The thug came out of nowhere, knife gleaming in the lowlight as he lunged for Cassandra. Jake acted on instinct, coming between the redhead and the man as he tried to get a lucky shot to the man's face.

He did.

Jake looked down to see the blade protruding from his left side, buried to the hilt in his flesh. His right hand hovered over the wound, red seeping around the edges as it escaped the prison of his body.

He blinked.

"Stone? Jacob? Jake answer me!"

Hmm he didn't remember falling yet here he was looking up at the beautiful pools of Cassandra's eyes. Wow. He never realized how they swirled like the sky in Starry Night. Wait no, those were tears. Why was she crying? He raised his right hand to touch her face, startled to see he just succeeded in making a bloody handprint on her face. Her sobs were loud in the cave they were in, echoing to seek help but ultimately just finding an abyss that swallowed them whole.


Was that him? Wow that croak was pathetic.

"Cass," he cleared his throat, only to feel a warm trickle slide out of his mouth. He needed her to know.

Wait. He needed her to know what?

The way she turned his life around?

What difference she's made in him with just her presence?

How when she smiles it lights a fire in his heart that he's never experienced before?

How he finds himself in a room full of priceless art and she is what he stares at?

That he loves her.

"Cassie... I...I... Trust you."

She blinked, startled by the statement. He'd forgiven her long ago and told her he trusted her again so why...Her eyes filled with more tears as she realized what he meant.

"I trust you too Jacob."

His mouth turned a little at the corner, eyes crinkling up in just the way she loved. She held his hand, seeing him grimace and let out a weak cough. His eyes drooped and his grip went slack.

"Jake? Jacob? No wake up! Stay with me! Come on!"

She shook him, slapped him, yelled profanities, threatened to burn every piece of art she found, but he didn't move.

"Jacob please..."

She laid her head over his heart, where a steady thumping should be.

"Don't leave me."

Her tears seeped into his ruined shirt and she raised her head from his chest, haunted by the hollow nothingness she found.

She stared at his slack face.

A fire burned in her so bright.

She screamed.

The agonized yell pierced the air and she saw a blue light take up the entire cave.

The brightness was painful and she noticed it came from her hands.

She didn't know why, but she pressed them on the body below her. Like a sponge, the light soaked into the wound, bringing flesh together as it repaired what she needed.

It was over in a matter of seconds, her breathing suddenly loud as everything became still.

No. Not her breathing. Their breathing.

She saw the chest slowly rise and fall, the shallow breaths coming with only a slight hitch.

Bright blue eyes popped open, wide as an owl and just as shocked.

"Well I'd rather not do that again."

She couldn't help it. She laughed and launched herself at him, crying tears of joy and relief instead of despair and anger. She let him go when he made a slight pained noise.


Jake brushed himself off as he sat up. A groan escaped his lips and he peeled his shirt off the sticky skin of his abdomen. Under all the red that covered his torso, an intricate blue design was tattooed and woven into the recent scar of his stab wound. He looked down at it, puzzled.

"Do I want to know what just happened?"

Cassandra also stared at the new tattoo, then moved her gaze to her hands.

"I...I don't know."

Noises from further in the cave made them stare in that direction.

"Maybe we should discuss this later."

He pulled his shirt back down and started to stand, swaying a bit. He threw a hand out to steady himself, finding a wall to orient himself with. Cassandra immediately was at his side, ducking her head under his arm and trying to support him. He shook his head, a smirk on his face. The noises before became closer and clearer in his ears.

"We need to get back to the Annex."