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to hunt and to defend, till...

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It's the first day of the trial. Jake doesn't need to be there, not on this day and not on any other. And yet, he dresses in a suit, the fabric stiff and new. He walks through the halls that lead to the courtroom, his eyes sweeping through every corner, catching on cops in civilian clothes, scanning them for their guns. He sits down at the back of the room, a corner behind him. He watches.

When they bring in Bishop, Jake's heart stutters. Just a little, just for the broken parts of a second. It means nothing. It means everything.

Jake swallows. Waits for Bishop to see him. To notice. Finds what he wants in the tiny bent on Bishop's lips, the smallest of nods. Bites his lips in response.

He shouldn't be here. But he has to.

The trial starts slowly as all trials do, speeches and rules, lawyers playing their roles for the jury to see. Jake doesn't care for it, for the suits and the gestures and the annoyance that creases the judge's skin. He cares for the crowd.

The flash of a gun comes suddenly but it doesn't come as a surprise. Not here, not in this moment, with Marion Bishop and all his knowledge and secrets and deals put out into the open for everyone to see. For everyone to touch.

The woman raises the weapon with shaking hands, and Jake thinks that this was never her plan, that there is more to this moment, to her. But thoughts don't matter. Not now, not with Bishop and a woman and a gun.

Jake jumps out of his chair, lands with his bad leg. A flare of pain, a shout that explodes out of him, but he is still moving, he is moving, and Bishop is ducking under a table and the cops are screaming and Jake is still moving.

He hits her with his body, tumbles down with her, and the gun clatters on the floor, and the woman screams. Jake reaches for her arm, tries to grip her, hardly feels it when she bites him, hardly feels it when she kicks out, her feet hitting his legs. He just holds on, his hands and arms turning into steel, stronger than they ever used to be, pushing until she stops screaming, pushing until she goes slack.

Somebody pulls him up. Somebody shouts for an ambulance. Somebody cuffs the prone woman, a useless gesture.

Inside of Jake, the world goes quiet. The tornado hit and the house still stands. He turns towards the judge's bench. Sees Bishop already standing again, wiping down his clothes. Waits for him to look at Jake, to notice.

"Just me," he mouths when Bishop finally looks at him.

Bishop smiles.