame you, and I didn't really tell you I was sorry before…" She trailed off, scared of what she wanted to do next.

Mitsuko tilted her head in confusion. "You said 'first'. What else did you need to say?"

Sherry inhaled deeply and centered herself. She shifted her grip on the tree branch so that she faced the precog fully.

"Secondly…" She had no words to say what came next, so instead she followed her instinct. She leaded forward and pressed her own lips to Mitsy's thin ones and hoped to whatever deity was up there that this would work out, and on a more superficial note, that she wouldn't get slapped.

Mitsuko's eyes went wide as Sherr pulled back from the chaste kiss, chewing her own lip nervously. Then she smiled at the blond and pulled her into a much better kiss.

"You are my Sunshine

My only Sunshine

You make me happy

When skies are gray

You'll never know, dear

How much I love you

So please don't take

My Sunshine away..."