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Duty

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           You had never minded being on your own, even when you were a kid. Your parents were usually working off in another state or country, often leaving you home with a nanny. But, even as a child, you didn’t mind. You were always independent because your parents were absent, but they didn’t love you any less. They would send you letters of their travels, little gifts here and there, and when they were around, they would give you a lot of attention and love. But they encouraged you to be independent and they knew you would some day be on your own. When they did pass away when you were barely out of high school, you mourned the loss, but knew you would be okay. They left you quite a bit of money as well as their seaside home in a small town along with a few of your great grandmother’s journals. Everyone had thought she was crazy for some of the things she wrote about, like the man that was supposed to protect the bloodline.

The small house was farther from town, though, isolated by trees and the only way to it was a winding paved road unless you wanted to cut through the dense forest to get there, but no one would ever do that. People feared the forest that surrounded your home, but you didn’t think anything of it, rather finding it nice that no one would bother you and leave you to your own devices. You worked from home as an editor and only ever went into town for grocery shopping and to check your mail, often taking your bicycle as it wasn’t that far of a ride. Sometimes you walked too, depending on what you needed in town.

           Today was a full food run. You opted for your car as you needed more than you could carry on your bike. You gave Hunter a wave as he stocked shelves. He gave you a smile, giving you a quick greeting before he returned to stocking the almost full shelves. He must have just gotten a shipment in, you thought. You grabbed what you needed, loading your shopping cart high with food and other essentials. Trent hip-checked you with a large smile on his face as he walked by with a box of beer. A playful glare graced your face before you started laughing as he set the box down.

           “And how are you on this lovely day?” he asked.

           You smiled and shrugged. “Oh, you know how it is, Trent! Sitting at home editing things I’m sent from the authors I edit for, playing with my dog, going on walks in the forest, the usual things I do!” Your smile widened when he gave you a funny look when you mentioned the forest. “I don’t understand why none of you like the forest near my house. You have no problem with any of the others that live in the forest, it’s just the ones around my house.”

           Trent could only shrug. “Just stories, you know? You’ve heard them.” He looked around for a moment. “You know someone died in those woods and haunts them, right?”

           You rolled your eyes. “And monkeys fly out of my ass every time the tide comes in,” you replied. “That’s not true. And even if it was, a lot of people have probably died in the woods around here, not just around my place.”

           He shrugged. “Just watch yourself in those woods, alright?” He gave you a big smile and walked off, twirling his mustache as he headed towards the back.

You went to the register where a very smiley and happy Tyler was, texting away on his phone. You waited patiently, a knowing smile growing on your mouth as you watched him type out a message. You moved slowly, reaching your hand out until it was just above his head. You waited until he was about to type something else out before patting his head.

Tyler jumped. “Jesus fucking Christ!” he yelled, looking around wildly.

You cackled a little at his reaction. “You should really pay attention to your surroundings, Ty.” You began setting your things on the belt. “You texting that pretty girl you were telling me about?”

He blushed a bit and nodded. “Yeah, I am. Pete and Trent were making fun of me for it, saying it wouldn’t last, but I think she’s the one, honestly.” He grinned a bit as he rang you up, his phone going off next to him. He was trying to be courteous with you, but you could see the anticipation in his eyes as he kept glancing at his phone.

You giggled. “Go ahead and finish ringing me up real quick so you can go back to texting her.”

He gave you a grateful smile as he finished up, bagging everything quickly and giving you a goodbye as you loaded your cart up with bags to take out to your car. It had started sprinkling lightly outside, but you had a jacket, so you weren’t worried about getting a little wet. You ran into Roman on your way out of the store. He gave you a quick wave as you walked to your car. There were quite a few bags you needed to load into your car, but it was no issue for you. You were halfway done already.

“Do you need some help?” a voice asked from behind you.

You whipped around, grabbing for the pocket knife you had in your jeans. A tall, blond man was looking at you with a smile on his face. “Oh, uh, no, I’m fine, thanks,” you said.

“Are you sure? That’s quite a load you’ve got there.” He went to grab one of the bags, but you grabbed it first.

“Honestly, I’ve got this.” You tucked the bag into your trunk and continued on. The man hovered over you for a moment, making you grab your knife out of your pocket. You flicked it out with the full intention of brandishing it towards the man. Roman was your knight in shining armor.

“She said she’s got it, so she’s got it, alright?” Roman said, coming to stand behind you. He was bigger than the guy that was hovering over you, so that made the man back off.

“S-Sorry, I thought for sure that you needed help,” the man said, backing away from you. He turned and walked away, hands stuffed into his pockets as he glanced back at you.

“You alright?” Roman asked.

You closed your knife, sliding it back into your pocket. “Yeah, I’m fine.” You looked at the man that was walking away. “I wonder what his deal was. Don’t men know that they shouldn’t do that kind of shit, especially with a woman? I already have enough to worry about.” You shook your head.

“I’ll stick around until you’re driving away, alright? He looked like a creep.”

“Thanks, Roman. Don’t you have a beautiful girlfriend waiting for you?” You continued loading up your car.

“She’ll understand. I’m sure she would get on my ass if I didn’t stay with you. Take your time if you want.” He ruffled your hair fondly, like he would with a sibling. “You know, if you have any openings, my girlfriend has been wanting a new editor. Her last one she just stopped going through because he wanted her to change her last story too much to the point of it not being what she wanted.” Roman gave you a warm smile. “Only if you’re up for it of course.”

“I just had someone quit using me as an editor, so I’ve got an opening. How about I meet with her and she and I can discuss things? You can give her my number and we can talk!” You gave him a bright smile. “I should get going, lots of groceries to put away when I get home.” You closed your trunk. “Oh! And tell Nia I miss her!”

Roman chuckled, giving you a nod as you climbed into your car. He stayed there in the parking lot until you were driving away, back to your little house. You appreciated it. It didn’t take too long to unload your groceries when you got home, but something caught your eye when you were taking the last two bags in. You looked at one of the old pine trees to see a mark on it, five tally marks carved deep into the bark, so deep there is sap running from it. You frown at the mark. You go inside to set the bags down, returning to look at the mark on the tree. You wondered who had come onto your property just to mark this tree. You wondered if someone was trying to scare you. You shook your head at the thought, going back inside to put your groceries away. Once done, you sat at your computer to see if anything new had come to you. You had one chapter to finish editing for some guy in New York that wasn’t fond of you, but you always gave him helpful feedback. He had no idea how to write a woman, though, and that made it hard to read his work at times. You tried giving him hints on what he should do, only to receive emails saying that you wouldn’t know anything about it. You almost dropped him as a client, but he paid good money.

You decided to make yourself a cup of hot cocoa, now that you were fully stocked with it. You got a phone call from Roman’s girlfriend and agreed to meet up for lunch the next day to discuss how things would work and what she was currently working on. You were fond of her work as it was, and you found it nice that she even thought of you. You were sure that Roman had a small hand in it, seeing as you had been friends for many years.

———-

           Lunch went well and you had a new client to edit for. Her writing was already good, so it was really only minor fixes here and there, so it flowed well and didn’t have too much punctuation. Her work kept you busy for a while until you decided to go for a walk on the beach. You would usually see Dean, but he had gone out of town with his girlfriend, taking her to one of her favorite places in the world. Sometimes you wished that you had someone like that, someone that loved you and would take you places, someone to wake up next to and someone who loved you as much as you loved them. Despite being independent, you were lonely sometimes and to you it would’ve been nice to have someone you could be open with.

           You shook your head at the thought as you went down to the beach, climbing over the rocks to get to the one rock most people didn’t go out to, at least not when the tide was about to roll in. You eyed the gap that was between the rock you were on and the one you were trying to get to. You knew you could make it, so you hopped across, only to lose your footing, falling backwards. You squeaked in surprise, just as a hand shot out to catch you, pulling you up onto the rock and into a very sturdy body. You looked up at the man that was holding you close, someone you had never met before. He smiled down at you, eyes bright and blue. His long black hair was pulled back into a ponytail, the ends a light shade of blue.

           “You alright?” he asked. He had an accent, one you couldn’t quite place.

           You realized he was still holding you. You steadied yourself, pushing away from him to brush yourself off, not like there was anything on you. “Y-Yeah, I’m fine. I can usually make that jump, but it seems I landed wrong today. Thanks for catching me so I didn’t end up in the ocean.” You eyed the gap, seeing the water at the bottom that was close to three feet deep.

           He chuckled, his smile still present on his face. “I’m glad I was here when I was or you’d be freezing your arse off.” His smile made his eyes crinkle at the corners. His smile made you smile. “I should let you go back to what you were doing. I’ll be hanging out on this rock for a while, so if you want help on the way back, I’d be happy to help.”

           “I wouldn’t mind that…” You paused, waiting for his name.

           “Oh, sorry, I’m Jay, Jay White. I just moved here from New Zealand,” he introduced.

           So that’s where he’s from, you thought. You gave your name, shaking his hand. “Sure are a lot of people moving to our little town. I hope that doesn’t become a normal thing.” Realization hit you. “I’m sorry, that was horribly rude of me.”

           He laughed it off. “No worries. I understand.” He looked around, his eyes stopping on something behind you. You turned to see the blond man that had bugged you at the store. You groaned. “You know ‘im?”

           “Oh, uh, he was at the store yesterday and asked me if I wanted help with my groceries. He insisted when I said no. He’s…” You glanced over your shoulder to see that he was gone, “creepy to say the least.”

           “I’d watch out for ‘im. He doesn’t look like the type you’d want to get involved with.” He gave you a quick smile, though it didn’t reach his eyes. “I’ll let you go, now. I’m sure you came out here to be alone, not be pestered by some guy that just got here.”

           “Thanks, Jay. I’m not against he company, so I mean, if you want to get to know at least one person in town, why not me?” You had a big smile on your face as you looked up at the handsome stranger. You looked him over for a moment. He was wearing a black t-shirt, a pair of dark blue jeans, and a leather jacket. He had a necklace with a pendant that looked like a switchblade. “So, how long ago did you move here?”

           He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “About three days ago. I was unpacking things and decided to go for a walk. Good thing, too.” A wink was sent your way as you started walking across the flat top of the rock. “I love the ocean and I thought this would be a good place to come to. It’s small, quiet, beautiful.” He looked at you when he said beautiful. You felt heat rise in your cheeks. You turned away, pretending to look out at the ocean when you were really just trying to hide your blush. “What about you? How long have you been here?”

           “My entire life,” you said with a smile. “My parents owned a property out here that I own now. They were usually out of town on business, but they made sure I knew I was loved. I miss them very much.”

           “Did they…”

           You nodded. “Four years ago. I’ve been doing really well, though. I managed to graduate high school a year early and that allowed me to go to college for a while. I became an editor after that.”

           “Editor for what?” He held his hands behind his back as you walked closer to the edge of the rock where the waves were crashing against it from below.

           “Books. I actually just started editing books for an author that lives here! I love her work, if you’re into fantasy and things like that!” You were smiling wide up at him. “I love it, I get to read these wonderful books that people write, and I get to help them improve it in any way I can.” You both stopped at the edge of the rock, the ocean water misting over you both in a pleasant way. You closed your eyes, letting the sun warm your face. “I need to come out here more. That’s just hard to do with all the storms that roll through.”

           “I bet the storms I nice, though. I bet they get wild out here.”

           You nodded, opening your eyes when he spoke. He had a soft smile on his face. “They get really wild. Just got to watch for falling trees. That’s a danger around here, but it’s rare. So many of the trees are big and catch the falling ones, so you don’t need to worry about your house getting crushed.” You laughed a bit when he gave you a shocked face upon learning that trees fall during storms. “Don’t worry. If you sleep with some white noise, you won’t even notice the trees falling. And it’s usually only one or two. During a storm.”

           You two spoke for a while, until the tide started to come in. He helped you jump over the gap this time, helping you get steady footing on the uneven rocks. You stopped at the bottom of the trail that split between going to your little house and back towards town. You said your goodbyes, giving one another a quick wave. You climbed the trail, glancing every so often to watch Jay walk away. You blushed when he turned to smirk at you. You quickly went up the trail and back to your home, knowing you had more editing to do. It turned into a quiet day which led into a quiet evening, and when you went to bed, you thought of Jay and his bright smile.

———-

           Three days went by and you realized you hadn’t bought a few things at the store last time you went. You took your bike this time as it was a bright sunny day and you weren’t getting much. The sun felt absolutely wonderful on your skin, warming you pleasantly as you pulled to a stop in front of the store. You parked your bike, locking it to the bike rack out front. You walked around the store, grabbing the things you needed. Hunter was working the front this time.

           “Hey, kid, how’s it been going?” he asked, a smile on his face. Hunter had always been a large, intimidating man, but he was a sweetheart through and through.

           “Oh, the usual. I’ve been editing most days. Went to the beach a couple days ago, met this cute guy while I was there.” You felt a little warm in your cheeks when you spoke of Jay.

           “Oh, one of those new guys in town?” Hunter asked.

           “Yeah, Jay was the one I met. He was really nice.”

           “Ah, Jay! He works at the mechanic shop Seth owns. He actually looked at my car and helped fix that stupid rattling noise I’ve been complaining about for months!” Hunter bagged your things. “I hope he is actually as nice as he comes off, it’d be a shame for you to befriend an asshole.”

           You chuckled. “I’m friends with Pete and he’s an asshole,” you joked, knowing Pete was somewhere in the store. It was confirmed when an annoyed ‘oi’ was shouted from a few aisles behind you. You took your bag as Pete came around a corner, a snarl on his face, but it soon turned into a smile when you smiled at him. He pulled you into a playful headlock, ruffling your hair as you tried to get away from him. You managed to shove him off, fixing your hair as best you could as you stuck your tongue out at him, your hands smoothing out a few nasty tangles you received. “You are the worst kind of person, Peter!”

           He flipped you off, a smirk on his face. “You love me anyways!” He went back to what he was doing a few aisles over.

           Hunter was smiling at you. “You seem in a good mood. And thanks for making him smile,” he whispered, leaning over the counter a little. “He’s been a bit more of a downer lately, so I’m glad someone made him smile.” Hunter patted your shoulder. “Go on, I’m sure you’ve got a tall, black haired guy to drool over.”

           You gasped in surprise, reaching across the counter to swat at him. “Oh, you shut your mouth,” you mumbled. “What if he was in here?”

           “What if who was in here?”

           You turned to see the blond man that kept popping up out of nowhere. You eyed him for a moment. “Nobody,” you said, turning to leave. You went to your bike, setting the bag in the basket on the back.

           “I’m sorry.” It was him again. “I really wanted to apologize for being such a creep the other day, as well as for just now.” You turned to see him with a guilty look on his face. His eyes hid something in them, something you couldn’t pinpoint. “I’ve never been all that good around people, so I am really sorry.” He looked like a kicked puppy. “I’m Adam, by the way, Adam Page.”

           You decided to give the guy a chance. He did seem super remorseful and that kicked puppy look was always a weakness of yours. You introduced yourself to him, shaking his extended hand. He squeezed a little too tightly, but you blamed it on him being nervous. “I should get going. I’ve got a lot I have to do today.” You unlocked your bike and climbed on.

           He set his hand on your hand. “I was actually wondering if you maybe wanted to hang out sometime, you know? I don’t have any friends here since I’m new and you seem really nice.” He was smiling, a sweet, boyish smile that made you feel tingly inside.

           You opened your mouth to answer, only to have someone beat you to it.

           “I was hoping I would run into you.” Jay stepped up beside you, his eyes stopping on you before looking at Adam. Jay didn’t look all too happy to see Adam. Jay looked back at you, that bright smile on his face, his blue eyes twinkling as he gazed down at you. “I was wondering if you could show me some of the sight-seeing spots around here.” His smile was genuine, but something flashed in his eyes when he glanced at Adam.

           Adam had his arms crossed, showing that he was quite strong underneath his gray t-shirt. “I was actually about to ask her the same thing, White. Why don’t you go back ‘down undah’?” Adam mocked.

           “That’s Australia, Page, not New Zealand, though I don’t expect you to know the difference.” Jay’s voice was steady and calm, almost too calm as he glared at Adam.

           You rolled your eyes as they glared at one another. “Alright, since you two are too busy having a dick waving contest, I’m going to go home so I can get some work done. You two have fun standing here looking like idiots.” You looked at Adam and then Jay.

           Adam’s face was angry, but you weren’t sure if it was directed at you or if it was directed at Jay. Jay had a shadow of a smirk on his face, but his eyes were wild, the blue seeming lighter as he stared Adam down. You rolled your eyes again and rode away from them, heading back towards your sweet little safe haven, away from those two acting like you were something to be fought over instead of a human being. You pulled your bike to a stop next to your house, getting off to walk it the rest of the way. You stopped when you saw something swaying from the tree that had the deep tally marks carved into it. You put a hand over your mouth, looking around wildly to see if there was someone there. You were quick to kick out your bike stand and run over to the tree. You yanked the noose from the branch, not caring about the pine needles falling on you. You held it in shaking hands, wondering who would put such a thing outside of your house, on the tree with the carving. You tossed the rope aside, taking your groceries inside with your heart pounding and tears threatening to fall from your eyes.

———-

           It was your day off and you were mad at whomever was knocking on your door at seven in the morning. You threw on something appropriate, grumbling about how you were going to yell at the person. You opened the door, ready to yell at them, but the words stopped in your throat when you saw a very tired eyed Jay looking at you with a frown on his face.

           “Shit, I didn’t mean to wake you up,” he mumbled. “I wanted to apologize for yesterday, but I guess it should have waited so you could sleep in.” He backed away from the doorway. “I’ll let you get back to bed.”

           You rubbed you eyes tiredly as he walked away. You grabbed his wrist before he could get too far from you. “Jay, you came here already, might as well talk now.” You yawned loudly. “Come in.” Shuffling away from the door, you headed to the kitchen to get a glass of water. You heard the front door close followed by the sound of his heavy boots on the hardwood floor. You turned your back to the kitchen counter, leaning back against it so you could look at him. His hair was tied back out of his face like you saw last time, his hands shoved in his pockets as he looked around your house. “Okay, you wanted to apologize, so go ahead.” You looked at him carefully, eyeing him up and down.

           “I’m so sorry about yesterday. I wasn’t expecting him to be here, too, and I just didn’t like the way he was looking at you.” The sheepish smile he gave you almost made you believe him.

           “You weren’t expecting him here? You know him? And why do you care about how he was looking at me? You don’t even know me, Jay,” you countered. You were frowning at him. You set your glass down on the counter to cross your arms, taking a few steps towards him. “I can take care of myself, okay? I’ve done it my entire life and I don’t plan on stopping now.”

           Jay straightened, anger flashing in his eyes. “I do know Adam Page. He’s a liar, a thief, and a vandal. He has an excellent poker face and should not be trusted.” You rolled your eyes, which spurred Jay on. “He hurt my family in ways that are unforgivable, and I don’t want the same to happen to you.” The expression softened. “I know you barely know me, and I know that I barely know you, but I want you safe, no matter what.” He reached out to you, his hands settling on your upper arms when you didn’t back away. He scanned your face and sighed. “You’re not going to listen to me, are you?”

           “Jay, like you said: I don’t know you. I can’t just trust you on something like this. I shouldn’t have even let you into my house!” You threw your arms up in exasperation. “Just, leave me alone, Jay.”

           He looked down at the ground, his hands dropping to his sides. The lack of touch made you feel cold. “I’ll leave you alone. But can you promise me something?” He paused, waiting for any indication from you that you were listening. You shrugged. “Can you watch out for Page? I’m not kidding when I say that he’s dangerous, alright?”

           You saw something in his eyes: sincerity. He was very serious about this and something about him made you want to believe him. You nodded. He looked sad as he headed for your front door, his eyes cast downwards. You grabbed his hand before he got to the door, making him turn back to you. “You’re very serious about this, aren’t you?”

           “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t serious.” He squeezed your hand. “Please let me know if things get weird around him. I understand wanting to keep your independence, but,” he turned, cupping your face, “you are allowed to rely on others.” Jay left then, his eyes lingering on you for a moment before her walked out the door. A sigh of defeat left you as you peeked out one of your windows, watching him walk down your driveway.

———-

           Jay walked away, heading down the driveway. He knew you’d be stubborn once he found you, but you were more stubborn than he imagined you would be. He whispered a few words, feeling the force field he set around your house strengthen as he walked away. He felt another presence. He flicked his hand out, an object landing in his hand. He growled in frustration as he looked down at the noose in his hands. Another quick twist of his wrist made the shield expand, making a large bubble around your house. “Try getting through that, Page,” he mumbled. The noose burst into flames. He gathered some of the ashes in his palm, packing them as much as he could before whispering something else. The ashes flew into the wind.

———-

           “Another grocery day?” Pete asked from behind the counter three weeks after your odd encounter with Jay. Over that time, you had gotten closer to Jay, feelings sprouting in your chest that you pushed down daily. It was strange to you, wanting someone like you wanted Jay. Of course, you’d been cautious around him, keeping your distance, but that was hard when he gave you that smile and when he would listen to you talk for hours on end. The friendship that grew there, despite the fear you had once felt, was precious to you. Growing to love him had also been a surprise. You had started to notice little things he did, like how he would reach for your hand, but pull back at the last second, or how his eyes always lingered a little longer on you when you hung out. You trusted him and his word on Adam. Adam even left you alone, glaring from a distance as you grew closer and closer to Jay.

“You know it, Petey,” you said with a smile. You put your groceries on the belt as usual, but were stopped when Adam walked up to you, putting his out in front of you so you couldn’t continue. Alarm bells rang in your head at his presence.

           “Hey, I’ve been looking for you.” He eyed you carefully, smiling down at you. It made you feel a little uneasy. “I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me?” He got a little closer to you, invading your personal bubble. “It could be just us, out on the beach going for a walk, maybe you can come to my place afterwards?”

           “That’s really nice, Adam, but I’m a little busy toda-“

           “Oh, c’mon! You can find an hour to spend with me!” He sounded offended that you didn’t want to go on a date with him. But after what Jay had told you what he thought of Adam, you had noticed over those three weeks that Adam did look at you funny, that people around town avoided him like he had the plague.

           “I’m sorry, but I have things I need to do today.”

           Adam grabbed your arm, pulling you forward.

           “Oi! Let ‘er go,” Pete snarled, his eyes dangerous. “You betta’ do it before I come over there and fuck you up.” Pete crossed his arms, raising his chin a bit as he glared at Adam. “Get out of the store.”

           “I am a paying customer here, buddy. I can be where I please.” Adam glared down at you, making fear choke you as you pulled from him.

           “You stay away from me, okay Adam?” Your voice was shaky when you spoke. “You stay away from me.”

           Adam stepped forward anger and something else in his eyes. “I’ll get you. It may not be today, but I’ll get you.” He leaned forward, his mouth by your ear. “And you’ll hang,” he whispered.

           You immediately thought of that noose you had found hanging from the tree outside your home. Trent grabbed Adam from behind, dragging him out in a headlock. Adam was kicking and screaming, trying to get away from Trent.

           “I’ll get you!” Adam screamed. “I’ll fucking get you!” A flash of light burst from his hand, scorching the ground next to you.

           You screeched in terror, feeling the heat of whatever shot out of his hand. Pete hopped over the counter, standing in front of you, his back facing you as he stood as tall and wide as he could so you were shielded behind him. “Dad!” Pete yelled. Pete turned to you, pulling you in as he walked you away from the front door.

           Hunter came from the office in the back, looking around for danger. He saw you beginning to space out in fear, Pete practically carrying you as he led you back to Hunter. Hunter took you from Pete, taking you to the office. “Shit, what happened?”

           Pete growled. “Son of Zeus.”

           Your mind reeled at that statement as Hunter helped you sit down in one of the chairs. “Son of Zeus?” you whispered, looking down at your hands. “What do you mean by that?”

           Hunter shushed you gently, resting his hand on your shoulder. “Pete, go get Jay.” You heard Pete run out of the room as Hunter squatted in front of you, his eyes worried. “Don’t worry, nothing will happen to you. We’ll get Jay here and he can help.”

           You nodded dumbly, your eyes stinging with tears. “What was that, Hunter?”

           Hunter barely heard you because you were so quiet. “Adam is…” Hunter looked at his hands. “Adam is-“

           The door to the office burst open. You screeched in fear, covering your ears as you slammed your eyes shut. Hunter smoothed a hand over your arm. You opened your eyes, seeing Jay, Pete, and a very angry Stephanie standing in front of you. Jay knelt down in front of you after Hunter moved away from you, his blue eyes worried as he took your trembling hands away form your ears.

           “You’re alright. He won’t get you while I’m here,” Jay said, maintaining eye contact with you. “You’re safe with me, I promise.” He looked up at Hunter and the others. “I need somewhere safe to take her. He will try to go to her home, but I have a shield around it. But I need to take her somewhere he wouldn’t expect. Do you know anywhere?”

           Hunter looked at Pete in hopes of an answer, but it was Steph that spoke up. “There is a place you can take her,” she said, arms crossing over her chest. “There’s a cabin about five miles from here, deep in the woods.”

           “Aleister’s old place burned down, Steph,” Hunter said.

           “No, not his cabin, the one further west closer to the ocean. The one that was abandoned by Neville.”

           Jay nodded. “I need you to stand up for me, babe,” he whispered to you, pulling on your hands as he stood. You let him pull you up. He wrapped his arms around you, one hand at the small of your back and the other resting on your head.

           “Let me go with you,” Steph said.

           Jay shook his head. “This is my duty, Steph. I made a promise and I won’t break it. I can do this.”

           There was a flash of light so bright you had to close your eyes. Wind howled around you for a few seconds and then disappeared, the light going away as well. Jay slowly let go of you. You opened your eyes to see that your surroundings had changed. The cabin was small and looked ready to collapse from inside. A gust of wind blew through, making you shiver when the cool ocean breeze hit your skin. You looked at Jay in fear and awe, taking a step back from him.

           “I have a lot to tell you, but I need you to stay calm.” Jay reached out to you. “Can I explain?” He held his hands up, showing you he meant no harm. “I want to explain all of this to you, but first I need to put a shield around the house.” Symbols appeared in the air as he twisted his wrists. You flinched away. “It’s okay, just the shield that will help protect you.” The symbols disappeared. “Will you let me explain what’s going on?”

           “Stay back.” Your voice shook as you stepped back from him. “What the fuck is going on?”

           “Alright, calm down-“

           “No! I’m not going to calm down! I just had some psycho shoot lightning or shit at me, Pete was telling me he was a son of Zeus, then you come along and transport me here and weird shit comes out of your hands!” You were beginning to hyperventilate. “Th-This is a lot to fucking deal with so don’t expect me to be fucking calm!” Your chest tightened as you tried to catch your breath. “Why does he want me to hang?”

           Jay frowned. He took a hesitant step forward, proceeding forward when you didn’t move away from him. He set his hands on your face. “I’ll tell you everything. Let’s sit down and talk, okay?” He snapped his fingers and a small couch appeared. “Go ahead.”

           You sat at the very edge of the couch, as far from Jay as you could. You were eyeing the door behind him, hoping you could escape if it came down to it.

           “I’ll be straight with you, alright? It’s all going to be out in the open for you to understand.” He took a step towards the couch, but stayed standing. “You know about the Greek gods, I assume?”

           You nodded.

           “Okay, well Adam is a son of Zeus, the head honcho on Olympus. That’s why he shot lightning out of his hand at you.” Jay shoved his hands in his pockets. “A long time ago he was at a shrine made for my mom and he destroyed it with every intention of blaming it on an enemy of his so that his enemy would be cursed by my mother, Hecate, the goddess of magic.” Jay paused for a moment, to sit down, slowly. “One of the priestesses saw him doing it and came to me, telling me to not believe a thing he said. When Adam came to me, as I was designated as high priest, he lied to my face about what he had done. I called him out, cursed him, and sent him away. I didn’t think he would go to Zeus about it.” Jay looked at you, his eyes calm. “To break the curse, he needed to complete a spell, and the last ingredient he needs is the blood of the priestess. I’ve managed to protect her bloodline for many centuries, until your great grandmother was killed very young. I had thought the bloodline gone, not knowing that she had had a baby before her death: your grandmother.” He reached his hand out, palm up, as if asking you to take his hand. “When I finally figured out what was going on, so had he. He needs a piece of you, your blood, to complete it, but then it will result in your death and your bloodline will be lost. I vowed to protect your bloodline the day that priestess came to me and I will honor that until my last dying breath.”

           You slid your hand into his. “That’s what my great grandmother wrote about in her journal. She had one. We all thought she was crazy. But she was just talking about you.”

           Jay dropped down to his knees in front of you, smiling. “Thank you, thank you for believing me, babe.” He kissed your knuckles. “I’ll keep you safe. I’ll figure out how to get him away or how to kill him, I promise.” He stood up. “I need to put more spells on this place, okay? I need to prevent him from sensing where you are.”

           You stood up. “He can tell where I am?” Fear gripped you again.

           Jay, slid his hands into yours. “Unfortunately, yes he can. Demigods have a way of finding those that we want to find. But I won’t let that happen.”

           “How long am I going to be here? I-I can’t be here forever, Jay…”

           “I understand. Let me do this and then I’ll deal with it.” He released your hand and stepped outside. You felt vulnerable without Jay next to you. It made you feel weird, seeing as you had always felt independent, but now here you were relying on someone else instead of relying on yourself. It made you feel safe, knowing someone else was watching over you instead of being on your own like you always were.

           It only took a few minutes before Jay was back inside, the remnants of magic like white wisps around him. You almost jumped when he came back inside, tears in your eyes. Jay seemed to know what you needed before you did, pulling you in for a sweet, gentle hug, resting his cheek on top of your head. “He won’t get you, I promise that he won’t get you.”

———-  

           You had been there for barely two days when it happened, when a bright light woke you up from a deep sleep. It felt as if a massive earthquake had hit, the entire cabin shaking as planks fell from the ceiling and pieces of splintered wood shot around you. A scream of terror left you as you dropped from the mattress, falling to the ground to hide underneath the bed. Jay ran into the room just as the floor underneath the bed collapsed under you, making you fall to the first floor with a loud thud. The wind was knocked out of you, pain blossoming across your back as you tried to take a breath. You were dragged out of the cabin. You panicked the second you saw that it was Adam dragging you away from the now collapsed cabin. Jay was nowhere to be seen, making your chest tighten as you realized that he might be dead.

           “I got you, I finally got this stupid fucking bloodline. I can finally get rid of this stupid curse and all I need is your fucking death,” Adam said. “I told you that you’d hang.”

           Something was wrapped around your neck. Adam walked away from you. You were abruptly lifted into the air, dangling as you began to choke and struggle, fingers digging into the rope around your neck. This was it, this is how you were going to die: hung by a sadistic man that wanted to end your bloodline all because your ancestor told the truth. You kicked in the air. You could feel yourself fading, your arms beginning to go limp despite trying to free yourself.

           “Die already!” Adam yelled from below you.

           He flew backwards through the air, slamming into a tree. You fell to the ground, choking for air as you struggled to get the rope from around your neck. Jay was there, pulling the rope off you, his hands quick to help you get free. He whispered something, the air around you shifting a little and then you felt fine, like nothing had happened. You could breathe fine.

           “You stay here, I’ll deal with him.” Jay stood up, his eyes locked on Adam as Adam scrambled to get up, lightning crackling around his fingers as he glared at Jay. “I won’t let you do this, Adam. You deserve that curse after what you did to that shrine to Hecate. You deserve every second of that curse. And I won’t let you kill her.”

           Adam practically cackled. “Sounds like you’re attached to this one, more so than you usually are. Are you-“ Adam laughed again, cutting himself off. “You’re in love with her!”

           Your eyebrows furrowed when Adam said that. Sure, you had a crush on Jay, but Jay was just supposed to protect you. That’s all it was.

           “Shut your mouth, Page!” Jay lifted his hands, white wisps appearing as symbols glowed around him.

           Adam shot lightning at Jay, sending Jay flying backwards. “Wow, you are in love with her! Look at the way you got defensive! You love her! Oh,” Adam chuckled, “that makes this that much sweeter, knowing I’m going to take away something you love, White!” Adam stalked towards you. You scrambled to your feet, but he grabbed you, electricity shooting up your arm. You screamed in pain, dropping to the ground. Adam held on to you, a sadistic smile on his face as he twisted your arm behind you. “Look at that. Your arm is already bruising. They look like lightning.” He chocked you again, this time with more power behind it, making you scream and cry, your whole body aching in pain. “I should kill you now, but I want this to last.”

           You looked into the darkness of the night, seeing Jay trying to pull himself up from the ground. You whimpered his name, crying when Adam twisted your arm harder. Jay looked at you, his eyes watering, a tear tracking down his face. He stumbled to standing, holding his bloodied side.

           “You just don’t quit, do you?” Adam asked. He dropped your arm. You fell to the ground, rolling over onto your back as you held your poor arm as close as you could. “I guess I’ll have to kill you first, before I get to her. That’ll be easy enough.”

           You reached out, grabbing hold of Adam’s pants, preventing him from moving too much farther. “Leave him alone, please. You’re here to kill me, so just get it over with.” You were crying now, eyes falling on Jay as he stumbled into a standing position. Jay shook his head at you, tears streaming down his face. “Just end this and let him live.”

           Adam took your chin in his hand, tilting your face up towards him. “You love him, too, don’t you?” He was smirking down at you, an evil glint in his eyes. “That makes this so much sweeter, knowing that you love him, too. I can see it in your eyes.” He crouched down, that smirk still on his face. “I think it’s time to end this, but I want to make it a little more…” Adam tapped his chin as he thought. “Let’s make it tragic.” He grabbed a fistful of your hair, dragging you up until you were kneeling in front of him. Jay was holding his bleeding side as he looked at you. He lifted his hand, white wisps floating around his hand. “I wouldn’t if I were you, Jay. One wrong move and I’ll make this hurt worse for her. I’ll make her suffer more than she already has.”

           Jay dropped his hand, stumbling to lean against a tree. His white shirt was soaked in blood as he looked at Adam, his face sad. “Please, let her go. I’ll lift the curse, I will, just let her live.”

           Adam cackled, but only for a moment. There was a sound like a gunshot, piercing the quiet night. Adam’s grip in your hair loosened. There was a thud behind you, making you turn around. Adam was on the ground, his skin beginning to turn gray. You turned back to see Jay had collapsed on his knees, slowly crawling to you. You crawled to him, pain in your arm as you got to him. You saw that he had a symbol painted in blood on his palm. Jay fell onto his back as you reached him, his hands falling to his sides. You cradled his head, pulling him to rest on your lap. You could see your bruised arm in the moonlight above, but you could also see the deep red blood soaking his shirt, the deep gash in his side making you flinch.

           “You’re alive,” you whispered. “You’ll be okay. Someone will come. Pete and the others will come.”

           Jay smiled at you, reaching up to touch your cheek. “I fulfilled my duty. You’re finally safe and that’s all that matters.” His eyes fluttered shut and his hand fell from your face, his body limp in your lap.

           “Jay?” you whispered, tears streaming down your face. “No, please, Jay.” You started to sob, cradling his head to your chest. “H-He was right: I do lo-love you, Jay White, and I-I’m happy I met you.” You pressed your forehead to his. You heard a noise, like the sound of running footsteps. You looked up to see Hunter, Steph, and the boys running up, all looking ready to kill someone.

           Steph gasped upon seeing Jay. “No, this isn’t how it’s supposed to happen,” she whispered. “You two were meant to be.” She knelt in front of you on the other side of Jay. “You were supposed to live happily ever after with him.” Steph reach out, resting one hand on his forehead and another on his stomach. She looked at you with teary eyes. “You need to pray to Hecate. She can save him before it’s too late.”

           You nodded, closing your eyes tight. “Please, Hecate,” you whispered, “please save Jay. He’s been protecting my family for so long, please don’t let it end here. Please, please save him.” You opened your eyes as you tilted your head back to face the sky. “He deserves to live. Please, save the man I love, save your son.” You sobbed, hugging him tighter.

           “You’re squeezing me too hard.”

           You looked down, eyes wide. He was looking up at you with a smile on his face, his eyes soft.

           “I couldn’t breathe. You were squeezing me too hard,” he said. You looked at his side, seeing that he was healed. He sat up. “Thank you,” he said, looking at you and then at everyone else. You practically launched yourself at him, holding him as close as you could as you sobbed.

           “We’ll leave you two alone,” Steph said with a smile. She stepped away from you two

           Jay watched them leave before he turned back to you. He took your hand, his eyes scanning over the nasty bruises you were sporting. He turned your palm up and kissed it. Your arm tingled for a few moments, then the bruises disappeared. Once it was done, you were hugging him tightly again, crying into his shoulder. He held you close. “I’ll never let this happen again, I promise,” he whispered. It felt like forever as you held one another on the forest floor, sobbing as you just sat there.

———-

           Jay told you a lot after that, about how the gods had picked your little seaside town to settle into, how many of your friends were gods themselves. You weren’t surprised by Hunter being Ares and Stephanie being Aphrodite, but Roman and Nia being Apollo and Artemis threw you for a loop. And finding out the large owner of The Lone Wolf diner was Hades was shocking and yet obvious at the same time. Jay had found your look of bewilderment followed by understanding funny, a deep laugh leaving him.

           “What? You can’t expect me to not be surprised! Baron is freaking Hades!” You threw your hands up in exasperation.

           Jay smiled at you from his spot next to you on your couch. He caught your chin and pulled you close for a quick kiss, his mouth soft on yours. It caught you by surprise, but you didn’t want him to stop, kissing him back with all of the emotions you had been holding in as you pressed yourself against him. He pulled you close, shifting to lean back against the couch as you straddled him, his hands gliding up and down your thighs and hips. His touch was like fire as he pulled you as close as he could. There was a brief moment of him grabbing something from his pocket, the sound of a blade being flicked out catching your ears. You pulled away to see a switchblade in his hand, noticing that it matched his pendant.

           “It’s okay,” he whispered. The blade shone in the light. He dragged it lightly down your arm, making you shiver. It wasn’t unpleasant, the drag not hurting, but making you highly aware of the fact that one wrong move, and the blade would actually cut you. “I won’t ever hurt you, not unless you like it that way.” There was a shadow of a smirk on his face as he looked up at you. “I know I never showed this to you, I was afraid you would run away. I promise I will never make you bleed, not without full permission.” His voice made you shiver in a pleasant way. You knew you could trust him with this, knowing he wouldn’t push your boundaries.

           “No bleeding,” you whispered, kissing him again. You pulled away when he dragged the knife lightly back up your arm.

           “Bedroom,” he whispered.

           You stood up, walking to the bedroom with him hot on your heels. Excitement was coursing through you as you went into your bedroom.

Jay pressed himself to your back once you reached the foot of the bed. “Strip.” You did as he asked, removing your clothing in what you hoped was a sexy way. Once you were completely naked, he slid his hand down your spine, followed by that small pinprick of his knife as he dragged it down your skin. His lips followed, soft kisses leaving a burning trail in their wake. “On your back, love.” You obeyed, eyes on him. He shed his clothes, showing his powerful body before climbing over you to straddle you, his blue eyes calm. The knife caught your eyes as he lifted it, twirling it slowly. “Careful to not move too much, babe. I’d hate to scar this beautiful skin.”

You nodded, your eyes landing on the tally mark scar he had on his left pec. Your mind went to the same mark carved into the tree outside.

Jay noticed you looking at it. “This is the mark I use. It’s a form of protection as well as my symbol, to show my enemies I am near.” He brought the tip of the knife down to your skin, dragging it between your breasts with the slightest of pressure. You breathed slowly. Jay smirked down at you, the knife moving up over your right breast, the tip circling your nipple. You could feel the wetness between your legs dripping down your thighs in anticipation for what was to come. He did the same to your other breast before scooting back to spread your legs. “Look at this, all for me.” Heat rose in your cheeks as he bent your knees, spreading you as wide as you could go. “Maybe one day, once you’re more comfortable, you’ll let me carve my name into these wonderful thighs. I know you might not like the pain, but I can use my magic, so the pain is a dull pleasure to you.” He slid the knife down your left thigh, his eyes following his own action. He carefully, oh so carefully, slid it across the top of your pussy, just above your slit. “You’re making such a mess, love. Do you want me?”

“Please,” you whispered. He closed his knife, setting it aside. He rubbed his cock along your folds, moaning at the wetness coating him. You shifted your hips up towards him. “Please, Jay.”

Jay bit his lip as he looked down at you. He pressed the head of his cock against your entrance, surging forward to fill you. His mouth was against yours as you moaned, never having felt more complete than you did with his inside you, your hips connected with his as snug as could be. “Look at you, taking all of me,” he whispered. “You’re so fucking good to me, babe, so good to me.” He pulled back slowly, surging forward at the same speed. “Oh, fuck, so good.”

You weren’t much better off than he was, moaning and whimpering, your fingers in his long hair as you begged him to go faster, circling your hips a little faster. He obliged you, kissing you as he sped up, his hips snapping against yours. You were already so turned on, so ready for him. You could feel your climax growing, your pussy quivering around him. Jay smirked down at you. He lifted his hand, snapping his fingers. A vibrating sensation started on your clit, making your back arch. Jay chuckled, the sensation increasing, making your climax arrive quicker than you expected. You came hard around his cock, but he didn’t stop, his thrusts increasing in speed, but the vibrating sensation decreased a little, allowing you to come down from your high. He kissed you again, his left hand traveling down your side to your knee to lift your leg up onto his shoulder.

“You think you can come for me one more time?” he whispered. “One more?” The vibrating started again, more intense than last time. Your legs began to shake from oversensitivity, whining loudly as he thrust harder against you. “One more.” For a brief moment, your vision turned white as you came, your whole body practically singing as Jay stopped the vibrations. Your vision cleared to see him smiling down at you, his movements having slowed. “Can I come inside you?”

You nodded. “Please,” you said, your voice raspy.

He kissed you again, his hips stuttering against yours as he filled you. He moaned, smiling as he pulled away from you. He rolled over, collapsing next to you. He tugged you close. “Thank you, love,” he whispered, pressing a kiss to the top of your head. “I love you.”

You hummed happily, snuggling into his side. “I love you, too.”

Jay tugged your chin up to give you one more kiss before the two of you drifted off to sleep, dreams of your future with a demigod on your mind. You could make it work, you knew you could.

“Sleep well.” It was the last thing he whispered to you before you slept.

Chapter Text

            Arms wound around your waist, a smile pulling at your lips. “Jay, we’re supposed to be grocery shopping, not cuddling,” you chastised gently, pushing his arms away. He began protesting, but the stern look on your face stopped him. “We have no food at the house, Jay. I would like to be able to shop and get back home.”

            He was grinning like an idiot. “You said ‘we’,” he said softly.

            You pulled him down for a quick kiss. “I did, didn’t I?” You turned back to the shelves, grabbing some things. “You already basically live with me. It’s ‘we’ at this point.”

            He wrapped his arms around you again, pressing his face into your hair. “I love you.”

            You laughed, turning to kiss him again. “I love you, too. Now push the cart for me.”

            Jay helped you unload your car once you were back to your house, a soft expression on his face the entire time. As soon as you were done, Jay had you wrapped up in his arms, swaying back and forth. There was no music playing, just the gentle beat of his heart in his chest where you laid your head. A knock on the door stopped you two, Jay kissing your forehead before going to the door. There was a brief moment where words were exchanged, followed by a shout. You ran for the front door, seeing Jay screaming at someone, shoving them out the door and away from the house. You went out the front door, seeing Jay poking the chest of a curly haired man, all the while yelling at him.

            “You’re violating a lot of rules, Omega! You need to fucking leave before I turn you in to Hunter!” Jay shoved the man again. “Fucking go!”

            “Jay, you need to listen,” the man pleaded, looking lost for words. “Tama, Tanga, Fale, and Leo disappeared! I don’t know what to do!”

            “Do what you always do: pretend to be a leader, get someone hurt, and bury your head in the fucking sand. You need to leave, now.”

            “Jay?” you called, eyebrows knit together in concern. “Is everything alright?”

            Jay turned, blue eyes softening upon looking at you. “Go back inside, babe. I’ll be there in a minute.” He looked back at Kenny. “If you’re so damn worried about them, go see Finn. He’d know where they are. He might not be happy to see you, though, especially ‘cause you’re not supposed to be here.” Jay turned away from him. “Don’t come back here.”

            “Jay!” Kenny called, but to no avail. “Please, Jay!”

            Jay took your hand, leading you back into the house, shutting the door behind him. “Don’t worry about him, babe. He’s… He’s not supposed to be here.”

            “What do you mean by that?” you asked, gripping his hands in yours.

            “He’s a son of Zeus, along with quite a few others. We all signed a treaty: they would stay away from here and we would leave them alone. They’re quite… a wild bunch to say the least. They’re notorious for getting into trouble and getting others hurt in the process. Being the sons of Zeus also means they’re really not welcome here. Zeus isn’t even tolerated here anymore, not after Dean was finished with him.” Jay brought your hands up to his lips, kissing your knuckles. “Let’s not talk about that.” He released your hands to lift you into his arms. “For now, I want to ravish you.” He smiled when you giggled, kissing him softly. “Where do you want me?”

            “You know I don’t care.”

            He tugged on your lower lip, walking towards the living room. He set you down for a brief moment, sweeping everything off the coffee table, winking at you when you protested. He lifted you back up, laying you on the coffee table, smirking against your lips. He made quick work of your jeans, shoving them off along with your underwear, his mouth on you in seconds. He had you whimpering and moaning in no time, his tongue darting in and out of you, his thumb working slow circles around your clit as he fucked you with his tongue, chuckling as you gripped his long hair in your hands, hips jerking off the table. He got you off in a matter of minutes, lapping at you softly as you came down, your thighs shaking as you gasped for air. Jay kissed you softly. You pushed your hands away as you tried to undo his jeans. “That was for you, babe. I don’t need anything.”

            “You sure?” you asked, legs still trembling as he tugged your underwear back on.

            He kissed you again. “I’m sure.”

----------

            A week after Kenny showed up at your house, Finn came knocking at your door. When you opened the door, he pushed his way passed you, apologizing before calling for Jay. Jay came around the corner, eyebrows knitted together in confusion. “We’ve gotta problem.” Finn grabbed Jay by the elbow, leading him to the living room. He called for you to follow. “Kenny came ta me about the Guerillas goin’ missing. Unfortunately, I know where they are and I know why they disappeared. I can’t tell Kenny, though. I promised dat I wouldn’t tell him.”

            “Why are they hidin’?” Jay asked.

            Finn pinched the bridge of his nose. “When Cody was killed, it caused quite da rift amongst da others. Tama tried keeping the peace, but they almost killed him and Leo. Leo got hurt because of dem. Tama doesn’t take his family gettin’ hurt lightly. They made a deal with Roman and da others, allowing them refuge here while Leo heals. I’m afraid that Kenny and the other so called ‘Elites’ want Tama and the others dead. Tama refused to help them and I know that the Bucks aren’t fond of Tama anymore.” Finn let out a sigh. “I need help hiding them. Your magic has gotten stronger since your fight with Adam. I trust you to put a shield around them.”

            “I need to see them and know where they are to be able to put this shield up, Finn.”

            Finn took the two of you to his house, the one on the edge of town. Finn went inside, where there was laughter and deep voices talking to one another. You peeked around the wall as you followed Finn into the living room where four men all sat, laughing with one another. The tallest and largest of the bunch was sitting on the couch with his leg propped up, his knee wrapped up with an ice pack.

They all grew quiet upon seeing you and Jay, one of the men, lean with his thick curly hair tied back, approached the three of you. “Jay,” he started, eyeing him up and down before a grin broke out on his face, pulling him in for a fond hug. “It’s good seeing you, man!” He pulled away, turning to look at you. “I’m Tama,” he introduced, holding his hand out for you to shake. You introduced yourself with a smile. “Those are my brothers: Leo,” he pointed to the tall one on the couch, “Tanga,” he pointed to the one that sat on the arm of the couch, “and Fale,” he pointed to the bigger man sitting in an armchair, a rather serious look on his face. “I’m glad you came to help us, Jay.”

Jay smiled, winding his arm around your waist. “We’re here to help in any way we can.”

Tama, Finn, and Jay all headed outside while you sat in the living room with the other three. Fale was staring hard at you, Leo and Tanga busy talking, Tanga checking on his little brother’s knee. Fale’s stare made you a bit uncomfortable. It felt like he was analyzing you, watching you as you sat there, twiddling your thumbs in your lap.

“What do you see in him?” Fale suddenly asked. The other two stopped talking, glancing in your direction. “I mean, I like the kid, he’s excellent with magic, but he’s kind of a dick.”

You chuckled, realizing why he’d been staring at you. “Do you think I’m out of his league?”

“Uh, yeah,” Tanga said with a smile. “I mean, like Fale said, I like the guy, but he’s a dick on a good day and you just seem too nice for him.”

You shook your head, smiling softly. “Honestly, he’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He made a vow to protect my bloodline a long time ago. Adam wanted us dead after an ancestor of mine told Jay about his vandalism to a temple of Hecate. Jay protected me when Adam came for me. We became really good friends and when Adam tried killing me, Jay almost died to save me. I’ve loved him since before that and I’ll love him every second after.” You had a soft smile on your face as you spoke, eyes falling to your hands.

Fale chuckled, shaking his head, running a hand over his bald head. “I’m actually not that surprised. He was always a bit of a softy.”

“Who are you talking about?” Jay asked as he came back inside, sweat dripping from his forehead. Finn followed suit.

“You,” Tanga replied with a smile.

“What about me, exactly?” He dropped onto the couch next to you, pressing a soft kiss to your temple as he threw his arm over your shoulders, tugging you against him.

“How you’re a big softy, especially around her,” Leo chimed. Jay swatted his arm, the larger man giggling. “What, it’s true! She was literally just telling is about you saving her from Page.”

The day went on with you getting to know the Tongan men, finding out that they were like Finn: demons from the Underworld that Baron let roam freely as they didn’t cause too much trouble and they also enjoyed helping those that they could. They had known each other for centuries, but then several sons of Zeus arrived, and while things were civil between all of them, when Finn left to move on, it caused quite the rift. After Adam and Cody died, the Bucks turned on Kenny, blaming him for their deaths because he couldn’t keep them under control. Tama tried keeping the peace, but the Bucks hurt Leo and tried hurting Tanga and Fale. Tama barely got them all out and to Finn’s place. “Kenny couldn’t find us, and I guess that’s why he came to you,” Fale finished, gesturing towards Jay. “I’m half surprised you didn’t turn him into Hunter, but then again, Hunter’s dealing with enough shit.”

Tama stroked his beard for a moment before turning to Jay. “Do you know of any way for us to permanently stay? I’m not too sure Hunter would want us to, but maybe we can get the gods together and cast a vote? We really don’t want to go back.”

Jay sighed. “I can try. I know Roman is letting you stay, but we need to get everyone together and discuss this somewhere that the Elites can’t find you. I mean, if Finn’s allowed here, I don’t see why you can’t be allowed to stay, too.”

“Want me to call Roman?” you asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, that’d be great. Thanks, babe.”

You stood up, pulling your phone out and dialing Roman’s number. It rang a few times before he picked up. “Hey, short stop, how’s it going?” he asked, a clear smile in his voice.

“We need to talk. About Tama and the others.”

It was silent on the other end before Roman sighed. “What kind of talk?”

“Can you get the other gods to come to Finn’s house? We need to have a meeting.” You waited for his answer, Jay standing behind you, winding his arms around your waist.

“I’ll do what I can, okay?” Roman finally said. “Let’s try for eight o’clock tonight, Finn’s house. I’ll see who I can get for tonight.”

“Thank you, Roman. This means a lot.” Roman chuckled, bidding you goodbye before hanging up. Jay went with you into the living room, his arms still around you. “Roman said he’ll gather who he can and be here at eight tonight.”

“Doesn’t give us much time, does it?” Leo asked, shifting his knee, wincing in pain.

“Easy does it, baby brother,” Tanga chastised. “Don’t need to hurt yourself worse than you already are.”

Finn spent the time clearing off his dining room table of anything he had on it, helping Leo get settled with his leg propped up on a chair pulled away from the table. Leo gave you a smile as you handed him a fresh ice pack as well as a glass of water and a plate of snacks. Tama grinned at the exchange, leaning over to whisper something in Jay’s ear, the younger man smiling fondly at you. You returned the smile as a knock resounded on the door. Finn cleared his throat, opening the door. Roman came in, followed by Dean, Seth, Hunter, Baron, Stephanie, Pete, Tyler, Trent, Aleister, and another man you didn’t know that was wearing a tank top and loads of scarves. They all sat or stood around the table, Hunter not looking all that happy as he glared at the Tongan men.

“We gathered ya here today ta discuss the Guerrillas stayin’ here,” Finn said, crossing his arms where he stood.

Hunter sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “We already have enough trouble in our little town. Why should we let you?”

“Hunter, lots of people have found this place to be a place of refuge. Gods, demigods, even Finn who’s a demon,” Roman said, pushing his hair over his shoulder. “We have the space and there’s no reason they can’t. Only AJ’s stupid kids can’t come here. That treaty had nothing to do with the-“

“I already spotted that Omega kid snooping around. I tried catching him, but he disappeared,” Seth interjected. “Look, I like you guys,” he gestured to them, “but we need to deal with Omega, Scurll, and the Bucks before we can even really address this.”

Everyone nodded. “We need to find where they are,” Baron said, leaning forward onto the table. “We know there somewhere around town, violating the treaty, so we know they’re nearby, but we don’t know where. Is there any way to track them?”

The door swung open, Destroyer running in, anger on her face. “Those dickheads just attacked me looking for you, Baron.” Baron jumped form his seat, grabbing her and pulling her into his arms. “I’m not hurt, Baron. I can’t say the same for them.” They all followed her outside, just passed the barrier Jay had put up to see a very wounded Marty Scurll lying on the ground, clutching his side. “The other three ran off, but I hurt him enough to bring him here. I was going to drag him inside, but it seems Jay’s shield won’t allow him in.”

Marty chuckled from where he was on the ground, face contorting for a moment to resemble a bird. “You all think you’ve gotten away from us. But we’ll get you, Tama! We’ll get all of you!”

“He sounds like a Scooby Doo villain,” Tanga joked.

Fale strode forward, grabbing Marty by the hair and dragging him forward, forcing him through the shield despite the man’s screams of pain. “You won’t be getting anything form us, Scurll.” He threw him to the ground, watching as he writhed in pain form being beyond the barrier as well as for the wounds Destroyer gave him. “Where are the others?”

“Like I’ll fucking tell you.” His eyes fell on you, where you stood with Jay slightly in front of you, one hand gripping Jay’s forearm while the other was intertwined with his hand. “Looks like little Jay finally found someone to put up with his bullshit! It’ll be the best feeling when we rip her away from you and kill her, just like Adam was going to.” Marty spit towards you, cackling with laughter, even through his pain. “We’ll kill all of you, whether you like it or not!” He glared at you again, lightning crackling on his fingertips. Fear gripped you like a vice as you remembered the pain of being electrocuted, of having lightning flow through your body. Tears stung the corners of your eyes as you hid behind Jay, trying to take a breath. A loud crack filled the air, light blinding you. A loud scream filled the air, followed by a dull thud. Jay pulled you into his arms, cheek resting on your head as he whispered softly to you, telling you that everything was alright.

“Get his body out of here,” Roman whispered to Baron. “We need to get her and the others somewhere safe while we go on a manhunt.”

“Safe my ass,” Tama growled. “Take her and Leo somewhere safe. We’re going to help you.”

“Tama, they’re hunting you. I can’t guarantee your safety.”

“I don’t care. We’re done running.” Fale stepped forward, anger on his face. “We’re done fucking hiding. Fuck ‘em.”

            While they spoke about what was going to happen, Jay pulled you back into the house, cradling your face in his hands as he pressed his forehead to yours. “You’re alright, you’re safe,” he whispered. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

            “I was so scared, Jay,” you whispered, tears slipping down your cheeks.

            Jay looked deep in thought, closing his eyes tightly. “I don’t think we can do this,” he whispered, tears spilling down his cheeks. You looked at him in confusion, taking his hands in yours. “As long as we’re together, you’re in danger. I… I wouldn’t know what to do if you died.” He pulled his hands from yours. “I think… I think it’s for the best if we never see one another again.”

            You were shocked to say the least. “What do you mean?”

            “I mean that as long as we’re together, you’re a target for anyone that sees me as a threat. I can’t…” He pressed his forehead to yours again. “I can’t fucking lose you. I love you so much, but I just can’t.”

            “Jay, please, we can… We can make this work.”

            “No, we can’t.” He held you at arm’s length, his heart breaking as you cried. “I love you.” He pressed his lips to your forehead, your world going black.

----------

            “Hey, Hunter, how are things?” you asked as you went shopping, a bright smile on your face. He grunted in response, obviously in a bad mood. “Well, I hope things get better, whatever they are.” You went to checkout, leaving the store with your groceries. You loaded up your car, heading home.

----------

            Jay watched you drive away, tears threating to escape his blue eyes. Roman stood behind him, arms crossed over his chest. “Do you really think it was a good idea to wipe her memory of everything?” Roman asked.

            Jay nodded, shoving his hands in his pockets as he sniffled a bit. “They can’t go after her if she doesn’t know anything. It’s better this way. She can find someone normal, a human, that can love her and maybe-“ he paused, wiping at the tears on his cheeks angrily. “Maybe someday she’ll get out of this town and go somewhere safer, somewhere she can have a normal life.”

            “I’m just saying: I don’t think she would have wanted this.” Roman walked away, shaking his head.

            Jay yelled in frustration, punching the tree he was near, the bark splintering away. He knew you wouldn’t have wanted it, but your safety was the most important thing to him, and he couldn’t risk you getting hurt or almost killed again. He knew he’d always love you, but you didn’t know who he was and that gave you the freedom to leave. He waited until your car was completely out of sight before going inside the store.

Hunter smacked him upside the head as soon as he saw him, anger on the older man’s face. “You’re an asshole.”

“So everyone tells me,” Jay whispered, visibly deflating, shoulders slumping as he looked at the ground. “Any leads so far?”

Hunter shook his head. “No, none so far. Tama and his guys are scoping things out, Aleister has spells up, as well as his fiancée or whatever she is, and Elias is putting out his feelers to see if anyone knows anything.” Hunter turned as Pete walked up, the young man practically snarling in anger. “What now?”

Pete was glaring hard at Jay. “You know what,” he said.

Jay glared back at him. “Let me guess: you also think I’m an asshole?”

Pete chuckled, eyes growing dark. “You fucked up big time.”

Jay walked out of the store after that, anger filling him. He walked as quickly as he could to the shop, seeing Seth working on the engine of an old Chevy. Seth stopped what he was doing upon seeing him. “Did Nia tell you?”

Jay raised an eyebrow. “Tell me what?”

Seth sighed, wiping his hands on a rag he had tucked into his pocket. “She convinced your girl to move out of town, just like you asked.”

Jay nodded, kicking at a rock on the ground. “Good. She can finally get far away from here.”

“Look, Jay, I know you’re sick and tired of hearing us say this, but it’s been a week. We don’t have any leads, you look like you’re about to collapse from either sadness or exhaustion, and she… She was telling Nia how it feels like something is missing, like she’s got a black hole in her memories and heart.” Jay tensed for a moment, but continued kicking at the ground, hoping Seth didn’t notice. “She knows something is missing, Jay. You’re her other half and you can’t… You can’t do that to her.”

Jay shook his head, laughing, but there was no humor in it. “What would you know? I did it for her own good!”

“I can’t tell you what to do, but you need to understand that she knows something is missing, that you’re missing, even if she doesn’t know that it’s you that’s missing. You’re denying her the happy life she could have with you.” Seth gripped Jay’s shoulder. “We all have people we love that could get hurt, but that’s their decision whether they want to be with us or not. We don’t get to decide that.”

----------

            After another week, they finally had a lead on the remaining Elites. Jay had made sure there were wards around your house. It broke his heart to see you packing up your things. You hadn’t done too much packing, but enough for him to realize you were really leaving. He shook the thought from his head as he and the others formed a perimeter around where they believed the Elites to be. They weren’t expecting to find Kenny rather wounded, broken and bloodied with a Japanese man cradling him as the Bucks looked on, malice in their eyes. They laughed as the Japanese man attempted to stop Kenny’s bleeding.

            “I knew we had a rat,” Nick said. “I just didn’t think it was Kenny!” He shot lightning from his hand, but the Japanese man blocked it. “I’m getting really sick of this.”

            “So are we,” Dean said as he sauntered into the clearing they were in. He was smirking, sticking his tongue out between his teeth, looking very casual. The Bucks stepped back, hands raised to fight. Dean casually twirled his trident around in one hand. “You did hear me say ‘we’, right?”

            The Bucks looked confused until Roman strode out, bow in his hand with and arrow already notched. Baron smirked as he appeared, a black greatsword resting on his shoulder casually, followed by his Destroyer, her eyes pitch black as she smiled at them. Hunter and his boys followed suit, Hunter wielding a giant axe, Peter cracking his knuckles (he never liked weapons), Trent holding a sword and shield while Tyler had a giant hammer over his shoulder. They were surrounded and there was no way they were going to survive.

            “W-We just want the Guerrillas!” Matt shouted.

            “We’re here.” Tama and the others entered the clearing, sans Leo, wearing face paint. Finn was alongside them, flickering between his human and demon forms. The Bucks looked especially scared upon seeing Finn. “It seems Kenny was a good guy all along.”

            “Maybe we can come to an arrangement?” Nick asked, voice climbing in pitch.

            Jay finally showed himself, magic swirling around him. “We did have an arrangement. Then you broke that. The Guerrillas weren’t a part of that arrangement, so now we do as the treaty says if broken: you die.”

            It happened quickly, Nick and Matt putting up a fight, but they weren’t any match for all the gods that surrounded them. Soon, it was only the gods, a few sporting minor wounds, and Kenny with the Japanese man. Jay approached them, holding his hands up as the Japanese man looked at him in anger and fear.

            “I’m not gonna hurt him. I’m going to heal him, I promise.” Jay knelt next to them, hands glowing as they hovered over Kenny, the curly haired man sighing in relief as the pain disappeared.

            “Thanks, Jay,” Kenny said, giving him a smile. “You remember Kota Ibushi, right?”

            Jay gave them both a smile. “I do.” Jay stood up, eyes falling on Baron and Destroyer, Baron cradling Destroyer in his arms, her cheek to his chest as he swayed softly. Jay’s chest tightened at the sight, turning away only to come face -to-face with Kenny and Kota with their foreheads pressed against each other. Jay stomped away, Finn following him.

            “Are ya really going to let ‘er slip through yer fingers?” Finn asked, genuine concern on his face.

            “She could get hurt.”

            Finn shook his head, stopping Jay in his tracks as he stepped in front of him. “Yer about ta lose the only woman you’ll ever love and she’s going to always wonder why there is a gap, a black hole in ‘er life. Go fix this. Love like that,” he pointed to where the two couples were holding one another, the other gods standing around and getting ready to get rid of the bodies, Tama and the others all hugging, “only comes once in a lifetime.”

            Jay shook his head. “Why is everyone so full of words of wisdom lately?”

            “Because yer bein’ stupid.”

            Jay nodded. “I should go fix this.”

            “Then stop talking about it and go fucking fix it!” Finn punched his shoulder. “Go, ya damned idiot!” Jay took off in a sprint. “I’m gonna break his nose one a these days just fer his sheer stupidity.”

----------

            A knock on your front door stopped you from packing. You only had two boxes packed so far, seeing as you still had to find a place where you were moving. You were going to miss your small town, but you felt like something was missing and after some talking with Nia, you figured it was due to you never leaving your hometown. You went to the door, opening it to ask who it was, only to have your face grabbed and a set of lips on yours, kissing the breath out of you. Memories flooded your mind, filling the void you’d had for the last two weeks. You gripped him tightly before shoving him away, tears of anger building in your eyes. “How fucking dare you?” you yelled.

            Jay looked like a kicked puppy, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I’m sorry…”

            You sighed, trying to control the anger in you. “Why did you do it?” you ground out, taking a deep breath to ground yourself.

            “I… I wouldn’t know what to do if you were killed. A lot of different people might see me as a threat and could use you as leverage. I didn’t want you getting hurt again, like with Adam. If you didn’t know anything, then they couldn’t hurt you, no one could hurt you.”

            You took his face in your hands, making him look at you. “I chose you, Jay White. I knew what I was getting into after Adam died. I choose to be with you because I love you. I know you were trying to protect me, but at the end of the day, you’d always be in my heart, even if I didn’t know who you were.” You pressed your forehead to his. “Please, never do that again.”

            “I promise.”

----------

            “Hey, Hunter, how are things?” you asked as you went to the check stand. You set your basket down, Jay stepping behind you, his arm around your shoulders.

            Hunter smiled at you two, his heart full seeing you two back together. “Good! It seems like things are finally going to settle, even with the Tongans having permanent residence here.” Hunter smirked as Tama peeked around the aisle, his eyes narrowed. “Don’t worry, kid. You guys are growing on me.” Tama grinned at that, going back to his shopping. “You two doing anything special for Valentine’s Day next month?”

            You shrugged. “We haven’t really talked about it.” You looked up at Jay, giving him a soft smile. He returned it, kissing your temple. “What are you and Steph doing?”

            “She wants to go to Paris for the day.”

            You smiled. “I hope you two have fun with that. I’ve always wanted to travel, but I’ve never really found the time.”

            “Someday, kid.” He finished scanning everything, giving you a wave after you paid.

            You climbed onto your bike, setting the groceries into the basket. Jay climbed onto his bike as well. “Last one home does the dishes?” Jay joked, raising an eyebrow at you.

            “Says the man who just learned how to ride a bike.” You took off, Jay shouting behind you. You laughed loudly, changing the gear on your bike until you were going fast down your road, Jay falling behind you in the distance. You whooped and hollered as you got to the house first, running inside just as Jay pulled up, his hair disheveled. “I win!”

            Jay laughed as he parked his bike, pulling you into a kiss. “Fine, I’ll do the dishes.” He swatted your ass as you went into the kitchen, making you jump. He chuckled, kissing you again, pinning you to the fridge.

You laughed, pushing him away. “Sex against a fridge isn’t sexy, Jay.” You put the groceries away as he started on the dishes. You slapped his ass as hard as you could, laughing when he rubbed his ass with wet hands, leaving handprints. “Dork. I’m going to go get in my pajamas. I want to be lazy for the rest of the day.”

“Sounds like a plan, babe!” he called after you as you went to the bedroom, stripping out of your clothes. You stopped for a second, eyeing the red lace lingerie set you had. You smirked, slipping the bra and panty set on, admiring yourself in the mirror before covering yourself with a baggy t shirt, a pair of booty shorts, and pulling on black thigh high socks. It was a bit chilly, so Jay wouldn’t ask questions. You heard music turn on, the sounds of Queen filling the house. You slid through the house in your socks, singing at the top of your lungs, Jay laughing, head thrown back upon seeing you slide into the kitchen in your socks. “And you say I’m the dork!”

You shrugged, sliding into the living room and plopping onto the couch. “Turn the music off! I want to watch a movie!” You giggled when he groaned, but the music turned off, nonetheless. You grabbed the remote and started up Netflix, flipping through the movies. “What are you in the mood for?” you asked, seeing him peek his head from the kitchen, a towel over his shoulder.

“Pick something scary, why don’t you?”

You rolled your eyes. “You always want to watch something scary!”

“’Cause when you get scared, you’re practically on my lap! I like holding you!”

“Ugh, fine!” You scrolled through the horror movies. “I don’t know which one you want to watch!”

Jay came into the living room, looking at the screen. “Ghost Ship. It’s cheesy and spooky. I’m going to go change and then we can watch it, alright?” He left the room, his jeans still sporting two wet handprints. He returned a few minutes later in nothing but a pair of sweats, sitting down and pulling you against his side. “Love you, babe,” he whispered as you turned on the movie, kissing the side of your head with a smile.

“Love you, too.” You kissed him softly. You turned your attention to the movie, eyes going wide during the first scene. “That’s fucked up.”

Jay chuckled. “Yeah it is.” He was right. By the end of the movie, you were sitting across his lap, face buried in his neck. “You alright?”

“No. That was super fucked up.”

Jay picked you up, carrying you out of the living room and to the bedroom. “Stay put. I’ll be right back.” You smirked a bit, going to sit on the bed. He returned after turning off everything in the living room, coming in to see you sitting on the bed. He closed the door, crossing his arms over his chest as he eyed you up and down. “Strip,” he said softly. You did as he asked, hiding your smirk as best as you could when he sucked in a breath upon seeing your lingerie. He walked forward, sliding a finger under the strap of the bra. “This is pretty. It looks quite nice on you.” He leaned down, kissing you softly. “You’re such a good girl, dressing up like this for me.” Your heart hammered in your chest, mouth falling open. He noticed, smirking. “Do you like when I call you a good girl?”

You nodded. “I love being a good girl,” you whispered. “I-I’ll do almost anything if you call me a good girl.”

Jay kissed you softly. “Go ahead and lay on the bed. Get nice and comfortable.” You did as he asked, head resting on the soft pillows, smiling as he crawled up towards you, settling between your legs. “Look at you, so beautiful.” He undid the bra slowly, admiring your exposed skin as he did, tossing the bra to the side. He slid his hands over your breasts softly, his calloused hands catching on your skin. “So soft and pretty.” He leaned down, lips ghosting over your neck, pressing soft kisses to your skin, smiling when you sighed in content, his heart filling with love. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” you whispered, playing with his hair.

“Such a good girl,” he whispered. “Keep your hands on my shoulders, love.” He smiled as you smoothed your hands over the broad expanse of his shoulders, bringing his lips down to yours, kissing you softly, like you would break under the slightest pressure. “I can’t believe you’re mine.” He slid his hands down your body, sitting up slightly, your hands resting softly on his shoulders, a soft smile on your face as you admired him, his long hair falling around his face. “Take off your panties.” You did as he asked, hands leaving his shoulders to slide the red lace over your still socked legs. He rolled your socks off, smiling softly. “You’re such a good girl,” he whispered, pushing your legs apart, gently touching the top of your slit. “And good girls get rewards.” He brushed over your clit, lips parting when you whimpered softly, hips jerking up towards his hand. “What do you want, love?”

“You, please, Jay.” You keened as he slid two fingers into you, biting his lip as he felt you clench around his fingers. “All of you.”

He kissed you again, lips soft against yours, his fingers working you until you were whimpering and whining, tears leaking from the corners of your eyes from the intensity of your orgasm, kissing him like it was the last thing you were going to do. He pulled his fingers from you, licking his fingers clean. “You look so beautiful when you come.” He shed his sweats, fisting his hard cock for a few seconds as he positioned himself at your entrance. “I love you.” You grinned, returning the sentiment as he pushed into you, your back arching as he filled you, a moan leaving him as he rested his forehead on your collarbone. “God,” he whispered. He took your hands in his, lacing your fingers together, pinning your hands down as he began to move inside you, his breath catching in his throat when you cried out, your eyes sliding shut. “Look at me,” he whispered, lifting his head. “Fuck, look at me.” You obeyed, eyes catching his. “You’re the best fucking thing to ever happen to me." He released your hands to slide his arms underneath you, lifting you up onto his cock, lips on yours as he lifted you up and down, your moans and whimpers lost in his mouth. Your hands were tangled in his hair, begging him to let you come. He slid a hand between you two, fingers finding your clit to rub in fast little circles. Your orgasm hit you hard, your back arching and crying out, his name the prayer on your lips. He followed suit, hips stuttering against yours as he filled you. He let you down slowly, laying you on the bed delicately, pressing soft kisses over your shoulders as he slipped from you. He walked away to get something to clean you up with, hands working gently over your sensitive skin.

He crawled back into bed with you, pulling you against him. “Thank you,” you whispered, pressing your face into his neck.

“For what?” he asked, playing with your hair.

“For coming back to me.”

Jay tilted your face up towards his, kissing you. “Anything for you. It’s my duty, remember?”

You giggled, lightly smacking his chest. “Dork.”

“Weirdo.”