This takes place about two years post PP. I haven't watched PP in forever, so I might get a couple details wrong...

And nobody ever really mentioned Maddie's maiden name or her family background, so I'm using that to my advantage.

Elijah Walker was not a sissy. Never had been, never would be, and anyone who thought otherwise could pack their bags and hightail it out of there-provided they had the chance, of course. Not likely, but stranger things had happened. The bottom line was simple: He meant business, and business was serious. He could count on one hand the times in his life he'd refused to do something out of fear. Four of them had occurred before he reached his twentieth birthday.

But if he had known what Clockwork had planned to tell him that morning, he would have stayed in bed.

His shoes echoed on the stone floor as he entered Clockwork's lair. He'd tried to come up with a nicer word for it, one that didn't call to mind images of dragons and cheesy movie villains, but lair was the only one that fit. He approached the massive sundial in the center of the room; Clockwork appeared with a manila folder. Not Clockwork's typical method of communication, but as a fan of manila folders, Walker couldn't complain.

"So what's this about, Clockwork?"

Clockwork regarded him with those dark eyes of his, taking on the form of a younger man. "I have noticed that the past two years have seen an increase in human-ghost interaction."

"You wantin' me to stop it? 'Cause I've tried harder than anyone-" Clockwork cut him off with a wave of his hand.

"No. It's continued for reasons both known and unknown."

Walker sniffed, shoving his hands into his pockets. "No need to be so mysterious about it."

To his mild surprise, Clockwork smiled. "One mystery is about to be solved, Elijah. One that has haunted you for quite some time." He opened the folder and handed it across. Photographs of two red-haired girls lay on top. Walker ran a finger over one of the older pictures.

" this Maddie? Alicia?" He looked up. Clockwork smiled his encouragement.

"I thought you might enjoy catching up on what your family has been doing." He indicated a stone bench. "Take all the time you need."

Walker sat on the bench and spent the next few minutes looking through the photographs. Maddie and Alicia playing in a kiddie pool. Alicia on her first day of kindergarten, and Maddie on hers. Maddie with chicken pox, covered in calomine lotion. Alicia holding a kitten. Alicia, grinning broadly, her arms covered in bright red scratches. Maddie at Homecoming, arms linked with an acne-ridden football player. Alicia standing beside a car packed with suitcases and various odds and ends. Maddie on a college campus. He swatted impatiently at the tears that sprang to his eyes. He didn't want to wreck these pictures by crying on them.

Beneath the pictures were sheets of paper stapled together. A picture of Maddie was in the top left-hand corner of the first sheet; below was information about her.

Madeline Walker Fenton
Age: 42
Husband: Jack Fenton
Children: Jasmine (20); Daniel (18)

Walker went cold. He read the information again, out loud this time, hoping it would somehow change. "Madeline Walker Fenton, age 42...Husband is Jack, kids are Jasmine and...oh hell." He looked up sharply. "Clockwork!"


Walker held up Maddie's bio, jabbing the offending line with his finger. "This your idea of a joke?"

Clockwork was smiling. Smiling! "It's no joke, Elijah."

Walker stood angrily and paced. "Why'd you tell me this? Huh? I was doin' just fine before you decided to spring this on me!"

"Why do you think?"

Walker stopped midstride, banging his palm against his forehead as realization dawned.

Clockwork allowed the silence to linger for a moment. "If you're going to do it, Elijah," he finally said, "you'd best do it soon."

Walker sank onto the bench with a groan and buried his head in his hands. "Oh hell."

Review! I command thee in the name of the sovereign state of Missouri!