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Red Wolf

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"Unnghhhh," you let out a long groan as you pressed down on the open wound in your thigh. Blood coated your hands, your pants, just about everything. It had been several minutes but as hard as you were trying, you couldn't get the bleeding to slow. Your vision turned blurry as the pain overtook you. You fought to stay conscious but you were fighting a losing battle.

A few moments later, a low growl brought you to. Opening your eyes, you see a pair of dark lips pulled back tightly, revealing a sharp set of teeth. The wolf's hot breath pushing into your gaping mouth. This was the largest wolf you had ever seen. It's white fur was thick and caked with dirt and dried blood, particularly around the muzzle. A red cross was drawn between its wild eyes. Oh fuck, you thought. It's a god damned Judge.

You hadn't been in Hope County long but word travels fast, particularly when you're living in a war zone. The elderly couple running the bed and breakfast you had been staying at told you stories of these beasts - rabid wolves: stronger, faster and more fierce than any you'd encounter in the wild. You supposed they were wild at one point, before Jacob and his hunters got ahold of them. And of course you heard frightening stories about him too, and all the Seeds really, so you did your best not to stray too far north. But you realized now that you must have left Holland Valley accidentally while out for your walk.

You pushed yourself up on your elbows, kicking your feet while trying to scurry backward. The wolf let out another terrifying growl. You closed your eyes tightly, knowing you'd never outrun the predator in your current state and braced yourself for the attack.

A low whistle sounded behind you in the thick brush and the breath you felt beating down on your face disappeared. You opened your eyes to see the Judge sitting obediently at your feet, staring behind you. You twisted around as best as you could to see a large man in a camouflage jacket stepping into the clearing. You recognized him instantly from his shock of red hair - Jacob, the oldest Seed brother. The Soldier.

"Fuck," you muttered between gritted teeth. Things had just gone from bad to worse. You laid back on the grass, hoping for some kind of miracle.

Jacob took two long strides before he reached you. He stopped with his boots on either side of your shoulders. His blue eyes pierced yours, searching.

"Resistance?" he asked in a low voice. His expression was calm. You stared up at him, unable to speak. He let out a long dramatic sigh, pressing his hands to his knees and bending down to your level.

"Are you part of the fucking Resistance or are you just mute?" he spit.

"N..no."

He straightened up and looked at his Judge, his eyes were almost asking him what he should do with you.

"Well you're fucking shot," he stated calmly. "I'd normally say you must be fighting for someone but I don't see any weapons." He kicked at your leg lazily, causing a scream to escape your lips.

Jacob walked around you, staring down at your face, contorted in pain. He would normally leave you in the woods and let nature run its course. You weren't one of his and you weren't Resistance, or so you claimed, so why should he waste a bullet. Over the years, he had become very good at reading people though; he honestly believed you were just an innocent bystander in whatever happened here. His thoughts turned to his brother. Joseph would be happy to know he had saved you. He was always spurting off some bullshit about how he and John needed to "love the people".

"Fine," Jacob muttered to himself before picking you up abruptly from the ground. You bit the inside of your cheek to stop another scream from erupting. He wasn't being overly gentle in the way he carried you. In fact, his fingers dug into the flesh just below your wound as he trudged through the trees and underbrush. His bright eyes stared ahead or occasionally darted down to the wolf trotting by his side, but never to you. A few minutes later, you came to a white pickup on the road. Jacob held your torso to his and removed his hand from your legs, opening the passenger side door. He basically threw you into the seat and hopped into the driver's seat, nodding an instruction to the Judge. It disappeared back into the woods.

Normally you would spill some smart ass remark about how he ought to treat you like a lady but you felt yourself starting to lose consciousness again. The pain shooting down your leg travelled throughout your lower body, as waves of nausea threatened you. You turned to Jacob, mouthing the word "window" but he just pushed your head back into the seat and instructed you to rest. He obviously wasn't shaken up by the amount of blood that was soaking your clothes and now the interior of his truck. You opened your mouth to speak but were unable to move. Your eyes closed again and you thought about how this was quite possibly the worst day of your life.

Chapter Text

Jacob stared down at the open wound on your leg. He already cut through your pant leg with his hunting knife and washed the blood free from your leg. After inspecting you, he determined the bullet hadn't made its exit. He needed to retrieve the pieces before they lodged their way in deeper. He of course had done this before but it was always tricky.

He motioned for one of his men to pin your upper body to the table. You had lost a lot of blood and were still passed out but he knew the pain would wake you. Quickly, he spread the shredded skin and pushed his fingers inside, feeling for pieces of metal. One of them hit his fingers immediately and he fished it out, throwing it on the floor. You still hadn't woken and he was grateful for that. He didn't want to deal with you thrashing around on top of his current task. Jacob took a quick breath and inserted his fingers again, this time pushing deeper into your leg. He fished around for a moment before finding another piece. Before he was able to pull it free, your eyes flew open. A gutteral scream escaped your lips, your body thrashing on the table as Jacob pushed your legs down.

"Stay still," he instructed, glancing up at you.

"Wh-what are you doing to me?" You asked. You were sure you had just woken up to a him torturing you. If he was anything like his younger brother, you wouldn't make it out of here alive.

The pain you felt in your leg radiated through your hip and up your side, forcing your jaw to clench.

"I'm getting this damn bullet out of your leg. Now stay still or I'll leave it in there."

You laid back on the table, allowing what you assumed to be one of his hunters to hold you down. You had no idea how you were going to get through this but knew it needed to be done. Tears started to pool in your eyes but you fought them back. You refused to let any of them see your weakness. You knew their motto.

Jacob had already grabbed your leg again, pushing his thumb to the side of the wound, opening it wider so he could get a better look. He dug his fingers in, fishing out the second piece.

"One more piece," he explained. You gritted your teeth as hard as you could, moaning loudly as he searched for the last bit. The light on the ceiling began to dim and then flicker. You stared at it intently, trying to distract your mind from the burning pain. You finally realized the light wasn't fading, you were about to pass out again.

---

You weren't sure how much time had passed when you woke up. Someone had moved you from the metal table to a double bed with one striped blanket folded at your feet. A nightstand sat to your right with a small desk lamp and a bottle of pills. Other than that, the room had no other furniture.

You glanced down at your leg, wondering if Jacob had been successful in removing the bullet. He must have; tight black stitches now covered the wound. The blood had been washed away for the most part. That's when you realized your pants were missing and you laid there in just your panties and t-shirt. Suddenly self conscious, you tried to pull yourself up to grab the blanket at your feet but the pain stopped you immediately. Your body forced it's way back into the mattress but you tried again. It was no use, the pain was almost unbearable.

"You need to relax," a familiar voice instructed from the doorway. Jacob stood with his normal calm and confident exterior, holding a glass of water. He marched toward you and pushed the glass into your hand. "Drink."

You looked at the glass briefly. As thirsty as you were, you decided it was more important to cover up in front of him. You nodded down to the sheet at the foot of the bed. "Could you?"

"You know you're not the only woman I've seen in her panties right? You don't have anything I haven't seen before." The corner of his mouth turned up slightly at the sight of your reddened face and neck.

Yes, he had been with women in the past. A lot. Joseph may preach against it but as far as Jacob was concerned, humans were meant to have sex so he never abstained from it. It had been awhile though. There weren't many women in the project who came this far north and those who did were either scared of him or just wanted to advance in position. He didn't need it that badly. And honestly, he had so much on his plate right now that sex would have just been a distraction.

He pulled the sheet up to your waist and pushed your hand towards your lips.

"Drink," he repeated. "And take one of these. It'll help with the pain." He popped one of the pills on your nightstand out of the bottle and handed it to you. You did as he instructed, finishing the whole glass and placing it on the nightstand.

"More?" Jacob asked.

"No, I'm fine. Thank you," you looked up into his blue eyes. My God, this man was hard to read. You had no idea if he was annoyed that you were here or what he had planned for you. And you still had no idea why he ended up saving you. "Thank you for helping me. You could have just left me there."

"Could have," he said bluntly. He had thought it over the past few hours while you slept and kicked himself for not just walking away. You were going to be a handful to look after; it would take weeks before you were back on your feet fully and then after that, what the hell was he supposed to do with you? He couldn't explain it but something made him help you that day even though every bit of him screamed not to.

"Get some sleep," he instructed again and started towards the door. "I'll send someone up with some food for you."

"What are you going to do with me?" You asked before you were able to stop yourself.

Jacob shrugged and closed the door behind him.

Chapter Text

Three days went by and you had only seen Jacob once. He came in briefly to check on your wound but barely spoke. He didn't seem as scary as the stories made him out to be - in fact, he seemed calm most of the time. You didn't know what you expected but you were sure he would be cruel to you.

The rest of the time, his men came in with water and food for you and even brought in a wheelchair to help you to the bathroom across the hall. Other than that, you were left on your own. A large part of your day was spent sleeping and the other part, staring out the window from your spot on the bed. There wasn't much else to do. You never thought you'd say this but you hoped Jacob would come to see you soon. He had been kind to you and really was the only person who spoke to you while you were here, even though it was brief. At night, you swore you could hear footsteps or a whistle similar to the one he let out on the day he found you, from the next room but you weren't sure. You had no idea where you were or if he even lived here.

On the fourth day before the sun peeked through your window, there was a loud knock on the door. You opened your eyes slightly, turning your head to the noise, unsure if you had been dreaming.

"Wakey, wakey," he exclaimed while barging in the door, not waiting for your response. He took a few strides with those long legs of his and reached over to your bedside lamp. The light blinded you temporarily. You blinked up at him, confused at the intrusion.

"Morning," you managed to squeak out. Your eyes finally adjusted to the light. Jacob stood beside your bed in his normal jeans, t-shirt and army jacket. You wondered if he ever wore anything else. He smiled slightly and sat at the foot of your bed.

"Still alive I see," he observed. He nodded to your legs. "Can you walk?"

"Not really. I've been using a wheelchair to get around... Well, just to the bathroom and back. I've been instructed to stay in my room."

"That's wise. Not much in this wing of the Veteran's Center except for my room," he ran a hand through his beard while examining your face closely. So it had been him you heard at night. Your room must be next door to his. You wondered why he hadn't been in sooner to see you if he literally walked by you every day.

Jacob pulled the sheet from your legs suddenly and ran a callused finger across your stitches. He seemed pleased.

"Not infected so there's that. You should be back on your feet shortly. You don't want to stay in bed too long, you need to build the muscles back up". He left his hand on your thigh and shifted his eyes upwards. "Still wearing the same clothes I see."

"Well... yeah," you spat without thinking. "It's not like I carry around a spare set for special occasions such as this." You were embarrassed that he noticed your lack of hygiene but really, did he expect you to be able to shower yourself? You could barely stand long enough to lower yourself into the wheelchair.

"You could have just taken them off," he replied casually. He stood up and offered you his hand. You stared at him blankly. He sighed.

"I'm taking you to get bathed. I'll grab some clean clothes for you too. Can't have you smelling worse than the wolves."

You were reluctant but decided you did need a good soak. You grabbed his hand and tried pulling yourself up. Once your feet were on the floor, your legs started to wobble. You reached for the wheelchair next to the bed but Jacob kicked it away.

"Nope. You need to start walking. It'll only get worse, the longer you lay around without exercise."

You forced yourself to stare ahead and not flash him the dirty look you'd like to. Was this guy for real? You were just shot a few days ago. He really did take this strong/weak thing to heart. You decided to get it over with because you knew he certainly wasn't going to help. One foot moved in front of the other. Okay, one step down. You moved the other foot to follow but your knee buckled and you started to fall. Jacob pulled you up by the hand he still held. He nodded at you to continue.

One more step. Then another. Jacob let go of your hand half way across the room, watching you intently. You took another step and lost your balance, collapsing to your knees. You struggled to push up to your feet but fell again. Jacob grabbed you quickly from behind and pulled you up. He threw you over his shoulder and took you the rest of the way.

"One time only," he explained while setting you down on the toilet. He turned the taps of the tub - it was the deepest one you had ever seen. You looked forward to being completely submerged in warm water. "I'll be back in a half an hour with some clothes." He closed the door behind him as he walked away.

After a few minutes of struggling and gripping tightly to the side, you were able to get undressed and slide yourself into the tub. The water stung your leg terribly for but the water felt great. You leaned back and dipped your head under the warm water. Coming up for air, you washed yourself with the soap on the side of the tub. You noticed it smelled like Jacob. You smiled before catching yourself. Surely you weren't happy thinking about him; he was a Seed. He and his brothers caused nothing but pain for the people in Hope County. They were all psychotic. But.. Jacob didn't seem so bad, really. Yes, he trained these people to fight one another to the death but he was doing it for his brothers, to protect them. He would do anything for them, even die, you knew even from the short time you knew him. You were sure he saw things that would make any human crazy while he was at war so was it so crazy for him to have a lack of empathy for these people - the people he thought were threatening his family. And besides that, he could have left you for dead or killed you by now. Instead, he was off digging for new clothes for you. It just didn't make any sense. Still, you needed to keep reminding yourself of who he was because he was not your friend. You would do what you had to, to get back on your feet and leave as quickly as possible.

Your thoughts were soon interrupted by Jacob barging through the door. He held some clothes under his arm and a couple of towels.

"Do you ever knock?!" You tried to cover yourself with your arms, sinking back into the tub as far as you could.

"You never answer," he said. He held his hands out towards you, stepping closer.

"What are you doing?"

"You couldn't get off the floor by yourself. You'll never be able to get out of that tub, so c'mon," he explained. You hated to admit it but he was right. Still, the thought of him seeing you so exposed made you cringe inside. You instantly felt self conscious.

"Okay but look that way at least," you reasoned. You let him place his hands just below your armpits and raise you from the tub. He didn't look away as instructed but he didn't look down at your body either.

"Oh, kitten," he sighed. "I'm not going to make a move on ya. Relax." He helped you out of the tub and sat you on the toilet again while he handed you a towel. He used the other to dry your back. When you were dried off, he grabbed the clothes that were laying on the floor - a grey t-shirt and a pair of black sweatpants. You felt strange putting the shirt on without a bra but it was loose enough that it didn't cling too much. Once you were dressed, Jacob scooped you up in his arms again and carried you back to bed. He knew he had said only once but he was running late for training and it was just easier this way.

"I'll send up food for you. Tomorrow we're going to get you up and walking again," he studied your face for a moment before turning to leave again.

"Umm, Jacob?"

"Hmm?" He stopped, glancing over his shoulder.

"Thank you. Truly, I can't thank you enough."

He nodded briefly before heading out, leaving you to your thoughts again.

---

The day went by slowly. You tried to get back to sleep after Jacob left but your thoughts were everywhere. You couldn't believe how he had treated you this morning. You had to keep telling yourself what a monster he was even though he didn't seem it.

Around noon, one of his men finally came to your room with a sandwich and a glass of water. He handed you a couple books and walked out without a word.

"Thank you!" You yelled after him. These people had zero manners. You looked through the stack of books: Call Of The Wild (how original), The Shining and a true crime book about some murder spree in South Dakota. You decided to read through The Shining; you loved the movie but had never read the book.

That helped pass some time that afternoon and at some point, your body gave in and you dozed off for a bit. When you woke up, there was a bowl of cold soup and a piece of crusty bread next to your bed. You weren't sure how long you had been out but you heard a familiar pair of footsteps coming down the hall. It must be late.

Jacob opened your door and peeked his head in. He looked exhausted.

"Still up?" He pushed the door open but didn't step inside the room. He thought you would be sleeping by now. It was close to midnight.

"I just woke up," you explained, pushing yourself up. "Thanks for the books, by the way"

He nodded before turning to leave again. He had spent most of the day training the new recruits and was surprisingly tired. Normally he only got a couple hours of sleep a night. The project depended on him, he was a leader and had to set an example. He kicked himself for already wasting time this morning looking after you - not to mention the time he wasted while his thoughts turned to you throughout the day. He didn't know what it was about you but he wanted to help, wanted to make sure you were okay.

"Are you alright?" You yelled after him.

He turned back and nodded once more. "Be ready tomorrow morning. I won't be knocking," he grinned.

You smiled back and leaned back in the bed. A few minutes later, you heard Jacob in the next room. You could hear his footsteps pacing back and forth. He continued to do this for the next half an hour. By then, you had finished your soup and had picked up your book. A few pages in, you decided you needed to check on him. You pulled yourself up from the bed and shuffled across the floor. Every step sent pain up your leg but you decided it was easier to just continue on then go back for the wheelchair. Once you got to Jacob's door, you knocked softly. The pacing from inside stopped but he didn't answer. You knocked again. This time, he opened the door abruptly... An expression of annoyance on his face.

Your eyes fell involuntarily; he stood in just his usual pair of jeans. You drank in the sight of his him - the soft red hair covering his chest and trailing down his navel before disappearing to where his pants sat below his waist. You traced every muscle, every curve with your mind before hearing him clear his throat. You looked up, mortified.

"Need something?" He asked, crossing his arms. His expression was one of amusement. He obviously enjoyed seeing you embarrassed.

"I, umm..." You kept your eyes to the floor, praying you wouldn't start ogling him again. "Well, I heard you still awake and wanted to make sure you were okay. You look like you had a hard day."

Jacob could barely believe it. He'd never had anyone other than Joseph check in on him yet here you were at his door. He knew it must have been hard for you to walk that distance, however short. He couldn't stop himself from smiling a bit. "I'm fine."

He reached out his hand and held your arm while he helped you hobble into his room before sitting you in a chair next to a small round table in the corner of his room. You looked around. His room was similar to yours - a double bed on a metal frame and the same wooden night stand. The only difference was a stack of books on the floor in the corner and the table you were sitting at. It had two wooden chairs and was covered in papers and maps, all in neat little piles.

"Now," he started while taking a seat in the other chair, "I need to know how you managed to get shot." He was avoiding your question

"Well, honestly I'm not sure," you explained. He hadn't put a shirt on before he sat down. You struggled to keep your eyes on his. You noticed how warm they were, even with the dark circles that surrounded them. "I was out for a walk... I'm staying in the Valley but I must have wandered further than I thought. I remember hearing shouting and then gunfire but I didn't see anyone."

"Stray bullet."

"Yeah, I guess so," you agreed.

Jacob leaned forward in his chair and rested his elbows on the table. He was curious now how you lived in Holland Valley but John hadn't gotten ahold of you yet. He didn't notice any scars on your body when he helped you out of the tub. The memory of your body flashed through his mind again and the way you held yourself self-consciously though he didn't see any reason why you ought to. He blinked and forced the image away. He looked up at your face with it's still worried expression.

"I'm fine," he repeated. "I'm sorry if I kept you up... I don't sleep much."

"You need a break."

Jacob laughed. "Not going to happen."

"But, you have people here to help you out right? All of them with excellent manners I might add."

He narrowed his eyes slightly at that, the smile on his face disappeared.

"Did they do something to you?" He asked.

"Oh! Oh, no.. I didn't mean that," you explained. "They just don't talk to me."

He nodded but said nothing.

"Don't you have a second in command or something?"

"Yes, but they need me to be their leader. I'm Joseph's voice in the North, they look to me for guidance. I can't just leave whenever I want."

"No, I know... But maybe you could take off a bit early so you could get to bed at a decent hour," you suggested. He stared at you with a slight smirk. "Ok, ok.. I get it. I'll leave you to it then."

You tried to stand from the table but Jacob stopped you. "You don't have to go if you can't sleep."

---

A couple of hours later, you both sat around the table, playing poker. You learned that you were both terrible at it and laughed at each other as you struggled to put a pair of cards together. You thought the conversation would be light - he was so quiet most of the time, all business - but at some point in the night, he started to open up a bit. You talked briefly about the Gulf War but you could tell it was bothering him to do so, so you dropped it. He asked about your family and how you came to be in Hope County. He asked so many questions and you did your best to answer them. When you got to the part about your parents not being around anymore and having no other family, you noticed he quickly changed the subject for you. Instead he asked how your stay at the Veteran's Center was so far. You told him how bored you were.... Of everything. You really hoped he didn't take offense. He had been so accommodating by letting you stay as long as you had. He didn't seem to mind your remarks and asked what you were bored of the most.

"Umm, honestly?" He nodded. "The food."

Jacob laughed loudly at that. "The food?"

"I mean, please don't think I'm unappreciative of everything you've done for me. Just, whoever you have in that kitchen doesn't know a thing about spice. And dessert? Why is there never dessert?!"

"Well, the people living here are training and don't need dessert," he replied before pausing for a moment. He leaned across the table towards you. He still hadn't put on a shirt and it had been driving you crazy all night. "What kind of dessert?"

You thought about that for a moment. You had always had a weakness for anything sweet and hadn't found a dessert you didn't like.

"Anything with chocolate in it I guess"

"Typical woman," he grunted. You rolled your eyes at him.

"So does that mean I get some chocolate with my meals now?" You asked hopefully. He shook his head.

"No chocolate on site. Never has been."

"Well, that's my cue to take my leave," you teased. You tried to push your chair back but after sitting for so long, your muscles were stiff. The chair didn't budge.

"Here," Jacob was up suddenly and at your side. He pushed the chair out and scooped you up in his arms. You leaned into him, feeling his warm skin through your shirt.

"I thought you said I'd only get one free ride," you glanced up at his face. He gazed down at you while he hip chucked your bedroom door open.

"That was before you guilted me over your dangerously low blood sugar." He set you down gently on the bed and pulled the blanket up to your chest. "I won't see you tomorrow, I have to go off site for awhile. Behave yourself."

He winked and left your room before you were able to ask where he was going. You leaned over and turned the light off, settling back into bed. Your thoughts turned to Jacob until you finally dozed off.

Chapter Text

Jacob closed his bedroom door behind him and stood for a minute, letting the events of the night wash over him again. He was surprised when you came to check on him but it turned out to be a welcomed surprise. He, dare he day it, had fun tonight. He glanced down at the cards spread out on the table and decided to just let them stay where they were. Maybe you'd have a chance to play again sometime.

He quickly removed his pants and socks and climbed into bed. Normally, sleep didn't come easily to Jacob. His thoughts always went back to the worst of his memories and he fought with them, sometimes until daylight. Tonight was different though - he actually felt relaxed. He closed his eyes, waiting for the normal flood of images but instead they turned to you. He kept picturing the way your face lit up when you finally beat him at cards. He imaged your laugh and could hear your voice as you described your life to him. Before he knew it, he drifted off to sleep.

---

Jacob laid sprawled out on his bed, completely naked. A smile spread across his face when he noticed you at the foot of the bed. You stared at him intently, the corner of your lips pulling up into a devious grin.

"Tell me what you want Jake," you instructed. No one had ever called him anything other than Jacob but the closeness in this nickname made him happy. He tried to sit up in bed so he could grab for you but he was unable to move. He glanced up to see his arms restrained by thick ropes tied to the bedframe.

"Jake, all you need to do is tell me what you want." You took a step closer to the bed. You wore a short black robe and he assumed nothing underneath. The thin fabric clung to your breasts in the most perfect way, exposing your hardened nipples. You placed you hands on your hips, waiting for his response.

"You know what I want, woman," he replied. He tried at the ropes again but they were tied too tightly. You shook your head.

"Yes, but I need to hear it."

He was getting more worked up by the moment. His cock strained at the fabric on his boxers. All he wanted was to take you hard and fast from behind, teaching you not to tease him like this. He knew you wouldn't move from your spot though unless he said it. "You. I want you."

"Mm Hmm.." you said, wanting more from him.

"Here," he nodded down while thrusting up ever so slightly.

You smiled at that. Moving your hands from your hips, you untied your belt and let the robe hang, allowing glimpses of what was underneath. Jacob pulled at the restraints again, letting out a low growl. You ever so slowly removed the fabric from your shoulders and let the robe drop to the floor. Crawling up the bed towards him, you reached down to pull Jacob's boxers down to his knees, letting his cock bounce free.

Jacob bucked on the bed, trying his best to raise his hips towards your mouth which was painfully close.

"Oh, my handsome soldier, you have no idea what I have in store for you." You grabbed at him lightly before running your tongue up his shaft.

---

He woke suddenly, unhappy that the dream had ended. He felt down beneath the blanket and pulled his boxers aside before stroking himself until he felt the release he craved.

"Fuck," he murmured into his pillow. It was a good thing he was leaving for the day tomorrow. He couldn't allow himself to think of you this way again.

Chapter Text

You woke up the next day close to lunchtime. Someone had already been in your room, leaving a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and a bowl of last night's soup for lunch. You debated which one looked less appealing. The urge to pee interrupted your thoughts. You quickly lowered yourself into the wheelchair next to you and made your way to the bathroom. After you were done, you started wheeling back into your room when you stopped and noticed Jacob's door was open the tiniest bit. You made your way to his room, thinking he hadn't headed out yet. You wanted to thank him again for keeping you company last night. And honestly, you just kind of wanted to see him again. You knew you shouldn't feel the way you did, especially so soon after meeting him but he just made you feel comfortable. With Jacob, there was no hiding. He was blunt and transparent and you felt comfortable being the same around him.

"Jacob?" You knocked on the door. He didn't respond. You pushed the door open and searched the room but he was nowhere to be found. He must have left already. You turned to leave but noticed the papers he had pushed to the side last night on the table. Curiosity had always been a downfall of yours but this was something you couldn't resist. You wanted to know more about the man who had everyone in the Whitetail Mountains fearful. You wheeled yourself closer to the table and peeked at the piece of paper on top - a memo from one of his people. Something to do with a bunker needing more can goods. You sifted through the pages below: maps, letters from various people on the progress of the Judges or supplies. All very boring.

You finally came to a letter, written in cursive. You glanced at the bottom to see the name of the sender... Joseph. Even though you knew this may be deeply personal, you couldn't stop yourself.

"Dearest brother,

It brings me much happiness to receive such feedback on the progress you have been making. I did not, for one moment, doubt the abilities you've displayed. The life we have been given was blessed with turmoil so that we could be held together as a family.

You have been our protector; that is your purpose. You are strong and a leader; that is your purpose. I know you may not see this and doubt yourself and the reasons why God brought you back to us but the reasons are clear to me. You deserve to live. You will help lead us into a new Eden, with John and I at your side. Our flock will be your legacy. Let love into your heart and feel true happiness again.

With my love,
Joseph."

You put down the letter with instant regret. You should never have read it. You had suspected, after your brief conversation about his time in the army, that he had brought a lot back with him. But now it was confirmed. He was dealing with so much pain and doubt. Your heart broke for him.

You tried tucking the paper back in the stack before noticing the page underneath. It was a report with a letterhead from the United States Army Medical Command. You skimmed through it briefly. According to the report, Jacob had been honorably discharged from the army for medical reasons and was referred to a local military hospital. They recognized the years of service he gave and metals he had been awarded. You continued reading until you came to the part about him suffering from severe PTSD.

You put the letter back and replaced the other papers, ensuring they were in order. You sat back in your wheelchair, taking in the report you just read. It all made sense... Of course Jacob had PTSD. Anyone who went to war would be changed and often in the worst of ways. You wondered if he ever got the help they suggested but suspected not based on the current situation he was in - this would definitely explain why he was part of this cult. He was just looking for a purpose now that he didn't have the army to fall back on.

You wheeled back to your room and parked in front of your window. You stayed there for the remainder of the afternoon, thinking again about Jacob. This time, you didn't think about the good times you had had with him recently but of how much pain he was in. A feeling of helplessness washed over you.

---

Two days passed and you still had not seen Jacob. You didn't return to his room even though you wanted to. You felt guilty enough about your intrusion on his privacy. Every night, you left your door open in hopes of seeing him walk by but ended up falling asleep without him being home. He was only supposed to be gone a day... you prayed nothing bad had happened.

Chapter Text

Jacob had been growing increasing more frustrated as the days went on. He was supposed to make one routine trip to his armoury to ensure the water filtration was working and then he planned to visit one of the outposts he hadn't received an update from in awhile. But of course one thing ran into another. One person needed this, another needed that. He was called over to the Elk Jaw Lodge, then to another outpost. By the time he had finished everything he needed to, he had been away for two nights.

He drove back to the Veteran's Center in silence, exhausted from the past few days. When he finally arrived, he told one of his Chosen to oversee the training as he would be indisposed for the day. He left very detailed instructions and ensured his men knew he was back so they wouldn't slack off on their duties.

Jacob entered the wing to his quarters. It was so quiet down here; that was one of the reasons why he had chosen to separate himself from the rest of the followers. He was a man who enjoyed his solitude. You were the first person he allowed to stay so close by.

He noticed your door was open and quickly made his way down the hall. Once he got close, he peeked his head inside to see you sitting in your wheelchair, gazing out the window. He knocked softly.

You turned suddenly with a jump. You had been so deep in thought that you hadn't heard him come in.

"You knock now?" You asked sarcastically.

He leaned against your doorframe, arms and feet crossed.

"Miss me, kitten?"

"I'm glad you're okay," you refused to answer the question though every bit of you wanted to run to him.

"Why wouldn't I be?" He asked while stepping inside. He strode in and stood by your side. "What are you looking at out here anyhow?"

"I... I'm just daydreaming I guess."

"You showered while I was gone," he said, nodding at your change of clothes. You had asked one of the guards at the end of the wing to bring you some fresh clothes. They ended up giving you a pair of jeans and another t-shirt. Still no bra but you were too embarrassed to ask. You nodded at his question. "Must be feeling a bit better."

"A bit."

"Alright then, get up and come with me. We're going for a drive."

"Don't you have to be somewhere? Training someone or whatever?" You were confused by his request. He motioned for the door with his head and explained that he had some time and to 'move your ass'.

After you got your shoes on, Jacob led you down the hall and into an elevator. He kept a hand on your arm as you were still a bit unsteady on your feet. Once downstairs, you both walked outside to a quad that was parked on the side of the building. You were slow walking but he never rushed you. You were thankful for that.

Jacob sat on the front of the bike and grabbed a backpack off the ground next to him. He threw it at you and instructed you to put it on and get on the back. You managed to get on the back of the bike without assistance and positioned yourself against his back, folding your arms low around his narrow waist. You nuzzled your head between his shoulder blades.

"Ready?" He yelled back at you over the sound of the engine. You nodded against him and he took off, speeding through the woods. You held on for dear life - he drove like a god damned maniac. After several twists and turns and what you were sure were near misses, you emerged from the trees and into a clearing. He drove to the top of the grassy hill and killed the engine.

You got off the bike and followed him a couple feet before he sat down. He held his hand out to help steady you as you lowered yourself to the ground. You looked around at the scenery, it was stunning - silky green oceans of grass laid out before you, surrounded by lumbering pine trees. You couldn't see a road for miles. It was just so.. peaceful. You glanced over to see Jacob studying your face.

"What are we doing?" you asked him.

"Someone told me I needed to take a break," he said with a slight smile. "Here, hand me that bag." He motioned to the backpack that was still on your back. You took it off and passed it to him. He rummaged through it for a minute before asking if you were hungry.

"Famished!" You were hoping he didn't bring more of that watery soup they served for lunch for the past week.

He fished out a couple containers and placed them between you. Inside one were raspberries and blackberries. The other had granola with almonds. Your eyes went wide at the site.

"Where the hell have you been hiding these?!" You stuffed a handful of berries in your mouth and closed your eyes in pleasure.

He laughed. "It gets better."

You tried to grab for the bag but he moved it behind his back. He shook a finger at you.

"Fiinnee," you huffed. You couldn't image how it would get any better. This was like heaven on a plate. You both ate quickly, finished off both containers.

You made a production out of straining your neck to see around Jacob's back though you knew you couldn't from this angle. He chuckled.

"Always the impatient one." He unzipped the bag and reached inside, stopping to stare at you with a devious smile. You waited for what seemed like forever while he teased you, finally grabbing the bag out of his hands. You opened it to see... chocolate! Every kind of chocolate bar you could think of was stuffed into the bottom of the bag. There must have been at least twenty of them if not more. Your eyes lit up with excitement, glancing at Jacob and then back to the bag.

"I figured that'll make up for the numerous meals you've had to endure without dessert," he explained.

"I feel like I won the fucking lottery!" You fished through them all, trying to chose which you'd eat first. You finally settled on one with coconut. The first bite was heavenly.

"Happy?" Jacob asked, still smiling at you in amusement. Your mouth was still full so you nodded at him. He leaned over suddenly and took a bite of it.

"Hey!" You shouted between bites. "You can't expect me to share this small amount with you."

"As far as I'm concerned, you owe me whatever it is I ask of you," he grinned. "Now, play nice."

He grabbed some chocolate from the bag and took a big dramatic bite. That made you laugh like you hadn't laughed in a long while. You realized that in this moment, you really felt happy. You couldn't remember the last time you did... It definitely hadn't been since you arrived in Hope County. Now here you were with one of the Seeds, having a fantastic day when you should really be out somewhere hiding from them. Something definitely shifted in Jacob after the other night. He seemed so much less intense, almost carefree.

You laid back in the grass after finishing your snack and let out a long sigh of contentment. Jacob laid back next to you, staring at the sky. You turned your face to his but he didn't look over. You chose to keep quiet, just enjoying this moment. You both stayed like that for awhile.

"Jake, thank you for today," you said softly. You turned back to look at the clouds.

Jacob's breath caught in his throat at your words. It instantly took him back to his dream from a couple nights ago. His mind started racing with the images of your naked body, working it's way up his.

"We should probably get going," he stood so suddenly that it made you jump. He looked flustered. He reached down to help you up off the grass and hopped on the quad without a word. You wondered if you did something wrong but felt too uncomfortable to ask. You stuffed the empty wrappers into the bag before throwing it on your back and taking your place behind him. Without a word, he started the engine and headed home.

Jacob tried to push the images of you out of his head the entire way home but the way you cuddled into his back didn't help. He knew he couldn't allow himself to get distracted from his duties. He had too much on the line to slip up. He had already been spending too much time with you and didn't want his men to see him as weak. He decided then to keep you at arm's length for a bit until these feelings passed. He wanted you with every ounce of his being and even without wanting to fuck you, he was starting to really enjoy being around you. That scared him more than the lust... Sex was sex but he couldn't allow himself to get attached.

Once you got back to the Center, he asked you if you were okay making it back to your room alone. He had some things to attend to. You nodded and he walked off quickly without looking back. Sighing, you made your way slowly back to your room. You nodded at the guards as you passed them at the entrance to your wing. One of them asked how you were feeling. It was the first time any of them had really spoken to you.

"I'm a lot better, thanks," you replied with a smile. The guard was probably around your age - tall and slender with dark hair that rested just below his shoulder blades. He had warm brown eyes and a smile that lit up the room. That's unusual, you thought to yourself.

"Glad to hear it. If you need anything brought to your room, give me a shout k?"

"Okay," you replied before walking down the hall. A thought crossed your mind. "Oh, is there any way you could bring me some more clothes? I'm not sure if you guys have a supply somewhere or whatever but I literally only have these".

"We have some in the barracks I think. I'll grab you some and bring them up later." He turned and walked down the hall towards the staircase. Guess he didn't need to know your size, you shrugged.

---

After a couple hours, Brady (you learned this was the guard's name) brought you two new pairs of sweat pants, a handful of black t-shirts and a bag of socks. He took your dirty clothes and towels and promised to bring them back the next day.

You spent the rest of the day struggling to stand in the shower and enjoying your new clothes. You read a couple chapters in your book and ate your bowl of soup which was brought up and left for you while you were in the shower. You wondered if it was Brady who left it for you. He seemed nice enough.. maybe you could convince him to bring you something edible.

Later into the evening, a knock came at the door. You looked up excitedly as the door opened but it was only one of Jacob's guys. He took your bowl and replaced it with a plate of mashed something or rather and a piece of plain, skinless chicken. You shook your head as you looked down at the plate. Pushing it aside, you chose to eat some more of your chocolate instead. As soon as you opened the bag, your mind went directly to Jacob. A pain of anxiety washed over you. You had been having such a great time earlier and he seemed to be in such a good mood. But then something changed... quickly. You weren't sure what you did wrong but he was visibly shaken.

You decided to leave your door open that night so you could apologize when he walked by, but he never did. It was well past midnight and you couldn't keep your eyes open any longer. You dozed off with your bedside lamp still on.

In the morning, you peeked into his room to see the bed still made. Either he had come in late last night and left super early today or he didn't come back at all. You suspected the latter.

---

Days went by and you still saw no sign of Jacob. During one of Brady's frequent trips to your doorway - the guy really liked to talk an truthfully, you were happy for the company - you asked if he knew where Jacob was. He told you he saw him around a couple times but wasn't sure where he was that second.

You asked him again the next day and it was the same response. You were starting to realize Jacob must be avoiding you. If that was true, then you had to give him the space he obviously wanted. This was his home, it wasn't right for him to not be able to sleep in his own bed. Every day for the past week, you spent the time walking the halls with Brady. Sometimes he would help you but for the past few days, he didn't have to. You had been at the Veteran's Center for three weeks now and your leg was basically healed up. It was time to go home.

"Brady," you called as you walked towards him at the end of the hall. He turned to you immediately, nodding his head upwards. You carried your backpack, filled with the few belonging your had and of course, the rest of your chocolate. "I need you to drive me somewhere."

He looked puzzled by your request. "Where exactly am I taking you?"

"I need you to take me back to the B&B I was staying at. It's time for me to leave."

"Oh, uh.. I don't think that's a good idea," he said. He was visibly uncomfortable at your request. You suspected Jacob had told him to keep you on lock down.

"I'm healed up now. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me but I'm ready to go home."

"Let me just run this by Jacob really quick, okay? Stay here feor a sec," he said, holding out a finger as he walked backwards and down the hall.

For fuck's sake, you couldn't understand what the big deal was. You weren't a prisoner here and truthfully, Jacob didn't seem to care if you stayed or left anyhow. You were so sick of these people treating you like a child. You knew if you tried to make a break for it though that someone would "escort" you back to your room. You decided to sit tight in your room and wait for Jacob's response.

Chapter Text

Brady had no idea what kind of relationship you had with Jacob - he thought initially you were being brought there for training but then he left you cooped up in that room all day. Then he thought maybe you were part of the Resistance once he saw you were shot and maybe you were being kept for questioning. But then he saw the way Jacob walked a little quicker when he entered the wing, always peeking in your room to check on you. He watched him carry you and laugh with you and he had even instructed Brady to bring back as much chocolate as he could find while he was out on one of his patrols. He suspected it wasn't for Jacob.

But now, even though it seemed like you had a relationship - or at least a friendship - Brady knew his leader had been sleeping elsewhere, obviously avoiding you. And you wanted to leave. He didn't know how Jacob would take the news but he knew he had to run it by him before he took you home. He didn't want to get on his bad side.

Brady picked up his radio once he was out of earshot and turned it to the channel he knew Jacob used.

"Uh, Jacob.. are you busy?"

A few minutes later, his voice came over the radio. "Little tied up at the moment. I'm on my way down to the camp to check on the Judges."

"I'm sorry to bother you Sir but our guest is asking me to drive her back to the hotel she's staying at," he explained.

There was silence for a few seconds before Jacob came back on the radio. "She's leaving? Or does she need something there?"

"Leaving, Sir."

Fuck. Jacob pulled over on the side of the road, punching his fist into the steering wheel.

"Sir?" Brady's voice came over the radio again.

"Don't let her leave. I'll be there in 15."

---

You were sitting on the edge of your bed, listening to the radio you managed to get from Brady before he finally showed up at your door.

"Hey," he said cheerfully though his face was full of worry. "Just sit tight for a bit okay? I have something I need to take care of first."

"What did Jacob say?"

"Be right back!" Brady called back over his shoulder as he scurried down the hall, avoiding your question. You rolled your eyes and laid back on the bed.

Ten minutes later, you heard a set of footsteps coming back to your door. You sat up and shut off the radio, grabbing your backpack again.

"Bout time!" You called out as you walked towards the door. You turned the corner and almost crashed into Jacob's broad chest. He held out his hands in front of him to stop you. "Oh! Where's Brady?"

Jacob stared down at you. He was annoyed that those were the first words from your mouth. He didn't know what he expected, having just disappeared from your life for the past week but part of him, he supposed, hoped you had missed him as much as he did you. He didn't know what to say or how to address what was happening so he just held on to both of your shoulders.

"You're leaving." was all he could think to say.

"I can't stay here forever Jacob. My leg is healed and I'm ready to go home."

"That's what you really want?" He asked, gazing down at your face. His eyes seemed to search your face for something though you weren't sure what it was. You gave a quick nod, looking away. You thought you heard him let out a tiny sigh before he let go of your arms. He grabbed your backpack off your shoulder and turned his head to the elevators. "I'll take you."

You followed him down the hall and past Brady, who kept his eyes to the floor, and the other guard (who never spoke). Once outside, he opened your door for you and placed you backpack at your feet before walking to his side of the truck and hopping inside, closing the door quickly.

You both sat in silence as he drove past the Holland Valley border. You weren't sure what exactly you should say to him. You wanted to ask him so many questions - where had he been? What was he mad at? Would you ever see him again? Your heart hurt when you thought of the last question. You knew once he dropped you off, he wouldn't have any reason to come back to the Valley.

"Jake?" You asked, unsure of what you were going to say. You looked up from your hands and over to him, through the shadows of the truck. He didn't look back at you but suddenly pulled the truck off the main road and down a dirt path. You wanted to ask where he was taking you but he parked the truck on the side of the road before you could. Abruptly, he closed the distance between you. You were shocked when he grabbed the back of your head and pushed you to him, crushing your lips with his. He didn't stop to gauge your reaction but unbuckled your seat belt and pulled you closer to him. You leaned into his kiss, reaching up to hold both sides of his face. You ran your fingers through his beard, breathing in his scent. He stopped for a moment to whisper something to you, eyes pleading. "Don't leave."

You responded to him by placing your lips on his, this time gently parting his lips with your tongue. You explored his mouth with yours and his body with your hands. He let out a low moan before suddenly pulling you over to straddle his lap. Your back rubbed against the steering wheel but you didn't care; you were enjoying every second of this closeness.

None of this made sense though; one minute he was avoiding you like the plague, the next he was kissing you like his life depended on it. You decided to leave the questions for later. The wetness you felt soaking through the fabric of your pants was far more important. You ground your hips into his desperately, feeling him hardening beneath you. Every movement you made caused him to kiss you deeper, hold you tighter.

You couldn't take a minute more of this - you reached down and pulled your pants down around your ankles. You kicked one leg free but the other wouldn't cooperate. You decided to leave them there, dangling from your ankle. As you struggled, Jacob had unbuttoned his jeans and forced them to his knees. When you lowered back down, you felt his cock rub against you. You smiled down at him, waiting to see if he'd let you have control.

"Do you know how long I've been wanting to fuck you?" was all he could say before grabbing his cock with one hand and pushing it up into you. You gasped loudly at the feeling of him filling you up. He didn't bother to ease in, just gave you every inch. He pulled you up by your hips and forced you back down so hard you let out another moan. You wanted to tell him you felt the same way but he kept his mouth on yours the entire time, pushing his tongue against yours between soft nibbles on your lips.

After a minute you finally found your rhythm and bounced on his lap, taking in every bit of him. He continuously hit the spot you knew would be your undoing and as much as you wanted to slow down and drink in this moment, you needed this more. You threw your head back as you came hard around him. A couple thrusts later, he let out a low growl and found his own release too. He held on to your hips tightly, pressing his lips into yours once more.

"Fuck," was all he could get out. You went to move back to your seat but he kept his grip on your hips.

"I've missed you," you had a million things you wanted to say to him, to ask him, but that was what was really important. He looked up into your eyes with a look of regret.

"I've missed you too kitten," he pulled you towards his chest, nuzzling his face into your hair. You felt him kiss his way up your neck softly.

"Why 'kitten'" you finally decided to ask. You had no idea why he started calling you that.. he knew your name but just never used it.

Jacob pulled his face back from you and leaned into his seat. "Cause when I found you, you were as helpless as one. Seemed fitting."

"Yeah, well I'm not helpless now."

"True," he leaned up to kiss you again. "But I think you like it." You had to admit you kind of did.

Jacob moved you off his lap a tiny bit and pushed himself back into his pants before pulling you back down. He wrapped his arms around your waist.

"You want me to stay?" You asked him, not looking at his face. You were nervous that maybe he had said that in the heat of the moment.

"How can I protect you if you're this far away? I would be driving myself crazy, worrying about you. The safest place for you is with me."

"You don't have to protect me," you felt a twinge of guilt. He really did feel his purpose in life was to protect everyone. You didn't want to add to that burden.

"Of course I do," he replied. He brushed a strand of hair behind your ears.

You nodded, causing a wide grin to spread across his face. What the hell were you getting yourself into.

---

On the drive home, you managed to pry yourself off of Jacob's lap and back to your seat. Neither of you said a word but every so often, he reached down and ran a finger or two across your hand. You smiled every time.

When you arrived, Jacob pulled you by your hand into the building towards the elevator before you were able to grab your bag. Once the elevator doors opened and you walked past the new guards, he picked you up and threw you over his shoulder effortlessly.

"I'm okay to walk now," you told him.

"I know."

Jacob walked past your room and into his, throwing you on the bed casually.

"Jake!" You squealed. You pushed yourself up towards the pillows and drank him in while he removed his clothes. He flicked a finger towards you.

"Off," was all he said. You did as instructed. He stared at you hungrily before sinking down to his knees on the bed in front of you. He kissed his way up your thighs and stopped suddenly before he got to the place you wanted him most. He gently kissed you, sending shivers through your entire body.

He took his time and kissed you again and again. Your body involuntarily bucked beneath him. You pushed up into his mouth, feeling his lips. His mouth was immediately on you, sucking lightly. He flicked his tongue hard against your clit in just the right tempo. You could feel yourself getting close. Grabbing the back of his head, you forced him closer as you clenched your thighs around him. You came quickly, moaning his name loud enough for anyone close by to hear. Jacob raised his head and smiled at you.

"Ready for more, kitten?" He asked.

"Please," was all you could get out. Your body was still recovering when Jacob crawled between your legs, bringing himself eye level with you. He reached down to pull himself out of his boxers but you stopped him.

"No, no. Take those off." You nodded down to his boxers. He frowned slightly but did as instructed, leaning back and pulling them down his legs. You gasped when his cock sprang free. He chuckled softly at your reaction and lunged at you again. You could feel him at your entrance but he didn't enter.

"Tell me what you want," he mimicked the words you said to him in his dream.

"Jake, I want you. All of you..." You said between breaths. You tried pushing yourself to him but he backed away slightly.

"Tell me you missed me," he instructed.

"Of course I did. I waited for you every night to come home. I missed you more than anything".

His eyes went wide at that. He had hoped you had missed him but now he could see that his actions had really hurt you. He never wanted to see that again. He leaned down, wrapping your hair around his hand and holding himself up with the other. He entered you ever so slowly, pulling out halfway and then pushing back in again. The pace was painfully slow but it gave you the chance to appreciate his size. You wrapped your arms around him and pulled him closer, running kisses up his neck and face.

A low sigh came from your lips as you could feel the pressure between your thighs building up again. He could sense it too. His pace quickened.

"Jake, please," you moaned. "Don't stop."

He pounded into you harder this time, pushing himself up and pulling you into him by your hips. The pace was too much for you; you reached your peak, your walls clenching around him. Jacob tried holding out but the sound of your moans was too much.

A moment later, you both lay spread out on the bed, panting and staring up at the ceiling. Neither of you had said anything but the silence didn't make you uncomfortable. You wondered if he was a cuddler - probably not, but you chose to curl up to him anyway. He raised his arm and let you wriggle under it, resting your head on his chest.

"Why did you leave?" you asked. You were tired of beating yourself up over something you may have done to push him away. Jacob sighed.

"I didn't want this to happen."

"Oh." You didn't know what else to say.

He tightened his grip on your shoulder and laid his cheek on your forehead. "I'm glad it did but... I need to ensure I do everything I can to help the Project. I can't get distracted."

"I'm a distraction?"

"Well, yes... I need you to understand that I'm still going to be busy," he explained. That made sense to you but part of you, maybe your ego, was bothered by it. You weren't asking for a lifelong commitment. You pushed yourself out of his arms and back to your side of the bed.

"I'm not asking you to spend all your time with me... We're just fucking," you spat back at him. His eyes widened.

"Is that all?" He asked calmly.

"Yes."

He grinned at that. "Ah, there's the temper. I always suspected you had a fiesty side."

"Jacob," you started but he grabbed you quickly, rolling over and pinning you beneath him.

"Don't be like that."

You tried to stay angry but you couldn't with him this close to you. "Well you better let me out of my damn room every once in awhile. I'm not just going to be your nightly booty call."

"Deal."

"And I want to help out around here. I'm not going to sit around and not pull my weight."

"Okay," he agreed. "I'll find something for you to do."

"Good," you said as you pushed him off and wrapped a sheet around you, heading to the bathroom to get cleaned up.

"Done cuddling?" Jacob shouted after you.

"Night Jacob," you shouted back. He smiled and eased back into the mattress, falling asleep before he heard you come back out of the bathroom.

Chapter Text

After an amazing night's sleep, you woke up a bit later than usual. Normally, breakfast would be waiting for you on your nightstand but it was empty this morning. Of course, the one day you woke up starving.

After putting on some clean clothes and pulling your hair back, you headed out into the hall. Jacob's door was open but he wasn't inside. He was normally up extremely early so you figured he was hard at work already. You looked down the hall to see Brady and the same guard that normally took a shift with him - they appeared to be having some light conversation. You cleared you throat, causing them both to look back your way. You waved good morning; Brady waved back with a big grin while Mr. No-Name turned his back to you. How pleasant.

You really weren't sure what to do. Jacob said you could leave the wing but you didn't know where anything was. Were you supposed to go somewhere and grab your own breakfast now or just wait? You pondered for a moment before deciding to pee and wash up a bit. The bathroom door was closed which you thought was odd but you opened it anyhow.

You were surprised to see Jacob standing there with nothing but a fluffy towel wrapped low on his waist. He stood in the mirror, combing his hair. When he noticed you, he gave you a quick smile before turning to you.

"Morning," he said casually.

"Morning," you replied back. "Sorry, I didn't think you'd still be around. Kind of late for you isn't it?"

"Yeah, I overslept. I got a good sleep for some reason." He grinned.

"Me too. I'm literally dying of starvation though and since you didn't bring my chocolate up from your truck..."

"We'll go grab you something," he put the comb down on the side of the sink and squeezed past you, kissing your forehead quickly. "Meet me in my room when you're done getting ready."

---

The mess hall was a lot larger than you thought it would be but it was also empty for the most part. Breakfast had already been served for the day so Jacob explained he would have to find someone to make something for you both. You just rolled your eyes and asked him to point you in the direction of the kitchen.

Inside, you found two commercial sized fridges, a stand up freezer and a large pantry. It was full of every food you could imagine. You wondered why whoever was doing the cooking didn't take advantage of that, rather than serving the same thing pretty much everyday. After rummaging through the fridge, you found what you were looking for: eggs, cheese, mushrooms and spinach. In the pantry, you found the oil and spices and set to making an omelette big enough for you both. After the eggs were done cooking, you finished the plate off with a piece of rye toast with butter. Your mouth watered as you took the plates out into the mess hall and set them down on the table Jacob was sitting at.

"Good grief woman," he said, staring at the plate and then up at you. "Where did you learn to do that?"

You took a seat on the other side of the table, facing him. "I taught myself," you explained as you stuffed a big forkful into your mouth. Jacob took a bite too and nodded.

"You're just full of talents," he complemented you as he shovelled away at the eggs.

Neither of you said anything else for the remainder of breakfast, you were too busy stuffing your faces. When it was done, Jacob took the plates to the kitchen and grabbed you both a glass of water. His was finished by the time he sat down again.

"Aren't you going to be late?"

"Hmm?" He raised an eyebrow at you.

"For work. Or torture... Or whatever you do around here," you continued. You didn't know the logistics of his work and weren't sure you wanted to. At some point you knew you would have to face reality but today was not that day.

"Does it bother you?" He asked, folding his arms on the table and leaning in. His eyes grew dark.

You thought for a moment about how to answer that. "I mean... I'm not a hundred percent sure of what goes on here. I've heard people talk but people also like to exaggerate."

"And if they're not exaggerating?"

"Well, then.. yes. It would bother me. I don't think it's right to take away people's free will."

Jacob sat back, his eyes never leaving yours. "Joseph is trying to save these people. His methods are... unique, yes, but his intentions are pure. I don't know if he's getting visions from God but everything he's predicted has come true. I truly believe we're on the brink of extinction. Why should we not try to take as many people with us as possible and protect them?"

You let his words wash over you. His brother John was, from what you heard, torturing people to atonement. But you were also sure he was doing it for personal reasons. Jacob on the other hand, you weren't sure. He didn't seem to take pleasure in his work other than it giving him a purpose, which he sorely needed. He had been a soldier for who knows how long and even though he wasn't now, he was still following orders. It was the only thing he knew to do. And if he was protecting his family at the same time, well that just satisfied another of his needs. You let out a sigh, unsure of what to do. Jacob stared at you intently. You hadn't said anything for a few long minutes and now he was starting to worry that you wouldn't understand what they were trying to achieve here. A couple of days ago, he was scared to let you in but now he was scared to lose you.

"Kitten..."

You shook your head slightly, pushing away your thoughts. Avoidance had always been a talent of yours - you would just have to practice it here until you could make sense of this all. All you knew in that moment was that you enjoyed your time with Jacob and you could tell he had some good in him. As cliche as it was to think, maybe you could bring him to the light so to speak and convince him to walk away.

"Can you take me to get my stuff from the B&B?" you asked suddenly. "I'm kind of tired of wearing sweatpants every day.

Jacob nodded, deciding it wasn't worth pushing the issue again. He knew you would have to talk about it again, especially if you were staying at the center with him but obviously you weren't ready to today. He was just happy you weren't running for the hills.

---

Jacob pulled his truck in front of the white picket fence of the B&B. He didn't remember ever seeing this place before but found it easily after you gave him rough instructions on where it was located. It looked like someone's home - a tiny two story war time house with light pink rose bushes lining the walkway. An old deck with peeling paint wrapped around the side with small yellow chairs and a side table with magazines littered on top.

He killed the engine and reached for the door handle.

"I'll go in alone," you interrupted. He turned to you with a questioning expression. "I'm not sure how they'd react to seeing me with... Well, you know what I'm trying to say."

Jacob placed his hands on the steering wheel, giving you a brief nod. He was used to the people of Hope County thinking he and his family were the boogie man. Part of him thought that maybe you felt the same way and were embarrassed to be around him but he chose not to push the subject. He was never one to talk about "his feelings" anyhow.

You leaned over and gave him a soft kiss on the lips. "I'll be right back, handsome."

He smiled at that, feeling a bit of relief. "Okay, but if you're not out in ten minutes, I'm coming to get you."

You knew he wasn't rushing you, but rather, he was worried that something might happen. Always the worrier. You climbed out of the truck, closing the door gently and walking into the house. You looked around for Elsa and Thomas, the owners, but they were nowhere to be found. You'd have to write them a note and leave the key for them on your way out. You had paid them for the entire month but were leaving a couple days shy of the deadline.

Inside your room, you quickly piled your clothes and belonging into your suitcases. Looking around the room one last time, you determined nothing was left behind and headed back downstairs. Elsa was now standing behind the counter at the front door.

"Oh, my dear!" She exclaimed. "We were so worried about you. Where have you been?"

Before Jacob had found you in the woods, you had been staying with them for just over two months. Not a lot of people visited the B&B now of course so they did their best to ensure you felt welcomed and you had really gotten quite close. When you explained you had come to Montana to start a new life and needed work, they both gave each other a knowing look and offered instead for you to work around there and in return, they would let you pay only half of the normal rent. It seemed strange to you at the time but then you came to realize why. You weren't exactly sure why you were allowed into Hope County - you thought it was odd when you were escorted through a road block but thought maybe that's just how they did things around here. Being from Canada, things were a lot more laid back but you had heard of extra security in some places of the states - but now you knew they wouldn't be letting you back out. So you cooked and cleaned around the property, ran errands and anything else the couple needed.

"I've been staying with a friend. I'm sorry I didn't let you know. I had a.. bit of an accident and wasn't able to travel," you explained quickly, hoping she wouldn't press the issue. But of course, she did.

"Oh my goodness, are you okay? Have you been taken to the hospital?"

"I'm fine, I'm fine. My friend took good care of me and I'm back to normal now. Again, I'm sorry I didn't let you know. I won't be staying until the end of the month now..." You placed the key to your room on the desk and pushed it towards her.

She looked down at it, confused. "I, I don't understand... Who are you staying with?"

You groaned internally at that. Why couldn't she just drop it?

"Oh, just someone I met since I arrived here. Thanks for everything, Elsa. I appreciate everything you've done for me and promise to come visit, okay?"

You weren't sure she had heard you - she was too busy leaning over the counter, trying to see out the glass door. She straightened suddenly, eyes wide. She whipped her head back to look at you

"Dear, are you in trouble?" She looked terrified.

You held your hands up to her in protest. "Elsa, I know this looks bad but I promise you, I'm safe."

"I... I don't understand," she looked down at the counter before a thought came to her mind. "We can use the backdoor. I have family south of here that would take you in..."

"He's not going to hurt me," you stopped her. "I'm there because I want to be."

She just shook her head frantically at that. "But he's..." She was interrupted but the tiny bell, ringing above the door as it opened. Jacob walked inside casually.

"There you are," you said. His eyes never leaving yours though you knew he was aware that Elsa was present too.

"I'm just saying goodbye. Do you mind taking these out for me?" You nodded at the heavy suitcases at your feet.

Jacob picked up the bags easily and turned to Elsa before nodding a quick "Ma'am" at her. She didn't respond.

You leaned over the counter and took her hands, looking her in the eyes. "I'm fine, truly. And I'm happy. I know you won't understand but please just have faith in me and know I'm not in any danger."

She nodded hesitantly and came around the side of the counter, giving you a firm hug and telling you there was always a bed available for you if you needed it. You thanked her again and headed to the truck. Jacob stood, leaning against it next to your door. He opened it for you when you got close.

"Still coming home with me?"

"Mmm hmm," you nodded and hopped into the truck as he closed the door behind you. "Can we stop somewhere on the way back though?"

"Whatcha need?" He asked, glancing away from the road quickly.

"Well," you were kind of embarrassed to ask. "That place you pulled over last night..."

Jacob's face fell. "I have to get back.".

You didn't know if he really did or if he was blowing you off. It seemed like the latter - he hadn't shown much affection to you today or even commented on your night together. You instantly regretting asking him. You decided to keep quiet on the way back and stared out the side window. Jacob didn't comment on it any further.

When you arrived back at the center, Jacob helped you upstairs, insisting on carrying both suitcases. After he got you settled in, he explained he had some things to attend to but that he would try to get back in time for supper.

You sighed and sat on the bed for a minute, taking in the events of the day. You questioned whether you had made a mistake.

Chapter Text

After spending the afternoon unpacking, you felt a bit better. There was almost a sense of relief knowing you could wear your own clothes again, write in your journal when you wanted to and read your own books.

You quickly showered and decided on a pair of torn jeans and a black, snug fitting scoop-neck t-shirt. You were happy to finally have a bra to wear and chose a pink lacey one. You never bought matching panties - just didn't see the need for it - so you settled for a black pair of hipsters. You always preferred comfort over style.

You dug through your bag and pulled out your mascara, a round brush and blow dryer. It felt wonderful to get your appearance back to normal. You never really did much in terms of makeup and whatnot but these small things made you feel a bit more confident.

After you had finished getting ready, you decided it was time to explore the grounds. Your new found freedom outside today had sparked your sense of curiosity and you decided you needed some fresh air. As you passed the guards, you gave Brady a quick wave and smile. He did a double take before greeting you back.

"Hey! You look... " He stopped for a minute before considering his words. "You must have grabbed your stuff, huh?" He walked quickly until he caught up to you.

"Yeah, Jacob took me there today," you explained, not stopping to talk.

He reached for your arm before asking where you were headed.

"Just for a walk. Relax, Jacob is okay with me not being confined to my room."

"Oh, I know," he stated. Appareny Jacob had already had a talk with him. "Do you know your way around though? Maybe I could give you a quick tour?"

You glanced back to Jacob's wing. "Don't you have to stay on guard though?"

"That's only for your protection and you're not going to be there, so..."

"So, you need to follow me." You said flatly.

He shook his head. "Its not like that. Just thought you might want some company."

You had to admit that the thought of walking through the center alone with all these people you didn't know was making you a bit anxious. You agreed to let him escort you.

First, he took you through the floor you were staying on - it was empty for the most part except for a few closed doors that you noticed he didn't open. He proceeded to show you the mess hall again, large meeting area (you assumed) and supply rooms. There were heavily guarded areas he purposely avoided but you didn't press the issue.

The last place he took you was a large open room with concrete walls and floor. It reminded you of a high school gym. One end of the room was stocked with guns of every kind, the other was lined with targets. The walls on that side of the room were covered with thick rubber sheets. There were a few people chatting in one of the corners, another scrubbing at the floors and one at the shooting range.

"Can I do that?" you asked Brady, motioning in that direction.

"Have you ever fired a gun before?"

"Well, no. But I've been doing archery since I was in junior high school."

"It's a lot different than firing a gun," he explained. "Stay here for a sec, k?"

You watched him run over to the racks of bows and guns, grabbing a small pistol and bringing it back to you.

"Alright. It's loaded and ready to go. You're going to hold it like this," he posed. He further instructed you to relax and how to breath while aiming. He took a quick shot into the targets head. He nodded, satisfied with himself and handed you the gun. "Your turn. And don't worry if you don't get it right away... It takes awhile to get used to it. Oh, and prepare for a bit of kick back."

You followed his instructions and aimed down the barrel, squinting out of one eye. You involuntarily closed your eyes as you pulled the trigger. The bullet didn't come close to hitting the target. You cocked the gun back and tried again, hitting the corner this time but not the body drawn on the target.

You stood for a minute in silence, grimacing at your poor aim. You had always done very well with archery, winning several awards throughout your school years and then going on to excel in smaller competitions within your archery club back home. You raised your arms again, determined to get it right this time.

Out of nowhere, a pair of arms wrapped around you from behind. His hands folded over yours, raising them slightly higher. You recognized them instantly from the scars that littered his skin.

"Keep your arms tight," Jacob instructed. "And when you shoot, pull the trigger nice and slow."

He pressed his body into yours and pushed your feet apart slightly with his foot. You wanted to glance over your shoulder to see if Brady was still there or if Jacob had silently given him the boot but his body didn't give you an inch to move.

He pressed his lips to your ear, whispering "If you make this shot, I'll take you upstairs and bury my face in that pussy."

Holy fuck. A sudden warmth crept up your face. You knew if Brady was still present, Jacob had spoken too quietly for him to hear but you still felt exposed.

"Deep breath," he said at a normal level again.

You were determined more than ever to make the shot. That was all the motivation you needed. You took a deep breath as instructed, keeping both eyes open this time, and pushed your finger into the trigger. This time, the bullet hit the target just below the chest. Not a head shot, but he hadn't specified where you had to hit it. You whipped around, smiling ear to ear.

"Nice shot!" Brady chimed. "Guess you found a better teacher."

Jacob flashed him a half smile and thanked him for showing you around. He then reminded you that you needed to finish unpacking your belongings and that where he had a bit of spare time now, he would help you. You thanked Brady again and walked as fast as you ever had towards the staircase. When you were out of eyesight, Jacob stopped you and pinned you suddenly to the wall.

"You didn't get a head shot," he said before kissing you roughly. His hands were suddenly on your body, running up your sides and to your breasts. He cupped them roughly and moved his lips away from your mouth and down to your neck.

"You didn't say I had to," you panted. You ran your hands through his hair while he trailed his kisses up to your ear before biting the lobe.

He stopped suddenly and threw you over his shoulder, smacking your ass with one of his big hands. "Fine, but then you're going to do something for me." He took the stairs two at a time. When you got to the hallway outside your wing, only one of the guards was there. Jacob carried you past him and into his room; you of course were immediately embarrassed that this poor guy knew what was going to happen. But then part of you was glad that he didn't care if everyone knew.

Jacob dropped you to your feet once inside the room and quickly closed the door. You stood waiting to see if he was willing to hold up his end of the bargain. He raised an eyebrow at you.

"Kind of hard to do anything with those on," he motioned to your clothes. You looked down and tried to decide which to take off first. Deciding to tease him a bit, you took off your shoes, then your pants and t-shirt. You stopped there, watching his eyes on you. He took a step closer but didn't touch you. You slowly peeled your panties off and crawled up into his bed, spreading your legs ever so slightly. When he didn't move, you asked if everything was okay.

"Just taking you in," he grinned. Finally he knelt next to the bed and pulled you to the side, letting your legs dangle on either side of his shoulders. You propped yourself up on your elbows so you could watch him.

Jacob kept his eyes on yours while he lowered his face. He started off slowly again, with small kisses to your outer folds and then ran his tongue up and down without pushing it deep enough to touch your clit. You moaned lowly, allowing yourself to rest back on the bed. He continued this torture for awhile until you were ready to explode. You finally leaned back up and placed a hand on the back of his head, pleading for him to put you out of your misery. He obeyed and brushed against you lightly with his tongue. Then, a bit harder and faster. You felt your orgasm building up already and as much as you tried to stop it, it came hard and fast. Jacob continued to flick his tongue, even after you begged him to stop. It was too much for you to take. After a minute of begging, he finally lifted his head and rubbed the wetness from his beard with the back of his hand.

"Now," he said with a smile. "Get on your knees for me."

You looked up at him excitedly. He stood up and unzipped his pants. You waited for him to take himself out of his boxers but he didn't move.

You pulled yourself up from the bed, gave him a quick kiss and then lowered yourself until you were eye level with his zipper. You slowly pulled his pants and boxers down in one fluid motion. He was already rock hard.

You gently kissed the tip of his cock a couple of times and then slowly ran your tongue to the base of his shaft and then back up again. He wasn't the only one who could tease. When you finally gazed up at his face, you could tell he was growing impatient. His eyes had grown dark and he stared at you wantingly. You could easily put him out of his misery you realized, but where was the fun in that.

After you ran your tongue back up for the second time, you gently took the first inch of his cock into your mouth. You swirled your tongue slowly.

"Fuucckk," he let out a low groan. By now, you had noticed he had slid his hand behind your head and was stroking your hair softly.

"I missed you today," you said quietly before taking him back in your mouth, always making sure you only took the tip. You suspected he liked hearing you admit that and your suspicions were confirmed when he let out another moan. This time, he held the back of your head and forced it down the entire shaft of his cock. You gagged slightly but adjusted quickly to its length. It only took a minute before you felt him cum.

"Oh my God, kitten," he panted. He removed his hand from the back of your head and helped you to your feet. You both moved to the bed and laid quietly side by side for a moment. You turned on your side to look at him.

"Jake, am I going to have to atone?" The question had been plaguing your mind since you told him you would stay but you couldn't bring yourself to ask it until now. He turned on his side too.

"I, I'm not sure. I suppose once word gets out that you're here..." He trailed off.

"No one knows I'm here?"

"Yes, my brothers know but they don't know we're... Well, that you're going to be staying," he explained. You were kind of hoping he would have elaborated on that. You still weren't sure exactly what you were - were you in a relationship? Was it just sex? You figured he should be the one to bring it up but he didn't and you couldn't bring yourself to either.

"Will you tell them?" You asked nervously.

"If they ask," he said plainly.

You turned back to face the ceiling knowing he would never keep anything from them. Jacob moved closer to you, placing a hand on your stomach and nuzzling his head on your shoulder.

"They won't hurt you," he said reassuringly. "I would never let them."

You turned your face to his, seeing something in his eyes that you couldn't place a finger on. Even though everything inside of you screamed otherwise, you chose to believe him.

Chapter Text

Over the next three weeks, you settled into a routine. Every morning, you helped in the kitchen. At first it was just supposed to be prep work but then you started to help with the meals and then gradually, you took charge of the menu. Everyone seemed happier for it.

After lunch and clean up, you practiced shooting with Brady. Sometimes you felt like he was your personal body guard, and maybe he was, but the conversation was always light and joking and you genuinely enjoyed spending time with him.

Sometimes you saw Jacob for dinner but often you didn't. He tried his best, you knew, but he had a lot on his plate.

In the evenings, you relaxed in your room with a book or wrote in your journal for a bit. At first, Jacob would visit you late at night after his duties were done for the day. Of course, you would always end up doing something sexual and then sleep in your respective rooms. The past week however, Jacob had been able to meet you for dinner and then you spent the evening together. He sometimes went over his maps and plans while you laid out with your head in his lap. Other times you played cards or went for a walk. You enjoyed seeing him more often but knew you shouldn't get used to it. You weren't sure how he afforded all this extra time but you were sure it wouldn't last.

Today, you sat in the mess hall for dinner, looking around for your missing... boyfriend? Was that what you'd consider him? You still didn't know. When you got half way through the meal, you suspected he wasn't coming. You finished up and headed upstairs. As you approached his door, you heard Jacob's voice.

"Yes, I know but I just didn't think to tell you," he paused. "Well, she's... she's.." Another pause. "I do." You stopped just inside your door, out of the guard's eyesight but close enough to eavesdrop. You assumed he was talking about you but until that point, you couldn't hear who he was talking to.

"John would like to have a family dinner at his ranch tomorrow. It would please us both if you brought her." You didn't recognize the other voice but you assumed it was Joseph. Your heart stopped.

"Of course," Jacob replied. He said goodbye and then his room went silent. Suddenly, you heard something being thrown at the wall. You wanted to check on him but didn't want him know you were listening in. If you stayed in your room and didn't say anything though, that would look even worse. You finally decided to sneak down the hall and come back later. You were only a few feet down the hall before you heard Jacob clear his throat. You stopped dead in your tracks, still staring ahead.

"Going somewhere?" He asked calmly.

You turned slowly, keeping your eyes to the floor. "I didn't mean to..."

He raised his eyebrows at you. You were sure he didn't believe you.

'Honestly Jake, I was heading to my room before I realized you were on the radio."

He just nodded his head and motioned for you to come to his room. You sat next to him at his table while he informed you of your new dinner plans for the next night. You knew Jacob was close to his family - he saw them a couple times a week during their church service and spoke to them regularly but he never suggested you meet them. The fact that he threw his radio (you concluded after you saw it smashed on the floor) after speaking with Joseph, made you nervous.

"Should we bring something?" you asked. You weren't sure what else to say.

"No, no. John likes to cook, he'll take care of everything."

He also likes to cut people up, you thought to yourself. Jacob studied your face.

"What is it?"

"I.. I'm just a bit nervous."

"There's nothing to be nervous about," he claimed.

"I know... I just get nervous meeting new people," you lied.

He thought this over for a moment. He didn't believe you for a minute but chose to drop it. He loved his brothers; he would die for them but he also felt protective over you. He knew they would never kill you but he worried his youngest brother might get a little enthusiastic while asking for your confession. And though his brother didn't mention the atonement during their conversation, he knew it would be brought up.

The silence between you made the whole situation worse. You decided you had to break it. "What do I wear?"

Jacob looked back to you, suddenly pulled from his thoughts. "Hmm?"

"Do I dress up? I only have one dress with me. Other than that, it's jeans and t-shirts."

"No need to dress up," he said flatly. He paused for a long moment before asking if you would like to go for a drive.

"Quad?" You asked, hoping he would say no. You didn't know if your heart could take it.

He shook his head. "We'll take the truck tonight."

---

Jacob stayed silent for the entire drive. It wasn't unheard of for him to do that; in fact, one of your favorite things about him was that you could sit in silence and still feel comfortable. You chose to leave him with his thoughts and spent the time picking at the thread at the bottom on your shirt where the hem had come loose. Occasionally, you glanced over to him but he didn't look back. His face didn't give anything away so you weren't sure if he was still upset or had calmed down. Jacob wasn't one to raise his voice, you noticed, but always had the same calm demeanor in whatever he did. If you didn't know him, you would think it was eerily calm but you took comfort in it.

After roughly ten minutes, Jacob pulled off the road and into the woods. He followed the narrow dirt road until you emerged to a clearing. The ground itself was dirt but it was surrounded by lush undergrowth and towering trees. Jacob stepped out of the truck and let out a low whistle; the same one you heard on the day you first met. You stepped out of the truck too and stood by his side, waiting. A couple minutes passed before you heard a long howl. Goosebumps surfaced on the back of your neck as a large white wolf stepped into the clearing. Jacob ducked down and held up his hand as the wolf sat obediently. You stared in disbelief.

"It's the same one," he answered the question you were thinking. "This one's mine... She's stronger than the others."

Jacob motioned with his hand for you to follow as he walked to the wolf. You hesitated but followed closely behind him.

"You can touch her. She won't harm you as long as I'm here." He nodded again when you looked up at him.

You bent down and held out your hand, palm side up. The wolf took a quick sniff of your fingers and glanced up at Jacob. He stood still, not saying a word. She turned back to look at you and rubbed her face against your palm. You let your hand push through her thick fur a couple of times before rubbing behind her ear.

"Why doesn't she stay at the Center with you?" You asked.

"She's happier outside. I find her close to home sometimes but most times she stays here until I need her."

You guessed that made sense; she was a wild animal. Still, you felt badly for her. She was different somehow than the other Judges you had seen when you went out with Jacob on one of his weekly checks. Those wolves were always vicious and almost rabid. Jacob could of course calm them, but you doubted they would let anyone close enough to pet them.

"She's beautiful," you said, still running your hands through her fur. "What's her name?"

Jacob shook his head.

"She doesn't have one?" You were shocked.

"None of them do," he said simply. "They're not pets."

You stood suddenly and pushed your hands into his chest. He didn't budge from his spot.

"You ass! You've got to at least give her a name. She's out here all day and night, just waiting for you to come see her. You owe her that much."

He laughed softly and held his hands up in surrender. "Okay, okay! Do the honours."

You thought for a second before it came to you.

"Ghost."

"Ghost?" Jacob asked.

"Yeah, like the dire wolf from Game of Thrones," you explained. He shrugged his shoulders. "Oh my God! You've never watched it?"

"No."

You shook your head in exasperation. You really needed to get him into the real world and bring him up to speed on pop culture.

"Well, maybe someday. Right, Ghost?" You turned back to the wolf who was still watching Jacob. She tilted her head to the side.

"Alright girl, off you go," he nodded his head towards the trees and the wolf trotted back to where it came from without a second glance back. You felt sorry for her but knew Jacob was right. You were sure she was out here, busy hunting or maybe she had a pack of Judges somewhere. You shuddered at that thought.

"Thank you," you pressed into him while wrapping your arms around his waist. He put an arm around your shoulders and kissed the top of your head.

At first, you didn't get much affection from Jacob but as the days went on, you caught him sneaking a kiss in here and there or brushing your hand with his while you sat together at his table. After a couple of weeks, he started to pull you into his arms after sex and gave you long hugs from behind in the shower while he buried his face in your hair. You enjoyed every unexpected moment of it though you knew not to expect it in public. You were sure everyone in the Center knew you were together but he refused to break his image as their "strong" leader. He refused to show his weakness for you.

You pushed your head back and peeked up as his face. He returned your gaze with a smile.

"What's on your mind?" He asked.

"I want your family to like me," you lied. You were honestly couldn't care a less if you ever came face to face with them but you knew how much they meant to Jacob and he meant the world to you. So you would fake it for him - whatever you had to do to make him happy.

"You know," he started as he pulled you to the bed of his truck. You both laid down next to each other while he started over. "The human brain can do mysterious things... It can withstand a lot of trauma but at some point, there comes a breaking point. I'm sure you've figured out that I'm not the person I was before I went to the Middle East. War changes people."

You nodded for him to continue.

"My superiors chose to disallow me to do something I truly loved because they thought my brain couldn't withstand anymore. And maybe they were right. I was released to a military hospital in Georgia for treatment but nothing changed," he stopped for a minute to collect his thoughts. "But, here I am now... calm, comfortable. Every doctor in that hospital had given up on me but you're still here. And you're the reason I am too."

You took in his words for a moment in disbelief. You couldn't believe he was opening up to you in that way. It made you sad to know he had so much pain inside of him.

"I'm not going anywhere," you pushed your body towards his and rested your head on his shoulder. He leaned down to do the same while you laid under the stars, letting sleep overtake you both.

Chapter Text

At some point in the night, Jacob woke you gently and helped you out of the truck. You didn't remember how you got inside but when you woke up, you were in Jacob's bed. He laid next to you, legs stretched out over the blankets. You noticed he was undressed, down to his boxers but you were still wearing last night's clothing.

You pushed yourself up on your elbows and stared down at his face while he slept. His eyebrows were furrowed slightly and his mouth was turned down at the corners. His legs jerked slightly in his sleep. You decided it was best to wake him up in case he was having another nightmare.

You leaned down and softly laid a kiss on his forehead, then his cheek and finally his mouth. He stirred slightly and pushed his mouth back to yours. You pulled back to look at him.

"Morning beautiful," he smiled up at you.

"Morning," you blushed at his greeting. "Get a good sleep?"

"Mmm hmm." He stretched back in bed, letting out a long yawn. "You?"

You nodded. "I'm in desperate need of a shower though... I'm so sweaty with these jeans on."

"I'll run the water for you." He was up and out the door before you could stop him. A couple minutes later, you found him undressing in the bathroom.

"I thought this was for me?" You teased while you let your clean clothes drop to the floor.

"It is," he agreed. "But I'll be keeping you company. We're running late."

You supposed he was right, not that he ever needed an excuse to get naked in front of you. Undressing quickly, you stepped into the shower with Jacob following. He handed you the shampoo as he soaped up your back. All business today.

"In that much of a rush?" You asked, bringing your lips to his. You hoped you could convince him to stick around a bit longer.

"Unfortunately. I have a lot to do before we go to John's tonight."

A wave of panic washed over you as you remembered this was the day you officially met the Seeds. You didn't know what to expect - would they make you atone right then and there? You thought of one of Elsa's neighbours who had met John and come back with part of his chest missing. The thought of going through that terrified you. You wondered why Jacob couldn't see what a fucking lunatic he was, or maybe he did and his loyalty to his family was just that strong. You prayed his loyalty to you was too in case you needed saving.

You both finished up in the shower and dressed quickly. You were disappointed that he didn't want to have the quick and dirty shower sex you were used to but suspected he had a lot on his mind.

He gave you a quick kiss and left just as quickly. You decided it was probably time for you to get to the mess hall to start breakfast.

---

After lunch, you made your way to the range as per your normal routine. You looked around for Brady but didn't see him today. Shrugging it off, you studied the weapon racks in front of you. Finally deciding to try the long bow; you hadn't used one since learning to shoot a handgun. You were far more interested in mastering that skill.

You picked up the bow, feeling the weight in your hands and deciding it would do. Grabbing a nearby quiver and arrows, you made your way to your usual target, to the far left of the room. Two men, both in hunter's jackets, stood to your right. They watched you as you brought the bow up to your eye line and pulled back on the bow string. Time to show off a bit.
You brought your hand up to your ear as you aimed, letting the arrow fly. It landed in the center of the target's head. You were tempted to look at the hunters for their reactions but chose to let another arrow fly before you did. This one landed an inch from the first.

Not good enough, you thought. You pulled back and let go of a third. This time landing a quarter inch from the others. You smirked at that and glanced over to the hunters. They both stood staring at the target. The younger one gave you a quick nod of approval.

---

After an hour or so, you decided you'd shown off enough and made your way upstairs to obsess over tonight's wardrobe. First you decided it was appropriate to wear your dress, then you remembered Jacob telling you it wasn't necessary. You took off the dress, throwing it on top of your dresser while you rummaged through the drawers. Next, you thought you'd wear your ripped jeans and one of your loose fitting t-shirts but quickly scrapped that idea too. After nearly a half an hour of trying on this and that, you decided on a slim pair of dark jeans and a plaid button down shirt. It was still casual but a bit dressier than the dozens of t-shirts you had. You rolled the cuffs up to your elbows and left two of the top buttons undone. Next, you pulled half of your hair back from your face, letting the rest of it tumble down your back. A quick coat of Chapstick - yes, you were that low maintenance - and you were ready. You wandered out of the bathroom and across the hall to your room.

About a week ago, you had mentioned it would be nice to have an arm chair in your room for when you wanted to read. The next day, one magically appeared while you were out helping in the kitchen.

You sat down in the low chair and brought your knees to your chest. Your nerves were starting to get to you. You hoped Jacob got back soon... You just wanted to get this whole thing over and done with.

After an hour or so, you heard his footsteps in the hall. No doubt he could be quiet if he needed to but those heavy hunting boots he wore did him no favors. He pushed your door open without knocking and looked you up and down.

"You clean up well," he commented.

"Thanks," you said softly, still staring down at your hands. Jacob studied you for a minute.

"You ready to head out?" He asked.

You looked up at his attire - still wearing the same grey t-shirt and army jacket. You did learn however that he actually changed his clothes. He was just like a cartoon character with a closet full of the same outfit. Well, some of the t-shirts were a different colour, you corrected yourself.

You nodded and pushed yourself from the safety of your big comfy chair. You pouted slightly as you looked back at your room before closing the door. Jacob took your hand and rubbed his thumb over your knuckles. Once you got close to the guards, he of course dropped it.

---

It was a long drive to John's but it flew by quicker than you had liked. Jacob chatted on about your day and generally seemed to be in a good mood. When you pulled into the enormous driveway in front of the ranch, Jacob jumped out quickly and trotted to your side of the truck. He opened the door and escorted you outside. Part of him was nervous but the other part was excited to have you meet Joseph. He hoped it would give you a greater sense of clarity.

As you walked up the walkway, the door flew open and John stepped outside dramatically. He opened his arms wide and embraced his brother before taking your hand and bringing it to his lips. You stopped yourself from rolling your eyes. You knew he was one for dramatics; you saw his "commericals" but thought maybe he was putting it on for the cameras.

After John finally let go of your hand, he stepped aside and motioned for the front door. Jacob placed a hand at the small of your back and lead you into the house. You couldn't believe how extravagant it was. Here was poor Jacob living in a tiny room while his brother lived in this huge house by himself. You had heard from Elsa that John was a lawyer and a pretty successful one, so you imaged that's how he afforded it. Your eyes scanned the room, taking in the details of his decor. Various forms of taxidermy were scattered around the room, looking somewhat out of place. Further into the room, a long dining table was set with white china and cloth napkins. It was surrounded with large wooden chairs.

"Joseph is washing up for dinner but he will be joining us momentarily," John explained. "Please, have a seat on the couch until dinner's ready."

Jacob flopped down on the couch and kicked his feet up on the coffee table. That caused John to grimace a bit before hurrying out of the room. You took a seat next to him and placed your hand on his knee. He leaned over and kissed your forehead.

"You holding up?" he asked.

"Yeah, just taking in this massive house," you lied to him again. You really shouldn't be making a habit of this.

"It's something," he agreed. "Don't tell me you're looking to trade up your lavish living quarters now."

You laughed. "As long as you're attached, I'm good where I am." He smiled at that.

You heard a set of footsteps enter the living room and turned to see Joseph. He was impeccably dressed in a white dress shirt, black pants and vest. He stopped momentarily while you both stood to your feet. He immediately placed a hand on either side of Jacob and pressed his forehead to his.

"My brother," he said softly with a smile. After a minute, he released Jacob and turned to you, giving you a warm hug. "What a pleasure it is to finally meet you. I'm so glad you could make it."

"Thank you, the pleasure is mine," you replied politely. Lies, lies, lies.

Joseph released you from his embrace but kept his hands on your shoulders, looking you over. "Jacob, you have done well. I can see you both bring out a great deal of happiness in one another. That is a beautiful thing."

"Still didn't teach him any manners though," John teased as he re-entered the room. Joseph laughed softly at that but Jacob just continued to watch you. He was trying to read your emotions which you normally were terrible at hiding but tonight he couldn't place a finger on them. He could see you were visibly uneasy but he wasn't sure if that was just the pressure of meeting his family or something else.

Jacob crossed his arms and gave his brothers a look. They both stopped their laughter and John announced dinner was ready and that you could make your way to the dining area. You expected Joseph to sit at the head of the table but he chose to sit on one side. Jacob quickly sat on the other, leaving an empty chair next to him for you. Before you were able to sit, John rushed over and pulled your chair out for you. He helped push it to the table before taking his seat next to Joseph. Jacob grunted slightly at that.

Dinner was served family style, with the dishes placed in the center of the table so everyone could serve themselves. There were baguettes, two different types of pasta, homemade sauce rich which cream and garlic, and grilled chicken. It all looked amazing. As a home cook, you could definitely appreciate the effort it took to put this together.

John leaned into the table and smiled at you. "Would you do us the honours of saying grace?"

You froze. You weren't a religious person, nor were any of your family. Sure, you believed in a higher power but had never attended church and had certainly never lead a deeply religious family in prayer. You thought for a moment before choosing yours words.

"Lord, thank you for bringing us together today and for letting this family welcome me into their homes. We also thank you for the food we are about to receive. Amen." You let out a low breath, waiting for their reactions.

"Well said, my child," Joseph commended you. He gave you the biggest smile. You felt an instant sense of relief.

During dinner, Joseph and John spoke casually about some of the followers and progress on their supplies. They asked you about your life up to this point and where you were staying prior to meeting Jacob. And of course, they wanted every detail on how you both met. The conversation was casual and you felt yourself relax slightly. Part of you was starting to enjoy the evening and the food was definitely on point.

"This is amazing by the way," you chimed in when the conversation slowed. You pointed down to your plate with your fork.

"I'm glad you're enjoying it," John smiled. "You must be getting tired of eating rations by now?" He winked at his brother.

"Actually, she's taken over the kitchen and we're all a lot fatter because of it," Jacob said proudly. John raised his eyebrows at you.

"You enjoy cooking?"

You nodded. "When I was a kid, I really wanted to become a chef but... I couldn't afford to go to school so I started to teach myself."

"Always a good idea to have a hobby," Joseph added. "I'm sure Jacob is glad to not have to wait for our weekly dinners before he's able to get a good meal."

"Oh, you have these weekly?" you asked. You weren't aware of that.

He nodded. "Yes. We feel it is important to put all things aside for a time, however brief, and focus on our family. Normally my sister, Faith, would join us as well but she was indisposed this evening. You will, of course, be meeting her tomorrow during our service."

You turned quickly to Jacob at that. He didn't tell you about going to any service. He looked down at you briefly and back to Joseph.

"I look forward to it."

"I do as well," Joseph clapped his hands lightly and glanced to John. "Shall I grab the dessert then?"

John shook his head ever so slightly and blinked. You realized that he had been staring at you. "No, no. You're my guest."

He stood, grabbing as many plates as he could fit in his hands. You decided it was probably expected of you to help so you grabbed the rest and followed him into the kitchen. He set the dishes in the sink and turned to take the remainder from your hands.

"Thank you," he said while keeping his eyes on yours. "You didn't have to."

"No problem. I can start the dishes too while you have dessert."

You started for the sink but he grabbed your hands in his. He smiled again, one corner of his mouth turning slightly higher than the other. He shook his head.

"I wouldn't hear of it," he protested with your hands still in his. After a long moment, you looked away awkwardly. You suspected he picked up on it because he quickly dropped your hands and turned his attention to the fridge.

"So... chocolate or strawberry?" He peeked past the freezer door to hear your response.

"Umm.. ice cream?"

"Oh! Yes, of course. Sorry." He hit his forehead with the palm of his right hand. "I don't bake so this is about as good as it gets around here."

You laughed slightly and told him you'd prefer to have chocolate.

"Typical woman," he teased with a quick wink.

"Your brother said the same thing." You pushed another bowl towards him as he placed two messy scoops in each one. He raised his eyebrows at that.

"Jacob actually has chocolate on site?"

"Well, no. But when I complained, he made sure I had some," you explained.

John nodded and let his hand rest on the handle of the scoop for minute. He looked deep in thought.

"My brother is infatuated with you," he said "I can see why."

He didn't look back up at you while he took a couple bowls from the counter, leaving the rest for you to carry. When you got back to the table, Jacob was leaned back in his seat with his legs casually spread apart. Joseph sat straight in his chair as he had when you left. He was nodding in agreement to something Jacob had said.

John placed a bowl in front of his brothers. Taking your seat again, you left a bowl in front of you and pushed the other towards John. He kept eye contact with you while you leaned over the table far enough to reach. He smiled again but didn't thank you.

"Chocolate," Jacob grinned as he nodded to your bowl. The others had strawberry.

"Well, naturally! My supply at home has run out and someone hasn't refilled it."

---

After dessert and John arguing with Joseph about leaving the dishes, you all said your goodbyes and left for home. You noticed Jacob had become quiet half way through the night but weren't sure what was wrong. You decided not to press the issue in front of his family.

On his way out, Jacob pressed his forehead to Joseph's again but not to John's. He nodded and thanked him for dinner instead. You wondered if this was typical.

The ride home was quiet as well. You finally decided to break the silence.

"That food was amazing, huh?" He nodded but didn't say anything. "Thanks for inviting me Jake. I actually had a nice time."

You glanced at him, waiting for his response but he didn't say anything again. You studied him and realized he has gripping the steering wheel with both hands - he normally steered with one casually at the bottom - his knuckles were turning white.

"Jake?"

Jacob didn't respond. He continued to stare out the front windshield, white knuckling the steering wheel and clenching his jaw. A few minutes later, you crossed the Holland Valley border and started back into the mountains.

"He wants you," he said suddenly. He didn't keep his eyes off the road. His words surprised you. You were going to ask who but you chose not to say anything. Instead you rested your hand on Jacob's leg, trying to calm him, while he drove the rest of the way home.

Chapter Text

That night, Jacob said he had some things to finish up and left you at your door after kissing you good night. You expected him to head back down the hall but he went to his room and closed the door. You stood staring at the door in confusion. He was obviously upset over John's attention but you hadn't seen it as anything other than hospitality. It was the first time you met him but you assumed he was overly friendly to most people. Well, until he wasn't.

You changed into your pajamas and plunked yourself down in your chair, rethinking the events of the night. Joseph had seemed so pleasant and calm, and John was beyond charming. You wondered what Faith would be like.

Suddenly, you remembered you were expected at church in the morning. Jacob hadn't spoken about it on the way home so you had no idea what to expect. The thought of going forced an anxiousness on you. You decided that you had to interrupt Jacob and clear this up or else you'd never be able to sleep.

You debated whether to knock on the door but considering his mood, decided it would be a good idea. He opened the door abruptly; his eyes were wild. You noticed his usual calm demeanor had disappeared.

You stepped into his arms and held him as tightly. He waited for a moment before finally wrapping his around you in return. You both stood silently, holding each other as tightly as you could.

"I just need a couple minutes," he reasoned with you.

"I'm sorry... I know you said that. I just, I was worried about tomorrow.

"I'll come see you later, okay?" He asked.

"Okay," you said softly and released yourself from his grip. He turned and closed the door on you. It was hard for him to do - normally he enjoyed every minute he had with you - but he needed to calm down. His mind was going to a very bad place. He knew the look John had on his face while he examined you, all too well. He was sure it was the same one he had when you were around. The difference was, John got what John wanted.

Jacob was the polar opposite of him: rough around the edges and vulgar, while John took pride in his appearance and could charm the pants off any woman he met. He knew it would only be a matter of time before you could see that too. He slammed his fists down before he slumped down onto the table.

---

You chose to distract yourself with a warm bath. You hadn't had one since you were shot and admitted the water felt so much better when it wasn't biting into the wound you once had.

You settled back in the tub and rested your head on the ledge. You were still surprised with how big the tub was; large enough for two people and deep enough to fully cover your body. You avoided picking up the soap just yet because you knew the smell would remind you of Jacob. Your thoughts turned to him anyway. You wished you could make him feel better again.

Your thoughts were interrupted by the door creaking open. You immediately covered up your body with your arms, praying it wasn't one of the guards. Though they had stopped entering your room awhile ago, you didn't expect to see Jacob as he didn't seem too interested in spending time with you right now. You were surprised to see him enter the bathroom and shut the door behind him, locking the door.

He quickly peeled his clothes off without a word and motioned for you to let him in behind you. You did as you were instructed. He pulled himself down into the tub and wrapped his long legs around either side of you, settling his hands around your waist.

"Hi," he breathed in your ear before giving it a soft kiss.

"Hi." You wanted to say more but figured if he wanted to talk about it, he would. You had learned by now that when Jacob shut down, it was best to be there for him but let him work it out himself. You reached up and placed a hand on his cheek, closing your eyes and taking in the closeness.

He continued to kiss your ear before giving it a light nibble. You let out a low gasp and felt him smile against your hand.

Pushing closer to you, you could feel Jacob's cock pressing into your back. Your body instantly reacted to it. You turned yourself around in the tub awkwardly and straddled his lap, wrapping your arms around his shoulders.

"Kitten, I..." He started. You quieted him with a rough kiss. He didn't owe you an explanation.

Your kiss continued for several minutes before Jacob finally pushed his hands between your open thighs. His fingers circled your clit quickly as his breath quickened. You knew he wouldn't be keeping his hand there for long. A low moan forced it's way from your lips. He smiled at your obvious pleasure and shifted his hand, trying to pull away.

You reached down quickly and forced his hand in place. Shaking your head at him, pleading at him with your eyes. As badly as he wanted to fuck you, he did as you asked. This time, he switched to his thumb and used two of his free fingers to enter you. He pushed them in deeply, gauging your reaction.

You eyelids fluttered as you rolled your chin back and exposed your neck to him. You always loved when he kissed it roughly. Jacob picked up on your hint quickly and pressed his lips to your shoulder before making its way up, sucking as he went. You were sure you would have to keep your neck covered up tomorrow to cover the marks he was leaving.

"Cum for me," Jacob whispered into your neck as he pushed his fingers in deeper. His words caught you off guard and forced you over the edge. You dug your nails into his shoulders as you came loudly.

"Good girl," he said simply as he pulled away his hand and replaced it with his cock. He pushed up into you until his entire length was buried. Jacob grabbed your hips, picking you up and bringing you back down in an erratic pace. His fingers dug harder into your skin every time you moaned.

You weren't surprised when he orgasmed shortly after. He gave a couple extra thrusts after he was done and pulled out, letting you rest back on his thighs. Starring up at your neck, he ran his rough fingers over the marks he had left.

"Someone was eager tonight," you observed.

He didn't respond. His eyes travelled up your neck and to your face. A strange look came over him.

"I want you in my bed every night," he said.

"I normally am," you answered. It wasn't like he ever let you fuck him in your bed. He always managed to get you into his... either by pulling you or carrying you...

"No, that's not what I mean."

You weren't sure what he was getting at. "You mean, like... sleep there?" Normally after a quick round of cuddling, you snuck back to your own room to sleep.

Jacob nodded with the same expression on his face. It was one you hadn't seen before.

"Are you asking me to move in with you?" You half teased, not really thinking that's what he meant. He nodded again. a feeling of shock overtook you. You wanted to tell him that was all you wanted - leaving him every night made you miserable - but you chose to keep it light.

"I knew you couldn't stay away from me and my charming personality." You slapped at his chest playfully. "Oh, wait... Can I bring my chair?"

"I suppose we can break it in."

You kissed him deeply before grabbing for the soap.

---

That night, you slept in Jacob's room. He kissed you goodnight and moved to his usual side of the bed, not offering to cuddle. You were happy for it though; you liked to stretch out while you slept. You didn't sleep as well as you imagined you would though. Your mind ran over the events at John's ranch again and then to the anxiety you felt about tomorrow's service. You tossed and turned for a bit before listening for Jacob's breath to slow. When it didn't, you knew he wouldn't be sleeping either.

Chapter Text

"Time to wake up," Jacob said as he gently shook your arm.

You blinked and looked up at him through blurred vision; you were positive you had just fallen asleep. That was by far the worst sleep you had gotten in a long time. You were sure Jacob could have said the same but he didn't show it. You noticed he was already up and dressed.

"What time is it?" You asked groggily.

"10:00. You have thirty minutes before we have to leave."

"Are you kidding!" You pushed yourself to the edge of the bed and up to your feet as quickly as you could, nearly pushing Jacob out of the way. "You should have woken me up earlier!"

You blew through the bedroom door and into your old room. Picking up the pale yellow sundress that still sat in a pile on top of your dresser, you shook the wrinkles out as best you could. Next, you darted into the bathroom to brush your teeth and style your hair into something somewhat presentable. You ended up blowing it out and decided on keeping it down. Checking yourself over in the mirror, you nodded slightly to yourself. Not too shabby.

"Time?" you yelled back over the Jacob from across the hall.

He sauntered over to the bathroom and leaned into the doorframe. He seemed completely unfazed by how frantic you were. "You still have 10 minutes."

You breathed a sigh of relief and immediately apologized for going full on tornado mode. Jacob grabbed for your hand and pulled you to him. He kissed you through a smile that had crept up on his lips.

"You're beautiful."

"Oh my God, stop," you protested. You hated when he complemented you... It always seemed so out of character for him.

"Fine. Kitten, you're one fine piece of ass. Better?" He lifted an eyebrow at you.

"Neither is true and you know it. Now you on the other hand..." You rubbed your palm up the length of his thigh. "You have no idea what you do to me, do you?"

He glanced down the hall. After seeing the guards, he quickly pulled you into the bathroom and pinned you to the wall. His hands grabbed your wrists and forced them above your head.

"You can't talk like that," he snapped. "We don't have time."

You tried wriggling out of his grasp but he tightened his fingers around you. You felt him harden against your stomach and pushed yourself forward, teasing him.

"You don't like my filthy mouth?" you whispered. "It's never a problem when you have it wrapped around your cock."

Jacob pushed into you harder, letting your wrists go and putting his hands on your breasts. He kissed you before biting down hard at your bottom lip.

You pushed your face to the side before continuing - he was just too easy to work up. "It's too bad we don't have enough time for you to push me into this wall and fuck me from behind. My pussy... fuck. Jake, it's so wet."

That was it. Jacob couldn't take anymore of your dirty talk. He turned you around abruptly, pushing your dress up and slipping your panties to the side.

"Don't move," he instructed before he took himself out of his jeans and thrust into you without a warning. He grabbed your wrists again, forcing them behind your back. You fell forward slightly as he knocked you off balance and rested your cheek to the wall.

The sounds coming out of Jacob were new; they were almost primal. He was desperate for you and you enjoyed every second of it. You begged silently for him to keep control until you had found your release. Your wish came true when he held your wrists tighter and plowed into you with everything he had. The slight pain you felt as he pounded unrelentingly led to the hardest orgasm you had ever had. You screamed his name before he was able to cup a hand around your mouth. At the same time, you felt him cum inside of you, moaning loudly himself.

You both stood for a moment, catching your breath before he pulled out and zipped his pants back up. Your legs were so shaky that he had to steady you with his hands.

"Ready for church?" He asked casually.

"Ready for church."

---

Jacob pulled his truck into the parking lot next to the other cars and came around to your side to let you out. You opened the door and jumped down before he got there and shot him a quick smile. He smiled back before taking your hand and leading you towards the church. The public affection surprised you but you welcomed it. As you stepped past some of the followers, you heard whispers and a couple low gasps. You assumed this was probably the only time Jacob had been seen here with a woman. You decided to lay claim to him in front of these people and pushed yourself under his arm, wrapping one of yours around his waist. He held on to your shoulder in return.

As you approached the door, you noticed Joseph and John were standing at the entrance. Joseph stood next to a young woman in a beautiful lace dress; they both greeted the followers as they entered the church. John stood silently, with his hands behind his back, nodding at people occasionally. When he noticed you and Jacob, his eyes went immediately to yours. The corner of his mouth turned up in a small smile. You watched Jacob out of the corner of your eye - his expression was unreadable but you noticed his grip on your shoulder tightened.

"I wasn't sure you'd both make it. Glad we didn't scare you off last night," he grinned at you.

"Not scared... Just full," you joked back, hoping to break down the awkwardness Jacob was projecting. John chuckled softly. He started to ask you something else before Joseph interrupted.

"I'm sorry John, but I'd love for our guest to meet our sister," he said calmly as he placed a hand on his brother's shoulder. He motioned for Faith to cut her greetings short and she floated over to where you stood.

"Oh, my new sister," she said cheerfully, taking you into her arms for a hug. "You are a picture of beauty. I'm so happy to finally have you here with us to enjoy the father's word." She beamed up at Joseph.

You introduced yourself and she complimented you again, this time on your name. She explained that the family normally sat in the front pew and that you just had to save her a seat so she could enjoy this moment with you. You promised you would before Joseph announced it was time to start the service. He waited a brief moment, giving time for the followers to be seated before he led you and his family into the church. You felt like you were attending a funeral.

You walked down the short aisle to the front pew and sat between Jacob and Faith. She held on to your hand as she smiled angelically at Joseph.

"My brothers and sisters, I'm so pleased to have you all here today. You may have noticed we have a new person here with us today." His eyes fell on yours, bringing everyone's attention to you. You felt your face start to redden. "Please, I ask you to be as welcoming to her as we were to you. She has brought joy, not only to my brother but her presence today also brings great joy to me."

Everyone in the crowd clapped at this. You just smiled and looked around awkwardly. The service continued with Joseph preaching about how the Lord tests us with bad times or misfortunes in our life but that we need to see past these and learn to better ourselves. He explained that God had a plan for every moment - bad or good - and that we had to believe this led to a bigger picture; to God's plan.

The service went on for well over an hour. The people in the audience hung on to his every word and would clap frequently. Occasionally, you heard one of them shout "Praise the Father." It wasn't quite as uncomfortable as you had predicted... You weren't really sure what you thought would happen but it wasn't this. Parts of what Joseph was saying made sense you realized and you could see why it was giving these people hope. You quickly reminded yourself that this guy was a raving lunatic and in fact, some of these people were probably here against their will.

After church, you were expected to stand outside the front doors as the followers left. Some of them stopped to welcome you but most of them were more interested in speaking with Joseph. You did notice a couple of women eyeing John up though. When they turned their attention to Jacob, you flashed them a dirty look. You heard Jacob clear his throat as he tried to hide the look of amusement from his face.

"Ready?" he asked. You were starting to think he never would.

"Yes," you replied quickly. He took your hand again, looking back at his family who were busy speaking with the other church goers. Jacob decided it was best to just sneak off.

You were almost to the truck before you heard a voice call to you. You turned to see John jogging over to the truck.

"Are you guys leaving so soon?" he asked, looking at Jacob and then back to you.

Jacob nodded. "I've got to get her home in time for her date or she'll be a handful for the rest of the day." He placed a palm on your ass.

He was of course referring to your afternoon practice with Brady. Even though he joked at it being a date, you knew Jacob wasn't threatened by him. Brady knew he would snap his neck if he ever laid a finger in your so Jacob felt confident in letting you spend time with him.

"Date?" John's eyebrows shot up. He turned to you.

You laughed. "I practice shooting every afternoon with one of Jacob's guys - I figure after getting shot that I should probably learn to defend myself at some point."

John nodded his head slowly. He pressed his hands together in front of him, chewing on his bottom lip for a brief second.

Jacob broke the silence by telling him you were one hell of a shot with a bow. You noticed he seemed more at ease around his brother today.

"Really? I'll have to swing by for a private lesson sometime." He waited for your response.

"Oh, sure..." you didn't know what else to say. "Of course."

You turned to Jacob, forcing a smile. He motioned for the door with his head. You both said good bye to John and you watched him out the side view mirror as you drove off. He remained where you left him, staring after the truck.

Chapter Text

Things went back to normal over the next few days and you were thankful for it. The only difference was the amount of downtime Jacob let you have between fucking you in the shower, or his bed, your chair, the staircase... You suspected it had something to do with his belief that John was after you but you were okay with him marking his territory.

After a couple days, he told you that he had to get caught up on some things he had missed doing the last week or so and needed to go away for awhile. You were saddened to find out that "awhile" was closer to a week. He left you with a radio and instructions on how to reach him if you needed anything. When you asked if he'd leave the keys to one of his vehicles, he laughed.

After a long and grueling "good bye", you escorted him to his truck where he gave you one final kiss and drove off, leaving you to your own devices. You sighed heavily and went inside. You knew he was only trying to protect you but you were starting to feel like a prisoner here.

You wandered the halls for awhile, talking to a few hunters you had gotten to know. You searched for Brady but then you remembered Jacob saying he would be meeting up with him at one of the outposts. You were officially on your own.

The remainder of the day was spent in the tub, resting in your arm chair, wandering around the grounds, eating and then back to wandering again. You stretched out on the mattress when it was time for bed but sleep didn't come easy.

---

The next day, you woke up and went right into your routine, trying to keep yourself busy: shower, breakfast, clean up, prep, lunch, clean up... You decided to forgo the shooting range today. You chose to take a nap instead.

On your way out of the mess hall, you heard a familiar voice. You turned to see John, speaking with one of the guards... His expression was one of impatience. He stopped suddenly at the sight of you and pushed his way over to you. His smile lit up the room. You suddenly felt self conscious in your yoga pants and baggy t-shirt.

"There you are! I asked his.. gentleman.." he nodded his head back. "If he knew where you were but he wasn't very accommodating. I see things are done quite differently up north."

"Yes, I suppose you're used to having more cooperation." you said while fiddling with your shirt. He was always so warm and welcoming to you but you were still nervous around him. Even without the rumours(?) of his torture chamber, his good looks alone would put you at unease. He wasn't ruggedly handsome like his older brother - with Jacob, it came naturally. John on the other hand probably spent more time in front of the mirror than you did. The way he smiled at you though... You couldn't help but feel a tiny flutter in your stomach.

"Always," John agreed, his eyes growing dark.

You reflected that this was probably the wrong word to use around him. You quickly explained to him that Jacob was off-site and you weren't sure when he would be back. He faked surprise at this and asked what you were doing to pass the time.

"Honestly, not much. I'm not allowed to leave the Center. I think Jake's afraid I'll wind up with another bullet hole." you explained.

"Hmm, well I can't blame him for that but would he let you leave with an escort?"

You thought about that for a minute. Honestly, probably not... Normally you would just tell him no and hope he left but you were so bored that you just shrugged at him.

"Well, then we should do something fun!" his eyes lit up. There was something child like about his expression. You couldn't help but smile back at him.

"Let me just get changed real quick, k?"

"You look great," he said before grabbing your hand gently and pulling you to the door. You followed behind him until you reached a truck similar to Jacob's. He opened the door for you and tried helping you into the seat but you told him you were fine. He walked slowly to his side of the truck, flashing you a smile halfway.

You wondered what Jacob would say about this. Suddenly, you felt a wave of loneliness. It wasn't just the fact that Jacob was gone but the impact of not having anyone familiar in your life other than John fucking Seed. You pushed the image of Jacob from your head and decided to deal with the consequences when he returned.

Your drive was a long one and John refused to tell you where you were headed. Halfway there though, you recognized the same route you had taken the other night to get to John's ranch. You suddenly feared what he might have meant when he said you should "do something fun". You sank back into your seat, and grasped your hands in your lap. John didn't notice... He was too busy rambling about this and that the entire way. You suspected he didn't have much company other than the people who lived on his ranch with him but you knew John wasn't a stupid man; he would have to known they weren't there to be friends.

He briefly told you about his life as a partner at some big law firm, a couple amusing stories about his time at college and then finally about Joseph's plans to expand the church. He seemed excited by that. He didn't bother to ask you any questions but you assumed that was because you literally didn't say a word the entire trip.

A few minutes later, John pulled into his driveway. A couple of his men waved quickly as he drove by. He pulled to the side of the front door and parked the truck.

"Ready?" He still seemed so excited.

"I'm not sure for what, but I guess so..."

His smile grew at that. "It's a surprise. You're going to like it... Well, unless you're afraid of heights."

"Yep. Definitely scared of heights," you replied quickly. What the hell did he have planned.

"Well, then maybe you won't have as much fun but hopefully you'll come around." John hopped out of the truck, darting for the side of the building. He turned around when he noticed you weren't next to him and motioned to you with a wave of his hand. You let out a long breath and followed behind him.

---

"Jesus! John, please don't do that again!" You pleaded while he laughed maniacally.

"What? This?" He asked as he leaned the plane into another tailspin. He looked over at you again to watch you freak out.

"Oh my fuck! I officially hate you." You yelled. You had never liked heights so flying was a definite stress for you. John was loving every minute of it though. He seemed completely carefree as he flew over the Valley. The ear to ear grin he had plastered to his face never faded for a minute.

"Okay, okay," he agreed. He brought the plane around and kept it steady for the rest of the trip.

"That was just cruel."

"I'm sorry. I'll behave," he said as he turned to face you. He kept his eyes on you for a minute before he spoke again. "Can I ask you a personal question?"

"Do I have to answer?"

"Well, no. This isn't your confession, yet.." he trailed off.

You hated the way he threw that word in there. You finally nodded your response.

"Are you afraid of me?" John asked bluntly.

"Right now? After that stunt, I should say so."

"That's not what I mean," he replied.

You wondered if this was a trick question but you suspected he wanted the truth. If he was as good at reading people as Jacob, there would be no bullshitting him.

"Yes, a bit," you admitted.

"Just a bit?" he pushed you to continue.

You nodded, thinking carefully of what you should say. "I mean, right now I'm not but... I've just heard things."

"And do you think they're true?"

"Aren't they?"

"Mostly," he said simply.

"Am I going to have to atone?" you repeated the question you had asked Jacob.

"Don't you want to?"

"I don't wan't to... Well, I don't mind confessing. I just... I don't handle pain well."

"True atonement of one's sins is done through pain. We all must suffer before he can be forgiven," you said this as if it were rehearsed.

You sat quietly and tried to control your breathing. You felt like you were on the verge of a panic attack. You could only image what he would do to you... You saw people John had "helped" in the past. They always left bloody, bruised and often with missing pieces - both physically and emotionally.

After what seemed like an eternity, John landed the plane and killed the engine. He turned to face you completely.

"You are part of this family and because of that, I don't want to hurt you. If you confess, I will only carve your sins so you can expose them. Nothing else."

How terribly nice of him. You felt like reaching out and slapping his face at his stupidity.

"And if I don't agree to it?" you asked.

"You would be wise to." John leaned over and placed your hand in his. "Please, trust me on this. Joseph..." He stopped suddenly, catching himself before he said anything further.

You knew in your heart there was no getting out of this unless you ran and really how far could you get. Plus, you would be leaving Jacob behind. Joseph was obviously calling the shots here and instructed John to force this on you. You weren't sure if John wanted this as well or if he was simply complying with his brothers wishes but either way, it had been set in stone. You decided to go the easier of the two routes and confess willingly, hoping to spare yourself a bit of pain.

"Okay," you said softly. John's eyes lit up at your response. "But I want to wait until Jacob is back."

Chapter Text

"Jake?"

You had turned the radio to the the channel he left in his instructions. You weren't sure if he would be sleeping or not but decided to try him anyway. This was the second night you had spent alone and you were starting to miss his dumb face.

A couple minutes went by without a response. You sighed and leaned back into bed, pulling his pillow close to your face and breathing in the lingering scent. You let your mind wander for a minute before trying again.

"Sad Little Kitten to Big Red. Come in," you groaned instantly at the corniness of it. "Jake?"

You heard a bit of static and then his soft voice came over the radio. "Kitten.. everything okay?"

You pulled the radio to your chest and gave it a quick squeeze. You tried to compose yourself so you didn't sound too excited.

"Hey," you said as casually as you could.

"What are you still doing up?" he asked with a touch of concern in his voice.

"Couldn't sleep. When are you coming home?" you asked hopefully.

"At least two more days. Maybe more. There's been some... complications," his voice lowered a bit. "Are you missing me already?"

"Depends. Do you miss me?"

"That would be admitting to weakness," Jacob replied. You smiled at that. You knew the answer.

"When you get back, John is going to hear my confession," you blurted out. You had planned on telling him when he got back but you felt like that would be hiding something from him. Plus, you were internally freaking the fuck out. You waited for his response with baited breath. After a long pause, he came back on the radio.

"When did you see him?"

"Today," you admitted. "He came by the Center. We talked about it and I decided it's probably better to just do it voluntarily. He promised to... Well, it's going to be quick."

Jacob didn't ask you what else you had done with John or why he had gone to see you. He just demanded you allow him to go with you when all of this happened. You agreed. You knew you would feel better having him by your side anyhow.

"I should go try to sleep again," you said after the conversation had slowed to an uncomfortable pace. "I.. I can't wait until you're home."

"I'll be there soon," he reassured you. "Night, kitten."

The channel went silent and you knew he was gone. You debated for the rest of the night whether you should have radioed him or just left well enough alone. The longing you felt for him grew after his voice died on the other end. You buried your face into his pillow as the tears started.

---

Several hours later, your body finally gave in and you drifted off to sleep. You dreamt on and off for most of the night.

First, you dreamt of Ghost: She lead a huge pack of Judges to Joseph's compound and ripped him to shreds in front of everyone in the church. You sat in one of the back pews and laughed wildly with Faith.

You then dreamt of Jacob: He returned home with amnesia, not remembering who you were and locking you in one of his cages; starving you while he taunted you from the outside.

Finally, you dreamt of John: You were in your bedroom but he had made the trip there to start your atonement. He started your confession by stripping you naked and tying you to your bedframe. You pulled against the restraints, desperate to touch him.

When you begged him to untie you, he undid his belt and shoved part of it in your mouth. He tied the rest behind your head, using it as a makeshift gag.

"You don't get to be in control here," he whispered into your ear before pushing himself back to his feet.

He paced back and forth beside the bed like a caged animal. He pondered which part of you he would dive into first. Finally making up his mind, he lowered his body on top of yours and brought his lips to your breasts. He took each one in his hands while switching between them with his mouth. When you started to moan, he bit down hard on one of your hardened nipples.

"Shhh..." he instructed. "Not a peep."

He turned his head to your other nipple and bit down again while he massaged the other between his fingers. He stopped abruptly and inched his way down your body before pushing his face between your thighs without warning. He immediately took your clit between his lips and sucked hard, pushing his tongue in a circular motion.

"Fuck," you screamed into the belt. You knew you weren't supposed to speak but you couldn't help it. Your body was on fire.

John pulled back instantly and stood back up. He reached down and slapped the side of your face.

"What did I say? Not a fucking word," he warned again as he grabbed either side of your face with one hand.

You smiled at the sting on your cheek but kept your mouth shut. He grinned back at you while he walked to the other side of the room. He turned from you and undressed, meticulously folding and placing his clothes on the big wooden table in the corner. He finally turned back, grabbing at his cock and tugging at it roughly. You arched your back off of the bed, trying at the restraints again. The corner of his mouth pulled up deviously.

"You want this don't you?" he asked as he closed the distance between you. You nodded. "Say it."

You questioned whether this was a trick, knowing he didn't want you to speak.

"It's okay kitten," he whispered.

---

You woke suddenly after hearing him use such an intimate nickname. Guilt immediately washed over you. Your mind flew to Jacob. You hated yourself for thinking of John like that. You knew you couldn't control your dreams but the guilt continued to weigh heavy on you. Struggling to relax, you pulled yourself into a fetal position.

When you finally calmed your breathing, you laid awake for a long while. You turned to Jacob's side of the bed, wishing he was here with you.

Chapter Text

It had been four days since the last time you spoke with Jacob. You knew he mentioned some complications and could only image what those might be. You tried to remind yourself that he was busy and that's why you hadn't heard from him.

You tried to stay busy for the most part, offering extra help in the kitchen and practicing with your bow. You even started heading out for walks in the woods around the Center. You knew Jacob would be displeased if he knew but his guys didn't try to stop you at the door and you decided they wouldn't be ratting you out.

It was late afternoon and you were out for a quick hike. You brought your journal with you and were sitting out for awhile, writing in it and taking in the fresh air when your stomach started to grumble. Figuring it must be close to dinner time, you made your way back home; taking your time to enjoy the scent of the trees.

When you finally arrived at the long driveway to the Veteran's Center, you saw a familiar flash of red hair. You quickened your pace, excited to finally have him home but paused halfway when you noticed he was pacing. Your breath caught in your throat and you stopped instantly. When he turned to face back in the other direction, Jacob caught sight of you and stopped dead. A wave of relief washed over him but it was quickly overtaken by anger. He clenched his fists to his sides as he marched over to you. You didn't move to greet him.

"Jake, you're home!" you exclaimed, nervously. You tried wrapping your arms around him but he grabbed your hand and pulled you back inside without a word. When you were finally in your room, he dropped your hand roughly and turned to face you. His expression was calm but his eyes pierced through you angrily. He stepped closer until he was a foot away from your face.

"Where the fuck were you?" he said between clenched teeth. You wanted to reach out to him but could tell it wasn't a good idea. You tilted your chin to look up at him.

"I was just out for a walk," you explained quickly.

"Alone?"

"Yes." You wondered who else he thought would possibly be with you.

He pressed his fingers to the spot between his eyebrows, squeezing tightly.

"What the fuck were you thinking? I tell you to stay here and you... Do you have any idea what responsibilities I've put on hold for you? The only thing I've ever asked is for you to do as you're told and stay put."

"Are you kidding me right now?" you asked impatiently. You were so tired of this over protective bullshit. "It's been close to two months and you still literally have me living here like a fucking prisoner. And then you leave for almost a week, not calling me once I might add, and expect me to sit around... What? Waiting for you?"

Jacob's expression softened and he tried to reach for you. You pushed his hands away and reached for the door. You knew you shouldn't but you couldn't resist throwing in one more dig.

"At least your brother allows me to have fun. He's the only person who gives me any god damned freedom or who cares enough to check in on me."

You turned and stormed out of the room before you were able to see his reaction. He didn't follow you as you made your way downstairs and out the front door.

---

It had been several hours and you were still walking. You had no idea where you were headed - you didn't bring anything with you so you were without money - but you knew you had to get away. You also knew you would just end up breaking down if you stopped walking so you pressed on, refusing to give in to your emotions.

It wasn't even just the argument you had with Jacob... it was everything. You felt alone and being pent up all day didn't help. You questioned yourself daily on why you were allowing yourself to get so close to the Seeds and what that said about you. Up until this point, you had pushed everything aside and refused to accept the truth about them but that was getting harder to do.

The weight of everything eventually caught up to you and you gave in to the fatigue, plunking down on the grass in the clearing you had just come to. You laid back and forced yourself not to cry.

You focused instead on the stars above and how clear the sky was. You counted each twinkling star, trying to distract yourself but suddenly heard something in the distance. You leaned up on your elbows and searched in that direction. A small plane flew overhead before quickly disappearing again behind the treeline. Your thoughts immediately went to John.

Normally, you would push any thought of him from your mind but you decided you needed the distraction. You let yourself go back to the dream you had a couple nights ago and closed your eyes. You wondered if that's what sex would really be like with him... probably. He seemed like a control freak and was most definitely a sadist. Sex with Jacob was always incredible and he was not a selfish lover by any means but everytime he started to get rough with you, he would pull back. Part of you wanted him to take full control of you but for some reason he never did.

The thought of Jacob stung as you started to feel guilty for yelling at him. You knew he has only trying to protect you but he never listened to reason. You had missed him so desperately while he was gone.. you should be in bed with him right now, making up for lost time but instead you were god knows where.

You sat up suddenly, realizing you had no idea where you were. As dark as it was, it would be hard to navigate back home. Panic set in immediately. You pushed up to your feet and assessed your surroundings but nothing seemed familiar. You finally decided to turn back in the direction - maybe? - that you came from.

You were only able to take a few steps into the trees before you felt a sting in your left shoulder blade. Reaching up, you felt something lodged into the skin but before you were able to retrieve it, your vision went blurry and you collapsed on the forest floor.

Chapter Text

You woke up to one hell of a headache and a deep pain in your ribs. Your hand instinctively lifted your shirt to inspect them. You weren't surprised when you saw the dark bruises covering half of your side. You inspected the other side but noticed it was untouched. Your vision was still relatively blurry out of one eye. After feeling around, you determined it was swollen as well as the side of your face and down your jaw.

Panic set in and you looked around, taking in your surroundings. You were in a large metal cell with thick bars replacing one wall. There were no windows or furniture of any sort other than a single mattress thrown in the corner. You immediately ran for the door, pushing through the shooting pain and frantically fighting against the bars in vain.

"Sit the fuck back or I'll lay the boots to you again. Understand?" You recognized him instantly as what the locals called a "Peggie". They weren't hard to pick out for the most part. Rage seeped into your veins when you realized your beating had come from his hands. You pushed yourself further into the bars and spit in his face.

"You little bitch," he screamed while he wiped the spit from his cheek. Immediately, he was unlocking your cell and grabbing you by the wrist. You reached out and gave him one hell of a crack to the jaw before he threw you down and kicked you again in your injured ribcage. You immediately curled into yourself, trying to shield yourself from the majority of the damage.

After a few minutes, he must have decided you'd had enough and with one last kick to the thigh, he spit back at you and walked out, leaving you locked inside your cage. When he had finally left the room, you allowed the tears you had pent up to flow down your swollen cheeks. You gave yourself a minute to cry before composing yourself and started brainstorming how you would get yourself out of there.

---

"Where am I?" you asked him. The Peggie had come back awhile later. You assumed he was in charge of guarding you because he did nothing else bit sit around and stare at you menacingly.

"That's none of your concern."

You thought that over for a minute and studied his attire. Most of Jacob's guys wore the usual long hunter's jackets and masks so you were almost certain you weren't in the Whitetail Mountains anymore. You didn't remember crossing the Henbane so... you must be back in the Valley. A sense of relief washed over you. Once John realized you were here, he would clear this up.

"When will I find out?"

"Again.. not your business," he spat. "You'll find out soon enough."

You obviously had to change your tactics with this idiot. "John won't be happy when he knows what you did to me."

He snorted at that. "Little girl, after he's done with you, you'll be praying for my company instead."

That confirmed your suspicions: he was one of John's followers.

"Please tell John his flying buddy is here and see if he can find some time to visit me," you said smugly as you smiled innocently up at the Peggie. He blinked at you but then turned with a growl and huffed down the hall. A couple of minutes later, you heard him on the radio. His voice was low so you couldn't hear the entire conversation but you did pick up on him repeating your words from earlier.

You heard him walk back hurriedly to your cell before informing you that John was on his way and that you better keep your "fucking mouth shut". You rolled your eyes at that, only to have him throw his radio across the room and curse under his breath. It paid to have friends in high places, you thought to yourself.

---

Roughly an hour had passed, you estimated. You remained seated on the floor after noticing the dried blood covering the mattress in your cell. It hurt to breath but you did your best to let out long exhales and try to calm yourself. You kept reassuring yourself that once John arrived, everything would be fine. Still, you grew more impatient by the moment.

When you heard John's voice from down the hall, you wanted to jump up and run to the door but you knew your ribs wouldn't allow you to now that the adrenaline had worn off. You chose to remain in your spot on the floor.

The footsteps quickened down the hall and John turned the corner, two guards following closely behind him. When he saw the state you were in, he gave them a nod towards the Peggie who had given you the beating and they immediately grabbed either of his arms before dragging him down the hall. He screamed for John to give him mercy the entire way.

John opened the cell quickly with a key he fished out of his pocket and knelt down in front of you. He gently put his hand under your chin, turning you face to one side and then the other. He glanced down your body before bringing his eyes back to yours.

"Anywhere else?" he asked quietly.

"My ribs."

He pulled up your shirt without asking and ran a gentle hand down your side. The feeling of his skin sent a brief shiver through you. He smiled briefly when he noticed, before his face fell again.

"My brother's been looking everywhere for you."

"How long have I been here?" you asked as you took your shirt out of his hands and let the hem fall back down.

"Apparently they brought you in last night. The bliss bullet they used knocked you out for awhile... It's nearly night time again."

You thought about Jacob and the panic he must be in after you disappeared. He would have sent his hunters out, if not going himself but the trail would have gone cold after you were picked up.

"Can you please radio Jacob for me?"

"He's already been told. I imagine he'll be tearing through here at any..."

"Move the fuck out of my way," you heard Jacob's voice boom from down the hall. Speak of the devil. You knew you should feel relief at knowing he was here but a part of you was ashamed at how you acted and worried at what he would say. You listened while his footsteps made their way down the corridor and he finally came into eyesight. He didn't stop to assess the room before running over to you, nearly knocking John off his knees.

Jacob reached down for your face and laid a palm over your bruises. His face was full of worry.

"Jake, I'm so sorry."

He laid his thumb over your lips before you could say anything else. He turned to John and asked where the person was who did this to you.

"He'll be taken care of," John replied. Jacob nodded. "I'll take her back with me to the Ranch. With her ribs in that condition, a long car ride probably isn't the best thing for her right now."

"No. You won't." Jacob said. He kept his eyes on yours the entire time. "I'm taking you home."

You weren't sure if it was an order or a question but you didn't care. You nodded up at him. You wanted nothing more than to be back to the place you ran from.

He stood and thanked John before scooping you up gingerly in his arms, taking care to not put too much pressure on your side. You mind raced back to the first time he carried you. He hadn't been so gentle then.

The halls seemed to go on forever while Jacob carried you through the bunker. Peggies were everywhere and everytime you passed one, they stopped to stare at the sight of you. Jacob kept his eyes forward, not paying attention to any of them.

After a few flights of stairs, you finally made your way outside and to Jacob's truck. He helped lower you down into your seat as you bit the inside of your cheek at the pain shooting up your side. He stopped with his hand on the door before closing it and looked you over.

"What is it?" you finally asked.

"Nothing," he answered before closing the door and taking his place next to you.

It was a long drive back, especially since Jacob took his time and tried to avoid every bump and pot hole. The silence between you was driving you insane but it also helped lull you to sleep. You felt so exhausted and your body gave in quickly.

---

When you woke up, you were laying in bed with a blanket loosely wrapped around you. The room was dark but you could see Jacob's outline at the foot of the bed. He sat quietly, stroking your leg.

"Lay with me?" you asked him. You were tired, sore and absolutely starving but all you wanted was to make things right between you two again.

He moved under the blanket with you and let you come to him on your own. You curled up against his chest and let him bring a hand to your shoulder as he continued to touch you.

"I won't force you to stay," he said after a few minutes.

"I know what you were trying to do. And I always love having you here to protect me... but, I just can't stay cooped up whenever you're not around," you tried to explain again. You felt him nod against the top of your head but he didn't say anything.

You tried to push yourself up so you could look at him through the shadows of the room but he pushed your head lightly back to his chest.

"Joseph thinks something big is going to happen soon. Things are getting worse by the day. I... I just want you to be safe."

"I know. I'm sorry I ran off. I guess this kind of proves I can't be off on my own, huh?"

Jacob laughed. "Just a little."

You both laid in silence for awhile, your head still on his chest and his hand stroking your hair and then your back. Every once in awhile, he would kiss the top of your head. You were so relaxed that you felt yourself start to drift off to sleep again.

---

When you woke up the next morning, Jacob was already gone. You hoped he would stick around, especially after not seeing him for so long but you knew things were worse for him now more than ever. You debated whether to go back to sleep but when you looked at the clock and noticed it was already close to 10:00, you decided you better get up.

Pushing yourself out of bed was a chore but after a couple tries, you managed to stand and get yourself to the bathroom. On the way back, you stopped when you noticed Jacob walking back to your room with a tray in hand. Your stomach growled in response.

"I hope that's for me!" you hollered down to him. He nodded and quickened his pace until he was in front of you.

"Let's get you back to bed. Here, just a minute." He left you in the hall briefly while he placed the tray on the bed side table. By the time he came back to help you, you were already halfway to the bed.

"Stubborn," he muttered as he helped you back into bed. He sat next to you and grabbed for the tray.

"We're back to oatmeal again?" You asked as you stared down at the bowl of pale slop. He had at least brought you up some fruit with it. Jacob scrunched up his face in an apology.

---

You devoured the whole bowl and all the fruit as well as two big glasses of water. After breakfast, Jacob helped you into the tub but refused to join you as much as you pleaded with him. He wanted you to rest up.

After a nice warm bath, he left you alone to nap. And that was pretty much your schedule for the next little while. Jacob spent a lot more time with you, making sure you were fed and getting lots of sleep. At night, he kept you in his arms while he slept; something he had never done before.

Roughly a week later, the swelling and bruising had gone away and your ribs only really hurt when you moved a certain way. Jacob explained they mustn't be broken and you should be back to normal soon.

"I'm going to go back to helping with meals again," you informed him early one morning. Jacob was going to ask if you needed some extra time but knew better than to argue with you.

The radio let out a low buzz suddenly and a familiar voice came over the channel.

"Jacob?" It was John. Jacob picked up the radio and replied quickly, asking if everything was okay.

"Yes, yes... Everything is good. Just checking up on our patient."

"She's feeling better apparently. I'm getting some of the usual sass mouth." he explained while he flashed you a quick smile.

"Good, I was speaking with Joseph and he wants..." he paused. "Are you alone?"

Jacob held a finger out to you quickly as he exited the room and closed the door behind him. You wondered what all the secret squirrel stuff was about.

A minute later, Jacob returned with a serious expression on his face. It sent a wave of panic through you.

"What is it?" you asked.

"Arrangements have been made," he informed you. "We'll be doing your atonement this evening."

Chapter Text

You sat on a small metal chair in the middle of one of John's guest rooms; he insisted it would be more comfortable for you than his basement and you suspected he was right.

Jacob had come with you like he insisted on earlier and was now standing in the corner of the room with his feet shoulder width apart and arms folded over his chest. He refused to take a seat so John took it for himself. Moving the chair in front of yours, he leaned forward and folded his hands.

"Normally a baptism is done prior to atonement but because you have volunteered your confession, we will be doing things a little differently," he paused in case you had questions but when you only nodded, he continued. "I'm not here to judge anything you tell me today nor will I pass along the details to anyone else. Only Jacob and I will know."

You looked briefly over at Jacob who stood with the same unreadable expression on his face. You nodded again.

"I've never seen a real benefit in people telling me their sins outright. I believe we should have a conversation and from that, I'll determine which sins you should atone for. So please, let's get right to it. I'll start with envy. Do you see yourself as a jealous person?"

"No," you responded quicker than you probably should have. You wondered if you could just say no to everything and then hightail it out of here. Probably not.

John scrunched his nose a bit at that, preparing his words. "So never in your life have you desired something that someone else had, or even envied aspects of their life?"

"Honestly, it may sound like I'm lying but I've always been happy with what I have. Yeah, maybe I would have liked things to go differently for me at times but if they had, my life might have ended up being a lot different in the end... maybe a lot worse."

"That's very wise of you to say. I'm curious.. what aspects would you have changed."

You honestly didn't want to answer that but suspected that a lot of personal details would surface before the night was over.

"Well, my mother and I don't have a relationship," you were hoping that detail would be enough to satisfy the question.

"Why is that?" he asked, leaning back in his seat and crossing an ankle over his other knee.

"After my parents divorced, she decided she wanted a life with her new boyfriend so she kicked me out," you said casually.

"How old were you?"

"Fourteen," you continued the story because you knew he would ask anyhow. "I moved in with father. His girlfriend was a complete nut job. She convinced my family I was on drugs and suicidal and I ended up being admitted to a mental institution for a bit. You know, that old chestnut."

John narrowed his eyes at your story. "Where did you go afterwards?"

"I moved back with my dad after he and his girlfriend broke up eventually but... he had a heart attack."

"He died?"

You nodded. "John, this is difficult for me to talk about."

"Of course," he agreed. "I don't think we need to press this any further. I believe you when you say you haven't given into envy. Those are shitty things for anyone to go through."

---

He went through the other sins with you, determining you weren't lazy, vain, proud or gluttonous. He seemed more impatient every time he crossed one off the list. You assumed he was looking to dig up some juicy details on you and when you didn't offer anything, he was disappointed. It wasn't that you were lying to him. Your life had just been a relatively boring one.

When you finally told him about one of the most shameful moments of your life, his interest peeked again. You told him about the months following your father's death. He never had a lot for money when he was alive but ensured he had a small life insurance policy in place for you. Even though you hadn't spoken to your mother in years, when she found our your dad had passed, she reared her ugly head and asked for money.

"And did you give it to her?"

"No. I was so angry with her that I refused. Even when she told me they would cut the electricity to her home. I found out later that she ended up losing her house because of it. It should have bothered me... but it didn't. So I know I'm at least guilty of greed."

"Hmm, I don't think so... You didn't refuse her because you wanted the money. You did because you were angry and part of you wanted her to suffer. That's wrathful behavior."

You thought about it for a bit and realized he might be right. In fact, you had always been one to hold grudges and let anger dictate a lot of your actions when you were younger. You publically humiliated people who hurt you in high school, you bullied your bullies. You were generally a very kind and empathetic person but when someone fucked with your emotions, you didn't roll over. Revenge had always been a tempting dish.

"I suppose you're right."

"Have you ever hurt anyone physically?" John continued with the questions.

"I've been in fist fights before... Is that what you mean?" You definitely weren't torturing people as a weekend hobby, if that's what he meant. You would leave that for him.

"But never one sided?"

You shook your head. You noticed he again seemed agitated. What the hell did he want from you? He ran a hand through his beard and gazed off in the distance. Suddenly his eye lit up and he turned his attention to you.

"Lust," he said simply.

"I'm not a virgin if that's what you're asking."

John gave you a quick grin. You were thankful Jacob was behind his brother and couldn't see his face.

"How many people have you been.. intimate with?" he asked. His eyes never left yours.

"Two," you replied quickly. You silently prayed he wouldn't make you go into details like he had with everything else today. You were embarrassed enough to talk to him about sex. It seemed far too intimate.

"Only two?" he seemed surprised. You nodded.

"Tell me about the first."

"Well, there's not much to tell. He was my first real relationship. We started dating when I was in my first year of college. We were together for years but... Well, things just didn't work out."

He pressed you to continue. You shifted your eyes back to Jacob before you did but he just watched with a look of curiosity.

"I'm not sure what else to say. We waited six months and then when I knew I was in love with him, I gave him my virginity."

"Where is he now?"

"I'm not sure. I haven't seen him in years," you sighed. "We were together for so long... I was ready for marriage and he wasn't so we ended things."

Jacob's expression fell slightly at that. You hadn't talked to him about your past relationships but neither had he. John on the other hand, seemed particularly interested in your story.

"And when you were together... was sex an important part of your relationship?"

"I've never shied away from it if that's what you mean," you replied. You were basically a borderline nymphomaniac but you'd leave that detail out.

"Can I ask you something personal?" he repeated the question he had asked while you were with him in his plane. You couldn't stop yourself from chuckling.

"This hasn't been personal enough for you yet?" you asked mockingly.

John smiled back at you. "I know it may seem that way but sin is also a very personal thing. I need you to expose yourself to me before I'm able to help you."

"No, I get that. What's your question?"

"Where you satisfied when you were with him?"

You were genuinely shocked at his question. You didn't see how that was important to your confession. Your cheeks reddened suddenly. You lowered your head, unable to look at him.

"No."

"Why?" he asked. You heard Jacob clear his throat slightly but didn't look up at him.

"He was just... very selfish and refused to compromise on what I wanted. He wanted me to play this dominate role in our relationship, and I just got tired of faking it," the words flowed out of you before you were able to stop yourself. You assumed your nerves were to blame.

"So, you have more of a submissive personality?" you could hear an edge of excitement in John's voice. You lifted your eyes to see him leaning closer to you. His eyes had grown dark. You nodded back to him. "Submissive... or masochistic?"

"Both," you said softly. You lowered your eyes again. John was looking at you like he was at a god damned buffet. You felt so uncomfortable to open up to him like this but even more so to do it in front of Jacob.

"I think we can move on," Jacob said suddenly.

You were beyond thankful at his interruption. You smiled at him before turning back to John who was breathing just a bit heavier. He let his eyes linger on you for a moment before nodding his head.

"Yes, you're right. Let's finish up. Tell me about the second time you gave into your lust."

You were confused that he was even asking you this. You assumed it had been obvious to everyone. Maybe he just wanted to see you squirm again.

"Well, you know... " You nodded in Jacob's direction.

John raised his eyebrows. Apparently he was truly that oblivious. "How long?''

"Shortly after I met him," you glanced up at Jacob again to see him beaming at you. John glanced behind him to take in his brother's obvious pride in that. He turned back to you quickly.

"Just once?" John continued to prod.

"No. We still are," you answered, this time without embarrassment.

"Do you.. love him?"

The smile you had on your face disappeared. You had known for the last couple weeks that you were developing some very real feelings for him but hadn't said anything to Jacob about it and now John was making you spill the beans in this beyond awkward way. If anything, you wanted to wait for Jacob to say it first because you suspected he didn't feel the same and didn't want those suspicions to be confirmed. It was easier to just avoid it like most things in your life right now.

"Well... I..." You stammered. "I..."

"John, that's enough," Jacob said, ordering him to stop.

"This is part of her confession," John snapped back at him.

"It's irrelevant and you know it. Move on."

You wanted to look up at him and thank him but you were still too uncomfortable. Jacob was right though... It wasn't any of his fucking business.

John jumped up, letting his chair tip behind him. He paced in front of you, dramatically tapping a finger to his lips. He stopped suddenly and brought his hands together as if he was in the middle of a prayer.

"Wrath and lust. Those are your sins. Those are the sins you will atone for," he stated excitedly before quickly leaving the room.

While he was gone, you forced yourself to look up at Jacob who had been statue like in the corner up until this point. He uncrossed his arms when he noticed you and asked if you were okay.

"This whole thing is just so demeaning. I just want to get this over with."

Jacob nodded in agreement but didn't offer anything further.

---

When John returned, he carried a small hunting knife back with him. He informed you that he would be placing "lust" on your chest as this was your most recent sin and needed to be exposed the most. "Wrath" would be carved into your side. When he asked which you would like first, you decided to start with your side, thinking it would hurt less and would give you a chance to adjust to the pain before he worked on your chest.

John agreed and pulled his chair back up and next to yours. He grabbed at the buttons on your shirt and started to unbutton them. You heard a low grunt come from Jacob's throat and watched him out of the corner of your eye as he started to pace.

"I can get it," you thanked him and unbuttoned your shirt all the way. You had chosen to wear a button down shirt so you wouldn't have to be totally exposed in front of him.

"You'll have to remove it. It'll be easier for me to work that way," he reasoned with you.

You glanced at Jacob quickly, who was staring a hole through the back of John's head as he paced. You could tell he was clenching his jaws beneath his beard.

You sighed low enough that John wouldn't be able to hear and slid your arms out of your shirt. John's eyes washed over you before lingering on your breasts even though they were still covered with a plain black bra. Deciding to break the tension, you twisted slightly in your chair and brought your arm up behind your head, exposing your side to him.

John slid his hands down your side slowly and traced the letters of "wrath" with his index finger before raising the knife to your skin.

"Look away, kitten," Jacob instructed. You did as he asked.

You counted internally, trying to distract yourself from your current situation. After ten seconds, you felt the tip of the blade cut into your flesh. As you felt the blood trickle down your stomach, you heard John let out a low moan. It came as no surprise to see him enjoying this.

The knife burned into your side, again and again; every stroke hurting more than the last. You bit down on your bottom lip until you tasted blood but you refused to let him hear you scream. You were sure Jacob would be proud of your strength.

"There. Perfect," John said proudly ad he leaned back to inspect his handy work. "How are you feeling?"

You imaged he wanted you to tell him that you felt as though a great burden had been lifted from your shoulders and all that religious shit but you decided you weren't that good a liar. You glanced down at the new scars you had been gifted and gasped at the size of it. It covered most of your side.

"I'm ready for the next one," you said, ignoring his question. You just wanted to get this over with.

John nodded slightly before asking you to turn towards him and lean back in your the chair. He gently placed both if his hands above your breasts and bit his bottom lip.

"This one will be smaller. I don't want to ruin your..." he trailed off, still staring down at you as he traced the letters again with his fingers. He raised his face to yours and stared at you with hooded eyes. You couldn't help yourself as your breathing quickened. Your mind flooded with images from your dream of John grabbing at your face with that same look of pure lust.

"I'm ready," you said sharply, trying to snap him out of his daze. He straightened quickly and grabbed again for his knife. You could see Jacob still pacing in the corner but chose not to look at him. Rather, you turned your head to the side in hopes of blocking out the sight of what was to come.

Without warning, John placed a hand on your shoulder and used the other to cut into your skin. You involuntarily grabbed at your jeans and moaned in pain.

After that, he worked quicker at his task and though the pain was greater, it was over a lot faster than the first. You were thankful for that.

"It's done," John said proudly as he set the knife back on the floor next to him. You glanced down to see his handy work; you noticed the same jagged letters as the one on your side but this one didn't seem to be bleeding as badly. John must have had a lighter hand this time around.

Jacob was instantly at your side with a warm wet towel; you hadn't even noticed he had left the room. He pressed the cloth to your chest, wiping away the blood. His eyes were fixed on yours, concerned as always.

"Thank you," you smiled up at him weakly. He forced a smile back to you.

---

After Jacob managed to get the bleeding to stop and had buttoned you back up again, he announced it was time to go home. John followed you to the door and gave you a long embrace on your way out.

"What a brave girl you were," he said softly in your ear as he held you in his arms. You gave him a quick smile as you pushed out of his arms and reached for Jacob's hand. He led you to the truck in silence. In fact, the majority of the drive was the same. You could tell he was visibly upset and worried that he was upset at you for not pushing John away.

"Jake, are you mad at me?" you finally decided to ask. He glanced quickly over to you and then back to the road.

"You? No."

He didn't say anything further and neither did you. It wasn't until you were close to home that he pulled sharply off the road and into a tiny clearing. It was tucked beneath the trees and out of view of anyone who might be driving by.

Jacob threw the truck in park and was on you immediately. Roughly, he pulled your legs up and around his waist as he pushed your torso to the seat, pinning you with all of his weight on top of you. You gasped for air as he pushed his mouth to yours. The friction of his jacket against your chest made you let out a low whimper.

You waited for him to push up a bit but he chose to move to the zipper of your jeans instead. He unzipped them quickly and pulled them down before doing the same with his, pulling out his cock and forcing his way into you. You let out a yelp but he pulled out and thrust into your harder in response. His pace sped up as he gripped your hip was one hand and buried another in your hair.

Normally Jacob took charge during sex but he was never usually rough with you. And if he was, you would always catch him watching your face to gauge when he should slow down. Right now though, he refused eye contact and instead busied himself by marking every inch of your skin with his mouth.

"You're mine," he said sharply in your ear after he bit his way roughly up your neck. Every time he sunk his teeth into your skin, it caused your whole body to clench up around him. You moaned back in response.

"Say it," he demanded. You didn't recognize the tone of his voice. It shook you a little.

"I'm yours," you reassured him. He let out a low moan.

"Say it again," he instructed between pants.

"I'm yours Jake. Only yours."

His pace quickened after hearing this and he pounded into your fiercely. The pain in your side and chest was unreal but the pressure you felt building up inside of you outweighed it ten fold.

With Jacob's lips frantically covering yours, you wrapped your legs tightly around him, pulling him to you and clawing at his back as you both reached your peeks in unison.

You both laid there catching your breath for a moment before he finally pulled out of you and sat back in his seat. He quickly pulled his jeans back on and started the truck up again. You laid there in shock for a moment before you sat up and did the same.

Chapter Text

When you finally arrived back at the Veteran's Center, Jacob took your hand again and led you up to your room. He still hadn't said anything to you up until this point.

Closing the door behind you, Jacob grabbed your wrist lightly and stopped you from laying on the bed. He pulled at the buttons on your shirt, peeling it off and letting it fall to the floor. You weren't sure you could take anymore after the sex you just had but then realized he just wanted to examine your scars. He ran a hand over your chest; anger written all over his face.

"It had to be done," you told him, trying to reassure him that this was the best option. God knows what you might look like if you hadn't confessed on your own.

"I know," he said softly. He took a seat on the bed and pulled you next to him. "A couple months ago, I was so sure abou everything. I would have died for my brothers. Still would. But..."

You gave him a minute to collect his thoughts. You knew it wasn't easy for Jacob to share them with you.

"Is this fucking necessary?" he waved a hand towards you.

You wanted to cheer him on... to jump to your feet and scream how crazy his family was and that you both needed to leave but you knew it was no use. Even with this tiny breakthrough, you knew his loyalty to his family ran deep.

"Jake," you started, not sure how to continue. "In the truck...."

He stared at the floor for a long moment. "We should get some sleep. I have to get on the road early tomorrow."

"You're leaving?" He hadn't mentioned anything until now.

"Just for the day. There's... I need to look into something."

"Oh. Okay. Just.. hurry back to me okay?" you said weakly.

He nodded. He was obviously hiding something from you. You hoped everything was okay.

"I'll be back," he said as he got up and pushed the door open. You suspected he was going to get ready for bed. You decided you better do the same.

---

After you both brushed your teeth and undressed - and of course Jacob inspected your wounds yet again - you both laid down in bed. He held his arm out, letting you cuddle into him and then laid a kiss on your forehead but didn't say anything else before closing his eyes.

"Jake?" you asked, trying to see him through the darkness of the room.

"Kitten?" he answered.

"When John asked me today if I... if..."

"You don't have to answer," he assured you.

"I know but I want to. I'm not sure what I am to you exactly. I mean, maybe I'm just one of your fuck buddies," you started, not really sure how to sum it up.

"You're my only fuck buddy."

"Oh... Well, good," you smiled at that. "I'm sure that's all I am or maybe just a distraction for awhile or whatever..."

"Is that what you think you are?" he asked seriously.

"I don't know... If that's all I am, that's fine but I just wanted you to know that when John asked me that tonight, I only had a hard time answering because I... I just don't want to get hurt."

He didn't say anything to that so you pushed yourself to continue. "I've been in love with you for awhile..."

You waited impatiently for him to say something, anything, but instead he lifted your chin and brought his lips to yours. He was far more gentle this time.

"Why do you think I was so upset with John?" Jacob asked finally.

"Cause he was being a creep?" you both laughed at that.

"Nothing new for him," he said as his laughter died. He cleared his throat. "My brothers and I haven't known what it is to love anyone, not in a very long time. Maybe never. But... I do now."

You were so taken back by his words. Not only did you think you'd never hear them but the whole thing was just so uncharacteristic of Jacob. When you met him, he was quiet and a bit standoffish. He was kind to you, yes, but he refused to let you see a moment of weakness from him. But then it only took a couple weeks before he started showing regular affection and then a couple more before he opened up to you about his terrible past. And now... You knew this was a huge step for him and you became more hopeful than ever that maybe you'd escape this place someday and that he would join you.

You snuggled into him as much as you possibly could and stroked the side of his cheek, kissing his chest before you happily closed your eyes and drifted off to a peaceful sleep.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Jacob woke up before dawn.

He had been spending so much time with you lately that he didn't notice when things started to get worse for his region, but now that fact was becoming painfully obvious. He had recently lost two outposts and a half dozen Judges. One of his patrols had gone out a week ago only to never return. He blamed himself for allowing the Whitetail Militia to gain as much traction as they had and was determined to find them once and for all. A couple of his hunters had tracked some the militia to a bunker deep in the mountains yesterday and he decided this had to be dealt with immediately. Jacob knew he could just send some of his people to investigate but decided, under the circumstances, that he needed to bring himself back to his duties and take the leadership role that was rightfully his.

After dressing and grabbing his canteen, he gave you a quick kiss as you groggily waved goodbye and then settled back to sleep. He gave you one last look before leaving.

Last night had left him shaken in more ways than one. When he found you a couple months ago, he thought he was only taking you in to please Joseph but he quickly learned how wrong he was. His feelings for you came on strong and fast, surprising him. He hated himself for them initially but as hard as he fought them, he finally had no choice but to give in. When he told you that he had never loved anyone in his life, he meant that. Yes, he had love for his brothers but it was twisted. He knew the relationship they had was disfuctional to say the least and truthfully, if he didn't have such a strong need to protect them, he wasn't sure he would still be in their lives.

He pushed himself out of his thoughts and hopped into the truck. It was finally time to put an end to this.

---

Jacob decided on taking a couple of his hunters with him; he liked to have someone there to radio back to the Center with their location from time to time in case they ran into any trouble but he would also need them at least to show him where to go. Once they helped him find the exact location of the bunker and he was able to map it out, he'd return home to put his attack plan in place. Jacob wasn't a stupid man and had been gifted with a strategic mind; he knew he would never make it out of there if they ran in, guns blazing. Rather, he would wait patiently for the right moment and take them out one by one.

The road winded for awhile before they finally spotted it in the distance: a small footpath that led up the mountain and disappeared into the dense trees. If you weren't looking for it, it would have been easily missed.

As they turned the bend, there was a sudden loud hiss from the passenger side and the truck pulled sharply to the right. Jacob counter steered as hard as he could but the truck slammed into a large tree that protruded from the side of the road.

As he braced himself for impact, everything turned to slow motion. Jacob watched in horror as one of his hunters flew out the front window; showering him in glass. He lay slumped in a bloody heap on the hood. The other hunter had used a seat belt but was still laying unconscious in the seat next to him.

Jacob quickly unbuckled his seat belt and tried desperately to unwedge himself from the airbag that was threatening his airways. He knew someone had caused their accident and needed to distance himself from the ambush. Continuing to struggle with the bag, he reached for his hunting knife to cut himself to freedom. As he leaned down, fumbling for the handle that was tucked into his boot, he felt a heavy blow it to the back of his head.

"We got him! We got the son of a bitch!" was all Jacob heard as everything went black.

Chapter Text

It was mid morning and you had just woken up. Today was your day off from the kitchen and with Jacob gone for the day, you fully intended on just relaxing and maybe go for a nice drive. Jacob had left you the keys to one of the trucks after you promised him you would bring a radio and stay close to home.

After running a brush through your hair and pulling on some clothes, you decided to head downstairs and grab some breakfast. You knew everyone would have already eaten but you were okay cooking for yourself. Actually, you preferred it.

As you made your way through the corridors and approached the mess hall, your thoughts of what you might eat were interrupted by frantic chatter. You noticed a group of hunters, visibly upset; one of them ran down the hall as the others huddled around a radio. You noticed Brady was among the group.

Quickly you made your way over to them. You knew they wouldn't disclose any information to you but never having seen this type of commotion before, you knew something bad must have happened. You pushed through two of them and reached for Brady's arm. He looked up at you with worry in his eyes.

"What's going on?" you asked him. He glanced back at the group before grabbing at your shoulder and pulling you away from them.

"It's nothing. Just some normal routine bullshit. Go back to your room okay?" he asked, borderline pleading with you as he looked back again over his shoulder.

"No, it's not just routine stuff... I've never seen you so rattled. Please, is everything okay?"

"Yes... Yes, everything is..." Brady continued but your attention was drawn back to the group. You heard one of them say Jacob's name and then another whisper the word "ambush". Immediately you tried pushing past Brady. He grabbed you again by the shoulders, holding you back.

"You need to calm down. It's okay," he tried assuring you. You shook your head frantically at him. By now the group of hunters had disbanded; half of them going in one direction and half in the other.

"What happened? Is he okay?"

Brady stood in front of you. His grip on you had loosened but he still kept his hands in place. He nodded but didn't say anything else.

"Brady! Please!" you pleaded.

He sighed and pressed a hand to his forehead, turning away from you before finally turning back. He stepped within a foot of you and put a hand on either side of your face.

"Listen... you can't say anything to anyone. Not everyone knows and if they did, it would be fucking chaos in here. Do you understand?"

"Yes. Yes, of course..."

"The truck Jacob was in today was... well, their radio signal went dead. We sent some people out to scout the area and it looks like there was an accident," he explained as calmly as he could.

Your thoughts immediately went to the darkest place they could. The only outcome you could imagine was Jacob laying dead in the truck. Tears immediately sprang to your eyes.

"Jacob..." you said weakly. You couldn't bring yourself to ask. Brady took you in his arms and patted your back in hopes of comforting you.

"We don't know yet. He wasn't in the truck."

"What? What do you mean? Where would he possibly be?" you asked as you pushed out of his arms. You felt a slight sliver of hope that he might have just been wounded and was making his way back home.

"There was a trail of blood. We think the Whitetails might have taken him."

"The.. Whitetails?" you were confused.

"The Whitetail Militia?" Brady asked, figuring Jacob had filled you in on them already. You shook your head. "Oh wow... he hasn't told you anything, has he?"

"I guess not," you agreed. "Will they... Would they have? Oh my God, Brady...we have to do something."

"We are. We're rounding up some people right now to go search for him. We have a good idea where he is but the bunker will be heavily guarded so we.. we're going to try our best but we can't bring everyone. I'm sure you know this but some of the people that are here aren't completely loyal. If they saw even a crack in our foundation..."

You knew he was right. As much as you wanted him to round as many people up as he could and storm the damn place, you knew it might put things in jeopardy. You thought it over for a second before a thought came to mind.

"John," you said simply. Brady looked at you with a confused expression. "He'll send people here to help. They wouldn't need to know the details... They'll just think it's a normal attack."

"We don't have time to wait for them. We need to go now," he reasoned. You knew he was right. "Please, go back upstairs. I'll radio you with an update when I can."

The thought of you sitting in that room - the room you share with Jacob - waiting to see if he would come back... you would never allow yourself to do that. You might not have fighting experience or combat training but your shooting skills had grown to be exceptional over the past few months of training for hours a day. You knew you could do something to help.

"I'm coming with you," you told him.

"Ohhh, no. No. You need to stay here. If anything were to happen to you, Jacob would have my head."

"If Jacob doesn't come back..." you stopped yourself as you felt yourself on the verge of tears again. "You need to let me do this. Please, Brady. You know I can't just sit here. He... he's all I have."

You stared at him without a word. You could see he was fighting himself on what to do. Finally he let out a long dramatic sigh and nodded.

"Alright but we have to leave. Now."

---

After Brady loaded up with various guns and a hunting knife, and finally giving one a hand gun of your own, you both ran to the truck that was waiting outside. The front was already full of hunters so you sat in the cab with a couple of others. They looked at Brady questioningly but he assured them that you could handle your own.

Another truck pulled in behind you; hunters filled the front and back of it as well. You counted fourteen people including you and Brady. It didn't seem like enough but it would have to do under the circumstances.

Everyone remained silent on the drive there. Some of the hunters loaded their guns while one to your side counted the arrows in her quiver, over and over. It was enough to drive you crazy but you allowed yourself to give in to the distraction.

You were still listening to the counting when the truck rolled to a stop and pulled gently into the brush and off the road. Brady nodded to you, informing you that it was go time. You watched as the hunters leapt from the truck and slipped silently into the woods. Brady motioned for you to follow him as he climbed a steep embankment. When you got to the top, he finally spoke.

"That's the bunker down there," he said as he pointed to a small iron door, tucked inside the bushes. If he hadn't pointed it out, you were doubtful you would have spotted it.

"What's the plan?" you asked as you fixated on the door.

"We wait," he instructed.

"What? No.. I thought we were going in?"

Brady pointed out a couple of hunters who were mostly hidden in the trees around you. Some of them sat high above on the cliffs.

"That door will be locked and we very well can't go blowing it open. Stealth is key to making sure we get him out in one piece. If they know we're here, they'll..." he stopped himself suddenly.

"I understand. How long do we wait though? I'm worried we're already too late."

"One of them has to go in or out of there soon. They're always on the go. Once they open the door, Shawna will hit them with an arrow and then we'll move," he explained as he pointed in the direction of one of the hunters. It was the same one who counted her arrows next to you in the truck.

You wondered when they came up with this plan but chose to focus instead on the door, praying someone would come out soon.

"Half of us will go inside. The other half will stay here and keep watch for reinforcements," he continued without you asking him to. "You and I will be going in. When we do... People are going to be killed. Are you sure you're okay with seeing that?"

Naturally, you had never seen anyone die in a violent way before. You knew it was not going to be easy and weren't sure you could handle it truthfully, but if this is what had to be done to get Jacob back, you would have to push through.

"Yes. It needs to be done," you said quietly.

Brady nodded before settling down on his heels and focusing on the task at hand. You chose to do the same as you nervously bit at the inside of your cheek.

Chapter Text

It seemed like hours had passed and you were getting impatient. The other hunters remained statue-like the entire time but you couldn't help but shift from side to side or pester Brady every couple minutes on whether you should just send some people down there. You could tell he was starting to get annoyed.

"Listen... They're obviously all camping out in there, probably having a big party at capturing the big bad guy so I think we need to rethink this," you tried one last time to reason with him.

"What do you purpose?" he sighed. He was getting impatient with your constant nagging.

"Send me in."

Brady laughed. "Okay, so just send you knocking on the door politely and hope they'll let you in?"

"I'll pretend I'm hurt. Better yet... Give me a bloody lip. Shoot me if you have to. We'll make a big commotion, they'll come out to see what happened and I'll tell them I just escaped from one of your prison trucks."

"They have cameras all over these damn mountains. They're going to see you from a mile away and know it's a trap," he said calmly. "Listen.. I know this is difficult. I had someone in my life too before all this happened and I know what I would have done for her but you need to trust me and be patient. Please."

His words sent a wave of empathy over you. You had never thought of these people having lives of their own; or having families. This whole time, you didn't think he could ever understand how you were feeling but maybe that wasn't the truth.

"I'm sorry."

"It's okay," he said warmly. "I know this is difficult..."

Brady's words trailed off as he shifted his attention back to the bunker suddenly, holding a hand up to keep you in place. Someone was moving towards the door.

He shifted his eyes up to Shawna and you both watched as she drew her bow, waiting for her opportunity. You shifted your attention between her and the bunker.

The man walked cautiously to the bunker door, stopping every couple feet to assess his surroundings. He wore a holster with a hand gun - which he kept his hand on the entire time - and a compound bow strapped to his back. You realized these guys weren't playing around.

He must have finally decided the coast was clear because he made his way quickly to the trap door, unlocking it and pulling it open. You watched as he spun around so he could lower himself onto the ladder but before he was able to step on the first wrung, he suddenly collapsed; the arrow protruding from his chest snapping in two under his weight.

Quickly, another hunter ran from the trees and grabbed the man, pulling his body out of sight. Brady turned to you and waved a hand towards the bunker and before you could say anything, he was running downhill. You followed as quickly as you could but you weren't as graceful as he was. Where he would jump over bushes and rocks, you ended up tripping over them. You tried your best to keep up but ultimately lost sight of him on the way there. You wondered if this had been his plan the entire time.

When you arrived at the bunker door, he was no where to be found. You looked around but didn't see anyone else either.

A wave of panic washed over you suddenly. You had no idea what the plan was here and were terrified of messing something up and putting Jacob's life in danger. You forced yourself to breathe heavily and try to think clearly. Turning back was not an option, you decided.

Quickly, you lowered yourself on to the ladder and climbed down. When you got to the bottom, you noticed Brady and another hunter were crouched nearby, looking back and forth past the doorway. The other hunter motioned silently for Brady to go left before taking off in the opposite direction. Neither of them looked back at you so you decided to stay close to Brady.

As you tip toed hurriedly down the hall, he stopped to look around every corner. Most of the halls were empty and the one time you came across someone, he quickly took them out with a snap of their neck before hiding the body under a nearby bunk bed.

You forced yourself not to look at the face of the woman he had killed and kept telling yourself that this was the only way you would save Jacob. Your stomach started to turn at the thought of how many people they may have to kill to get to him. These were good people... they were only fighting for their freedom and you were here to take that away from them.

Truthfully, you knew if the time came, you wouldn't be able to kill anyone. Brady knew that too you suspected when he only gave you a pistol for protection. Still, if you had to shoot someone in the leg to get out of harm's way, then you were sure you could find the courage to do that at least.

You came to another bend in the hallway with only one direction to go. Brady turned to you again and gave you the signal to stay put as he quietly made his way to the edge of the hall and peeked his head around. You watched for a split second before he was thrown backwards to the floor, landing with his leg contorted behind him. You knew immediately that he wasn't okay but when the blood started to pool around him, you knew you had to run.

Frantically, you ran as quietly as you could to a nearby room and pushed yourself into an open locker, closing the door behind you. You held a hand over your mouth, trying to stay as quiet as possible.

"Got another one!" A deep voice called from down the hall. "Young one too. Shame."

"How many is that now?" another one asked. This one belonged to a woman, you guessed in her middle age.

"That's five. We've run a sweep inside and out and don't see any others. Guessing they decided to try for stealth instead of sending in the whole lot of 'em."

Shit. You knew seven of the hunters had stayed behind in the mountains - probably still unaware of the slaughter down below - so with five of them now dead, that left you and one other hunter in the bunker. You thought of Brady and the vacant look in his eyes as he looked up at you. You wiped quickly at your eyes.

"Must have gotten word that we got ahold of Red," the woman's voice chimed in again. "Maybe it's a good thing Eli decided not to kill him outright... It'll bring the rest of those bastards right to us."

"Mmm hmm. Just as long as Tammy can keep the big guy alive long enough." They both laughed at that.

What the hell did that mean? Whatever it was, it didn't sound good. You knew you had to find Jacob quickly.

Chapter Text

When the voices disappeared and you were fairly certain the coast was clear, you squeezed yourself out of the locker and back into the hall. You had no idea where to even begin but knew that you had to keep moving.

The Whitetails hadn't bothered to move Brady's body you noticed as you grazed past him. You forced yourself not to look at him. Though you hadn't known him very long, he had been a good friend to you when you had no one else. You felt terribly that he had died in such an avoidable way and prayed that someday soon, all this killing would end and that both sides could find some semblance of peace. You also prayed that you would find Jacob in one piece.

Continuing down the corridor, you peeked your head in a couple doors but they were empty. The one room that wasn't had several Whitetails inside but they were all preoccupied with the details of their recent victory and you moved past the door easily without them spotting you. The hall twisted to the left suddenly and then came to a fork. You looked one way and then the other, trying your best to not only memorize the route but decide on which way to go. You waited for some sort of sign.

Suddenly, you were being pulled back to the wall. One arm wrapped around you from behind while the other pushed forcefully against your mouth. You tried your best to fight against them but were spun around quickly to see a familiar jacket. The last remaining hunter removed his hand and placed a finger to his lips. You nodded silently.

"I found him," he whispered, checking behind his shoulder and then around the corner.

"Oh thank God! Where is he?" you asked excitedly. He clamped a hand back against your mouth, reminding you to keep quiet. You nodded again before he removed it.

"He's down this way," he pointed to the right. "There are two guards on the door and another wandering the halls. I'll have to take him out first but then we have to figure out what to do with the others. If they scream, we're fucked."

You thought for a moment before noticing the bow on his back. The thought alone of doing this made you sick but you knew there was no other way.

"Do you have a silencer on that thing?" you asked as you nodded towards the pistol at his side. He nodded back. You let out a deep breath.

"Okay. I'm much better with a bow. I'll take one and you take the other... It'll have to be done simultaneously."

He grabbed the bow off his back and reached for the arrows before glancing over to you.

"You sure you can go through with it?" he asked skeptically.

"I'll have to be."

The hunter nodded again and handed them over to you before turning quickly and sprinting down the hall. You pushed yourself as far back along the wall as possible, hoping to disappear. What the hell were you thinking? You couldn't just go and murder someone. You knew how morally wrong it was to kill anyone but especially these people. It wasn't lost of you that you were on the wrong side of the good and bad spectrum here. Part of you wanted desperately to just run and leave everything behind but the other part... You thought of Jacob. You knew he would without a shadow of a doubt, kill for you. He would do anything he needed to, to protect you. Now, you had to be strong for him.

---

Only a few minutes had passed before you saw a flash of a red mask coming towards you. Apparently the task was done. He ran up to you and informed you that you both had to move quickly before they realized one of their people was missing.

You began to follow behind him when something stopped you dead in your tracks. Your felt a pain in your chest as your breath caught in your throat. Immediately, you were on your knees. The hunter turned back and after realizing what had happened, he ran back to you.

"What is it?"

"I... I can't do this," you stammered. "I can't kill someone."

You noticed his eyes didn't look surprised under his mask.

"I know," he said abruptly. "I'm going to run ahead. I'll come back for you."

Before you could argue, he was off again. You pulled yourself up and listened for a long while before you heard a gasp and then a loud thud. A hand waved at you from around the corner, giving you the okay.

When you came around the bend, you noticed two people slumped on the floor outside of a large steel door. He had managed to kill them both without them notifying the others.

"He's in there," he said as he peeked through the tiny glass window in the door. "I'll need your help."

"What do you need me to do?"

"Go in and untie him. It doesn't look like he'll be able to walk out by himself so you'll have to help him," he instructed. "I'll go stand guard and take care of anyone who might come along. When I see you, we'll make a break for it."

Sounded simple enough. Though you did wonder why he didn't think Jacob would be able to walk on his own. You turned, stepping over one of the bodies and reached for the handle. Before you were able to turn it, the hunter grabbed your arm.

"Listen. There are a lot of different corridors in here so I may not be close by. If something happens to me, or if you don't see me after you untie him, you need to get him out of here by whatever means. You'll need to run. The guys outside will cover you once you're outside."

"Okay," you said. Fear ran through your body as you turned to the door again. "Thank you."

"Don't thank me yet." You turned back but he was already gone.

Turning your attention back to the room, you opened the door as quietly as possible. Once inside, you felt you heart stop. Jacob sat strapped to a chair, his feet in a small pool filled with water. His body was slumped over but you could see blood covering his clothing and the part of his face you could still see. He didn't look up at you.

You closed the door behind you and raced over, falling to your knees in front of him. You grabbed his face and gently tried to lift his chin. He let out a small groan before finally looking up at you, revealing a half dozen bruises and cuts. It looked like someone had given him one hell of a beating.

"Kitten.. what are you doing here?" Jacob whispered.

"I'm getting you the fuck out of here," you replied as you reached for the ropes that bound him to the chair.

"Stubborn woman," he muttered. When he realized what you were doing, he instructed you to stop.

"They're on their way back. You won't have time," he explained.

"One of your guys is with me," you started before you heard a set of quick footsteps coming down the hall. You knew it wasn't the hunter - his footsteps wouldn't be so loud. Jacob lifted his head weakly, coming to the same conclusion before telling you to hide.

You looked around the room but couldn't find anywhere to go. The furniture was sparse: just a small metal table and whatever contraption they had been using to electrocute Jacob. You frantically searched until you heard the footsteps within feet of the door. You threw yourself behind the metal door and prayed with everything inside of you.

Miraculously, the Whitetail didn't bother to close the door behind her as she sauntered in towards Jacob. You watched as she stood in front of him with her hands on her hips.

"Ahh, Red... Still breathing I see," the woman teased him.

"You're not the first person to torture me, you know," he spat back, lifting his head as best he could to face her. He forced himself not to look in your direction.

The woman bent down in front of him until she was eye level, dragging her long cardigan on the floor behind her.

"I believe that. The difference is those people did so for a reason. I don't want a fucking thing from you," she said sharply. "It's satisfaction enough for me to watch you squirm."

What a sick bitch, you thought. Your fists clenched involuntarily.

The woman turned to the table again and flipped a switch on the box. You watched in horror as Jacob's body stiffened and his head flew back, gritting his teeth. She paced for a minute before killing the switch. You noticed a smug expression on her face as she looked him over.

You knew in that moment that he wasn't getting out of here alive if you didn't do something. You weren't sure how much more Jacob could take but when he didn't lift his head this time, you suspected it wasn't much. Your hand reached down your hip and to the pistol at your side. You knew there was a choice that had to be made and knew it had to be made quickly.

Everything else was a blur. You weren't sure when or how you made your decision. You only remembered pushing the gun against the back of her head before pulling the trigger - hard and slow, just like Jacob had taught you. Her body fell immediately to the floor.

After that, you could hear Jacob telling you to move as you forced yourself to look away and rush behind him to untie the knots of the ropes. He struggled to stand as predicted so you let him lean into you as you tried your best to support his weight.

You searched the halls madly for the hunter but found they were empty. You knew you had to press on and hope that he made it out alive.

Luckily you had memorized the turns you had taken and found the ladder easily. You knew it was only a matter of time before someone found the bodies that had been left behind but as hard as you tried, it was proving difficult to get Jacob outside.

"Jake," you gasped as you pushed at him. "I need you to stay strong for me. We're almost there."

Jacob scanned the rest of the ladder ahead of him before finding the strength to pull to safety. Once he was outside, he reached a hand back to pull you up. You scurried up faster than you thought possible and grabbed for him. Both of you sat on the ground outside the trap door, taking a deep breath before you heard yelling below.

---

You weren't sure exactly how you made it out of there as you were still in a fog from the events that happened in the bunker. All you remember was a flash of people running towards you once you were outside and then feeling them pull you up and into the truck, next to Jacob. You leaned against one another as the truck whipped its way through the brush and then back onto the main road. You wondered if the hunter had made it out with you but suspected not.

Chapter Text

"It's been three days, Joseph. She doesn't sleep. She refuses to eat. I just don't know how to make this better," you heard Jacob as he spoke with his brother from the hall.

"We must have patience, brother. She's been through a great ordeal," Joseph tried explaining. You weren't sure exactly why he was here but the brothers had been deep in conversation for quite awhile. Luckily for you, the walls were paper thin so you could overhear them talking about you. You knew you hadn't been yourself after leaving the bunker and that it was hard on Jacob but as hard as you tried, you couldn't push away the images you saw everytime you closed your eyes. You knew it would take you more than three days to get back to your old self, if she was still in there.

You always thought you were a fairly good person - you were sure John would agree after hearing your confession - but now you had the blood of another person on your hands. No amount of reasoning from Jacob could make that fact go away.

"I think maybe... she needs a break," Joseph continued. "Away from here."

"Away from me, you mean," Jacob said solemnly.

"Well, yes. She is reminded of what happened everytime she looks at you, Jacob. This isn't your fault of course but perhaps if she was in a different setting and had some time to take care of herself."

You heard Jacob sigh slowly. Joseph said his name again, obviously trying to pull a response from him.

"I need to know she'll be safe."

"Of course. I'll speak with John and see if he would mind a guest for a week or so. His ranch is heavily guarded at all times, it would be the safest place for her other than here."

"Joseph, no," Jacob started. You heard him pace a couple of steps. "There must be somewhere else."

"He is your brother, Jacob. He will take care of her just as you would. He understands how much she means to you," Joseph lowered his voice slightly before continuing. "I will emphasize the importance of this to him and see that he understands that if anything were to happen to her, either by his hands or anyone else's... the doors to Eden will be closed to him."

Jacob mumbled something in response but you couldn't make it out. Just as you were about to get up and listen at the wall, the door opened slowly and Joseph entered the room. He smiled warmly at you before taking a seat on the bed next to you and taking your hands in his. You had an urge to pull them back but fought to keep your composure.

"No words could ever thank you enough for saving my brother, nor could my actions, but I will spend the rest of my days trying to make this up to you," he said softly. You didn't respond to him but smiled weakly.

"What you have done is not a sin. My brother is part of God's plan and by you saving him, you have done God's work," he continued. When you didn't respond again, he glanced back at Jacob who was now standing in the doorway. "My brother and I have spoken and we think it may be beneficial for you to take a break from everything. We would like to know if you're willing to stay with John for awhile."

You didn't know how to respond. You wanted to stay with Jacob but there was some truth to what Joseph had said earlier. Every time you looked at his face and saw his scars and bruises, you were reminded of that day. You were reminded of her.

"I'm not sure what to say," you finally answered.

"There's no need to make a decision now. I'll speak with John to see if he's willing. He is a man of privacy but I know he would want to help if possible. When you've made your decision, please let us know," Joseph said before standing and heading for the door. He pressed his forehead lightly to Jacob's and told him he would be waiting downstairs for him, whenever he was free.

You thought about what he might possibly be doing downstairs. Perhaps he would be going to one of the wings of the center that were still restricted to you. The ones you were sure held prisoners and maybe even some of the Whitetails now that Jacob knew where they were hiding. The thought of it sent a wave of nausea over you.

"Kitten," Jacob said as he sat beside you and ran a hand through your hair. "I want you to do what's best for you."

You turned to look at his battered face. The wounds had closed - some with the help of stitches - but there was still so much bruising. You reached up to touch him before your body made you pull away again. You turned your attention to the floor and counted the cracks in the hardwood. Over the past few days, you had learned to do this as a way to quiet your mind.

Jacob put his hands back in his lap but continued to watch you. "I'm so sorry."

"It's not your fault that you were kidnapped and tortured," you snapped back. "But you've put us both in this situation by being a part of this... By staying here."

"You know I can't leave," he said softly.

"I hope you know that under normal circumstances, I would never make you chose between me and your family but when I'm forced to... to, murder for you. When we're in danger every single day... You have to wonder if it's worth it. But, it's quite clear that I'm not."

He stood up and reached for you before you pulled away again and went to the closet to retrieve one of your suitcases. You couldn't believe he actually wanted to send you away after putting you through everything else. It made your decision an easy one to make.

"You're going then?" Jacob asked, already knowing the answer.

You turned to him, instantly feeling guilty after you saw the expression on his face. There was truth to what you had said to him but you felt guilty for having said it in such a harsh way.

"I think I need to," you answered before turning to the dresser to collect your clothes.

---

Joseph had spoken with John even before you had Jacob inform him of your decision. He smiled and advised he would send one of John's men over to pick you up. Jacob argued he could drive you but of course Joseph shut him down by saying he was still in no condition to travel.

Your bags were already packed when the car pulled in to pick you up. Jacob had waited outside with you until they arrived, neither of you saying anything.

Now reality had set in and the grief of being away from him finally hit you. You wanted desperately to run to him and have him hold you before you left but your body wouldn't allow you to. You were still too scarred from everything that had happened. Part of you wondered if the two of you would ever get back to the way you were. You couldn't see how.

"Good bye Jacob," you said simply as you gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and hopped into the car. He didn't say anything in response but watched as you pulled away. He knew there was a good possibility it was the last time he would ever see you.

Chapter Text

When you finally arrived at the Ranch, you instantly felt a sense of regret. You knew you had to distance yourself from Jacob but you weren't convinced this was the best way to do it. At this point though, it was too late to turn back.

The car pulled in close to the house before Adam - you learned that was the driver's name - insisted on opening your door and grabbing your suitcase.

"There's my little runaway," you heard John's voice from behind you.

You rolled your eyes before turning to him with a forced smile. He stood in front of you with outstretched arms. You noticed he was impeccably dressed as always, in black jeans and a pressed grey button down shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows.

John walked to you and wrapped his arms around you in an uncomfortable hug. You thanked him for letting you stay with him for a bit.

"You are welcome here for as long as you'd like," John said warmly as he waved a hand behind him to Adam, instructing him to place your bag inside.

After John gave you a detailed tour of the grounds (while paying extra attention to the rooms that were off limits) he asked if you were hungry. You hadn't really eaten much over the last few days - and whether it was the relief of being in a different surrounding or hunger just finally catching up to you - you decided you could eat. John clapped his hands together once excitedly and led you to the kitchen. He pulled out a stool for you and asked you to take a seat at the counter.

"Are you in the mood for anything in particular?" he asked over his shoulder as he rummaged through the fridge.

"I'm good with anything," you told him.

He tapped a finger to his lips before letting out a long "hmm". Finally, he decided to make you both sandwiches. You watched as he pulled out left over chicken, lettuce and tomato from the fridge and placed them in front of you.

"Are you a mustard or mayo girl?" he asked.

"Mayo," you answered. "But no tomato please."

"You got it."

He worked quickly, placing two sandwiches on the counter. You sat in your stool while John chose to stand on the other side, facing you.

As you both ate, he told you about some of the things you might enjoy while you were staying there: there were two bookcases full to the brim with books downstairs and another in one of the guestrooms upstairs, decks outside for you to sit on and enjoy the sun and a small pond close by if you wanted to swim or fish. You were surprised when he offered you that kind of freedom. If that had been Jacob, you would have been escorted by at least two of his people before he would even let you out of his sight.

"I appreciate that," you said weakly. You weren't really in the mood to talk but John didn't seem to notice.

He quickly cleared your plate and refilled your water before opening the freezer and pulling out a tub of ice cream. He had remembered your preference for chocolate.

"I think you could probably use some," he said as he flashed you a big smile.

You nodded and smiled back as he scooped the ice cream and pushed a small bowl of it towards you. He stood for a moment and studied you while you ate.

"I know it's not an easy thing to talk about and I promise not to bring it up.. not even once, but I just have to thank you for saving him," John said as he reached over the counter and touched your hand.

You nodded again and stared down at your now empty bowl. You appreciated the fact that he wasn't pressing you to talk about what happened. You had assumed he would want to know every gore filled detail but he was respecting your privacy. You looked up slightly before you noticed his brilliant blue eyes on yours. Suddenly feeling self conscious, you lowered your head again. John let go of your hand.

"How about I show you to your room?" he said, breaking the silence.

"That would be great, thank you."

He led you upstairs to one of the rooms you passed earlier with a closed door. As he pushed it open, you gasped slightly at the size of the room. It was much larger than your little room back at the center.

You looked around, taking in the decor. In the middle of the room, there was a double bed with crisp white linens and pillow cases. A long dresser occupied one side of the room with a beautiful wooden framed mirror on the wall above it. A matching night stand sat on the right side of the bed and a large over stuffed armchair sat in the opposite corner, littered with throw pillows. Next to it was a side table with a small lamp with a glass shade. The floor was wooden - same as the walls - but a large ornate area rug covered most on it.

"It's lovely," you said as you glanced at John. He stood next to you with a look of pride on his face.

"Thank you. This is the nicest of my guest bedrooms. I'm glad you like it," he said as he placed your suitcase next to another closed door. You assumed it must be the closet.

"My bedroom is next to yours and my office is downstairs, so if you need me for any reason, please don't hesitate. I'll leave you to have some privacy for a bit," he said as he placed a hand on your shoulder before exiting the room.

You watched him as he walked away before closing the door and peeking in the closet. It was stocked with extra sheets, a couple fluffy pillows and a copy of what looked like a Bible but with a strange symbol on it. You felt like you were living in a hotel and wondered exactly how many people John had as "guests". You didn't imagine there were many if his actions were any indication. Any time you had seen him, he seemed overjoyed to have some company and didn't stop talking for a minute.

Jacob had mentioned to you briefly one night about some of the trauma John had gone through when he was a child. It was enough to make your hair curl. You wondered if any of those boys ever had an ounce of love from anyone. It hurt to think about it.

---

After laying down on the bed to test it - and somehow falling asleep in the process - you woke to see it had gotten dark outside. You looked around for a clock but didn't see one. You would have to ask John if he had an extra one you could use.

You sat on the bed for a minute before finally pulling yourself up. As you walked by the mirror, you noticed the mess of your hair but had to pee too badly to do anything with it. You decided to sneak into the bathroom down the hall rather than going to the one downstairs and hoped you wouldn't see John on your way back.

After you finished up and washed the excess mascara from under your eyes, you headed back to you bedroom. Before you made it back, John cut you off from the staircase. A smile spread across his face as he looked up past your face.

"Bed head," you said simply as you shrugged. You didn't know what it was about John but you felt like you had to look your best around him at all times. Maybe it was because he was always so flawless.

"I see that," he said with an amused expression plastered on his face. He reached up without asking and ran his hands through your hair, smoothing it down as best he could.

"Perfect. Did you have a good sleep?" he asked.

"I did. What time is it though?"

"Close to eight. You must be starving. Are you ready for dinner?"

"Yes, definitely," you replied. Apparently your appetite had returned.

"I just need to run to my room for a minute and I'll be right back," he said as he held a finger up to you and opened his door. So many closed doors in this place...

You decided that would give you enough time to run a brush through your hair. You didn't trust John's technique enough to tame your tangled mess.

As you dug through your suitcase, John leaned against your door casually. When you noticed him there, you explained what you were doing.

"You look beautiful, bed head and all" he said as the corner of his mouth lifted into that signature smile.

Fuck. Why was he so gorgeous, you thought to yourself. Every time you looked at him, it made you nervous and not for the reasons it should.

"Umm, not really," you dismissed his compliment. "I'll just be a minute, okay?"

John nodded before taking his leave, telling you he would be downstairs. You finally found your brush and assessed the situation in the mirror. Definitely needed some TLC. After brushing out a couple knots and smoothing things down as best you could, you decided that was as good as it was going to get and headed down to the kitchen.

As you approached, John smiled again warmly at you and informed you that he made a chef salad for dinner. You wondered when he had time to put it together but then reminded yourself of the time. It must be left over from when he ate earlier.

When he pulled the large glass bowl from the fridge though, you noticed it was still full and nothing was out of place.

"You didn't eat?" you asked.

"I wanted to wait for you," John explained.

"You didn't have to do that."

"I know but I wanted to. Would you like to eat out on the deck perhaps?"

You nodded and helped him carry the food upstairs. He took the salad, tongs, plates and forks while you grabbed the glasses of water. You followed him as he led you through the house and up to the balcony. The view was beautiful. Or it would have been if there weren't a half dozen people marching around with rifles below you.

You both ate quietly, taking in the night air. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the stars were extra bright. You took in a deep breath and relaxed back into the chair.

John finally stretched out in his chair, content with his meal. He turned to face you.

"How are the scars healing up?" he finally asked after watching you for a couple minutes.

"They're almost healed. Jacob kept a close eye on them and made sure they didn't get infected," you felt a slight pain having said his name.

"Sounds like my brother. Always the protective one," he stopped and bit at his lip for a moment, deep in thought. "Can I ask you something?"

"What is it?"

"If you want me to shut up, please just say so," he offered. "I'm just curious... what is your relationship like with him."

His question took you off guard. You thought about it for a minute, mulling over the answer. You weren't really sure where you stood with him anymore. You hadn't broken up officially but then again, you didn't know if you had been anything official in the first place. It just never came up and you never pushed it.

"I... I don't know if it is a relationship anymore."

John's eyes widened slightly but he didn't say anything. He waited patiently for you to continue.

"Nothing was ever official but... it was always more than just sex," you explained, thinking carefully of your words. "When all of this happened though, it changed things. I just wanted to be as far away from him as I could. I wasn't able to see him in the same way anymore."

"How so?"

"It just brought every bit of guilt I've been feeling back to light. I don't regret what I did... I would never have stood by and watched him die but I just don't know how I can ever live with myself. Jacob doesn't understand that. And as hard as I tried, I guess... I guess, I kind of blame him in a way."

"Hmm," John turned and stared out into the trees. "I feel like that's a normal response to have. I don't feel like you should feel guilty though. It wasn't done for any reason other than to save someone you were very close to. A lot of people wouldn't have had the strength to do that."

"I guess. You... I mean, I'm assuming you've killed people before," you said. It was more of a statement than a question.

"Yes," he said, not offering anything further.

"How did you feel after the first time?"

"Well, I remember feeling a sense of relief that it was over and I was able to do it but then part of me did feel guilty too of course."

You were surprised to hear that. You just assumed John enjoyed every moment he spent torturing and killing people.

"There is a lot of whispering that happens around here when it comes to my family. I know you probably look at me and see a monster. At first, I did too when Joseph showed me what had to be done, but his intentions are pure," he stopped to collect his thoughts. "I enjoy hurting people. I've tried to control it but... it just needs to be done. Atonement is not meant to be an easy thing."

You stared at him in shock. You couldn't believe he had opened up like he did... Apparently you had that effect on these Seeds. They were all so complicated.

"You didn't put me through as much pain as you could have," you said, not really sure what else to offer to the conversation.

"True," John said as he turned his attention to you. "I just didn't want to hurt you. Not in that way at least."

You felt your face turn hot and were about to excuse yourself before John's radio let off a low hum.

"John?" It was Jacob. Your breath caught in your throat at the sound of his voice. He sounded so defeated.

John looked to you before picking up. His eyes asked you for permission to answer. You nodded but told him you weren't ready to speak with him.

"Here. How are you doing, big brother?" he said with a edge of fakeness to his voice.

"I'm just checking up," Jacob said, avoiding the question.

John turned to you again before answering. "She's all settled in. I made sure she had something to eat. She seems to be doing alright."

There was a painfully long pause before Jacob came back.

"Can I talk to her?" he asked. You stared at John, praying he wouldn't give in. You silently begged him to cover for you.

"She's asleep actually. Poor thing's been out for hours. I think things have been weighing heavy on her," John replied as he looked back at you. You smiled as a way of saying thanks for his lie.

"Oh," Jacob replied. You heard the disappointment in his voice. "When she wakes tomorrow, have her radio me. Does she have one?"

"No, but I'll make sure she does. Take care of yourself, okay?"

"Yep," was the only response Jacob offered before he turned the radio off.

You felt so conflicted. Part of you felt guilty because he was obviously having a hard time with your absence already but the other part of you still wanted to avoid him. Before you were able to stop yourself, you let out a loud sob as tears started streaming down your cheeks. John immediately knelt by your side, holding you in his arms. You pressed your face into his shoulder and let the tears flow like he told you to. Holding you tightly to him, he stroked your hair and assured you that everything would eventually be okay.

You knew in that moment that you were truly broken.

Chapter Text

The next day you woke up before the sun was up. You weren't able to sleep any longer but still felt well rested. Glancing over at the clock John had brought up for you last night, you saw it was 5:42 a.m.

You first thoughts immediately went to Jacob and how he would already be up and starting his day. He never slept much and rarely slept in unless you both had a late night. Your next thought went to John, sleeping away in the next room. How could two brothers be so completely different? Both of them were damaged in ways you couldn't imagine but both of them dealt with that pain in different ways. Neither of them were right but the more you got to know them, the more understanding you were. As far as Joseph went though... he just gave you the creeps.

You decided to grab a quick shower; it had been days and you felt disgusting. Making your way to the bathroom, you grabbed some clothes and your makeup bag. John had showed you where the towels and extra face clothes were during your tour yesterday so you had everything you needed. You quickly undressed and stepped into the shower, letting the warm water rain down on your face. It felt amazing.

When you noticed your pruned fingers awhile later, you decided you had been in there a bit longer than necessary and turned off the water. Quickly getting dressed and throwing on a little makeup, you wrapped your hair in a towel and headed back to your room. You felt a million times better already.

On your walk back, you leaned over the railing that ran the length of the upstairs hall. John was downstairs, drying his hair with a towel; he must have showered downstairs when you stole the upstairs bathroom. He was dressed in his typical black jeans but you noticed his shirt was still folded on top of the couch beside where he stood. You watched him for a long moment, drinking in the sight of him. He smiled before tilting his head up to look at you.

"Morning!" John called up to you.

"Hey," you said quietly. You were beyond mortified that he had caught you staring at him. You knew you had to give some sort of explanation. "I was just going to yell down to you and apologize for stealing your bathroom but I didn't want to scare you."

"No worries," he said as he grabbed his shirt from the couch and pulled it on slowly. "Breakfast?"

"Yes please," you agreed. "I'll be right down."

You walked as quickly to your room as humanly possibly and threw yourself on to the bed before cursing into the pillows. What the hell were you thinking?

You continued to lay there until you could feel the redness of your cheeks fading and decided you better just face the music and head downstairs. When you got to the kitchen, John was whipping at some eggs and nodded to the counter where there were a couple loaves of bread.

"Whole wheat or white?" he asked as gave you a quick look up and down.

"Whole wheat, please. I can make it while you do that if you'd like?"

"That would be great," he agreed. "Whole wheat for me too please. Toaster's in that cupboard."

---

Breakfast was less awkward than you thought it would be. John talked casually about some book he was reading and about how there were some good trails behind the house if you'd like to go for a walk. He asked your opinion of Faith and asked again about your scars and how you were feeling. You didn't have to talk much and you were grateful for it.

After clearing the counter and not allowing you to do the dishes, he told you he had some things for you. He hurried out of the room before returning with a small cardboard box.

"Just some things you might need," he explained.

You dug through to find a couple magazines, a sketch book and pencils, bubble bath, a bath robe and of course the radio he promised Jacob he would provide. You wondered where the bathrobe came from... Maybe from one of John's mistresses. You didn't know if he had any but hoped he washed it before giving it to you, just the same.

"John, thank you. You've been so hospitable. I wish there was something I could do to thank you."

Wrong use of words, you realized as soon as they had left your mouth. He took a step forward while he sucked in his bottom lip. Reaching up, he stroked your cheek softly as his eyes pierced through yours.

"You company is all the thanks I need. I've really enjoyed having you here," he said softly. He was uncomfortably close at this point.

You stood, frozen for the longest time. You weren't sure what else to say. Finally, you just decided to turn your attention to the floor. John dropped his hand, caressing your neck and collar bone along the way.

"I have some work to do today so I'll be gone but my men are here if you need anything. I'll try to be back in time to make you dinner but in the meantime, help yourself to anything in the house," he instructed. "The only thing I ask is for you to let someone know if you decide to go off the property. They won't follow you but I'd like to know where you are if I can't find you in the house."

"Fair enough," you replied before waving good bye to him. You took your box and headed back to your room. After you put most of the items away in the nightstand, you reached over and turned on the radio. There wasn't much else to do so you figured you'd flip through the channels and be nosey for awhile.

Most of the channels were dead air, another had a couple fighting about a fishing rod. After a couple minutes of listening in to the drama, you got bored and scanned for the next channel. Suddenly, you heard a familiar voice.

"Kitten?" you heard him sigh. He didn't say who he was or anything else other than your nickname but you knew immediately. You had landed on the channel you had used last time he went away... Your channel. It sounded like he had been in the middle of a broadcast. You heard him ask for you a couple more times before everything went silent. Your hand hovered over the button but you forced it away. You just couldn't do this right now.

---

Over the next week and a half, things were relatively calm. John continued to cook for you in the morning and then most of the time, he left for the day, giving you time to sit outside and read or go for relaxing walks around the property. You would sit by the pond John had told you about on your first night there and dip your toes in the water or sketch in your book. It was the first time since everything happened with the Whitetails that you started to feel some peace. You were slowly beginning to feel like yourself again.

At night, you would take over and cook dinner for you both. You ate outside on the deck when the weather permitted or on the couch in front of the fire when it didn't. John would always lead the conversations of course but as time went on, he started to ask more about you and your life. It grew easier to open up to him and you noticed he did the same with you.

Every night before bed, you turned your radio on to the same channel and listened as Jacob called for you but you never answered back. A couple times you overheard John in his room, telling Jacob that you were alright and then he would feed him any excuse he could think of as to why you weren't available to talk. The knot of guilt you felt in your stomach grew every time you heard his voice but you couldn't resist listening in.

Another couple days went by and even though you turned the radio on at the same time, you could hear nothing but dead air. After a few more days, you finally came to the realization that Jacob had given up on you.

Chapter Text

"We need to talk about your baptism," John said casually as you both sat outside one morning. He had just finished yelling at a some poor guy down on the ground before walking over to you like nothing had happened.

"Do we though?" you whined back to him. Things had gotten pretty comfortable between you two over the last three weeks and you had no problem sassing back at him now. He genuinely seemed to enjoy it too.

"Yes, you're long overdue."

"Do I get gifts or something at least?"

"You're hopeless," he stated as he took his seat next to you and stretched out his legs. "Hand me my coffee."

"Please?" you said, holding his cup up behind you in ransom.

He just gave you a look. You rolled your eyes and pushed the cup into his hands roughly.

"Isn't it enough that I've confessed and all that?" you continued to reason with him.

He shook his head before giving you a serious look. "It needs to be done."

You let out a long sigh and threw your head back against the chair dramatically as you asked him when he planned on doing it.

"Two days from now. We have a baptism planned for a couple new members of the congregation anyhow. It only makes sense for you to do yours at the same time."

"Okay, then.. but you better buy me something nice," you joked.

"I'll make sure you get something nice but you better behave first," he said flirtatiously before bringing his mug to his lips.

He kept his eyes on you while he drank. You looked away, blushing, as you heard him laugh softly into his cup.

"Wait," a thought came to your mind. "Are there going to be a bunch of people there?"

"Yes, a few."

"Okay.. well, like who?"

"Part of the regular congregation that you met at service will be there. And of course the others being baptised and the family," he explained.

"The family..." you let that sink in for a moment. "Your family?"

John nodded. "They come to all the.. well, the planned baptisms at least."

You realized that meant you would have to see Jacob again. You didn't know how you felt about that. You had felt so much better the past three weeks that you weren't sure you missed him anymore and then there was that part of you that worried how he would react when he saw you. You were only supposed to be here for a week after all and hadn't bothered to let him know otherwise. At first he radioed for you daily, then he started to radio to John but now, it had been more than a week since either of you had heard from him. You were sure he was totally pissed at this point.

"Are you worried about seeing him?" John finally asked.

"Yes."

"It'll be fine," he said, leaning over and brushing your hand with his like he normally did when he was trying to comfort you.

As you both smiled at one another, Adam interrupted to tell John the car was ready. John excused himself, telling you that he would be gone for most of the day. You knew the routine by now but he always let you know just in case.

You sat back and finished John's coffee as you watched him drive away, feeling anxious for what was to come in a couple days.

---

After John left, you washed up the dishes and grabbed a shower, flipped through your magazine and then paced the upstairs halls for awhile. You finally decided to go for a walk to starve off the boredom.

The trails went deep into the woods you had learned but you tried to stay as close to the ranch as possible. You didn't want to get lost. Today you decided to walk down to the pond and sit with your feet in the water. It was hotter than normal and you had never been a lover of the heat.

When you finally emerged from the trees and onto the marshy bank, you had an idea. Quickly, you scanned the area. John sometimes had some of his guards wander by when you were down there. You were sure it was to check up on you but John denied having asked them to do so. You didn't believe him.

When you were satisfied that no one else was around, you stripped down to you bra and panties and ran full tilt into the water. It was freezing but as hot as you were, it felt incredible. You splashed around and treaded water for awhile. You weren't much of a swimmer but really enjoyed it none the less.

After awhile, your skin started to wrinkle and you figured you better go back to the ranch. That was always your tell tale sign.

As you reached the surface of the water again and turned to shore, you were startled to see John sitting casually on the bank.

"Having fun?" he called out to you.

"You scared the fuck out of me, you ass!"

John laughed as he pulled to his feet and removed his boots and socks. He stood at the water's edge.

"Mind if I join you?" he asked.

"Go ahead."

You watched as he pulled his v-neck t-shirt over his head and unbuckled his belt. He glanced back at you but you looked away before he caught you staring. You waited a couple seconds and glanced back in time to see him shimmy out of his jeans. He wore a pair of tight boxer briefs that he left on while he started to wade into the water.

"Fuuuck," he whined as the water hit over his knees. He stood frozen in place staring down at the water.

"Are you kidding me? John Seed is afraid of a little cold water?"

"Give me a sec."

He waded in a little deeper until the water touched at his crotch and then the profanities started again. You laughed and swam in to him, grabbing his hand and pulling him in with all your might. He resisted but finally tumbled face first into the murky water.

"You bitch," he spat as he pushed an arm full of water at you.

You dodged it and ran away laughing. After a few steps though, your feet began sinking into the sand beneath you and you could feel yourself slowing down. Checking behind you, you noticed he was hot on your heels.

"John, no!" you pleaded, spinning around and holding your hands out in front of you. "I surrender."

"You better!" he chuckled as he finally caught up and grabbed both of your forearms, pulling you to him. "What are you wearing by the way?"

He tried looking at you through the water but when he couldn't get a good enough look, he pulled you up slightly until your chest was above the water. His eyes widened at the sight of you.

"Stop!" You splashed at him again. His face went serious.

"Oh, you're getting it now!" he yelled as he made a lunge for you again.

You turned and ran but soon felt a pair of arms wrapping around you from behind. John pulled you to him and laid a kiss on your neck. It completely caught you off guard and for a second, you didn't stop it; not because you wanted him to continue but because you were in shock. He had always been flirtatious with you but you never expected him to act on it. You still weren't sure where you and Jacob stood and would never do anything to hurt him like that.

Quickly, you pulled out of his arms and spun around, wrapping your arms around your chest protectively. His smile fell when you noticed your reaction. You wanted to tell him that even though part of you wanted this, you couldn't possibly do that to his brother (at least not until you knew if things were over for sure) but you decided to be as polite as possible. You didn't want things to get awkward between you and knew how fragile his ego could be.

"I'm sorry... You just surprised me," you told him.

He had a look on his face that you couldn't place a finger on. It was almost the same look a spoiled child might have when they didn't get what they wanted.

"Ready to head back to the house?" he asked, avoiding the obvious elephant in the room.

"Uh, sure..."

You followed behind him until you got to the shore. He quickly wrapped his t-shirt around you and proceeded to pick up the rest of the clothes, carrying them with him up the path. He didn't say anything else on the way there.

"John," you said softly as you reached out and grabbed his arm gently.

When he turned around, the expression he had back at the pond had disappeared and was replaced with his usual facade.

"I'm sorry," you pushed into his arms and held him, repeating your apology. He gave you a quick squeeze and told you he was going to grab a shower. Before he left, he placed a kiss on your forehead. When you didn't push away, he finally smiled back at you.

Chapter Text

Two days had passed and things went back to normal between you and John. You pretended the pond incident never happened and he acted like his normal self, flirting with you any chance he could.

The day of your baptism had finally arrived and you woke to John standing above you with a look of sheer excitement on his face. You noticed he hadn't bothered to knock.

"You have a visitor," he said as he opened the curtains, blinding you in the process.

"Already? Isn't it a bit early?" you asked as you looked over at the clock. It was 7:00.

"She's up," John called into the hall. He turned back to you and smiled.

You heard the door push open the rest of the way and Faith walked in, as light as ever on her feet. She smiled brightly at you. You noticed she was carrying two large bags with her.

"My goodness, you always look so beautiful," Faith complimented. You saw John nod out of the corner of your eye.

"What's going on?" you asked them both, thoroughly confused at this early morning intrusion.

"John asked me to help you get ready for your baptism," Faith explained. "John, please give us some privacy?"

He agreed and made his exit while explaining you had an hour before you would all have to head out.

When he was gone, you let out a soft sigh. Faith sat on the bed next to you and placed a hand on your leg. Her expression turned serious.

"Has he been kind to you?" she asked quietly.

"He has," you told her. You weren't sure how candid you could be with her. She was Joseph's "sister" after all. She gave you a skeptical look.

"I was unsure of coming here at first," you continued, making sure not to say anything that may come back to bite you later on. "But it's been a good thing for me. I'm really starting to feel like my old self again."

"I'm glad to hear it," Faith said, smiling. Her hand was still on your leg. She gave it a quick squeeze. "I know John can be... well, he's not always gentle in his ways. I see how he looks at you. I was nervous for you but if things have gone well so far..."

"I was nervous too but I think he knows if he lays a hand on me, Jacob would be on him in a second."

"Ahh, yes. I think John has a healthy respect for his brothers. How is Jacob doing by the way? I haven't seen much of him lately."

The familiar knot of guilt found its way back to your stomach. You just shook your head at her, unable to speak. She quickly picked up on your distress and pushed a strand of hair out of your face.

"Let's get you up and ready, hmm?" she suggested, changing the subject.

---

It must have been an hour later because you heard John yelling up at you from downstairs. He informed you that the car was waiting.

"Just a moment please, John," Faith called back calmly.

She finished tucking the last piece of hair she had pinned back and away from your face. The rest she decided to leave down.

"There, all done. You look gorgeous."

Faith took your hands lightly and pulled you in front of the mirror. You were in awe of the transformation.

She had chosen a white dress for you. It was made of light material except for the lace sleeves and neck line and fell just above your knees. The satin sash she tied around your waist flattered your figure. At first she had wanted to pin flowers to your gown but then decided you didn't need them. You were happy she didn't as the dress was beautiful enough without them.

Your hair fell loosely away from your face, revealing the pearl teardrop earrings she had picked out for you. You both decided it was best not to wear makeup as you were going to be dunked into the river but she had used a tinted lip gloss to accentuate your lips.

Faith held on to both of your shoulders from behind before pushing her face close to yours. She smiled into the mirror at her handy work.

"I don't even look like myself," you commented, still in awe.

"Are you happy?" she asked in return.

"Yes, thank you Faith."

Your moment was interrupted by John yelling again from downstairs. He sounded more impatient this time.

"Really," Faith sighed. She shook her head before pulling away from you. "We should head downstairs before he comes up here."

Faith quickly packed the remainder of her things back into her bags and you both headed downstairs. John was of course pacing at this point. When he heard you approach, he whipped around, ready to lecture but then closed his mouth when he saw you. He stopped fully and let his eyes linger over you.

"We're ready. You can get your panties out of a bunch now," you said as you walked to him.

He continued to stare at you wide eyed, not replying to your smart remark. When you were within a few feet of him, he reached out for your hand.

"You look so beautiful," he said softly. His eyes went to yours. You thanked him before you both stood for a long awkward moment.

"John, your driver will be waiting," Faith chimed in. You were thankful for the interruption.

"Yes, you're right. Thank you Faith," John said, finally turning away from you. You let out the breath you had been holding.

---

You weren't sure where the baptism site was exactly but you drove for awhile before finally pulling over. When you arrived, John helped you and Faith from the car and lead you down to the water. He informed you that you were a bit late and that people would most likely be here already.

As you came over the small hill that led to the water, you saw two other women in white dresses as well as a man in dress pants and a white dress shirt. They stood closely to the water. You scanned the rest of the crowd: a small group stood to one side, talking quietly amongst themselves while another couple stood on the opposite end. They watched as you approached.

In the middle of the crowd, you spotted Joseph. He stood formally with his hands folded in from of him. He smiled at you but your attention had already gone to the familiar army jacket next to him.

Jacob watched you as you approached, his face unreadable. Your heart immediately hurt. Everything you had been feeling for almost the past month had disappeared and was replaced with a deep longing for him. You forced yourself to push back the tears that threatened to surface.

You kept your eyes on his until you were in front of Joseph. He greeted you warmly with outstretched arms, thanking you for coming. You glanced back at Jacob as Joseph addressed the crowd but he had turned his attention to his brother's speech. Hoping he would look back, you kept yours eyes on him but his attention never strayed.

"Can we please have our new brothers and sisters step into the water?" Joseph announced, nodding to you to follow John.

He placed a hand on your lower back, smiling down at you, as he led you to the water.

"This will be payback for pulling me in the other day," he said softly enough for only you to hear. You didn't respond. You weren't in the mood for teasing right now.

Joseph went through the normal baptism, speaking about love and commitment to the Project. Truthfully, you zoned out half way through until it was finally time to be dunked into the water. John had asked some of the followers to help the other three people who were taking part of the baptism and chose to stay with you. He placed one hand on your back and the other on your chest. His breath quicken but he managed to lower you into the water and pull you back out after a couple seconds.

When you surfaced from the water, you watched as he stared at your breasts through the wet cloth that clung to them. You would normally say something to snap him out of it but you were too interested in looking for Jacob again. You noticed he stood in the same spot with Faith at his side. He gazed off into the mountains behind you.

Joseph motioned for everyone to come forward for one last blessing. When he was done, he turned to embrace each of you. Faith did the same. When it was finally your turn, you searched frantically over Faith's shoulder for Jacob who had disappeared amongst the commotion. When you saw him heading up the hill, you gently pushed out of Faith's arms and ran after him, calling out to him.

Whether he heard you or not, he didn't turn around. You stopped running and watched in disappointment as he climbed into his truck and drove away.

Chapter Text

After the baptism was over and the crowd has disbanded, you and John drove back to the ranch. He had wrapped you in the biggest towel you had ever seen and was now watching you carefully as you rode in silence.

When you got home, you told him you had a weren't feeling well and went upstairs to your room, refusing breakfast. Not bothering to remove your wet clothes, you sat down on the bed and wept into your hands.

You didn't know what you really expected. You had all but ignored Jacob this whole time, even when he reached out to you. You couldn't expect him to just take you back in his arms like nothing had happened. Truthfully, you hadn't wanted him to until you saw him this morning and were reminded of the love you had for him. You were always so good at avoiding situations and realized now that that was what you had been doing this whole time.

But you no longer left the gnawing guilt of killing the Whitetail that you did initially. You still woke every couple days after dreaming about it and the waves of guilt and sadness caught up with you at the most random times but you were slowly starting to cope with it. Now, the only thing that mattered was making things right again.

You wiped away at your tears and pulled the radio out from the nightstand drawer. You knew it was probably useless but you had to try. Turning the radio to the channel you knew he would use if he was listening for you, you pressed down on the button and took a breath.

"Jacob?"

You listened for a moment but didn't receive a response.

"Jake? If you're listening... I, I know you're probably so angry at me right now and I don't blame you. Just please give me the opportunity to apologize."

You released the button again and waited. Nothing.

You heard something at the door and turned to see John looking down at you. He had a concerned expression on his face.

"When I asked you during your confession if you loved my brother, you didn't respond," he said.

You stared down at the radio in your hands, unsure of opening up to him but decided you needed someone... anyone, to talk to.

"I didn't say it because I hadn't even told him up until that point," you explained.

"But you do," he said quietly.

"Yes." You felt yourself on the edge of crying again but choked back the lump in your throat.

John didn't say anything as he turned and walked out of the room. After you were sure he was gone, you set the radio down and pushed yourself face first into the pillows. It took everything inside of you not to scream into them.

---

At some point during the day, you stopped crying and finally gave into sleep, exhausted from your emotions. You woke to find John back in your room. He sat on the bed next to you, giving your shoulder a gentle shake.

"You have a visitor," he said calmly.

"Faith's back?" you asked, pushing yourself up to a sitting position. You noticed your dress and hair were now completely dry.

"Come and see," John said before pushing himself up and leaving the room.

You looked in the mirror quickly on your way by and determined you looked somewhat presentable. You really didn't want any visitors but knew John would push you to come downstairs if you didn't make your way there on your own.

As you came to the bottom of the stairs, you looked around the open room. John smiled as he nodded towards the living room. You glanced in before turning back to John quickly.

"I radioed him earlier," he announced.

You smiled back at him graciously before stepping into the room. Jacob sat with his hands clasped between his legs which were casually spread out in front of him. He glanced up at you when he heard you near him and pushed to his feet. As much as you wanted to run to him, you stopped a few feet short and gauged his reaction.

He met your eyes with his and took you in for along moment before finally stepping closer to you. He didn't greet you or offer any affection of any kind but smiled the tiniest bit.

"Lets go home," he whispered.

Chapter Text

Jacob patted his brother on the shoulder as you both headed out the door.

You stopped to thank John for letting you stay as long as he had. Rather than the hug you expected him to force upon you, he just smiled and nodded, letting you know he would pack up your belongings and send them along to you.

On the way to the truck, you fought to restrain yourself from grabbing Jacob's hand. He still hadn't said anything more than those few words in the living room and you felt like you needed to leave the ball in his court. He held the door open for you, as always but didn't help you inside. You watched as he quickly made his way to the driver's seat and turned the truck on.

"Ready?" he asked, finally breaking the silence that lay heavy between you.

"Yes."

He turned back to the road and headed for home.

---

When you arrived at the Veteran's Center, you were greeted warmly by a couple of the hunters. You recognized them as part of the group that went with you to the bunker. You smiled back at them and said a few pleasantries but Jacob kept walking so you excused yourself and did your best to keep up. When you arrived upstairs, he stopped in front of your old room and pushed the door open. You were surprised to see your arm chair had been moved back.

"I think it's best if you stay in here for a bit," he said, not meeting your eyes.

You were so taken back by his words. You had hoped that when he came to get you, it was an indication that he wanted you back. You really believed things would go back to normal.

"If that's what you want," you said, defeated.

He nodded and took off back down the hall without another word. You stood motionless, wondering if you would have just been better off where you were.

---

You passed the afternoon by sitting in your arm chair, gazing out the window. You couldn't bring yourself to do anything else.

At dinner time, someone brought you up a meal but it sat there untouched hours afterward as you focused on the same spot you had been staring at for hours.

It had grown late and your thoughts were finally interrupted by a familiar set of footsteps. Jacob knocked on the wall inside your open door and waited until you looked back at him.

"John sent your stuff," he said as he placed the suitcase on the floor next to him.

"Thank you," you said meekly before turning back to the window.

You felt his presence for a minute before hearing him head to his room. You wiped at your eyes again, convincing yourself that things were truly hopeless for you two.

---

The next morning, you woke, slumped over in the same chair with the worst pain in your neck. You glanced at the clock to see it was only 6:25. You realized Jacob might still be around and decided you needed to finally clear the air.

You composed yourself and brushed at the white dress you were still wearing before heading out to the hall. You glanced instinctively down the hall for Brady only to be reminded that he wouldn't be there anymore. Actually, you were surprised to see there weren't any guards there period.

You pushed the thoughts of Brady's face out of your mind and peeked into Jacob's room. The bed was still neatly made but the books and papers on his desk were everywhere in an unorganized mess. His closet door was open and you noticed some clothes had just been thrown in the bottom. It was very unlike him, you thought.

You honestly had no idea where he might be so decided on going back to your room and eating last night's dinner. After that, you wandered around for a bit. You noticed that everyone was much friendlier to you than they had been previously.

As you rounded one of the halls you spotted Shawna, the hunter with the bow you had ridden with in the truck. You walked up to her quickly and asked if she knew where Jacob was. She told you that he was off-site and they didn't expect him back until tomorrow at the earliest. Your heart dropped but you thanked her and tried to hide the disappointment from your face.

As you returned to the safety of your arm chair, you wondered why Jacob even bothered to bring you here.

Chapter Text

Later that night, you woke abruptly to hear some noise from Jacob's room. You listened to the familiar sound of him throwing his boots in the corner as he normally did before he would settle in for the night. Shawna had told you he wasn't due back until tomorrow so you hoped everything was okay.

You laid there for awhile longer, listening for sounds from the next room. When you didn't hear anything, you decided he must have gone to bed. You weren't sure what came over you but before you could stop yourself, you were opening his door and making your way through the dark, towards him. You knew he was awake of course but he didn't say anything.

Pushing yourself down into the mattress, you tucked yourself under the blanket and wrapped your arms around Jacob. At first he didnt move but then you felt him finally lay his chin on the top of your head.

You lifted you face to his to apologize but couldn't resist pressing your lips to his instead. After a couple seconds, he gave in and kissed you back greedily, holding your head still with one hand and grabbing you by the waist with the other as he twisted himself to face you.

You kept your lips on his while you pulled him on top of you, enjoying his weight and the feeling of him pressing against you as you wrapped your legs around his waist and arms around his shoulders. He ground his hips slightly into yours, showing you had hard you had gotten him already.

"Did you fuck him?" Jacob asked suddenly as he finally pulled back from you slightly.

It took you a second to realize who he meant. You were shocked that he was even asking you that but decided now wasn't the time to be defensive.

"Jake... never," you replied, running a hand down the side of his face. You felt him smile into your palm before his mouth was on you again. Immediately, he began pulling at your clothes. When he got to your panties, he didn't stop to take them off but slipped them to the side before thrusting into you with two fingers; forcing you to gasp into his mouth.

Jacob didn't take the time to continue and you realized he was only checking your readiness before he pushed his cock into your wetness. He started off slow but hard, pushing every single inch into you and then pulling out almost all the way before continuing the process over again.

Neither of you had said anything else but it had proved difficult to since he hadn't stopped exploring your mouth for a second. You recognized his neediness because it mirrored your own.

"I love you," you whispered when you were finally able to come up for air.

He quickened his pace after hearing you say that and brought his mouth to your neck, kissing every inch of it before pressing his lips to your ear.

"If you ever leave me again woman, I'll hunt you down and drag you back home," he whispered back, lips brushing at your ear lobe.

He paused suddenly with his cock buried inside you and you knew he was trying to hold back from cumming too soon. Grinning, you pushed him up by the shoulders and back to the bed beside you before sinking down on top of him. You decided you would need to slow the pace a bit because you were painfully close too and really didn't want this to end.

Jacob ran his hands up your sides and to your breasts, kneading them roughly. As you closed your eyes, you silently wished he would stop because you knew that would be your undoing. When he continued, you grabbed at his hands, forcing them back above his head before lowering your upper body to his. You made quick work of kissing his neck and up his jaw but before you were able to bring your lips back to his, he whispered into them.

"I fucking love you."

Those words were the only thing you needed to push you over the edge. You felt yourself clench around Jacob as you pushed down hard on the length of his cock. Moaning his name, you leaned down and pressed your face to his shoulder. He grabbed at your hips, forcing you to continue until he came hard inside of you a minute later.

When you were both satisfied, you laid wrapped up in him for several long moments and then finally lowered yourself back to your side of the bed. Jacob pulled you into his arms and held you tightly. You knew there was so much you still had to talk about but decided it could wait until morning. You closed your eyes and just enjoyed the moment for once.

Chapter Text

The next morning you woke Jacob by kissing him through the fabric of his boxers. After his body started to respond, he opened his eyes and glanced down at you, flashing you a grin.

"Morning."

"Morning," you replied before you pulled down his boxers and wrapped your lips around his hardening cock.

You sucked lightly at first, swirling your tongue and grabbing gently at the base of his shaft but when you noticed him watching you, you pressed your lips around him harder and quickened your pace ever so slightly. You knew he liked when you did it quickly but you refused to give in right away. Working his cock with your hand and mouth in perfect rhythm, you heard him moan above you with his head pushed back in the pillows. You always loved the noises he made in response to you.

Knowing it was time to finish up, you removed your hand, using only your mouth to push down on him as far as you could.

"Oh my fuck, kitten," he panted as he pulled himself back up to look at you. "If you want any, you're going to have to stop."

You shook your head slightly but didn't stop, pushing yourself further and further until every inch of him had disappeared. That did the trick. Jacob grabbed at the back of your head as he found his release, holding you in place for a moment before letting you back up.

After he finally let you free, you informed him you needed to get a shower but would be right back. You knew you probably should be spending the morning talking about everything with him but here you were again, avoiding the issue.

As you slipped out the door and into the bathroom, you heard Jacob protest and as much as you wanted to stay and cuddle, you hadn't showered in two days and knew you'd feel better if you got it out of the way.

Stepping into the water, you took a moment to enjoy its warmth before shampooing your hair. As you let the water rinse away the suds, you heard the bathroom door open. Searching for the cause, you immediately recognized Jacob's frame, even through the frosted glass of the shower. You watched as he undressed and stepped into the shower with you. He didn't say a word as he dropped to his knees.

"Jake!" you squealed but his face was immediately between your thighs.

"Shhh," he ordered as he pushed his tongue against your clit. He knew you well enough to know you would be worked up from his morning wake up and wouldn't need any warming up. When you tried to pull back, he wrapped both hands behind you and dug his fingers into either side of your ass in protest. Finally you gave up struggling and let Jacob continue to pleasure you at a maddening pace before he released one of his hands and fingering you roughly.

You couldn't believe it but in roughly 45 seconds, you were there. You moaned loudly into the water as it washed over you. Before you were able to compose yourself, Jacob released you and was quickly to his feet, spinning you around and pushing you into the shower door before entering you from behind. He gasped when he felt how wet you were. You smiled back at him but he turned you back around and mumbled something into your shoulder between kisses. You weren't able to make out a bloody word but you knew it had to be something dirty if it was coming from Jacob. Never one to be outdone, you decided you better step up your game and outdo him.

"Jake," you said as you reached behind your back and grabbed at him, stopping his re-entrance. You heard him let out a frustrated growl. "Let's go in the hallway."

You looked behind your shoulder again to see his eyes grow wide.

"And what exactly would we be doing there?" he asked, knowing full well what you wanted.

"Well, I'd be spreading my legs and letting you bury that cock wherever you wanted."

"And if someone comes up here?" he asked as he tried thrusting into you again. You kept your hand in place, not allowing him to.

"Then I guess they're getting a show."

"You bad fucking girl," Jacob said as he turned the shower off and slung you over his shoulder like you weighed nothing. He slapped your ass hard and then gave it a quick kiss.

The bathroom door was quickly thrown open and Jacob had you pinned to the opposite wall within seconds. He pulled your legs around him, reaching his hands behind you to support your weight. Before you knew it, he was quickly inside you again, thrusting deeply. You stifled a scream as he continued to fuck you harder.

"Cum for me. Please," you pleaded in his ear. You weren't sure how much more you could take.

He quickly gave into your request, kissing you deeply in the process before carrying you into his bedroom with your legs still wrapped around him.

"I need a nap," you informed him as he set you down on the bed next to him.

"Better rest up, we have a lot of time to make up for."

Jacob leaned back in bed and folded his arms behind his head. He didn't bother to cover up but you were more than happy to have an opportunity to drink in the sight of him.

"We have to talk," you said finally as you leaned on your elbow and ran your hand across his chest.

"Not today," he said quickly.

"But.. I think we need to. You don't have to say anything but just let me explain myself."

He shook his head and took your hand off of his chest and pulled it to his lips. You sighed as you realized there was no use in arguing.

"When do you have to leave?" you asked, changing the subject even though you hated doing so.

"I don't," he said as he placed another kiss on your knuckles.

"Really?" you asked in disbelief. You couldn't believe he was taking a day off.

"Disappointed?"

Jacob rolled to his side and mirrored your position on the bed, pushing up to search your face.

"Never," you replied with a huge smile, leaning in to kiss him.

He reached behind you and pulled you to him until the space between you had disappeared. His hands ran down your back and to your ass.

"Jake, I seriously need a break."

"Fine, fine," he said as he jumped out of bed. "But you better be out of my bed when I get back."

You smirked as he disappeared buck naked out into the hall, feeling happy for the first time in a long time.

Chapter Text

You spent the rest of the day with Jacob, just enjoying one another. Never having had a full day with him, you couldn't be happier.

You did end up napping like you wanted but were woken after awhile by Jacob's needy hands. It would go like that all day: you would relax or sit and chat for a bit and then his hands were all over you again. It was starting to get a little painful but you didn't have the heart to stop him because you knew after every time, he would hold you tighter than he ever had.

You just finished up another quick session and were laying in bed waiting for Jacob to bring you both back something to eat from the mess hall when a voice come over the radio.

"Looking for one lumbering idiot or his runaway. Anyone there?" It was John.

"Hey," you answered. "I'm hoping I'm not the idiot... If you're looking for Jacob, he's downstairs."

"Well, truthfully it was you I was looking for anyhow," he said. "Miss me?"

"How could I not," you said while rolling your eyes.

"You eyes are going to get stuck," he told you. He apparently knew you well. "Listen, I'm just checking in and wanted to see how you're doing."

"Good... really good. I didn't get a chance to thank you for... Well, for everything... for letting me crash as long as I did, for cooking for me, for.. for this."

"Well, I couldn't stand hearing you both whine about it anymore."

"Always the gentleman," you replied sarcastically.

"Yeah, well I try. Anyhow, I better go... Gotta find someone else to share all this sexual tension with," he said with a loud dramatic sigh.

"John..."

"I didn't know you loved him. Or... The other way around. I have no problem hurting most people but he's not one of them."

You weren't sure if he was trying to apologize or if he thought he was letting you down easy but you were still taken back by his words. He had his moments you guessed.

"Have fun with your confessions," you didn't know what else to say. It felt weird as soon as you heard yourself say it.

"Always."

The radio went silent and truthfully you were thankful for it.

"Was that John?" Jacob asked from the doorway. You weren't sure how long he had been standing there.

"He was checking in," you explained, noticing the obvious tinge of jealousy on his face. "Jake, I think we really need to talk. I can't wait until tomorrow."

Jacob set the food he had been holding down on the table and sat with you on the bed, staring at the floor.

"There's nothing to say."

You reached over and grabbed his hand, stroking his knuckles until he finally looked up at you.

"I know you want to pretend like nothing happened. That's my normal style too but some very real shit did happen... And, I need you to understand why I left because I don't think you do."

"I get it. Being here put you in that situation."

"No. It didn't. You didn't force me to go to that bunker and you didn't force me to pull the trigger. I don't regret it for a second, knowing you're here now because of it but... What happened isn't something that most people can handle well, including me."

"I know..." he started before you held a hand up to him.

"Please just let me say what I need to, okay?" you asked. "When I left, I was completely broken. The guilt I felt consumed me every second of the day... And yes, part of me blamed you. I know that probably wasn't fair. It wasn't your fault that they took you but it is your fault that there was a need for them to in the first place. This whole thing is so fucked up. I've bitten my tongue but I'm sorry, Joseph is wrong. All of this is wrong. All of these people... Dying for what? For a premonition he may have had?"

You couldn't stop yourself from rambling even though you knew he wasn't going to take it well and there was a very real possibility he would throw you out of here, or worse. Pushing up to your feet, you started to pace as the words spilled out of you. Jacob just sat back calmly on the bed and took it in.

"You are more than their protector Jake," you continued. As much as you tried forcing yourself, the words just kept coming. You had been pushing everything down for so long that there wasn't any space left for it. "You're not their soldier. You don't need to follow orders anymore. They're grown men and apparently quite capable of taking care of themselves. They're not victims anymore... For God's sake, John skins people alive and... look at what Joseph's done to poor Faith!"

You took in a deep breath and finally composed yourself. You took a seat next to Jacob again and forced yourself to lower your voice.

"I was terrified of you when I met you. But then I saw the person you truly are. You've been exactly what I needed, even though I didn't know I did. That's why I'm still here. That's why I... I killed for you. I see a good, honourable man inside of you whose been dealt just an absolutely shitty hand. And all this time, I've been feeding myself a load of crap that I might actually be enough for you and that I could convince you to leave all of this behind. When you didn't fight for me to stay here, I realized that would never happen so it was easy for me to leave. It was easy for me to hold on to that anger and hurt and stay away. But then when I saw you... I just, I don't know how I'm ever going to get out of this situation because I can't leave you. Not fully."

Jacob stared at you intensely. You waited for him to react, to grab you or to scream but he remained his eerily calm self.

"If I leave, my brothers are dead. You know that, don't you? How can you expect me to have that blood on my hands?"

"Jake... I.. they would be fine. One of them could take over up here," you tried reasoning with him.

"I won't leave them," he said calmly.

You didn't know what else to say. You forced yourself to look away from him as you felt a familiar lump in your throat. It really was hopeless, you thought. You could either decide to stay here and turn a blind eye or you had to leave Hope County without Jacob. Either way, you knew you had to make a decision soon.

Chapter Text

"My men will let you through the roadblock to the west of here. I'll send word."

"What? No. Jake..."

Jacob stood and walked to the window, looking out to the horizon. He remained silent. You walked over to him and wrapped your arms around him from behind, burying your face between his shoulder blades.

"I didn't mean I was ready to leave without you," you whispered.

He reached up and placed his hands on top of yours but didn't turn around.

"When I got back from Iraq, the lines of what was right and wrong were blurred for me. It didn't take all those doctors telling me that to know it. One thing I did know to be true though was the struggle my family had gone through at the hands of other people. I don't know what would have become of them if I had just abandoned them. They have flaws.. many of them.. but they're living and that's because of me."

You knew he was right. If your family was still around, would you be able to just turn your back on them so easily? You weren't sure you could. Sitting here right now with Jacob was a prime example of how people chose to see past the flaws of their loved ones. Everything inside of you told you to run as far away from not only his family but from him. Yet here you were, with your arms wrapped around him.

Jacob turned around in your arms and leaned against the windowsill.

"When I found you bleeding out, I thought about walking away. When I pulled that bullet out and I watched you use every ounce of strength to not scream, I thought harder about it again and then when I watched you eat an entire backpack of chocolate, I knew I had to," Jacob grinned.

"I didn't eat the whole thing!" you exclaimed as you slapped at his chest. He grabbed your wrist before you could try again, letting his smile fade.

"The point I'm trying to make is... I didn't want this. I didn't want you or this relationship."

You stared back at him in disbelief. His words stung you to the core. You shifted your eyes down so he wouldn't see the pain in them.

"Kitten..." Jacob said as he pulled you into him again. "I didn't want it because I knew it would come to this point where one of us had to chose."

"But it doesn't have to be that way. I'll stay. I'll close myself off from everything and avoid it..."

Jacob shook his head. "You'll never be happy."

"So, you're just willing to let me go then," you said sadly.

"Never. If I could, I would lock you up and force you to stay here with me forever if I had a choice."

"Would you let me out for sex every once in a awhile at least?" you teased back. You were so uncomfortable with the whole conversation even though you knew it had to be done.

"Oh, I'd insist on it," you said with a grin before his face fell. It was like something had hit him like a ton of bricks. You stared up at him, pressing him to say something with your eyes but he just gave a quick smile and moved back on the bed as he pulled you with him and then sat you down on his lap. "Speaking of which..."

"Jake, no."

He pulled one of your legs over his lap so you were straddling him and grabbed at your hips as his mouth went to yours again. You were just in awe of his stamina.

"Seriously... One, I don't think I can physically take anymore and two, I'm not letting you off the hook. What was that look for?"

Jacob sighed and pulled back from you slightly.

"You're not going to drop it are you?" he asked. When he watched you shake your head, he continued. "Joseph is unhappy that you're back here."

"What? Why?" you asked, confused. You'd think he would be happy to have things work out for his brother.

"After your baptism... He doesn't think it's appropriate for you to be living here."

"Cause we're living in sin?" you asked mockingly. Jacob nodded. "Seriously?"

"He's asked me to move you back to the ranch for the time being," he said flatly.

Not only was Joseph creepy but he was also insane you realized. Who really took all this "no sex before marriage" thing seriously. You stopped yourself when you realized who you were talking about and asked Jacob if he was sending you back there.

"Fuck no," he spat. "You're not leaving my side again. I told him I'd marry you first."

You thought about that for a minute... Mrs. Jacob Seed: wife to a murdering soldier with PTSD, sister-in-law to one homicidal sadist and one lunatic of a religious zealot. Thankfully, Jacob wasn't being serious.

Your thoughts were interrupted by Jacob kissing your neck.

"I'll do whatever I have to to protect you," he said into your skin.

You froze suddenly, realizing he was telling Joseph the truth.

Chapter Text

"Jake! Okay, that's enough!" you squealed as you pushed his head back from between your legs.

He grinned back at you through his wet beard. "You sure?"

"When a lady says she's done, you need to disengage. I literally don't have anymore fluid left in my body. If I cum again, it'll just be one big dust cloud."

Jacob crawled back beside you and wiped himself clean with a shirt he picked up from the floor.

"That better be your shirt."

"Come here," he said, ignoring your comment. He wrapped his arms around you again.

After your serious and awkward talk earlier, Jacob had decided you needed to work things out another way. After losing track of how many times he wanted to "work it out", you were now utterly spent. You reached dramatically for the food across the room; Jacob had brought it up hours ago but it was untouched.

"Need... food...."

"We'll be going to John's soon enough," Jacob said casually.

"John's? Wait.. why?" you asked. For a moment you thought maybe he had decided to send you back.

"For dinner...?" he said slowly. When you didn't respond he explained that he mentioned it to you earlier. The family was going to have dinner at John's and then there was a late night service planned. Joseph was convinced something big was happening and asked for the showing of his family as support.

"Jake, I'm sorry... I honestly don't remember you saying that. Well, I kind of do about the service but.."

"You were falling asleep I think," he said, thinking back. "You can stay here if you're more comfortable."

"Oooh no, you're not getting rid of me that quick. Plus, it's been a day... John's probably missing me terribly," you joked before you noticed Jacob's face. "I'm kidding! I'm kidding, really. He does have ice cream though."

---

Once Jacob realized you were going to be late, you both got dressed hurriedly (you made him wear a new shirt) and piled into the truck. The drive was quiet between you two for the most part but it was a comfortable silence. When you pulled up into the ranch, a couple of the guards waved at you. You smiled and waved back and followed Jacob to the front door. John wasn't there to greet you like he was the first time you arrived at the ranch.

"Welcoming committee must have bailed," you whispered loudly to Jacob as you approached the door.

"He's probably losing his mind cause we're late."

You waited for Jacob to open the front door cause you sure as hell weren't going to. When you were inside, you heard a couple voices coming from inside the dining area. Jacob took your hand and led you around the corner, greeting everyone as you approached.

Faith was the first to stand up and throw her arms around you and then around Jacob, telling you how beautiful you looked as she always did. Joseph was next - he touched foreheads with his brother in his normal fashion and greeted you with outstretched arms. Just thinking about what Jacob had told you earlier, you wanted to press down on his toes with the heel of your shoe as hard as you could but faked a smiled instead. You looked around for John but noticed he wasn't around.

"Please, have a seat and join us," Joseph motioned for the table.

You took your seat next to Jacob and looked around the table. The table settings were out but the food hadn't been brought yet. You wondered what the hold up was... you were starving.

"I'm glad you were able to make it this time," you said to Faith finally. "You weren't here last time I came to dinner."

Faith glanced quickly at Joseph and then turned back to you with a smile. Before she was able to explain her absence, John made his grand entrance.

"Nothing like making the family wait, huh?" he joked before turning to you and nodding his head in your direction. "You're looking kind of worn out. Anything you wanna share?"

"Speaking of making people wait, what's the hold up?" you asked, trying to push the attention away on your obvious exhaustion.

"I never rushed you when you made dinner. If you're that impatient, you can come give me a hand," John said as he exited the room without excusing himself.

You looked to Jacob who gave you a smile and told you to get his brother to move his ass. Before you pushed your chair back from the table, you excused yourself to Joseph and Faith who smiled back in response.

"Alright, smart ass.. what do you have on the go?" you asked as you lifted a lid on the roaster that sat on the counter. He had cooked a chicken with roasted vegetables.

"You miss me already, don't you?" he asked as he leaned on the counter next to you.

"Terribly," you said as you searched through a nearby drawer for something to scoop the vegetables out with. "Mind cutting that while I get the rest on a serving dish?"

John shook his head and reached for a knife. He stopped before lifting the chicken out of the pan and stared off for a second. You watched him for a minute before you started to get concerned. Reaching over, you placed a hand on his arm. His expression instantly changed back to the normal John he laid out for everyone to see. You had learned over your time with him that he very rarely dropped the facade and wondered why he kept it up, even around his family.

"Everything alright?" you asked.

"Yes, l good. You hungry?"

"John..." you started. You couldn't believe you were actually concerned but part of you pitied him. "Seriously, what is it?"

He placed the knife on the counter and tilted his head to you. You could tell he wanted to say something but he seemed to be debating whether he should.

"When you were living here, were you unhappy?" he finally asked. You were taken back.

"No, why?"

"No reason," he said, smiling again.

He started to turn back to the counter but you grabbed his arm again, silently telling him he better slip the beans. He let out a low sigh.

"I know it wasn't your idea to come here in the first place but I genuinely enjoyed your company. I haven't really spent any time just hanging out with people and away from... my responsibilities. It kind of reminded me of my life before I moved here."

And there it was... the glimmer of hope you had lost. If someone had told you a couple months ago that John fucking Seed might be your ticket out of here, you would have laughed but now, it seemed possible. If you could convince John that things could be like this all the time and it was worth walking away, maybe Jacob would follow. You knew Faith would if she saw things starting to crumble. And without his heralds, maybe Joseph would drop this whole crazy pipe dream. You knew what you had to do.

"Since I've been here, I haven't had any friends. Well, I mean there's Jacob but he's gone a lot. I'm really glad we've gotten to know one another. I'm actually going to really miss your dumb face," you said as you turned away and willed yourself with everything inside of you to start crying. With everything that had been going on lately, you didn't have to try too hard.

You heard John let out a sound of surprise and then he was beside you, wrapping his arms around you.

"I'll be here if you ever need me," he said, trying his best to comfort you.

Part of you felt a bit guilty which only added to your tears. You pushed back from John with a smile and wiped at your eyes.

"I'm so sorry... This is ridiculous. I guess I just get a bit lonely. You've been such a good friend to me."

John smiled a genuine smile at that. He ran a hand down your cheek, wiping at the remainder of your tears.

"You too," he said softly.

You both shared a moment gazing at one another before you told him you better get the food on the table or else Jacob would be in here. He nodded in return as you both went back to your individual tasks.

Chapter Text

After everyone had eaten their fill, Faith cleared the dishes. You offered to help but she wouldn't hear of it. After she left the room, Joseph leaned forward in his chair with a serious expression on his face.

"My family, I've had a vision of tonight's service. It will not be a happy one," he said solemnly.

John glanced at Jacob who continued to give his full attention to his brother. You tried to keep your attention on him too but felt out of place. You fidgeted with your hands under the table.

"I will need you all to remain calm, no matter what happens. This is simply part of God's plan. He will not let any harm come to us so I ask you not to cause any problems."

The brothers nodded without asking anything further. You wanted to ask what the hell he was going on about but bit your tongue instead.

"Let us make our way to the compound. Faith, please join us," Joseph called into her. She hurried out and took her place next to him.

Joseph, John and Faith piled into John's car and Jacob led you back to the truck. He didn't say anything about what had happened at dinner but didn't seem too rattled by it either.

"You really think something big's going to happen?" you asked finally as you drove to the church.

"Joseph's never been wrong," he said simply.

---

When you arrived to the compound, the church was surrounded by dozens of followers, most with guns. You wondered if Joseph had brought them there specifically because of his vision.

Jacob took your hand and led you inside, sitting in your normal pew. John was on the other side of you. He flashed you a smile as you sat down.

As people flooded on, Joseph took his place at the front of the church. You noticed he had removed his shirt for some reason.

Tonight's sermon was different than the last one you witnessed. Rather than preach about love and hope, he went on a tangent about how everything they had worked so hard to achieve would soon be taken away from them but instructed his flock to stay strong. You noticed as time went on, he started to turn his attention to the door. The first few times he did it, you caught yourself turning to see if there was anything there but after the third time, you started to think he was just having a melt down. By the fourth time, you didn't follow his gaze but as his voice rose and you heard the crowd behind you grow louder, you decided to look. You were shocked to see five people walk in with badges and guns. One of them carried a document in his left hand. Your heart stopped and you immediately worried for Jacob.

He turned to you and placed a hand on your arm before instructing you to stay where you were. You watched as the siblings walked on the stage and took their place behind Joseph.

---

After that, all hell broken loose. You watched in horror as Peggies fell from the helicopter Joseph had been escorted to. Others ran around frantically, collecting guns and screaming about protecting "the Father". Jacob had one of the followers put you in the truck and ordered them to drive you back to the Veteran's Center. You begged him to let him you stay with him but he refused.

"Just please do as I ask for once," he said, frustrated as he closed the truck door. He ran in the opposite direction, towards the helicopter that was now flying low over the trees. John was close behind him.

As the truck sped off with you in it, you prayed nothing would stop the law enforcement from throwing Joseph's preachy ass in jail.

Chapter Text

It was complete madness when you got back to the center. Jacob's men must have gotten word of what went down because they were all chattering away when you got there. Your driver asked you to go to your as per Jacob's instructions. You decided not to argue, there wasn't much you could do anyway.

As the hours rolled on, you started to grow nervous. Jacob hadn't sent word back to his men (you knew this because you kept pestering them every so often) and he hadn't radioed you either. You prayed nothing bad happened.

It was just after 3:00 when you finally heard footsteps in the hall. You rushed out and almost started crying at the sight of Jacob. He quickened his pace to you and gave you a quick kiss.

"I can't believe you actually listened to me," he said into your cheek as he picked you up in a big bear hug.

"I do occasionally. Is everything okay?" you asked. You wanted to ask if Joseph was gone but figured you better not word it that way.

"Yes, everything is going to be okay. They let Joseph go. Everyone else is okay too."

You looked at him suspiciously. They just up and let him go after going through all that? You knew he was lying but you also knew that he wouldn't disclose the details to you. It was his style to keep you in the dark in mostly everything that happened around here. Some days you were thankful for it but today was not one of those days.

"Well, that's good. I'm glad you're okay, I was so worried," you said as he let you back to your feet.

Jacob placed his hand on the middle of your back and walked you to your bedroom. He had moved your armchair back yesterday so you assumed you were officially roommates again.

"What are you still doing up?" he asked as he started undressing for bed.

"Kind of hard to sleep."

"Come here," he said as he pulled you over to him.

He reached at the hem of your sundress and pulled it over your head without unbuttoning it. Holding out a finger, he made his way to the closet before fishing out one of his t-shirts; they were your favorite thing to sleep in.

"Arms," he instructed.

You did as he asked and he slipped the shirt over your head before pulling you into bed and tucking you in. You thought he may leave again but he surprised you by slipping under the covers with you. He placed his hands on you firmly and rolled you to your side, facing away from him.

"Jake, I'm exhausted."

"I know, relax kitten. I'm not after that," he assured you.

His words reminded you of what he said to you the first time he helped you out of the bath after being shot. You were so self conscious around him then but he'd seen every inch of you in every position since then so there was no more room for that.

Jacob ran his hands between your back and shoulders, massaging as he went. You smiled to yourself, taking in the moment.

"Jake?"

"Hmm?"

"I told you I've decided to stay here... for as long as this lasts," you said, cutting yourself off to see what his reaction would be.

"Yes. And I told you I'm not letting you leave again so there's really no choice for you."

"Well, I'm glad... but if we're going to be whatever it is we are..." you stopped again but this time it was think about how you would proceed.

Jacob moved his hands from your back and wrapped them around you before he placed his chin on your shoulder. "You asking me out?"

You couldn't stop yourself from laughing. You turned to try to see him but he pressed his cheek to yours.

"I dunno... I might want to keep my options open."

You suddenly felt a slap on your ass.

"You bitch," he said with mock seriousness. "I already told you I'm forcing you to marry me so we better be official beforehand at least."

"Oh my God, stop it with the marriage stuff," you said, slapping his cheek softly.

He laid there for a minute, not saying anything. You only knew he was still awake because he was running his fingers over yours in an almost erratic way.

"Okay, so what were you getting at before," he finally asked.

You forced yourself out of his arms and rolled to look at him. You couldn't quite make out his face in the darkness so you weren't able to gauge his emotions. He seemed put out though.

"What is it?" you asked. When he shook his head, you placed a palm to his cheek. "There's something wrong. What did I do?"

"Nothing, kitten."

"Ugh, Jake! Why will you never open up to me? You're clearly upset about something. And it's obviously something to do with me," you said before you realized maybe you needed to change your approach. "Is it because I asked you to be my boyfriend? I don't expect flowers or anything."

"You know I... Well you know." he stammered. "I.. love you. That's not easy for me to say. I've never loved another woman my entire life. I just didn't think the idea of us in the long term was such a bad idea."

It finally dawned on you... He was upset that you were making light of him mentioning marriage. You had hurt his ego without even trying to. You honestly didn't think he was being serious. Jacob Seed was not the marrying type. But then again, he wasn't really the relationship type either and here he was... doing whatever he had to, to make sure you were safe and happy.

"Jake, as far as I'm concerned... I'm here for the long term. I'll be here until you tell me you don't want me anymore."

"Well, then you're stuck," he stated as he laid a kiss on your forehead. It always surprised you how sweet he could be.

"But... that being said, we need to make a couple changes to how things are being dealt with around here," you informed him.

"Oh?"

"I can't sit back anymore and not know what's going on around here. I know the sheriff didn't suddenly just let Joseph go earlier. That's bullshit. And I get why you're trying to shelter me but do you really think I'm that's naive? I heard stories about you long before I met you and I'm not stupid enough to think you just sit around drinking coffee with your buddies when you're not here. I know you hurt people. I know you kill people. And I'm still here... So anything else that's happening isn't going to make me run either."

Jacob pushed himself back into his pillows. You watched as he lifted his hands over his eyes and took in a deep breath. You knew he was finally ready to open up about everything that had happened and everything they had planned.

Chapter Text

"Runaway to The Baptist... Are you there?"

You stared at the radio in your hands. You had been trying John for a little over ten minutes now be he hadn't picked up. You were using the channel he had set aside specifically for you and Jacob but he was either ignoring you or busy. As needy as John was for human interaction, you guessed it was the latter.

You were ready to give up when you heard his voice through the static.

"Why can't I get a cool nickname at least?" he pouted.

"I don't have a cool nickname," you reminded him. "Besides... That is what you are, isn't it?

"Fine, fine. What is it you want? I'm a little busy."

"I need you to come get me," you told him.

There was a bit of a pause as you were sure he was either cursing at your intrusion or wondering what the hell you wanted.

"Everything okay?" he finally asked.

"Oh.. yes, of course. All good. I just wanted to see you." you lied.

"Aww, you miss me don't you little girl?" John said smugly.

"Well don't go announcing it. I just... It's been a couple days and I was worried about you. Jacob told me you were okay but... I just wanted to see you."

"I'm on my way," he said abruptly before ending the broadcast. You sat back and marvelled in how gullible the poor guy was.

---

John must have driven full speed the whole way because he was there faster than you thought possible. Jacob was out visiting some Pratt person he had told you about briefly so you knew you had some time before you would have to explain your absence to him.

You met John at the front door as he walked towards you, smiling ear to ear the whole way.

"Did you teleport here or something? I wasn't expecting you for awhile."

"Teleport? No. Fly? Yes," he answered.

"Are you kidding me? John... no," you argued.

Your thoughts went back to your last trip in his plane and how he laughed like raging lunatic as you basically screamed for your life. He reached over and took your hand, leading you to the road just off the property, where he had parked the plane.

"I promise I'll behave," he said as he opened your door. You stared at it for a long while before finally giving in.

"Fuck."

---

John ended up keeping his promise; much to your surprise. You both kept the conversation light until the bit of turbulance you had encountered had stopped and the flight was now calm. You decided now was the best time to break the ice.

"I wanted to talk to you," you said as you turned your body to his. He glanced back between you and the sky as he asked what about.

"I'm hoping you won't talk to Jacob about this. I would try going to him first but I know he'll refuse. You're the more reasonable of the two and truthfully, I feel more comfortable talking to you anyhow," you said, trying to stroke his enormous ego in the process. It seemed to work when he promised he'd keep his mouth shut.

"Jacob told me everything about what happened with the deputies. I know you each have one of them."

John's face went white. He was obviously taken back by the fact that you knew so much.

"I know one's still out there. And I know you know as well as I do that this could spell trouble. Even if you were to catch them, you don't think their offices are going to notice five people have just disappeared? They're going to call in back ups... And then if you manage to avoid an arrest there, they'll probably send in the National Guard or something. They'll end up wiping Eden's Gate off the map and you and Jacob and Joseph will all face the consequences. The longer this goes on, the worse it it for you. You're a lawyer... You know what will happen."

"Joseph says the collapse has started. If that's the case, then we won't have to worry much longer about that," he said, spouting that religious bullshit again.

"And if for some reason he's wrong? Or if he has the timing off? When they came for the arrest, the warrant was only for Joseph, not you or Jacob. If they had anything on you, they would have taken you into custody too. You both can leave without fear of arrest... we can hide Joseph."

John just stared off out the window but you could see the wheels were turning. He had the same impatient look he got on his face any time he was proven wrong. You decided you had to change your approach. You felt like you were so close.

"I don't want to lose you," you said as you reached for his arm.

He glanced down at your hand before turning his eyes to you. The impatient look he had was replaced with one of kindness.

"I can't just walk away," he said quietly. You realized he had the same loyalty as his oldest brother. You would have to show him that you were only trying to keep them all together.

"If you decide to leave, Jacob won't feel such a strong need to stay behind because then he won't be able to protect you. Joseph is an intelligent man... I'm sure he knows all this already but if it came from you as his lawyer, he might listen. This is the only way for everyone to get out of this alive. We could take your plane. We could go back to my home in Canada. We could all start over together as a family."

You waited... and waited. It was a painfully long time before John finally mouthed the word you had been waiting for.

"Okay."

Chapter Text

It had been a little over a week since your plane ride with John and since then, you had spoke over the radio briefly and had a secret meeting where you squared away some details of your plan. You still couldn't believe John was actually willing to go along with you. If he was willing to leave this life behind and behave, maybe you could see past everything that happened so far.

John had decided he didn't like the idea of crossing the border, especially where there were most likely not any charges against he and Jacob like you had pointed out. The three of you would move back to Atlanta where he would pay for Jacob to get help at the military hospital he had been to previously (you still weren't sure how that one would go over). John would go back to practicing law and he would pay for Joseph to go south somewhere (still undecided) until things blew over. John expected you all to visit him when you could.

It was agreed that it was best to wait until Joseph was on board before you went to Faith. She was too unstable and may tip off Joseph. You convinced John finally to help her out a bit just until she got back on her feet.

Everything was finally coming together. All that needed to be done now was for John to talk to Jacob and put the bug in his ear.

"Thank you John," you said at the end of your meeting.

"Don't thank me yet. All this shit I'm dealing with at the moment isn't helping matters."

"You'd think that would help our case," you reasoned.

You knew things had gone downhill quickly in the Valley. John had lost half of his outposts and the Resistance was gaining new members every day. It was all because of this deputy that was still out there somewhere.

"No better, huh?"

"Fuck, no. I should have just ended the deputy when I had him in my bunker but Joseph has this fucking obsession with getting him to atone."

Part of you secretly hoped the deputy would succeed in killing Joseph. Actually, every part of you did but then you worried about what might happen to Jacob then.

"I better get back before Jake gets done for the day," you told him as you hopped back in Jacob's truck that you had borrowed.

"Ahhh, gotta be there for a little cuddling at the end of the day, huh?" John teased.

"Do you think he's a cuddler?" you asked, genuinely curious of his answer.

"Mr Strong and Serious? Hell no."

"You'd be surprised," you said before rolling up the window and flashing him a grin.

You watched in the rearview mirror as John stood motionless, mouthing the words "no fucking way".

---

The next day you waited as patiently as you could for Jacob to tell you all about the conversation he had with John. You had both planned for it to happen then.

By now, you knew not to expect to see him during the day. He would sometimes sneak off to meet you for a meal or to have a quickie in whatever room you might be in but lately Jacob was busy with training, gathering supplies and reinforcements and of course, looking for Eli Palmer. The Whitetails that survived your raid had relocated and were proving to be more difficult to track down this time. At least the deputy was still wreaking havoc in the Valley and hadn't yet made it into the mountains so Jacob didn't seem overly concerned. He had confidence that John would take care of the problem.

It was a little earlier in the evening than Jacob normally met up with you but you recognized his footsteps immediately. Placing your book on the table next to you, you stood to greet him as he came in. Immediately, you noticed his face and knew something was terribly wrong. It wasn't just a look of sadness that he wore but also one of pure rage.

"What is it?" you asked as you tried to embrace him. He stood motionless, ignoring your advance. "Jake?"

Jacob brought his eyes from the floor and to your face. Even before he spoke, the look he was giving you just broke your heart.

"Jake?" you asked again; softer this time.

"John's dead."

Chapter Text

The next week was a complete blur. Joseph was on the war path and had Faith and Jacob on the hunt for the missing deputy every second of every day.

The Resistance continued to gain momentum in the south now that John was gone. The silos were destroyed, the outposts were taken over and the followers were either killed or driven out to other parts of Hope County.

Back home, Jacob didn't sleep. He was constantly on the go now and sometimes it was days before you would see him. Even when you did, it was only for a very short time and he was always quiet. The kind and thoughtful man you had grown to love over the past months was all but dead and replaced with one that was almost robotic in his ways. You knew he thought of nothing else but finding this person who proved to him that he wasn't capable of protecting his family. Not to mention his growing obsession with the Whitetails.

One night when he did finally come back to the room to sleep, you asked him if he planned on killing the deputy when he found them. He only told you he had bigger plans but that everything would work out. The more you pushed him for answers, the more he would shut down.

You missed the relationship you had built with him. Before all of this happened, he was talking about marriage (though you still weren't sure he was serious) but now he barely spoke to you. Of course, you tried your best to not take it personally but missed the intimacy you once had. You started to wonder if you'd ever have him back again or if the soldier inside of him had claimed him from you forever.

---

"She's not strong enough to stop them. Just let me send some of my Chosen in to wipe the Deputy out," you heard Jacob say.

He had been on the radio with Joseph for nearly a half an hour. You weren't sure if he just didn't notice you were there anymore or if he didn't care but he sat at the table in your shared bedroom.

"Jacob, she has the Marshal under her control. When the Deputy goes to rescue him as you know he will, she'll be ready. The Bliss will stop this before it escalates any further and this will be over," Joseph assured him.

During the call, you found out that the deputy had made his way across the Henbane and was now stirring up some trouble for Faith. With the south all but lost, things were looking serious. There was also talk of a group of people hiding out in the jail, rallying troops to help this deputy.

As much as you didn't want to think about it, your mind went to the worst case scenario. If things fell in the east, there was only one other direction to go. This person was obviously more than capable of handling what Joseph had built here and you worried for Jacob. You still couldn't believe how quickly things had fallen. Just a couple weeks ago, you had convinced John to help you escape Montana and now the only ally in your cause was dead. You still hadn't thought of a Plan B and with everything in utter chaos, you knew talking to Jacob was pointless.

"If you say so. If things do get worse, I'm ready to do whatever you need me to," Jacob said finally. He had decided it was best to follow his brother's lead rather than argue.

"Thank you Jacob. We will speak again soon."

Jacob sat quietly for several minutes after the radio went silent. You watched as he wrung his hands. You wanted desperately to go to him but didn't know how to react anymore. You finally decided you couldn't just sit around and do nothing and took a seat next to him. At first he didn't acknowledge you but then he turned his face slowly to yours.

"You need some sleep," you told him.

You weren't sure what else to say. As much as you wanted to tell him you loved him and needed him, you knew he might not be ready for all that yet.

"I'm fine."

"No, you're not. You haven't slept a half a night's sleep in a week. I'm worried about you," you tried reasoning with him.

"I need to get downstairs," he said as he pushed up from the table.

Stepping in front of him, you put your hands on the chest and stopped him from leaving. He stared down at you expressionless.

"I miss you," you whispered.

You watched as his face fell slightly and where he was almost in a daze before, he seemed to realize his surrounding.

"I'm sorry. Things need to get done," he explained as he brought his hands to your forearms.

"I know all of this is difficult for... everyone. I'm trying to support you but... nevermind. I'm sorry."

You let go of him and stepped to the side, letting him go. When he didn't move, you looked back up from the floor. He watched you with a smirk on his face.

"What?" you asked, half chuckling. You weren't used to him having anything but a serious expression.

"You want this don't you?" he asked as he nodded downwards.

You stared in disbelief at his sudden mood change. Slowly, you felt yourself blush. All you could do was nod.

"Thought so," he said as he grabbed you and slung you over his shoulder and took you to bed.

---

The sex was over quickly; you had both been without one another for longer than you ever had. It had been different though - Jacob was much less gentle and loving. You were fine with it though, it was just nice to be that close to him again.

When you were done, Jacob didn't hold you like he normally did but at least he didn't leave. You were thankful for that too.

"It will be over soon," he finally said as you both laid there watching the ceiling.

"I hope so."

"I know this hasn't been easy on you," he continued.

"On me? Don't worry about me, I know what it's done to you. I just want... I guess I'm selfish. I just want you around."

Jacob turned to his side and ran a hand through your hair. You reached up and moved his hand to your cheek, squeezing at his fingers.

"I do too. Be patient with me kitten."

"Always, Jake."

Chapter Text

"I... I can't believe it," you stammered as you took a seat at the table Joseph and Jacob had chosen in one of the spare rooms. "What happened?"

"Same as John," Jacob said quietly to you.

You both watched as Joseph wipes at his eyes and hammered his fist again into the table. He stood and paced before turning back to Jacob.

"Faith was so devoted...to me, to the project. She didn't deserve this," he screamed wildly.

You noticed he didn't seem this upset when John was killed but kept your thoughts to yourself. You might actually be the only person who missed him. Though, you weren't sure if you missed him or the fact that he was the only hope you had of executing your plan.

"He was meant to atone. He was meant to join the Project, but my visions are coming true. Nothing I can do can prevent that," Joseph continued to ramble, more to himself than to you and Jacob.

"The deputy has to be put down," Jacob offered.

Joseph turned to his pacing again and tapped at his lips. He looked like a complete lunatic, which you supposed he was. Finally, he stopped and nodded.

"Jacob, you need to punish those responsible for the death of our brother... our sister. There is no more room for mercy or forgiveness. It's clear to me now."

Jacob nodded in agreement as Joseph sat back at the table. He turned his attention to you, studying your face. This whole time, he hadn't acknowledged your presence but now you felt like you were on the spot.

"If you were in my shoes, what would you do?"

You wanted to say you'd let the deputy continue their reign of terror and hopefully they'd catch up with Joseph but obviously you couldn't say as much. You thought about your words before answering.

"I don't agree with killing but I don't see another way out of this," you told him.

Jacob wrapped an arm around your shoulder as he gave you a weak smile.

"The collapse is closer than ever. Jacob, is your bunker ready?" Joseph asked after he nodded in agreement to your response.

"Nearly. The water and air filtration systems are functional. We could use some extra food but it's being gathered," Jacob told him.

You remember Jacob telling you each of the siblings had their own bunker which was large enough for them and a couple dozen followers. You were also given the details of the room you would be sharing with Jacob. Thankfully this impending apocalypse Joseph rambled about constantly would never happen because living in a bunker for nearly a decade sounded just awful.

"Good. Thank you both, I should be heading back to the compound."

"I'll send word when I've captured him," Jacob told him, referring to the deputy of course.

Joseph nodded as he patted Jacob on the back and left you both sitting next to one another. You set your head down on the table and shifted your gaze to Jacob.

It had been three weeks since John died and Jacob had just finally been getting a little more relaxed over the past week. He especially seemed at ease today after hearing about Faith. It wasn't the fact that she was dead but the fact that Jacob knew he would finally get his chance to take care of this growing problem. You knew if anyone could do it, it would be him. His army was well trained and he ran a tight ship.

"Tired?" he asked you as he gazed down at you laying across the table.

"Yeah, a bit. Jake... do you think they'll come north first or just try to breach the walls of the compound?"

"Well, I don't think his ultimate goal is Joseph. He wants to wipe all of us off the map. And I think he knows if he tries anything at the compound, he'll have my people to go through first. It'll probably be the same slow grind he's tried twice already."

"Yeah, you're probably right," you agreed. "I'm worried about you."

Jacob leaned forward and pushed a strand of your hair behind your ear before stroking your cheek. He had been much more affectionate lately though he wasn't back a hundred percent yet.

"Don't you worry about me, kitten. I've been through a lot worse.

You knew he was right but part of you still feared for the worst.

---

A week later, Jacob's prediction had proved true. The deputy seemed to have found the Whitetails and together, they had wiped out two outposts already and destroyed all of Jacob's beacons. You thought he would be upset but he remained calm through everything.

One morning, you were laying awake in bed with Jacob when he received a message on the radio. It was from one of his hunters; they had finally tracked down the deputy and used a tranquilizer to take him down.

Placing the radio back on the night stand, Jacob turned to you with a massive smile.

"Why didn't they just kill him?" you asked. You weren't sure what the benefit of drugging him would be.

"They're going to bring him here. Joseph will want to speak with him," he replied before he leaned down and kissed you. "Open up for me."

Jacob pushed one of your legs aside as he crawled between them and laid on top of you, pressing his lips to your neck.

"Jake, don't you have to go?"

"Hmm?" he mumbled against your neck as he kissed his way down to your breasts.

"The deputy..."

"We're celebrating. Now take that off for me," he ordered as he pulled at your shirt.

You weren't sure this was the appropriate reaction for him to be having but you were happy for it none the less. You did as he requested and removed your shirt quickly as he pushed up to his knees and removed his as well. When he noticed your eyes on him, he grinned.

"Why do you have to be so sexy? I can't say no to you," you said, looking him over as he quickly removed his pants and tossed them to the floor. He lowered to his place on top of you and pressed his lips to yours.

"You're the one who's fucking sexy," he said as he moved his lips back to your neck, giving it a light nip. "Why do you think I need this all the time?"

"Cause you love me. Naturally."

Jacob moved up to his elbows and looked down at you. He looked so stress free for the first time since you met him.

"So fucking much..."

You let out a low moan as he sank down and kissed his way from your neck to thighs, stopping just shy of where you needed him to.

"Please..." you begged him, pushing your hips towards his face.

"Please what?" he asked with a grin. He knew full well what you wanted but he always enjoyed hearing you say something dirty. You knew you could spurt off a list of demands just dripping with filth but decided to reel it back a bit.

"Kiss me," you instructed.

He raised an eyebrow before pushing his face between your legs and brushing his lips against your clit once. He lifted his head again to grin back up at you. He wasn't going to make this easy.

"I need more than that," you told him as you pushed up on your elbows to watch him. You loved the look he got on his face as he teased you. You could tell he was thoroughly enjoying himself.

Jacob dropped down again and gave you two more quick kisses before asking if that was enough. When you shook your head, he told you he needed to know exactly what you wanted from him. You were so worked up at that point that you grabbed the back of his head and forced it down, telling him you wouldn't let him back up until you came. He moaned back in response and did as you instructed. As he worked away on your orgasm, he slid a hand down to stroke his cock at the same time. Just the sight of him pleasuring himself in front of you was enough to drive you crazy but when he slid his fingers inside you and curled them to that magic spot, you lost all control. Before you could stop, you threw yourself back to the bed and called his name out over and over.

When he knew things would be getting too sensitive for you, Jacob crawled up between your legs again and kissed you deeply.

"That's one thing I will never get tired of," he said as he kissed every inch of your face and neck.

"Me neither. You're fucking amazing," you panted. "Let me repay the favour?"

"Not this time. I want to spend as much time inside that pussy as I can."

You laughed at that. He used that word constantly but it still seemed strange to hear him say it for some reason. You decided you had both waited enough and reached down to find him an inch from your entrance. You pulled him closer and wrapped your legs around him, pushing his hips forward. He gasped as he entered you easily but stopped every inch or so before continuing again.

"Jake, fuck me already," you groaned as you dug your fingertips into his broad shoulders blades.

You pushed against him as hard as you could but he pushed back, controlling the pace. Jacob slid himself all the way in before pulling back completely as slowly as he could. He watched your face as you bucked beneath him, desperate for him to thrust again.

"So fucking tight..." Jacob whispered into your ear between bites to your earlobe. You knew you were going to be covered in red marks at the end of this but loved every second of it.

After a few minutes of you desperately pulling him to you and pushing your hips up to meet him, he gave in and quickened his pace. You moaned loudly at finally getting what you wanted.

The sex tonight was different somehow - Jacob wasn't giving you as much space as he normally did. Most times he loved watching you bounce on top or pushing you to a wall and balancing you while he fucked you roughly but tonight, he kept as close to you as possible. His lips stayed on you every second, either on your mouth or your neck or your breasts. The pace had quickened but it was still relatively slow and he was gentle with his thrusts. Where his hands would normally be slapping your ass or kneading your breasts, he was running them through your hair and down your cheeks. You felt closer to him now than ever before. You didn't know if it was all of that, that gave you the courage but before you could stop yourself, you were blurting the words "do you really want to marry me?" at him. He stopped and looked down at you with a smile.

"Didn't I tell you that yet?" he asked.

"I still don't know if you're serious. You also told me you'd lock me in a cage if I tried to leave."

"Well, I meant both," he answered seriously, still watching you with those piercing blue eyes.

You smiled back at him and ran a hand down his cheek and over his bottom lip. You both laid motionless for a long moment, taking each other in.

"So is that a yes?"

"Yes," you answered him finally.

"Good, cause I'm so fucking close," he moaned as he entered you again.

Chapter Text

That night you dreamt of John and Faith. They stood on top of the giant monument of Joseph, motioning for you to join them. You climbed and climbed for what felt like forever, as Jacob screamed to you from below. When you finally got to the top, Faith asked you to tear apart her copy of the Book of Joseph. You tore page after page as they both watched happily. When the pages were all torn and sent to rain down on the county below, John pulled you into his arms and whispered for you to finally allow yourself to be free. You kissed his lips softly and turned to the edge of the statue. As you stepped closer to the edge, you felt a deep sense of relief, knowing this whole nightmare would soon be over. You turned one final time to say your last goodbye to them and let yourself fall.

When you woke, your clothes and sheets were covered in sweat. You pulled the hair that stuck to your forehead out of your eyes and pulled yourself to the edge of the bed, breathing heavily.

"Jake?" you called out into the hall, thinking maybe he was still nearby.

When he didn't respond, you knew he was probably dealing with the deputy already. Part of you was happy they were captured but the other part wondered what was going on with them. It had been over a week but they were still alive. You asked Jacob but he just reassured you that everything was okay. You had no choice but to believe him.

You finally decided to get up, shower and take a brisk walk. You needed to clear your head.

---

"When is Joseph coming to see them?" you asked Jacob for the tenth time.

"Soon."

"Jake!" you said with mock exasperation. "Tell me what's happening!"

He laughed as you gripped the side of the table and shook it.

"Fine, but then no more questions," he said as he took another bite of his sandwich. It was after lunch so you both had the mess hall to yourselves.

"Well, that depends on if your answer causes some follow up questions," you said. He gave you a look. "Fine... no follow ups."

"Have you ever heard of classic conditioning?" he finally asked after you watched impatiently as he ate the rest of his lunch.

"Like when you use a trigger or whatever to control someone?" you asked. He nodded. "There's no way that works though..."

"It does. I've been using it on our friend and so far, the results have been positive."

You stared blankly at Jacob. You weren't sure exactly what the purpose of conditioning the deputy would be.

"So, he's your guinea pig now?"

"No. He's going to help up track down Eli Palmer," he answered casually.

You and Jacob had always been at odds when it came to Eli and the Whitetails. Personally, you felt for them and understood without a doubt why they were giving him such a hard time. This was their home and they were watching as it was torn apart by Joseph and his family. When Jacob noticed the obvious frustration on your face, he placed a hand on top of yours.

"He wants me dead. They all do. I can either take care of one person and watch them fall apart without their leader or I can wipe them all out trying to get to Eli. Either way, I have no choice."

You knew he was right. This whole situation was so fucked up but it was unfortunately the reality you had to face. You didn't want anything to happen to Jacob. You looked up at him and nodded slightly to show you agreed with him.

"This will be over soon," he said as he pushed to his feet. "I have to get back to it though. I'll see you tonight, kitten."

You leaned up and met his kiss before watching him leave.

---

Later the next day, you and Jacob laid in bed for the night. He seemed particularly chatty tonight and as exhausted as you were, you forced yourself to stay awake and listen as he opened up about things within the project. He was happy he finally had enough supplies in the bunker now and asked you about anything special you'd like him to bring there for you, other than chocolate of course. He informed you that you would have enough to last you a couple years.

"You always take such good care of me," you smiled up at him from your normal spot under his arm.

"I try."

"You seem so happy tonight... What's going on?" you finally decided to ask.

"The deputy escaped," he said calmly.

You pushed yourself out of his arms and sat up next to him, staring at him in shock. "Wait, what?!"

"It's fine. I was going to let him go anyhow but then his buddy ended up helping me out in the process," he explained. When he saw the shock on your face, he continued. "I need him to track down Eli. That will be the first place he goes and when he does, I'll be ready for him. I'm just giving him some time first to feel comfortable again."

"And if he comes back and tries to kill you?"

"He won't. He knows he doesn't have the firepower to take us down on his own. He'll go to the Whitetails for help. Trust me."

You leaned back in bed and let out a long sigh. It kind of made sense what Jacob was telling you but you still feared for the worst. You knew that John's ultimate demise was in letting the deputy escape. His cockiness stood in the way of him seeing that, and now you worried that Jacob's was doing the same.

That night, you prayed as hard as you ever had that Jacob was right.

Chapter Text

You watched from your hiding spot as Jacob walked out of the bunker, looking pleased. He met a few of his hunters and pointed for some to go one direction and the rest to follow him. You waited until they were several yards away before leaving your spot and following behind.

When Jacob left this morning, you overheard him on the radio with Joseph. There was a plan in place for the deputy to kill Eli and for Jacob to take care of the rest. You knew you couldn't sit in your room while he was out risking his life. You had to be there, if nothing else then to give you peace of mind.

You continued to trail behind Jacob but couldn't get too close because he left his hunters behind to guard the base of the cliff he was perched on. You watched as he assembled his sniper rifle and stood watching the bunker door.

After what felt like an hour, you watched as a man emerged from the bunker. You didn't recognize him but assumed from the bags under his eyes and skinny frame that he was the deputy. You wondered what Jacob had put him through over the past week.

He cautiously stood at the mouth of the bunker, assessing his surroundings. Once he finally caught sight of one of the hunters, you watched as he snuck up behind them and snapped their neck, letting their body collapse to the ground. He turned his attention to the other direction, finally spotting Jacob. A smile crept to his face as he reloaded his rifle.

You knew you could pull out the hand gun you brought with you and end this whole thing but you couldn't bring yourself to do it. The only thing you could do was watch.

The deputy ran for the cliff, hiding behind bushes and trees as he snuck up on two more of Jacob's men. As he did with the first hunter, he snapped one's neck and stuck the other over the head with a pipe.

When he was finally forced into a clearing, you heard gun fire and watched as two of the guards pulled out their weapons and shot at him. He dodged a few shots easily, shooting one of the guards but took a bullet in the shoulder in the process. He collapsed to the ground momentarily, holding his arm as he screamed into his fist but then he was up on his feet again. There was no stopping this guy.

You knew in that instant that the deputy wasn't going to stop until either he or Jacob were dead. With only one more guard between them, you knew you had to do something.

You closed your eyes, trying to gather yourself but were met with flashes of death. You saw the vacant look in Brady's eyes as he stared up at you from the bunker floor, the bodies of the guards Jacob's hunter had killed at the door and of course, the face of the Whitetail you had killed while saving Jacob. You felt yourself freeze in place as you began to weep.

"Go," you screamed to yourself, trying to will your legs to move. You glanced back at the mountain, watching the last hunter tumble from one of its ledges. "Go!"

Seeing the deputy so close to Jacob gave you the courage you needed to finally move into action. You sprinted towards him as you grabbed for your gun. You kept your eyes on Jacob the entire time as you prayed you would get there in time. Running wildly through the surrounding brush, you suddenly tripped on a rock and hit the ground hard.

The wind was knocked out of you in an instant. All you could do was roll on your back and watch from the ledge below as the deputy neared Jacob. He was so close but Jacob refused to shoot. He had his rifle to his face, taking aim but the shot wasn't clear enough for him to take it.

You tried rolling back to your knees and pushed at the ground below. Suddenly, there was the unmistakable sound of a bullet leaving a chamber. The crack echoed through the air, deafening you. Quickly, you forced yourself to your feet just in time to watch Jacob drop to his knees. He held his chest in disbelief.

"Noooo!" you shrieked wildly. Tears streamed down your face, blurring your vision.

The adrenaline you needed kicked in and you ran as fast as you could, climbing up the steep cliff in the process. When you got to the top of the mountain, the deputy stood over Jacob who was sitting nearby, still holding his wound. He was speaking to the deputy but it was too low for you to hear. You watched helplessly as he stopped mid sentence and dropped his head. In that moment, you knew everything good in your life was gone.

The deputy turned to you after he ripped the key from Jacob's neck, shocked at your presence.

"What have you done?" you whispered.

"What needed to be done," he said back to you calmly.

His lack of empathy fueled the growing fire you felt in your chest. A rage you had never known surfaced hard and fast and you were on him in an instant, grabbing for his throat. He fought back, pushing you off and coming down on you with his fist. He reached over for his gun but you grabbed it first, swinging it wildly into the side of his head. He rolled back, dazed.

You pushed up and on top of him again, straddling his hips as you came down on his cheek with the butt of the gun over and over. He threw his hands up, trying to grab for it but you raised it above your head again before bringing it down on his chest this time with all your might.

"S-stop," he pleaded as he coughed up specks on blood.

You did as he instructed, knowing he didn't have the strength to fight back. You leaned down close to him until your face was inches from his.

"I've killed before to save Jacob, so what do you think I'm going to do to you?"

Just as the words escaped your lips, you heard an earth shattering boom. You both looked up to see a massive cloud of smoke behind you. You mouth fell open as you realized what it was. Joseph was right. That son of a bitch had been right this whole fucking time.

You knew you could leave the deputy here and run for the bunker; he wouldn't be able to pull himself to safety in time and would die out here alone. But you knew a life after the bunker without Jacob wouldn't be a worth while one. The life you both dreamed of, both talked about late at night... was gone. Everything you were looking forward to... was gone. Jacob... was gone.

You sat back on the deputy's hips with the rifle in your hands and pressed it to his forehead, knowing this would be the last moment of happiness you would ever have.

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The End! :)