A/N: Part 2 is in NORMAL P.O.V. It's necessary so the story won't be completely biased with Gregory telling it.
PART II. HUMAN
Heather was practically stomping her way through the busy morning street as fast as she could. Both of her hands were clasped into tight fists. Why? Why does it have to be me?
She turned to the man with an impeccable grin on his face floating behind her. "Stop following me already!" she shouted in annoyance, ignoring the inquiring looks she got for yelling at thin air. "Don't you have anything better to do? You're supposed to have a job!"
Gregory raised both hands up instinctively. He was about ninety percent sure he's going to get hit. "Now, now, we don't want you having a heart attack." He smiled innocently. "The Keepers suspended all of my other obligations for the time being, so I don't really have anything else to do besides figuring out what's going on with us." He was slightly bothered by the way it sounded.
They had spent the rest of the day before talking about Gregory being a Death and how the whole "business" works. He explained everything in the simplest way possible – work shifts, territory, his boss, Henry Dermont, a brute and giant of a Death as he put it, the Keepers, the Pits of Hell, the Sanctuary of Heaven; all except how an essence is judged, which happened to be "strictly confidential" and not for any human to know.
Heather groaned. "Don't tell me you're going to hover behind me 24/7? This is going to make me crazy!" Her shoulders slumped.
"I could turn human if you want to. You do know that you're starting to look crazy already." He gestured towards the people walking past them, whispering and looking disturbed.
Great. Heather resumed her walk and lowered her voice, "That's just going to raise suspicion. I don't want news that I have a mysterious guy staying at my house going around the neighborhood. Especially right after Dan…" She stared at the floor.
Gregory remained silent. Her brother dying was the only subject he wouldn't give his opinion on.
"Anyway," Heather said after composing herself. "This way is better. Just, don't do anything stupid." She glared at him at the corner of her eye. "Or better yet, don't do anything at all."
"Yes ma'am!" he raised his left hand to his forehead in salute.
I hate this. Heather sighed, shaking her head. "You do that with your right hand."
The day went on uneventful. Heather attended her classes silently, listened to the professors, and took down important notes. All while ignoring the amazed comments Gregory kept on giving during the discussions.
"I didn't know Deaths are simple-minded." Heather whispered when she finally got bored with what her professor in Literature was saying. After all, he was only boasting about how he just got back from a lecture that was hosted abroad as the University's representative.
Gregory looked at her, caught off guard by Heather starting a conversation.
"What?" she asked when she saw the slightly-shocked look on his face.
"You're talking to me?" he inquired.
"Am I not allowed to?" She raised an eyebrow at him.
Gregory slumped in his seat. "I'm just surprised. You've been ignoring me for the past 4 hours, you know."
Heather crossed her arms across the table and bent and placed her chin over them. She kept her eyes on the white board in front, pretending to still be listening. "This class is boring me, unlike the other two I had this morning. All he ever talks about is the lecture he attended abroad and he wasn't even the one who conducted it."
"I'll take that as a compliment, then – that I'm not boring." Gregory smiled.
"Not as boring as this class, at least."
"Still, a compliment."
Heather smiled. "Simple-minded."
This time, Gregory laughed. "It amazes me how harsh you are. There's a difference between being simple and simple-minded, you know."
"Same difference." Heather yawned.
"By the way," Gregory started. "It's been bothering me all day…"
Heather looked at him at the corner of her eye and waited for him to continue.
"Don't you have any… What do you call it?" He searched his mind for the right human term. "Comrades?"
"What era have you been living in?" She suppressed a laugh.
"First of all, I haven't been 'living' to actually have a concept of 'era'. And second, isn't that what you call people you hang around with but you're not related to?" He looked genuinely confused.
"Friends. We call them 'friends'. 'Comrade''s a little outdated."
"It doesn't matter what I call it. Stop being 'little miss perfect' and just answer the question."
Heather glared at him at the smart-ass comeback.
Gregory gulped. She's better suited as a Death than I am. "Please?"
Heather sighed. "I don't know. I just don't like to mingle with people. I prefer being alone." She emphasized the last word, "aloooone".
Gregory laughed nervously. "Right…" Maybe I shouldn't have said anything.
"That's all for today. You guys can go," the professor yelled as he fixed the books on his table.
"Finally," Heather mumbled, standing up and grabbing her dark-blue backpack. She slowly walked towards the back door. "Hurry up or I'll leave you."
Gregory followed without another word.
Gregory silently followed Heather as she walked out of the campus, mainly because he's preoccupied with his own thoughts. Following Heather around all day and keeping a close watch on her didn't really help him in figuring out what made her so special. Not that I miss doing my old job… But this 'investigation' is not really getting anywhere. He stared at the back of her head. Sure she has a sharp tongue. And she heals. There's that. But still… She's just an ordinary girl. He sighed.
Heather pretty much ignored all the sighing behind her. I'm supposed to be the one exasperated here. She managed to stop herself from sighing. Not to mention all that sighing is contagious.
"Hey." Gregory finally broke the silence.
"What?" Heather asked without turning around.
"This isn't the same way we took this morning." His head was turning towards every direction. "Where are we going?"
"To the flower shop." Heather closed her eyes, remembering the last time she was there – the day her brother got into an accident. "You remember?" She pushed the memory out of her head.
Gregory nodded as if Heather could see him.
"We're going to take a shortcut in one of the alleys. They need me there by 6PM." It was a little obvious that she was trying to keep the conversation light. She was aware the Gregory was still feeling guilty about everything even though she already told him that she didn't blame him.
Gregory smiled. He might be simple-minded, but he wasn't insensitive. "Wait. Is it safe to go that way?"
"Of course. I've been going through that alley ever since I started this job."
"If you say so…" There was an uneasy feeling forming at the pit of his stomach that he couldn't quite place. If she says it's safe, it's safe. He shook his head as if trying to shake off water from his hair. What do I know anyway…
After another block, Heather turned left in a narrow alley between a bakery and a restaurant. It was where the mountain of garbage from both establishments were kept during the day up until closing time.
"It sure reeks in here." Gregory pinched his nose. "What a shortcut."
"Quit complaining. I didn't even know you can smell things." Heather walked at a faster pace, wanting to get out of the alley as fast as possible.
"Oh, I can smell alright. We Deaths have better senses than humans." He was covering both his nose and mouth by then. "Gah! I can taste it in my mouth! What kind of garbage do you humans dispose of anyway? And how long is this freaking alley? I'm dying here!"
"Stop breathing through your mouth, idiot. That's just gonna make it worse." Heather almost laughed. It was amusing to see how Death acted more like a human than what people assumed. "And as if you could die."
"I could try! Right now, I might actually choose that over–" Gregory cut himself off when he realized that Heather had suddenly stopped walking. "What's wrong?" He looked at where she was looking.
There was a group of people around Heather's age at the other end of the alley. Two were sitting inside a blue sedan and the other four were leaning on the hood and body of the car. They were laughing and talking with each other, almost shouting as if in competition with the loud music blasting from the car stereo.
"You know them?" Gregory asked.
Heather started walking again, this time, more slowly. I should've taken the long route today. "Just ignore them," she said before chuckling at her own statement. "Not that it matters, anyway."
Gregory stayed a little further behind, curious.
"Hey." The guy leaning on the door of the passenger seat raised a hand at Heather. "If it isn't Heather McWayne." His smile was mischievous.
"What do you want, Ben." Her tone didn't sound at all like she was asking. It only sounded irritated.
The guy with messy blonde hair and dark-brown eyes, Ben, extended his arm to keep Heather from passing him. "Oh don't be like that. Don't think that just because we let you leave the group that you're suddenly better than us."
The girl sitting on the passenger seat popped her head out the window. She was playing with the ends of her long dark hair. "He's right you know." She smiled menacingly. "So what do you say? Won't you come back and play with us again, Thery?"
Heather bit her lower lip. "Tell him to let me pass, Gretta." She glared at the girl in the car.
"She's not the boss of me." Ben was clearly pissed off that Heather told the girl to order him as if he'd follow like a dog. He straightened himself and completely blocked Heather's way, both hands now in his pocket.
The girl, Gretta, chuckled. "I think you got him mad."
Gregory was a little shocked to see Heather smiling. It was different from her usual smile. It looked even more menacing than how Ben and Gretta had smiled. Her eyes looked as if she had every intention to kill whoever makes a mistake of pissing her off. This is bad… Chills went down the back of his neck. "I have to do something."
"Oh, I think we all know you've been living under her skirt for the last 3 years now."
"Why you little-!" Ben raised a fist, ready to punch Heather in the face.
"What do you think you're doing?" Gregory appeared behind him and grabbed his wrist. Ben screamed in pain as soon as his bones started cracking from the grip.
"Who the hell are you?" Gretta shouted, her voice a few octaves higher. "Let go of him!"
"Okay." Gregory complied. "I think he's not gonna be able punch anyone in a few weeks anyway." He walked towards Heather and stopped beside her.
"What are you doing?" Heather demanded in a hushed tone.
"Saving you." Gregory whispered back.
"I didn't ask for saving!"
"What's this? You're new boyfriend?" The guy leaning on the hood of the car walked towards the commotion. He ran a hand through his long black hair and smiled an eerie smile.
"Yes I am." Gregory cut Heather off and placed an arm around her shoulders.
The guy eyed him from head to toe. "This one's a keeper, Thery. You better hold on to him." He placed a hand over Ben's head. "Ben's sorry for the way he acted. He's being stupid, as usual. Aren't you, Ben?" He gave the other guy a look.
Ben seemed to shake in fear and nodded. "I-I'm sorry."
"See?" The guy smiled.
"Let's just go." Heather was looking at the floor.
Gregory raised an eyebrow and nodded.
"Let's hang out sometime." The guy shouted as they walked away.
Gregory turned to look at them, letting Heather drag him away. Somehow, he felt uneasy as he stared back at the guy's dark eyes. He turned to look at the top of Heather's head. Something's definitely up.