It took a while for Jay to come round. Jake and I used the time to fill each other in. Simply put, the Council had been using unpleasant means to get as much information about me from him. That's how he put it. Unpleasant means. I didn't need telepathy to know what that meant. I filled him in on Jay's mission to find Jessica and my plan to leave bounty hunting behind me.
"I want a normal life, Jake, like we had before..."
"Before Lee, you mean." His tone held hate for Lee and a slight wry amusement. When I looked at him, his eyes were dancing, like he had a private joke.
"Can't you tell?" His tone was a challenge then.
You know I'd never read your thoughts without your say so, Jake. Since its hard to lie in your thoughts, he'd know the depths of my sincerity then.
"That's what I've wanted, even before this supernatural... stuff. Just a normal life, you and me against the world, all that." He had a bitter smile on his face. "Took you long enough to agree with me."
I kissed him then, letting him know exactly how much I'd missed him, how much I needed him in my life. He didn't even pause before he was doing the same. For the first time in a very long time, I didn't feel like the screw-up, I didn't feel that destructive urge I'd had in my last year or so as a human. I didn't have that lost, empty feeling I'd had when I said goodbye to him. I didn't hurt like I did when I'd though Lee had killed him. It felt good. Really good.
I closed my eyes, leaning my forehead on his. He leaned back slightly, catching my chin in his hand. I opened my eyes to his beautiful brown ones looking right at me.
"God, I missed you." He smiled, a proper smile and pulled me into a close hug.
"Don't do that again, okay?" I muttered into his chest.
He was saved from replying by Jay's stirring.
I heard that. If you disappear on purpose just to see what kind of "welcome" you get then, it won't be like that..
I thought you weren't listening He was clearly amused.
Well you weren't exactly quiet with that thought
"Asha?" Jay had struggled into a sitting position as I turned to face him.
"I'm here Jay, this is Jake."
"Meetcha." Jake was never one for introductions.
"Likewise." Jay wasn't really either.
"What happened?" I was more concerned with how many agents Jay had convinced to hound us.
"I got there, like you said. It was weird, the place was empty. Like there'd been a fire drill or something. I got to the room where Jessica was and there was one guy, holding her by the throat. It looked like she'd passed out, she didn't move when I called her or anything."
"What did the guy look like?"
"Blonde, evil." My stomach shrank. "He said his name was Lee. He ripped her to pieces, Asha. Right in front of me. He said that it was a message."
"What kind of message?" My voice sounded hollow, even to me and I finally registered that Jake had gone rigid in a bad way.
" 'Stay away from my girl.' "