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It's Complicated

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How a world could be so very much the same and yet so very different was a conundrum that now faced Ichabod Crane. As he lifted the strange black object that controlled the characters behind the flashing mirror in the lonely cabin where he now resided, he attempted to find something to distract himself, but found his efforts coming up short. His days, despite his knowledge of the impossibility of the situation, seemed to be growing longer. That idea, combined with the complete uselessness that plagued him, was beginning to weigh upon him heavily. It seemed the only time he felt as if he had any worth was when he was helping his partner and friend, Leftenant Abigail Mills, track down and defeat the many evils that now seemed to be attempting to take over the town of Sleepy Hollow. All other times, while his friend was busy with her occupation at the Sleepy Hollow Sheriff's Department, he found himself alone and completely without a purpose, and he was very nearly at the end of his patience with tolerating such an idea. Four months he'd been in this strange time and still he had not found a place, a purpose beyond his duty as a Witness. It was time for that to change. As it seemed he was now to live out the remaining days of his life in this small town, he needed to find himself a proper way to occupy his time and more so a way to provide needed food and shelter for himself. Lounging around and reading the great quantities of literature he'd missed out on over the centuries was no life. He needed more, much, much more and he fully intended to have it.

To his great relief, the cabin door suddenly opened and his partner stepped through, weighed down with a number of bags in her arms. "Leftenant," he exclaimed, jumping up from his seat and rounding the sofa to help her. "Thank heavens. I was about to go mad with being closed up in this place."

As she set the remaining bags she'd carried in on the table, she turned to him with a raised eyebrow. "About to?"

Catching her implication, he rolled his eyes. "I simply wish to have more to do in this new world than hunt demons, evil witches, and Hessian soldiers who wish to bring about the end of the world and our demise. Surely there's some task I can perform on a day to day basis? Some place in this town surely will suit me and my abilities? I'd accept just about anything at this point."

"Crane, you don't even technically exist," she said, pulling out various items and setting them on the table. "What would you like me to do? I might be an ordained Witness of the Apocalypse, but, unfortunately, I don't exactly have a magic wand."

"There must be something," he pressed in a near to desperate tone as he paced the length of the room. "Even in my day, we had ways of forging one's identity. You can't honestly tell me that practice has not advanced to this century."

Abbie gave a heavy sigh before turning to him. "Look, I've got this friend, Kat. She's pretty good at that sort of stuff. She's been travelling for the last half year, but she's actually coming in today." She shrugged and tossed him a tube of paste with which he used to clean his teeth. Apparently, this time he would be experiencing the minty freshness of Crest with the added feature of whitening power. He was a bit unsure if he should be offended. Were his teeth not already white? "Maybe she'll be of some help."

"This friend," he began warily. "Is she aware of the sorts of things that occur in Sleepy Hollow?"

Abbie chuckled in clear amusement. "You mean all of the random 'bump in the night' stuff?" At his nod, she shook her head. "No, she's a nurse, not in the traditional sense, but more as a...healer as she calls it. She's been traveling and offering her help in various countries off and on for the last few years, but she'll be a help with your identity issues. I've seen her forge the best looking fake ID's for wives and kids fleeing from abusive relationships."

Eyebrows raised at the descriptions Abbie was laying for this woman, Ichabod asked, "And you have no problem with this? With allowing her to involve herself in such illegal activities?"

With a sigh, Abbie took the milk to the giant box that kept his food cool, the fridge as she called it. "There are times to call stuff like that out and times not to. The system you and all your buddies constructed doesn't always work in all situations." She turned to him with a knowing look. "I'd say my sister and I know that better than most."

Giving her a nod, he picked up a small, bright pink package. "What's this? It doesn't look very nourishing."

Abbie snatched the package along with its counterparts and set them in the cabinet. "Ramen noodles and they are perfectly nourishing...for thirty-nine cents each." At his frown, she continued, her hands in the air, "Hey, until you get your ID, you're living on my dime. One can't be too choosy in those circumstances."

Feeling more than slightly out of his element, he sighed, "I shall never be able to repay your kindness, Leftenant. If not for you...I'm not sure where I'd be. I've not really had a home or family since I lived in England, but you've provided one and if I might say...a form of the other."

A look of understanding flashed over her features before she nodded to the door. "Let's go see if we can get a start on helping you out."

Quickly grabbing his coat, he followed her out of the door, certain his life was about to find even more purpose.


As Abbie pulled up into the driveway of her house, he frowned in disappointment as well as slight dread. Today was not the day he wished to find himself in Miss Jenny Mills' company. The edges of his nerves were already frayed from his morning spent in sour dwelling. Adding her torturous teasing to his day was not on his list of things he wished to partake in. "What are we doing here? I thought we were visiting your friend?"

"We are," she said, unbuckling her seatbelt and pushing her door open. "She lives next door."

A slight 'o' shaped his mouth as he exited the vehicle and moved to the front of it to wait for her. "Is that how you became acquainted with her?"

Abbie adjusted her holster as she began walking across the freshly mown lawn. "Yeah, she's been my neighbor since right after I moved in five years ago. It didn't take her long to become a pretty good friend. Jenny likes her a lot. I'm not sure if it's the cooking or the drinking buddy Jenny likes so much, but they hit it right off. While she's away, either Jenny or I keep up her house and stuff, but when she's home, she almost always has someone staying with her. The odd traffic through her house was what gave me my first clue as to what she was doing."

"And what was she doing?" he asked curiously, this woman becoming more intriguing to him by the minute.

"Hiding those same women who came to her for help. Kat's usually the first stop for them before they move onto another home."

Admiration for this woman he'd yet to meet filled him as he took in the average looking house that mirrored Abbie's nearly exactly. The only difference seemed to be the many plants and herbs she had in various gardens along the front and sides of the home. "It sounds like a form of the underground railroad."

"Yeah," Abbie confirmed, tilting her head side to side in thought. "I guess you could say it's similar to that. She used to do it a lot more, but lately, she's taken to traveling with her nursing."

As they stepped up on the porch and Abbie took to knocking on the door, he noticed the charms adorning the woman's porch. From the roof hung various strings of curious objects, but it was the symbols etched into the place where they were nailed to hang that drew his attention. They were almost unnoticeable with how lightly they were carved and from his angle he couldn't quite tell what they were, but they were there nonetheless.

"I'm coming!" came a shout from within. "Just a moment."

"Look, Crane, try not to freak her out, alright? She's weird enough on her own with some of the things she says and does sometimes. No need adding your weirdness to the mix."

Dragging his eyes from the carvings for a moment, he gave Abbie a withering look. "I have a bit of decorum, Leftenant."

"Mhm," she muttered as he turned back to the carvings. "I just don't want you ruing my opportunity to get a good dinner. Kat can cook like no one I've ever met. I have a feeling you're gonna like her."

As she spoke, he reached up to touch one of the marks in an attempt to interpret it's meaning, but in the process knocked a potted plant to the porch where it shattered, causing him to nearly fall over himself in surprise. While the door opened, he did his best to use his boot to scoot the dirt off the porch, feeling embarrassment heat his face, but all he was really managing to do was smear it everywhere.

"Oh, Abigail," came a cheerful voice from behind him, one that tugged at his senses even as he continued with the plant.

"Hey, Kat, it's good to see you finally home. It's been ages."

They exchanged further pleasantries as he picked up the larger pieces of the pot and set them on the nearby table.

"Crane," Abbie said through her teeth.

Quickly turning to begin his profuse apology, he came up short at the sight before him. Thick red hair tumbling around a slender neck and shoulders. Green eyes that could bore into any soul. Full lips standing out amongst pale skin.

It was her.

"Katrina...?"

Chapter Text

Heart pounding at quite the accelerated rate, he considered the impossibility of the situation presented before him. Surely, he must be hallucinating or suffering the effects of some ill timed illness. However, the tensing of her body as her own shock made its way across her face led him to entertain that it wasn't. She was staring at him as though seeing some sort of ghost.

"You ok, Crane?"

Abbie's voice sounded like a distant echo as his feet began moving of their own accord, slowly, hesitantly, as if any rushed movement would shatter the dream he was surely in. Then, he was standing within a breath of her, his trembling fingers reaching up to brush along her even paler than normal cheek.

"Are you real?" he asked barely over a whisper.

Her mouth opened and closed with no words coming forth. However, her hand on his chest was all he needed to close the distance between them, his mouth claiming hers in a way that was all too familiar, all too natural. Her slight gasp was consumed by him as he pressed his body into hers, his hands sliding up into her hair to pull her as close as possible. It seemed to take a moment, but then her fingers were clutching the front of his shirt as she hesitantly returned his kiss.

Warm lips ghosting his neck brought his eyes open to the darkness of his tent and to the feel of her tumble of red hair tickling his chest as she moved against him, her hands and legs working their way along his body.

"It took you long enough," she whispered as her mouth closed over his ear.

Hand sliding along her bare back, he groaned, "Why are you awake? It's not yet light out."

Her fingers brushed his chin as she settled against him, her warm body melding into his own. "My mind won't allow it. Too many thoughts plague me."

Frowning, he laid a hand to her cheek as he turned his head to rest against hers. "What troubles you, my love?"

"There's a horrible feeling in the pit of me that simply will not quiet," she answered softly. "Tomorrow is something I wish to delay for as long as possible."

Concern filled him at her troubled voice and it brought a longing within him to see her face in the darkness. He knew from years of experience that Katrina's feelings were not something to be cast aside lightly. With a heavy sigh, he rolled over, taking her beneath him. "If tomorrow is something you fear," he whispered, brushing his lips to hers as her arms wrapped around him. "Then, we shall delay it."

"Whoa, Crane, what are you doing!? I told you not to freak her out!"

Abbie's voice broke through his dreamlike haze as did her shove at his arm. Pulling back from the kiss, he did his best to sort through his thoughts as he took in the woman before him, a woman that should only still exit in his dreams. "How are you here? This is impossible."

"Ichabod, I-" her words cut off as she shook her head in her own obvious attempt at gathering herself. "I don't understand."

"Wait, how do you know his name?"

Katrina's eyes jerked to Abbie, prompting him to finally gain his senses as he, too, turned to Abbie who was staring at them wide eyed.

"Are one of you going to answer me? Or do I get to continue feeling as though I just stepped out of my head for a minute and am experiencing some really weird dream?"

With a bit of incredulity, he stumbled away from Katrina, his breathing heavy, and turned back to the porch where the carvings were etched. "Witchcraft." Realization washed through him as he spun back to her, a new light shining on so many things. "You're a witch."

Abbie's gaze flickered between them in clear confusion. "Wait, what?"

He jerked a finger to the cravings, a touch of fury flying through him. "That's how you're here, isn't it? That's what you were keeping from me."

Katrina's face dissolved into what he could only describe as panic and despair. "Ichabod, please, allow me to explain."

"Allow you to explain?" he exclaimed, his voice raising along with the pressure building within him. "I believe it would have been more prudent to give explanation two centuries ago, Katrina!"

"Ok," Abbie said stepping between them and holding out a hand toward him. "Crane, you need to calm down."

"Do not tell me to calm down!" he shouted to which she raised an eyebrow causing a surge of guilt to consume him. With a deep breath, he closed his eyes. "Forgive me, Leftenant."

"Yeah," she said in a tone that clearly said they'd be discussing his outburst later before turning back to Katrina and looking her over. "I'm guessing this is a conversation better had indoors?"

"I uhm..." Katrina stepped aside as if coming to herself and gestured Abbie in. "Of course, please come in."

While Abbie took her up on her offer, he was more wary and when Katrina's eyes slowly came up to meet his again, he stared at her a moment, quite unable to move. For some reason, he was still doubting the reality that she was really standing before him. She looked exactly the same if he didn't take into account the more modern touches to her body, modern touches that were too noticeable to avoid. The makeup, jewelry and clothing were all perfectly in place and he also noted they were considerably more expensive than the average persons in this time. Still, he doubted himself.

As if reading his mind, she whispered, "I'm real."

Green eyes never left him as he finally forced himself to move past her. Upon following Abbie into the living area, he took up a stance in front of the mantle while she gave him a questioning look which he avoided. There were far too many thoughts swarming him at the moment to answer whatever questions she may have. It would seem even if he wanted to, he couldn't properly answer them anyway.

"Can I get you anything?" Katrina asked as she came to stand before them, her fingers twisting nervously against her belly. "A glass of water, perhaps?" She looked to her kitchen in a way that suggested she was miles away. "I have..."

Abbie answered, "I'm good." She glanced at him with a raised eyebrow. "Crane?"

Quite too emotional to respond verbally, he shook his head, desperate to avoid the green eyes focused on him, attempting to read his every movement that way she had always been so adept at doing.

"Alright, so," Abbie shrugged and pointed between them. "You obviously know each other. Care to elaborate on that?"

Well, that was Abbie, right to the point, he thought as he cut his eyes at Katrina who looked like she was on the verge of tears. "We do. Ichabod and I..." She hesitated as though searching for the right words. "We were...a lot of things."

"Ok," Abbie drawled with a slow nod as she looked between them. "That's...descriptive. I'm going to assume you were at the very least friends?"

Katrina ran a hand through her thick hair as she gave a nod. "Yes, we were friends."

"Friends?" he asked with a measure of indignance that he couldn't help allowing to escape into his voice. "Is that what we were, Katrina? Friends?"

Abbie shifted uncomfortably as Katrina's eyes met his, the first of that independent spirit of hers making itself known in the edge to both them and her voice as she said, "Lovers, then. We were lovers who took great pleasure in each other's bodies. Does that make you happy, Ichabod, or would you like me to share further personal details of our intimate life with Abigail?"

"I-" he began with wide eyes at her sudden outburst, but failed to finish as she turned to Abbie in question.

"Is that something you would like to hear, Abigail?"

"No," Abbie said immediately, holding her hands up in front of her. "Absolutely not."

With a sigh, Katrina brought a hand to her head and he could see an almost imperceptible tremble in her body as her voice returned to its former softness. "How long have you been awake?"

Frowning, he looked to Abbie, who's eyes widened slightly as she returned his look. "You know about my sleep?"

Now, Katrina was the one frowning. "Who do you think put you in that cave?"

"Wait," Abbie said, curiosity clear on her face as she pointed at Katrina. "You did that? You buried him in the cave?"

"Well, yes," Katrina replied in obvious confusion. "I'm honestly confused why I haven't heard of this before today. I've been waiting for...Hasn't Alfred spoken with you? Why has he not contacted me to inform me of your arrival?"

"Alfred Knapp?" Abbie asked. "Yeah, he uh, he's dead."

Katrina sank to the sofa as she stared at Abbie in shock. "Dead?"

Abbie nodded sympathetically as her voice softened. "Yeah, the day after Crane stumbled into town, which was four months ago by the way."

Nodding, Katrina asked, "How?"

"A headless horseman," he said, stepping forward, glad to finally be the one with answers. "The same man who faced me on the battlefield and struck me down. The man who bears the mantle of death, the first of the four horseman."

Katrina spoke softly as she gazed at him in slight wonder. "You figured it out, who you are, who you both are."

Abbie chuckled as she cast him an amused, yet tired look. "Yeah, Witnesses united. Hurrah." Then, just as suddenly as this day had changed, she threw Katrina an accusing look. "Wait, you knew I was a Witness, too?"

"I assumed," Katrina replied with a small nod. "Why do you think I chose this house?" She shrugged. "You'd be surprised how many people who surround you have been standing watch. I assume August has shared his knowledge with you?"

His gaze turned to Abbie, who suddenly looked as if she'd like to be somewhere else as a flicker of pain crossed her face before she could stop it. When she didn't respond, he stepped in for her. "Sheriff Corbin also fell victim to the Horseman's axe the night of my rising."

Katrina cast Abbie a sympathetic look. "I'm so sorry, Abigail. I know what he meant to you."

Abbie pursed her lips and shook her head, her face unreadable once more. "Why did no one tell me who I was? We've been friends for years, Kat, and you never thought something like this might be important to share?"

"That's a very good question," he added, with a cold look to Katrina. It was a question that was burning him, tormenting him.

She held his gaze for a moment, then tore her eyes from him as she stood and walked to a place in the floor in front of the hearth. The fact that when she bent over, her black shirt slid up to reveal her lower back was something he attempted to ignore, but found himself unable to. Her smooth skin was just as enticing today as it had been when he partook of it two centuries ago. He swore he could practically still feel the warmth of her flesh as his mouth slid over the place his eyes were trained. How she would writhe beneath him as he held her down, her body arching into his. When his gaze drifted further down, he couldn't help but stare at the way her trousers clung to her and it was setting his blood to boiling in ways he hadn't felt in quite some time. However, Abbie clearing her throat prompted him to jerk his eyes to her where she was standing a few feet away. The knowing look on her face made him flush with embarrassment as he turned his gaze to the floor and attempted to regain control of himself. That is, until Katrina muttering a low whisper he couldn't decipher pulled his attention back to her and he tensed as a bluish glow emanated from the floor where an opening formed. When Katrina reached in, she pulled out a large book and stood.

"This is my family spell book," she said, walking to place the book on her coffee table. "The prophesy of the two Witnesses has been passed down through my family, as well as many other magical families, for generations." She flipped through the pages to reveal various drawings and incantations. "Though, we knew the Witnesses would come, we were unaware of when, but we did know they would emerge in this area." She pointed at a particular depiction of a man and woman standing side by side. There was nothing specific in the features to really tell anything about them other than their sex.

"That doesn't explain your silence," he pointed out, feeling as though he would go mad without an explanation.

"My silence," she said, turning to face him, arms crossed. "Was necessary. As was the silence of Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and numerous others."

Abbie nodded as though she understood. "You weren't allowed to tell?"

"No," Katrina answered softly. "Abigail, I wasn't entirely sure you were the person I was looking for. Throughout the centuries, I've met a few who I thought might be the Second Witness. I would wait for Ichabod to awaken, but then each and every time, his appearance never came." Her gaze flickered to him with a shadow of pain before she turned back to Abbie. "When I met you, I sensed the potential in you. So, once again, I waited. However, years passed and when Ichabod didn't appear, I thought perhaps I'd made another mistake and...I lost hope." With a deep breath, she lifted her eyes to them. "The point is that the Witnesses, until united, were to be kept in the dark at all cost. It was imperative you be together upon learning of your shared destiny. So, that's what we did. We kept the two of you in the dark." Her eyes came to his in clear guilt. "No matter how much we may have wanted it to be otherwise."

Swallowing down the sudden emotion forming within him, he tore his eyes from her and looked to Abbie with a nod. "We're together, now."

"Right," Abbie said with a slight smile before looking back at Katrina. "And we expect to be fully informed from now on."

"Of course," Katrina whispered. "Now that the Witnesses are united, you will be our leaders in the coming battles. In time, you will have many at your back to help defend you in your cause."

"And the Horseman?" Abbie asked. "Do you know anything about him?"

"He is a force not to be underestimated," Katrina warned, a serious look coming to her face. "He is the most deadly creature in this world and he will stop at nothing to acquire whatever he sets his sights upon."

Abbie chuckled. "Yeah, we learned that lesson. With a little investigating, we found his head."

Katrina startled. "You removed the head from my grave?"

Ichabod frowned, not liking the tone she'd just taken with Abbie, and stepped forward. "We were attempting to stop him from regaining it."

"Why would you move it?" she asked accusingly. "No one knew it was there. It was safe."

"The Reverend knew it was there," Abbie cut in before he could. "That's how Crane and I figured out where it was. He had a shovel and was in the cemetery near what I thought was your ancestor's grave when he was killed. Crane came to the conclusion that something worth dying for must have been near and when we started digging we were quite surprised at what we found."

"Yes," he took up after her. "And if we came to such a conclusion, the Horseman would have as well."

Katrina looked between them. "Where is the head now?"

With a look to Abbie, he could read the doubt in her eyes and turned back to Katrina. "Safe."

Realization dawned in Katrina's green eyes. "You distrust me."

It wasn't a question, but a statement, one he wouldn't deny.

"The fewer people who know the better," Abbie offered. "You said Crane and I are the leaders, right? Us knowing should be enough."

Jaw clenched, Katrina gave a sharp nod. "Very well."

Silence passed between them for a moment and then Abbie clapped her hands together. "Right, well...I think I'm gonna head next door and find something to eat. I'm kinda starving. You two..." She looked between them and laughed. "Yeah."

With that, she began heading toward the door, sending a generous amount of panic through him. "Leftenant, don't you think it would be more prudent to continue this discussion together? We're a team."

Abbie cast him an amused glance. "You want me to stay here while the two of you make eyes at each other and dance around the huge elephant in the room that is your past, clearly intimate, relationship?"

Avoiding Katrina's eyes, he gave Abbie a slightly pleading look as he stepped forward in a confidential like manner. "There's nothing for her and I to discuss."

"Sure there is, Crane," Abbie said with a wink, opening the front door. "You can start with that kiss."

With that, she was out the door, leaving him alone with the very tense witch standing mere feet from him.

Chapter Text

There was a time after the door closed that he continued to stare at it in shock. He could barely believe it. Abbie had actually left him, walked right out the door and left him. To make it worse, she'd found amusement in it!

"Ichabod?"

Deep breaths was what he told himself as he slowly turned to her. She was standing there, her arms crossed over her chest, her eyes dancing over him in obvious nervousness. It was quite odd to him. Katrina had always been so confident and for her to now look so uncertain had him unnerved.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, her eyes falling to her hands that she had dropped to twist against her belly. "I wanted-" She shook her head. "I had hoped to be here when you awoke...to explain, to-"

Stiffly nodding, he chose the simplest of the many questions consuming him, "Why weren't you? I've been awake for months now."

She shook her head again as she continued with her nervous twisting. "Throughout the centuries, I've waited and waited, but...the longer time carried on without your emergence, without any sign that you would soon return to me, the less sure of myself I became." She gestured toward the door. "Then, Abigail appeared and I assumed it was only a matter of time."

"So, you implanted yourself in her life," he concluded hotly. "You deceived her, pretended to be her friend."

"No," she quickly protested, stepping forward with slight pleading on her face. "Abigail is a wonderful friend. She's been much more to me than..." Her words faded as she narrowed her eyes. "I have been honest in everything, but the nature of my heritage...just as I was with you."

"Oh," he huffed, pointing a finger to the door. "So you consider the Leftenant and I in the same manner, then?"

"You know that's not true." She stepped even closer, too close for him, prompting him to take a step back. The subsequent hurt that passed over her face at his action pulled at his heart as she stilled, but it was a necessary distance he kept. When she was close, he seemed to lose the ability to think properly and that was something he simply couldn't allow at the moment. "I was the one who tended you after you fell on the battlefield. I performed the spell that kept you alive, oblivious to the fact that you were bound to the Horseman."

Scrunching his eyebrows in confusion, he asked, "You're the one who cast the spell?"

She seemed taken aback for a moment before she continued, "Yes. When my coven learned of the blood tie, they wanted you destroyed, but..." She paused and caught his eyes. "I couldn't bear the thought. So, I waited for night and stole your body away. Even though they knew I'd cast the spell, they were unaware that I had buried you and I went unsuspected because no one knew the true nature of what we were to each other. When your body disappeared, they assumed the enemy had gotten a hold of you to keep you alive in the hopes of raising the Horseman once more, which was an idea I was quick to agree with in order to throw aside any suspicion against me. No one, but I, knew where you were throughout these long centuries, not even Alfred."

More than slightly out of his depth and overwhelmed at what she was telling him, he cleared his throat and focused on the first point he could manage to clearly find. "My blood tie to the Horseman is gone."

For a moment, she looked as though she didn't comprehend what he had said, then shock settled over her face. "You found a way? In the mere months you've been awake?"

"Yes," he answered tiredly. "The Leftenant found a man known as a Sin Eater and he removed my sin from me."

"Your sin?"

Clearing his throat, he changed the subject as that conversation was entirely too off topic from what he wanted to know. "You've been awake and aware this entire time? For two centuries?"

She paused and, for a second, he thought she would continue with her question, but then a genuine smile came to her face, one he felt himself start at as the urge to touch her was quickly overtaking him. "I've seen wonders you couldn't imagine in your wildest dreams. So many times I'd imagine you with me, of what you would think of the things I came across, the places I've seen. I've spent so much time dreaming of sharing this world with you, Ichabod." She shook her head as a light laugh escaped her. "I can't believe you're finally here."

Emotion welled in him once more, forcing him to tear his eyes from her and look about at the odd items in her house. "This world is...strange to say the least."

"Yes, it is," she whispered understandingly. "How are you adjusting? Where are you even residing? With Abigail?"

There was a hint of something in her voice, something he couldn't place, but he brushed it off. "I'm residing in Sheriff Corbin's cabin." He glanced about the very modern room. "As for adjusting..."

"It must be hard," she offered softly. "To suddenly be thrust into a new environment so different than the one you remember."

He sighed as he trailed his fingers along the mantle over the hearth, absorbing the various pictures of scenery she had displayed there. "You have no idea. Four months ago, I was a simple soldier. I knew my place. My friends were honest, loyal. You were..." His gaze returned to her only to find her staring at the floor. "Four months ago, I knew who I was. Now...Most of the time, I feel as though I don't know anything anymore."

She finally glanced up, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. "I am so sorry. I wanted to tell you, Ichabod. You must believe that. Every day...it tore me apart inside to keep this secret from you."

At the end of his resistance due to the deep torment he saw in her eyes, he stepped forward until he was right before her, taking one of her hands in his own and touching her face with the other as he leaned his forehead to hers. When he felt her warm breath ghost his skin, he whispered, "My love, I thought I'd never see you again. When I found that grave..."

Her eyes fell closed as her hands came to rest at his neck, her thumbs stroking back and forth over his skin. "Ichabod, there is so much you don't know, so much I need to tell you."

"What?" he asked, wiping the stray tear that escaped her away. He had always hated seeing her cry. "Surely there can't be anything more serious than me being a Witness and you a witch?"

She licked her lips and opened her eyes. In them, that same deep torment in them set him on edge as her fingers reached up to thread through his. "It's been centuries since we were together. So many things have happened and I've..."

With a sudden realization of what she meant, he stepped back from her. "Oh," he whispered, immediately dropping his gaze from her. "I understand."

Her fingers tightened around his when he attempted to pull them from her. "Ichabod, no-"

"It's been centuries," he interrupted, already hardening his heart against the onslaught of pain attempting to overwhelm him. "Of course, your feelings have changed."

"No," she denied, shaking her head. "That's not-That's not what I meant."

Taking a deep breath, he pleaded, "Please don't lie to me, Katrina. I'm not sure I can take any more."

She paused before pulling him back to her and reaching up to touch his cheek. "The way that we loved each other...That's not something that can ever be replaced or undone. I swear to you, my love, my heart has only ever belonged to you. I couldn't give it to another if I tried."

Frowning at the clear indication in her voice that there was more, he covered her hand with his own. "But?"

"But," she continued, her eyes giving way to her age, to the centuries she'd seen. "Throughout the years, I've...Oh God," she whispered as she opened and closed her mouth a few times as she seemed to struggle with her words. "Ichabod, please understand how alone I was."

A sinking dread began to press on him as he pulled her hand from his face. "You took lovers."

Eyes falling from his, she nodded, allowing the confirmation to fully sink into him. The very idea was harder to comprehend than just about all he'd been through over the past months combined. His Katrina no longer belonged to him. She'd given herself to others, allowed them to...

"Did you-?" He sucked in a breath at the thought that had suddenly sprung into his mind. A thought that he hoped would not finish him off completely. "Do you have children?"

Her eyes flew back to his, wide with shock. "What?"

"It's a reasonable question, Katrina," he bit out, finally jerking his hand from her. "You've let numerous other men touch you, inside you. So, it stands to reason you might have fallen with child at some point in the last two centuries."

Though, he tried to keep it out of his voice, he found his anger creeping up, his tone rising and quickening the more he spoke, the likes of which had her frowning at him. "No, I've...never given birth to a child."

Strangely, her words brought no relief. Feeling as though he was losing his mind, he brought a hand to his face and pushed at his eyes in an attempt to control himself.

"Ichabod, if you just let me explain- I have waited for you for so long. Do you have any idea how hard it is to have hope and lose it over and over again? That's what happened every time I thought I'd found the Second Witness only to be proven wrong. Every time I realized you weren't coming, that I would be forced to spend more years, possibly centuries, without you..." Her fingers tangled in his shirt as she caught his eyes. "Each time, it was like I lost you all over again and it destroyed me."

Swallowing down the knot in his throat, he slid his hands back to her face and whispered, "Katrina-"

However, he was interrupted as a ringing filled the room, prompting him to suck in a breath to escape the emotion overwhelming him as she brought her cellular device to her ear. "Hey, I can't talk right now."

He frowned when she turned from him and paced a few feet away. "No, now's not a good time. I have company."

She brought a hand up through her hair with a sigh. "I know it's been months, but...What do you mean, you're outside?"

The front door opened and a tall man walked through with a bag in hand, which he dropped to the floor before swooping Katrina up in his arms. "Surprise."

If anger had been present in him before, he was seething now as this new arrival leaned in to kiss her. Clenching his fists, he watched her lay her hands to the man's chest and turn her cheek to his lips as she gently untangled herself from him. "Nick," she said, with a tight smile. "I'm not alone."

The light haired man turned to him in confusion for a moment before a large smile he felt the urge to knock right off his face appeared. "Nick Hawley," he said, extending his hand.

Forcing himself to accept with a likely too firm shake, he nodded. "Ichabod Crane."

Nick's gaze swept over him curiously, no doubt taking in his clothing. It was always the first thing that garnered people's attention, something that usually didn't bother him, at least not until this moment. "You, uh, one of Kat's friends?"

"He's..." Katrina stepped forward, but he avoided her eyes, instead choosing to stare at the man's bag on the floor, contemplating what was in it and what it meant that it looked like a bag of clothes. "He stopped by with Abigail earlier."

"Abbie?" Nick repeated with a chuckle. "Are the two of you a thing or something?"

"Thing?" he asked with a frown, confusion at the lack of description filling him. Confusion that he absolutely despised. He was not to be outdone by this man.

Nick looked at him oddly as Katrina quickly spoke, "No, Ichabod and Abigail are just good friends, nothing more."

It was the way she said it that led to his understanding of what had been implied and also his recollection of the way she'd asked about his living situation earlier in regards to Abbie. Those two things combined left him with a sour taste in his mouth. The gall of her to have accusation in her voice when she was standing here with another man whom she was clearly intimate with.

"I'm afraid I must take my leave," he said abruptly, making his way to the door before turning back, completely avoiding looking at her. "It was... interesting to make your acquaintance, Mr. Hawley."

With that, he opened the door and barely heard the man's 'You, too,' as he closed it behind him. However, he had barely taken a step when it opened and closed again.

"Ichabod, please wait."

Everything within him wanted to ignore her, to pretend she wasn't even there, that she'd never appeared to him this morning, but there was a desperation in her voice that wouldn't allow him to. Two centuries later and she still had a firm hold on him. Eyes maintaining a stare with the flowers along the path in her yard, he felt her come to stand beside him and then her hand was touching his arm. Without even meaning to, he flinched away from her, the act causing her hand to fall from him.

"You have every right to be angry, confused, and whatever else it is that you're feeling right now," she whispered. "But I need you to please listen to me. I need you to understand."

Still not looking at her, he let his lack of movement be his answer.

"This is not what you think. He isn't what you think he is."

Jaw clenched, he slowly turned to look at her, this time refusing to allow her green eyes to pull him into their spell. "You have no idea what I'm thinking and I have no further desire to hear what it is that you're thinking."

Storming down the steps without another word, he began barreling across the yard that connected with Abbie's as he felt his emotions storming. Never in all his life had he understood the phrase 'seeing red' more than he did now. The fury that was attempting to break through him in some sort of violent physical act had his heart beating wildly beneath his chest. Everything within him wanted to hit something, anything. As he barreled into Abbie's house, his anger found a place in the front door as he slammed it shut.

"Whoa," she yelled, coming around the corner, a half eaten sandwich in hand, and pointing at the door. "Easy there. What's that door ever done to you?"

Chest heaving, he leaned back against it as he did everything he could to control the shaking of his body. "Leftenant, I need to return to the cabin immediately."

Her face contorted with concern as her eyes danced over him. "Crane, are you ok?"

Shaking his head, he whispered, "I can't discuss this right now. I need to leave. I need...I need to be away from here."

He left it unspoken that he really just needed to be away from her, from her green eyes and her soft voice, from her ability to pull him in and drown him in her presence. He needed to go back to the memory of a lost love whom he longed for, rather than one who was very present and attempting to tear him apart. Why did she always have to have such a profound effect on him? She had the ability to set his emotions spinning with the simplest of looks. So, that was to say nothing of what she did to him with words and actual physical touch.

By the time they were in Abbie's jeep, he found himself in an even darker mood. "Nick Hawley."

"Oh," was all Abbie said as she shifted in her seat.

"That's all you have to say?" he exclaimed, turning to see her squirming uncomfortably. "Clearly you know the man. Who is he? What employment does he entertain? How long have they...?" Trailing off, he tore his eyes from Abbie and returned to staring out the window, jaw clenching and fingers digging into his palms. "I simply want to know if she-"

"He's a good guy, Crane," she said softly. "A good guy that I personally do not believe she is in any way, shape, or form in love with. I think they're just..." She trailed off, obviously deciding to say something else. "Listen, if I'd known about Kat and you...Why didn't you tell me about her?"

With a tired shrug, he sighed, "It was too painful to mention her. I didn't think I'd ever see her again. I thought..." Unable to even utter the fact that when he'd found her grave, he'd nearly fallen to pieces in grief, he stared down at his hands and whispered, "I've been mourning her all this time."

"How long were you two together? It seemed serious from what I saw back there."

"We-It was complicated," he answered, unsure how to explain exactly what he and Katrina had been.

Pausing for the carriage to roll past, he took a deep breath before quickly bolting across the street as soon as the way was clear. His body was alive with energy as he hurried to the boisterous building. Upon entering the smoky tavern, his eyes crept over the room in search of the object of his desire. When he spotted red hair hanging in a half up arrangement over a maroon dress, he felt his pulse quicken and his steps slow the closer he drew behind her, afraid that any sudden movement would cause her to disappear.

"Oh, Ichabod," called Abraham's voice from Katrina's side.

Frustration at his friend being present filled him as he plastered a fake smile to his face. "Abraham," he replied, taking his friend's offered hand. "How are you?"

By this time, Katrina had turned and he noticed the mirth in her eyes as she looked him over in a way that set his blood on fire.

"I'm wonderful, friend," Abraham said, his hand retracting to slide back around her waist, which only made his own body tense, something he attempted to cover up by looking at anything but that action.

"Mr. Crane, I trust your journey was well travelled?" she asked with a small smile, her voice dancing with all sorts of hidden promises. Promises he was beyond ready to delve into.

"Yes," he answered, returning her smile. "It was. Though, I find myself more than happy to be once more in our quaint little town."

"I'm sure you are," she said, a grin taking place of her ever widening smile, which was attempting to drop him right then and there.

"Drinks!" Abraham said suddenly, in a way that suggested he'd already taken in his fair share. "Rum for you, Ichabod?"

Nodding his approval, his gaze fell to the floor as Abraham moved past him with a pat to his shoulder. Heart beating wildly beneath his chest, he fought the urge to reach out and touch her. However, when the hem of her dress came into his view from having stepped closer, his eyes trailed up her dress to find her leaning close to him to place a kiss to his cheek. "My love," she whispered, her lips brushing the side of his mouth.

Hands itching more than ever to reach out and grasp her hips, he clenched them at his sides as she pulled back to catch his eyes. "I have missed you," he replied softly. Though, with no less passion than he would have had he been shouting it to the entire town.

Her gaze flickered to the side where he knew Abraham to be retrieving their drinks. "Tonight?" she asked, eyes on him once more in clear hope as she took a step back to place more distance between them. "In our spot?"

Unable to properly form a response as Abraham returned with his drink, he gave her a stiff nod.

"So, Ichabod," Abraham said, reclaiming his place at Katrina's side. "Tell us of your journey."


It was always so nerve wracking to wait for her. The starlight reflecting off the gentle flow off the river held his gaze as he attempted to hold himself still in his place at the bottom of the tree he was seated against. Fiddling with a small twig, he sighed as he contemplated that she might possibly not be coming. Perhaps, she'd been held up, or something had happened to prevent her joining him. Excuse after excuse began to build in his mind over why she wasn't already here until disappointment began to settle into him as he considered he'd have to wait until another night came where they could sneak away together. Heart weighing heavily, he chunked the twig toward the water where it gave a small splash. He wasn't sure he could bear another night without her. It had already been three months since he'd last touched her and it was very nearly about to drive him mad. Then, suddenly, a body was collapsing to the ground beside him. After a moment of surprise at her having snuck up on him so effectively without his notice, he smiled at her dramatic arrival and watched as she hurriedly crawled into his lap to straddle him, her hands finding his face, her panted breath washing over him. "Ichabod," she whispered as her lips found his.

Fingers clutching at the folds of her dress, he pressed her close to him, giving into her desperate kiss as her hands roamed his neck and shoulders as though trying to touch every inch of him at once until the need for air became too much and he had no choice but to pull back.

"I didn't think you were coming," he said through heavy breaths, his forehead resting against hers.

With a breathless sigh, she pulled back enough to catch his eyes. "I nearly never escaped Abraham."

"You were still with him this late?" he asked, a bit of anger creeping into his voice as his fingers tightened around her waist.

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Well, what was I to say? 'I'm sorry, Abraham, but I need to go meet your best friend so he can fill me with the pleasures you'll never have the opportunity to bestow upon me anywhere beyond your delusions.'"

Rolling his eyes, he answered agitatedly, "I hate him touching you in any way. I wanted to rip his hands right off of him earlier."

"I know, my love," was her response, her fingers creeping over his face tenderly. "I did as well."

Head falling back to the tree, he stared up at the starlight. "We should tell him. This is getting out of hand. I don't like secrets, Katrina, and this one is making me hate my best friend."

"We've discussed this," she said tiredly, her fingers twisting the strings of his shirt. "He'll make our lives miserable. He thinks he has a claim on me simply because of who he is."

"Maybe we're not giving him enough credit. Abraham is a good man, at least most of the time. He's just...spoiled at times."

"My love," she prodded, her fingers drawing his gaze back to her. "I agree with you, but being a good man every now and then won't stop him from turning vindictive if he discovers what we mean to each other. You know better than anyone what he's like when he doesn't get what he wants. My ending our engagement against his adamant protestations should be evidence enough. With his wealth, he could ruin the both of us."

"He's going to find out eventually, Katrina," he bit out. "What happens, then? Will he be less vindictive at a later date?"

She stared at him a long moment and, not for the first time, he felt she was hundreds of miles away from him even as her warm body sat over him. "When this war is over, we'll deal with it, then. To fight both Abraham and an army is too much, Ichabod."

Heavily sighing, he asked, already knowing the answer, "So, we continue being a dirty secret, then?"

"Ichabod," she groaned, bringing a hand to her eyes. "There's nothing dirty about our love."

"I know that, I do. I just-" He pushed his hair back in frustration. "It's simply that sometimes I feel as though we'll never be anything more than this, hidden love and secret rendezvous."

Gently her hands cupped his face so he was looking directly into her eyes. "One day, when this war is finished, everything will be made clear and we will have all the things we so desperately want. I swear this to you, my love."

With a nod, he shoved his doubts aside and lifted his fingers to dance over her neck and chest where he fiddled with the chain of her necklace as it continued down between her breasts. Eyes mesmerized by the way her ample flesh pulsed with her breathing, he felt the desire he'd been holding back for months flood through him.

"I need you," he whispered softly. "I have longed for your touch, my love."

She leaned forward to brush her lips to his as her hands fell to his belt. "Long no more."

"Complicated, huh?"

Unexpectedly pulled from his dwelling, he jumped slightly as he nodded, doing his best to push his memories away. "Yes, complicated."

Chapter Text

Placing a soft knock at the door, she did her best to stop the wild beating of her heart, something that wasn't likely to happen, as she turned to look out at the sparkling lake. All morning, she'd been working her nerve up to visit him and had finally forced herself into her car, only to pull over with the need to calm her rising panic two different times. Eyes dropping to her outfit for what had to be the hundredth time, she rolled her eyes. The very idea that she'd spent half an hour contemplating what she'd wear to see him was ridiculous. As he'd only ever seen her in those God awful, complicated dresses or some other less than complimenting clothing in their time, she'd finally settled on a dark green sundress with a white jacket pulled over to give it some modesty. He'd mentioned many times that green was his favorite color, the reason why being that it was the color of her eyes. With a sigh, she thought about how she used to tease him for such an idea, yet here she was, hoping this one small gesture, he likely wouldn't even notice, would make him happy. Bringing a hand through her hair, she tried to calm her nerves, but found that quite the feat. For two centuries, she'd been imagining this day, fantasizing over what she would say, how he would react, but now that it was here, combined with the way the day before had unfolded, she found herself torn between dreading it and welcoming it. On the one hand, she knew she had to speak with him before his imagination ran wild with ideas about her life. Knowing Ichabod as well as she did, she knew he'd done exactly what she had the entire night before: stared at the ceiling and invented crazy scenarios. However, on the other hand, she knew he was going to be very resistant to anything she said simply on principle. If there was one thing Ichabod Crane was, it was stubborn. Stubborn and sulky, something Abigail had reminded her of the night before.

There was more than a slight hope in her step when she opened her front door. However, it was dashed when she caught sight of her visitor, one much smaller than the one she'd been hoping for.

"Abigail," she sighed, her shoulders dropping.

"Well, it's good to see you too, Kat," Abbie said sarcastically. "Or is it Katrina, now?"

Bringing a hand to her head, she pushed her hair back. "I'm so sorry, I was just hoping..."

Abbie nodded and stepped through the door. "Crane on the brain, huh?"

With a tired laugh, she closed the door and led Abbie to the kitchen where she'd been fixing her dinner. "I suppose that's one way to phrase it."

When she turned to begin cutting some celery, she glanced up to see Abbie standing opposite her with her eyebrows raised and arms crossed. To be honest, she'd wondered when this visit would come. Her friend had been far too calm earlier and she knew by this point, Abbie's emotions had to be bubbling beneath the surface, desperately looking for a place to explode. "I know what you're thinking."

Abbie narrowed her eyes. "You read minds now, too?"

"No," she said, bringing her knife down. "That's not one of my powers."

"But you do have powers," Abbie countered evenly.

Nodding, she considered her next words. Abigail Mills was a very hard woman to read. She usually kept her emotions in check for the most part, never allowing others to see past the walls she'd been building since childhood, but Katrina felt confident in what she was now dealing with. "You feel betrayed; deceived. You feel you should have been told the truth."

Abbie stepped up to the counter and leaned forward. "I trusted you, let you into my life."

Eyes falling back to her celery, she continued cutting it. "Is it me you're truly angry with?"

"You're the one I'm standing here with," Abbie bit out in clear frustration.

"Only because you're not able to stand before him," she returned softly, glancing up to take in the seething woman before her.

Abbie stared at her a moment longer before pushing away from the counter and pacing the length of it, something Katrina found curious. Abbie wasn't necessarily a pacer. However, someone else she knew was.

"How angry with me, is he?"

Immediately, a finger was pointing at her. "No," Abbie said heatedly. "You see, we're not doing this. We're not talking about Crane right now. We're talking about you and me and how you've been lying to my face since the moment we met."

Realizing the two of them needed a different approach if they were ever going to get anywhere, she sighed and set her knife down. "How about a trade? You're a police officer. A little this for that should be familiar, should it not?"

Abbie stared at her a moment before clenching her jaw and nodding. "You first."

With a deep breath, she said, "I explained the reasons for my secrets, but you must know that everything I have told you has been the truth."

"You said you were a nurse, not a witch."

"I am a nurse," she replied with a shrug. "I simply failed to mention how long that has been my occupation."

Abbie rolled her eyes, clearly unimpressed with her omission of the truth. "Do you spy on me?"

Katrina raised her eyebrow. "I believe it's your turn."

Abbie pursed her lips before saying, "Is he angry? No. He's silent, and if you know him as well as I'm beginning to think you do, then you know that's much worse."

A shot of pain went through her heart as she dropped her eyes. Ichabod being silent was never a good thing. It seemed the weight of her secrets now rested heavily upon his shoulders as well. She suddenly felt the urge to seek him out and throw herself at his mercy.

"Well?"

"No," she whispered, gaze once more finding her friend. "I do not spy on you. I've only been here in wait. When I realized who you might be, I knew I could expect Ichabod to possibly show up soon enough." She shook her head as the years of torturous forced patience swirled in her mind. "Every day for the last five years, I've...hoped it would be the day." Her eyes fell to her hands. "Though, my hope lessened the longer I went without results. I honestly thought I'd made another mistake and had begun to resign myself to another century without him." A moment of silence passed between them before she sucked in a breath and continued, "You have been a true friend, Abigail, one I did not expect to find when I moved here. Between you and Jenny...I felt as though, for the first time in two centuries, I had a family."

At her admission, Abbie looked away from her to take up a stare with her refrigerator. "Yeah, well, what else is new? My family's always been dysfunctional."

With a small smile, she thought about what she needed to make certain. "I love him."

"Is that why you're sleeping with Nick?" Abbie asked with raised eyebrows, her arms crossed again.

Letting a heavy breath fall, she shook her head. "Do you have any idea how long two hundred and thirty-one years is? How lonely a person can become?"

Abbie held up her hands. "Look, I get it and I really don't care who you're sleeping with, but Crane...He means something to me. So, I don't care if you're an angel sent from Heaven or the Almighty Himself, if you hurt him, the two of us are going to have some serious issues."

"I broke things off with Nick shortly after Ichabod's departure this morning," she said evenly, though admittedly, taken slightly aback at Abbie's protectiveness. "Ichabod is my only concern."

Narrowed eyes greeted her for a moment before Abbie nodded. "Good. Now, about Crane..."

The door opening prompted her to spin around from her place on the porch steps, her eyes taking to raking over his startled face as he stared at her. "Hi," she said with a bit of a squeak, which of course had her wanting to run straight back to her car. Where was her independent nature when she needed it? She hadn't been this off her footing since the first time she'd accidentally touched Ichabod intimately while stitching a long gash along his thigh. The amount of blushing the two of them had produced in embarrassment had left them bright red in each other's presence afterwards for a solid week.

Unsure how to respond to his simple nod in return, she shifted uncomfortably. "I thought-Our conversation was interrupted yesterday and I..." Nerves taking her over, her eyes fell to the ground and she heard his sigh, one she knew well enough to know he was giving in to defeat.

"Would you like to come in?"

Gaze jerking back to his, she gave a small smile before easing past him and into the cabin. "It's been a while since I've been here," she offered softly, her fingers trailing the back of the couch as she looked about the small home.

"You've been here before?"

She turned to find him frowning in confusion. "Oh yes, the Sheriff, Reverend and I have been friends for many years now." With a tilt of her head, she dropped her eyes again. "I suppose we were friends."

"I'm sorry," came his soft whisper. "It's always difficult to lose a friend."

Shaking her head, she replied, "We've all made sacrifices."

He stared at her a moment with something she wanted to call a mix between sympathy and regret before he gestured to the couch where she moved to sit as he took up a place in the chair beside it. As she crossed her legs to make herself comfortable, she noticed his eyes wander down her legs as he nervously ran his hands over his thighs. Biting back a satisfied smile, she pretended to remain oblivious to his wandering eyes as he cleared his throat. "I imagine you have a particular topic to discuss."

With a tight smile at his refusal to acknowledge their past, she replied, "I'd say we have plenty to discuss, but I did have something specific to speak with you about at this time."

"Alright," he said, shifting in his chair in clear discomfort.

"Ichabod," she began softly. "I know things have most likely been difficult for you."

His eyes fell to his hands and everything within her pled with her to go to him, to comfort him. "The Leftenant's helped me a great deal."

Smiling, she offered, "Abigail has always been a kind soul. When she determines to call you friend, it's meant to be a for life sort of thing. Have you met Jennifer, yet?"

"Yes," he replied with a slight groan. "I've met her."

With a laugh, she said, "From your reaction, I can see you have. She's quite the character, but also a fierce friend when the time calls for it." Silence fell between them and she found herself unabashedly staring at him. The number of times she's screamed to the heavens to just let her see him one more time, for just one moment spent in his presence, and there he sat; his hair pulled back, his blue eyes still the most vibrant blue she'd ever seen. When he began once again shifting uncomfortably, she realized she'd gotten caught up in her thoughts, forcing her to gather herself and continue. "Anyway, I, uhm, Abigail visited me last night."

His eyes widened. "Visited you? For what reason?"

"Apart from the two of us being friends?" she asked to which he looked slightly confused. "She's hurting and she needed a place to put her anger."

"Sheriff Corbin," he said softly. "It's never easy to discover the people you love have been lying to you for the entire time you've known them."

His shot at her found its place in her heart, but she chose to ignore it. "She told me the reason for your visit yesterday. The ID."

"Oh," he said, realization washing over his face. "Yes, I'm forever indebted to the Leftenant, but I must admit I would much prefer to have the means to provide for myself."

"Of course," she agreed, understanding his sentiments completely. Ichabod had always been a proud man. "I can take care of that simply enough. Any identification you require, I can provide. As for a job, Abigail mentioned, with the right paperwork, she thinks Captain Irving might give you a position as a consultant for the Police Department. Though, if that doesn't work out, I'm sure there's something else for you."

As she spoke, he nodded along. "I'd appreciate that. The days grow long with nothing to occupy me other than demons when they appear."

"I imagine they do," she offered softly, her eyes falling to her hands, which she was twisting in her lap. It was tearing her apart with how awkward it was between them. It had never been this way before. Even through their years of stumbling over themselves in each other's presence out of nervousness, they'd still managed to make at least the smallest of conversations.

"The Leftenant said you're a nurse in this time as well."

Gaze back on him, she smiled. "I suppose you could call me a sort of private nurse. I travel a great deal, gathering artifacts and seeking out various spells to help us in our cause."

"How do you make a living doing those things?"

Shrugging her shoulders, she grinned. "There are perks to being a two hundred and sixty-five year old witch. I've collected quite a bit of wealth over the centuries which allows me to live in comfort."

His eyes bore a curiosity that she missed seeing. He'd always had such a strong desire to understand, to discover the world and its secrets, but then it faded as his eyes narrowed. "You're immortal?"

"No," she answered firmly, shaking her head. "It's a spell. I cast it after..." She dropped her eyes again. "After you fell, I had no reason not to. I knew I needed to remain alive to be here when you awoke again. I just never imagined so much time would pass."

"So, it can be broken?"

There was a slight hope in his voice that she couldn't deny hearing and it tore through her heart to recognize it. "Yes. Anytime, I wish to resume the aging process, I'll be able to."

When she returned her gaze to him, she took in his stiff form as he stared into the hearth, his blue eyes lost in thought. Then, he was suddenly on his feet. "If that was all..."

Disappointment at his dismissal flew through her and she knew it was written all over her face. With a deep breath, she stood and took a step toward him. "Ichabod, I know you're angry with me."

"I'm not angry," he said quickly. "I simply wish to be alone."

Pursing her lips in an attempt to bite her tongue and not push him, she nodded as she began walking to the door. "Very well, I-I have something for you in my car if you'll just follow me."

By the time she was popping her trunk, she needed the support of her car to keep herself on her feet, her emotions now waging war on her body. She'd walked ahead of him as he'd grabbed his coat and boots to give herself a moment to gather herself, though, she was failing in her attempts.

"What is it that you have?"

Nearly jumping out of her skin, she wiped at her cheeks before turning to him. The moment she did, however, his face fell, but he made no mention of her state as she gestured to the boxes. "I have your things."

"My things?" he asked with a frown. "What things?"

Turning to lift the flaps on one of the boxes, she watched his expression turn to one of shock as he reached in and pulled out a small book. "My journals."

Unable to help it, she smiled. "Yes, as well as your clothes, weapons, and anything else you owned."

He flipped through a few of the pages in clear wonder before looking back to her. "You kept all of it?"

"Of course," she answered softly. "I knew you would need it all again one day."

"Katrina, this is..." His words fell away as he replaced the journal. "I can't believe it's all here."

Without warning, his arms were around her, his body pressed tightly against hers. Shocked at the gesture, she hesitantly brought her arms up to wrap around his back. "Thank you, Katrina," he whispered into her neck as he clung to her.

Fighting the urge to fall apart in his arms, she whispered, "They were a comfort through the years."

He pulled back just enough to catch her eyes with a curious look. "You read them?"

Feeling self conscious, she nodded. "I'm sorry. It's just that they were pieces of you and-"

"It's alright, I just..." Now, he was the one looking self conscious. "I wrote about you."

Her smile returned as she raised an eyebrow. "I noticed that. You uhm...you were quite detailed in your description of some of our...encounters." The blush that spread over his face and neck brought a laugh out of her as she brushed her fingers over his cheek. "Don't be shy now, Ichabod. You certainly weren't then."

His mouth opened and closed like some sort of flapping fish, but no words actually made their way out of him.

With a teasing grin, she added, "The way you wrote about our encounters kept me warm many nights where I was alone and...missing you."

Obviously catching her not so hidden sexual meaning, he cleared his throat and stepped back from her before nervously gesturing to the boxes. "I can take them?"

Smiling at his avoidance of her words, she said, "Of course, that's why I brought them."

As he turned to lift two, he began making his way back and forth to the porch before returning for the last which had spilled some of its contents. When she bent to place them in the box on the ground, she jumped at his hand touching her neck.

"You're wearing it."

Confused, she turned back to him only to find him staring at her necklace. Glancing down to his fingers, which were now running along the chain to the small sapphire that was usually tucked and hidden between her breasts, she sucked in a breath. Eyes back on him, she whispered, "Since the night you put it on me, it's never left my neck."

His gaze snapped to hers. "You've worn it all this time? Why?"

Emotions swirling, she answered softly, "You know why, Ichabod."

Picking up the last basket of supplies, she turned only to let out a small squeal to find him standing only feet away.

"Oh, Katrina," he said clearly apologetic. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to startle you."

With a laugh, she shook her head. "It's alright. I simply wasn't expecting you."

He smiled and stepped forward to take the basket from her hands. "Allow me."

Smiling at his offer, she pointed to the table across the room. "Just set it there."

A few steps later and he was pushing the heavy basket across the table to rest beside the others. When he turned, she was quick to close the distance between them and wrap her arms around his middle. A moment of surprise passed over his face before he smiled and settled his hands along her back.

"I thought you weren't returning until the morning?"

He shrugged and leaned down to brush his lips to hers. "I was eager to return to you."

"Were you, now?" she asked, unable to help her grin.

"Mhm," was his response as he trailed his lips down the side of her neck, pulling a moan from her. "I couldn't stop thinking about you. I couldn't concentrate. I definitely couldn't sleep."

Eyes falling closed, she twisted her fingers in his shirt as he continued his attentions to her neck. "This is so strange."

His mouth left her as he pulled back with a frown. "Strange? You don't...enjoy it?"

Seeing the doubt in his eyes, she quickly shook her head while giving herself a mental slap for the way she'd spoken. "Oh, no, my love." She reached up to stroke her fingers along his cheek. "I enjoy it. I enjoy quite a bit actually," she said with a light laugh. "I just...It's strange because I've wanted you to kiss me for so long and now here you are, doing it as if it were the most natural thing in the world." Eyes falling to his chest as an ache settled in her lower belly, she sighed. "I want so much with you."

When his fingers slid under her chin to lift her gaze back to his, she found him smiling. "I do as well." He reached for something in his pocket and lifted it between them. "I have something for you."

Curious, she watched him unfurl a chain to dangle between them, a small sapphire at its end. Gaze snapping to his in surprise, she asked, "What's this?"

He shifted nervously. "I know you don't want to marry until the war is finished and we can freely be together without Abraham breathing down our necks, but...I love you so desperately, Katrina."

Guilt tugged at her as the sincerity in his eyes bore into her. "I love you, too, more than I've ever loved anyone."

He looked down at the necklace. "It was my mother's. She..." He let out a shaky breath. "She said to present it to the woman I love."

A wave of intense feeling shot through her as she took in the gift. "It's beautiful."

"Katrina..." He lifted his other hand to her cheek as his eyes danced over her face. "I will wait as long as you need, my love. I simply want you to know that there will never be another for me. Until my dying breath, you will be my only."

The knot in her throat was bringing tears to her eyes, tears that held love and resented secrets. "Will you...?"

His quick nod brought a smile to her face as she turned. When the necklace settled deep between her breasts, she reached up to touch the chain as he placed a kiss to where it rested along her neck. The feel of his body pressing into her back as he slid his arms around her waist sent a wave of longing through her, only furthered by his lips trailing along her shoulder. Everything between them had always been so intense. Most of the time, she wasn't even sure there were words to properly describe the feelings Ichabod inspired in her. He was everything that felt right in her world and with the promise of his love resting between her breasts, she couldn't stop herself from turning her head to catch his eyes and lifting her hand to his face. "Don't stop."

Desire lit his eyes, but it was quickly clouded with a generous amount of doubt. "We can't. We're not-"

Pressing her fingers to his lips, she promised, "There will never be another for me either, my love. You will forever be my only."

The unintentional jerk of his body filled her with even more want. "Are you sure? You don't have to, Katrina. I can wait. I'd wait forever for you."

Running her fingers up and through his hair, she pulled him to brush her lips to his. "No more waiting."

It took him a moment to return her kiss, but then he was tightening his hands in the folds of her dress, pressing harder into her back. Many minutes later, she found herself in the back room of the infirmary where the night nurse rested when on duty. His head buried between her breasts as she writhed beneath him, her fingers digging into his back as they gave themselves over to one another completely.

"Ichabod..."

He stepped toward her, setting her pulse to racing as he lifted a hand to stroke her face. "Tell me something, Katrina." His eyes fell to her chest. "It means something to you? This necklace?"

Breathing becoming erratic at his proximity, she said, "Of course, it does."

His fingers slipped along the chain. "I remember the way it would brush my chest as you leaned over me, how it would dangle along my neck and chin as we kissed amidst our lovemaking." He replaced it between her breasts as he leaned into her, pressing her body back into her car. "And how when I was sucking at your breast it would slide between my lips." His eyes came back to hers. "Do you remember that?"

Desire coursing through her, she nodded as his lips brushed hers and breathed, "Yes."

A cold set in his blue eyes. "I suppose you recall those same actions with all the other men who did the same." Disbelief flew through her. When she jerked back in shock, his fingers gripped her arm to hold her still. "You wore it with them while allowing them to do the same things I did."

"Ichabod-" she attempted, but he cut her off, his fingers digging into her arms.

"That was my mother's necklace, Katrina. It was all I had of her and I gave it to you as a promise of our future. It meant something to us." He shook his head. "Or at least it did to me."

"It meant something to me, too. It still does," she whispered, through building tears. "This necklace is my most treasured possession, Ichabod."

His breath was coming out in sharp gasps as he was clearly attempting to control himself. "One hundred and eighteen days," he said, bringing a frown to her face.

"What?"

Blue eyes sliding to hers, he answered, "One hundred and eighteen days ago, I woke up in my tent with you beside me."

Heart in her throat, she brought her hand up to touch his face. "My love..."

"We made love," he continued softly, his voice breaking. "The last time I saw you, you were lying in my tent after we had exhausted ourselves with making love." His eyes fell closed as he leaned his forehead to hers. "Do you have any idea how many times I've shut my eyes and wished I'd stayed beneath that blanket with you? How many times I've wished I would have paid more heed to the feeling you said you had?"

Swallowing down her desire to fall apart in his arms, she ran a hand up and through his hair. "You're with me now."

He stepped away from her, the lost expression on his face tugging at her sanity. "You love someone else."

"Nick?" she asked, hating herself for letting so much time pass before she explained. "I don't love him, Ichabod. He's just..." She shook her head as she attempted to find the words for her relationship with Nick Hawley. "He and I are both...We've simply been a means to an end for each other and I care for him, but I ended things with him shortly after you left yesterday. You are the only man I have ever loved." He turned from her in clear doubt so she took a route he might understand better. "You said you saw me one hundred and eighteen days ago." When he looked at her with a frown, she continued, "The last time I saw you was eighty-four thousand, three hundred and seventy-five days ago." His eyes widened slightly, giving her the courage to go on. "Last year, after four years of watching over Abigail, I finally gave up hope that she was the Witness." Eyes on her hands, she sighed. "I fell into a sort of depression. For months, I wasted away, nearly becoming a recluse and drowning myself in the misery of others who passed through my home. Then, Nick came along and...he made me laugh and..." She reclaimed her place against him which only prompted his eyes to fall closed. "Doubt me if you want, but I am telling you that you are the only man I have ever allowed to touch my heart." With a deep breath, she took in his closed eyes. "I'm going to reverse the spell."

His sea of blue snapped open to stare at her in shock. "What?"

"I know that there is still so much for us to discuss, but...I fully intend to grow old with you, Ichabod Crane," she said in the most determined voice she could muster. "Just like we talked about."

"We talked about a lot of things, Katrina." He brought his hands up through his hair, pushing his fingers through it in a frustrated manner. "None of those things will happen now."

"We're in a different time, but we can still have those things." She took his hands and brought them to her belly, a certain kind of desperation settling in her, a desperation that was quickly taking all rational thought and throwing it aside. "We can have a family."

A frown creased his face. "You didn't want a family."

"I never said that," she answered sternly. "We discussed the possibility of children, Ichabod. We named them."

"You refused to marry me, Katrina."

"Until the war ended," she quickly countered. "This war that we're in right now."

"A war I knew nothing of!" he shouted, jerking his hands from her and throwing them up. "You manipulated my life, positioned me where you wanted me, played upon my love for you."

"No," she said equally as heated. "I never used our love. I gave everything I was to you."

"Well it wasn't much, was it?" he bit at her. "It's not as if I'm special because you've certainly whored yourself to plenty of others, haven't you?"

Before she knew what was happening, her hand had connected with his face, drawing a shocked expression from him. Pushing her own shock aside, she warned, "Don't you ever speak to me that way again." With that, she moved around her car and opened the door, but gave him a last glare. "For the record, I've only ever lain with three men, not the numerous amounts that you've concocted in your wild imagination, and those other two men came to me when I was at the lowest and most desperate times in my life. So, you let me know when you're ready to grow up and realize that the world isn't black and white, Ichabod. It's hard and it isn't always going to fall into the nice little categories you have set up for it."

With that, she lowered herself into her car and started the ignition before backing out. Sparing him a last glance to see him in the same spot she'd left him, she spun out of the driveway.

Chapter Text

"What are you writing in that thing, now?"

Startled at her voice suddenly filling his ears, he looked back at her, taking in the way her red hair was splayed out over the white pillows as she stared at him with those bright green eyes. Leaning back, he brushed a light kiss to her lips. "I'm sorry, my love. Did I wake you?"

"No," she whispered with a smile before tapping his lips with her fingers. "But don't avoid my question."

With a shrug, he sat back up and returned to his journal, but couldn't contain his smile as the bed shifted and her warm lips began teasing along his back. "Tell me."

"My thoughts," he answered simply.

"These thoughts," she whispered, her fingers sliding along his chest from her place behind him. "Am I in them?"

Chuckling, he shrugged again. "Perhaps."

Her mouth now at his ear, her soft breasts pressing firmly into his back, she whispered, "What do I have to do to make that a very strong yes?"

Jumping at her hand wrapping around his manhood, he nearly dropped his pen as he glanced down to take in her fingers teasing him. "Oh, that...that'll do it for sure." When she began a soft stroke, his eyes fell closed as he rested back against her. "My thoughts are always consumed by you, Katrina van Tassel."

"Crane?"

Jerking his gaze up from his place on the porch steps, he smiled at Abbie as she walked up the path to the cabin. "Hello, Leftenant."

"What's all this?" she asked, taking a seat next to him and gesturing to the boxes just behind him. "You moving out on me?"

He chuckled as he snapped the journal in his hand closed, pushing the memories of the words on its pages to the back of his mind. "Katrina brought it all this morning."

Abbie flipped one of the flaps up and reached into the box, a hat in her hand when she brought it back out. "Seriously? You telling me you used to wear this thing?"

Rolling his eyes, he defended, "It was quite stylish in my time."

"Mhm, I'm sure it was."

The amusement on her face was too much to resist partaking in so he reached and grabbed the hat from her before placing it on his head. "See? Perfectly normal."

Abbie laughed and shook her head. "There is nothing normal about you, Crane."

Giving her that, he nodded and allowed his eyes to fall back to the journal in his hand, the fact that he had it in his hand sobering him. "She kept all of it. That means something, doesn't it?"

For a moment, she didn't respond and then, "I don't think I'm exactly the person to ask for relationship advice. At least, I'm sure that's what Luke would say anyway."

"Ah, Detective Morales," he mused out loud. "How is he? Still attempting to acquire that outing for coffee with you?"

"When he's not glaring at you and assuming we're together," she replied with an annoyed shake of her head. "We're quite the pair, aren't we? Great at attracting all the creepy this town has to offer, but all out of luck in the romance department. You'd think there'd be some kind of reward for all of this."

"I'm at a loss for what to do," he whispered. "Yesterday, I awoke, certain I'd spend the rest of my life alone. I thought the woman I loved was dead and today...Today, she's saying she wants to grow old with me, have a family with me." He looked to his friend in confusion. "What am I to do with that information? How am I supposed to respond to her telling me those things? I obviously can't throw caution to the wind and do as she wants. However, on the other hand, I can't dismiss it completely. At one time, I would have done anything to have those things with her. Yesterday, I would have done anything, but now..." he trailed off, uncertainty plaguing him. "Now, everything is so out of sorts to the point that I'm not quite sure if I'm coming or going."

When no response came, he looked to Abbie, whose eyes were deep in concentration as she squinted at the lake. "You know, I was really angry last night when I went to see her. I wanted to scream at her and pull her into an argument, which I really put some effort into doing. Most of all, I wanted to rip that pretty red hair right off her head, but..." She rolled her eyes and turned to him. "Does it irritate you how calm she is under pressure? It's like she has the patience of Job sometimes or something."

Unable to help himself, he chuckled. "Katrina? Calm and patient?"

"What? Is that unusual?"

"I'd say so," he answered in amusement as his mind wandered to long ago days. "She has the most fiery temper of anyone I've ever known. I've received many a tongue lashing from her. As for patience...No. Katrina is most certainly not patient."

"Well, maybe you just irritate the mess out of her," Abbie said matter of factly.

Giving her a withering gaze, he said, "Perhaps."

"She said something last night that really struck a chord with me," Abbie continued softly. "She said Jenny and I were the first family she'd had in centuries." She sighed in a sort of tired way that had him gazing at her in study. He wondered if she was gaining any more sleep than him. With all they faced on a practically weekly basis, he imagined she wasn't. "I guess it's hard to see things from her side of things because it's hard to imagine someone living so long. I mean, when you think about it, she probably watched her entire family pass away. Then, every friend she made along the way, she eventually lost them, too. Top it off with the constant 'Is today the day?' she had going on while waiting for you to cough up dirt and I'd say she's a little entitled to some crazy talk."

Throat closing off at the idea of the pain Katrina must have endured, he closed his eyes. "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying," she continued softly. "That I guess I can see why she's already talking about having a family. She's been waiting for this for a really long time, for you. I can't imagine what it must be like to have something you've been waiting centuries for finally show up in front of you."

"I suppose I should be thrilled that I'm so worthy of Katrina van Tassel's time," he bit out bitterly. "That she would leave her lover and immediately come expecting me to just fall into her arms in joy that she turned her gaze upon me."

"Whoa," Abbie said, drawing his gaze to her shocked face. "She's really doing a number on you, isn't she? Has she always had you this out of sorts, or is this a recent development?"

Releasing a heavy breath, he brought a hand to his face. "Have you ever been in love, Leftenant?"

A moment passed before she answered, "No, I haven't."

Nodding, he looked at her, his eyes burning. "It is the most beautiful, yet completely terrifying feeling in the world. To place your whole heart in someone's hands, knowing that any rough movement might break it. You give something away when you fall in love, something that's so precious, its loss has the potential to completely ruin you... I believe it might be similar to the sort of high your criminals try to reach with their various drugs. That unforgettable high that you never want to come down from."

"Mmm, sounds like something I might want to avoid," she said in a light tone, bumping her shoulder to his. "I like reality."

"No, Leftenant," he whispered seriously. "It's something that you must fight for at all cost. Love is...It's everything. While it has the potential to harm you in unimaginable ways, it also has the potential to take you to places you could never have dreamed of." He sighed. "I know I'm making it sound far fetched and quite fairytale like, but...love is something that I used to think of as a myth, quite like a fairytale." Shaking his head, he laughed, "And then I met Katrina. She awoke parts of me I never even knew existed before. She made me want to be a better person; for her."

Abbie stared at him for a long moment before nodding. "I'll make a deal with you."

Raising his eyebrows, he waited.

"You go out with me tonight for drinks and put this all out of your mind and...I'll call Luke in the morning."

Gaze turning back to the journal in his hand, he shook his head. "That is not what I meant. Surely we can reach a little higher than Detective Morales?"

She stood and plucked his hat from his head. "Oh, no," she chuckled. "You're the one who brought all this mushy stuff up. Deal with it."

Rolling his eyes, he watched her toss the hat back into the box and begin walking to her car. Half way there, she called over her shoulder. "I'm not waiting. You've got me in desperate need of a drink with all of your sappy love talk. Come on, Crane."

With a sigh, he carefully wrapped and replaced the journal in the box amidst all the others. She was right. They needed a night out away from all of their problems. Perhaps, if he tried very hard, he could push thoughts of Katrina to the back of his mind. However, he honestly doubted it was possible. Katrina van Tassel had forever consumed his thoughts since meeting her and he was almost positive she always would.

Chapter Text

"Stop thinking about him," Jenny said, lifting her beer to her lips. "If he wants to be an idiot, let him."

With a heavy sigh, she leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. "I can't. I've waited for this day for so long. To know that he's so close..."

"He'll come around," Jenny assured. "His panties are just in a twist as usual."

"You can't know that," she whispered with a desperate look to her friend. "What if he decides he no longer loves me? What if the magic is too strange, too different?"

Jenny shook her head. "Well, from what you've said, the witch thing seems to be low on his list of worries. He seems more concerned with who you've slept with than any spells you've cast."

Lifting a hand to her hair, she pushed it back only to realize it was shaking slightly. "I promised to be only his. He has a right to be angry."

"Kat," Jenny groaned, drawing her gaze. She knew she was about to drive her friend crazy, but she couldn't help it. The idea that Ichabod was angry with her, doubting her, was driving her absolutely mad. "You made that promise two centuries ago. I'd say the circumstances surrounding that promise changed a little when he went to sleep and left you all alone. What I don't get is why you let Hawley go so easy. The guy was in love with you."

Rolling her eyes, she responded, "Nick loved screwing me. It was nothing more than that."

"Maybe not for you, Ms. I've got this epic love who just woke up from his dirt nap, but for Hawley, it was. You know, the whole time you were gone, he didn't sleep around...much. He seemed to really miss you."

Though, she tried to deny Jenny's words, they tugged at her. Her eyes ventured to the opposite side of the room where Nick sat, nursing a beer and chatting some half dressed girl up in an obvious attempt to get a rise out of her. She'd never meant to get so entangled with Nick Hawley. It was supposed to be simple. Sex and nothing more. He was a distraction from her thoughts, from her depression. But, then, after a while, he'd started staying over more often than not, and she couldn't deny the fact that he made her feel things she hadn't felt since she'd been with Ichabod. He'd made her genuinely laugh and had given her more comfort than she deserved. By the time, she had fully recovered to her previous self and realized she'd lingered with him for too long, he was practically a third arm for her and in an attempt to begin distancing herself from him, she'd taken a trip that had been meant to be short, but had turned into half a year as she had found herself falling back in love with helping people. Never in her wildest dreams would she have guessed that he would have waited for her after so long. They'd only known each other for about three months before she'd left, but apparently it had been just enough to draw him in. When she'd talked to him a few days before she returned, she'd gotten the sense that her trip hadn't put him off in the least in the ways she had hoped it would. Truthfully, Nick had made her passion explode in their most intimate of acts. However, his best night couldn't compare to the feeling of Ichabod's lips brushing hers, or the way they used to pretend that simply standing next to each other didn't drive them absolutely mad with want of more than shoulders occasionally touching. The way her love made her feel with the simplest of touches. It was as if he set her very soul on fire when he caressed her. As much as she'd tried to put him out of her mind while with Nick, he was always there, letting her know that nothing would ever compare to him, letting her know that her life wouldn't continue in true happiness until he was with her again.

"Look, I'm sorry," Jenny said, pulling her from her thoughts. "I get it. For some reason beyond my understanding, you're in love with Crane. I just think you could have given Nick a little more warning. You kinda came out of it looking cold hearted."

"I know," she whispered dejectedly. "It just felt wrong to string him along when all I could think about was Ichabod. It's what I had been trying to do by leaving and keeping phone calls to a minimum, but when I returned and Nick still..." She ran her hand through her hair in frustration. "I was going to talk to him about it as soon as I got back, but, then, I got here and Ichabod... I thought it best to simply cut ties all together. Plus, I knew if I delayed it, Ichabod would get the wrong idea and I couldn't have that."

"Men. I swear they can get more sensitive about this stuff than we do," Jenny chuckled as she leaned against the table. "But, if it makes you feel better, I talked to your time-traveling, colonial lover today."

She sat straighter. "You did?"

"Yeah," Jenny chuckled, clearly amused at her eagerness. "I called to see if Abbie was there and he nearly bit my head off when he answered. I must have caught him right after you left because he was seriously ticked, like panties in a serious twist ticked." Jenny shrugged a bit guiltily. "It probably didn't help that I asked how his talk with his witchy lover went."

"Jenny," she scolded. Her friend, she had learned, loved irritating Ichabod. In all the years she'd known Jenny, she'd figured out that Jenny enjoyed walking the line, something that aggravated her sister to no end. Though, that very fact was how she and Jenny had become such good friends. It was more so a careless mistake on her part that her young friend had been tracking an artifact down that she, too, had been searching for. It had all been a giant mess and one very long conversation when Jenny had witnessed her next door neighbor use her magic to destroy said artifact. Of course, while she'd wanted to share the whole truth of who she was, she'd known it wasn't the best idea. So, with Jenny thinking she was just a regular thirty-two year old witch, the two of them became thick as thieves. If she was being honest, she had been relieved at her exposure. To finally have another woman to speak with about her life, it was more than she could have asked for. Granted, when Jenny had shown up on her doorstep earlier demanding explanation for her relationship with Ichabod Crane, she'd been forced to give the whole story at last. Apparently, Jenny was more upset about the fact that her surprise over having her own go-to-witch to present to Abbie and Ichabod had been ruined, as well as her surprise to her over her discovery of a time traveler. That was Jenny, though. She didn't get hung up on the details. She just enjoyed the adventure for all it was worth.

"I'm telling you, the guy's just horny. That's why he's so uptight."

Raising an eyebrow, Katrina glanced to her friend. "And what makes you think that?"

Jenny looked at her incredulously. "He hasn't gotten any in two centuries. You tell me. Is he horny?"

Lips pursing as she sipped her drink, she shrugged, her fingernails suddenly becoming very interesting.

"Oh, come on, Kat," Jenny pressed with a smirk. "Don't think I didn't figure out who all those hot sex stories you shared with me were about."

Amused at Jenny's words, she titled her head. "I don't know what on earth you're talking about." Sliding Jenny's beer away from her, she chuckled, "I do, however, think you've had a bit too much to drink."

Jenny leaned back in her chair, clearly pleased with herself. "All the annoying, gentlemanly manners in the world aren't going to stop me from calling Ichy out on what a dirty, dirty boy he is."

Eyes widening, she shook her head. "You can't mention those things to him. He'll die of embarrassment if he finds out I ever spoke of what we did in private."

"Private?" Jenny asked in incredulity. "From what you've told me, the two of you had more sex in public places than you did in beds. Your favorite meeting place to screw was under a tree by the river."

"That was well away from prying eyes," she defended half heartedly.

"Oh please, I wouldn't be surprised if now you told me that Crane has some serious closet kink going on and oh, look," Jenny said, her voice hitting an excited pitch as her eyes trained on the entrance. "Seems we're going to find out."

Turning to see what she was looking at, she saw Abbie and Ichabod walking in. The fact that her breath caught with how handsome he looked was not helping her attempt at seeming like she was put together at all. His hair was down and everything. Of course, now that meant that all she could think about was figuring out a way to get her hands in it.

"Hey, when you two start bumping uglies again, do you think you can use your power of sex to make him change his clothes? He's like a walking museum."

With a glare at her friend, she practically held her breath as the two new arrivals came to a stop beside their table, clearly surprised to see them.

Abbie gave a tight smile. "Hey, didn't expect you two to be here."

There was more than a little tension in her voice and she would have spent more time worrying over if it was her or Jenny who was more so on the receiving end of it if not for being caught up in staring at the man who was obviously trying to avoid her gaze.

"Hey, Abs," Jenny said a little too cheerfully. "What's up, Ichy? You look like you need a drink."

Abbie shot her sister a look that clearly said to step off, but of course all Jenny did was return the look with a smirk.

Clearing her throat, she gave the brightest smile she could muster. "Why don't the two of you join us?" She gestured to the crowded bar. "It's kinda crowded tonight. I doubt you'll find a table."

Both Abbie and Ichabod looked as though they'd rather sit on the floor than join them, but after a quick scan of the room, Abbie sighed, "Alright, Crane, I'll get us something. You take a seat."

He opened his mouth with the obvious intention to object, but Abbie was already half way across the room, leaving him to stiffly take a seat opposite her. An awkward silence fell between them as she stared at him while he stared at a something well away from her vicinity. That silence, however, was interrupted by Jenny, who leaned forward like she had some sort of juicy prey in her sights.

"So, you two, huh?"

Ichabod's gaze slid to Jenny's in a mildly annoyed manner, but he offered no words of either confirmation or denial.

"I'm just saying," Jenny went on. "I'm having a hard time picturing it."

Deciding to throw herself into the conversation, awkward as it may be, instead of dissolving into a mess over why he wouldn't look at her, she said, "Why not?"

Jenny shrugged. "Because he's so tightly wound, I'm not sure he would know how to have a good time if it was staring him in the face and you're..." She chuckled. "Let's just say, you're a little more out there."

Ichabod shifted in his seat to face Jenny. "I am not tightly wound. I'm perfectly capable of enjoying myself when the time is appropriate."

With a smirk, Jenny leaned forward. "Perhaps, but you know, British, I learned some interesting things about you."

His eyebrows shot up as he stared at Jenny. "And what might that be? Obviously it wasn't how to properly uphold yourself in a public setting."

Shocked at the return Ichabod had given, she looked at her friend who looked ready to pounce. "Jenny," she bit out under her breath, which her friend ignored.

Ichabod shot her a quick glance before training his eyes back on her friend.

"It's funny you should bring up inappropriate behavior in public and how you know the appropriate time to do certain things because I heard you are quite the skilled man at inappropriate public behavior."

"Skilled?" Ichabod asked with a frown. "What are you referring to?"

"Well, a while back, Kat and I had a conversation about the most interesting places we'd ever had sex."

"Oh God," she whispered, leaning her head to her hand when she noticed Ichabod's eyes grow to the size of quarters.

Abbie, who had just returned, shot her sister a startled look before her gaze flickered to Ichabod. "Jenny!"

"Don't worry, Abbie," Jenny assured, with a reassuring look to her sister. "I'm not gonna tell Crane about any of your adventures."

Ichabod cleared his throat. "I agree with the Leftenant. This is highly inappropriate."

Jenny shrugged. "I just wanted to give you a chance to confirm or deny, Ichy."

Ichabod frowned. "Excuse me?"

Jenny patted her arm causing her to cover her eyes. "Kat shared hers and I was just curious if it was you. I guess it wasn't. You're clearly too much of a prude to get head in a church confessional."

There was a long moment where she was sure all the air had been sucked out of the room as their table went completely silent. Unable to resist sliding her hand from her face to gauge his reaction, she found that what she saw actually worried her. He didn't look as though he were breathing at all. His body was rigid and his eyes were glued to the table as though in a trance.

"Reminiscing, Crane?" Jenny asked, the tone of her voice filled with delight.

Ichabod jerked his head up, his eyes immediately seeking hers out. There was a great deal going on in those blue eyes, but before she could properly pinpoint exactly what was dominant, he suddenly stood, his chair toppling back which made him jump in surprise. With a startled look about the bar, he quickly began walking toward the restrooms.

"Oh my God, Jenny," Abbie bit out, swatting her sister's arm. "Are you off your meds? How much have you had to drink?"

"What?" Jenny asked as though she were talking about the weather. "He was being all high and mighty. I needed to bring him down a peg or two. Besides," she added with a sly smile. "Don't tell me you weren't curious. I was honestly shocked at the things I now know he's done."

"No," Abbie said quickly. "I don't want to know those things about Crane and I certainly did not want the images that are now circling in my head." She shook her head and lifted her glass to her lips. "I feel like I need to brush my teeth or something, now."

"You haven't heard anything, yet. Kat isn't the only one who's ventured south of the belt with her mouth." Jenny looked at her oddly. "Or would it be north of the hem line back then?" She waved her hand as if dismissing the question. "Whatever you want to call it, it's freaking weird to think of that uptight, colonial dude doing it."

With a sigh, Katrina stood. "I'll go check on him. I'm sure he's furious with me." She looked at Abbie. "Don't let her leave on her own."

Abbie cast her sister a not so pleasant look that only a sister could give. "Yeah. I've got her. We're going to have a serious talk about boundaries and what I meant when I said no more secrets."

Hoping that situation didn't worsen in her absence, she began making her way from the tables and was halfway to the restroom when Nick was suddenly in front of her. "Kat, we need to talk."

Perfect. Today was not her day. Bringing her hand up to stop him from touching her, she shook her head. "There's nothing more to say."

When she tried to step around him, he grabbed her arm. "Yeah, there is. You can't just dump a guy with no reason other than it's not working out anymore."

"Dump you?" she asked incredulously. "I never had you to dump you, Nick. We were just friends who messed around."

He rolled his eyes. "I don't care what you want to call it, Kat. We were fine before you left and now, what? We're suddenly not? We talked three days ago before you boarded your plane. We made plans."

"Nick," she groaned, not fully equipped to deal with this, especially considering that his voice was slurred indicating he'd had entirely too much to drink. "We made plans so I could talk to you about ending this. I just...Please, I don't have time for this right now."

With that, she removed his hand and continued around the corner, not even pausing to consider she was entering the men's restroom. She got a few odd looks, but ignored them as she found Ichabod not to be among the patrons relieving themselves. Backing out, she looked down the hallway and noticed the back exit. Hurrying to it, she pushed it open and stepped out into the night air and sure enough, there he was, pacing down the alley, mumbling to himself about what she was sure was her inappropriate behavior. One deep breath later and she was walking toward him.

"Ichabod-"

At her voice, he spun to her and pointed an accusing finger. "Why? Why would you tell her that!? Of all the things in the world to converse about, Katrina!"

Shrugging her shoulders, she glanced to her sleeve which she was picking at as a means to avoid his heated glare. "We were kinda drunk and sharing stories..." She trailed off before looking back to him with a small smile. "She was impressed if that means anything at all." When he didn't seem moved by her lighthearted words, she sighed, "It's my favorite story, Ichabod, and I just wanted to beat hers."

He huffed before dramatically waving his hands. "That was a personal moment between us, Katrina. I cannot believe you told her about our lovemaking."

"Lovemaking?" she asked with a laugh she simply couldn't help. "I had my mouth around your cock in a church, Ichabod. I'd hardly call that lovemaking."

His surprise showed all over his face as he abruptly turned to stare at the wall.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, closing the distance between them in the hopes that if she just touched him she could calm him down. "Jenny was just having a laugh and it probably didn't help that she's a little drunk."

"What else did you tell her?" he asked accusingly, though to her confusion, slightly short of breath.

Another shrug drew her eyes to her boots. "I don't know. All the interesting stuff, I guess. Barns, Alleys, Rivers..." She chuckled. "We really weren't into beds."

The next thing she knew, her back was against the building with his body pressing hard into her. Eyes jumping to his in shock, she found him staring at her mouth and if the desire hadn't already been present in his heated gaze, then she would have known its presence in his pants as he pressed into her intimately.

"Tell me," he whispered, his warm breath washing over her face. "Tell me the things you said."

When his hips jerked into hers, she moaned. "Ichabod, please, just...I need you."

His mouth met the side of her neck with a ferociousness she had missed dearly, his hands sliding up her body and over her breasts possessively. Jenny had been right. He wanted her. He wanted her desperately. Hands sliding up his back, she lifted her leg to slide along his, craving that familiar friction.

"I've dreamed of you being inside me again," she whispered into his ear. "That's what you want, isn't it? You want to be inside me."

His response came in one of his hands finding its way beneath her shirt, his fingers scratching along her side as the other slid under her skirt to the back of her thigh where he pulled it up around his hip, making room for him to thrust against her.

"Oh, God, yes," she moaned as she finally got her hands where she wanted them; tangled in his long hair. With his middle thrusting into her and his mouth sucking at all the available skin he could find, she allowed it all to wash over her. Ichabod had always been such a possessive lover. After they'd finally gotten comfortable enough with each other in the early days of their intimate acts, a side of him she never would have expected had made itself known. At times, he'd taken her so unexpectedly and roughly, she had considered he might be possessed, but then he never failed to calm himself and love her in the aftermath. She only hoped they could find their way back to that. Mouth sliding along his jaw, she pulled him back to her, wanting to taste him. However, the moment her lips finally met his, he was abruptly torn from her. Eyes snapping open, it took her a moment to realize that Ichabod was now on the ground with Nick standing over him.

"Nick, what is the matter with you?" she bit out with force, shoving him away and moving to help Ichabod up. "Ichabod, are you ok?"

"This is the reason you broke up with me so suddenly?" Nick shouted as he righted himself. "Him?"

Once Ichabod was on his feet, she threw Nick a glare. "You're drunk, Nick. Go back inside."

"I'm not going anywhere," he bit out, stumbling forward. "You're gonna tell me what the hell you're doing letting this guy feel you up out here like some kind of whore."

Ichabod tensed beside her and she knew if she didn't get a handle on this, she'd have both of them throwing punches. Hand on his arm to hold him still in case he decided to do something rash, she stared at Nick.

"Ichabod and I..." she sighed as she decided to just tell the truth. "We have a past relationship from a very long time ago. We were together for a really long time, but then we were separated and he only just returned...and we...reconnected."

Nick frowned at her incredulously. "What does that even mean, Kat? He's an old boyfriend that you're screwing?"

"I'm in love with him," she whispered, to which Nick drew back in a mix between disgust and what she knew to be hurt. "Nick, I'm so sorry. I never meant..."

"To what, Kat?" he bit out. "So, he's the reason you stayed so closed off from me? I thought you just had commitment issues, not that you were just screwing me until the guy you really wanted came back."

Heart in her throat, she opened her mouth, but no words came out. Try as she may, she couldn't wrap her mind around what was happening. Nick and her, while they had become close, had never been anywhere near close to what he was describing. He was one of those guys that slept around. He wasn't supposed to get so attached, but, once again, it seemed Jenny had been right and she'd just been too selfish and short-sighted to see it.

When she gave no further answer, Nick threw his hands up and stormed back into the bar. The moment the door slammed closed, she turned from Ichabod and ran her hands through her hair in an attempt to sort her thoughts out. Things were not supposed to go this way. This wasn't how the past two centuries of waiting were supposed to unfold.

"Did you know how he felt?"

With a sigh, she turned back to Ichabod. "I don't know," she whispered. "Maybe. I guess...I might have known." She ran her hands over her face. "God, I'm so selfish. I used him to make myself feel better and..."

Ichabod nodded, his eyes falling to his boots.

"I don't love him," she said firmly, clearly seeing the thoughts running through his head. "I meant what I said to you this morning and I meant what I just said to him. It has always been you, Ichabod." He gave another nod, but never glanced up. "It always will be you."

"Forgive me," he whispered softly.

Completely at a loss for why he was apologizing, she stepped closer to him. "What on earth for? You haven't done anything. I'm the one who embarrassed you and got you punched in the face."

His eyes hesitantly met hers before he gestured to the wall where he'd had her pressed minutes before. "I shouldn't have..."

"Oh, Ichabod," she said with a light laugh. "You don't have to apologize for that. It's nothing we haven't done hundreds of times before."

"Yes, I do," he said firmly. "It was inappropriate given our circumstances. I allowed my feelings to control me and I shouldn't have."

Doing her best not to feel too disappointed, she smiled. "Well, even though I find it completely unnecessary, I accept your apology." When he nodded, she couldn't help but add, "But I admit, I do take pleasure in the fact that your feelings told you to do such a thing."

The slight blush that crept over his face as he shifted uncomfortably brought a familiar warmth to her. How many blushes had she brought out of this man in all the time she'd known him? Closing the distance between them, she reached up to touch his cut lip. "Come home with me. I can take care of that."

"Katrina..." he said, clearly about to give reason to say no.

"I can clean you up, heal you, and then take you home if that's what you want," she said, hoping it might be enough to persuade him.

When his eyes returned to hers, a moment of hesitation occurred, but then he nodded. "Alright."

Finally releasing a breath of relief, she slid her hand down his arm and nervously tangled her fingers with his. When he didn't immediately object and pull away, she gave him a small smile which he returned just enough to lighten her heart before leading him out of the alley. As he plopped down into the seat next to her, she pulled out her phone to send Abbie a text, letting her know she had Ichabod.

"This is a nice car," he said, running his fingers over the dash.

Giving him a smile, she said, "Yeah."

"What kind is it? It's not like the Leftenant's."

"BMW," she answered, glad to have a simple subject to discuss. "It gets me from place to place."

He raised an eyebrow as he cast her a sideways glance. "I was under the impression you didn't enjoy material things, especially not expensive things."

Chuckling, she pulled out onto the road. "I never said I didn't enjoy them. I simply never found the use for them if they weren't a necessity."

"Very well," he muttered, fiddling with his seatbelt. "I find the majority of the things in this era of little necessity."

"Is that so?" she asked in amusement, just knowing she was about to get an earful.

Chapter Text

By the time she was leading him through her front door, she'd received quite the lecture on the inconveniences of plastic and how much of a nuisance it was. His disdain over the present time he found himself in filled her with more amusement than she'd experienced in quite some time.

"Just sit here," she said, gesturing to the couch before moving to the kitchen for what she needed to clean him up. Upon returning to him, she smiled as she took a moment to take in his straight back form. "It's been a long time since I've seen someone sit so proper."

The slight nervousness that flashed over his features didn't escape her notice as she took a seat next to him, nor did she miss the tell tale fidgeting and flexing of his fingers. Bringing up a damp cloth, she touched the side of his lip where a bit of blood was still present. "I'm so sorry this happened," she finally whispered. "I never thought he would do something like that. He's not the type."

Ichabod shrugged, his eyes falling to the floor. "What are men to fight for if not love?"

"There is no love to fight for between Nick and I," she answered softly. "Before I returned, he and I hadn't even seen each other in six months and had barely had as many conversations over that course of time. Does that honestly sound like two people in love to you? You and I wrote letters every day we were apart. Every little thing was significant and we wanted each other to know what was happening in the other's life."

When he gave no answer, she sighed. "Do you want the whole truth about Nick and I? Because if our roles were reversed, I'd want to know every last detail about the woman who dared to touch you."

A heavy breath fell from him as he turned to her, his blue eyes dancing all over her face. "Tell me."

A bit less confident with him now staring at her, she started, "As I said before, he came into my life shortly after I lost faith in Abigail being the Second Witness. I uhm...Jenny forced me out of my house to help with some things she was doing at the time and we bumped into Nick." Shrugging her shoulders, she added, "He's really into the whole treasure hunter type stuff, so we all became colleagues of sorts." Unable to look at him, she dropped her eyes to her hands. "I knew he was interested in me and one night we all went out for drinks and..."

"You made love to him," he said dejectedly.

Eyes jerking up, she took in his hurt face and reached for his hand. "No, my love, it wasn't like that. It was just sex."

His gaze lifted back to hers. "Nothing is ever just sex, Katrina. Especially not when you continue in it."

"Ichabod-"

"You can't sit there and tell me that you spent however long it was with him and never felt anything."

Feeling a generous amount of desperation begin to build, she shook her head. "You're right. I did feel things and, honestly, given enough time, I could have loved him."

At that, he attempted to pull his hands away, but she refused to allow it. "But I never would have been happy. Could I have loved him? Even had a family with him? Yes." Lifting a hand, she brushed some fallen hair from his eyes. "But it never would have been what I truly wanted. Even when Nick and I were together, really together, I would look at him and...sometimes I literally wanted to cry right in the middle of the act because I was always missing that feeling; that burning, overwhelming feeling that if I didn't get closer to my lover, I'd die." She caught his eyes. "Do you know that feeling?"

"Yes," he whispered, his voice cracking with emotion. "I know it."

"Sometimes, all I could think of was how you used to lean over me as you made love to me and you would just...stare at me. Not lustfully, or with desire, but...like I was your air and without me, your life would end."

When nothing else was said, she reached up and with barely a flicker of her magic, the cut closed, all sign of his injury gone. Running her hand up his face to push his hair back, she whispered, "There. Good as new."

With a frown, he touched his lip. "I don't feel anything."

The wonder in his blue eyes filled her with inexplicable joy. "You're not freaked out? By the magic, I mean? I know it must be a great deal to take in."

She wasn't sure if he knew how much his next words could either lift her up or tear her down. So much time had been spent on her part attempting to discern what his reaction would be, but no matter how much she assured herself that he would accept her, irrational doubt still clung to her.

"It's a part of you," he answered softly. "It was a part of you when I loved you most. If I would have looked at you differently, it would only have been because I revered you more."

At a loss for a response to such a declaration, her hands held her gaze as a smile slowly came to her face, prompting her to lift her eyes back to him. "I have a gift for you, something that belongs to you."

His eyebrows shot up. "A gift? I thought all of my things...?"

Shaking her head, she stood up and held out her hand to him. "Those were from me. This isn't."

She could see that curiosity she so loved creeping over his face as he stared at her offered hand. When he finally released a breath and accepted it, she grinned and began leading him down the hallway. With a chuckle at his hesitant steps and nervous glances at each room, she pulled him to the last door, which was already open, and waved her hand so the bedside lamp switched on.

"Did you just-?" he asked, his eyes wide as he pointed at the lamp.

Turning to him, she held up her free hand and wiggled her fingers with a grin. "Magic is a wonderful thing."

A small nod was his response as his gaze swept over her bedroom. She watched him take it all in with a bit of nervousness. This was, after all, her most personal of spaces. If he wasn't comfortable here, she wasn't sure what she would say exactly. When he pulled from her and walked across the room to the far wall, she smiled at what had caught his attention. It was the very thing she'd brought him here for.

"Do you recall it?" she asked, stepping up beside him as he reached up to touch the frame that held a painting of a colorful sky back dropping a lone oak tree.

"Recall it? It's the painting that hung over the mantle in my mother's room."

"It is," she answered softly.

With wide eyes, he turned to her. "How did you come to possess it?"

Taking a deep breath, she started what she knew was going to be a story that would take a toll on them both. "After you fell on the battlefield and I was sure any suspicion was gone from me, I began my search for a way to unbind you from the Horseman. My search led me to England."

"You visited my mother," he concluded turning to her fully, his eagerness showing in his blue eyes.

"I did," she answered with a small smile. "I knew what she meant to you and I just..." Shaking her head, her eyes fell to her hands as she spoke the next part. "She was ill when I arrived."

"Ill?"

The tone of his voice brought her eyes back to his, which were filled with concern. "Yes. She'd come down with an illness weeks before and...she never regained her strength."

He nodded as he tore his eyes from her and stiffly turned back to the painting.

Swallowing her desire to reach out and comfort him, she continued, "I was brought in to see her as she was bed ridden. I'm not sure what I had imagined before, but seeing her... She was a such a beautiful woman."

When she managed to catch a glimpse of his eyes, her heart felt as though it was breaking at the unshed tears glistening there.

"As I stood at her bedside, I wasn't sure how to introduce myself; your lover, your friend? Should I lie and say I was your wife? It was something I had been struggling with since the moment I had decided to visit her. However, before I could even get a word out of my mouth, she spoke and shocked me to my core."

His eyes slid to her in obvious curiosity even as he clearly attempted to control his emotions.

"She said, "My son loves you'."

His face creased in a frown as he blinked rapidly. "I don't understand."

Shaking her head, she softly laughed, "Neither did I, at first, but then she gestured me to sit beside her. When I did, she reached up and laid her hand over my necklace." To reinforce her words, she grasped the jewel around her neck in her fingers.

A tear finally escaped him as he reached to touch the jewel as well. "She knew I would only give to the woman I loved."

After a moment of him staring at the jewel as though he were in another place, she went on, "When it came down to it, I couldn't lie to her. She was lying there, so helpless, so trusting, and her eyes were just like yours. I couldn't look into your eyes and utter another lie." Gaze back on him to find him staring at her, she said, "I told her everything."

His hand fell as he stepped back, his eyebrows up as his pain seemed to pass away to be replaced with shock. "Everything?"

"Everything," she repeated. "And when I was done, I laid my hand over hers and told her that I could prove it all by restoring her."

"You healed my mother?" he asked, more than slight hope in his voice.

Gaze dropping again, she shook her head. "No."

"What do you mean? You said-"

"She was tired, Ichabod," she cut in softly. "She was ready to move on."

When she heard his breathing quicken, she glanced up to find him frowning at her. "You should have done it anyway. You should have-"

"Forced her to go on in a world her son no longer existed in?" she cut in again, though with more force. "Forced her to live an even longer life knowing she would never lay eyes on him again?" He looked so broken that she couldn't stop herself from laying her hand on his arm, which he thankfully didn't jerk from her. "Your father was gone. Her entire family was gone. She was ready, my love."

He shook his head as he sank down the wall in a heap of choked sobs. Pushing aside her own tears, she knelt beside him and wrapped her arms around him. "I remained with her. We shared stories of you. She said you always loved this painting. That you would stare at it for hours with her, naming all the colors when you were a boy. She wanted you to have it." Resting her chin atop his head, she whispered, "She was so happy knowing that you had found love. She said it was all she'd ever wanted for you; for you to know love."

She wasn't sure how long they remained like that, but it wasn't until he was pulling back that she finally released her tight hold on him to catch his eyes. It was the way he was looking at her that made her heart feel like it had stopped altogether. There was so much tenderness on his tear streaked face and then, to her mild surprise, he leaned toward her until his lips brushed hers softly. It was a light kiss, teasing really as it was barely there. Then, his hand lifted to her neck as he pressed further into her, his mouth opening over hers before sliding off, his teeth taking her bottom lip and dragging off of it.

"Katrina..."

Oddly breathless from such small kiss in comparison to their deeper ones, she whispered, "Yes, my love?"

"Did you mean what you said?"

Pulling back to catch his eyes again as she brushed his hair from his face, she asked, "About what?"

"About growing old with me and..." He blinked rapidly for a beat before finishing, "Having a family."

The hope in his eyes didn't escape her and it was currently causing her heart to swell. "I meant every word." With a sigh, she added, "Obviously, we can't do those things any time soon, but... just as soon as it's safe there is nothing I want more in the world than to finally have the life we dreamed of all those years ago."

His fingers traced along her jaw. "I'm sorry, my love."

Frowning, she tilted her head to catch his eyes which were avoiding hers. "For what?"

Guilt laced his face as he spoke. "For all the terrible things I've said to you these last two days. I deserve a beating."

"Ichabod-" she began to protest, but he shook his head.

"I had no right to judge you. I'm not the one who had to live hundreds of years without my love. If our roles had been reversed, I-" His face contorted into one of grief, pulling at her heart. "I'm not sure I would have survived it." Fingers now running through her hair, he smiled. "You've always been so strong, Katrina. Who am I to fault you for having moments of weakness?"

Vision burning, she whispered, "I would do anything for you. I love you so much, Ichabod."

"I want to say it, Katrina."

"You don't love me?" she asked, a slight dread filling her at his words. "Is it because of Nick, because I-"

Quickly shaking his head, he stepped closer to her, his hands finding a place on her waist. "I love the Katrina van Tassel I remember in 1781, but... I simply haven't learned who you are here, in this time." He shook his head again as he seemed to be searching for words. "You're so different, now."

At his pleading look for understanding, she tried to put on a brave face, but wasn't entirely sure she was succeeding. "Ok. Then, we just..." She shrugged. "We take our time and let you get to know me here." When he smiled and dropped his eyes to her necklace, she decided they needed to lighted the tension, "I suppose this means we're not going to..." He frowned at her so she gestured to the bed with a grin. "You know..."

It took him a moment, but then realization shot across his face as he stuttered, "Oh, I, uhm I-"

Chuckling, she took in his nervous face. "It's ok, we can just... sleep." When he didn't answer, she added, "Unless you'd rather me take you home? I mean, I can... if you don't want to..."

Everything within her prayed he didn't want that. To know he was so close, but not with her would surely drive her mad.

Slowly, his eyes came back to hers. "If it's alright, I'd prefer to stay... with you."

Unable to stop her smile, she jumped to her feet, suddenly full of energy where moments before she'd felt beyond drained, and reached to pull him to his feet before practically dragging him to the bathroom on the other side of the room. "Good. I have an extra toothbrush you can use." She pulled said bright pink toothbrush out and handed it to him. "I'm gonna go get ready for bed. You can shower if you want and then... I'll be waiting for you."

He was standing in front of her purple shower curtains, staring at them like they were some sort of zoo exhibit, and she couldn't contain her excitement. She couldn't help it. She was having a sleepover with Ichabod Crane. "Unless you'd prefer me to shower with you?"

His head whipped around to her so fast she wouldn't be surprised if he now had whiplash. Eyes wide, he answered, "Uh, no. I believe- I'll manage."

Smirking, she leaned up to place a lingering kiss to his cheek. "I suppose we'll save that for later."

With that, she backed away into her room and pulled the door closed before she began bouncing around, attempting to hurry and find something to wear. Pulling open her dresser, she took in the various laces and silks, quickly going through them eagerly as she tried to find something appropriate. She didn't want to freak him out because she was sure he was busy doing enough freaking out on his own, but she did want to find something that wouldn't put any pressure on him, while still making his pulse pound. Nothing too sexy, but just enough to let him know what the future held.

A thought occurred to her and she shoved the dresser shut and hurried across the room to her closet. Waving the light on, she reached to the very back and felt for the material she was searching for. When her fingers brushed it, she tugged it from the hanger, nearly falling over in the process, and brought it into her view. The white shirt brought a smile to her face as she recalled how she'd obtained it. That first time she'd given her body to him, she'd demanded ownership of the shirt he'd been wearing, claiming she wanted a keepsake of the moment they had become one. Of course, he'd grumbled over the fact that he'd just given her his mother's necklace, but she hadn't had any of his protests and in the end had won. Throughout the years, in his absence, she'd often pulled the old shirt out as a material means to cling to him. When she'd worn it, she could almost imagine his arms around her, holding her and comforting her through the long nights. Now, it was going to be the thing that gave him some form of comfort as he actually did hold her tonight.

Quickly rushing back to her dresser, she stripped down before pulling on a fresh pair of panties which she scrutinized hard in the mirror. In this time, she knew the dark green lace wasn't all that special, certainly nothing she'd wear for the pleasure of a modern man, but for Ichabod... well, they were certainly much more different than the kinds of underwear he'd seen her in before. When she actually considered it, though, it was sort of ridiculous. He used to tent his pants over her huge nightgowns that had covered her from collarbone to ankles. Back then, he had been like a dog after another in heat when he had gotten his hands on her. With that thought, of course, came other, less appropriate ones. She'd certainly have a larger choice of seduction tactics to use with him than she would with anyone else, not that she actually thought she would need any such tactics, but it would be fun to keep in mind in the future. She had a feeling she'd have plenty more instances to make Ichabod Crane turn scarlet in the future.

Realizing she'd spent entirely too long thinking about panties, she pulled the baggy shirt over head and allowed it to fall about her. When it hit her at mid thigh and she looked at herself in the mirror, she couldn't help her chuckle. She hadn't been this excited about getting dressed for a sleepover since the last time she'd snuck Ichabod into her father's house. He'd been so nervous over getting caught.

"You've lost your mind," he whispered as she led him through the dark kitchen.

"Perhaps," she answered as she paused to listen for any movement upstairs. When she'd checked earlier, everything had been quiet in her father and step mother's room, but she figured it was better to be safe and reassure herself.

"This is madness, Katrina. We can't do this."

Turning to face him, she narrowed her eyes. "There's an ice storm outside and while I'd face hell itself to be with you, my love, I think a warm bed will be much more pleasant than the freezing cold barn."

A look of torment came over his face. "We could...We could wait."

Eyebrows raised in amusement, she stepped close to him, her hand sliding down his shirt to his trousers where she cupped the rather large bulge she'd created minutes earlier when she'd met him at the side door. He sucked in a shaky breath as she whispered, "Can we really?" With a chuckle, she brushed her lips to the side of his neck. "It's been months of nothing but my own methods to tide me over." Pulling back, she smiled into the kiss he pressed into her as he backed her against the wall. "Have you been tiding yourself over?"

He breathed heavily against her as his hands roamed her body. "Nearly every night."

Unable to stop herself, she moaned against his mouth. "Every night?"

"I couldn't stop thinking about you," he whispered, before grunting as she pressed her hand harder into his trousers. "Have mercy, Katrina. I need you. I need to taste you, to be inside you. Please."

She pushed him away and grasped his hand once more as she began leading him around the corner. "Then, be quiet and watch the third step. It squeaks."

When she heard the shower shut off, pulling her from her thoughts, she practically sprinted for her bed, where she sat and pulled open her bedside table to pull out her lotion. This was something she generally took her time with, but tonight likely wasn't the time to let Ichabod open the door and see her rubbing all over her body. The fact that they were choosing to behave tonight didn't mean he was a saint. He'd proven many times over that he wasn't shy in his want of her. That particular night she was thinking of had been quite the experience. She wasn't sure if it was the length of time they'd been apart, or the fact that her father and step-mother had been in the next room, perhaps it was a combination of both, but it had been one of the hottest nights they'd ever shared. The things he'd done to her...

Quickly throwing the lotion back into the drawer, she pulled the covers back before diving under them and attempting to control her breathing as she waited for him to make his appearance. The moment he did, however, she felt herself deflate like a balloon as she slapped a hand over her eyes and threw herself back against the bed. "Why?" she whined pitifully as she felt a mild tantrum coming on.

"What's wrong?"

In frustration, she threw her covers back before jumping up and walking over to where he was standing in confusion. The fact that his eyes were roaming over her in the way she'd desired was something she'd relish in later. Taking his coat from his hands, she threw it across the room in the direction of the chair in the corner without even bothering to see if it actually made it there.

"Katrina-"

"No," she mumbled as she roughly un-tucked his shirt from his pants. "No." Jerking at said shirt, she began pushing it up his body until he was forced to lift his hands if he didn't want to suffocate.

"Katrina, what are you doing?"

She ignored him as her hands fell to his pants and proceeded to unbutton them. "No."

When he attempted to stop her, she swatted his hands and pushed his pants down his legs, leaving him in nothing other than his underclothes. "Katrina, we can't-"

"Stop," she said, reaching up and placing her fingers to his lips. "I didn't just spend ten minutes contemplating the color of my panties for you to crawl into bed with me fully clothed."

His eyes widened and she could clearly see the desire in his eyes to check said color. "I didn't want to..."

"Be inappropriate, I got that," she finished knowingly, pulling him to the bed and gesturing for him to get in. "But the two of us have seen each other naked and had entirely too much sex for you to be so awkward with me. So, please... just get in the bed, Ichabod."

Despite his surprise, he did nod and do just as she asked, stiffly lying back against the pillow and awkwardly crossing his arms. For a minute, she stood there and stared at him as he avoided looking at her before shaking her head and crawling over him to fall to her side of the bed. The nervous clearing of his throat brought a chuckle from her as she rolled to prop her head in her hand and stare down at him. "Did you even notice the shirt?"

He nodded, his eyes never leaving the ceiling. "I did. It's... I wasn't expecting it."

"Have you honestly ever been able to figure out ahead of time what I was going to do?" she asked teasingly.

When all he did was shrug, she narrowed her eyes and slid a hand over his chest, loving the way it hardened under her touch. "What happened to all of that confidence you had when you pressed me into that wall an hour ago?"

His eyes fell closed as he sucked in a deep breath before rolling to face her, his blue eyes a storm of different emotions. "I feel as if I'm about to explode."

Unable to help her smile, she admitted softly, "Me too."

The hard swallow he gave drew her eyes to his throat bobbing. God, how she wanted to suck at his skin there. "I don't fit in here, Katrina."

Eyes snapping back to his, she frowned. "What do you mean?"

He shrugged, his gaze falling to her chest where he lifted a hand to touch the chain of her necklace before trailing it down to the sapphire which was resting along her arm. "Here, in this time. I'm out of place. The way I talk, dress... It's all wrong."

As she lifted her hand to brush his hair back, her heart went out to him. There was that vulnerability. Ichabod Crane was a proud man, but every now and then, when they were completely alone, he'd sometimes allow those insecurities he kept shoved down to show through. It seemed he was harboring more insecurity over his moving about in this century than he'd let on. "You'll adjust, my love."

"What if I don't?" he asked pitifully.

"Then, we'll make it work," she assured. "You don't have to change who you are at all. I wouldn't want you to; not unless that was something you truly wanted."

"But if we..."

When he didn't continue, she trailed her hands to his chin where she lifted his gaze to her. "If we... what?"

To her surprise, tears filled his eyes as he whispered, "If we have children, I won't-"

Understanding flooded through her. Here she was worried about what to wear for him and he was already ten years ahead of her, worried over how their children would see him. "If-When," she corrected, choosing a more positive path. "We have children, they are going to love you, Ichabod Crane. Our beautiful little boys and girls will adore you for all the things you are. We are going to fill a house with brown and red haired little monsters that will no doubt have us wrapped completely around their fingers." She smiled as she twirled a few locks of his hair between her fingers. "I can just see a little girl with green eyes staring up at you as you attempt to scold her and fail miserably." Tracing her finger along his cheek, she whispered, "You are going to be an amazing father."

"But-"

She shook her head as she laid a finger to his lips. "Don't you know you shouldn't argue with a witch?"

The wisp of a smile came to his face. "I wasn't aware of such a rule. However, I am privy to the knowledge that I shouldn't argue with a van Tassel. I hear they have fiery tempers."

Chuckling, she tangled their fingers over the sapphire and laid back against the bed. "What else have you heard?"

He followed her, scooting into her side, as she brought their hands to rest over her breasts. "Oh, well, they never give up when they get an idea in their heads."

"I might have heard that as well," she whispered, her eyes caught on his, which were caught on their hands.

"Mhm," he mumbled, his fingers lightly tracing the outline of her breast while still threaded through hers.

When her body gave a shiver, his eyes snapped to hers, their darkened color sending an unexpected thrill through her. It had been so very long since he'd looked at her in such a way, a way that said he wanted her, maybe even needed her. He was barely more than a breath away, the likes of which was warming her cheeks as he leaned over her. There was a small bit of hesitation in her as she knew the moment she started giving herself to him, she was afraid she wouldn't be able to stop. However, it only lasted for as long as it took him to glance to her lips. Lifting her free hand, she weaved it through his hair before pulling him down to her, unable to stand any more separation. The moment his lips touched hers, it was like some sort of dam opened as every ounce of desire she'd had locked away for him over the last two centuries released. Ichabod had always been such a tease when it came to kissing her and it seemed he'd brought that trait over to this century as well. He would hold himself just far enough away from her mouth to barely brush her lips, leaving her to lean up to reach him only to have him evade her and press a light kiss to the side of her mouth. Frustrated, she added pressure to the back of his head in an effort to pull him down, but was ineffective as he was too strong for her.

"Ichabod, please..."

He opened his mouth just over hers, his tongue slipping out to slide just barely inside her mouth, its slick texture sending a shot of pleasure straight to her sex. Tightening her fingers even more in his hair, she finally managed to press his mouth into her as hard as she could and moaned into him as she felt her control slip. The fact that his hand was now completely cupping her breast through the shirt, his thumb teasing her nipple back and forth, was not helping matters in the least. When he shifted slightly over her, she felt just how much he desired this as well, prompting her to slide her hand down his chest to tease the rim of his pants. Whether he was too lost in her body to notice, or consenting to her obvious thoughts, was lost on her, but press on she did. Slipping her hand beneath the material, it was only a moment before she was tracing her finger over him, delighting in how hard he already was for her.

"Katrina..." he breathed into her, sliding his mouth along her jaw and down to her neck.

Blinking rapidly through the sexual haze she was currently in, she asked, "Is this alright?"

In response, he lifted his head, his gaze coming to hers, his blue eyes dark with desire. "I don't want to make love until... until I can say it."

"Ok," she whispered, removing her hand from its place down his pants and sliding it over his back. Dragging the hand in his hair down to his cheek, she continued, "We can stop right now and go to sleep if that's what you want. We don't have to do anything. I'm content to simply be with you."

His eyes flickered down her body as he appeared to contemplate something. "I want to touch you." A breathless sigh left him. "I need to touch you, Katrina."

Swallowing down the saliva she was collecting at the thoughts running rampant through her, she nodded. "Ok... touching, touching's good."

A smirk crept over him, revealing that confident streak he possessed, as his hand slid down her belly and beneath the covers. "Do you want me to touch you, Katrina?" His lips met her ear where he breathed into it hotly. "Do you want me to bring you to your end? My fingers sliding along your slick heat?

"Oh, God," she whispered at his fingers pressing into her panties. "Don't you dare tease me."

His mouth fell to her chest, his tongue tracing the chain of her necklace as his hand remained flat against her panties, unmoving, but maintaining its hard press. The attempt to control her breathing was becoming a problem the longer the anticipation of his hand moving built. When his mouth enveloped her nipple through the shirt, she arched into him, her fingers tangling in his hair and pressing him harder into her.

"Ichabod, please, just..."

Shifting her hips up, she tried to attain some friction, but he was pressed so firmly into her that barely any movement occurred at all. At this point, the shirt she was wearing was completely soaked through at the breast, prompting her to suck in a breath at the cool air against it when he switched to the other.

"It's been two hundred and thirty-one years, Ichabod," she whispered breathlessly. "I don't need any more teasing from you."

He chuckled and, the next thing she knew, she was suddenly gasping at the jolts of electricity shooting up her body from his fingers sliding up and down her panty covered sex. Letting her thighs fall apart, she pulled at his hair until he was back within kissing distance where she could latch her lips onto his. When his tongue brushed hers, her moan slipped out, resulting in his whole mouth eagerly clamping over hers. That, combined with his fingers now rubbing more quickly, had her body shaking.

"Yes," she breathed as that familiar tingle began pulling at her and moments later it was flooding her forcefully as she went over the edge, jerking her mouth from his and arching off the bed as she lost control of her body. Everything went white behind her eyes as he kissed along her neck, steadily bringing her down from her high while a slight throb was now present between her thighs. For a few moments, she just laid there, soaking it all in before she finally opened her eyes, sucking in a panted breath as he lifted his head to catch her gaze. "Touching's very good," she whispered with a hand at his cheek. "So very good."

His smile filled her with such contentment as he brought a hand up to stroke her cheek. "You're beautiful."

A warmth filled her at his words to add to her already flushed body as she pulled him down to kiss her. When he rested against her and clearly gave himself over to loving her mouth, she slid a hand down his side to the rim of his pants. When she once again slipped her fingers around him, he pulled back. "You don't have to."

"I know," she whispered against his lips. "I want to... so much, my love. I need this, too."

His eyes slid closed at her touches, bringing a smile to her face. She wasn't the only one who was beautiful. From his blue eyes, to his strong jaw, to his toned body that was often mistaken as scrawny beneath his clothing, Ichabod Crane was an absolutely beautiful man. He was a beautiful man who's breathing didn't take long to pick up as he panted over her, his fingers digging into the sheets beneath their bodies. He was so hard between her thumb and fingers as she worked at steadily pulling his release from him. The amount of times that she'd imagined this through the long years, drawing on memories of all the times she'd actually done this with him, was nothing in comparison to actually doing it. They'd spent so much time learning each other, basking in each other's love and pleasure, that it was such a completely natural action to be committing, despite all the time that had passed since the last time she'd touched him in such a way. When his arms started trembling, she reached the hand that had been stroking his arm to the bedside table where she grabbed a couple of tissues.

"Katrina..."

His voice was so deep and shuddered that it had taken on a whole other tone. Ichabod's sex voice and sounds were some of her most absolute favorite things to listen to, something that only grew knowing she was the one causing them. Only she had ever known them.

"Let go, my love," she said softly, tangling her free hand in his hair. "Let go for me."

And just like that, he was jerking against her hand, his body coming undone and giving her exactly what she had asked for. After a moment of watching him collect himself, he collapsed to the bed beside her, his arms circling her as he burrowed into her side.

Laughing at his exhausted face, she asked, "And just like that, you're going to sleep?"

"No," he grunted into her neck as he nuzzled it. "I just want to lie with you."

With a shake of her head, she dropped the tissues to the floor and turned back to him, stroking her fingers over his arm which was resting below her breasts. Eyes dancing over his chiseled features, she sighed as she considered that he was actually lying in bed with her, something she'd imagined so many times.

His soft breath washed over her face as he whispered, "Are you going to stare at me all night?"

"Would that be so wrong?" she asked with a small grin.

His eyes cracked upon, the blue in them soft as he looked at her. "No."

Heart nearly about to bubble over with happiness, she brushed her lips to his before turning on her side and scooting her back into his chest. When his arms wrapped around her, his face burying in her hair, and his leg slipping between hers, she smiled and snapped her fingers, the room immediately filling with darkness.

After a moment, he said, "I'm jealous."

Smile widening, she nodded. "I know."

Chapter Text

It was bright. Very bright. That was the first thing he noticed when he opened his eyes. The second thing he noticed was the ceiling. It was white, not brown as he was accustomed to. Those two things along with the softness mattress he'd ever found himself lying upon were the reminders it took for him to realize he wasn't in the cabin. Bolting upright, he squinted his eyes at the room around him.

Katrina.

He was in Katrina's house. He'd spent the night in her bed, wrapped around her body.

Eyes falling to the vacant space beside him, he sighed and brought a hand to his eyes only to pull it back and stare at it. The scent of her sex was branded upon it from the night before and it had him sucking in a shaky breath. What on earth was he doing? In a matter of two days and three conversations, he'd managed to somehow land himself in her bed, touching her in ways he hadn't done in centuries, at least in any other place than his dreams. Dropping his hand, he fell back to stare at the ceiling. Then, again, it was Katrina. He'd never exactly thought rationally when it came to her. She could get him to do anything with those green eyes of hers.

With a grin, he leaned against the wagon and watched her. The way she moved. The way she spoke. The way her face creased as she smiled in genuine delight at the little one's circling her as she ushered them out of the infirmary. Such beauty wrapped into one person. It never ceased to leave him in wonder.

She waved at the children as they took off further into town and was about to return inside when she glanced up and caught his eyes. The smile that lit her face sent a rush of feeling through him he couldn't deny, one he would no longer deny. Nodding at her, his heart picked up pace as she began walking toward him.

"Ichabod, I didn't know you were back."

The sound of her voice. Sweet heavens how he'd missed her voice. "Yes, I-" He laughed nervously as he twisted his hat in his hands, quite at a loss for the last time he'd been so fumbling. "I returned this morning."

Her eyes danced over him as her smile kept wavering between small and wide, almost as if she were trying to control it from taking her over. "How long will you be in town?"

"I depart in the morning," he answered, unable to help the quick glances to her mouth.

"Oh," she whispered, her smile disappearing completely. "That's... unfortunate."

Nodding his agreement, his eyes fell to his boots as he wondered where his rehearsed speech had went. The ability to drive all thought from him was a skill Katrina seemed to have, no matter how prepared he'd been beforehand. "Yes, unfortunate," he echoed, his nerves attempting to overtake him. "Katrina, I-I have something I'd like to speak with you about."

"You do?" she asked, her voice small and enough to draw his gaze back to her. For some reason, he just knew that she was aware of the conversation he wished to have. It was right there in her eyes and she suddenly looked as nervous as he felt. "Wh-What is that?"

Unable to stop himself, he took a step closer to her. "Katrina, I-"

"Ichabod!"

Nearly jumping out of his skin, he noticed Katrina do the same as they both turned just in time to see Abraham come to a stop before them.

"Abraham," he greeted, forcing a smile. "How are you?"

Abraham gave a broad smile as he leaned to place a kiss to Katrina's hand. "You are exquisite as always, Katrina."

At her smile, he sighed. Though, he did take pleasure in the fact that it was much less bright than the one she'd greeted him with. "Thank you, Abraham."

With a clap, Abraham turned to him, "Did you hear the wonderful news, Ichabod?"

Frowning, he shook his head. "I can hardly keep up with all the wonderful news that seems to follow you about, Abraham."

There was a measure of disdain in his voice, but for the most part he attempted to keep it light. Katrina, however, clearly caught onto it as she was now looking in the opposite direction of Abraham with a grin.

"Well, let me be the first to tell you the happy news." Abraham took Katrina's arm in his and pulled her close. "Katrina and I are to wed."

Completely taken aback, he felt as though all the wind had been knocked from him as he stared at Abraham.

"Isn't that excellent news?" Abraham asked, with a smile he suddenly felt the urge to wipe right from his face with his fist.

Knowing he shouldn't, but unable to stop himself, his eyes slid to Katrina, who was staring straight at him with an expression he found he couldn't read. He hated when she did that. It prevented him from deciphering her feelings, something he truly needed to do at this moment more than any other.

"Ichabod?"

Gaze jerking back to Abraham, he forced a smile to his face. "Oh, yes, that's... excellent."

"You must come to the party this evening where the announcement shall be made."

Nodding, he answered, "Yes, I would love to attend, but... I'm afraid the journey has sapped my energy and-"

"Nonsense, Ichabod," Abraham exclaimed with a pat to his shoulder. "I expect you there." He turned to Katrina. "Now, why don't I accompany you back to the infirmary, darling? There's something I simply must speak with you about."

Katrina gave him a last smile as Abraham began leading her away. As he watched them go, he finally released the breath he felt as though he'd been holding since Abraham's arrival. Fists clenched around his hat, he lifted and replaced it to his head before forcing himself to walk toward the inn, his heart in his throat, his future in shambles.


It was nearly time for him to drag himself to the party that would signify the worst night of his life. To stand and watch Abraham declare to a room full of people that he was going to wed Katrina, the woman that he... Bringing a hand up to adjust his collar, he began buttoning his vest. No, he couldn't think of her in such a manner any longer. Abraham was his best friend. Even if the man was a pompous fool at times who he sometimes had to distance himself from to keep himself from bursting, he still cared for him. But Katrina, she was... Before he had to place a title on just what it was that she was, a knock rapped against his door. Letting out a sigh, he walked over to the door and pulled it open. Who he found had his heart leaping into his throat again.

"Katrina..."

She gave a small smile. "Ichabod."

Confused by her presence, he asked, "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be with Abraham? Or preparing for the party?"

She glanced down at her dress, the same one she'd had on earlier at the infirmary. "Do I not look pretty enough for the party?"

Startled, he shook his head as he gestured to her dress with wide eyes. "No! I mean, yes! You're..."

A smile began creeping over her face. "May I come in?"

Glancing back into his room, then down to his bare feet, he hesitated, "That's not very... appropriate."

To his surprise, she rolled her eyes and brushed past him. Unsure what to do, he fumbled to close the door and turned to follow her as she walked to the window.

"Katrina-"

"What were you going to say to me?" she asked, turning to face him, her arms crossed in what seemed like agitation.

For the second time that day, he found himself taken aback. "Wh-What?"

She shrugged and looked about the room. "You were going to say something to me earlier before Abraham interrupted. It seemed rather important."

Eyes falling to his feet, he shook his head. "It was nothing really."

Her boots thudded against the floor as she walked to stand right before him, causing his gaze to jump to hers due to her sudden proximity. "You took time out of your busy day, one you even said had you drained, to come visit me instead of coming here to rest for your departure in the morning."

Swallowing down his nerves, his mind searched for a reasonable explanation. "I always visit you."

"Yes," she whispered, a smile on her lips. "You do. You visit me. You search me out in sunshine and rain. You talk and listen to me. You always, always go out of your way to help me when you see the opportunity."

"Katrina-"

"I want you to tell me, Ichabod," she prodded, stepping even closer, which had his nerves teetering right on the edge. "I want you to tell me why."

If he leaned forward in even the slightest, he'd be able to brush his lips to hers. "I care for you."

She closed her eyes for a moment before she focused on him again. "Care for me?"

"Well, yes," he stuttered, hands fidgeting at his sides. "You're..."

"I'm what?" she pressed. "A friend you care for? Perhaps the woman you care for simply because your best friend is doing his best to manipulate her into marrying him?"

At his wit's end, he said, "Abraham loves you."

"Abraham loves himself," she returned knowingly. "I'm a prize he sees to be won and nothing more."

Gaze falling to his feet again, only to find his toes fidgeting in time with his fingers, he whispered, "He's going to be expecting you soon."

To his surprise, her fingers slid to his cheek and pulled his gaze back to her. "I'm not going to that party. I never agreed to marry Abraham."

Confused, and more than slightly out of sorts with her hand on him, he stared at her. "But, he said-"

"He went to my father this morning while I was out and attempted to buy my hand in marriage," she explained quickly. "However, I will never, for any reason, marry such a man." She smiled as she stroked his cheek. "I have my own ideas about marriage and the kind of man I want and it has nothing to do with Abraham and everything to do with you admitting to me why you came to see me today."

Pulse throbbing beneath his chest, his eyes fell to her mouth.

"It's been two years, Ichabod," she added softly. "Two years of waiting and longing. Please, just finally say it."

Eyes returning to hers, he whispered, "I love you."

A moment of silence passed between them, silence that felt like a lifetime of torture, before a smile that outshone all the others broke across her face. "It would seem miracles do still happen."

"Katrina..."

Not a moment later, her lips were brushing his and every dream he'd ever had was surpassed at the reality of what she felt like, what she tasted like. Hands lifting of their own accord to rest at her waist, he leaned further into her kiss until their matching smiles stretched their mouths too far to continue.

"I love you, too, Ichabod Crane."

Pushing himself to the edge of the bed, he took a deep breath before venturing down the hall to search her out. When the living area turned up empty, he found himself perplexed at where she could be. That is, until he discovered a note atop the counter.

Ran out for breakfast. Be back soon. Make yourself at home. Love, Katrina.

With a sigh at realizing she wasn't even there, he glanced about the kitchen, finding himself more than a little unsure. As this wasn't his house, he didn't feel comfortable exploring it any more than he would Abbie's. To be completely honest, he was slightly afraid of what he would find. This modern Katrina seemed to be full of surprises and he wasn't entirely sure he could handle another at this time of the morning. After another glance about the room, he began making his way back into the bedroom where he went to his coat and reached into his the pocket for his phone. When he opened it, he saw a message Abbie had sent him not long after his and Katrina's departure from the establishment they'd been at the night before.

"Be yourself. All else will fall as it will."

Feeling better just knowing she'd thought of him, he smiled. Perhaps, he should just go next door to her house. Surely, she must be wondering why he hadn't contacted her since the previous night. Of course, if he arrived on her doorstep this early, she'd know he'd spent the night with Katrina and that wasn't exactly something he wanted her to know at this point, especially considering the fact that the last time they'd spoken, he'd been more than slightly irritated with his former lover. How in the world would he explain the night and its... activities the two of them had shared to his friend? Replacing his phone and extinguishing all thought of venturing next door, he glanced around the room. Eyes once more falling on the painting from his childhood, he approached it. It had been such a genuine thought on Katrina's part, one that had sent a wave of emotion through him. The kind of emotion that had him wanting to give himself over to her love and forget everything else as he drowned in it. However, he knew that was a dangerous thought and, for the first time, he considered what Katrina being here meant. Obviously, she would now be involved in their fight against the Apocalypse. No doubt, she would be an advantage they'd not had before, but the thought of her being involved in such danger plagued him. She'd, of course, seen battle and what that entailed in their own time, but this was something entirely different. It was evil and that thought was what forced him to admit that he still had the overwhelming urge to protect her. Whether that was because he envisioned a future with her or not was another matter, but he did know that he couldn't bear the thought of her in danger. It wasn't that she was weak, for his love had always been anything but. However, it was such an engrained notion on his part to stand in front of danger for her. He'd vowed himself to that future; to be her husband, the father of her children. It was his task to provide for and protect her as well as any offspring they might be blessed with. Not only that, he was having a very difficult time imagining spending his time with both Abbie and Katrina in the same room. In his past, his whole world had been Katrina. When away from her, seeing her again, touching her again, had been his main driving force. However, these past few months, he'd come to feel that way about Abbie as well. Not in the touching sense, but in the time spent one. He had spent every day with her since stumbling from that cave. If he actually thought about it, by this time, he should have already seen her once for breakfast, or at the very least spoken with her. How on earth would he manage to sort his time out between them? He delighted in Abbie's presence and company, yet he longed for Katrina, longed for her in such a way as to leave him breathless at the thought of being without her.

With another sigh at his newest predicament, he moved around the room, taking in the red walls and bed, which was covered in scattered sheets and blankets. As he stared at the disheveled bedding, he felt the beginnings of doubt creep over him. Her bed. The one she'd shared with not just him, but others; others he now had a face to match with the acts he had only ever shared with her. That thought brought an image of her writhing beneath Nick Hawley across his mind, forcing him to turn away from it. No. He couldn't think about that right now. She'd explained that situation and while he understood it better now, it didn't stop the pain he felt at knowing another had touched her, had seen her at her most vulnerable. It bothered him in a most excruciating way.

Coming to a stop at the bathroom door, he pushed it open and entered. To say he was slightly taken aback at the messy counter would have been putting it mildly. The night before, it had been spotless, but today it was barely recognizable as the one he'd looked upon previously. Running his fingers over the smooth edge of the countertop, he frowned at the strange collection of items scattered atop it. What on earth did she need all of this for? There were all sorts of wires connected to odd devices running every which way. Honestly, the only thing he recognized was the toothbrush in its holder. Picking up a slender tube, he winced in disgust when he noticed he'd smeared some sort of black liquid all over his hands.

"Planning on using some of that?"

Startled out of his wits, he jumped and turned to the door where she was leaning against the frame. "God's wounds, Katrina!"

She laughed before taking the tube from him and setting it down. "You were about to make a mess with that."

He rolled his eyes and observed her pull some sort of cloth out of a bottle and begin wiping his hands. "What on earth is all of this for?"

"It makes me pretty," she answered with a shrug as she tossed the wipe into a small bin.

Eyes falling down her form, he considered exactly what she meant. Katrina had always been beautiful, but now she stood before him, her body clothed in modern attire, various rings on her fingers and ears. The long sleeved black sweater she wore clung to her form in ways that were certainly pleasing to the eyes and the accompanying trousers she adorned, he noted, also fit her like a second skin. It was so different to what he was accustomed to seeing her wear and while he found pleasure in watching the way the clothing moved with her body, he doubted very much that other men failed to notice those things as well. Unable to help himself, he slid his hand to her chin and lifted it. "You really don't need these things."

A smile crept over her face as she placed her hands to his chest and leaned up to brush her lips to his. All thoughts of jealousy gone, he absorbed the way she tasted of coffee and he found himself enjoying that fact more than he would have imagined. Hands grasping her hips, he pulled her closer to him, giving himself over to kissing her, something he'd always more than loved doing. The way her fingers clutched at him, caressing and stroking his skin. The way her soft lips slid over and between his, her hot mouth breathing into him. Her firm body pressing into him intimately, as if it were made to fit him, only him. She made an attempt to pull back, but he wasn't ready for that. One hand on the back of her head and the other at her lower back, he pulled her tightly against him and felt her smile into their kiss, her fingers digging into his back in reciprocation to his actions. After a few more moments of this, she chuckled, "As much as I would love to stay right here kissing you all morning, I have something I really want you to try."

"Oh?" he asked, curiosity filling him. "I must admit, I do rather enjoy trying things with you."

She grinned as she took his hand and led him from the room until they were back in the kitchen where several bags now sat upon the countertop.

"I wasn't sure what you would like," she explained, beginning to pull out different containers. "So, I got a variety of things."

He frowned at just how much she had brought. "Katrina, how many places did you retrieve this food from?"

With a shrug, she tossed an empty bag across the counter. "I'm not sure. Half a dozen perhaps."

"You went to half a dozen places?" he asked incredulously. "Why in the world would you do that?"

When she turned to him, he noticed her biting her lip nervously. "I just wanted to make sure I got something you would like."

Sighing, he brought a hand to his head. "Katrina..."

"Here, try this," she cut in, clearly attempting to change the subject, before lifting a tray toward him.

As he took in the food which appeared to be eggs, she held a spoon full up to him, prompting him to raise an eyebrow. "I can feed myself."

She rolled her eyes and said, "Ichabod, please just try it."

With another sigh, he leaned forward and accepted her offering. The moment the food hit his tongue, his eyes widened. "It's..."

"Like Mrs. Potter's special eggs she used to serve at the diner in town," she finished excitedly with a smile. "I found this little diner about fifteen minutes out of town a few years ago and completely fell in love with it. Come to find out, the lady who runs it is descended from Mrs. Potter and the recipe had been passed down as well."

"That's amazing," he whispered, taking the tray from her and staring at it in wonder. "It's like a genuine piece of home."

"I'm glad you think so," she whispered as she reached for a tray that had five different coffee cups on it. "I wasn't sure what kind you liked, so... I got a few."

When she began explaining the different flavors, he released a heavy breath and set the tray down before taking her hands. "You didn't have to do all of this. I'd have been fine with anything."

Her eyes fell to his chest as she spoke. "I just wanted you to be comfortable here and for this morning to be perfect."

Staring at her a moment, he reached to lift her eyes to his. "It is perfect. We're together."

A shy smile came to her face as she stepped forward to lean her head into his neck. "I'm sorry. I guess I went a little overboard." She gave a heavy sigh against his skin. "It's been a long time since I've been this scared."

Unsure what she meant, he pulled back to look into her eyes as his hands slipped to rest along her neck. "What do you mean?"

"You know how I feel, Ichabod. What I want." She shrugged as her fingers nervously tapped against his sides. "I don't have such a luxury."

"Katrina-"

"I don't mean to rush you," she cut in quickly with a shake of her head. "I truly don't, my love. I just... I don't know what to do with myself while you sort it all out. You said last night that you were in love with the person I was in 1781, but now... I'm not exactly the same anymore. I've lived a really long time and my experiences have changed me. I've evolved to fit in with the times and... I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint you."

Taking a moment to soak in what she was saying, he swallowed down his own doubt and asked, "Do you know what I loved about you, then?"

"My shiny personality?" she joked with a chuckle.

"I loved your kindness," he whispered, stroking her cheek. "Your unquenchable need to help others. The way children clung to you because it was so obvious that you cared about each and every one of them. You let them know that their lives meant something, that they were important." Leaning his forehead to hers, he smiled. "I loved the way you would smile while tending to the needs of others, listening to them as if every word spoken were the most interesting thing you'd ever heard. You were compassionate and tender. You saw what others didn't; the potential within people that would have otherwise been overlooked simply because of their bloodline and standing in society." He smiled again. "More than that, I loved your flaws."

She leaned back with a raised eyebrow. "Flaws? I don't know what you mean."

He shared in her amusement, but he attempted to get across on his face how serious he was. "Being flawed is as important as being gifted. It makes you an actual person, someone relatable."

She nodded, her eyes falling to her boots. "Are you going to list my flaws, now?"

With a chuckle, he said, "I could. I could also continue listing the reasons I loved you, but... the point is that I loved the qualities you held inside of you and if those are still there..."

She shook her head as a smile finally broke over her face, making the unshed tears in her eyes shine all the brighter. "I love you, Ichabod. I love you so much."

Sliding his face alongside hers, he brushed his lips to her skin. "Don't worry so much, Katrina." Her arms wrapped around his middle as she turned her face to his, capturing his mouth in a soft kiss. Hands sliding into her hair, he smiled and whispered, "Last night was the best night's sleep I've had since I awoke in that cave."

She pulled back with a grin. "Was it? Does that mean you might be inclined to sleep in such a way again?"

A chuckle escaped him as he shrugged. "I might be open to persuasion."

"Persuasion, huh?" Her fingers toyed along the top of his breeches as she sat on one of the high stools. "And what sort of persuasion did you have in mind?"

Feeling his body flush, he dropped his gaze to her lips. "A simple kiss would do."

She raised an eyebrow as she leaned forward to brush her lips to his, her teeth gently biting down on his bottom lip and tugging as her legs came up to wrap around him, causing him to stumble further into her. Having to brace himself with her hips, he chuckled against her lips, "This is hardly what I'd call a simple kiss."

"You should have known better," she answered, dipping her fingers beneath the material and pulling a groan from him as she brushed him intimately. "I've never been one to simply meet expectations."

Opening his mouth to respond, he found himself cut off.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here?"

Nearly jumping out of his skin, he looked to find Jenny and Abbie standing a few feet behind them.

"Miss Jenny," he sputtered as he untangled himself from Katrina and to especially remove her hand from its current place inside his breeches. "Leftenant."

Jenny's eyes made a path down him. "I have to say, I'm impressed, British. I really didn't think there was much to you." She winked at Katrina. "It makes a little more sense now."

Suddenly aware that he was half dressed with nothing more than his under breeches on, he felt his skin heat. "I-"

"What are you doing here?" Katrina interrupted as she stood beside him. "Is something wrong?"

"The door was open," Jenny said with a smirk as she continued to stare at him, which was distracting him from the annoyance in Katrina's voice.

Abbie added, her gaze on the ceiling. "I got a call and thought you might want to come along. It sounds like a weird one."

Clearing his throat, he nodded. "Of-Of course, I'll just..."

Hurriedly moving past them, he practically ran to Katrina's bedroom and shut the door. Embarrassment still coursing through him, he walked in a daze to the chair where his clothes were laying. There was not a moment in his life, past or present, where he'd been so embarrassed. To be caught not only less than half dressed, but also in the precarious position he'd been in... He wasn't sure he'd ever be able to look either of the sisters in the eyes again. Admittedly, he rushed through his dressing. He needed out of the house that Jennifer Mills was currently in. He found the longer he was in a room with her, the more likely the possibility that he would be embarrassed grew and he truthfully couldn't imagine it was healthy to burn any hotter than he already was today. With a deep breath, he returned to the living room where the three women were conversing.

"I'm ready when you are, Leftenant."

All three of their gazes snapped to him, which he did his best to avoid as Abbie waved at Katrina and Jenny. "I'll see you guys later. We should definitely do that girls night." She looked at him with a chuckle. "Crane's only so much company."

He gave her a playfully offended look as she walked by him and out the door with a pat to his arm. Running his hands through his hair, he turned to Katrina, who had moved to stand with him in the small hallway. "I, uh, I guess we'll postpone our day of reacquainting ourselves."

The disappointment was written clear across her face. Though, he could tell she was attempting to hide it with a forced smile. Lifting his fingers to brush her hair behind her ear, he offered, "I'm sure the Leftenant wouldn't have asked if it weren't important."

"Of course," she answered immediately, her gaze falling to the floor. "Your witnessing duty certainly takes precedence."

One uncomfortable nod later and she was stepping toward him to place a kiss to his cheek. Eyes closed, he turned to breathe her in as he wrapped his arms around her.

"You'll call me later?" she asked hopefully.

"I will," he whispered. "I promise just as soon as we wrap up whatever this task is, I'll call."

"Do I get a kiss, too?"

Jaw clenching, he gave Jenny's smirk a glare before making his way to the door where Abbie was waiting.

"You ready?" she asked, with a raised eyebrow. "There was a kidnapping earlier in the morning. I wouldn't have bothered you with it except that the boy was kidnapped by what his mother described as an albino guy with red eyes. It seemed like it would be right up our alley."

Intrigued, he held out his hand to the driveway. "Lead the way, Leftenant."

Chapter Text

"So, what are we doing down here again?"

With a shrug, her eyes darted around the dimly lit tunnel. "I just want to make sure all is well down here. Ichabod and Abigail have been moving through these tunnels and I simply want to ensure their safety."

"Uh huh," Jenny mumbled under her breath, prompting her to turn to her.

"What does that mean?"

Jenny rolled her eyes and came to a stop. "You know, for someone who is such a good liar, you're terrible at hiding your feelings."

Facing her friend completely, she crossed her arms with a frown. "I'm afraid I don't know what you mean."

Jenny chuckled as she moved her light up the wall. "Come on, Kat. You're jealous and you're trying to insert yourself by manipulating the situation."

Unsure what to do with such an accusation, she decided to ignore it and continue down the tunnel.

"So, now, you're going to avoid the issue?"

"I'm not avoiding anything," she bit out over her shoulder. "There isn't an issue."

"You're jealous of the time Ichabod and Abbie spend together and you don't know how to deal with it because you've never had to share him before."

Abruptly spinning around, she narrowed her eyes at her self-satisfied looking friend. "I shared Ichabod with an entire army. I put aside what I wanted for ten years while he fought and bled for the colonies. I was patient while I waited for the Second Witness to appear so I could finally share myself with him fully." She flung a hand to point down the tunnel. "And then he nearly got himself killed by Death himself! For two hundred and thirty one years I've waited for him and now..."

"Now, he's closer to another woman than he is with you."

Sucking in a breath, she let her head fall back to stare at the ceiling. "I'm not jealous, I'm just..." She ran a hand through her hair. "I just want to spend some time with him."

"It's only been a few days, Kat," Jenny said, making it seem as though she were making a big deal out of nothing.

"I know that," she admitted. "Which makes me sound completely ridiculous, but... I love him so much that I feel like I can't breathe at times."

Jenny nodded her head from side to side as though contemplating her words. "Well, that sounds healthy."

With a roll of her eyes, she turned and continued down the tunnel. "Because you've had so many healthy relationships," she said off handedly, which immediately had her slamming her eyes closed. "Jenny, I'm sorry. I didn't mean-"

"No, you're right," Jenny cut in while hurriedly moving past her. "That whole father abandonment and mother craziness really makes attempting to date a guy kinda insane. Throw in the fact that I don't usually date because doing so would require me to dance around the issue of the things I do in my spare time and it becomes really pointless to even think about it too much. So, yeah, Kat," she said, turning around and holding out her hands. "You're right. You're always right about everything."

Unable to find a proper response, she fixed her eyes on the ground. "Jenny, I didn't mean to offend you."

"Offend me?" Jenny asked in clear frustration, prompting her to look back up. "Kat, you're my best friend. If anyone has the right to tell me exactly what they think of me, it's you, but..."

As Jenny trailed off and was now fiddling with the flashlight in her hand, seemingly contemplating what she wanted to say next, she asked quite timidly, "But what?"

A shrug greeted her before Jenny looked back at her. "Did you know that Abbie and Luke broke up?"

Slightly taken aback at the change in subject, she frowned. "No, I thought- I mean, I guess-"

"You didn't ask," Jenny finished knowingly. "I bet you didn't ask about Abbie giving up Quantico to stay here either, did you? You know how important that was to her and you haven't even been bothered to ask."

"Jenny-"

"Or, hey, how about asking me about my life?" She held out her hands. "I mean, I'm not high maintenance so I don't need anything special, but it just seems like my best friend would at least ask me one personal question like, I don't know, perhaps if I'd met anyone during the time she up and left to go find herself on the other side of the world? Because I might have, you know? I might need to tell my best friend something really important like that."

Feeling the weight of this conversation and its implications beginning to overwhelm her, she whispered, "I'm sorry, I've just been..."

"Preoccupied with Crane," Jenny finished for her with an understanding nod. "And I get that, I really do. He's been your dream for a really long time and now he's here." Jenny sighed again. "It's just... There are other people in the world besides him who care about you, but since he popped back up, it's like no one else matters to you anymore."

"That's not true," she protested half heartedly.

"And Nick?"

Rolling her eyes, she threw up her hands. "He was a fling, Jenny! One I was barely coherent enough to even notice!"

"I'm not saying you should sit down and worship the guy," Jenny went on quickly. "I'm just saying that the Kat I know would never have dumped him the way you did. The moment Crane showed up, you turned a cold shoulder to Nick and barely even acknowledged all that he had done for you. I mean, my God, Kat, you were practically suicidal when he came along!"

"I was not suicidal," she shot back as she felt herself begin to feel as though she were suffocating. "I was sad and depressed, but never that."

Jenny shook her head. "Well, you could've fooled me with the way you stayed locked up in your house for months on end, only ever waking up long enough to soak in the misery of other people who came through your home."

"I did not soak up their misery," she bit out in frustration. "I was helping them."

"You were drowning yourself with them and you know it," Jenny shouted back, leaving them both to stand in silence as a heavy tension fell between them. Crossing her arms and staring at the wall across from her, she attempted to get her breathing under control.

"Abbie and Crane needed this bond."

Gaze back on her friend, she asked, "What?"

"You're gonna have to learn to deal with the fact that they're the Witnesses and while the two of us are going to be their little helpers, they're the ones who have to work together through all of this chaos. It's non-negotiable. If you'd have been here when he woke up... They wouldn't have that bond."

"I know," she whispered.

"And something else," Jenny added. "You have no idea how much Abbie's changed since Crane came along. She's not the same person she used to be before him. You and I both know how closed off she was emotionally. She's worse than I am when it comes to letting people in. At least, I let my anger and frustration out occasionally, but Abbie-she keeps hers locked up tighter than a steel vault."

"I know," she said again, unsure where Jenny was going with this. "But I doubt Ichabod has changed her that much."

"You're wrong," Jenny said immediately. "When you've been abandoned time and again, it becomes all about 'when'. When is this person going to leave me? When are they going to find that fault I so desperately try to hide?" Jenny shook her head. "You always expect people to leave you, but, Crane, he literally couldn't leave her if he wanted to. He's had to depend on her for everything and it forced them to concede some things in their lives, like pride and fear. They've built a certain trust and I guess even love since he woke up."

"Love?" she asked, more than a little terrified at the thought of Ichabod loving anyone other than her.

Jenny rolled her eyes, clearly annoyed. "Not like that, thank God. The last thing I need is Crane as a brother-in-law. Nightmares really would be real, then." She shared in Jenny's humor with a smile, despite her nerves suggesting she do anything but. "Crane and Abbie are as close as can be because they really have had to depend on each other. And when I say, he's sorta saved her, I mean it. He's taught her that opening yourself up doesn't always have to be bad and, in return, she's taken some of that pride of his down a few notches by showing him that he can depend on other people. Though, I'm sure Abbie is feeling along the same lines that I am right now with Crane suddenly being all about you; it's like we're losing our best friends. It certainly doesn't help with those abandonment issues."

Blinking back her tears, she whispered, "You're never going to lose me, Jenny. I just-"

Jenny's phone giving off a jingle sounded throughout the tunnel. Kicking at a rock under her boot as Jenny fiddled with her phone, she sighed. This day was not going the way she had imagined when she'd woken up. Perhaps Ichabod should have listed her flaws to her earlier in the morning after all. It would certainly have helped her avoid this conversation by being reminded of her flaws instead of letting them overtake her and force her best friend to call her out on them.

"It's a voicemail from Abbie," Jenny said as she held her phone to her ear. "They need our help with something."

Nodding, she whispered, "Ok."

As Jenny slid her phone back into her pocket, she playfully bumped into her with her arm. "Let's get out of these tunnels and see what they need. Abbie and Crane might be the almighty Witnesses, but you and I both know they won't survive without us looking over their shoulders and pointing out everything they're doing wrong."

With a chuckle, she found herself grateful for Jenny's ability to turn a conversation.


Of all the places she would have thought they would have set up a place to have their secret meetings, the archives which were situated across the street from the police station had not been one of them. It wasn't exactly covert or secure and it sincerely had her questioning what Ichabod and Abbie were thinking by doing such a thing. As she and Jenny stepped into the large room, she took in the many books lining the walls from floor to ceiling.

"I wonder where they are?" Jenny asked as she made her way over to a table on the other side of the room and began shuffling through some papers.

Eyes dancing over the various books scattered over the table, she inquired, "What did Abigail's message say again?"

"That she just needed us to meet her here. Something about a missing boy."

One book in particular caught her attention as she moved around the table to the open pages. "Grimlocks."

"What?" Jenny asked coming to stand beside her. "Demons of the night. Grimlocks consume the aura's of good natured individuals by using the sight of children." As Jenny finished reading, she looked up at her. "You think they were working a case involving this demon?"

With a shrug, she ran her hand down the page. "Well, this combined with the fact that they were looking for a missing boy. It would make sense."

"But judging by this description, it doesn't look like the demon would be that big of a problem for them. Abbie and Crane have taken on much bigger forces than this."

"One wouldn't," she answered with a sigh. "However, what this passage fails to mention is that Grimlocks tend to travel in pairs. Ichabod and Abigail were likely only expecting one demon. Not only that, but Grimlocks are very well known for their ability to take you by surprise. They're sneakier than you'd think such a lower level demon would be."

"Alright," Jenny said more seriously as she walked over to a laptop. "So, I'll just track the GPS in Abbie's phone to see where they are."

She ran a hand through her hair as she watched Jenny type away. "If her phone is even still on. It keeps going straight to voicemail along with Ichabod's." Upon reading further down the page, she said, "If they were tracking this demon, I might know why we can't get through." She met Jenny's curious gaze. "Grimlocks dwell in sewer systems. If they're underground, the signal might not be reaching them."

"Well, what now, then? We can't just search the entire sewer system."

Quickly searching the room, she spotted a candle and hurried to it before turning back to Jenny. "Do you have a map?"

"A map? Uhm..." Jenny shoved some papers aside. "Yeah, there's one right here."

Grasping the edge of the map to turn it to face her, she closed her eyes and began speaking in the tongue she was taught as a girl coming into her power.

"What are you doing?"

When she opened her eyes, she held the lit candle over the map, allowing the hot wax to gather at the edge and drop to the paper. The moment it did, it began slithering across the map before coming to a stop and circling a specific place.

"That is so freaking cool," Jenny muttered as she leaned closer over the table. "That's an old warehouse out on the edge of town. It's been abandoned for years."

Blowing the candle out, she set it down and picked up her phone. "Let's go."


"That's Abbie's Jeep," Jenny said as she shut off her car. "I don't see any lights."

"They're probably still under ground," she offered. "At least we're at the right place."

As Jenny opened the back door of her car and grabbed some flashlights, she glanced over her shoulder. "Do you want a gun?"

With a chuckle at her friend, she said, "I am a weapon. What would I need with one?"

Jenny rolled her eyes as she quietly shut the door. "I hate you."

"You're just jealous," she whispered as they moved along the edge of the building.

"That, too," Jenny replied as she nudged the door open and stepped through, pistol raised. The building was dark and it smelled like dust and old paper, but was otherwise quiet, which was unnerving her. Nothing good ever came from it being this quiet.

"We need to find a way underground," she whispered while Jenny clicked her flashlight on.

Jenny nodded and moved the light around, illuminating the darkness. "Over here."

Eyes flickering behind them occasionally to check for movement, she followed Jenny through a door.

"There's a hatch," Jenny said, gesturing to a hole a few feet away. "It's open and probably our best bet."

Approaching it slowly, she peeked over the edge into the darkness below before looking back at Jenny who shrugged. "I'll go first. Hold the light, then drop it to me."

With a deep breath, she lowered herself down to the ladder and began her descent. There was the sound of dripping water and the occasional scratching of what she assumed were rats, which did nothing to help her nerves. She hated rats. It was just one of those irrational things she couldn't really let go of. The fact that the little monsters were more afraid of humans than humans were of them was well known to her, yet somehow she felt that didn't apply to her because she wasn't necessarily human. Upon reaching the bottom, she signaled Jenny to drop the light, which she did before following her path down the ladder.

"I hate dark, creepy places," Jenny muttered as they began walking. "Why is it always dark, creepy places? Why can't we have a demon of lollipops who gives kids cavities or something? I like lollipops." She paused a beat. "Which is probably why I have cavities."

Unable to help her smile even as her heart began thudding in her chest, she whispered, "They can't be that far. The map showed them directly under the warehouse."

Then, there was suddenly a loud clang like metal hitting a pipe causing both she and Jenny to freeze and wait for further movement. When nothing else happened, Jenny touched her arm and gestured for her to put out the light before they continued a little farther until she saw a slight flickering of light ahead, which looked like it was coming from a small fire. Easing up to the large opening in the tunnel, she peeked around the corner and took in the scene. There was a cage containing a small boy sitting across the way. He was curled into a ball as he rocked back and forth while silently weeping. Abbie, for her part, was lying on the ground next to the fire, which sparked worry in her as she didn't appear to be conscious as her body was completely still. Gaze venturing a little farther across the room, she felt her breath hitch. Ichabod was chained to a wall, his hands over his head, his body sagging weekly against the chains. However, to her confusion, there was no sign of any demons present in the room.

Looking back at Jenny, who seemed just as confused as her, she shrugged her shoulders before slowly making her way across the room. When she reached Ichabod, she lifted her hand to brush his hair back, prompting his eyes to snap open.

"Katrina," he whispered as he finally focused on her. "How...?"

"Katrina!" Jenny called from behind her just in time for her to duck out of the way of a clawed hand swiping her across the face.

Muttering a curse as she backed away from it through the dirt while attempting to regain herself, she lifted her hand to the pale demon just in time to see him burst into pieces, green goo flying everywhere as a shot echoed throughout the tunnel. After recovering herself, she looked to Jenny who was now firing across the room at another demon. However, before she could dispatch the creature, her clip ran out, prompting her to drop her gun and pull out a knife. As it made a run at her, Katrina lifted her hands, sending a burst of energy hurtling toward it. On contact, it followed its brother, exploding in the same manner.

"Katrina," Ichabod called behind her, prompting her turn back to him.

Waving her hands over the chains after she pushed herself up, they gave in, dropping Ichabod to the ground. Quickly kneeling, she supported his large form as he sagged against her. "Ichabod, are you alright?"

He blinked a few times as though adjusting to the light. Running her fingers through his hair, she said, "My love, please tell me if you're hurt."

His eyes finally focused on her as he answered, "I'm- Abbie."

When he began looking around as though panicked, she helped him up so he could stumble over to Abbie, who was being supported by Jenny and was clearly more out of it than him.

"Leftenant," he whispered as he took her weight from Jenny, wrapping his arm around her middle. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, Crane," she answered softly. "You know nothing keeps me down long."

Her words, however, did little to change Ichabod's worry filled face. The clanging of metal reached her ears prompting her to glance across the room to where Jenny was helping the boy from the cage.

Abbie limped toward her. "How did you know where we were?"

Jenny, who was holding the boy in her arms, one who couldn't be older than four, spoke, "Katrina did this map thing with her magic. It led us right to you."

"That's all very wonderful, but is it possible for you to heal the Leftenant?"

Eyes on Ichabod due to his rushed tone for a moment before turning them to Abbie, she shook her head. "I'm sorry. It wouldn't work. I can heal bodily wounds, but this is more... spiritual than physical. It's easiest to say they did something akin to sapping your energy. You just need a good night's rest. By morning, you should be as good as new." She stepped forward and slipped her arm around Abbie's other side. "Which is why we need to get you home and into bed."

Once they were out of the tunnels, they were left with what to do with the boy as Abbie was in no state to take him home.

"I'll take him," she said, turning to Jenny while Ichabod helped Abbie into the back seat of her Jeep. "I can slip in and out of the hospital unseen easily enough."

Jenny nodded as she moved toward her car to place the sleeping boy inside. Turning back to Ichabod, who was shifting uncomfortably next to the passenger door of the Jeep, she stepped up to him. "Are you alright? I was so worried."

He gave a half hearted smile. "I'm fine. It was the Leftenant who took the brunt of the demons attentions. We were taken by surprise at two of them being present."

Nodding her understanding, she reached up to touch a bruise on his cheek. "I can heal that."

"No," he whispered, stepping back. "I believe I've had quite enough magical and mystical beings for one day."

Though, she tried to bite it down, she was positive the sting of his words flashed clear across her face. "Right, I uhm..." She forced a smile as she looked down at her hands and began backing away from him. "I should get the boy to the hospital. I'm sure his parents are worried sick."

Without waiting for a response, she made her way to her car, doing her best to refocus her thoughts.


By the time she'd pulled back up in her driveway, she was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to crawl into her bed. This day had steadily went from perfect to barely tolerable and she was ready to put it behind her. As she locked her car, she began making her way up the walk when she noticed Jenny on her porch steps.

"Hey," she greeted tiredly. "Still up?"

Jenny smiled. "Did you get the boy to the hospital ok?"

Nodding, she joined her friend. "Yeah, his parents were so happy." She pushed her hair behind her ear. "I never tire of seeing those sorts of things. Families reunited. It's truly beautiful."

"You know you're gonna have a family one day, right?"

Swallowing down the tight knot in her throat, she shrugged. "Maybe."

"Kat, come on," Jenny sighed, sounding more tired than she felt. "He loves you. One look at him when his eyes are on you gives it all away."

"God, Jenny, when did you become so positive and insightful? You've completely floored me today." She chuckled. "Did I miss something while I was gone? Some metamorphosis?"

"Hey, I'm just putting in my time with your sappy romance. You know when it bites me, I'm gonna freak out and need a lot of talking down. I mean," she shook her head. "I put on a big show of not caring, but when it comes down to it... I want a family, too."

With a smile, she bumped her friend's shoulder. "Yeah..." Jenny in love. She couldn't wait to see that.

"Actually..." Jenny said hesitantly. "I met someone."

Eyebrows surely in her hair, she turned to Jenny fully. "What? When?"

Jenny rolled her eyes. "God, Kat, don't make a big deal about it."

Now even more curious over her friend's obvious discomfort, she pressed, "How long have you been seeing him?"

"I don't know," Jenny answered with a shrug. "About two months, I guess."

"Two months!?" she squeaked, eyes going wide. "Who is he? Do I know him?"

"You see," Jenny said, wiggling a finger at her. "This is why I don't tell you things. You're so weird about relationships."

Not letting that go by, she arched an eyebrow. "So, it's a relationship."

Jenny stood and started pacing in front of her, twisting her fingers and fidgeting nervously. "I don't know. We're just hanging out and..."

"And...? What?"

Rolling her eyes again, Jenny said, "And you know what. I've taken full advantage of my key to your house while you've been gone."

"Really? In my house?" she asked with a laugh.

"Abbie doesn't know about me and him yet," came her reply.

"Why? Is it that he's another criminal? You seem to love bringing those home to her."

"No," Jenny said quickly before a shy smile came to her face. "He's a really sweet guy and super intelligent, almost nerd like, except he doesn't look like a nerd." She paused and raised an eyebrow. "He's so freaking hot and he has these blue eyes that... I don't know and he's so intense when he looks at me. It's kinda like he's looking into my soul or something, especially when we're... you know."

Unable to stop her grin, she took in her friend's flustered countenance. "Oh, my God, Jenny. You're totally smitten with him."

Jenny squared her shoulders as her expression turned to one of irritation. "Smitten? Really, Kat?"

Shrugging, she smiled. "I'm was born in 1750. I use old words."

With a sigh, Jenny plopped back down beside her. "Yeah... I still mean what I said in the tunnels, Kat. I just... I have this constant fear of abandonment that I usually don't allow people to get this close to me, but he's... He's quickly breaking down some walls that I wasn't prepared for him to enter." She looked down at her hands. "I've had plenty of sex before, but with him... it's so different. I've never felt anything like it. We can just lay there and do nothing but talk and it feels completely normal except that it's completely scaring the crap out of me."

"Why?"

"Because," Jenny whispered. "I don't like the idea of anyone but me being in control of myself and how I feel."

Taking a moment to consider that, she said quietly, "To ever find real happiness, you have to eventually let someone in."

"You mean the kind that you and Crane have right now?"

"Point taken," she conceded with a chuckle.

"You guys freak the crap out of me," Jenny admitted, drawing her gaze.

"Ichabod and I?"

"Yeah, you're both so wrapped up in each other. I'm sitting here feeling all of these things for this guy and all I can think is that I don't want to turn into you two at the same time that I do."

Nodding along with Jenny's words, she sighed, "Love is- It's complicated."

"You think?"

With a soft whisper of assurance, she pulled her friend into a hug. "You know I'm going to want to meet him now. I'm beyond intrigued."

At that, Jenny pulled back and wiped at her eyes with a chuckle. "Yeah, well, he actually wants to meet you, too."

"Really?" she asked, surprised at that information. "Why?"

"Well, he has been sneaking in and out of your house for a while now."

Shaking her head in amusement, she asked, "Is Ichabod inside, or still with Abigail?"

Jenny shifted uncomfortably. "He's actually uhm... at the cabin."

Feeling as though she might not have heard Jenny correctly, she frowned. "At the cabin? What-Why is he there?"

"I don't know, Kat. He just really wanted to go there and as it was on the way..."

Releasing a heavy sigh, she nodded and looked back out at her yard. "Right."

"You know, I was honestly surprised to find him half naked with your hand down his pants this morning."

"Jenny," she whispered, bringing a hand to her head.

"I'm just saying," she defended. "I thought it was a little soon. I mean, last I checked he was ticked at you."

"He was, but then we talked and..."

Jenny chuckled with raised eyebrows. "Yeah, I saw what you did."

"It's not like that," she said tiredly. "We're waiting."

"For?" Jenny drawled out leaning closer.

"When he's in love with me," she said as she picked at her nails in irritation. "This me."

"Uh huh," her friend mumbled. "And you're just sitting around dying to jump his two hundred year old bones."

Unable to stop her grin, she asked, "Does that make me a terrible person?"

Jenny chuckled as she stood. "Well, on that, I think I'm gonna go check on Abbie and collapse somewhere."

"Hey, Jenny?" When she turned back to her, she smiled. "Thank you."

"For what?"

She shrugged. "For earlier in the tunnels. You called me out on my selfish crap and..."

"Oh, you mean calling you out on being a selfish, manipulative, control freak?"

Reaching up to scratch her nose, she squinted at her. "That's one way to put it."

Jenny laughed. "That what families are for, right? Making you feel guilty enough to admit you were wrong?"

Shaking her head with a chuckle, she said, "You should write Hallmark cards, Jenny. Really. Touching stuff."

As Jenny walked off with a laugh, she sighed and pulled out her phone before scrolling down to his number. Obviously, she knew that if he'd wanted to talk to her, he would have. However, she couldn't just let it go. She hated when he did this. Any time he started having doubts, he would close up tighter than a clam. On their best days, it would take her a good amount of time and sucking up to snap him out of those moods. Fingers flying over her phone, she typed, I hope you're well and have a peaceful rest. I love you.

Hoping that wouldn't be too much, she pushed herself up and moved to make her way inside. However, her phone ringing had her pausing.

"Ichabod?"

"Hello," he whispered softly.

Unsure what to do, she smiled as if he could actually see her. "Is everything alright?"

"Oh, yes, I just..."

Turning back out to the night, she asked, "Yes?"

"Katrina... I can't sleep."

His voice sounded so forlorn that it was pulling her heart into her throat. "Why not? Are you hurt?"

She heard him sigh heavily into the phone before his voice came through. "I should be with you. I regret..."

Eyes falling closed, she said, "You made the choice to be away from me tonight. I can't keep chasing you down, Ichabod. You told me to stop overdoing it, so I am. If you decide you want me, or love me, or whatever it is that you're deeply contemplating right now, you know where I am."

Sliding her thumb over the end button, she dropped her hand back to her side and brought the other to her head. Perfect. Narrowing her eyes out at the night, she groaned and kicked at the porch railing, attempting to put all of her problems into it. He was so impossible sometimes. In frustration, she bent over and picked up her jacket. After the day she'd had, she refused to go without sleep from lying awake and staring at the ceiling all night. Making her way down the steps, she headed toward her car.

Chapter Text

Idiot. He was a complete and unquestionable idiot.

The ceiling of the bedroom had become his sounding board as he mentally, and sometimes vocally, berated himself. What had he been thinking by saying such a thing to her? He'd had quite enough magic? She was a magical being! Slapping a hand over his eyes and dragging it down his face, he sucked in a deep breath in an attempt to rid himself of the tight feeling in his chest. The one that extended up through his body and was cutting off his breathing as he felt as though something were lodged in his throat.

It had been such a very long day. To think that only this morning, he'd awoken in Katrina's bed after experiencing a night blissfully wrapped around her warm body, soaking in the way she molded into him, absorbing the scent of her hair, stroking her body to reacquaint himself with the feel of her. That memory seemed so long ago now. After spending his morning with a distraught mother, researching various demons, then being captured by said demons, he felt as though he could sleep for another two centuries. To top it off, he had demanded to be brought back to the cabin rather than wait for Katrina to return to her home where he would surely have had the opportunity to take comfort in her soft embrace as she assured him that all was well and tomorrow would be a new day. At the time he'd made his decision to return to his temporary home, it had seemed like the right thing to do, especially considering the fact that he'd spent the day being so distracted by thoughts of Katrina and the things they had said and done the night before that he'd barely been of any use to Abbie at all, something he felt immensely guilty for. They were a team, two parts of a whole, who were meant to give equal parts of themselves over to their mission. However, throughout the day, his emotions had varied from regret to anger to sadness to raw lust, throwing him completely off from their endeavors. Strangely, he couldn't seem to get a handle on just what it was he was feeling in any given moment. He wanted her. There was no doubt of that. Her body, her touch, the way she felt when she pressed close to him; those were things he thought he might actually suffocate without. But there was also that other feeling. That love that never ceased to set his heart to pounding when she looked at him. That overwhelming urge to simply be in her presence. After their morning and how easily they'd fallen into bantering with each other, he had thought that perhaps everything would settle with them, that they really could have the future they'd dreamed of so long ago.

Then, he'd gotten distance between them and he'd realized just how much simply being in her presence had affected his choices. Up until the moment she'd walked in on him fiddling with her messy bathroom, he'd been having doubts. Then, she'd arrived and all rational thought had, of course, departed from him. He'd become so wrapped up in kissing her and laughing with her that his doubts had flown from his brain with little more than a slight residual feeling that they should discuss things lingering.

With another sigh, he tapped at the blanket thrown over him. In the past twenty four hours, he'd taken in a great deal of information and this was his first moment alone to really consider everything. Her bringing him all of his old things, material possessions she'd kept and preserved for him throughout the long centuries she'd waited, anticipating his arrival. That had been a genuinely thoughtful gift, one that had warmed his heart in ways he'd not felt in such a very long time. Her still adorning his mother's necklace, that symbol of their future, had been a very telling gesture. She'd held onto it as a physical reminder of their love, something she could actually cling to and remember him by every time she touched it. Then, of course, there was Nick Hawley and the explanation behind him. He wasn't quite sure what his feelings were on that matter, nor the matter concerning the other unnamed man she'd admitted to entering into an intimate relationship with. He supposed he was still jealous... No, he knew he was jealous. The idea of another man putting his hands on his love drove him absolutely mad. It had been bad enough when Abraham had done it, but at least he'd never gone so far, had never touched her in a way that she'd only ever allowed him. Though, her constant dismissals hadn't stopped Abraham from continuing his attempts, which was something that had never failed to drive him straight over the edge of what he could stand. Jealousy and fury were two emotions that had plagued him to the point of madness during those years where they'd hidden their love from their friend. Clenching the blanket beneath him, he considered just how miserable he'd been, then.

Katrina was his. Katrina belonged to him.

Fists balled so tightly his knuckles had gone white, he watched with narrowed eyes while Abraham danced with Katrina across the room. She was obviously attempting to keep him at a reasonable distance, but the blasted man wouldn't cease pulling her closer at every opportunity in the guise of speaking with her over the noise consuming the room. Picking up his mug of rum, he tore his eyes from them in an attempt to restrain himself from storming across the room and breaking Abraham's hands, which had been creeping far too close to her breasts for his liking. Instead, he distracted himself with the crowded von Brunt residence, which was brimming with loud and obnoxious, not to mention wealthy, people who were enjoying their night that was allowing them to overfill themselves with food and drink. What he wouldn't give to be somewhere else, anywhere else.

Earlier in the evening, he and Abraham had returned from a neighboring town where they had been visiting some of Abraham's constituents. It had been an enjoyable enough time spent with his friend, even reminiscent of the many journeys they'd ventured upon in their youth when avoiding their studies, but now that he was back in the town he considered home, all he wanted to do was find a quiet place to settle himself, preferably with Katrina's body pressed into his. However, upon arriving, they'd discovered Abraham's parents were hosting a party to celebrate the new year, something he should have expected. Another thing he should have expected was Katrina's presence in the home, as it wasn't only Abraham who wished a union between the two, but his parents as well. Why they couldn't leave her be was beyond his understanding. She was a woman of virtue and morals who spoke with authority, even in the midst of men, despite the delicacy of such a situation. The work at the infirmaries she so delighted in across the colonies often exhausted her to the point of collapsing. Her family was respected, but by no means wealthy. The only possible reason such a union could be so sought after had to be due to her overwhelming beauty and that reason was hardly an understandable one for the continued seeking out of her hand. There were many beautiful women in the colonies. Why could Abraham simply not seek out another? Was it the chase? The thrill of wondering when she would finally give in? Katrina was a mysterious woman for sure, her thoughts and dreams mostly something that remained unknown, but it was also obvious that her loyalty, once given, was eternal. This reason above all else was what stayed his hand in most of the situations like the one he now found himself in. Katrina had pledged herself, her life and heart, to him and him alone. However, that didn't stop the burning, sharp, needle-like pain that shot through him every time he saw her in Abraham's presence.

His friend, while dear to him, was a rather obnoxiously, wealthy man. When he would see something he wanted, he would claim it. If he could not buy it, he'd bribe his way to owning it. On many occasions, he'd witnessed his friend take part in underhanded deals to acquire something he deemed an item he simply could not live without. It was as though he became transfixed by the things he desired and could not put them from his mind until he possessed them. He'd never considered it a terrible habit of Abraham's until now. The idea that his friend was as flawed as he had always been a selfish comfort. It wasn't as though he hadn't grown up under a well off name himself, but to be friends with another who's name far surpassed his own, a bit of jealousy had been bound to happen.

During their school years, he'd often thought Abraham had taken him on as a friend because of his abilities. An eidetic memory was a rare thing, something he'd often been told made him invaluable. Such was it that he and Abraham had become friends, or so he assumed. Did he blame his friend for it? Not really. It was expected of someone so powerful. However, through the years, they had become very close and upon reaching manhood, had remained thus. With his vast knowledge and Abraham's wealth, the two had evolved into much sought after company among the upperclassmen of England, something that carried over to the colonies as well.

It wasn't that his friend was a bad man; far from it. It was simply that he was a very worldly man, one with an oversized ego and the wealth to match it. He admired Abraham's tenacity, his reach for the stars attitude. He was a generous man, even if his generosity was often cancelled out with his need to let everyone know he was such a way. However, the people Abraham's wealth helped was more than enough compensation for the way in which it was gained in his mind. Abraham had an energetic spirit, one that was contagious with a tendency of pulling his own more reserved spirit out of its comfort zone to partake in the wonders of the world he would have otherwise missed. For that, he would always be grateful to his friend.

Lately, though, he found his tolerance for Abraham's more irritating antics waning, where before he would have been more keen to ignore them. He'd always told himself that they were both flawed. He had been sure his own pride and arrogance had been an annoyance as well. However, those days were past and now his friend's presence, most especially when in the company of his love, was something that never failed to put him in a rather foul mood. He often wondered if it would be different if he wasn't so knowledgeable about Abraham's vast experience in the world of women. Where he had often sought out the comfort of a woman's company, he'd never lain with one, at least until he and Katrina had consummated their love. Abraham, on the other hand, rarely went without the intimate company of women, sometimes with more than one at once. Too many times, he'd had to wait out Abraham's various encounters and that knowledge only furthered the burning in his chest as he knew his friend was very adept at seducing women, at least those that didn't throw themselves at him in an attempt to gain something from him. He'd come to learn that women were little more than a means to an end to Abraham, the kind he enjoyed when they were stroking his ego or other various parts of him. The kind that he would brag to his friends over and who would bear his children, but serve no other true purpose. That idea, more than anything else, irked him as that was exactly what Abraham wanted Katrina to become; a source of pleasure and furthering of his family line.

At the end of his willpower to not seek her out with his eyes, he slowly slid his gaze back to them and what he found made his blood boil. Abraham had her pulled flush to him as he whispered in her ear. As Abraham's back was to him, Katrina was facing toward him, her fingers resting in the folds of Abraham's jacket. In his mind, he knew she was simply balancing herself in an attempt to not fall completely into Abraham, but the feeling in his chest wouldn't permit that rational explanation to remain for longer than a few seconds at a time. So, he sat there, his gaze blazing toward her as he practically willed her eyes to fall on him. When they finally did, he noticed the shift in her demeanor as she obviously read the rage burning in him clear across the room. She made an attempt to dismiss Abraham by pulling back, her eyes never leaving his, but the man only held her closer as he continued to speak with her intimately.

Finally at the end of his patience, he suddenly found himself on his feet, weaving through the crowded room and paying no mind to the random bodies he bumped into. However, her eyes practically pleading with him to cease his steps made him falter, despite his suffocating need to rip Abraham in half. Shoulders stiff, he turned on his heel and barreled toward the front door, seeking the darkness that would match his mood. However, the night air did little for him and the guests scattered on the porch and lawn only furthered his frustration, forcing him to step around the side of the house to the dimly lit grove of trees lining the building. Every part of him wanted to scream and kick out like a child in a tantrum, but he held it in, letting it burn his tightened chest, washing over his body in waves of pulsing fury. Unclenching his fists, he brought a hand up through his hair in an attempt to at the very least breathe. Unfortunately, he found he was having a very difficult time doing even that.

"Ichabod."

Eyes clenching shut, he shook his head and held a finger up to the side to silence her as he wasn't sure he could stop himself from reacting violently if he attempted to speak at the present moment. Heated words weren't what they needed right now and he had far too many on the tip of his tongue to even so much as look at her. Sucking in the deepest breath he could manage, he let it slip out of his nose as he took a moment to try to calm himself.

"My love... please. I know you're angry, but if you just listen to me-"

Spinning around to face her, his hands shot out to grasp her arms before he roughly pressed her into the wall. Her sharp gasp as her back hit the building was consumed by his mouth as he practically attacked her lips as though he were some starving beast in need of the sustenance only she could provide. When her obvious shock faded, he felt her attempt to speak, but he refused to allow it as his hands fell to her waist where he began sliding his hands demandingly along her dress, pausing here and there to dig his fingers as deeply into her body as he could manage. The anger was still coiling hotly in his chest, fighting to find a release, something he was expressing with his mouth and hands. It took a few moments for her to stop fighting him before her grip tangled in the hair at the nape of his neck as she consented to follow him into the act he was desperate to implement.

Mouth sliding to drag along her jaw, he sought out the flesh of her neck, intent to make it his once more. Time seemed to be rushing past as his hands possessively met her breasts and squeezed. The subsequent moan that fell from her went straight into his ear, sending jolts of pulsing desire straight to his core. Needing more of her, he pressed harder into her and dropped a hand to her thigh where he began pulling the material of her dress and underskirts up her body, hearing them rip as they caught on the strap of his boot.

"This isn't safe," she breathed, her voice low and cracking as she clearly fought for air. "Someone's going to see us. We can't afford to be caught."

Not pausing in the slightest, he finally managed to get the hem in his grasp before he fumbled with the many folds of her dress and slipped his hand to the apex of her thighs, where he took to probing her moist depths with every intention of claiming what was his. Head falling back against the wall, her fingers tightened in his hair as her breathing intensified.

"Do you enjoy tormenting me?" he leaned up to whisper into her ear, his lips brushing the lobe as he continued to press as far into her as he could manage.

"Ichabod-"

"I feel as though you do," he cut in, his fingers trailing along the folds of her sex. "You enjoy making me burn with jealousy, with anger. You enjoy having control of me."

She attempted to turn her head to look at him, but he quickly lifted his free hand to her opposite cheek and held her face tightly to his as his thumb circled that sensitive bundle of nerves he usually took time to lather loving attention to. However, there was nothing tender or loving about what he was doing with them now. He wanted to claim her, force her to admit her errors, to admit that she was wrong to be doing this to him.

"Why must you do such things to me?" he asked, dragging a finger between her soft, warm folds until he came to her entrance and slipped a finger slightly within her, inciting a gasp from her as she dug her fingernails into the back of his neck so deeply he was sure she drew blood. Wincing at the pain of her actions, he probed further into her, soaking his digit which was now surrounded by the wet walls of her sex.

"It's not my intention," she shakily breathed, her words warming his flushed skin.

"Your intentions are nearly always a mystery to me," he whispered, emotions attempting to overwhelm him as years worth of confusion burst forth. "You keep them tightly locked up behind those damned green eyes, never letting an ounce of emotion show."

"Ichabod, you know-"

"I don't know anything," he growled, as he curled his finger inside her and pulled it down through her slickness before he began trailing it back through her folds. Repeating the process with varying touches, he nipped at her neck, sucking and licking to soothe her skin. When his fingers met those sensitive nerves again, her body went stiff in his embrace and he continued touching her, drawing out her pleasure for as long as possible, feeling possessive of the small whimpers and moans he pulled from her. As her body settled into a bout of light quivering, he leaned his head into the crook of her neck and did his best to slow his own breathing and need for fulfillment.

After a time of his relaxing against her, listening to the music seeping through the wall, he released a heavy breath against her flesh, his mind a swirl of emotions. "I'm sorry," he whispered, regret for his actions filling him. "I don't know how else to get your attention long enough to listen to me. You never listen to me. You always want to explain and I simply... I need to be heard, too, Katrina."

Her fingers untangled from his hair and slid around to his face where she pulled him back just enough so that their faces were only centimeters apart. It was difficult to read her face in the dark, which was only illuminated by the window a few feet away, but he could clearly see the regret wash over her. "My love, I despise this situation as much as you."

Releasing her in order to bring a hand to his eyes, he turned and took a few steps away as he attempted to calm himself.

"Ichabod, I love you," she said softly. "Only you."

Fists clenching, he spun back to her. "You're going to marry me."

She hesitated before nodding, her face a story of confusion. "Of course, I'm going to marry you. Just as soon-"

"No," he all but growled, jerking a finger up to point at her. "You're going to marry me, now."

Her face dissolved into despair. "We can't."

"It's been two years!" he shouted, feeling the pressure inside him come near to a bursting point. "I have waited two years for you to agree to marry me!"

"You said you would wait forever for me," she returned, her voice low.

"And it seems you're going to hold me to that promise, aren't you?" he carried on despondently. "Do you want me to get down on my knees and beg you? Is that what you want, Katrina?"

"Of course not," she answered as tears crept into her eyes. "I promised you that as soon as the war was over, we'd be free to wed. You simply have to be patient."

"Patient?" he echoed incredulously. "You-" He shook his head in frustration. "I have been nothing but patient. I defected for you!"

Her eyes widened as she shook her head. "You defected because you knew it was the right thing to do."

"I defected for you," he pressed. "You touched something inside me and I made a choice." He took a determined step toward her, needing to make his thoughts as plain as possible. "Then, for two years, I waited for acknowledgement while you dangled yourself in front of me."

"I didn't-"

"Then, finally," he went on, ignoring her interference. "We came to an understanding of how we feel and, yet, here we are, another two years passed no further than where we started."

"That's not true," she protested quite vehemently. "I gave myself to you. I have shared parts of myself with you I never dreamed I'd share with anyone."

"Parts. That's exactly the problem." Tiredly shaking his head, he said, "I have surrendered all of myself to you; my heart, my body, my future. I expect all of you in return, Katrina, not just parts."

"You think I haven't given you my whole heart?" she questioned, her face a cloud of hurt.

Shrugging his shoulders, he commented offhandedly, "I think you enjoy playing with my feelings while having Abraham there in the wings to make you his bride when you've finally finished with this game you've dragged me into."

"Our love isn't a game, Ichabod," she whispered, reaching for his hand and tenderly bringing it to the place her heart rested. "You are my heart. Without you, I'm just a shell with nowhere to place my hopes and dreams. All my ambition, all the things I want for my future, would be nothing without you."

So very tired, he returned to leaning against her, nuzzling his cheek to hers as he breathed against her warm skin. "I'm so tired of feeling this way, like I'm some chess piece you're moving about."

She gave a hard swallow before asking, "How could you think that? After all we've shared."

Eyes burning with building tears, he answered, "Because I'm afraid."

A frown creased her features as she lifted a hand to his cheek. "Of what?"

Shaking his head, he leaned his forehead to hers and admitted the thought that had been plaguing him for quite some time. "I feel as though I'm on a precipice and I'm waiting for you to decide where I fall, where my future lies. Katrina, I-I'm not a weak man."

"I know that," she assured softly. "You're the strongest man I know."

"I don't believe that's true," he continued, his fear overtaking him. "You must think I'm pathetic with the way I go on about this, allowing my insecurities to consume me. No other man would resort to begging you."

"Ichabod," she said with a small smile. "There's nothing wrong with showing me your heart's desire. I love that about you. You're sensitive and caring. If I wanted an unemotional husband who didn't care about my thoughts, I'd marry Abraham."

Sighing heavily, he shook his head. "I'm simply afraid you're going to come to your senses and realize I have nothing to offer you."

"Nothing to offer me?" she repeated, her voice low and sorrowful. "Ichabod Crane," she whispered, her fingers sliding beneath his chin to lift his gaze to hers. "You've offered me more than I could possibly deserve."

"Katrina-"

Her fingers laid over his lips, halting his words. "How can you not know how special you are? What must I do to prove to you that I'm yours? Do you truly need me to marry you for you to understand?"

Feeling a range of embarrassment, shame, and insecurity wash over him, he whispered, "I simply want to be with you."

To his surprise, she laughed and leaned her head back to the wall as she stared at him. "Do you have the slightest idea what I would have done to any other man who even entertained the thought of doing what I just allowed you to do to me?"

Regret burned in his chest as he closed his eyes. "You should do the same to me."

Her fingers slid down his chest, tugging at the dip in his shirt where it halted her journey along his skin. "I prefer to keep you intact."

Eyes on her teasing expression, he timidly asked, "What do you mean?"

"I mean," she went on, dropping her hand to his belt and pressing it down into the material of his trousers, inciting a groan from him. "I'm rather fond of your cock and prefer it to remain attached to your body."

Sucking in a deep breath at the way his desire twitched and responded to her, he leaned against her, pressing her body back into the building. "That's not very lady like."

"And what you just did to me is a far cry from gentlemanly behavior," she returned with a light laugh.

Finding himself suddenly amused with her playfulness, he answered, "Oh, but it was. I let you have your pleasure first."

"Are you implying that allowing my climax to happen first is along the same lines as you holding a door open for me?"

Sharing in her laughter, he brushed his lips to hers and whispered, "I love you, Katrina. Forgive my impatience. I'm simply ready to begin our life together."

She smiled against his face as she spoke, "I promise I'm going to marry you, Ichabod."

Silently nodding, he contented himself with stroking her neck. "When?"

"As soon as it's safe," she whispered, running her fingers through his hair. "I'm so eager to be your wife, Ichabod. To wake every morning in your arms. To actually sit at a table for breakfast and converse over our day, one where we don't have to sneak glances and touches. To walk through town as two people proud of their love. To put our children to bed and listen to the wild stories you'll tell before we each place a kiss to their heads. To make love to you freely, as husband and wife, without fear of creating a child."

"Promise me it will happen, Katrina. Promise me, you're mine."

A gentle smile came to her face, one that made her green eyes glint with happiness. "I belong to you, Ichabod Crane. You are my love, my soul mate. Any and every future I imagine has you at its center."

"Do I?"

Jerking upright, he looked at the doorway to the room, completely startled to find her leaning against it in a way that suggested she'd been doing so for a while. "Katrina... What-what are you doing here?"

"My question first," she said with raised eyebrows.

At a loss for what she meant, he frowned. "What?"

With a roll of her eyes, she pushed herself away from the door and walked to the end of the bed, where she took to standing with her arms crossed. "You said I belonged to you."

Once again finding himself startled, he attempted to swallow it down. "I-"

"Which is perfectly fine as it's a completely accurate statement." She tilted her head as she pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes. "However, I'm not entirely sure I'm happy about that fact anymore."

When he opened his mouth to speak, she held up a hand, effectively silencing him. "I know, I'm flawed. I want to be in control of every situation and, at times, I have no problem manipulating people to get what I want. I'm impatient. As we discussed this morning, I have a tendency to overdo things when I'm nervous and that's to say nothing of how very much I'm opposed to waiting to touch you. The fact that I know it's too soon and will only complicate matters further doesn't even bother me. I don't care." Her eyes slid down his body, setting him on edge at the hunger seeping out of her. "You have no idea how very much I want you. How much it physically pains me to look at your bare torso and have to restrain myself from dragging my tongue along your skin from naval to throat." Her eyes came back to his as he felt his lower body twitch. "Is that selfish? Yes. I'm a selfish person. I want what I want when I want it." She shrugged as though that were of little importance. "I swear that I fully intend to work on that, but..." With a sigh, she paused and brought a hand through her hair. "You're welcome to your doubts, Ichabod. Everyone has them. But I refuse to be the target of your anger and frustration. We've been there before and you know it does no good to do such a thing. I'm finally willing to give you everything you ever asked of me and I refuse to be the one who suffers as I await the inevitable choice you'll make. You and I both know where we're headed, so please, do me a favor and treat me with the respect I deserve. If not as the woman you love, then at the very least as the person who saved you from the fate of having your eye sockets become the home of some very nasty worms."

Completely bewildered by this midnight rant, a moment passed of him simply staring at her in shock before she spoke again. "I understand that you're a little overwhelmed at the things I just said. All I ask is that you nod if you comprehended it."

Clearing his throat, he nodded in what he was sure was a very dumb fashion. That was all it took for her to shrug her jacket from her shoulders and toss it onto the end of the bed.

"I don't know about you," she said as her hands fell to the button of her jeans. "But I'm rather tired and want nothing more than your arms around me as I fall asleep." She glanced up at him as she pushed the material down her legs. "Does that sound agreeable to you?"

Quite mesmerized by each inch of smooth skin that met his eyes, he wordlessly nodded. Then, she was crawling up the bed toward him which sent his pulse to racing when he caught sight of the red lace between her thighs. Quickly glancing away, he took to staring at the wall across the room as she settled beside him.

"Are we going to get under the covers?"

Her voice sounded so alluring and intoxicating that it was causing him have a difficult time concentrating, especially considering the fact that a certain part of his body was growing at her proximity.

"Ichabod?"

Swallowing down the knot in his throat, he turned to her, nearly bumping noses with her as she was practically in his lap with how near she was. "I-uhm, yes-under the covers."

A small smile crept over her face as she tilted her head playfully. "Then, perhaps, we should get under them."

Eyes falling to her lips as she spoke, he nodded and lifted himself up to ease the covers out from under him. As he began pulling them over their legs, she held up a hand. "Wait."

"What's wrong?"

Without answering, she reached behind and under her shirt for a moment before moving on to the front where she twisted her arms around a bit. When she pulled a matching piece of red lace from under her shirt, leaving her nipples to push against the material left covering them, whatever remaining control he had began to waver as he breathed, "Have mercy, Katrina. What are you doing?"

Her eyes flickered up to him innocently. "Getting comfortable?"

Tossing the material to the end of the bed to rest with her other garments, she placed her hands to his chest and forced him to lean back, following him down. "Katrina," he said, his voice cracking. "Please, don't tempt me."

For a moment, her eyes danced over his face, clearly searching for something in that way she did. Taking into account her earlier statement that she was opposed to waiting for sex and he found himself more than a little nervous, something that worsened when she glanced to the rather obvious bulge in the blanket between his thighs. With a smile, she looked back to him and asked, "Are you sure that's what you want?"

Sucking in a deep breath, he closed his eyes and whispered, "No."

He truly wasn't. The only thought coursing through his mind was the one that had him flipping her onto her back, tearing that red lace from his favorite meal, and plunging himself as deeply inside her as he could manage. It was actually painful how desperately he wanted her.

She paused for a moment before he felt her lean over him to where her mouth was just over his, her warm breath washing over his face. "Sleep well, love."

And, then, just like that, she pressed her body flush to his side and settled her head in the crook of his neck. With her arm draped over his chest and her thigh pressed against his desire, he was having a very difficult time breathing. However, the gentle kiss she placed to his neck as she began tenderly scratching her fingers along his scalp sent a wave of emotion through him he hadn't been expecting. It was almost like they were in a memory; one that had them back in their own time, lying in each other's arms, content to let the unknown future come to them, daring it to try tearing them apart.

Wrapping his arm around her back, he brought his other hand up to stroke her arm. "Sleep well."

Chapter Text

Eyes cracking open to the bright sun coming in through the window over his head, he groaned. Morning and he did not appreciate each other. For all of his life, they had never gotten along and he was quite sure they never would, something that was rather odd considering he'd recently awoken from a two hundred and thirty one year sleep. There was just something about having to leave the comfort and safety of one's warm bed to greet the unpredictable day ahead. In particular, this morning was a morning he felt perfectly content to remain just where he was. It was warm and he seemed to be in just the right position paradise was located as his body was perfectly relaxed. That was until his body moved slightly, or rather the body pressed flush into his did. Eyes snapping fully open, he glanced to the side to find crimson locks fanned out over the pillow next to his.

Katrina.

Doing his best not to move and wake her, he allowed a smile to come over his face as his gaze ventured down her body to where she rested beside him, the blanket completely gone from him and all twisted between her legs. How many times had he awoken to such a sight?

Dragging his fingers along her arm, he found himself torn between 'accidentally' waking her and doing the gentlemanly thing by allowing her to continue with her sleep. However, as the night before had proved, when it came to Katrina, all sense of propriety went out the window. Gently shifting so he could better touch her, he dropped his fingers from her arm, allowing them to rest over the swell of her breast that was pressed flush against his side. Her head was tucked into the crook of his arm as she'd slid slightly down in the bed as they'd slept. It actually looked as though she'd attempted to burrow her way beneath him what with the way she was adjusted against him. A smile crept over him as he moved his pointer finger over her soft flesh, sliding it upward toward the hollow of her neck. Continuing his journey, he caressed along the column of her neck to where her jaw began. Stroking the strong bone, he ventured along until he reached her plump lips, which were parted slightly with her breathing. Unable to help himself, he traced both lips with his thumb, taking his time to smooth over the entirety of the enticing flesh, before he shifted to his finger, which he pressed just enough to gain entry into the moist cavern that was her mouth. As he began dragging his finger back out, without any forewarning, her teeth clamped down on him. Eyes snapping up, he chuckled when she opened her own to stare at him.

"Good morning," he whispered, his voice husky and thick from sleep.

She ran her tongue along his finger as he finally pulled it from her mouth with a pop. When it was once again stroking her jaw, she frowned. "Why did you wake me? I was having a perfectly wonderful dream."

"I missed you," he said simply, enjoying the smile that came to her face.

With a laugh, she used his shoulder for leverage to pull herself up his body so she was resting face to face with him. Once she was within a breath of him, resting on his pillow with him, she spoke, "And what was it that you missed?"

"Your eyes," he answered without hesitating. "I wanted them on me. I always want them on me."

Those very green eyes blinked at him before she slid her hand to his neck where she began playing with his loose hair. "Is that so?"

He scooted his head the remaining distance to her so he could claim those irresistible lips of hers. However, before he could truly claim them, he pulled back with a chuckle. "Your breath is horrid."

The slap that surely left a handprint on his chest was her response as she gasped in surprise. Chuckling all the harder, he tussled with her before he finally captured both of her hands and restrained them over her head. Now, fully over her and pressing her down into the bed, he leaned close to her ear and whispered, "You're being very naughty, Ms. van Tassel." He smirked. "Now, I'm going to have to punish you."

She arched her hips into his intimately as she nipped at his jaw. "Promise, Captain?"

"Did I wake you?"

Eyes snapping up, he found her gazing at him tiredly. "Oh, no," he stuttered in surprise as he nodded to the window over the bed. "The sun."

She smiled before snuggling into his side. "I'm not ready to wake up."

Adjusting his arm so she could rest her head on it, he asked, "Did you sleep well?"

A nod against his shoulder was all he received as her eyes were already shut while she clearly attempted to return to her dreams.

Content to simply stare at her, he lifted a hand to run his fingers through her tangled crimson hair. When he met her scalp, he took to massaging it softly.

"Mmm, that feels good," she whispered just loud enough for him to hear as she burrowed even further into him.

"Are you really going back to sleep?"

She shrugged as she blindly reached down to adjust the covers back over them. "I'm sorry."

Reaching down to assist her, he chuckled. "It's nothing I'm not accustomed to. You've always been a blanket thief."

A small smile came to her face. "I'm cold."

Frowning, he looked down at the thick blanket pulled halfway up their bodies. For his part, he was more than slightly warm. Between the blanket and her body heat, he was practically sticky along the side she was pressed into. Gaze back on her face, he dropped the back of his hand to rest along her forehead. The warm feel of her skin made his eyes widen. "Katrina, you're burning up."

A moan left her as he turned on his side to examine her, promptly dropping her head from his shoulder to the pillow. "I just want to sleep. I'm so tired."

Pushing her hair back, he pressed his cheek to hers, measuring her temperature before sitting up in concern. "Do you feel ill?"

Another moan left her as she pulled his pillow down and wrapped her arms around it.

Worry building, he leaned over her again to push her hair, which had once again fallen in her face, away. "Katrina, please tell me how you feel."

"I told you I was cold," she mumbled into the pillow. "And sleepy."

At his wit's end, he stated, "I'm beginning to panic."

She rolled onto her back with a sigh as she sleepily stared up at him. "I think it's just a slight cold. I'll be fine." She stretched her arm so she could lay her hand to his cheek. "Stop frowning. You're far too pretty to frown."

Clearly, she was out of it. Glancing to his phone, he reached over and grabbed it.

"What are you doing?" she asked as she limply dropped her hand back to the bed.

As he scrolled through the names, he stated, "I'm calling the Leftenant. You need medication."

"Ichabod," she said, mild irritation in her voice. "Abigail is likely resting. She needs it after the night she had. Leave her be."

Eyes jerking to hers in surprise, he confessed, "Oh."

What a horrible friend he was. Their entire ordeal the night before had completely slipped his mind in the minutes he'd been awake. What if Abbie was still ill? What if she had gotten worse? Now, panic for his friend began to consume him as he attempted to discern what it was he should do.

"Hey," she whispered, laying a hand over his. "I'm sure she's alright."

Gaze back on his phone, he tapped the last name on earth he wanted to call.

"Ichabod, I said not to call her," Katrina groaned as she weakly made a move for his phone. However, he slipped out of her reach and stood from the bed to begin pacing.

When the line connected, her voice bit at him. "Crane, do you have any idea what time it is?"

Sucking in a deep breath, he answered, "No, but that is of little concern to me."

A muffled curse came through as he heard movement at the other end of the line. "What do you want?"

He glanced to Katrina, who looked like she was caught somewhere between frowning at him and smiling at him. Her appearance came off as slightly insane, which was concerning him more than a little. "I was hoping to inquire into how the Leftenant is at this time?"

"I checked on her an hour ago and she's sleeping like a baby. Now, I'm going to return to doing the same."

"Katrina is ill," he blurted out, hopefully before she hung up on him.

"What?"

"Ichabod," Katrina groaned as she squirmed in the blanket. "It's just a cold."

"She's burning up and seems more than slightly delirious. I think she is in need of medication, but I'm not sure-"

"Bring her back home and I'll take care of her," Jenny said, obviously now fully awake.

Feeling slightly indignant, he bit out, "I'm perfectly capable of caring for her myself, thank you."

"Then, why are you talking to me at five thirty in the morning?"

Without a proper response, he looked back to Katrina, who seemed to have fallen back to sleep. "I'll have her there as soon as I get her up."

"Wait. What is she even doing there? Did you two sleep together again?"

Clenching his jaw, he answered, "That is none of your concern."

With that, he hung up the phone and tossed it to the dresser before crawling on all fours back into the bed beside her. Running his fingers through her hair, he said softly, "Katrina, I'm going to take you home. Miss Jenny is going to give you some medication."

She turned away from him to snuggle back into his pillow, the outcome having her bottom in perfect view of his gaze. There were more than a few tingles that went through him at the red laced covered flesh, but with a deep breath he shoved them down and reached to attempt pulling her into a sitting position. "Come, Katrina. Let's get you dressed."

She groaned and flopped a hand down behind her back to grab his arm. "Just come lay with me and I'll be better."

Rolling his eyes, he laid his hand on her leg and pulled her toward him as he stood from the bed. She protested by kicking out at him, but he avoided her foot and reached for her trousers.

"If you had the slightest idea of how worried I am, you would cooperate with me."

Another groan left her as she finally sat up while he knelt to the floor and lifted her foot to slip into her trousers.

"I like it when you're on your knees between my legs," she said in what should have been a teasing tone, but came out more as a hoarse whisper.

Smiling up at her, he managed to tug the trousers up to her thighs. "Is that so?"

She coughed before placing her hands on his shoulders for support as he slipped the material under her thighs and tugged it up to her hips. "When we're all set and in love, will you do that first? I miss it so much."

Trying to keep his flustered nerves down as he zipped and buttoned her trousers, he muttered, "I promise."

Next, he reached for her jacket, but startled as it was the red, lacy material that he brought between them, holding it by a strap. "Oh, I-"

"I don't want it," she mumbled as she knocked it to the side.

Nodding his consent to this, and quite thankful he wouldn't be subjected to attempting to get whatever that was on her, he grabbed her jacket and helped her slip into it. "There," he stated as he stood. "You're all set. Just give me a moment."

With that, he moved to the other side of the room where he pulled on a shirt and some socks before slipping into his coat. Making his way back to her, he sighed when he found her laid back against the bed. Then, he noticed her bare feet and began looking about the room for her shoes. "Katrina, where are your shoes?"

She lazily turned her head to the side. "The door."

Nodding, he reached down and pulled her to her feet. "Can you walk?"

A small glare managed to make its way to her face. Leave it to Katrina to be completely out of it, but still manage to give him such a look. "Of course, I can walk. I'm sick, not drunk."

Raising an eyebrow, he kept silent his thoughts on the fact that he'd just had to dress her and instead said with a tight smile, "Of course."

She began walking to the door, surprisingly a bit drunkenly, before he rolled his eyes and stepped up behind her. Arm around her shoulders, he slipped the other around the back of her knees and lifted her up. She gave a small squeal as she clung to his neck and groaned. "Ichabod."

Ignoring her, he made his way into the living room where he set her on the edge of the table before slipping into his boots and coat then picking up hers. When he turned back to her, he chuckled at her closed eyes as she rocked slightly back and forth as though she were about to slip into unconsciousness.

"Come on, my lady," he said as he once more lifted her up, making sure he had a tight grip on her body, and carried her from the house.

Upon reaching her car, he paused. Perfect. He hadn't thought that far ahead. Seeing no other choice as she certainly wasn't manning a vehicle capable of such speeds, he struggled to open the passenger door with her sleepy body sagging in his arms. After finally managing to get it open, he gently lowered her into the seat and reached across her to snap her seat belt on before closing the door.

When he, too, sunk into the leather seat, though, for the first time, in the driver's position, he sucked in a deep breath and gazed at the many buttons and levers. Reaching for the ignition, he frowned when he found no key, but a button that said Start. "Choices," he muttered in irritation. "Why are there so many different vehicles with so many different features?"

As he pressed the button and the car came to life, he took another deep breath before glancing at her closed eyes. "Well, you're no help."

Moving the orange indicator to drive, he hesitantly pressed the gas. When the car slowly rolled a few feet, he smiled triumphantly. "Ah, this isn't so difficult."

Pressing a little harder, he picked up speed as he steered down the driveway. For a while, he kept rolling on along at about 15mph. However, when a sign indicating he should stop came into view, a mild panic filled him. Upon reaching it, he slammed his foot on the other pedal, causing the car to jolt to a stop. At this, Katrina rolled her head to look at him sleepily. "Ichabod?"

"Go back to sleep, love," he whispered, brushing a hand through her hair. He definitely didn't need her upping his panic by realizing he was driving her quite obviously expensive car.

When she gave a sloppy smile, he sighed in relief. "Alright."

The usual ten minute drive took thirty minutes at his pace, but when he finally pulled into her driveway, he felt as though he'd just proudly travelled the world. However, that was until he failed to notice her trash bin and in an instant took her driver's mirror right off the side of the car. Eyes going wide, he jerked his head to Katrina to find her still asleep. Panicking, he quickly exited the car to check the damage. The mirror was obviously gone, but there was also a rather prominent scratch along the driver's door, the black paint chipped away. Sweat began to build along his brow only to be doubled as a voice came from behind him.

"Did you drive here!?"

Spinning around, he found Jenny hurriedly walking toward him from Abbie's house. "I-"

"Oh my God, Kat's going to kill you," she said as she ran her finger over the scratch.

"It's rather minor," he attempted, but knew it was hopeless as she turned to him and crossed her arms with a smug look.

"Yeah, try telling her that."

Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he jogged around the car and opened the passenger door. Not wanting to wake her and have her see her car, he gently unbuckled and lifted her from the seat.

"Careful, Crane," Jenny encouraged as he adjusted Katrina in his arms, where she sighed into his neck.

"I have her."

Jenny shut the door after he'd began moving toward the house. As they made their way inside, he carried her straight to her bedroom where Jenny had run ahead to open the door. "Thank you," he whispered as he moved past her.

When he reached the bed, he gently lowered her down into its soft embrace. Upon settling fully into the sheets, she immediately burrowed her head into the pillow, prompting Jenny to chuckle at his side. "Kat and sickness don't mesh well. She rarely gets sick, but when she does, it knocks her out."

"I remember," he said with a nod as he reached down to pull her jacket off. She moaned in protest at the movement, but cooperated long enough for him to drop it to the floor.

"Does she have any medication?"

Jenny nodded and left the room, leaving him to ease to the bed beside her. Unable to help himself, he brushed his hand through her hair for what had to be the hundredth time in an hour. At his touch, she sleepily turned her head to him and whispered, "Lay with me."

Dragging his fingers along her silk locks, he smiled. "You should rest."

"Please," she pleaded with a hand at his arm. "It's always more peaceful with you."

Before he could respond, Jenny returned with a handful of items. "Hey, sleepy head."

Katrina gave a tired smile before a frown took her over. "Jenny? When did you get here?"

Jenny laughed as she unscrewed a bottle. "I've been waiting for the two of you."

Katrina's frown only deepened as she glanced about the room. "I'm home."

"Where did you think you were?" Jenny asked with a chuckle.

Eyes back on him, she answered, "We were at the cabin."

With a nod, he smoothed her hair back. "I thought it best to get you home."

Confusion dominated her features for a moment before she nodded. "Alright."

"Ok, well, you need to take some of this," Jenny said as she held a spoon out to Katrina filled with some sort of thick, red looking substance.

Katrina scrunched her nose up as she accepted it. "That's gross."

"Yeah," Jenny agreed with a chuckle. "This is payback for last year when you doped me up on it. I still say you overdosed me."

Giving a small wave of her hand, Katrina shook her head. "You're exaggerating."

Out of sorts with their conversation, he cleared his throat. "You should take some rest, Katrina."

When he moved to rise from the bed, her hand shot out and grasped his. "Stay with me."

He cast Jenny a short look, but she, for once, seemed to be showing some care as she arranged the items on the bedside table. "I was going to go check on the Leftenant."

Before Katrina could speak, Jenny did. "Oh, she woke up about ten minutes after you called and went into work."

A surprised look overtook his face. "She did? She could barely walk last night."

Jenny shrugged. "I guess she got a good night's sleep. She seemed fine this morning."

With a sigh, he looked back to Katrina, whose eyes were closed again, though, he couldn't tell if she was asleep.

Jenny spoke as she backed toward the door, "I'm gonna go home for a while. You people might be content being up during the AM hours, but I'm not. Have fun getting sick with her."

When she had left the room, he released a heavy breath before standing and shrugging his coat and boots off. Turning back to Katrina, he took her in as she laid half hazardly stretched across the bed. Placing a knee to the mattress, he gently lifted her legs and adjusted her to where she was righted.

"Mm, take them off," she mumbled with her eyes still closed.

Unsure what she meant, he inquired, "What?"

"My pants," she answered. "They're uncomfortable."

Though, he now understood, he still found himself unsure. That likely wasn't the best idea. Eyes journeying down her body to the place her shirt had ridden up to reveal the smooth skin of her belly, he realized 'likely' wasn't the best word. That definitely wasn't the best idea.

"Don't be such a prude, Ichabod," she said in a tired tone as she unbuttoned her trousers. "We slept together without them all night and I'm certainly not in the mood to attempt molesting you this morning." She smiled at him crookedly as her zipper parted. "Perhaps, this evening will be a different story."

Clearing his throat, he hesitantly grasped the top of the material and began tugging it down. With each inch of creamy skin that became a feast for his eyes, he felt his pulse quicken. Ill as she may be, she was still a beautiful woman and he wasn't immune to such sights as the one he was partaking of now. Once he had the trousers off, he neatly folded them and turned to place them atop her dresser. When he turned back to her, he found her smiling at him with heavy eyes. "You're adorable," she whispered, holding her arms up as best as she could. "Come here."

He couldn't help his own smile as he rolled his eyes and stepped toward the bed. "I object to being referred to in such a way."

When he lowered himself to lie beside her, she wasted no time in burrowing into his side. However, before he could get his arms around her, she pulled back with a frown and plucked at his shirt with her fingers. "Get rid of it."

"Katrina," he began warily.

"Ichabod," she mocked as she tugged it up his body.

Knowing she wouldn't quit, he rolled his eyes again as he sat up and pulled it over his head. "Satisfied?" he asked as he fell back against the pillow.

Her answer was to resume molding herself into him, a hand in his hair and a leg resting between his. "So satisfied," she mumbled into his skin.

As she quieted, he contented himself with dragging his fingers through her hair, but it wasn't long before he started to feel sleep tugging at him as well.


A loud clanging brought him into consciousness. As he blinked and attempted to discern where he was, the white ceiling overhead made him realize he was still resting with Katrina. With that thought, he glanced down at her still wrapped around him, though more loosely than before. Her mouth was slightly open as she breathed shallowly. Her hand had fallen to the bed on the other side of him and her lower body, he noticed with a smile, was about a two feet away from him, all the blankets twisted between them. She was such a messy sleeper. In their rest, she'd managed to almost set them at a perpendicular angle.

When the clanging happened again, he perked up and looked to the door. Whatever it was, or whomever, was clearly in the kitchen. Carefully extracting himself from her arm, he slid from the bed and reached for his shirt. Once he'd pulled it on, he turned back to her and gently untangled the blanket from her legs and pulled it up her body. She never even moved.

Shaking his head, he made his way out of the room in search of the sounds. What he found was Jenny Mills standing in the middle of the kitchen with a confused look on her face.

"What are you doing?" he asked as he approached her.

She gave him a half glance before shrugging. "Trying to fix something to eat."

Judging from her look and the state of the counter, he concluded she was definitely trying. Succeeding, however, was another thing altogether. "Hmm and why are you doing that here? Do you not have a home?"

She rolled her eyes. "As Abbie has been so busy with the Apocalypse and your love life, she hasn't exactly had time to grocery shop and I'm not fond of bumping into the snobby soccer moms I knew in high school."

Not allowing her quip to pull a rise from him, he answered, "Would you mind some help?"

There was a moment where she regarded him curiously, but then she nodded and gestured him toward the cans lining the counter.

"Kat needs to eat something," she said as she sliced a tomato. "There's a can of Chicken Noodle Soup in there somewhere."

Picking up the appropriate can, he stared at it. "There's soup in here? And it's for illness?"

Jenny chuckled. "It is. She likes it, too." As she began on a cucumber, she went on, "I got a really nasty cold last year and I swear she stuffed twenty cans of that stuff down my throat."

"She tended you while you were ill?"

"Yep," she replied. "Abbie's always been such a workaholic and then she had Luke to keep her occupied. As both Kat and I are unemployed and have no significant others, we tend to spend a lot of time together. Actually, when Abbie was planning on moving to Quantico, I was going to move in with Kat." She raised an eyebrow. "Funny how things change. Abbie's staying in Sleepy Hollow and you're living here."

Her assumption brought a frown to his face, making him stand taller. "I'm not living here."

She rolled her eyes and set her knife down. "Crane, come on. You and Kat are going to live in this house, get married, and have a bunch of little Crane's. I know it, she knows it, and hopefully you're smart enough to know it, too."

At a loss for words, he stuttered, "Perhaps, but it's not happening now, nor anytime soon."

Jenny began tossing all the vegetables she had in the large bowl. "Really, now? Last I checked, of the three days you two have been reunited, you've spent two sharing a bed." She glanced at him knowingly. "And where was it you were planning on sleeping tonight? Because with the way you're worrying over her, I don't see you leaving anytime soon."

With a heavy sigh, he held up the can, needing to distance himself from this conversation. "What do I do with this?"

She stared at him oddly for a moment before taking it from his hands and pulling the tab open. "Grab a pot from over there."

Gaze venturing to the place she'd indicated, he reached for the silver pot and set it on the stove she'd switched on. As she set about pouring the contents of the can into the pot, she continued what he was now beginning to think was her interrogation of him, "What are you going to do, Crane?"

"Katrina might be content to discuss the personal details of our past with you, but I have no such mindset."

She shrugged as though his words were of little consequence. "Fine, then, you can listen. Abbie gave her warning to Kat about hurting you because you're her best friend who she loves and wants to protect."

Taken aback, he stared at her wide eyed. Though, he wasn't sure if it was more so because Abbie had threatened Katrina or because she supposedly loved him. Sure, she was likely fond of him, but loved him? That was such a strange sentiment to him. The only women in his life who'd ever loved him were his mother and Katrina. He wasn't sure what to make of someone else of the opposite sex loving him.

"But Kat is my best friend," Jenny went on, still stirring the contents in the pot. "She's been there for me through some pretty rough stuff and I was there for her when she completely fell apart six months ago. I tell her when she's being a manipulative, control freak and she tells me when I'm being an insensitive, butthole to my sister." Jenny turned to him with narrowed eyes. "For some reason I'll never understand, she loves you, which means you have the power to rip her heart out. So, I'm telling you that whatever it is that you need to figure out, do it fast, or leave her alone until you do because you're giving her all this hope and I really don't want to have to hurt you for breaking my friend's heart."

"I-"

She held up her hand, effectively silencing him. "I don't require an answer. I understand your situation is far from ordinary relationship problems and it's going to take a little more thought than normal to figure it all out. All I'm asking is for you to consider what she's going through while you do that. Now," she said, pouring the boiling soup into a bowl. "Take this in there and make her eat it. I'm starving and want to enjoy my lunch without your sappy romance bringing it down."

With that, she grabbed her bowl along with a bottle of water before heading to the living room where she turned the television on and plopped down to the sofa.

Finding himself more than slightly dumbfounded at the conversation that had just taken place, he looked down at the steaming bowl of soup. Sighing, he grabbed a spoon before setting out to return to the sleeping source of his clouded thoughts. When he entered her room, he found her rolled to the other side of the bed with a pillow wrapped in her arms. Carefully setting the bowl down, he sat on the edge of the bed and laid a hand to her arm.

"Katrina?"

She moaned into the pillow her face was pressed into before rolling onto her back with a disgruntled expression. "Why are you up?"

He smiled as he brushed some stray hair from her face. "Miss Jenny has prepared you lunch." Reaching for it, he said, "She assured me it was appropriate."

Her nose wrinkled as she scrunched it up. "I'm not hungry."

"Please," he pleaded. "You must eat for your strength."

She stared at him a moment before sighing and pushing herself up to lean against the headboard. Satisfied with her cooperation, he scooted toward her and handed her the bowl.

"Chicken Noodle Soup," she breathed over the bowl. "The cure to everything."

As she began sipping at the juice, he turned and situated himself beside her shoulder to shoulder.

"Are you going to eat?"

At her question, he glanced at her. "Oh, I'm not hungry."

"But you must eat for your strength," she mocked, a teasing grin on her lips.

A smile came to his face, but it soon faded as he dropped his gaze to his hands which were fidgeting in his lap. His morning had been perfectly fine... Well, minus Katrina being sick, but that was beside the matter. The two of them had woken up together, laughed together. It had been almost like old times. However, then Jenny had spoken her part and once again he was making himself miserable with his over thinking. She'd been right, of course, which only aggravated him. He shouldn't give Katrina hope if he was going to continue in the manner he had been.

"What's wrong?" Gaze jumping back to her, he found her staring at him knowingly. "Doubting again?"

"I don't mean to do it," he whispered despondently. "I simply..."

She handed him the bowl. "I'm not hungry anymore. Can you set it over there?"

As he accepted the bowl, he noticed it was only half eaten. "Katrina-"

"I'm done," she interrupted before sliding back down in the bed and turning on her side to face away from him. "You should go fix you something. I know how much you like to eat."

Setting the bowl on the bedside table, he followed her lead and settled down behind her before slipping an arm around her waist as he propped his head up with one hand. When she didn't shove him away as he'd feared she might, he whispered, "Katrina... I don't want to hurt you."

A heavy breath left her as she grasped his hand and brought it beneath her chin to hold. "Why would you hurt me?"

"Uncertainty is a very slow hurt, is it not?" He leaned forward to rest his chin to her shoulder. "I recall how I used to be so terrified you didn't feel the way I did. I questioned every look, every word. I'd lie awake at night doubting the things I thought to be true. One moment, I'd think I saw love. Then, the very next moment I'd think I was being ridiculous. I couldn't wrap my mind around why you would ever love a bumbling idiot like me."

A small laugh shook her, bringing a smile to his face.

"The truth is... I'm angry."

At his admission, she turned onto her back with a searching frown. "At me?"

"No," he answered immediately before sighing. "Well... Katrina, the only thing I know for certain is that I'm some foretold Witness to the Apocalypse who has the responsibility to protect the world from evil. Yet, I can't even purchase my own groceries. I have no job, no money. Only four people in the world know who I am." He brought his hand up to rub his eyes. "And yes, I'm angry that... another man has been in this bed with you."

"Ichabod-"

Brushing his fingers through her hair, he shook his head, "I know. You've explained it all to me. I just... I need to be alone with my thoughts for a while. I need to take it all in somewhere away from distractions and the pressure to make a decision. I was trying to do that last night, but..."

"I interrupted you," she finished softly. "But you called me. You said you should've stayed with me. Did you really think I wouldn't come to you?"

Heart in his throat, he took in her confusion. "I know and I'm glad you came. I truly am, but I do need to go somewhere quiet where I can clear my thoughts. I don't want to keep doing this. I want to evaluate my life and make a decision. Most of all, I want to find an answer to give you because I can see how desperate you are for one."

Her hand fell to her belly as she nodded. "I understand that."

"Do you?" Because she certainly didn't look as though she understood.

"Ichabod," she whispered with a tired look at him. "Go."

"Well, I'm not going to leave you alone right now. You're ill."

She rolled her eyes. "I'll be fine. Jenny's here. Besides I've made it the last two hundred and thirty one years without you. I'm sure I can survive... however long it is you need to think."

With a sigh, he pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Thank you."

She laid a hand to his cheek as he pulled back. "I'm going to miss you tonight."

He chuckled. "You mean you'll miss tormenting me."

A sly grin crept over her face. "Maybe a little. You're so easy to embarrass."

Smiling, he brushed her hair again. "Promise me you'll be alright?"

"I promise."

Sucking in a deep breath, he nodded and pushed himself to the edge of the bed where he began pulling on his boots.

"How are you going to get home?"

He shrugged. "I'll walk."

"That'll take forever."

"Yes and it'll give me plenty of time to think."

A few moments passed as he finished and stood to face her. However, when he looked at her, she was frowning. "What?"

"How did we get here?"

Startled at being caught, he shifted uncomfortably. "Well..."

Her eyes narrowed. "Yes?"

"You were... delirious and... quite incapable of driving?"

She chuckled and sat up. "Was that a question?"

Realizing it was all over, he sighed, "I drove us here."

"Alright," she said slowly with a shrug. "I didn't know you could drive."

Nervously chuckling, he admitted, "Before this morning, I never had."

She nodded with her lips pursed for a few moments before saying, "You... practiced... with my eighty-five thousand dollar car?"

Eyes nearly bulging out of his head, he replied heatedly, "Eighty-Why on earth would you spend so much money on a car? Have you lost all sense?" He flung a hand to the window. "There are people starving in the streets and you-"

"What did you do to my car?" she asked so directly as to silence his rant.

With narrowed eyes, he said, "I thought you made it obvious what's yours is mine."

Raising her eyebrows, she said, "Oh? Have you made a decision already? Without your time to think and walk to determine if you really love me? Are we to now marry where all I have will becomes yours?"

At his wit's end, he picked his coat up from the end of the bed and blew a heavy breath through his nose. "I got us here perfectly safe and sound. It wasn't difficult at all."

"Good," she said shortly.

Biting the bullet, he added, "But then I may have not noticed the trash bin in the driveway and..."

Her eyebrows went up again. "And...?"

Eyes on the floor, he continued, "Your driver's mirror is gone and there's a scratch along the side."

"Ok."

Gaze jerking back to her, he stared at her wide eyed. "Ok? That's all you're going to say?"

She was a picture of calmness. "Come here."

Hesitantly stepping forward, he sat on the edge of the bed. "Are you going to hurt me?"

She bit her lip as she shook her head slowly. "I'll forgive you on one condition."

Unsure what to say, he asked, "Yes?"

Lifting a finger to her lips, a smile appeared. "Kiss me goodbye properly."

"Kiss you? That's all?" he asked, bewildered at how calmly she was taking this news. Jenny had made it seem as though she'd murder him.

"Well," she drawled, tilting her head to the side. "If you kiss me, there's a greater chance you're going to catch my cold. Though, after allowing me to waller all over you this morning, your chances are already pretty high. I'd say that's punishment enough."

Shaking his head at her antics, he leaned forward and brushed his lips to hers before pulling back only to find her frowning. "What? You said to kiss you."

"Like a proper goodbye," she said quite dramatically. "That was pitiful. I'm not even sure that was a kiss at all. It was-"

He cut her off with his mouth clamping over hers firmly. Her gasp of surprise came out quite strangled as he guided her back to her pillow with one hand supporting him on the bed and the other behind her neck. When her hands made their way into his hair as she attempted to return the kiss, he pulled back and stood, leaving her breathing heavily in the midst of her pillows and blankets.

"Am I forgiven?" he asked, adjusting his shirt with a smug look.

All she did was nod and lift her hand with her thumb pointing upwards, which he took to mean yes.

"Good. Then, I'll leave you to recover."

As he began making his way to the door, she called, "I love you, Ichabod."

Hand on the door frame, he glanced back to her with a smile. "I hope you feel better soon."

With that, he started down the hallway. It was going to be a long walk home.

Chapter Text

As he made his way across the street to the diner the desk clerk at the Police Station had spoken of, he brought his hand through his hair and sighed in exasperation. After walking halfway back to the cabin and feeling no more sure of himself than he had when he'd departed from Katrina's home, he'd decided to seek Abbie out and make sure she was alright for himself rather than depend upon second hand information. He supposed he was simply procrastinating the inevitable decision he was going to have to make in regards to Katrina and his future. However, he was genuinely concerned for Abbie's health. Despite what both Katrina and Jenny had said, he still needed to check on her well being for himself. She'd barely been able to walk the night before and the fact that she was now pushing herself to return to work worried him greatly. There was no need for her to overdo it and worsen her health.

With a roll of his eyes, he considered the women he found himself surrounded with who were surely going to drive him mad. Never before had he longed for a male companion as he did now. In his own past time, he'd had a plethora to choose from. Abraham had, of course, been his very best friend since before he'd ever even departed for the colonies. However, that had ended tragically when Abraham had been unable to accept the fact that Katrina was in love with another, namely him. He'd had other friends, but none so close as he had been with Abraham and now Abbie. Though, admittedly, Abbie was a much more understanding and trustworthy friend, someone, he thought as he pulled the diner door open, he'd like to keep in his life.

Upon arriving at the Police Station earlier, he'd been informed she'd stepped out a few minutes prior to venture to the diner across the street for her break. He consoled himself with the fact that at the very least she was eating. As he searched the heads peeking over the top of the various booths, he finally spotted her a ways down toward the end. With a smile, he approached her.

"Leftenant," he greeted cheerfully, glad to have finally located her.

Her eyes snapped up to him from the menu in her hand. "Crane, wh-what are you doing here?"

Taking in her startled and slightly nervous expression, he frowned. To his confusion, she didn't look even half as glad to see him as he did her. "I was simply checking to make sure you were well after your ordeal yesterday evening."

"Oh," she muttered, laying her menu down and shifting nervously in her seat. "Well, that's nice, but I'm-"

"What are you doing here?"

Turning on his heel, he was faced with a frowning Luke Morales.

"Crane spotted me and wanted to say hi," Abbie said from behind him, her voice changing to a completely different tone, one much more cheerful than he'd previously received.

When he turned to raise a conspiratorial eyebrow at her, she gave a tight smile and shrug as though to indicate she wasn't sure what else to say.

"Yes," he agreed slowly. "Just a small good morning." He turned back to the still doubtful Detective. "And you, Detective? Are you quite well?"

Luke nodded and resumed what he only just now realized was his place in the booth. As he took in the cup of steaming coffee in front of the Detective, his eyebrows shot up in understanding. "Oh, an outing for coffee."

At that, Abbie coughed and once again shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah, Luke and I are catching up. You know, we haven't really had a great deal of time to do that what with all of the weirdness happening around town lately."

"Of course," he muttered as his hands twitched at his side. Completely at a loss for what to do as the reality that the two people in front of him were on a 'date' occurred to him, he cleared his throat. "Yes, well it was lovely to see you both, but I was just on my way home."

With that, he bowed his head and turned to make his way out of the small building. Upon reaching the sidewalk, he paused and released a heavy breath through his nose. What on earth had he just witnessed?

"Hey," Abbie said, prompting him to turn to find her hurrying out behind him.

Shaking his head, he forced a laugh. "Well, that was awkward."

Abbie shared in his laugh, though hers was much more nervous than his. "I did say I was going to call him for coffee."

"I didn't think you were being serious," he replied as his discomfort continued. "And, honestly, you should be resting. Last night you could barely walk!"

"Crane," she sighed, her annoyance over his worrying coming through. "I'm fine. I swear. Do you really think Jenny would have let me out of the house if I'd been any other way?"

Well, that was true, but it didn't mean he was letting this go. "I suppose both of us are attempting to sort out our romances."

"Romances?" she asked with a chuckle. "Luke and I are getting coffee while you and Katrina are..." She squinted up at him as though searching for the right words. "Doing whatever it is that you're doing."

Mildly offended, he looked about in consternation. "Detective Morales is clearly hoping for more than simply coffee."

"So is Katrina," Abbie said, seriousness consuming her face. "Crane... I realized something over these last few days."

"And what is that?" he asked, suddenly afraid of what she might say in regards to his and Katrina's relationship. He wasn't sure the delicate bond he and she shared could bear any further scrutiny.

Abbie shrugged and moved to a nearby bench. "I've been so caught up in being a Witness and sorting you out that I've kinda been using it as an excuse to avoid my own life."

"Leftenant, I never meant to disrupt your life," he said softly as he took a seat beside her.

"I know," she assured quickly. "I just... It's all consumed me, you know? It's become the only thing I do now. Fight, eat, sleep; share a few laughs with you and Jenny in between." She tiredly shook her head. "That's not a very fulfilling life."

Understanding completely, he nodded. "I find myself in agreement with you. Though, for me, it has been a distraction from a lost life."

"Exactly," she agreed. "We've been doing our duty at the expense of our own lives. This job shouldn't be all you have any more than it should be all I have."

"Do we get to have lives, Leftenant?" He tilted his head in study of her. "I mean, apart from our roles as Witnesses."

She was quiet for a moment before she answered, "Maybe not right now, but... I think we should use that to our advantage. One day, when this mess is over, we have to go back to being regular people and I just think it would be good to have something to look forward to, someone to look forward to. There has to be a reason for why we do this; something to preserve for not just the world, but ourselves as well. Otherwise, we're going to wear ourselves out. Whether it's love, a job, or whatever form of happiness you want... We need to have something to fight and claw our way towards."

Allowing her words to sink in, he commented, "I'm not quite sure I'll ever have a normal life what with Katrina being a witch and all."

Abbie chuckled in amusement as she shook her head. "Which will only get more abnormal when you two start spitting out all those magical babies."

Taken aback at how easily she'd suggested he and Katrina would have children, he defended, "I haven't made a decision on that front as of yet."

"Right," Abbie said teasingly with a wink. "Anyway, as I was saying, I made a decision when I got up this morning."

"And what is that?" he inquired, genuinely curious as to her thoughts.

"I'm giving Luke and I another shot."

"Oh?" he asked, attempting to keep the disapproval off his face. "Do you truly think Detective Morales is your soul mate, Leftenant?"

"Soul mate?" she repeated with a chuckle. "I don't know about that, but I do know that at one time, I did love him." Her expression sobered as her gaze fell to her hands. "I know I told you before that I'd never been in love, but I guess I was telling myself I hadn't been because I didn't want to deal with it. It's just easier that way, to push it away, to push him away, but... I did love him a lot and... I think I owe he and I a chance to find out if he is my soul mate... or whatever you want to call it."

For a moment, he stared at her, taking in the way her eyes burned with that intense sincerity. "So long as he treats you with all the respect you deserve, then... I suppose I support you in this as I would any other decision you make."

A smile creased her face as she shook her head. "Oh my God, you're going to be one of those annoying dads who let their kids spread their wings and fly at the same time you're daring them to go against what they know you really want them to do."

Rolling his eyes, he huffed. "Once your love life is solved, we should venture to work on your sense of humor. It's severely lacking in the extreme."

She continued shaking her head in amusement as she leaned forward to rest her chin on her hands.

"Are you going to share our... supernatural activities with him?"

He was very curious as to what her answer would be. If Katrina weren't already in the know, he imagined that would be the thing driving him insane. To tell her, or not to tell her.

"I don't know," she answered softly. "Luke is such a straight laced guy; honorable and loyal. He plays by the rules. I can't imagine what his reaction would be to all the crazy that's hiding out there." She made a popping sound with her mouth before shaking her head. "He'd probably send me to Tarrytown."

Nodding his understanding, he offered, "I believe to truly have a relationship reach all the potential it has, then complete honesty must be put forth. I suppose that's why I'm so hesitant to release my heart to Katrina once more. She's kept so much from me."

"Can you forgive her for that?"

Body sagging back against the bench, he blew a heavy breath through his nose. "I'm not sure. I want to. I want to be with her so desperately."

Abbie nodded, her gaze on a line of ants trailing past her boots. "I can see where it would be hard to trust her again. Though, my situation is different, I am having a hard time accepting the fact that she lied to me, too. I'm honestly surprised she got it past me. I'm usually pretty good at spotting a liar. It's like a sixth sense or something."

Wiping a hand down his face in frustration, he groaned, "It's utterly maddening how well she did it. I can't even comprehend how she managed to maintain such a lie for ten years."

"From your reaction, I'm guessing your advice is to tell him," she concluded, leaning back against the bench with a weary sigh.

"My advice is to do what your heart tells you," he answered in seriousness. "You have very wise judgment, Leftenant. I trust whatever your heart whispers to you will be the right course of action."

"Well, that was helpful," she grunted, standing up and clapping her hands. As she circled behind the bench, she leaned over and patted his shoulder. "Wish me luck with mine and I'll wish you luck with yours?"

Rolling his eyes, he stood up and turned to her with a low bow. "I wish you all the best in your romantic endeavors, Miss Mills."

She chuckled again as she waved him off and turned back to the diner. He watched from his place on the sidewalk as she made her way in and resumed her seat in the booth across from Luke, the two immediately falling into laughter.

The realization that he was once more alone with his thoughts brought a sigh out of him. Oh, to be in love.


"Umf!" she groaned as a knee met her stomach. "Jenny!"

Her friend giggled like a crazy person hyped up on chocolate as she fell to the other side of the bed and let out a sing song, "Sorry."

With a deep breath, she brought a hand up to her face and rubbed at her eyes. "I was sleeping, you know."

"Yeah, you've been sleeping all day, you know."

Irritated, she sat up to where she was side by side against the headboard with Jenny, who was now channel surfing on her television across the room. "Possibly because I've been ill?"

"Aww," Jenny drawled out with a pouty face turned to her. "Did your colonial lover not chase that nasty cold away before he departed from our presence?"

Rolling her eyes and crossing her arms in a show of agitation, she whined, "No, he deserves a beating."

For a solid three seconds, they attempted to maintain their sad expressions before they burst out laughing.

"So," she said, fiddling with the blankets which were tangled around her body. "You didn't do it in here, did you?"

Jenny looked at her puzzled as she plopped a pillow in her lap. "What?"

"You know," she attempted to discreetly elaborate. "You and your guy..."

"Ew," Jenny groaned as she shoved her arm. "Of course not!"

Chuckling at the reaction she got, she defended, "What? It was empty and the bed is freaking huge in comparison to the spare room's bed." She grinned and wiggled her eyebrows. "Lots of room to maneuver."

Jenny rolled her eyes. "Did I ask you if you changed the sheets before you messed around with Crane in the bed you and Hawley did the nasty in?"

Suddenly feeling short of breath, she tore her eyes from Jenny and took to staring at the tv guide Jenny had paused on. "He's so angry with me."

A moment of silence passed between them before Jenny spoke. "That why he left?"

Shrugging her shoulders, she felt her eyes begin to burn. "He's gone to think and I just-" Wearily wiping at her face, she sighed, "I want him to be happy with me, but if I'm being honest, I wouldn't blame him for not wanting me anymore. The heartache and torment I must be causing him..."

"Kat-"

"You don't understand, Jenny," she whispered, emotions overwhelming her as she jerked at the blankets in an attempt to straighten them. "He and I spent eight of the ten years we knew each other talking of our future, of what we wanted for our shared life. We formed this... bond that's indescribable. It went beyond the realm of normalcy for that time period. There was so little true and genuine love between men and women that was publicly known. Affection and respect, yes, but in a time where an arranged marriage for profit was the way to go, it left very little room for a soul mate type of love. My father and mother for example. They barely knew each other before they married. Over time, they did develop a healthy respect and possibly even a mild form of love, but... it paled so deeply in comparison to what Ichabod and I shared. There was no passion between them, no eagerness to bask in the presence of the other."

"Sounds depressing," Jenny mused aloud.

Nodding her complete agreement, she went on, "It was a necessity to live in such a way, but I never felt entirely comfortable adhering to that norm. That feeling only intensified when I met Ichabod. He changed everything I thought I knew about love and what it was worth. We shared something so special. That's why this situation is so hard for him. It's like I took scissors and snipped at that precious string that connected our hearts. The bond is still there, but I've damaged it; made it vulnerable." Eyes falling to her hands, she twisted them in her lap. "I'm not sure it can ever be fully repaired to what it once was. I know he's angry about the sex, about the fact that I've given a part of myself to another, but I think it's more so the intimacy that comes with it that he's so angry about."

Jenny light heartedly shook her head. "I can't imagine Mr. Prim and Proper sneaking around to have sex."

A grin came to her face as she recalled their past. "It was never about sex. We didn't even do anything overtly sexual for nearly a year after we confessed our love to one another."

"A year?" Jenny asked, her eyebrows rising. "Wow, that's... restraint."

With a chuckle, she explained, "We were always so happy to simply be together. Sometimes, when I'd visit camp to tend to my nursing duties, I'd wait until the dead of night before I slipped into his tent." Smiling at the memories of those long ago nights, she continued, "I wouldn't even have to say anything. I'd just lie down beside him. Sometimes I'd simply watch him sleep and other times he'd wrap his arms around me and we'd just hold each other for a few hours before I would sneak back out."

"Romantic," Jenny mumbled, clearly torn between wanting to tease her and being genuinely moved by her story. "This guy is like that."

Intrigued by another mention of Jenny's new boyfriend, she raised an eyebrow. "You always refer to him as 'guy'. Does he not have a name?"

Jenny released a heavy breath and began fidgeting with the pillow in her lap. "I don't want to say just yet."

"Why?" she asked in confusion. "You're being very weird about him."

"Yeah, well, Abbie and Crane know him," Jenny confessed. "And I don't want who he is getting out before I'm ready. It's going to be an extremely weird situation."

"Ok," she said, frown still present on her face. "I won't pry, but I will say that whoever he is... So, long as he treats you as you deserve, I doubt they will care. All any of us want is your happiness. You deserve that, Jenny." She leaned forward to attempt catching her friend's eyes. "Does he make you happy?"

A strangled chuckle escaped Jenny, revealing just how affected she was. "Yeah, he really does. I mean, he's sweet and kind and he really seems to get me in a way no one ever has before. Sometimes, I swear he can read my mind."

"That's important," she offered softly. "That he makes you happy."

"I guess," Jenny whispered with a shrug. "I've never had anything like this happen before. I mean, I'm not like you, or even Abbie. At least, she had Luke, who she seemed to genuinely love, despite her habit of hiding it, but the thing is, she does know what love is. She's had a guy give his all to her. And you..." she added with a laugh. "You've got this two hundred year old romance kicking back up with words like freaking 'soul mates' being thrown around."

Well, she had her there.

"I just...We have this connection that's kinda like what you described about you and Crane, but..." Jenny faced her, her brown eyes searching for answers. "Is that love? It can't be, right? I mean, we've only known each other a couple of months."

"Jenny, I can't tell you if you're in love or not. That's something only you can know." She paused, considering her words. "I personally believe true love isn't something that happens immediately. In my opinion, it grows through care and little moments. Anyone can do a grand gesture, but it's quality time that truly matters." She gestured to the door. "Look at Abigail and Luke. They went to the Academy together and he pursued her like a man dying of thirst and she was the water that would quench death and command it to flee." With a chuckle, she added, "And Ichabod tripped all over himself while trying to act like he wasn't desperate for a simple glance from me." She nudged her friend's arm. "Don't worry so much over if it's love or not. Have fun with him. Laugh. Enjoy yourself. Love isn't something that's going to happen in an instant. It's something that grows over time through those seemingly insignificant moments shared between the two of you."

"Right," Jenny whispered, wiping at her face. "God, I hate when you get me this way. It's like you have control of my tear ducts or something. Did you cast a spell on me?"

Laughing at the way Jenny never failed to turn tears into laughter, she said, "Welcome to my world."

"Oh, that's even worse," Jenny groaned, slapping a hand over her eyes. "No offence, but I have no aspirations to turn into you."

"Look at it this way," she offered. "I overdo relationships while Abigail under does them. Perhaps, you can learn from us and land somewhere in the middle."

"Wonderful," Jenny moaned as she picked up the remote and resumed her channel surfing. "Just what I always dreamed of."

Rolling her eyes, she slid back down into the bed and pulled the covers over her head in the hopes that she could return to sleep. However, her thoughts had turned to the past and the way it had been then. At that time, she had thought her life so complicated. Juggling witchcraft, spying, nursing, and Ichabod, all the while trying to keep the four as separate as possible, had been a headache. Now, though, things had the chance to be so much simpler. All those things, all those roles, she had so loved could now become a part of one shared life with her love. Throughout her youth, she had often wondered how her mother had managed it; dealing with a husband, daughter, and witchcraft. With a sigh, she closed her eyes tightly. She missed her mother's gentle spirit so much.

"I wish you weren't doing this," she whispered through burning eyes. "There has to be something. A spell; anything to heal you."

Cold hands laid over her own. "It's too late, my daughter."

"No," she croaked, tightening her fingers around her mothers. "I can do this. I can draw the disease out of you somehow. I'll take it into myself if I must."

"My brave girl," her mother breathed shallowly. "You have so much to live for. There is so much left for you to do."

Shaking her head, she crawled to lie beside the woman who had given her life. "I can't go on without you. I won't know what to do, what choices to make."

To her surprise, her mother struggled to smile. "You don't need me for that, Katrina. You have more heart than anyone I've ever known. Though, you could do well to show it a bit more."

"My heart?" she repeated in confusion. "I don't want heart, mother. I want knowledge and wisdom; two things I could gain from your teachings. You can't leave me to face this cruel world alone. I need you."

A tremble passed through her mother's frail body before she whispered, "You know as well as I that wisdom cannot be taught."

Not to be stopped, she went on, "I have watched you live your life in grace and humility. I've learned so much from watching you." She bit down her tears. "I wouldn't be half the person I am without you and I have so much more growing left to do. Please, stay with me. I need your guidance."

"I do have one last wish to guide you in, something I've remained silent regarding." Her mother laid a hand to her cheek, its temperature sending a shiver through her. "I've seen the way you look at him."

With a frown, she asked in confusion, "The way I look at who?"

"Mr. Crane," her mother said, a smile tugging at the corners of her thin lips.

Taken aback, she shook her head even as her body flushed in embarrassment. "I don't look at him in any particular way."

"I told you of your heart and how bright it shines when you allow it," her mother said softly. "It never shines more brightly than when you speak with him."

"Mother, you shouldn't be talking about this," she said in an attempt to change the subject. "This is hardly a matter of importance."

"Nothing is more important than your heart, Katrina," her mother whispered, her eyes giving way to her seriousness. "So many times, we, as beings of such immense power, cast aside our emotions. We seek knowledge and power when those things will never bring us true happiness."

Eyes falling to the red hair she'd inherited, she reasoned, "Father wishes me to marry Abraham."

"Do you love Abraham?"

Gaze jerking back to her mother's, she frowned. "Love? Of course not, but he can provide so much for our family and father-"

"Your father does not have to live your life, Katrina," her mother countered. "He doesn't have to marry, care for, or share a home with the man you choose." He mother smiled. "You and I both know who you want to share your life with."

Plucking at the blanket beneath her fingers, she answered, "I thought I hid it well."

"You do," her mother replied. "You hide it expertly, but I'm your mother and, try as you may, there is little you can keep from my sight. You were always such a stubborn little girl. It appears you've brought that into adulthood with you."

With a sorrowful smile, she explained, "The coven would never permit it, nor would Abraham for that matter. He'd pitch a fit and make life impossible for me." She closed her eyes as she thought of the man who plagued her thoughts. "It's a hopeless love Ichabod Crane and I share."

"Nothing is ever hopeless, my daughter," her mother whispered through struggled breaths. "Remember that."

Eyes snapping open at how faded her mother's voice was, she pled, "Mother-"

"You should retrieve your father now," her mother breathed. "It's nearly time."

Choking back a sob, she nodded and removed herself from the bed before opening the door. Gaze falling on her father who was sitting, head in his hands, across from the doorway, she whispered, "She wishes to see you."

His eyes, her eyes, slowly slid up to catch her gaze, more torment than she'd imagined he'd spare for her mother seeping out of him. He, then, wordlessly stood and stepped past her into the room.


The funeral had been a quiet affair. Condolences from townsfolk and friends within and without her coven had been paid and she was tired of it. Barely able to tolerate another sorrowful face, she'd fled her home, seeking out the safety of the garden in her backyard. That's where she'd been for the past few hours. Among the many herbs and flowers, she'd found her solitude, her place of comfort. Throughout her youth, this garden had been her sanctuary, a place she'd buried her anger and sadness, her joy and hurt. Now, it had become a place to bury her grief as well. Laying in the shade of the various plants and bushes she'd poured her emotions into since childhood, she stared at the many clouds overhead. How easy it would be to lie there forever, absorbing the sun, wiling away the day as her thoughts drifted in plenty.

However, a branch snapping a few yards away had her bolting upright, nearly meeting the thorns of a rose bush on her right.

"Forgive me," Ichabod said, apologetically holding up his hands. "I was simply-" He shook his head, his face reddening, and gestured back to the house, which was barely visible through the vast garden. "I'll return. I don't want to disturb you."

As he began hurriedly turning away, nearly tripping over a stone bench in the process, she called, "Lay with me."

His head whipped back to hers so quickly, she was surprise he hadn't snapped it. Eyes wide, he asked, "Pardon?"

Shifting over to make a place for him in her hideaway hole, she patted the grass next to her. "Please. I don't wish to make you uncomfortable, but... I could use the company of a friend... a real friend."

He hesitated, glancing back to the house in consideration, as he twisted his hands at his side. Then, with a heavy breath, he made his way over to her before sinking to his hands and knees and crawling to sit beside her. The position of the plants had him hunched over to keep the branch of a magnolia bush out of his hair. As he didn't seem so inclined to do so, she decided to take the lead and laid back down into the soft grass. After he'd stared at her for a moment, he finally followed and was now resting stiffly beside her. With a soft whisper, she said, "I was watching the clouds, picking out the various shapes. Do you ever do that?"

"Uhm, yes," he stuttered. "When I was a boy, I did it a great deal."

Eyes watching the puffy, white masses moving overhead, she asked, "Do you think it odd that I still do that?"

"No," he responded immediately, bringing a smile to her face. "It's not odd at all." He seemed to think of himself for a moment before adding, "I find it an endearing trait. It's a simple past time, one most women wouldn't concern themselves with. Sometimes one simply needs to lie down and appreciate the beauty of the world around them."

Her head rolled to the side to stare at him as he laid flat on his back. "That sounds like something my mother would say."

His own head turned to face her, his blue eyes glinting in the sunlight peeking through the bush over them. "She was a very wise woman."

With a sorrowful smile, she whispered, "She liked you."

A smile creased his lips as well. "I admired her. The world could do with more people as kind as she was."

Eyes burning, she turned her eyes back to the sky. "So many people have come to my home today. They seek to seem kind, but in truth only want to watch us wallow in our grief. It'll be something to talk about during their next tea party. Some of them are already looking at my father as a potential mate. Some are hoping to inherit a trinket or two that belonged to my mother. I can't stand them."

"So, you've fled out here," he concluded softly. "If you ask it of me, I'll go in there and throw them all out the front door, daring them to return."

A genuine smile came to her face as she twisted her fingers in the grass. "I appreciate the sentiment, but I prefer it out here. It's my sanctuary of sorts." She looked back at him to find his eyes still on her. "Perhaps, later?"

He grinned in that boyish way she loved where his entire face lit up. "Just give the order and I will see it thoroughly accomplished."

Grateful for his playfulness, she said, "Ever the soldier. I thought you were on leave."

His smile wavered. "I'll be anything for you."

Heart constricting, she tore her eyes from his to return to the sky. With her face heated and body warm, she pointed to a particular cloud. "That one looks like a fish."

She heard the grass crinkle as he followed her gaze. "It does."

"You find one," she said, hoping he would play along.

After a moment, he pointed. "There. It looks quite similar to an elephant."

Squinting to attempt making it out, she denied, "It does not."

His head swiveled to her and she could just imagine the playful outrage on his face. "I beg your pardon, Ms. van Tassel, but it most certainly does."

Chuckling, she tilted her head to the side. "I don't see it. A tree, perhaps, but not an elephant."

A huff blew out of his mouth, prompting her to laugh out loud as he grumbled, "A tree. It's an elephant. Honestly, woman."

When a gentle breeze passed over them, her hair caught in it, taking to floating over her face. She was about to reach and brush it away, but was beat to it by his hand pushing it behind her ear. Overwhelmed at his sudden proximity, she swallowed, her throat too dry to properly breathe. He was leaning on an elbow, looking down at her as his arm rested across her chest while he twisted the strands of hair he'd moved between his fingers. It was so earnest; the way he was staring at the place his fingers were. There was no trace of lust in his gaze, only a certain purity, as though she were a precious jewel in his grasp. Then, there were his eyes, which were so very blue that she wondered if God had actually taken a small portion of the sea to color them.

"I'm glad that you're here," she whispered, finally drawing his eyes to hers.

A smile graced his face, one recently shaved neatly, giving her more view of his smooth skin. "Of course, I'm here. I consider you my dearest friend in all the world; my own little rescuer."

The small recall to the day they'd met and he'd decided to remain in the colonies made her smile. Lifting a hand to his face, she traced her fingers along his jaw. "Don't tell Abraham that. He thinks he's your best friend."

It was as though a sudden realization of their proximity washed over him, causing him to jerk his hand from her and quickly return to his place in the grass. Hating herself for speaking of his best friend, the same man who wished to marry her, she clenched her eyes shut. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence passed between them, she opened her eyes to look at him. He was staring at the sky, his body tense and his fingers clenched in the grass.

"I wish the world were fair," she whispered, hoping he could read the message in her words.

His gaze slowly slid back to her, his eyes a story of sorrow. "I wish I could bring her back for you."

Realizing he hadn't understood, she nodded, eyes burning as the reality of her mother's death washed back over her. For such a very short moment, she'd forgotten why he was here in the first place. Shame for her lapse in memory brought the tears up and out of her eyes. How could she have so quickly set aside her grief for even a moment?

"Oh, Katrina," he said softly. "I'm sorry."

"I forgot about her," she muttered, lifting a hand to her face and wiping at her tears, which seemed to be flooding out of her. "What kind of daughter laughs on the day of her mother's funeral?"

It was a moment before he responded. "The kind who knows that's what her mother would have wanted."

Gaze turning to his, she soaked in his eyes, which seemed full of answers. "What?"

"I believe she would be glad of it," he explained. "She was such a happy person. No matter the occasion, she never failed to give the appropriate smile, a genuine smile. Perhaps it's not my place," he added with a shrug as his gaze returned to the sky. "But I believe she would be glad you found a way to smile on this day more than any other."

Unsure how to respond, she continued to stare at him in wonder. How had he come to know so much of her mother? Had he truly paid that much attention when she spoke of her mother or when in her mother's presence? Recalling some of her mother's last words to her, she felt a small smile come to her face as she allowed her hand to fall to the grass next to his, their fingers touching ever so slightly.

"Ichabod?"

"Yes?"

"You're the most treasured person in my life."

A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as his head rolled back to face her, the pads of his fingers rubbing her knuckles soothingly before she gently turned her hand over, palm to the sky where she could touch his hand as well.

"Would you like me to tell you a story?"

With a quick nod, she answered, "Please."

Chapter Text

It was driving her absolutely insane.

Tapping her foot at a dangerously fast paced rate, she stared at the rather large bed in front of her through narrowed eyes, her heart beating more wildly with every second that ticked by. She couldn't handle the thoughts any longer.

It had to go.

"Jenny," she said, striding toward the bed and gently shaking her friend's shoulder.

When she only received a low groan and wave of a hand in return, she sighed. Upon waking up to see a new day dawning, she'd found her cold gone, something that relived her greatly as she despised lying around when there were things to be done, especially things she now couldn't stop thinking about. She's already been up for a few hours doing different things around the house to distract herself, but she'd finally reached a point where she couldn't avoid the conclusion she'd come to any longer. Thankful for her rather odd immune system having kicked in so she could accomplish what she needed to do, she moved to the foot of the bed and jerked the comforter and sheet down and off it completely, leaving Jenny exposed to the room and sunshine coming in through the large bedroom window.

"Kat," Jenny groaned as she turned over and lazily threw a hand over her eyes. "What is wrong with you? Two mornings. This makes two mornings in a row you colonial people have disturbed my sleep."

Not to be dissuaded, she snapped her fingers and ordered, "Get up and help me."

After kicking her feet out in a mild tantrum like fashion that had her grinning, Jenny finally sat up with a glare, her brown eyes giving way to how annoyed she was. "Help you what? I thought you were sick."

"I'm all better," she confirmed quickly before gesturing to the source of her morning irritation. "It has to go."

With a puzzled expression, Jenny looked the bed over. "What does?"

"The bed," she said, moving to the other side where she started tossing the pillows to the floor. "It has to go."

"Are you crazy?" Jenny asked, her voice hitting a surprisingly high pitch. "This bed is perfect, not to mention huge. There's no way we're getting it out of here."

Shrugging her shoulders, she began pulling the sheets, which caught under Jenny's body, stopping her momentum. Eyes journeying up to her friend's disgruntled face, she offered, "If you like it so much, you can have it."

"Kat," Jenny began saying tiredly before rolling her eyes and standing with an exasperated sigh when she continued to tug the sheets caught beneath her. "What's going on? You've got that crazy look on your face."

After successfully dropping the sheets to the wood floor, she brought her fingers through her hair, anxiety creeping over her. "Ichabod's going to come back and... I need him to be happy here, not constantly hounded with thoughts of the things I've done in this bed with another man." She held a hand out to the stripped mattress. "I want a bed that belongs to the two of us, one that starts our future, one we'll make love in for the first time, create our children in."

A long moment of Jenny staring at her oddly, as if she might need to be institutionalized which she couldn't necessarily disagree with, passed before she slowly nodded. "So, you're just, what? Gonna get rid of the bed?"

"Yes," she immediately answered, the idea sounding like the best one she'd had in a long while.

However, her friend still didn't seem convinced as an annoyed sigh fell from her lips before she asked, "Can I at least brush my teeth first? Maybe pee?"

Realizing she needed to slow down a smidge, she smiled playfully and threw her hands up. "Fine, fine. Go on, be a normal person and do the things normal people do. I'll just wait right here in my crazy bubble."

Jenny rolled her eyes as she walked towards the door. "I'd rather be normal than a crazy lady who talks about creating children in her magic love bed with her two hundred and fifty year old, colonial lover."

Unable to quell her laughter at Jenny's disgruntlement, she waited for her to disappear into the guest bathroom before she turned back to the mess of bed clothing, which she began shoving into the corner. Now able to better maneuver throughout the room, she circled the bed, wondering where to start. It was definitely going to take a great deal of work, but she imagined the two of them could manage. After all, she was a witch and Jenny was magnificent at managing tough situations. How difficult could it be?

"Screwdriver," she muttered, thinking out loud as she took in the huge bed before her. "I need a screwdriver."

Having a goal in mind, she set about searching for the tools she'd need, but paused at her guest bathroom door and knocked as another thought occurred to her. "Hey, have you heard from Abigail?"

"Yeah," Jenny said, her voice mumbled as it seeped through the door. "She texted me last night. Apparently, she had quite the day."

"Is she alright?" she asked, a smidge of worry creeping up at the thought that she might have missed something with her diagnosis of Abbie's health. She'd been sure Abbie had only needed some rest. Perhaps, she'd missed something. "You said she felt fine yesterday morning."

"Oh, it's not sickness that's the problem," Jenny answered, the bathroom door opening to reveal her friend holding her toothpaste covered brush up while she spoke, head tilted up with a mouth full of spit. "It's that lover of yours."

Frown overtaking her, she inquired, "What about him? He went home to think."

Jenny spit her toothpaste out and rinsed her mouth before continuing, "Well, yeah, after he interrupted Abbie's date."

"Her date?" she exclaimed, eyes going wide at that particular revelation. "I believe I'm missing something. I thought she went to work yesterday."

"And who is it she works with again?" Jenny asked, eyebrows lifting as she dried her hands with a towel fixed on the wall.

"Oh, well..." She felt a grin creeping up. "Is that so? Good for her. I'm sure Luke is over the moon."

Jenny made a sound like she was torn between agreeing and protesting. "I suppose it could be worse."

When her friend bushed past her and began heading toward the kitchen, she made to follow, curiosity over this conversation taking her over. Gossip was just what she needed to distract her mind from all the crazy she was experiencing this morning. "But what did Ichabod do? He didn't make a scene, did he?"

Jenny peered up at her with a smirk. "He does that often, does he?"

Rolling her eyes at Jenny's teasing of her love, she leaned against the counter and pressed her question. "Come on, Jenny. Gossip with me."

"Nothing happened really, he just interrupted their coffee date."

"Hmm," she mused aloud, drumming her fingers against the granite countertop. "A coffee date. At least, he didn't walk in on them having sex."

"One time, Kat," Jenny groaned while pouring her cereal into a bowl. "One time you walk in on me. Besides," she added with a raised eyebrow. "I do believe I caught you and British red handed the other morning. So, no more holding that over my head."

"Ok," she defended, pointing her finger in accusingly. "That was different. No parts were exposed and we were standing beside the kitchen cabinet, not laying on it."

Jenny rolled her eyes and pushed some toast down into the toaster. "Give it some time. You should see how he looks at you when you're not paying attention."

A grin took over her face and she was sure she looked like a crazy person. "Really? He looks at me in a certain way?"

"Oh God," Jenny groaned again, resting her elbows to the counter and leaning her forehead to her hands. "It's too early for this."

"Fine, fine," she said, holding her hands up in surrender and backing away. "I'm gonna go get started. You hurry up. No procrastination to avoid the work. I've seen you eat."

"I eat different things at different speeds," Jenny returned, before bringing a spoonful of cornflakes to her mouth and proceeding to chew extra slow.

"Uh huh," she chuckled as she turned down the hallway before yelling, "Hurry it up, Speedy."


"You're insane," Jenny said, her breath labored as she struggled on the other end of the mattress.

Leaning her head against the wall for a moment, she scowled at her friend. "Hey, if you want this bed, you have to work for it."

"I don't think I want it this much," Jenny muttered, readjusting her grip on the bottom of the mattress with a pained look.

"So, perhaps, it's a little more difficult than I imagined it would be," she said, feeling her fingers going numb at the pressure on them. "But I think we're doing alright."

"Stop, stop, stop," Jenny shouted right about the time she heard glass shattering against the floor somewhere beyond her sight.

Pausing in dread, she hesitantly asked, "What was that?"

"Uhm," Jenny drawled, prolonging her response. "Well, it used to be a colorful vase."

Dropping her head forward to rest against the mattress, she groaned. "Perfect."

"It didn't look that expensive," Jenny said, clearly trying to lessen the blow.

"Mhm." Tilting her head to peek around the mattress at Jenny, who was currently kicking a few pieces of her two hundred year old vase aside, she said, "Forget about it. This is more important. Let's just get it out of here."

Jenny nodded and they continued moving slowly, her backward with Jenny bringing up the end of the mattress down the hall. Once they managed to reach the front door, she twisted at an odd angle and managed to get the door open with one hand before kicking it open the rest of the way with her foot. "Ok, let's just set it against the railing for now."

It took quite a bit of maneuvering, with her ending up nearly tumbling down the steps, before they finally got it situated on the porch.

After a minute of the two of them stretching their backs, she muttered, "Paint."

She noticed Jenny turn to her with wide eyes. "No."

"Oh come on, Jenny," she begged , pushing her lips out in a pout. "It'll be fun."

Shaking her head, Jenny countered, "I thought you wanted this to be your and Crane's house. Shouldn't he pick out the paint with you?"

Hating to concede the point, but knowing she had no refute, she sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "I need stuff to do. Waiting is torture."

Jenny glanced over the front yard. "Your flowers could use some help. Abbie and I aren't exactly gardeners. I think they're hanging on by a thread."

With a chuckle, she affectionately patted her friend's arm. "What would I do without you, Jennifer Mills?"

"Well, if you weren't older than dirt, I'd say die."

Rolling her eyes, she started walking back inside. "Come on, let's get the frame."

"Oh, joy," she heard Jenny mutter as she trailed behind her.


"Here," Jenny said, holding out a glass of iced tea to her.

"Thanks."

As Jenny took a seat beside her on the porch steps, she glanced back at the mattress and frame, which were now situated to lean against the wall of Abbie's porch. It had been quite the adventurous afternoon. While they had managed to accomplish getting everything over to Abbie's, they'd had a few mishaps along the way, the likes of which included she and Jenny ending up in the flower bed with the mattress on top of them. Thank God she was a witch, or they might still be there, struggling to breathe beneath the heavy mattress as it squashed them into the dirt and flowers. "I think we did good."

"Yeah, my back feels it," Jenny mumbled as she sipped her tea. "I still can't get the dirt out of my ear."

"I feel your pain," she said, taking in her filthy pajama bottoms and dirt covered hands.

"At least, I'm getting something out of it," Jenny reasoned, tilting her head toward her new bed.

With a grin, she ran her fingers over the sweating glass, the dirt coating her fingers in turn transforming into mud, and said, "Well, now you get to put the bed back together."

"Crap," Jenny exclaimed, slapping a hand over her face. "I didn't even think about that."

"Perhaps, Abigail will help you fix it," she offered, praying Jenny agreed without too much thought. She was none too keen to touch that bed ever again. "I think it'll be good sister bonding time."

Jenny glanced at her with raised eyebrows, her own grin on her lips. "You think you're getting out of this? Really?"

She dramatically pointed a finger toward the street. "Hey, I have to go buy a new bed and put it together."

Shaking her head, Jenny chuckled. "I'd actually pay you to let me come watch you and Crane try to put a bed together. I can just see him cursing in his British accent while refusing to ask for help."

Unable to refute such a claim, she nodded. "He'd ask eventually. It usually just takes a little while."

Jenny smiled as she set her glass down on the top step. "It's still pretty weird to imagine you guys knowing each other. Like I try to picture the two of you way back then and I just can't. Him, yes. You, no."

A wistful smile came to her face. "My life was a storm of worry and responsibility. Ichabod was my center, my calm, my one selfish hope. I know it's hard to see right now with him being so..."

"Proud? Snobby? A know it all?" Jenny offered, her eyebrows lifting knowingly.

With every offer Jenny made, she laughed and nodded along. "All of the above, but... He's also such a kind man; giving, generous. If I had asked it of him, he would have found a way to move the earth for me. Right now, though, he's just..." She sighed and ran a hand along the back of her neck, the strands of hair from her ponytail tickling her skin. "He's out of his depth; lost. It's so hard to imagine. At least, I transitioned and evolved with the world, which is probably why you can't picture me there. Whereas, Ichabod was literally plucked out of 1781 and dropped into 2013. He has no identity, no job, no sense of belonging."

"I thought you were going to make him a fake I.D."

She grinned. "I already did. This morning while you were sleeping, I got up and made him everything he'd ever need. He now has a driver's license, social security card, passport, and even a membership card to the video store. I can't wait to make him watch Titanic." She winked at Jenny. "He'll totally cry. You wouldn't think it, but Ichabod is such a romance lover."

"Kat, there's no way you got all of that," Jenny said, her eyes wide in surprise. "Half of that stuff definitely takes more than a morning to make."

"Magic," she replied with a playful shrug.

"Right, so you just made all of that pop up out of thin air?"

"Of course not," she said with a roll of her eyes. "I'm a witch, not a circus act."

"Then, how?"

"Well, you did say I was very good at manipulation." She rolled the glass between her hands. "I just manipulated some papers and stuff I already had."

"Have I mentioned how much I hate you?" Jenny asked as Abbie's jeep pulled into the driveway.

Tilting her head back and forth, she scratched the side of her nose and chuckled. "A few times."

"I mean, if I could do that crap, I'd be rich," Jenny said, shaking her head in annoyance as she watched Abbie exit her car and, to her surprise, Ichabod follow. At the sight of his tall, lean form, she suddenly felt her nerves set her body to bouncing as she began tapping her foot against the porch step, something that only worsened when their eyes locked across the yard.

"Hey, what are you two-" Abbie lifted her gaze over their heads to the porch and narrowed her eyes in the bright sunlight. "What's that?"

Jenny glanced behind them and shrugged nonchalantly. "My new bed."

Abbie's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Your new bed? Where'd you get a new bed?"

"Kat gave me hers," Jenny said simply, as though she'd just been given a piece of gum instead of a king sized bed.

However, Abbie's reaction wasn't what caught her attention so much as Ichabod lurching forward slightly, causing her to all but stop breathing, and asking, "What?"

"Well, I-" she replied, stuttering and twisting her muddy fingers nervously. "I just thought I could-you know..."

She noticed Jenny glance at her oddly, prompting her to fix her eyes on her toes, before speaking, "She's buying a new one."

At hearing Ichabod make a small noise of surprise, she peeked up to see his eyes dancing over her in confusion. "Why? It was a nice bed."

More nervous than she'd been in recent history, she answered softly, "I've just had it a while and it was... used." Dropping her eyes to her hands, she couldn't understand why she was suddenly so nervous around him. She supposed it was the fact that he held her heart in his hands and she had absolutely no idea what he planned to do with it.

"Yeah," Jenny said, looking up at her sister. "I uh, I was hoping you would help me put this one back together, Abbie. You know, sisterly bonding time and all."

She cast Jenny a curious glance to which her friend gave a half nod toward Ichabod. Suddenly seeing where she was going with this, she quickly shook her head. However, Jenny took matters into her own hands and said, "And maybe you could help Kat go get her new one?"

Eyes snapping closed, she felt her body flush in embarrassment. However, before she could figure out how to discreetly pinch her friend, she was surprised to not only hear Abbie agree to help Jenny, but Ichabod agree to go with her. Sure she'd misheard, she lifted her eyes to his. "What?"

He gave a half smile and shifted his stance more fully toward her. "I'd like to go with you, if that's alright?"

At a loss for anything to say, she wordlessly nodded and stood, doing it so fast she ended up slipping on the edge of the step and tumbling forward, nearly headed toward falling flat of her face if not for Abbie reaching out to balance her. "You alright there, Red?"

Slightly embarrassed at her clumsiness, she patted Abbie's shoulder and muttered, "Yeah, sure. Why not?"

With a raised eyebrow, Abbie looked at the dirt now on her shirt and asked, "Are you drunk?"

"No," Jenny offered with a laugh. "She's twitterpated."

"Really, now?" Abbie asked, joining in her sister's amusement before casting a glance back at a very confused Ichabod. "Well, that makes sense."

Having had enough of their teasing, she stepped toward the source of her sudden dysfunction and grabbed his upper arm to begin leading him away. "You two have fun with that bed. I'm pretty sure I stripped a few of the screws." When Abbie turned to Jenny with a groan, she grinned and asked, "Do you want me to bring dinner back for you two?"

Jenny perked up at that, but Abbie only shook her head. "I bought some stuff last night. Jenny is learning how to cook more than Ramen Noodles tonight."

Now, Jenny was the one groaning as she turned to them in clear desperation. "Can I go with you guys? I won't make not one joke about your puppy eyes or anything."

"Oh no," Abbie said, tugging Jenny by the back of her shirt up the steps. "Time to spread your wings and fly little sis."

As the two sisters tussled up the steps, she chuckled and began leading Ichabod toward her house. However, upon reaching her front porch, she felt her nervousness return. "Uhm, just wait here and let me get my purse." She glanced down at her filthy pajama pants and t-shirt before adding with a smile. "And maybe change clothes."

"Oh, of course," he said quickly, gesturing to the rocking chair. "I'll just wait here."

With a laugh somewhere between giddiness and nervousness, she backed toward the front door, bumping into it in the process and causing him to smile as she stuttered, "I'll be right back."

Entering her house in a hurry, she closed the door and with a deep breath, pushed herself toward her bedroom. In the few short minutes they'd been together, she hadn't gotten a read of any kind on him, which was strange. Ichabod had always been so easy to read, his every feeling right there in his eyes for her to see, but he seemed to be expertly hiding whatever he was feeling at the moment. She wondered if Abbie had given him lessons on the way over.

Shaking her head at the thought, she quickly made her way into the bathroom to wash her hands and begin on her makeup, all the while chuckling to herself over the memory of the morning she'd caught Ichabod fiddling with her mascara. She found his confusion over her modern techniques of dressing adorable. To be honest, she found most of what he did to be adorable. "I'm so done for with this man," she muttered aloud as she set her mascara down and tugged her ponytail out of her hair.

After brushing out her messy hair, she re-entered her bedroom and adorned herself with some small hoop earrings before pulling some jeans out of her drawer and a dark green, long sleeved shirt from a hanger in her closet. Then, after dressing, she tugged her boots on and stood from the chair beside her dresser with a sigh before making her way down the hall and into the kitchen where she grabbed her purse and the manila envelope beside it from the countertop. When she finally managed to step back out the door, she found him tracing his fingers over the carvings on her porch post.

"It wards off unpleasant spirits," she offered softly, prompting him to spin around to face her, his gaze sweeping over her in what she could tell was appreciation. Satisfied that she'd managed to garner a reaction out of him, she smiled.

"Oh," he said, glancing back at it and pursing his lips. "That's rather useful, I suppose."

"Yeah," she agreed, unsure where to go from there. "Uhm... are you ready?"

He was quick to nod and hold his hand out as a gesture for her to lead the way. Giving him an odd look at the playful way he'd done it, she descended the porch steps and started striding toward her car where, for the first time, she was confronted with the damage to it from his little adventure the morning before.

"Wow," she said, raising her eyebrows at him. "You really did a number on my car, didn't you?"

He cleared his throat while avoiding her eyes and the car altogether "I thought I was forgiven."

"You are," she replied with a chuckle as she dug in her purse and produced her keys. When the car was unlocked, she opened the driver's door and grinned over the hood at him. "Get in. It's time to go shopping."

As he slid into the seat next to her, he situated his large frame and buckled the seat belt over himself. While he did so, she couldn't help but smile at how odd he looked in her car while in the light of day. Ichabod Crane was most definitely her favorite work of art and she wanted little more than to study him for the rest of her life.

After she'd pulled out onto the street, she picked up the envelope from her console and handed it to him. "This is for you."

While he set about opening it, she spared him a glance to catch him frowning as he pull the flap open. "What is it?"

"My gift to you," she answered simply, gripping the steering wheel with both hands in anticipation of his reaction.

"How many gifts are you going to give me before you run out?" he asked playfully, tilting the envelope and allowing the materials within to slide out into his lap.

"Are you complaining?" she asked with raised eyebrows as she adjusted the air conditioner.

"Not in the least," he replied, lifting the driver's license to read. "It's-"

Unable to help her grin any longer, she said, "Welcome to the twenty-first century, my love."

Just then, she came to a stop sign and heard the release for his seat belt click. Puzzled by what he could be doing, she turned her head to face him only to be met with his mouth crashing into hers, his hands taking hold of her cheeks and sliding up into her hair where he began softly stroking her ears. Quite shocked at the unexpected action on his part, she unintentionally gasped as he tilted his head, pressing further into her, his lips gently caressing back and forth over hers. Finally realizing she needed to act, she came to herself and lifted a hand to his cheek, delighting in his sudden, intimate attention. That is, until a honk sounded behind them, prompting her to pull back and look into her rear view mirror to see someone waiting behind them.

"Right, uhm." She shook her head and took her turn at the stop, pulling out onto the main road as he shuffled to buckle his seat belt back on, giving her a moment to sort herself out. "That was... unexpected."

When he didn't respond, she glanced at him only to find he was smiling with his hands folded neatly in his lap.

Beyond confused by his behavior, she placed her eyes back on the road, feeling herself torn between joining in his smile and frowning. "You're smiling."

"I am," he answered, his voice full of mirth.

"Alright," she drawled, not entirely sure what that meant. What on earth was going on with him? "You know you're torturing me, right?"

"I'm aware," he answered with a chuckle, his fingers lifting to trail over the window ledge. "It was a simple thank you."

So, now he was kissing her as a means of saying thanks? Well, she could deal with that. She could definitely deal with that. Swallowing the buildup of saliva in her mouth, she shook her head. "Simple is not the word I'd use."

"We do seem to have different definitions when it comes to that word," he replied with a chuckle.

When she glanced at him again, she found him staring at her intently, all playfulness gone, causing suspicion to course through her. "What?"

"You're buying a new bed," he stated, giving nothing away in his expression.

Unsure of exactly what to say, she shrugged, trying to appear calm and collected. "Yep."

"Because of what I said?"

Making a turn at a red light, she answered evenly, "Yep."

After a moment passed, he whispered, "You didn't have to do that."

"Yes," she responded softly, tightly twisting her fingers around the steering wheel. "I did."

To her surprise, his hand reached for her closest one, threading their fingers together. It was such an intimate gesture that she couldn't help the leap of her heart. What did him holding her hand mean exactly? Was he pleased by her decision? Or maybe he was relieved that he wouldn't have to sleep in a bed Nick Hawley had been in ever again? If that was so, that meant that he was planning on sleeping in her room again... with her.

"Ichabod," she began, hoping she wasn't about to ruin their moment with her crazy thoughts. "You're kinda freaking me out."

His fingers ceased rubbing hers. "I'm not sure I understand your meaning? Freaking you out?"

Shrugging her shoulders, she said, "It's just that... you said you needed time to think yesterday and now you're kissing me and holding my hand and..."

"You want to know if I've reached a decision," he concluded softly.

Nervously chuckling at how ridiculous this entire situation was, she admitted, "Well, yeah."

He resumed running his fingers over her hand, slipping in and out of the spaces between her fingers. "I've come to a few actually."

She raised her eyebrows, but found she couldn't look at him. She wasn't entirely sure she could handle a few. "A few? I was only expecting one."

A heavy breath escaped him causing her nerves to fly into a frenzy at the thought that this was it. She was about to learn if he wanted her in the same way she wanted him. "I spent a great deal of time considering my future and what's best for me. I thought about the most logical journey my life should take." He paused for a moment, the only action in the car being her steering and his rubbing. "Then, I realized there was nothing logical about me and there is certainly no way for me to predict what's best for my future, at least without counsel. This time is so strange and I'm afraid that even if I do manage to weave my way through it, I'm always going to struggle in some ways."

Anticipation coupled with dread spread through her. Kissing had been a good sign as well as his hands on her. However, his voice sounded far from soothing and she still had little idea of where he was going with this. "Alright. Do I need to pull over? Because I swear to God, Ichabod, if you're about to tell me your life's journey is separate from mine, I think I might have a miniature meltdown and-"

"I love you, Katrina."

Taken aback, she felt her breathing pick up as she finally glanced at him. He was staring at her, his blue eyes boring into her with sincerity that had her heart skipping more than a few beats. "You-" She shook her head and turned back to the road. "You love me?"

"There's nothing logical about it. It's simply something I cannot help." He gave a short laugh. "I have loved you for so long that I can barely remember what it's like to not be in love with you. Even through all the seemingly hopeless waiting, heated arguments, and piercing heartache I've felt while with you, I have continued to love you."

At a loss for words, she pulled her hand from his so she could attempt to keep her concentration on the road and not kill them both before she got clearer answers. "You're sort of making it sound like a burden to love me. I'm not sure how to feel about that."

He was quiet for a moment, worsening her nerves. So, deciding to grasp at her courage which was currently hiding from her, she took a deep breath and turned to glance at him again only to find his eyes trained on his hands. "Katrina, I... When did you know you were in love with me?"

Despite wanting to push this conversation forward, she smiled sadly and whispered, "The day of my mother's funeral."

His eyes jerked up to hers in surprise. "That's when?"

She shrugged her shoulders, her gaze remaining on the road. "I knew before then, but that day was the first time I ever admitted it out loud." With a smile, she shook her head. "She made me admit it. I never could hide anything from her."

She noticed him share in her smile before nodding. "I knew I was in love with you, really in love with you, four months after we met. When you sat through the entire night beside that boy from the orphanage; the one who fell and cut his chest open. The doctor had left, saying he was beyond help. However, you stayed with him, wiping his face, telling him stories. You eased him into death, never for a moment looking at him like a lost cause, or someone who didn't deserve every ounce of your attention."

Drifting back to that night, she stared ahead. "James Thatcher. His parents died from fever, leaving him completely alone in the world. I couldn't leave him. No one with a heart would have left him alone."

"You might be an expert liar," he continued softly. "But you're also an expert caregiver."

"Ichabod-"

"I thought about it, about you caring so much," he quickly cut in. "I thought about children, my children, and what I'd want for them." He reached and took her hand back into his. "I can't explain how full my heart feels when I think about you being a mother to my children."

Throat suddenly feeling dry, she asked, "So, you love me because you think I'll be a good mother one day?"

"Partly, yes. I think it's important to think about the kind of parent your potential spouse would be. They play a significant part in shaping your children's lives, their values and morals." He blew a heavy breath out through his nose. "Our life will be hard, Katrina. I'm an oddity in this world and we're going to face a great many trials in this war."

"You're not odd to me," she said, firmly gripping his hand. "I love how much of our old life you bring to this time."

"Katrina," he groaned, lifting his free hand to his eyes. "You can't honestly tell me that you want me to continue dressing this way forever."

Her eyes dropped to the old coat she'd buried him in so long ago before turning back to the road. "I want you to do whatever makes you feel comfortable. I don't care if you wear that ratty coat everyday for the rest of your life. So long as you're happy, I'm happy."

"Are you sure?" he asked, that insecurity of his sounding in his voice.

"Are you?" she countered, glancing at him, knowing he was terrified of her answer. It was so clear to her how lost and afraid he was, despite the big show he tended to put on for everyone else's sake. "Ichabod, if you want to change your clothes, I'd be more than happy to help you. I'll buy you the entire department store if that's what you need. All you have to do is tell me."

He ran a shaky hand through his hair. "Katrina-"

"I know you hate that," she gently interjected. "It's not what you're accustomed to, or how you were brought up. You've always worked so hard to provide a future for us and now you're in a position where you have to constantly rely on others." She looked at him again, seeing the truth of it all over him. "Abigail mentioned you were against new clothes. Is that why? Because you didn't want her to buy them?"

Another heavy sigh fell from him as he slumped in his seat, something very unlike him. "I'm not her burden. She does so much for me, things I can never repay her for. I'm eternally grateful for such a friend as she's been, but... It's not right for her to have to take on such a responsibility."

"I understand that, my love, but I'm not Abigail," she explained softly, hoping he could decipher the difference. "I've been working to provide for us for centuries, Ichabod. I accumulated all of my wealth by buying and trading so we could live comfortably without having to worry over doing anything other than being together for the rest of our lives."

"It's simply hard to accept," he admitted sorrowfully, rubbing the hand not in hers over his pants leg. "And my clothes have been the only tangible things I've had from my old life for so long. I wanted to cling to them."

As she pulled into a vacant parking space, she shook her head and assured him. "But they're not all you have now."

"No, they're not," he whispered, lifting her hand to his mouth where he placed a tender kiss to her palm, sending a wave of longing through her.

Car finally off, she shifted her body to face him as best as she could manage in the seat, wanting complete eye contact with him. "Tell me what you want. If you could design a future for yourself right now, what would you want?"

He stared at her a moment before nervously smiling. "I don't know."

"Sure you do," she pressed, pulling their entwined hands into her lap. "Do you want to be with me?"

"Yes," he answered immediately, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles. "More than anything."

"Good," she said, smiling as she considered her next question. "Do you want to move in with me?"

"Well," he answered as he glanced out the window and squinted against the sunlight. "It seems like the reasonable thing to do. The Leftenant's next door and she wouldn't have to support me any longer."

"Oh, is that why?" she asked, a teasing frown on her face. "Are you sure it wouldn't have anything to do with the bed I'm about to buy?"

"Not at all," he answered, playfully threading their fingers together at a different angle and pushing their hands high up her thigh.

Releasing an unsteady breath, she laughed and went on. "Ok, so we're living together for the foreseeable future." She paused and licked her lips. "What now? Uhm... Do you want new clothes?" When he hesitated, she quickly added, "We could buy them and you could choose when you're ready to wear them. If you don't want to, then you never have to change."

A moment passed before he nodded. "Alright."

Excitement crept over her. "Right. So, is there anything else we need to go over that needs to be discussed right now? Or can we go in and let me go a little crazy with looking at beds and clothes?"

He grinned and pulled his hand from her to push his door open before making his way around to meet her as she opened her own door. When he held his hand out to her, she accepted it with a smile. "Why thank you, Mr. Crane."

"You're very welcome, Ms. van Tassel," he whispered, lifting a hand to push some hair behind her ear with a content smile.

Done waiting, she grasped his jacket and leaned up for a kiss, enjoying the way his lips met her halfway, brushing against her ever so softly as he pressed her back into her car. The contrast between the hard metal and his lean body had her pulse quickening. She absolutely loved the way he kissed her, like each one were a precious memory in the making that he wanted to burn into his mind. When he pulled back barely enough to catch her eyes, leaving her to breathe heavily, he asked, "Do you know what I want to do more than anything right now?"

She ran her hands down his chest and smiled teasingly. "My backseat isn't big enough for that."

A frown creased his face for a moment before realization dawned in his eyes, making him redden and stutter. "That's not what I-" He rolled his eyes. "I want to hold your hand in public."

Delightful surprise filled her, making her smile waver between uncontrollable happiness and eager playfulness. "You want to hold my hand?"

Nodding his confirmation, he slid his hand down her arm until their fingers were tangling together between their hips. "I know it sounds simple, but... all those times I had to pretend I wasn't in love with you, it's all I wanted to do. I'd lie awake and dream of the day I could simply walk with you, your hand in mine."

Heart overflowing with joy, she looked down at their joined hands and felt her eyes begin to burn with tears. "That's beautiful."

He pressed a tender kiss to her forehead before gesturing to the mall and asking, "Shall we?"

"Absolutely."

As she walked hand in hand with him toward the entrance, she marveled at the drastic turn this day had just taken.


"What about this one?" she asked, running her hand over the wooden headboard admiringly. "It's nice."

He stared at it oddly, his nose scrunching slightly indicating his disgust. "It's pink."

Rolling her eyes, she explained, "We're not buying the blankets. We're picking out a bed frame, then we're gonna pick out a mattress, and then we'll pick out the bed clothing."

His eyes grew to the size of quarters. "Why must people make things so complicated? All of these choices!" He gestured around at all of the merchandise. "If people put half as much thought into the world around them, there'd be far less problems with it."

Shaking her head at his rant, she groaned and had to force herself not to stomp her foot. "Ichabod, come on. Pick something."

Clearly not caring to do so, he glanced around with an agitated sigh. "It doesn't matter, Katrina. Anything will be fine with me."

"This is the first thing we're picking out together for our home," she pressed, raising an eyebrow and crossing her arms. "This bed will be the place we sleep every night. It's the place we'll make love in and one day make babies in." She tilted her head, taking in his slack jawed expression. "Still think it doesn't matter?"

"Uhm, well," he glanced around anxiously and pointed to the next bed over. "That one's quite nice."

She pulled him over to the bed he'd indicated and looked it over. It was a rustic looking panel bed with a tall headboard made of solid mahogany. Impressed that he'd actually chosen something suitable, she turned to him with a smile and pointed at it. "That one?"

"I even like the blankets," he said, clearly proud of himself for killing two birds with one stone.

Eyes falling to the dark gray bedspread with a lighter gray striped design running across the middle, she chuckled and shook her head. "You know what? I like it, too."

A smile of approval creased his face, prompting her to playfully roll her eyes and pull him down the aisle. "You know, if you allowed yourself, you'd actually have a lot of fun."

"I highly doubt that," he muttered, his gaze varying from confusion to disgust and then back again with every step they took.

Looping her arms through his, she leaned into him with a teasing look as the continued strolling through the store. "You used to love carrying my things for me."

"It was the only way I could garner your attention," he answered while staring incredulously at a small boy who was running through the store with his mother chasing after him, all the while she was promising him a butt whipping the minute they got home if he didn't stop.

"Oh, please," she replied with a laugh as they came to the mattresses. "You had my attention the moment we met and you knew it."

"Are all children that badly behaved in this century?" he asked, prompting her to glance at the boy again who was now in the custody of his mother, kicking and screaming in an attempt to escape and return to destroying the store.

"Uhm, no," she chuckled, untangling her arm and hand from him. "If they were, I would not be contemplating them with you."

"That's a relief," he mumbled. "That boy was quite terrifying."

As she ran her hand over a particular king sized mattress, she smiled and sat down on it. "I can't wait to have our own little hell child to wrangle in."

The resulting grin that took him over as he stepped between her legs and leaned forward to brush a kiss to her lips caused her to giggle and fall back with him following to rest over her. "I feel the same."

Breath catching at the earnest look in his eyes, she whispered playfully, "Oh? Are we going to make our baby right here in the middle of the mattress store?"

His grin returned as he rolled to his back, pulling her with him to straddle his waist, his blue eyes glinting in light of their new position. "I like this mattress."

God, he was so beautiful.

Leaning over him, she pressed a light kiss to his mouth before settling into a playful rhythm with him as he returned it. However, it didn't take but a second for his hands to begin squeezing her waist, his fingers slipping just under the edge of her shirt to touch her skin, a signal that he wanted more. Acquiescing to his eager prompt, she teased his lips apart with her tongue and delved into his mouth, immediately moaning at how wet and warm he was inside. If she continued with him like this, it wouldn't be long before he had her panties in the same state.

"Excuse me?"

Ichabod went completely rigid beneath her as she pursed her lips and turned her head to the balding, middle aged man at the foot of the bed who was scowling at them through narrowed eyes.

"Forgive us," Ichabod said, sitting up and guiding her off him in a clumsy manner. "We were-"

"Testing it out," she said, finally gaining her feet and straightening her shirt. "You know... We, uhm, just wanted to get a feel for it to see if it was appropriate."

The employee crossed his arms, clearly not impressed. "And that's how you chose to do it? In that position?"

Tilting her head at the man's attitude, she said, "Well, it's likely the most popular position we'll use." She smirked and patted Ichabod's arm. "He likes it when I'm on top."

A series of strangled coughs left Ichabod, making her chuckle and steady him as he covered his eyes in embarrassment.

"Uhm... we'll take this one..." She squinted as she read the man's name tag. "Steve."

Ichabod cleared his throat and nodded, his blue eyes looking everywhere but at them, while his face continually reddened. "Yes."

The man grunted and spun on his heel while saying, "We'll handle your purchase at the register."

In light of the man's snooty attitude, she leaned close to Ichabod while following him. "I take it he's never mattress shopped with his wife before."

Ichabod looked away from her, still red, and said, "Agreed."

Shaking her head in amusement, she pressed a kiss to his cheek and said, "Wait outside and let me take care of this." As she walked toward the register, she called over her shoulder. "And try to think of something else. Your face is as red as my hair."

She heard him mutter some form of disgruntlement causing her to chuckle as she approached Steve, who was currently tapping his fingers in impatience against the counter.

After she'd awkwardly worked out the details with the scowling employee, she returned to her love, who was sitting on a bench just outside the store, observing the different people who were walking by. When he caught sight of her, he raised his eyebrows in question.

"They'll deliver everything Monday."

"So, we're finished, then?" he asked, hope shining in his sea of blue.

"Oh, you're adorable," she said, laughing as she grabbed his hand and pulled him up. "Now, we get to really go shopping."

His eyes widened, all hope vanished. "We haven't been shopping already?"

With a smile, she led him into the main part of the mall. "There's a difference between shopping for a bed and shopping for clothes."

"Oh? Enlighten me."

"The bed was for us and our various nightly activities," she said, running her fingers over his arm flirtatiously. "And the clothes are something I get to sit and watch you try on for my viewing pleasure."

Despite the way she noticed his breathing change slightly, he didn't fail to push a disgruntled look forward. "I believe I have suddenly become more comfortable with what I'm wearing."

Laughing, she pulled him into the first men's clothing store she saw, her eyes immediately taking to dancing over the racks in thought. "So, do you have any ideas about what you might like?"

"I absolutely loathe the idea of skinny jeans," he muttered, eyes dancing around in disgust.

Eyebrows lifting at that, she glanced down at her own jeans. "You don't like mine?"

His gaze jerked down to stare at the skinny jeans covering her lower body as he nervously cleared his throat. "Oh, that's... different."

Pursing her lips in order to keep her chuckle in, she stepped toward him, sliding her hands beneath his jacket to stroke his upper back. "So, you do like them?"

He rested his hands on her waist, his fingers pressing firmly into her body as a wanton look passed over his face. "Yes, very much."

Leaning forward, she brushed her lips over his, letting them close over and slide off of his bottom one before she pulled back with a smile at his still closed eyes. "Good."

After she'd returned her hand to his, she pulled him over to the racks of jeans. "Well, as skinny jeans are out, there are still a lot of choices. We can also get you some dress pants, too."

"Katrina-"

"You know what?" she said, interrupting what she was sure was protest building on his lips, and turning back to him. "Come here." She began tugging him toward the dressing rooms, a mission clear in her mind. "Wait in here and I'm going to bring you things to try on."

"I'm not so sure about this," he said, clearly nervous as he looked around at the small enclosed space like some unforeseen creature might appear from the walls and attack him at any second.

With a smile, she pushed him backward into the room. "Don't you trust me?" He opened his mouth to respond, but she hurried on and said, "I mean, you're mine. I'm not exactly going to make you look terrible."

"Fine," he muttered, dropping to the small bench and crossing his arms like a child she'd just put in the corner.

Closing the door with a rather large grin, she called out, "Good, take your clothes off and I'll be right back."

Knowing he was secure, she practically ran all over the store, picking up various jeans, dress pants, sweaters, and button ups. For some reason, Ichabod simply didn't look like the type of man who would wear a simple t-shirt. Or maybe she was just telling herself that for her own selfish purposes.

"Ok," she said, sliding the overflowing basket under the door. "Put them on. I had to guess at the sizes, but I think we're off to a good start."

A muffled groan sounded on the other side of the door, making her smile with excitement. He always did have a tendency to be a drama queen.

After a few minutes of heavy shuffling and even the door banging because he seemed to have fallen against it, she asked, "Are you ok?"

At her question, the door opened to reveal a very disgruntled, very annoyed, and very hot Ichabod Crane.

"Well?" he grumbled, his fingers twitching at his sides as he looked everywhere but at her eyes.

"You, uhm..." She swallowed to wet her throat as her eyes traveled over the white dress shirt that wasn't quite buttoned all the way up before drifting down to the dark colored, clinging, slim jeans adorning his lower half. "Do you remember when I said you could wear that ratty coat everyday for the rest of your life?"

His eyes slid to hers, a puzzled look coming to his face. "Yes."

"We're burning it."

A smile crept up as he shook his head and looked down at himself. "I look ridiculous, Katrina."

Stepping up to him, she ran her hands down the white button up to rest on the rim of the dark, slim fitting jeans she'd picked out. "Ridiculously appetizing." Eyes on his, she bit her bottom lip and watched him dart a glance down to her mouth. "Do you need help undressing again?"

He cleared his throat and unsteadily backed away into the dressing room. "I believe, I'll manage."

With that, he pulled the door closed, leaving her standing there to take a deep breath and attempt to calm the arousal currently coiling in her belly. Leaning her head back against the wall across from the dressing room, she clenched her thighs together and stared at the ceiling. "God help me."

Chapter Text

Setting the last heavy shopping bag down on her kitchen table, she took a step back, placed her hands on her hips, and looked it all over with a proud smile. "I think we did good."

He rolled his eyes and gestured outward, in what she thought to be an overly dramatic fashion, toward the littered table. "You've spent an ungodly amount of money on clothes and shoes I'll likely never even wear."

"Admit it," she said, eyebrows lifting knowingly. "You enjoyed every minute of it."

He immediately glanced away from her and mumbled something under his breath that she couldn't quite make out. Although, she was sure whatever it had been was rather rude judging from his irritated expression and fidgety body language.

They'd spent an hour trying on different clothing options, much to Ichabod's chagrin, before moving onto shoes. Ichabod had, of course, complained that he didn't need more than one pair because he was well... Ichabod, but she'd ignored him and went on to buy him a variety of dress shoes and even a pair of converse, despite his moaning and groaning about the gray shoes. However, she'd promptly held up a hand to silence him, claiming everyone on the planet needed at least one pair of converse and how it would be an unforgivable sin if he refused. To be honest, she still wasn't sure if he'd relented because he agreed, or if he'd just given up in exasperation, instead deciding to pick his battle more wisely rather than have it out with her right in the middle of the store. All she really knew was that one of the bags littered over her kitchen table held the prized gray shoes.

In the end, in spite of how fun the shoe shopping had been, her favorite moment of their shopping experience had been the boxers vs. briefs conversation they'd had as they'd looked over the wall of various underwear for men. She was pretty sure she hadn't ever seen Ichabod quite that shade of red before as his gaze had darted over the selections with a profound sense of embarrassment, his skin steadily turning to look like that of a ripe tomato; one which looked like it would burst at any moment. When she'd finally gotten them to come to an agreement on boxer briefs, like a giddy teenager full of rushing hormones, her first thought had been that now all she wanted to do was get him to dress up solely so she could undress him herself. The only problem with that would be the challenge of getting him to actually put them on in the first place. As he was accustomed to sleeping either completely nude, or in his loose breeches, she wasn't sure how well the tight fitting material would go over with her temperamental love, but she was bound and determined to get them on him at least once.

With an amused chuckle at his sourness, she picked her phone up from the table and checked the time. "Well, it's seven o'clock."

He lifted a questioning eyebrow. "And?"

She shrugged her shoulders, trying to appear nonchalant as she carefully suggested, "Why don't you go see how Abigail and Jenny are doing?"

Now, he was full on frowning, his brow knitted and his eyes narrowed, as he stared at her as though she'd completely lost her mind. "You want me to leave? Now?"

"Just for like... half an hour?" Knowing she'd need more of a prompt to get him out of the house for what she had in mind, she stepped close to him and ran her hands over his chest in an attempt to ease him into her idea. "I just need a little time to... get a surprise ready for you."

At that, he cleared his throat, his eyes darting down to her hands as he stuttered, "A-a surprise?"

Grin creeping over her face at how adorable he looked at the prospect of such a thing, she slid her hands up into his hair, twisting her fingers in his brown locks. "Mhm, and I need a little privacy to prepare it."

He stared at her a moment longer before his hands settled flat against her back, pulling her flush into his chest, so he could lean down to slide his cheek along hers, his beard tickling her skin, as he descended to her neck where he started placing chaste kisses along her skin. "I don't want to leave."

This unexpected turn had her control slipping due to the wonderful sensations he was creating within her and it was about to ruin her entire agenda for the evening. Mentally telling herself to calm down, she whispered, "Please. We have to wait."

He lifted his head back up to catch her eyes, his confusion obvious in his blue gaze as it darted over her face. "You don't want to be with me? I thought-"

"No!" she quickly said, laying a reassuring hand to his cheek. "I mean..." She shook her head in exasperation at the hole she was digging herself into. "Yes. It's just that... There's something I want to do first."

Hesitation was still written all over his features, but he thankfully nodded slowly. "Half an hour?"

"Yes," she replied with a quick nod. "Jenny was cooking, so just make sure they haven't died of smoke inhalation and then be back here at seven thirty."

He chuckled, his doubts evaporating as amusement replaced it. "Alright."

"Right," she said, stepping back a good solid foot so as not to just grab him and drag him to her bedroom. "I'll see you then."

With a deep breath, he shook his head and smiled before walking toward the door. The moment it clicked shut behind him, she shakily ran a hand through her hair. "Okay, then."

Making her way into her living room, she whispered the spell which opened the secret compartment in front of her fireplace before pulling out her family spell book. It in hand, she ventured to the kitchen and began picking up various herbs she knew she would need. When she couldn't carry anything else and felt secure she had everything, she steadied it all and brought it to her room which was, of course, now missing the one thing she needed most. "Wonderful, Katrina," she muttered to herself in irritation. "That's just brilliant, you freaking idiot."

Of course, she would freak out and get rid of her bed on the very day she most needed one.

Placing all of the things she'd carried in on her dresser, she ran her hand through her hair again and considered her options. "Ok, I can make this work. Actually," she said, her excitement returning. "This is much better than a bed."

Quickly walking over to the blankets she'd thrown into the corner earlier in the morning, she picked up the sheets and threw them in the closet before running to her spare bedroom and yanking the blanket from the bed and another from the closet. Bunching them up in her arms, she dragged them both to the place her bed had once resided and dropped them to the floor. Picking one up, she carefully spread it out before neatly laying the other one over it into a pallet. After accomplishing the task of forming a makeshift bed, she placed all the pillows she could find on top of it. Once finished, she stepped back and looked over her work with a satisfied grin. "Perfect."

Next, she ran around, placing candles all about the room, being sure to leave herself a spot to make a circle at the foot of the pallet. Finished with that, she went to her dresser to begin sorting out the herbs before placing them in the circle of candles along with her spell book.

When she was done, she looked over the room again and nodded. "Ok. We're halfway there."

With a glance to her wall clock, she saw she had about twelve minutes left causing her to hop over the candles and dash to her bathroom where she proceeded to strip off every stitch of clothing she had and wash herself, making sure to thoroughly clean her skin. Then, while shaving, she, of course, sliced one of her shins because that's exactly what tended to happen when she rushed and turned what should have been a slow process into a speedy one. Releasing a curse over her continuous misfortune, she quickly wiped at the small trail of blood oozing down her leg before returning to her room and picking up his old shirt with a content smile. She couldn't wait to have him peeling this off of her. How many times had she fantasized about it? Too many to count.

After pulling it on, she acquired the pair of panties she'd already decided on in the car when she had been planning the rest of the night while doing her best not to floor the gas and speed home. As Ichabod had been holding her hand and fiddling with the various bracelets on her arm, she'd been mentally contemplating just what to wear and had come to the conclusion that when in doubt or lacking time, black lace was the way to go. Though, it honestly didn't even matter because anything was better than the huge gowns he was accustomed to tearing from her body.

All set, she took in her appearance in the mirror, twisting the hem of the shirt in her fingers as she searched for flaws. To say she was on the edge of whatever nerves she had left would be an understatement. The first time she and Ichabod had made love hadn't been planned. It was something that had happened naturally. They'd just done it. This, though... it was pure torture. She knew it was going to happen, but the waiting and thinking was surely going to drive her crazy before it actually did.

The front door opening and closing nearly made her jump out of her skin. Was it time already?

Blowing a heavy breath out through her nose, she looked herself over one last time before nodding and telling herself, "Relax, Katrina."

"Katrina?"

His voice carried down the hall, sending a bout of jittery tingles down her spine. "In the bedroom," she called as she moved to stand in the circle of unlit candles before waving her hands, summoning all of the other candles to burst to life, illuminating the room with their gentle glow.

Every new footfall that brought him closer set her body to fidgeting even more. When had her hallway gotten so long? Then, he was stepping through the door, making every nerve in her body stand on end.

"Hi," she whispered, nervously twisting her hands together in front of her, noticing her sweaty palms which prompted her to wipe them down the front of her shirt.

The way his eyes danced about the room in slight astonishment before finally settling on her with that same caliber look filled her with a great deal of anticipation and surprisingly also settled her into a sort of calm she hadn't expected. Just knowing he was pleased somehow pleased her and calmed her nerves as confidence grew within her.

"You, uh- You must be wondering what all of this is," she said, gesturing to the circle of candles and herbs surrounding her.

His gaze met hers as he wordlessly nodded, his blue eyes glinting in the candlelight.

"Well," she began explaining as she shrugged her shoulders. "If you recall, I did make you a promise a few days ago."

A puzzled look crossed his face as he stepped further into the room. "You did?"

With a smile, she waved her hand over the circle of candles, each one bursting to life one after the other. "I did." Kneeling in the midst of the glowing candles, she laid her hand over the specific page she'd opened her spell book to and went on. "As you know, I've waited a very long time for you to return to me. While the world has changed around me, everyone living out their lives and growing old, I've..." She pushed her hair back as emotion bubbled in her throat. "I knew I had to wait because a life lived without you wasn't the life I wanted, the one where I was happy. So, now, I'm ready to begin again." She smiled at him through blurry eyes. "I'm going to grow old with you, Ichabod Crane."

Ever tall and beautiful, he stepped to the very outer edge of the circle and knelt in front of her, his expression giving way to concern. "Katrina... I don't want you to give up your life for me."

She laughed lightly. "I've lived multiple lives, Ichabod; seen things very few ever have or ever will. My last life lived is going to be with you."

Shaking his head, he chuckled as his eyes took in the scene before him. "I feel like I'm in some sort of dream. I'm a Witness. You're a witch. We're two centuries old and only just now beginning to understand one another."

Eyes on her spell book, she nodded in understanding. "I know. We're definitely one of those stories for the books."

"Alright, does this take a long time?" he asked, his voice giving way to his anticipation and causing her to smirk as she returned her gaze to him.

His eyes were fixed on the place her shirt stopped covering her thighs. "Eager?"

"Very," he whispered, the blue in his eyes bright as he shed his coat and laid it behind him before settling down in a cross legged position.

With a deep breath, she calmed herself, eyes falling closed for a moment before opening again and concentrating on the book in front of her. As she chanted the words which seemed to be floating right off the page toward her, she felt pulsing energy surround her. A blue glow began illuminating the circle, rising up out of the candles and caressing along her skin with its warmth, the tickling feeling from it prompting goose bumps to form along her arms. As the last words on the page fell from her lips, the blue glow snapped back down into the candles, returning them to their former yellowish tint.

"Is it finished?" he asked, voice full of curiosity.

Without speaking and eyes on his, she held her hand out in front of her and slowly parted them to the sides of her body, the candles simultaneously sliding away from her across the floor to rest with the others spread out around the room. He clearly understood it was indeed over as he began crawling toward her on hands and knees, giving him the look of some sort of animal with its prey in sight. Remaining completely still as she watched him while resting on her haunches, she waited for him to pounce. However, when he reached her still form, he remained in his position on all fours as he leaned forward. As she was upright and he wasn't, it placed her above him, leaving him to stretch his neck at an angle as he gently brushed his lips to her cheek. It was a light kiss, barely there; the kind that left her more breathless than an actual one on the lips.

Then, another touched her a bit lower, just as chaste. Mentally restraining herself from reaching out and touching him, her eyes fell closed as yet another kiss was presented to her skin, this time on the underside of her jaw, prompting her to tilt her chin up so he could switch to the other side more easily. He did so, placing three kisses in the exact same places on the opposite side of her face.

Next, came those same chaste kisses to her neck, a downward journey clearly in his mind as he ultimately hit her shirt. At the impediment, he maneuvered closer to her, resting on his own haunches as his hand came up to pull the shirt to the side so he could continue along her shoulder.

Attempting to keep her breathing even, she lifted a hand to rest along his upper arm, gripping his shirt tightly to prevent herself from falling over backwards while his mouth made a return journey up the side of her neck, his lips caressing her in such a way that had her tilting her head to give him more access to her skin, which he took full advantage of. The light kisses he was lathering her with were sending her into a realm of contentedness she was falling completely in love with. She felt like she could sit there forever in her own little bubble with simply his tender kisses to keep her company.

However, she became distracted from such thoughts when his hand fell to her thigh where he began sliding it up, taking the shirt with it. Gaze falling to his wandering hand, she watched as he rubbed his thumb back and forth over her skin while he continued pressing lingering kisses to her neck. The onslaught of pleasurable feelings now coursing through her was strange. He was barely doing anything at all and yet she felt as though she were already on the precipice of release. How was he doing that? Her stomach was in knots, making her toes curl beneath her and her fingers twist in his shirt sleeve. It was surely going to kill her, but in the most exquisite way.

"That feels really good," she encouraged, hoping he knew how much she was enjoying his ministrations.

She felt him smile against her skin as his fingers played with the hem of the shirt which was pushed as far up her thighs as it would go. The decision on what to do next was clearly circling in his mind and, after a moment, he found it as his hand began sliding up and over her hip, the shirt caught on his wrist and rising with it as he continued teasing his fingers up her side. When his fingertips met the underside of her bare breast, he moaned into her skin, the vibrations of the sound sending a pulse through her that had her tightening her grip on his arm as she clenched the muscles in her thighs to keep from jerking right off the floor. There was no way her patience was going to last long enough to keep her from doing something rash like just pushing him back against the blankets and taking him for herself. There was little more she loved than the way Ichabod took his time to love her, but at the present moment, he really needed to hurry things along before she imploded.

As if reading her mind, he moved on; his fingers ghosting teasingly around the edge of her breast before ascending along the ample flesh, stroking it almost as lightly as he was kissing her. Unable to stop herself any longer, she turned her face into his, dragging her lips up along his beard covered jaw until she met his ear.

"My love," she whispered, lifting her hand to tangle in his long hair, wanting him closer.

At her voice, he finally lifted his head from her neck, his warm breath washing over her face as he leaned his forehead to hers and smiled. "My love."

His playfulness pulled her own smile out as she said, "Perhaps, we should move this back a little bit?"

He laughed and regarded her with an amused look. "Now, who's eager?"

When she could do nothing but shrug, he nodded and followed her to the pallet she'd made earlier. As she scooted back to the center of the blankets, she ran a hand through her hair and looked him over as he situated himself beside her. Biting her lip, she said, "You're a little over dressed for bed."

He gave an exasperated sigh and roll of his eyes as he slipped his boots off, tossing them a few feet away before moving on to his socks. When he turned back to her with a slightly cheeky look, she pointed at his shirt. "You may as well lose that, too."

He stared at her a moment in a thoughtful way she couldn't properly discern before pushing himself to his feet and un-tucking his shirt from his pants. Head tilted back, she watched him pull the shirt over his head, leaving his chest exposed for her viewing pleasure. His lean, upper torso was taut and very statuesque and the sinewy arms that she so loved holding her were toned and looking just ready to do that. Leaning back on her hands, she smiled up at him appreciatively. "You're looking pretty good for two hundred and sixty-five, Mr. Crane."

He gave a grunt she took to be his thanks, but it honestly didn't matter because the moment he dropped his shirt to the floor, her eyes fell to the dark hair that thickened just below his naval, making her lose all train of thought. "Crap," she whispered to herself, knowing she was done for. Her mind was now a complete mush that left her with little other function than the ability to swallow her building saliva. "You're so pretty."

"For the love of God, Katrina," he groaned, making her half expect him to stomp his foot and place his hands on his hips to display his discontent. "Can you not think of something more appropriate than adorable and pretty when speaking in reference to me?"

Cocking an amused eyebrow, she waved her hand at him dramatically. "Forgive me, my tall, dashing, Captain. Please, do continue to enchant me with your overwhelmingly, mouth watering figure."

He shook his head as though disappointed, but she could see his grin fighting for release. "You've ruined the mood I labored to set."

"Oh, you mean all those teasing kisses you laid on me?" She gestured to the glowing room. "I assure you lover, the mood I set is still intact. Now," she said, pointing at his trousers. "Do continue."

He gave another annoyed grunt as his hands fell to the top of his trousers, slipping the buttons through their respective holes and parting the material to expose more of the short brown hair that extended down and out of her immediate sight. Anticipation spread over her, making her flush in want, as he started pushing the trousers, along with his underclothes, down and over his hips. When the brown hair began getting thicker, she practically held her breath as she waited for what felt like minutes until his manhood finally sprung free from its restraints. Unconsciously wetting her lips at the sight of him already semi-aroused, she felt her body twitching as he bent over and pushed his trousers down his long legs, leaving him to step out of them and kneel back in front of her.

For some reason, she found herself rooted to the spot as he once again leaned into her. Though, this time, he met her mouth, his chapped lips brushing against her softer ones tenderly. Finally deciding to actually participate, she lifted her hands to cup his cheeks and softly returned his kiss as he grasped the back of her neck with one hand and began leaning her back.

Now lying amidst the numerous blankets and pillows she'd so carefully laid out earlier, she tugged him to rest over her, enjoying the hard press of his body into her own as he settled into position. It was a wonderful pressure, one she never wanted to go without again.

Running her fingers through his hair, she smiled up at him in happiness. "I can't tell you how many nights I've dreamed of this."

The wisp of a smile tugged at his mouth as he rested on an elbow and lovingly stroked her cheek. "No more dreaming."

"Every night," she said, high on his warmth. "I want you every night for the rest of my life."

His smile stretched his face as his body shook with a laugh that built deep in his throat. "That's quite a bit of love to be expressed."

Hands sliding down his sides, bumping over his ribs and resting on his waist, she took in the various scars, particularly the one running across his upper chest and just over his left nipple; the one that had torn them apart. "We have two hundred and thirty one years to make up for in what...? A handful of decades?"

His fingers slid under her chin, lifting her gaze back to his. "A day spent with you is worth a lifetime of decades, my love. I will cherish every touch, every look, and even every temper filled, heated argument that leaves us both so angry that we can barely stand to look at one another."

With a chuckle at his rather odd choice of a description, she asked, "What will we argue about?"

"Oh, I don't know," he said, returning to chastely kissing her neck as his hand found its way beneath her shirt to rest flat on her belly. "I'm sure we'll think of something." He brushed a kiss to her collarbone. "We always have." Yet another kiss met the valley between her breasts as his hand moved further upward. "We argue as fiercely as we love."

Unable to disagree and honestly not caring to as her shirt was once again pushed up as high as it would go, she placed a hand on the back of his head and scratched along his scalp. "I can't wait."

He chuckled as he began kissing along the swell of her breast, trailing his lips in various spots around its center, but never making contact with her erect nipple, which was desperately pleading for attention. Threading her fingers through his hair, she took to massaging his scalp as she watched him lather her skin with his intimate touch.

Her body was tingling with the rush of her blood, preparing itself for him in ways it hadn't in centuries. This wasn't like the previous night they'd spent touching each other. This was a night that was going to end very differently. Part of her wanted to be patient, allowing them to take their sweet time relearning every part of each other, but another, more impatient, part of her just wanted him inside her already.

"Let me take it off."

He paused to glance up at her and, for a moment, she thought he might object, but then his own hands were reaching for the hem as he sat up to straddle her thighs. When the shirt cleared her head, he let it fall to the blankets beside her and she suddenly found herself holding her breath, waiting for his eyes to settle on her entirely exposed upper body. The moment they did, however, she wasn't disappointed.

"You're so beautiful," he whispered, his fingers starting at her throat and trailing down her chest to the sapphire that resided between her breasts. A smile came to his face as he rolled the treasured jewel between his fingers. "I love that you're still wearing this necklace."

It wasn't the words as much as the way he said the words that had her heart feeling as though it were in her throat. There was such reverence there, such appreciation; like she'd given him a precious gift by just thinking to wear it. "It's never leaving my neck."

The corner of his mouth twitched up as he replaced it back between her breasts and returned to his reacquainting with her body. He allowed his fingers to slide against her skin, his eyes eagerly following. While he did so, she contented herself with just watching him. Ichabod had always loved touching her skin. It was as if he drew some sort of energy from her. At times, it didn't even seem to be a sexual act, but more so like he was tracing his fingers over a piece of artwork he wanted to memorize every detail of, cherish every aspect of. It was something he did that made her feel so completely loved as to have no proper words for its description.

When his hands ventured down to her belly, her muscles clenched from the tickling sensation, a reaction that brought a smile to his face and remained as he reached the edge of her panties.

"This is different," he whispered, his fingers playing with the top of the lace.

With a grin, she asked, "Do you like it?"

He crooked his finger just below the material to touch the hidden skin beneath. "It took all of my willpower not to rip the red one's off of you the other night at the cabin."

Her grin became a full on smile. "Is that what you want to do with these?"

His eyes slid to hers, the not so hidden desire in them shining up at her, as he removed his hand from her panties and placed it against the pallet to support himself as he leaned back over her on all fours, prompting her to rest her hands on his arms as he held himself directly over her body. A quick glance between them had her eyes feasting on his cock, hard and extended, resting just high enough above her to brush her lower belly. However, her view was blocked when he dropped his head just over hers, his lips meeting the corner of her mouth. She attempted to turn her head into his in order to catch his kiss, but he robbed her of it as he pulled back with a grin and pressed another kiss to the opposite corner of her mouth.

Groaning in frustration at his unending teasing, she lifted a hand to his neck to stop him. "You've barely kissed me at all."

He chuckled while staring down into her eyes with an incredulous look. "I've been kissing you the whole time. I should be the one complaining."

"Ichabod," she whined, writhing her body beneath him for more skin to skin contact. "Kiss me."

"My impatient love," he whispered, breathing just centimeters from her lips. "You kiss me."

Needing no further encouragement, she returned her fingers to threading into the back of his hair and pulled herself up to him. He remained stiff above her, giving her the leverage she needed to hold herself up as she latched onto his mouth in a possessive kiss, one she was determined to own and lay claim over. It was high time she had a smidge of the control he was hogging. After a moment, she managed to part his lips just enough to slip her tongue through to brush his own. The slick heat inside his mouth enticed a moan out of her as he brought a hand behind her shoulders to hold her close, her bare breasts now flush and heaving against his chest. When he gently lowered her back down to the blankets, he pressed his lower body into her, his cock catching between their bellies, causing him to growl into their kiss. In response, she lifted a knee up, tilting her hips at an angle that had every movement between them sliding it back and forth against their warm skin.

His breathing deepened considerably as his hand slid out from under her to rest over her breast, where he began applying pressure to it as he pressed her nipple down with his thumb. Thankful he was finally paying that particular part of her attention, her hand in his hair tightened as she teasingly dragged her teeth over his bottom lip, but it was when he maneuvered one of his thighs between her legs and pressed it into her panties that she sucked in a sharp breath at the pleasure that shot through her. However, it wasn't her pleasure, but his moan that pulled her eyes open in time to see him duck his head to begin trailing a path of kisses down her neck, over her collarbone, and pausing at her breasts where he ran his tongue over her nipple. Apparently, she wasn't the only one being overwhelmed with wanton need. Her love seemed just as eager to love her as she was to receive it.

"Oh God," she whispered at his teeth scraping over her nipple as he left her breast to begin scattering open mouthed kisses over her abdomen.

When his lips met her belly button, his tongue dipping in momentarily and swirling, she curled her toes into the blankets along with her fingers as those tingles grew into full on jerks of her body. Lifting her hand to push another pillow under her head, she watched with building anticipation as his lips met the top of her panties. If he was about to do what she thought he was about to do, she was definitely going to need to be prepared. If there was one thing Ichabod Crane had ever shown a want to learn more of, it was this. It was one of the very few areas his stubborn, know it all self had ever taken instructions on.

Arms weaving under her thighs, he pulled them to where they were resting over his shoulders as he breathed into the lace, sending sensations up her that had her body pulsing, something that only intensified when he pressed a chaste kiss to the material just over that sensitive bundle of nerves that had the power to knock her right out of reality. As his hot breath seeped through the material to warm her skin, a whimper escaped her, prompting his eyes to find hers right before he crooked his fingers inside each side of her panties and began tugging them off her hips.

Heart beating wildly, she clutched the blankets beneath her in a death grip that would surely have left bruises had they been on his arms. That is, until a frown came to his face when he'd tugged them down to her parted thighs. Sucking in a shaky breath, she, too, frowned. "What's wrong?" When he failed to answer, she wondered aloud, "Please, God, don't tell me I started my period."

His gaze jerked up to her, his frown deepening. "Your... what?"

"My period," she said in confusion before mentally slapping herself when she realized he didn't understand. "My uhm... menstrual cycle." When his expression considerably dropped, she rolled her eyes in annoyance. She supposed it didn't matter what century she was in, men were always going to be weird about periods. "Ichabod, what's wrong?"

"I was just..." His eyes fell back to her sex, his brow knitting in a puzzled fashion that she knew meant he was contemplating the scene before him. "Surprised."

More than confused, she leaned up on her elbows and asked, "By what? You've been down there a thousand times and then some." This was not how this was supposed to be going. Her fantasies had never included his head between her legs while staring at her like she was birthing some sort of alien life form.

"Well, you're..." He reached around her thigh to scratch at the side of his nose. "What I mean is, it's... different."

Squinting her eyes at him, she looked down at herself attempting to understand what on earth he was talking about when the realization suddenly washed over her. Of course. Tossing her head back with a laugh, she said, "Oh, my love."

"Don't laugh at me," he muttered, clearly embarrassed as he rested his face against her thigh in an attempt to hide his eyes from her.

"No, no," she said, doing her best to stop herself from dissolving into a fit of giggles right then and there. "I'm sorry. I'm not laughing at you, just the situation." Running her fingers through his hair, she explained, "I trimmed and shaved."

"Obviously," he grunted into her skin, still not looking at her, but she could see just enough to be aware of the blush creeping over him. Pretty soon his whole body would be pink with more than just desire.

Biting her bottom lip while calming herself, she said, "It's not a new thing. Women did it in our time."

"You didn't," he replied, his blue eyes finally peeking up at her. "And you're the only one I ever cared about."

Well, that was just entirely too sweet. Not really knowing what to say, she nodded her head side to side. "I know, but it's a more common practice now... to make you look better. You know, for like... swimsuits and shorts and stuff."

His face contorted into another frown as his eyes narrowed. "You don't mean to say you dress half naked now? Like all of those other women?"

"I-" Well, what could she say to that? Yes. She owned a drawer full of shorts that surely had her father rolling in his grave. She also had various tank tops as well as bikinis, but how could she make him understand why? "Can we please not do this right now? It's entirely too soon for our first argument. We're supposed to be making love right now, not talking about periods and shavi-Oh God."

His lips had connected directly with the bundle of nerves that she just knew would take moments to send her right over the edge if he stayed there. Despite their little detour in conversation, she was soaked and not in the figurative sense, but literally; very literally. Dropping her head back to the pillows, she sucked in a shuddered breath and practically moaned her, "Thank you."

However, her thanks was short lived as he trailed his lips to the side and along her inner thigh, sliding one hand beneath her and using the other to pull her thigh closer to his head where he began sucking at her skin. Groaning at the loss of immediate pleasure, she adjusted her pillow behind her head and stared down at him. "So, you're going to drag this out, huh?"

While she received no verbal answer, she felt his smile as he pressed his mouth more firmly to her and began working his way up to her knee, occasionally nipping at her skin before running his tongue over the same places to soothe them.

"I like that," she whispered, slowly sliding her hands down her body, gliding over her belly, and continuing until she reached the side of his face.

His eyes flickered up to her; the blue dark and wanting. Weaving her fingers through his hair, she laughed when he stuck his tongue out and licked over her knee and back down her thigh, never taking his eyes from hers. Too often, Ichabod had the bad habit of taking things entirely too seriously. She was so very thankful he let himself relax in these moments and just play with her.

When he finally reached the folds of her sex again, he continued dragging his tongue, now pressed in a firm point, up until he reached her pubic bone. Now, needing a new position, he momentarily pulled back, sitting up on his knees and setting her ankle on top of his shoulder. This gave him the advantage to suck at the back of her calf while he tugged her panties the remaining way off, his fingers teasingly trailing with the material along her thigh and under her calf.

"You're such a tease," she said with a grin at how slowly and sinuously he was moving. If he had it his way, they'd probably stay like this all night.

He glanced up at her through heavily lidded eyes as a reciprocating grin crossed his face. "You enjoy every moment of it."

Not about to disagree, she bit her bottom lip and watched him trail his lips back down her leg until he had returned to the wonderland that created all of the pleasures she'd so been missing. He'd already created a steady simmer, the pleasure not too overwhelming, but just enough to keep her pulse throbbing in anticipation. Now, she wanted the rest; the end that would leave her body hot and sticky and sensitive to all external stimuli.

As he began giving her entire sex much needed attention with varying licks around and between her folds, even at times sinking low into the crevice of her buttocks, she found herself gripping at the blankets in an effort not to rush him. However, with every second that passed, she found that effort considerably waning. Writhing against the blankets, she felt herself give over to a few breathless gasps as she tried to keep her eyes open long enough to watch him, but they kept snapping shut of their own volition from the intensity of her body acting of its own accord. Arching off the blankets, her thighs took to falling open and closed around his head as she lost all control of her rational movements. He must have noticed her at the edge because he reached up and threaded his fingers through hers, locking them so their palms were clutched together.

"Please..." she breathed, tightening her fingers around his, knuckles going white. "Ichabod, please."

Then, with his tongue returning to pressing into her clit, her muscles began to tighten all over her body while her thighs quivered with his head in their grasp. A swarm of black dots consumed her vision as wave after wave of pleasure washed through her; her sex throbbing under his open mouth where his tongue was now laying flat over her clit and pressing hard into her with the occasional roll. Toes curling and twisting, she tried to keep the orgasm's end at bay in an attempt to extend the pleasure, but her body betrayed her and went over the edge, hips lifting and back arching, leaving her in the midst of the blankets with small, jerking motions, swimming vision, and a sweaty sheen over her skin.

Breathing now erratically moving her chest up and down, she settled against the blankets as her body continued to tingle, her sex pulsing like some sort of vibrator all on its own. She could feel her heartbeat not only throbbing in her chest, but also in her neck, sex, and ears; the last of which had all other sounds momentarily blocked. For lack of a poetic description, she just felt really, freaking fantastic.

The glow of the candles on the ceiling finally came into her sight as she felt him begin moving up her body, his kisses less chaste and much more pressing than before; like he couldn't wait to find his way back to where he was level with her. When his mouth settled over her breast to lightly suck and nip, his hands stroking and caressing her sides, she lifted her hand to his head, weaving her fingers though his hair.

"My love," she whispered, pressing her fingers deep into his scalp, urging him to come to her.

He took her signal, continuing his ascension up her body until he was kissing along her jaw and chin. When he finally reached her mouth, his lips captured hers, giving her a tangy taste of herself as he pressed his tongue between her lips, seemingly desperate to find his way within her again.

Done with feeling his cock so hard and unattended, she reached between them with her free hand and took to lightly running her fingers over the head, circling it with her thumb as her fingers stroked just under the ridge along the area she knew was super sensitive for him. He gave a small groan in response to her touch, but never stopped kissing her; instead delving more intensely into her mouth. Curling her fingers around him as best as she could manage in the tight space between their heated bodies, she began sliding them up and down, occasionally pausing at the tip to run over it and press into the small slit at its center.

His breathing began to turn into pants as he attempted to continue kissing her, but then he pulled from their kiss with a pop to look down at what she was doing to him while she, on the other hand, watched his reactions. His face was flushed, his breathing panted, and with a glance to his hands, she found his fingers were twisted in the blankets beneath them. It was clear that her poor love was doing all he could not to collapse on top of her.

"Lie back," she whispered, laying her free hand to his chest and pushing him back.

He looked ready to protest, but her steady press into his chest had him rolling over until he was resting on his back with her leaning over him, her fingers still wrapped around him, twisting and sliding. Finally having him in a relaxed position, she leaned down and attached her lips to the side of his neck just below his beard where she began sucking in earnest, determined to leave a mark on him. In the meanwhile, his hand lifted to begin sliding along her bare back, occasionally stopping to play with the ends of her hair.

When his skin became slick with her saliva, she nipped at it, causing his lower body to jerk up into her hand, before swiping her tongue over it in a soothing manner. She repeated the process a few more times, enjoying his reactions to her, until she pulled back to see it irritated and red. Smiling at her achievement, she descended to his chest, taking her time to tease his nipples, tugging them out and erect, before continuing down until she met his belly button and that trail of hair that led to her present destination. Swirling her tongue in the deep hole momentarily, she felt his hand rest on her shoulder to begin massaging it; his fingers digging in deeply, making her moan into his skin at the wonderful feeling. "Oh God, that feels good."

It was then that she realized she'd become so involved in kissing him that her hand had nearly stopped moving altogether. Unable to stop her laugh at his gentle prod for her to continue, she shook her head and resumed her hand's motions while glancing up at him. His eyes were locked on her, his chest was heaving, and a goofy smile was plastered on his face. Despite his earlier rant, she was still firm on what she'd said. Ichabod Crane was so very pretty. She certainly wouldn't mind sketching him, a hobby she'd taken to over the years. What she wouldn't give to have him lay out for her as she trailed her eyes over every inch on his nude form with an artist's appreciation. With that thought, she mentally placed that particular idea on her to do list.

"I see that you've figured out where I'm going with this."

His grin wavered between splitting his face and him clearly trying to rid himself of it entirely. "I haven't the slightest idea what you mean."

"Mhm," she mumbled, resuming her attention to his skin as she traced her lips down the trail of hair until she reached the base of his arousal.

Not wanting to reward that grin immediately, she slipped her tongue out and licked around the base until she reached his sack and placed a solid kiss to the side of it. If he could tease her, she could certainly tease him, too.

"Katrina..."

His moan reached her just after his fingers bit more deeply into her shoulder in such a way that she knew would leave a bruise of five large dots. That thought pushed her onward. Dragging her lips down one of his thighs, she maneuvered herself until she was between both of them so she could keep one hand on his cock and the other free to touch wherever she wanted, which was currently scratching along the opposite inner thigh. She nipped at the taunt skin a few times, delighting in his soft moans, before returning to the base of his arousal.

Eyes flickering up, she kept her gaze on his as she began pressing chaste kisses along the underside of his shaft and moving upward, positioning her hand on the opposite side to simultaneously drag the pads of her fingers downward. When she reached the tip, she licked at the cum that was already bubbling out of it, savoring the semi salty taste before closing her mouth around the whole head and sucking lightly all the while enjoying the way his hips lifted slightly of their own accord.

Not that she'd object to whatever he wanted to do, but she had to admit that she always loved how Ichabod never really pressed the issue of timing. He waited for her; trusted her. He had faith in her desire to please him and never did those annoying things like pushing her head down to make her take him further in with impatience. Nick had done that and she'd wanted to slap him for it every time. While she had admittedly enjoyed all of her sexual encounters with Nick, what she really took from them now was how very much she appreciated Ichabod and how sweet and gentle he was. Not in a boring or unimaginative way, as he did have his moments of passionate abandon from reality, but the way he remained more concerned with her than himself. He understood that her doing this for him was a choice and a gift. It wasn't something she had to do, but rather wanted to do for him. She wanted to please him.

With that thought, her hand returned to circling his shaft and shifting up and down while the other pressed into his thigh, her nails digging in to hold it down.

Her saliva had began to slide down him as gravity had taken over, supplying her with the lubrication she needed to slide her fingers more easily over him, giving a slippery feel to the whole act. Ever so slightly, she began taking him further in, making sure to take things slow at first as to not too suddenly affect her gag reflex. They'd been there and done that many times before in the rush of this act and that wasn't particularly something she wanted to happen again tonight.

When she had him halfway consumed, she pulled back up and began a slow rhythm, dragging her tongue flatly along the bottom of him as she sucked hard enough to hollow her cheeks out. On the other end, her hands began twisting back and forth while moving up and down as to not become too predictable. In their past, they'd encountered that problem when they had been just beginning. She'd been entirely green when it came to pleasing a man this way and he had been too red and embarrassed to give any help at all. Eventually, they'd become comfortable enough to talk their way through it, but those had definitely been some growing moments for them both.

By this point, her shoulder was beginning to go numb from his tight grip, something she was sure he would freak out over if he knew. In an attempt to not alert him and simply get him to move his hand to another place on her body, she sat up further on her knees to tilt her body forward. This put his hand in an awkward position, forcing him to move it to the back of her neck where he settled into rubbing it back and forth with a firm pressure.

When she got another generous taste of the salty cum seeping out of him, her tongue pressed into the slit in his tip as she moaned around him.

"Katrina, please," he whispered through panted breath. "Come here."

Lifting her eyes to his deep blue ones, she teasingly pulled her lips from him with a pop and brought a finger up to wipe across her lips before sucking on it, rolling her tongue along the digit for all the taste she could obtain.

Clearly wanting her there sooner rather than later, he sat up slightly to keep his hand on the back of her neck and began pressing more firmly into her as a prod for her to move closer to him. Crawling up his body, she settled her thighs on each side of his waist and leaned down to meet his waiting lips, which attempted to practically devour her on contact. As he pressed his tongue between her lips in search of the warmth within her mouth, she firmly wove her fingers through his mussed hair to pull him tightly in as she rubbed her once more wet folds over his pelvis and moaned at the sensation it created.

At the sounds bubbling out of her as she pleasured herself against his body, his other hand came to her back and promptly began running it up and down her spine; his journey taking him lower and lower until he reached her butt, where he flattened his palm against her ample flesh and squeezed.

"Ichabod," she said, whispering against his lips and moaning as his hot, panted breath went directly into her mouth. "I need you."

His blue eyes met her gaze wantonly as he pulled away with a deep breath before sliding his hand up her spine to support her as he twisted until she was once more on her back with him over her. Just as soon as he was situated between her thighs, she reached down to position him, though, she was having a difficult time doing so with how he was pressed into her.

He must have realized her predicament because he fumbled around until he was placing his hand over hers and pushing his manhood down through the small patch of curls above her sex while twisting it against her slick skin. Then, just as she was about to give herself over to him being inside her again, a thought occurred to her.

"Wait," she whispered, glancing to the side and reaching up to search amidst the pillows.

His face contorted from one of wanton determination to one of confusion. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she assured, finally finding the small package and bringing it between them. "We just need this."

Confusion still clouded his features as he watched her rip it open. "What's that?"

"Uhm... It's a condom." The confusion on his face didn't lessen, prompting her to continue. "It's for you. So we don't make a baby." At his mouth opening, she hurried on to add, "Not that I don't want a baby with you because I do. I want one desperately. It's just that... the timing and the apocalypse and all.."

He nodded, though his frown was still present. "Oh, that's... alright."

Pressing a chaste kiss to his lips, she whispered encouragingly, "If you don't like it, we'll never use one again. It's just a way for you to stay inside me while you..." She shrugged with a smile. "You know."

A lopsided grin finally softened his face. "I do enjoy being inside you."

Chuckling at how quickly he diffused that awkwardness, she placed a lingering kiss to his mouth before making him lean up so she could see to slip the condom over him. Having only done this with Nick, she wasn't exactly an expert on the act, but she did manage to roll it on without too much of an ordeal.

"It's tight," he said as she settled back against the pillows.

"It's alright, though, right?" she asked, worried he wasn't going to go with this, all the while making a mental note to look into birth control. She wished she would have considered that at an earlier time as they really couldn't afford to get pregnant right now. "It's alright if you don't like it. We'll take it off and make love like we always did. You'll just have to pull out when you release."

"No," he assured, shaking his head. "It's fine."

When he resumed kissing her, she felt the need to be sure and mumbled against his lips, "You promise? I don't want you to be uncomfortable the first time we make love."

"Katrina," he groaned, slipping his hand back between them to rub himself against her slick heat, his body shuddering above her at the intimate contact. "I simply wish to be with you."

Feeling relief wash through her, she nodded and let him continue, her sex already clenching in anticipation of him filling her. When he was finally pushing into her entrance, the pressure sending jolts of electricity up her spine, she left him to his own devices and brought her hand up to cup his face, wanting to see every little flicker of emotion across it. She loved watching him. The way his eyes darkened. The way his breathing changed. The way sweat beaded on his brow; at times becoming so thick that it dripped down his face and off his chin to land upon whatever part of her he was hovering over. She loved all of it.

However, she found that she was the one who couldn't keep her eyes open when he began gently pushing inside her; at first, just barely and then more and more, every inch making her breath hitch at the pressure of her body stretching to accommodate him.

"Slow," she whispered, moving her hand to his upper arm and lightly squeezing. "It's been a while."

He nodded and shifted to place his hands against the blankets on either side of her breasts to support himself. Then, he paused to look down between them as he allowed her body to naturally part for him before pushing just a little further into her.

A low curse fell from his lips as his head sagged forward to the same pillow her head was resting on, the amount of restraint he was using overcoming him. Wanting to soothe him, she turned her head to the side and pressed a few quick kisses to his cheek. In response, he slipped one hand beneath her shoulders to pull her up and closer to him. The angle caused his cock to press toward her back, prompting her eyes to fall closed at the new sensation.

"Ichabod," she whispered, desperately clutching at his shoulders as her lower body began to feel full; almost too full. "Please... just..." She didn't even know what she was asking for, only that she needed it.

Blinking rapidly, she sucked in a breath as he began languidly dragging his lips along her cheek, his panted breath making everything hotter, more intense. Her body felt like it was being held in front of a furnace in the middle of summer and she couldn't move away from it even if she'd wanted to.

By the time he was inside her to the hilt, her chest was heaving against his; their sweat mingling.

"Katrina..."

He lifted his gaze back to hers and she felt her breath catch. There it was. That look. The one she'd sobbed and pled to heaven for so many times over the centuries. The one that she'd told him had been missing with Nick.

"You are my air," she whispered, feeling her throat burning from more than just the heat.

His fingers lovingly smoothed her hair back as he added, resting his forehead to hers, "And without you, I'll surely perish."

Tears making an appearance, she nodded while choking on a strangled sob. "I missed you so much."

Tenderly brushing her tears away with his thumbs, he cupped her face, his blue eyes filling with sorrow. "I'm so sorry."

Unable to stop weeping, she begged him, "Please, don't ever leave me again."

"Never," he whispered, pressing soft kisses to the corners of her eyes. "I'll never leave you."

And, then, he started gently pulling out of her slowly, almost teasingly, only to press back in just as gently. With one hand in his hair, she slipped the other between his arm and body to rest in the hollow of his back, digging into the smooth skin to pull him closer. Why couldn't she ever get close enough to him? They were one and yet she wanted more, needed more.

His mouth began sliding along her jaw, lingering here and there as he had to pause to regain his bearings down below where he was pushing into her; his hips pulling back just enough to come close to leaving her warmth before pressing back in as deeply as he could manage. Each thrust brought a heavy gasp from her, one she couldn't have stopped had she tried.

The sounds that filled the room were egging that building burn in her belly nearly as much as the feel of his body in and around her. It was the slapping of his body into hers that was doing it, the sound seeming to echo around the room, as well as his panted breath over her, the likes of which was hitting her skin and making her that much hotter. Then, of course, there was the occasional groan from him; the one that sounded like he was slowly dying from the pleasure. With that thought, she had to admit he wasn't the only one who felt that way.

The sweat was building between them, soaking the places their skin met. Just on her own, she was sweating bullets to the point that he was lapping at the pool which had settled in the hollow of her neck. For his part, his hairline was dripping with sweat, which as she leaned back against the pillow to watch him, delighted her. He was even prettier when wet. Lifting a hand to push through his thick, messy hair that was clinging to his forehead and neck, she felt the wet strands stick to her hand. She was doing that to him, causing that reaction in him. Her body, the feel of her, the pleasure he was taking from her; it was all making him fall apart at the seams over her.

He slowly slid his hand down her side to firmly grasp the back of her thigh as his mouth caressed her neck with long, ravenous kisses; his teeth nipping at her collarbone, scraping against her lightly, but just enough that she knew would leave a small mark. She used to love that; the small claims they left on each other. They were always hidden by clothing, of course, but during a long day of wishing he was near, she had loved pressing her fingers against a bruise on her waist, or sliding her fingers just below the top of her dress to feel the indentions of where his teeth had marked her. They were small things that made her feel closer to him in their long absences from one another. Those personal and intimate marks brought a familiar warmth to her body, that sweet pain from his zealous love.

Eyes falling closed, she arched into him as he pulled her leg up to wrap around his hips and began thrusting into her in shorter, faster strokes. His hand remained in the crook of her knee, pulling it tightly against him to hold her in place. Then, he pushed himself up on an elbow as his free hand slid to her neck to pull her into a deep kiss; one that left her starving for air. Breathless and feeling like the rushing blood in her veins was about to burst, she dug her fingers into his back as that familiar sensation began creeping along her again, her inner muscles clutching at him with every pass he made within her.

"Ichabod," she gasped softly as he began pushing into her more erratically.

His eyes were a darker shade now; his breath panted, his muscles tight, his face flushed. He was close. She could feel it in the way he moved and the way he was steadily expanding within her.

"Are you...?" He shook his head, unable to finish his question as he gasped and tightened his hold on her neck, but she understood his meaning well enough.

"Just... touch me," she whispered, sliding her hands down his shoulders to tightly grip his upper arms.

At her prompt, his fingers crept between them, finding that bundle of nerves that were sitting on edge just waiting for that push, which he gave, causing that coiling pleasure boiling in the pit of her belly to bring a reaction out of her in small jerks, shoulders tensing, and eyes slamming shut; the last sight she saw being his eyes watching her. A rush of heat washed up her spine and chest while simultaneously sliding down her legs and straight to her toes, which were clenched tightly against the pads of her feet. Everything felt like it was flashing too fast for her to catch up and comprehend it; twisting and pulling all the strength she had out of her, making her feel weak as her muscles became too tired to hold on from clenching around him. She swore she stopped breathing altogether for a moment; her short, quick gasps disappearing to be replaced by a building burn in her throat that finally rose to her mouth and escaped in a small squeal. As she continued to come undone in his arms, his fingers never ceased rubbing against her while he simultaneously thrust in an offbeat manner; like he couldn't control his own body any more than she could control her own.

It felt like all the oxygen had been sucked from the room as she fought for air, her throat dry as she grasped at him in an attempt to breathe again. However, the moment reality finally began to seep back into her, she blinked her eyes open just in time to feel him begin pulling out of her with his release imminent, forcing her to shake her head and tighten her legs around his body in an attempt to keep him within her.

"Katrina..." he whispered almost soundlessly, clearly trying to hold himself together and not lose whatever control he had left.

"It's ok," she assured softly, bringing a still shaking hand up to stroke his face. "Let go."

A cloud of confusion passed over his features as he attempted to concentrate and she knew he'd clearly forgotten it was safe to remain within her. "I can't-"

"I promise, it's alright," she said, pulling him closer to her and wrapping her arms around his back as his head sagged into her neck. "Trust me, my love."

Another moment's hesitation passed over him before he did as she asked and let go; the rest of his body heavily collapsing against her as he finally stopped jerking inside her.

With a smile, she ran her hand through his tousled hair as she pressed a soft kiss to his sweat-soaked ear, enjoying the way the sticky mess clung to her lips. "I love you."

After a moment, his hand began sliding up her slick body as he leaned back up on his elbow, his flushed face coming into view as he tenderly brushed his lips along her cheek. "I love you, too."

There was no way her grin wasn't escaping as she whispered, "Finally."

He rolled his eyes and chuckled, his hot breath washing over her face. "I said it before."

Smiling in happiness, she shook her head. "Not like this."

Eyes softening, he leaned down and pressed a chaste kiss to her lips. "Then, it deserves repeating," he whispered, moving to breathe into her ear before saying, "I love you, Katrina van Tassel; then, now, and always."

Heart overwhelmed with the feeling of being loved, she wrapped her arms around him. "Always."

Chapter Text

"Mmm," she moaned, thoroughly enjoying the titillating sensations he was creating along her skin. "I swear, you and your love of teasing. Sometimes, I think you wrote in those journals just because you knew I'd read them one day."

A chuckle brushed her shoulder as he lightly skimmed his knuckles along her abdomen. "Teasing you from the grave?"

"Yes," she whispered. "Jenny's right. You're such a dirty, dirty boy."

When his fingers paused, she frowned for a moment before she realized she'd used a phrase he didn't understand and he was now attempting to figure it out.

"Sexually inappropriate," she quickly said while laying her hand over his to push him on. "I promise it's a sort of compliment, my love."

His lips, which started playing at her ear lobe, paused long enough for him to speak. "You love it."

Not about to deny that, she relaxed against his shoulder and brought a soapy hand up from the warm water to weave through his damp hair and pull him in for a kiss.

Over the last two days, they'd been holed up in their house. Yes, their house as it had officially been broken in... thoroughly. To say Ichabod was determined to make up for those two centuries of unintentional abstinence would be a severe understatement of the highest proportions. He'd been insatiable. Even when she'd be doing a task as simple as taking a moment to fix lunch for their starved bodies, he'd be right there behind her; pressed flush against her back while gnawing at her neck with his fingers doing all sorts of wonderful things to her body. To think, three days ago he'd been flushing in embarrassment over her taking her bra off under her shirt. Well, no longer. All shyness had promptly left his body after they'd made love for the first time the night before last.

Now, they were currently enjoying a mid afternoon bubble bath after the strenuous task of putting their new bed together and she was at present reaping waves of attention from her lover.

"I was thinking," he said while wrapping his arms around her.

"Oh, no," she said jokingly, giving him an playful look.

He rolled his eyes and continued, "As I said, I was thinking. When we do venture out of the confines of this house, what will we be?"

Puzzled, she pushed his wet hair from his face and asked curiously, "What do you mean?"

With a shrug of his shoulders, he traced his fingers over the sapphire snuggled between her breasts and answered, "Well, say you were to introduce me to someone... as you attempted and struggled to do earlier with the man who delivered the bed. What would you say?"

She pulled away from him slightly with an amused grin. How cute was he? "Are you trying to say you want to be my boyfriend?"

He narrowed his eyes in thought and she could practically see the word swirling in his mind. "Boyfriend? That sounds so..."

"Insignificant in light of our history?"

"Yes," he admitted seriously. "Very insignificant and that's not even to mention how very much I wholly object to having the same title that Detective Morales once held."

Her laughter filled the bathroom as she settled back into his embrace. "Then, what do you want me to call you? I'll have to introduce you as something."

His fingers trailed over her arm. "What are my choices?"

"Oh, I don't know," she practically sang as she tossed her head back and forth. "I suppose I could always just call you my lover. Jenny would eat that up."

"We're doomed," he said in mock pity while shaking his head dejectedly.

"It's really weird," she went on; threading their fingers together. "There actually aren't that many popular terms for a relationship status between boyfriend and fiancé."

When he didn't respond, she glanced back only to find him staring into the bubbles below her breasts as though he was somewhere else. "Ichabod?"

His eyes jerked up; surprise on his face. "I'm sorry?"

With a curious frown, she said, "You seemed to be in deep thought there. Care to share?"

He shook his head, bringing their hands up so he could kiss her palm. "I want to marry you, Katrina."

Taken aback by his words, she felt her breathing halt. He looked so very serious and she couldn't help but just know that he meant sooner rather than later. In an attempt to return to their previously playful mood, she jokingly asked, "Is that the proposal?"

He shrugged his shoulders; his mouth barely twitching with a smile. "I've proposed to you half a dozen times. Do you really need another?"

"No," she whispered, feeling this was about to become a very delicate conversation. So much for maintaining the lighthearted atmosphere. "Of course not."

At her answer, his blue eyes bore into her in seriousness. "Because you're still going to say no?"

Gaze falling to the flickering candle across the room, she considered how to phrase her answer and soon realized nothing was coming to her. Taking a deep breath, she answered softly, "Of course, I'm not going to say no."

"But?" he inquired, the fear in his voice clear.

Releasing a defeated breath, she turned around in his arms to straddle his thighs. If she wasn't looking him in the eyes, she was positive this conversation would go by misunderstood. When his hands found their home on her waist, she lifted hers to cup his face. "I want to marry you, Ichabod. I want to marry you more than I've ever wanted anything."

He nodded, though his disappointment was still present as his eyes fell from hers to the sapphire between her breasts. "Must I once again ask when?"

"You know when," she whispered as the hopelessness of this conversation pressed down on her. Why? Why did he have to bring this up now when everything had been going so perfect between them.

"Katrina," he began, moving forward so their chests were flush against each other. "I want to be positive and say I'm fine with that decision, but the truth is... There's no guarantee either of us are going to survive this war."

"Please, don't say that," she begged, thumbs pressing harder into his cheeks. "Nothing's going to happen to you. I won't let it."

With a sorrowful expression, he took one of her hands and laid it over the long, jagged scar running across his chest. "I almost died."

Swallowing the knot in her throat, she shook her head. The memory of those moments of watching him lie before her, cut open and exposed, had haunted her nightmares too often. "I saved you."

"Barely, Katrina," he pressed, a desperate sort of look filling his eyes. "You barely saved me."

"Ichabod... please..." She couldn't bear the thought of losing him again. If that ever happened, the strength to carry on would surely evade her. What she would do in the face of losing him again honestly frightened her. It wasn't something she liked to contemplate.

"Life can't be put on hold forever. Sometimes you have to seize it as best you can and this is something we can have." He frowned and brought his hand up to push her hair from her face. "Why are you so resistant to the idea? I know who you are now. There's no reason we can't have this." His eyes danced over her face as he added, "It's not like I'm asking you for a child. I simply want to call you my wife. That's the only thing I've ever really asked of you. What is being my wife really going to change other than my peace of mind?"

"Because I can't get so close to having everything only to lose it," she admitted, her fears rushing forth and tumbling from her lips at last. "To be your wife; to be Katrina Crane, it would nearly be everything. All that would be left was us having a child. I can't nearly have it all only to lose you to this war, Ichabod. I can't suffer through that on top of everything else. You must understand. I would go crazy at such a loss."

His eyes bore all of the emotions she felt burning inside. "Oh, my love," he whispered, pulling her close as he wrapped his arms around her. "I'm so sorry."

Tightly clinging to his body, she begged, "Please, don't ask me to do it. Please."

One of his hands soothingly stroked up and down her spine as the other rested in her hair while he rocked her quivering form. "I promise."

His embrace calmed her in ways she couldn't describe. To know that he was actually here to comfort her through this particular meltdown filled her with so much warmth. They stayed that way, her clinging to him while he held her, until the water became too cold to stand; forcing them out. Now, as he stood in front of the bathroom sink, a towel around his waist while he untangled his hair, she found herself feeling horrible that she'd ruined the easy atmosphere surrounding them. They'd been so happy, playful, and now there was a thick tension between them she could no longer bear. Something had to be done to alleviate the distance growing between them. Stepping up behind him, she wrapped her arms around him and brushed a kiss to the back of his shoulder.

"I'm your fiancé," she whispered against his skin.

He turned in her arms and regarded her with confusion evident on his beautiful face. "My fiancé?"

Digging deeply within herself for a smile, she answered, "Yes. We're engaged to be married at the first possible moment after Moloch is destroyed." She laid a loving hand to his cheek. "And the moment after that, we're going to have a baby."

A grin sprung to his face as he leaned his forehead to hers and wrapped her in a comforting hug. "Our first baby."

Staring into his beautiful, pure blue eyes, she hesitated as a wave of emotion tried to fight its way to the surface. The urge to fall to her knees and confess her every sin filled her, to confess her secrets and past mistakes, but she pushed it aside and managed a small smile. "Our first baby."


When the white door swung open, they were met with a grinning Jenny Mills, who leaned against the door frame, her gaze darting between them in anticipation. "So...?"

She bit her lip to hold in her smile as Ichabod released an annoyed groan. "May we come in?"

Jenny shrugged nonchalantly and stepped aside. However, as Ichabod passed her, Jenny grabbed her arm to stop her from following. Knowing she wasn't getting out of this, she nodded for Ichabod to carry on and turned to Jenny, who was still grinning like an idiot.

"What?"

Jenny rolled her eyes and waved her hand dramatically. "Oh, come on. I haven't seen you since you left me here with that headache of a bed. I take it you two worked things out?"

She tried to hold it in; she truly did. However, she found the news was too big to wait for everyone else. Lifting a hand to scratch the side of her nose, she finally let out her smile; one that only widened when Jenny's eyes popped open as her hand shot out to grasp hers. "Oh my God."

Laughing at her friend's expression, she watched Jenny gawk over the silver band adorned with two small sapphires on each side of a larger one in the center.

"You're engaged?" Jenny squeaked, eyes darting up to hers in shock. "The last time I saw you that was nowhere in the cards. I mean, Abbie said Ichabod was planning on moving forward with you, but this?"

"Things change," she said, too giddy to contain herself any longer. How long had this been in the making? Too long. Despite her earlier meltdown in their bubble bath, she was now growing accustomed to the idea of being engaged to Ichabod. It had taken a serious amount of courage for her to take this step, but she found herself exceedingly glad that she had.

"Ok, but when did this happen exactly?"

"Well," she began, nodding her head back and forth. "I made it this morning."

"You-You made an engagement ring?" Her friend stared at her like she was some sort of zoo exhibit. "For yourself? That's a little... weird."

Shaking her head, she explained, "I had the sapphire already and the band came from a family heirloom. I just... chanted a little spell and put them together."

Jenny stared at her a moment longer before bursting out in laughter. Taken aback, she asked, "What's so funny?"

Jenny pointed toward the door. "Three days ago, you were groaning and freaking out over him not having declared his profound love and now... you're getting married."

She rolled her eyes at how ridiculous that sounded and fixed her eyes on a spot on the wall. Yes. She'd had a few meltdowns over the last week, but it wasn't like she didn't have good reasons. Extraordinary and extremely unusual circumstances had occurred in her life. "Well, we're not actually marrying until Moloch is defeated, but... yeah, I'm marrying Ichabod Crane at some point in the next half a decade."

At that, Jenny looped their arms together and began leading her down the hallway. "Well, I refuse to be the flower girl."

Chuckling at Jenny's playfulness, she said, "Agreed."

When she and Jenny rounded the corner to the kitchen, she found herself surprised at the unexpected presence leaning against the counter, who was picking at the salad. "Luke," she greeted cheerfully. "I wasn't expecting you to be here."

His attention jerked up and when his eyes caught hers, he grinned and walked over to wrap her in a full body, bear hug. "Hey, Kat, it's good to see you back in town."

"It's good to see you, too," she said, her smile wide.

With a glance to Abbie, she found her friend actively avoiding her gaze. So, it seemed Detective Morales was fully back in the picture. What an unexpected turn of events, she thought with a smile. However, that smile faded slightly when she laid eyes on her frowning lover, who was standing beside Abbie on the other side of the kitchen counter and staring at Luke like he wanted to take his head off. Well, apparently he wasn't exaggerating about his disapproval of Luke, or maybe it was just the fact that Luke was touching her. Either way, she knew this night was bound to be interesting. "So, uh, what's for dinner?"

Abbie cleared her throat and held her hands out over the dish resting on the countertop. "Lasagna." She cast an amused look at her sister. "Jenny made it."

Warily glancing at Jenny, who was smirking proudly, she leaned close so only Jenny could hear. "Cooking, huh? You must really like that guy to be learning how to cook."

Jenny dramatically rolled her eyes before moving to the table and taking a seat. "Alright, I cooked for you people. The least you can do is prevent me from starving while you all stand around with idle chit chat."

Luke's grin at Jenny's words caused her to smile. He and Jenny had a weird sort of love/hate relationship; one that never ceased to leave her amused. They had a tendency to fight over Abbie like two children arguing over who's piece of cake was larger.

Pulling the oven open, Abbie carefully produced a pan of garlic bread and set it on the counter. As she set about fixing it, Luke stepped up behind her and placed his hands on her hips as he leaned forward to whisper in her ear. It was a really adorable action; one she was accustomed to after years of being around them. However, with a look at Ichabod, she found him to be staring at the two of them like he wanted to rip them apart. His eyes were narrowed and his fists were clenched. If she didn't know him so well, she'd almost think he was jealous. Almost.

Walking over to stand next to him, she asked, "What's wrong?"

He glanced down at her momentarily before darting his gaze back to Abbie and Luke, who were quietly laughing amongst themselves. "It's simply odd; intimate."

She cast the two another look. "It's no different than what you and I were doing this morning over breakfast."

A strangled noise left him, drawing her eyes back to him and the horrified expression now on his face. "This is completely different. You and I are-"

"In love," she finished with a small smile. For a moment, he simply stared at her, prompting her to go on. "I know it's weird for you to see her so intimate with someone, but a woman in love is going to act differently with her love than with her friend."

He huffed and leaned back against the wall he was sulking next to. "I despise when you have answers for everything."

Laughing at his discontent, she leaned up to place a kiss to his cheek. "But you still love me, right?"

He shrugged his shoulders, refusing to look at her. "Not by choice."

Thoroughly amused, she grabbed his hand and began dragging him to the table. She so loved her overgrown baby.

After they'd all found their seats with Abbie sitting at one head of the table, Luke and Jenny on her sides, and she next to Ichabod, who had taken the other head, they said grace and began passing dishes around.

"So Kat," Luke asked as he shoveled some lasagna onto his plate. "Where did you go exactly?"

"Oh," she answered. "I traveled through various parts of Africa. I've wanted to go there for a long time now. There's just so much to do there; so much need for the simplest of things, and that's to say nothing of just the need for some hope." She shook her head. "We only think we have problems. I'm just glad I was blessed with abilities to heal and help in a way that allowed me to provide a small measure of comfort."

He nodded along as her words sunk in. "I saw some similar stuff while serving in Iraq. It's really eye opening."

"Definitely," she quickly agreed. "It truly makes you appreciate how lucky we are here. I felt so guilty the first time I took a bubble bath after leaving."

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ichabod desperately trying to hold in a grin and she just knew he was thinking of their earlier bath. Now, fighting her own grin, she half listened as Abbie said, "God, I can't remember the last time I took a bubble bath."

With an amused chuckle, Luke said, "You and your bubble baths. Oh! And the foot rubs that are required to go with them."

Abbie smiled over her glass as she sipped at her wine. "Hey, don't knock it til you've tried it. It really helps you unwind."

"Oh, I remember," Luke said, a grin coming to his face.

The slight gagging sound Jenny made had her glancing at her friend in amusement before she turned back to Ichabod, who was staring at Luke murderously again. Well, so much for her talk with him earlier. Though, she had to admit that his need to protect Abbie was really cute. Public affection was not something he was accustomed to.

Leaning close to him, she whispered, "I bet their bubble bath's weren't nearly as good as ours."

Ichabod's face softened into a smile as he ducked his head and picked at his plate. "Agreed."

When she leaned back, she noticed Luke staring at Ichabod oddly and asked, "Is everything ok, Luke?"

His eyes jerked to her in surprise. "Yeah, I was just uh..." He gestured between her and Ichabod. "Did you two come together?"

She noticed Ichabod shift uncomfortably, prompting her to take his hand with a smile. "We did."

At her touch, he loosened his tense body and returned her smile.

"So, you're..." Luke seemed to be struggling. "I mean, how...?"

"Kat and Ichabod are engaged," Jenny said unexpectedly, causing her to glance at her friend in shock.

Abbie's surprised face on the other hand was nearly comical with the way she was staring at them; mouth agape. "Wait," she said, holding up a hand. "What?"

Ichabod threaded their fingers together and answered with a measure of pride she couldn't help but feel her body warm at. "Katrina and I are to be married."

When Abbie did nothing other than stare in confusion as though she weren't comprehending his words, she held up her left hand with a smile. "We... uh... got engaged this morning actually."

Ever so slowly, Abbie's face changed to a momentary frown before she looked to Ichabod in some sort of unspoken conversation. Luke, on the other hand, only frowned. "I don't understand. I thought you were a consultant from Oxford?" He gestured between them again. "I mean, you got here four months ago and she's been gone for six. How do you two even know each other?"

Startled at the probing questions, she looked to Ichabod, who seemed just as dumbfounded as she felt. It was Jenny who answered for them. "They dated for about a decade and then reluctantly separated when Ichabod uh... found his calling, leaving Kat to meander around before ending up here."

"Yes," she added, smiling at her friend's quick thinking. How did she ever survive without Jenny Mills in her life? "We recently reunited and..." She looked to Ichabod with an affectionate squeeze to his hand. "Realized we still loved each other as deeply as ever."

His eyes softened as he returned her happy expression. And here she thought only women glowed with happiness over engagements. "That's exactly what happened."

"Well," Abbie finally spoke. "I can't say I was expecting that to happen so fast. I mean..." She stared at Ichabod in seriousness. "Are you sure? It's kinda fast."

Not exactly knowing how to take Abbie's questions, she, too, looked at Ichabod, who answered with a smile at their friend, "I've never been more sure of anything in my life."

Feeling her heart swell at his answer, she looked back at Abbie who was now nodding, a pleasant smile on her face. Though, she could tell there was still a lingering doubt that would likely be addressed between the friends later. "Ok, then, I uh..." Abbie lifted her glass of wine. "I guess congratulations are in order."

After a more pleasant dinner than she had been expecting, they moved to the living room where Luke and Abbie had put a baseball game on. With those two sitting on the couch arguing over the different players, she and Jenny sat on the floor, leaning against the other couch with Ichabod situated behind her attempting to understand what Abbie and Luke were talking about.

Noticing Jenny staring at her phone with a slight grin, she nudged her arm. "You know, tonight would have been a good night to bite the bullet and invite him over. We all have to meet him at some point."

Jenny shrugged. "He had to visit his brother."

"He has a brother?" she asked, curious to know more about this mystery guy. With Jenny all out of sorts over him, she was beginning to feel the need to check this guy out for herself.

"Yeah," Jenny confirmed before adding, "Well, an adopted brother. He was abandoned when he was a baby and taken in by another family."

"Oh," she whispered, unsure how to respond to that. "I can't imagine what kind of person would abandon their baby."

"Yeah, well, he'd agree with you," Jenny said, setting her phone on the floor. "He knows who his parents are and... let me tell you, he really hates them."

"That must be hard to deal with," she offered softly.

Jenny shifted to sit straighter. "I mean, I know it's different, but I guess the two of us both growing up without real parents helps us talk about it more easily. He's really made something of himself with little to no help. He says if his biological parents hadn't made the selfish choices that they did, he wouldn't be who he is now. He seems grateful at the same time he's angry." Jenny stared at her hands in deep thought. "I get the feeling he's just covering a lot of hurt with his anger."

Nodding her understanding, she glanced back at Ichabod, who was staring at the tv with a confused expression. "Well, I'd like to meet him. Perhaps, we can triple date."

With a snort, Jenny chuckled. "That should be interesting. Two colonial lovers, two cops, and two free spirits."

"Free spirits?" she asked, unable to stop her laugh. "Ok, then. Well, that does sound interesting."

When she felt Ichabod's fingers begin running through her hair, she leaned her head back to look at him only to find his eyes on her with a content smile on his face. Patting Jenny's arm affectionately, she climbed onto the couch next to him and snuggled into his side, pulling her legs up into the cushions to rest. "Are you having a good time?"

He shrugged his shoulders as he threaded their fingers together. "It's a different sort of gathering than I'm accustomed to."

Her heart went out to him. She imagined he spent a great deal of his time being around people who seemed to be speaking another language. Placing a chaste kiss to his cheek, she said, "It'll become a normal thing eventually."

"I desperately hope so," he murmured so only she could hear. "I feel so out of place."

Eyes dancing over his face which was giving the tell tale signs of insecurity, she whispered, "You're still the smartest person in the room, you know?"

A small grin crept over his face as he relaxed his shoulders and allowed his body to sag back into the cushions. "I know."

Chuckling over his self confidence returning, she added, "And the most humble."

He turned his head to face her; his eyes dancing with so much sincerity "And you're the most beautiful."

Heat warming her face, she leaned forward to rest her forehead to his, enjoying the way his warm breath washed over her face. "I couldn't be happier."

He opened his mouth to reply when both Abbie and Luke's phones went off.

Jenny looked up from her phone. "I'm guessing that's work."

Abbie nodded and answered her phone as Luke moved to the other side of the room, talking on his. A look of seriousness crossed Abbie's face as she spoke with the person on the other end. When she finally hung up, she ran a hand down her face before she turned to them with a tired look. "Crane, something happened earlier at the Mason's estate."

Ichabod sat up straighter. "What do you mean?"

Abbie blew a heavy breath out of her nose before standing. "They uh... they were murdered."

"Murdered?" he exclaimed, standing abruptly. "I don't understand. H-how?"

Abbie cast a half glance to Luke, who was still on his phone before answering. "By the state of their bodies, I'm assuming our Headless friend paid them a visit."

Without further ado, Ichabod turned and grabbed his coat. "We have to go."

As Abbie moved to talk to Luke, both she and Jenny stood. "My love..."

He faced her with a serious expression. The determination was already set in his blue eyes and she knew he'd entered full soldier mode. "I'll be back later."

Not having any of that, she shook her head. "I'm going with you."

A series of blinks left him as he was clearly attempting to find a means of stopping her. However, he ultimately released a resigned sigh and lifted a hand to push her hair back. "Please, don't."

She pulled away from his touch, not wanting him to have that control of her she knew he was trying to exert. "Ichabod, I'm a witch. If anyone should go with you, it should be me."

"I won't be able to think with you there," he admitted softly. "It would be a constant distraction."

"Ichabod-"

"If we need you, we'll call," he quickly cut in. "But, until then, I'm begging you to please stay here and allow the Leftenant and I to deal with this."

Everything within her wanted to object, but the desperation in his gaze snapped her mouth shut. "Fine."

Ichabod cast Jenny a nervous glance before stepping closer to her. "Please, don't be angry with me."

Lifting a hand to press against her eyes in attempt to hold in her outburst, she said, "I'm not."

"Katrina-"

She dropped her hand and stared up at him. "Promise the moment you even think you might need me, you'll call."

He immediately nodded, clearly glad that she was relenting. "I promise."

With that assurance, she swallowed her pride and leaned up to brush her lips to his. "Be careful."

A nervous smile creased his face as he turned to follow Abbie and Luke out the door.

"I give them an hour before they call," Jenny said from behind her.

Still staring at the place from which he had disappeared, she sighed. "It's agitating to be relegated to the sidelines."

"Oh, please," Jenny muttered, flopping down to the couch. "I'm the smart one and you have magic. They simply refuse to admit how much of a mess they'd be in without us."

Chuckling at Jenny's assessment, she slumped down beside her friend. "So, we wait."

"Yep."

With a shake of her head, she admitted, "I'm not good with waiting."

"Me either."


It had taken much more than an hour. After staying awake all through the night and receiving various assuring texts all day from Ichabod that he and Abbie had all well in hand, she was beyond tired and frustrated. By the time, she and Jenny were walking into the Archives twenty four hours since she'd last seen him, she was livid. Fingernails painfully digging into her palms, she narrowed her eyes when she caught sight of him casually leaning over a desk with Abbie standing across from him. The very idea of him being so comfortable while she was at the end of her patience with worry over him infuriated her. The sound of she and Jenny's footsteps drew his gaze up and when their eyes caught, she noticed his face pale considerably. Good. He should be scared.

"Katrina-"

Flinging her hand at a chair, she willed it forward, catching him along the back of his legs and, with a push from her hands, he was falling solidly into its embrace. Not wasting a moment, she jerked the chair forward and braced her hands against the arm rests on either side of him before leaning close and staring into his wide eyes.

"Don't you ever do that again," she bit out, her anger burning brightly. "Yes, I am your fiancé, but I am also a magical being full of more power than you can possibly fathom. You are a Witness. Do you know what a Witness does, Ichabod? A Witness is someone who observes." He cast a furtive glance at Abbie, but she jerked a hand up to his jaw and forced his gaze back on her. "Don't look at her. She isn't your fiancé, who, allow me to inform you, sat up all night and all day worrying over you." Taking a deep breath, she continued, "Now, I understand that as you're a Witness, my role is as your subordinate, but you would be wise to remember that without me, you would not be here. Without me, you wouldn't even have a place to lock the Horseman up. My coven helped build that chamber. I was there when it was constructed and I gave the order to cast the enchantments around it. So, my dear, sweet, overprotective love, from now on, if you so much as cock a pistol without calling me, we'll have to revisit this conversation again. Do you understand?"

He cleared his throat as a series of nods quickly left him. "Yes."

Studying his face for a moment to see if he truly did understand, she concluded that he did. With that knowledge, she closed the distance between them and pressed a deep kiss against his mouth. Understandably, he gave a surprised gasp as his hands jerked up to grip her waist in an effort to hold her before he eventually softened against her kiss. However, just as he began to return it, she pulled back and leaned her forehead to his.

"I'm sorry I worried you," he whispered, pushing her hair behind her ear. "I simply didn't want to place you in any danger. The very idea torments me, Katrina."

"I know," she replied, her voice softer than before. "Just... please don't do this again. I can do so much to help you if you will only allow me to."

He nodded and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

A throat cleared from a few feet away, pulling her gaze to a smirking Jenny Mills. "I understand you two are having a moment and all, but we're kinda on a timetable here and you know... more importantly, I'm not good with pretending I'm not listening and delighting in this whole situation."

With a chuckle, she moved back, allowing Ichabod the room to stand. When she took in his darting eyes, a smidge of regret formed in the back of her throat for the scene she'd caused in front of their friends. She actually hadn't meant to do it, but the whole ride over, after Abbie's assessment of the situation had been given to Jenny, her anger had built to volatile levels. He'd tempted and captured the Horseman of Death, all the while assuring her that everything was fine! It was a preposterous notion to even consider such a thing while benching the most powerful being on your team. Determining to apologize later, she looked at Abbie and stepped toward her, mouthing a silent thank you for the call. When Abbie nodded, she turned back to Ichabod.

"So, you've captured the Horseman?"

"We have," he said with a stiff nod before walking over to the table and gesturing to a rather creepy looking and very familiar skull. "The only problem is that it's quite impossible to communicate with him."

"Ah..." She chuckled, pressing her fingers to her eyes. If her shoulders became any more tense, she was going to need medical attention. "Which is why you called me, correct?"

Ichabod's responding sigh was heavy enough to be heard. "We were hoping you might have a means to help us."

Staring at him for a moment in disbelief, she waved her hand about. "I am a witch. Take me to him and I'll work something out."

Ichabod's body went visibly rigid. "Can't you do it from here?"

She narrowed her eyes at him. "No, I cannot. I suggest you stop dancing around this and accept the fact that I'm going to be involved in this war. You're holding all of us up with your eighteenth century notions of a woman's place."

He tore his eyes from her and turned to lean against the table, prompting her to cast an exasperated glance to Abbie, who rolled her eyes.

"Crane, we need her help. She's a big girl. Besides, the Horseman's captured and being held not only under UV lights in a Masonic cell designed by your buddy, Jefferson, but also chained and held by every limb." When he didn't move, Abbie added, "I'm not sure if me or Katrina should be offended by you acting this way."

At that, Ichabod turned to look at Abbie in confusion. "What?"

To be honest, she was curious as well.

Abbie shrugged. "Well, you've been letting me mess around with this dangerous stuff all day. So, either you think a lot of my abilities and little of hers, or you care a great deal about her safety and little about mine."

Ichabod's eyes widened as he stared at her. "Leftenant, I-" He shook his head with a great deal of befuddlement. "It's neither of those things."

Abbie raised an eyebrow. "I know that, Crane, but you should probably pull yourself together before you really start offending people. We're all very capable and gifted with our particular skill sets. I get that it's hard to accept, but there's really no way around this."

His head fell back to stare at the ceiling for a moment before he abruptly turned and picked up the container holding the skull and setting off across the room.

Jenny chuckled. "I think we should take that as his agreement."

After giving Jenny a knowing glance, she followed Abbie to the secret passage.


They'd walked a while when Jenny finally broke the silence. "You came down pretty hard on him earlier."

Bringing a hand to her eyes, she blew out a heavy breath. "I regret it. He's just so..."

"Stubborn?" Jenny offered with a smirk.

She nodded. "That's an understatement."

"I suppose you two really are perfect for one another."

With a smile, she explained, "I just worry that in his need to protect me, he's going to put himself in unnecessary danger. I have no doubt that Abigail convinced him to call. If she hadn't, I wouldn't be here. He'd still be assuring me he had everything well in hand all the while facing down the Horseman of Death."

"Far be it from me to take Crane's side, but... maybe you should cut him some slack. I doubt he's used to seeing you in this kind of danger. Yeah, he has the knowledge that you're a witch, but he hasn't seen you do too many witchy things. It's gonna take some adjustment for him to realize that you're likely more capable than he is."

Shaking her head, she smiled. "You never cease to surprise me."

Jenny shrugged as though it was nothing. "I have my moments."

Raising an eyebrow at her friend, she noticed Abbie open a door up ahead and realized they had indeed arrived at the chamber. Ichabod, however, stood off to the side, clearly waiting for her. Seeing this as well, Jenny gave her a small smile before following her sister through the door.

"I am not alright with this," he said with a glance at the door before pulling her over to him and away from prying eyes. "I don't want you in there with him."

"Ichabod-"

"My love," he said, lifting a hand to push her hair back. "You were right earlier. I was attempting to shield you from all of this and I was wrong to do so. You're an extremely valuable asset to this group. However, you must understand how difficult it is for me to see you anywhere near danger." He sighed as he ran a hand down his face. He looked so very tired and she suddenly felt the urge to grab him and drag him home to their huge bed where he could find some much needed rest. "I didn't even like you tending wounded on the battlefield."

"I know and I'm sorry, but, Ichabod..." She gestured to the chamber. "He's captured. He can't hurt me."

His hand gently cupped her neck. "Katrina..."

She twisted his shirt between her fingers and whispered, "Just think of what we'll accomplish by doing this. This is the monster that tore us apart. With him out of play, it will be a massive blow to Moloch's plans and another giant step toward us creating our family."

He still seemed doubtful, prompting her to smile and tilt her head to press a gentle kiss to his lips. It was meant to be a simple reassurance. However, he deepened it, opening his mouth over hers as he took her by the arms and pressed her into the wall behind her. With this unexpected gesture, she realized just how worried he was. As his hands slid into her hair, holding her tightly to him, she lifted a hand to rest along his cheek in an attempt to soften his desperate attempt to touch her. When he finally pulled back, she leaned her head against the wall as he breathed heavily against her skin.

"What was that for?" she asked with a smile.

He whispered through panted breath, "We have decade's worth of this left and I'm not keen on losing it. Promise me you'll be careful."

At that, she nodded and pulled him in for another kiss.


She wasn't sure what she'd been expecting, but what she was now seeing definitely wasn't anywhere near whatever that had been. With a deep breath, she ventured further into the chamber behind Ichabod and Abbie. As she stepped close to inspect the tall creature in the center of the room, she felt a shiver go through her. Death was as intimidating as she'd imagined while in his waking state. When she finally circled around to the front, he surprised her by giving a sharp pull against his chains as his body lunged forward. The action could only be described as surprised rage. Why on earth would he have a reaction to her? She could only conclude that he must sense the presence of her being a witch. Ichabod's hand on her arm turned her gaze from the Horseman to her worried love. "I'm fine."

Abbie held out her hands as though presenting a new car. "Ladies and gentleman, the Horseman of Death."

"Alright. I can, uhm..." She scratched her brow. "I can cast an illusion spell. That should give us a sort of... hologram of his head."

Jenny raised an eyebrow as she stared at the Horseman. "You don't sound so sure of yourself."

In response, she shrugged. "I've never cast the spell in quite this way before. I'm not even sure it'll work."

Ichabod gave her a reassuring smile and squeeze to her hand. "I have faith in you."

Unable to stop her smile at his kind assurance, she nodded and turned back to the Horseman; closing her eyes. As the old words fell from her lips, she felt her magic bubble to the surface within her and reach beyond to the being in front of her. When it touched him, she frowned as a familiar echo radiated off of him. It was too familiar, like she'd felt his aura before. Pushing those thoughts aside, she chanted the words for a third time; feeling the spell complete its process.

"Oh my God," Jenny whispered in quiet astonishment. "It worked."

Opening her eyes, she lifted her gaze to the Horseman as a means to verify Jenny's words. The spell had indeed worked. However, when her gaze met his strong jaw and cold, blue eyes, she unconsciously stepped back as the realization of what her senses had been telling her came to light.

"Abraham."

Chapter Text

"This can't be," she whispered, her body riddled with shock as she stumbled back slightly. To actually be looking into the eyes of the man who'd once haunted her and Ichabod's steps... it was impossible, yet there he stood; imposing; threatening; alive. Abraham von Brunt was standing just a couple of feet in front of her and despite his significant lack of a head and his very imprisoned body, he still looked as smug and proud as ever. Only Abraham could pull that off, she thought darkly.

"Hello, Katrina," the Horseman sneered, his ice blue eyes boring into her with a measure of satisfaction. The sound of his voice was like a distant echo; one that shouldn't be here in her presence, but far away in her long forgotten past.

"Hold on, he knows you?" Abbie asked; her surprised voice pulling her back to reality.

Wrenching her gaze from Abraham, she turned to her friend to answer, but was halted when movement from the corner of her eye caught her attention. Ichabod. Without another thought, she hastily checked on her love, who was staring wide eyed at the Horseman as though he were a literal ghost. Though, it wasn't Abraham, but her love, who held the pale complexion; his skin having dropped a shade in color.

"Ichabod..."

"Crane?"

He didn't acknowledge neither she or Abbie, but, instead, continued to stare at their long ago and thought to be lost friend; one he was no doubt attempting to reconcile with being here among them. She couldn't tell what he was thinking and she wasn't sure she even wanted to know. In the past, when it had come to Abraham, Ichabod had always been difficult to predict in his regard toward the fair haired man. One day, he might have disagreed with every word out of Abraham's mouth and the next, they might have drank themselves into a stupor and stayed up until all hours of the night conversing over everything under the sky. The two had shared an odd friendship; one that she had somehow managed to get herself caught in between. Whilst in the presence of both men when they were having one of their more pleasant evenings, she'd always had the knowledge in the back of her mind that it wouldn't last. One of them wouldn't escape unscathed and as her heart had been set on Ichabod, she'd always known it would be Abraham. Though, she never imagined it would come this far.

As her eyes danced over her sickly looking love, she found that everything within her called for her to go to him. She needed to touch him, to let him know that she was here; that he wasn't alone. However, before she could make a move, the penetrating voice behind her stopped her in her tracks as it slid throughout the chamber like a snake slithering about.

"The betrayers and the betrayed; all together again."

Of their own accord, her eyes returned to the chained man before them as the question that needed asking tumbled from her lips. "Abraham, how is this possible? This can't be real."

He tilted his head in study of her; those ice blue eyes of his piercing and delving into what felt like her very soul. How odd it was that just looking at him made her ill? Was that a repercussion of being the Horseman of Death? Was now even his gaze something that could rob a person of their life? "Reality is never an enjoyable matter to greet, is it?" He smirked sardonically; his thin lips pulling back to bare his white teeth. "Isn't that what you said to me all those years ago when you told me you'd never have a man like me?"

A presence presented itself at her side and she turned to find Ichabod had stepped forward to stand with her. "Why?"

"I have waited for this day," Abraham said, much calmer than before as he scanned Ichabod like he was looking over a small, insignificant insect. "To look upon the two of you and allow you to see what your betrayal hath wrought." He spared a glance at Abbie, who was watching the present events unfold through narrowed and ever watchful eyes. "You should be wary of this one, Abigail Mills. Do you know that your fellow Witness betrayed and killed his former partner?"

Without a moment's pause, Ichabod immediately jerked a hand up, fury clear in him as he pointed a finger at Abraham. "No! That's lies! That's not what happened!"

Before anything could progress further, Abbie placed a firm hand to his arm and waited for Ichabod's gaze before she said in a serious tone, "Crane, we need to talk."

Though, he looked as if he would at first resist, Ichabod finally turned on his heel and all but stormed to the viewing room, leaving Abbie to trail behind him with she and Jenny following; the feel of Abraham's satisfied eyes bringing a bout of nausea to her.

The moment they were all inside, Abbie spun around and held her hands out in a wide gesture. "What is going on here? The two of you actually know him?"

Ichabod wouldn't meet Abbie's eyes, but, instead, turned to her in resignation as he ran a hand down his face, causing her heart to break for him. His emotions were raw and she knew it was taking everything within him not to return to the chamber and interrogate Abraham further. She could practically see the wheels of his mind working at a rapid rate; attempting to sort out the reality presented to him. Stepping close to him, she reached for his hands and threaded their fingers together as she spoke, her eyes remaining on her love.

"His name is Abraham von Brunt. He was Ichabod's best friend and partner and..." Ichabod's fingers tightly clenched hers as the next words fell from her lips. "Someone who wanted to marry me."

Abbie made some sort of noise in the back of her throat that seemed to be stemming from disbelief. "Oh, that's... are you serious?"

She shook her head in resignation of the fact that this was far from any reality she'd ever imagined and finally tore her eyes from Ichabod to look at Abbie. "It was a constant headache."

Jenny chuckled tiredly as she leaned against the wall. "Here we are trying to prevent the Apocalypse and it seems your love life is at its center. Why am I not surprised?"

She opened her mouth to respond, but could see Ichabod getting agitated as he began fidgeting with his feet. She knew how much he regretted what had happened with Abraham. She did as well. It had taken them a long time to put it behind them, yet here it was, rearing its head all over again.

"But how is he here?" Abbie asked, ever on point as she trained her gaze out the viewing window. "And why is he saying you killed him, Crane?"

Ichabod released a staggered breath, a tormented look in his blue eyes as he still refused to meet anyone's gaze. "I didn't kill him. It was... It was-"

When he broke off, she comfortingly squeezed his hand and carried on for him. "It was a mistake. The three of us were travelling together and... it ended badly."

Opening her door to the knock that had sounded just moments before, a bright smile came to her face upon seeing her love standing in the dimly lit hallway. She'd been hoping he would sneak in to visit her and had been not so patiently waiting for his arrival all night. However, the frown on his face told of his mood, dimming her smile considerably. "What's wrong?"

He covertly glanced down the hallway, obviously checking for onlookers, before pulling her into her room and shutting the door behind them.

"Katrina," he said, his tired eyes searching her. "What happened last night between you and Abraham? He's thoroughly upset about something, but refuses to speak of it. I've never seen him in such a state. It's as if he hates the entire world." He gestured to the door. "He nearly strangled the young lad who accidentally spilt his beer upon handing it to him."

With a knowing sigh, she shook her head at the unsurprising news. "He'd already had his fill when I departed your company and as I made my way upstairs he attempted to make an advance upon me. After I'd finally managed to get his hands off me, I informed him to cease his attentions toward me."

As expected, Ichabod's eyes widened in surprise. If this weren't such a serious conversation, she might have laughed at his comical expression. "What?"

Knowing he had to be confused, she gently explained, "I made it plain that there would never be a future between he and I and that I was at the end of my patience with his overbearing attention. I told him we would never be anything other than friends and that he needed to find someone else to pursue."

As he continued to stare at her in shock, his breathing shallow and his mouth bobbing slightly, she felt guilt building in the back of her throat over the torment she'd put him through over the last few years. How long had he waited for such a day? "Y-You did?"

Stepping closer to him, she took his hands in hers to make sure he understood how very serious she was. "We've been holding this secret in for long enough. I've been thinking about what you said a few months ago... about how it's been two years of us keeping this secret and... you were right. Loathe as I am to admit it... I've been doing exactly what you said."

"What I said?" he asked, clearly missing her implications.

She shrugged her shoulders as she looked down at his hands, afraid to see his face with her admittance. "You were right when you said I was keeping Abraham in the wings."

"I-I don't understand," he said, obviously taken aback by her admission. "You said..."

"I know what I said," she responded, actively avoiding his gaze as she ran her fingers over his cut and busted knuckles; the injuries he'd receive from fighting this war she'd dragged him onto. So accustomed to lies, the truth was like salt in a wound to admit. "I suppose I was manipulating the situation. I wanted to keep him close as a means to distract anyone from noticing us and what we've been doing."

"Because no one would ever believe you'd want me over him."

Surprised at his sullen response, she jerked her eyes to his and started with her denial, "No-"

"Please don't lie," he whispered, the pleading in his voice suffocating her; drowning her in the selfish choices she'd made. "Just tell me the truth. That's what you thought, isn't it?"

It took her a moment to choose a course of action. When had Ichabod caught onto her lies enough to be forced to beg for the truth? The pained look on his face was enough to make her hate herself for what she was doing to him. How could she hurt her love so? He was the most precious thing in the world to her and yet she'd done something she'd known would hurt him. Finally giving a hesitant nod, she wasn't surprised when he pulled from her and walked across the room to the lone window.

Sucking in a shaky breath, she noticed his hands balled into clenched fists; his fury radiating off of him. Distance wouldn't solve anything, she thought as she hesitantly stepped up behind him and explained, "My love, people are conceited and simple minded. Most think power and wealth are more attractive than love. I'm sorry I used that to my advantage, but you must understand the strain and scrutiny we would fall under should we be discovered."

He abruptly spun to face her, his eyes narrowed; the anger washing all over his body visible. "I don't care what conceited and simple minded people think," he whispered harshly. "You are the priority in my life, Katrina. What you think is what matters to me more than anyone else!"

"You should care," she whispered, her voice cracking with emotion she hadn't meant to let creep over her so quickly. "Those people control our future. People like Abraham have the power to make us miserable. You know what will happen should we be discovered. The rumors alone would ruin us, but that would only be the beginning. A war has started, Ichabod, and there are certain parties who would see us dead before allowing us to be." There was a hitch in her breath when she spoke the last words which brought a confused frown to his face, but before he could comment she hurried on. She couldn't have him questioning her slip; not now. They were far from being ready for that conversation, something that had her beyond frustrated. She was so tired of the secrets and was more than ready to start moving on, preferably as Mrs. Crane. However, today wasn't that day. "You have the potential to ascend in the ranks and you are one of the few men who deserve such an honor. Do you have any idea how rare it is to make it as far as you have without the name and wealth to help you do so?" When he remained deafeningly silent, she felt panic building as her body knotted itself in worry. Had she gone too far? Had she been so focused on guiding him as a Witness that she'd unintentionally forsaken their love? "My love, if Abraham learns that you are the reason for my spurning of his advances, he will end any hope you have of making a career for yourself."

"I don't care," he said softly, hurt now the predominant emotion radiating off of him. "And I didn't think you did either."

"I don't," she answered quickly, laying a hand to his chest in the hopes that he would somehow understand why she'd made the choices she had. "I would live in a box with you, Ichabod, but you must realize how important you are. Washington himself has taken an interest in you. Franklin has taken you under his wing. You're special, my love."

"I'm no more special than anyone else," he vehemently protested with narrowed eyes as he stepped away from her touch.

"But you are," she pressed, following him and lifting her other hand to his face. "You were born with a gift that few others in existence possess. You're beyond valuable to this war and we need you in this fight."

"I am in this fight!" he bit at her, his confusion and anger hurtling forth in his blue eyes. "I fight everyday for this world; for you. I'm in this fight, Katrina."

She shook her head, needing him to more clearly understand the situation. Right now, it seemed he was only comprehending what she had done rather than why she had done it. "But you won't be much longer if Abraham learns of us. In jealousy, he will ruin you, make it so no one will have you. I can't let our love destroy your future."

He cupped her face, leaning closer to her as he spoke slowly; his voice low, but firm. "You are my future."

Why did he have to be so wonderfully poetic? Here he was declaring that she was his world, his future, and all she was doing was hurting him. Her eyes fell closed as she tried to hold in the tears burning behind them. This was why she'd fought her feelings so hard. This is why she knew her coven would vehemently disapprove of what she'd done with him. They were both now too vulnerable to each other; thinking only of the other. Rather than allowing the safety of the world motivate them, they were allowing their love to be their main driving force. Only now did she truly understand why she had kept this secret so tight to her chest. "I'm sorry. This was my mistake. I was simply trying to protect the both of us." She opened her eyes and caught his pure, blue gaze. "Abraham needs to face reality," she said firmly. "Perhaps, since I've done it now, enough time will pass as this war rages on that when it's over, he won't care that I'll choose to marry you."

"While I'm glad of your news, this was hardly the time to do it," he said with a heavy sigh; his gaze turning to look out the window.

"Well, last night I wasn't aware we'd all be travelling together," she explained, Washington's orders making her grind her teeth. It was supposed to have been Ichabod escorting her to Boston for a meeting with another coven member this morning. It would have been just the two of them during their overnight trip, one she'd been planning on taking full advantage of. However, she'd received a knock on her door late the night before with a message explaining that he and Abraham had received orders to deliver some rather important documents to Boston, making the journey they'd be taking not only more dangerous due to having to cut through enemy territory for a faster route, but also due to the fact that it would now be the three of them alone in enemy territory.

"Besides that," she continued, wanting to make sure they dissolved this issue now rather than have any lingering tension between them. "I don't want you to have another moment's doubt as to whether I love and need you. If you truly believe we haven't moved beyond where we started two years ago then I'm clearly doing something wrong and I intend to change that."

"That's not what I think," he whispered, stroking her cheek as his eyes danced over her face. "I simply want to move forward and it seems as though we're stuck in the same patterns with hope of it ever changing continually becoming dimmer and dimmer."

She smiled and leaned up to place a tender kiss to his lips; one he deepened to the point that she was eventually forced to pull back for air. Pressing her forehead to his, she promised, "Our future is so bright, my love. One day, you're going to make me Mrs. Ichabod Crane and I'm going to so enjoy filling our home with boys and girls who are as beautiful as their father and intelligent as their mother."

He raised an eyebrow and chuckled, his warm breath washing over her face. "Is that so?"

"It is," she answered, glad they'd finally circled to playfulness. "But you have to make a proper lady of me first."

His laughter bubbled out as he pulled her body firmly against his. "You are no lady."

"Of course, I am," she insisted while wrapping her arms around his neck. "As I belong to you, I'm your lady."

"Well, that's the first thing we've truly agreed on in a while." He glanced out the window again to take in the sun that was just beginning to light the morning sky. "Can we agree we have another half hour to spare?"

Shaking her head at his never quenching desire, she began tugging him backward toward the bed. "You'll soon find that I'm feeling very agreeable at the moment."


Sparing a small glance to the moping, fair haired man trailing a few feet behind she and Ichabod, she sighed in irritation and returned her gaze to the path ahead. "How much further?"

"Half a day's walk," Ichabod whispered, his eyes searching the trees for possible threats. At least he was exerting awareness to the danger they were in, unlike their companion. She wouldn't be surprised if at any moment Abraham walked nose first into a tree.

"I'm not sure I can bear another minute of this, much less half a day," she said, wanting to put as much distance between Abraham and her as possible. The man was in a thoroughly pouty mood and it didn't seem as though it would let up any time soon.

Ichabod shook his head as a small grin came to his face. "Reaping what you sow is so rarely enjoyable."

He was far too happy from their morning adventure and her revelation to be occupied with Abraham's mood. Normally, she'd be happy right along with him, but she was having too difficult a time with refusing to allow Abraham to sour her mood with his childlike behavior. It's not as if the two of them had ever even had an actual intimate moment. The most she'd ever allowed was the occasional dance, or his hand on her as they stood in public; and even then, it had only been due to her father's pleading for her to spare Abraham an ounce of attention to keep the man interested in her father's business.

Rolling her eyes at the ridiculousness of this situation, she whispered, "And what are you reaping? You're as guilty as me."

He gestured to a puddle for her to avoid. "We-" He jerked his gaze back to look at Abraham when splashing water sounded behind them.

"Abraham, be cautious," he scolded, glancing around at the trees as though someone would jump out at any moment. "We're in enemy territory."

Abraham looked at the ground, then Ichabod, and lastly her. Not caring to see his pitiful looks, she turned on her heel and started again, leaving Ichabod to mind to him. If the man wanted to mope for eternity, she could hardly bring herself to care, but he was currently acting as if he hadn't the slightest clue that they were on an important mission. From where she was, she could hear them speaking lowly as they walked along behind her, but then Abraham's voice gradually started growing in intensity, causing her to glance back at them. Abraham was gesturing at her accusingly while Ichabod attempted to silence him with a hand on his arm.

"Do you have any idea how this will make me look? That I am not good enough for her?"

Startled that he was choosing now to voice his disgruntlement, she looked around at the many trees. If he kept up this nonsense, he was going to expose them all. Quickly closing the distance between herself and the two men, she allowed her frustrations to get the better of her. "You're going to get us all killed. Stop acting like a petulant child who was told no for the first time in his pampered life."

Abraham glared at her dangerously before reaching out to grip her upper arm and jerk her forward. "How dare you presume to order me about?"

Without a word, Ichabod clenched his jaw and jerked Abraham's hand off her. "Don't touch her again, Abraham."

Narrowing his eyes, Abraham forcefully shoved Ichabod back with a hand to his chest before he once again reached for her; this time to grasp her neck. "You belong to me. I've put too much time into attempting to garner your affections. I may as well have paid for you with how much business I've given to your father."

It happened so quickly that she reeled back in shock. Ichabod had hit Abraham square in the face, knocking him back a few feet. As Abraham groaned and touched the side of his bleeding nose, she noticed Ichabod about to move forward to further injure the hunched over man, but she quickly laid a hand to his arm while simultaneously trying to soothe the burning pain along her neck. "Ichabod, please..."

His body was rigid as he glanced down at her, his eyes searching out her neck as he lifted a hand to pull hers away. When he seemed to find what he was looking for, his gaze turned up to hers and she implored him with her eyes to cease his actions. This was not the time or place for a scuffle. For an anxious moment, she was sure he'd ignore her and proceed to tackle Abraham, but in the end he gave a stiff nod and lifted his gaze to glare at Abraham. "Don't put your hands on her ever again, or, I swear to God, I'll tear you apart."

When he turned on his heel to begin traveling again, she released the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. However, Abraham speaking in a bewildered tone caught her attention. "What is this?"

Confused over what he could mean, she turned back to him only to freeze when she saw the sapphire that usually resided deep between her breasts hanging from his fingers. Quickly glancing down, she found it gone and realized he must have pulled it free in their struggle.

"Give it back to me," she said, holding out her hand for the necklace even as her heart began to beat wildly in her chest. "It belonged to my mother and holds great meaning to me."

Abraham's eyes met hers; a heat in them she hadn't ever seen before exuding from him. "No, it didn't." He jerked a finger to Ichabod, who was now turned toward him. "It belonged to his mother and it's the only thing of worth he possesses."

Startled at him having that knowledge, she helplessly glanced to Ichabod as she was at a loss for words. However, Ichabod, for his part, didn't look as though he were even breathing.

"Why does she have this?" Abraham demanded forcefully as he thrust the hand holding the necklace outward.

With a hard swallow, Ichabod gestured to her. "Give it back to Katrina... now."

Rather than doing as he was told, Abraham clenched his fist around the jewel and pointed at her. "You gave this to her?" His eyes slid to her and narrowed. "And you accepted it? Do you know what it means?"

"Now isn't the time," she said, feeling the tension building amongst them. "Abraham, please, give it back to me and we'll discuss this later when we're somewhere safer."

Unmoved by her plea, Abraham shook his head again and all but stomped his feet. "No, we're discussing this, now! I want to know why you had this around your neck."

At the end of knowing what to do, she said, "Because my friend gave it to me."

"Your friend?" Abraham repeated before looking at Ichabod through those same narrowed eyes. "Is that what she is to you? Your friend? Did you tell her what this necklace means?"

Ichabod stepped forward and once again stated, though this time more firmly, "Give it back to her, Abraham."

Abraham ignored Ichabod and glanced at her again. It was written all over his face that he'd come to the conclusion himself, yet he still pressed for an answer. "Why are you not asking me what it means?"

"Because I know what it means," she admitted, knowing it was pointless to deny any longer.

For a long moment, Abraham simply stared at her. What he would do with that knowledge, she was unsure, but it seemed that there was no way around the truth at this point. It was out there, hanging in the air between the three of them.

Then, without warning, Abraham slammed the necklace into Ichabod's chest. "What did you do!?"

Ichabod stumbled back at the unexpected force; his hand coming up to catch the necklace before it fell to the ground.

"You would betray me in such a way?" Abraham shouted as proceeded to shove Ichabod again; his voice growing in intensity. "You stole her from me!"

When Ichabod made no move to stop Abraham, she reached forth and tore Abraham's hand from Ichabod's shirt before pushing him away. "Stop this!"

Obviously infuriated, Abraham pointed a finger at them. "How long?"

Ichabod spoke, his voice laced with guilt. "Abraham-"

"Have you touched her?"

Though, Ichabod didn't answer, Abraham seemed to draw his own conclusion as he reeled back in shocked disgust. Not knowing what to do, she spared a glance at Ichabod, who was watching his friend come apart at the seams through guilt filled eyes. However, her gaze was pulled from her love when she noticed Abraham tear his hat from his head and fling it to the ground before heatedly drawing his sword.

The action sparked dread in her.

"Abraham, there is no need for this," she pleaded, hoping he would see reason. "Ichabod and I did not mean to hurt you, but we knew you would not see reason."

"Reason?" he shouted, leveling his sword at Ichabod. "She belonged to me! That's all the reason I need!"

"I'm not fighting you, Abraham," Ichabod said, holding out his hands in surrender. "Whatever your misgivings, this is not the time, nor place. Our mission-"

Without hesitating, Abraham charged at Ichabod, bringing his blade down and only missing Ichabod by inches as Ichabod successfully sidestepped.

"Draw your sword!" Abraham shouted as he recovered and spun around.

Ichabod shook his head in refusal, even as he took on a more wary stance while making sure to keep her behind him with one hand on her arm to hold her back. "Abraham, I will not duel."

"You do not deem me worthy? Arm yourself!"

Abraham charged toward him again, prompting Ichabod to lift his scabbard to block the blows before shoving Abraham back.

"I yield," Ichabod said, desperation to end this fight before it began clear in his voice as he held out his still sheathed sword. "I yield."

However, he was finally forced to draw as he blocked another blow.

"Abraham, stop this!" she shouted as she attempted to step between them, only to be pulled back by Ichabod, who laid the tube holding the documents in her arms.

"Stay back, Katrina."

The look in his eyes caused her breath to hitch. A determination had set in that she knew was unavoidable. "My love, please don't. I beg you."

"Your love?" Abraham bit out, pointing his sword toward Ichabod, who reciprocated in gesture. "We shall see what your love is made of."

With that, Abraham lunged at Ichabod and they proceeded to exchange parry's, clanging their swords together over and over.

"You were supposed to be my friend!" Abraham shouted as he brought his sword around in an attempt to swipe at Ichabod's arm. However, Ichabod blocked it and backed away.

"I am your friend, Abraham," Ichabod attempted to reason. "I've always been your friend."

With a cry of fury, Abraham charged him again, but Ichabod managed to move aside and shove Abraham on past him with a blow to his back using the hilt of his sword.

When Abraham regained his footing, he spun around in a fit of rage. "You stole her from me!"

Ichabod shook his head in disgust as he responded, "She isn't a possession to be stolen, Abraham. It was her choice."

Another blow followed Ichabod's words; one that had her unconsciously stepping forward as their swords locked and they came face to face.

"You can have anyone you want," Ichabod said hopelessly while holding his friend back. "It's not as though you love her, Abraham, but I do. I love her."

Instead of being moved, Abraham snarled like some sort of wild animal and kicked out at Ichabod, catching him in the thigh and breaking the lock of their swords. In the struggle to regain his balance, Ichabod cried out as Abraham's blade sliced through his bicep, a patch of red immediately soaking through the sleeve of his blue shirt.

"Ichabod!" she exclaimed as she took an unconscious step forward. However, he held up his uninjured hand to stop her.

For what felt like hours, she watched with increasing panic. The urge to magically intervene crossed her mind, but before she could decide, Abraham had caught Ichabod in the side with his elbow and flipped him to the ground.

"Who's unworthy, now?" Abraham asked, standing over Ichabod with his sword leveled at him.

Seeing that Abraham had the upper hand, she rushed forward and begged, "Abraham, please-"

A heart stopping shot rang out through the forest, jerking her gaze up to find a red coat adorned Hessian stepping out of the thick brush a few yards away. Bone crushing fear swept through her as she realized with one being here, more would soon follow. To her surprise, Abraham began collapsing to his knees, his hands holding his belly as Ichabod hastily pushed himself up and took Abraham's sword.

"Abraham," she whispered, rushing to support his body as he fell backwards against her. When she finally settled him in her lap, her eyes fell to his wound, which was bleeding profusely through his fingers; the red staining his pale hands. Quickly moving his hand aside and laying hers over it, she began applying as much pressure as she could manage. "Oh God."

Another ear piercing shot brought her eyes back to Ichabod, who had dropped to the ground as a means to avoid the bullet. Everything seemed to be happening so quickly as Ichabod forced himself up and dispatched the Hessian before spinning around and collapsing at her side to take in Abraham's wound. "No, no, no. Abraham." His eyes met hers as a panic permeated from him. "Do something!"

She opened her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by the sound of approaching hooves. Without even looking, she knew it was too many for them.

"Leave me."

Jerking her gaze down to Abraham, she stared at him wide eyed as Ichabod reached over and picked up the tube containing the documents before touching Abraham's arm. "We must deliver the documents."

"Leave me!" Abraham shouted, pushing Ichabod away with the last bit of energy he possessed.

Ichabod hesitated for as long as it took for another shot to disrupt the dirt next to her; the fragments of debris flying up and scattering over her dress. At that, Ichabod grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet, tripping over himself in the process and having to push himself back up as he guided her toward the brush. "Through there, go!"

As she set off at a run, she kept her ears open for Ichabod's breathing. However, when his footsteps paused, she turned to see him looking back at Abraham who was being surrounded be a sea of red uniforms. Quickly grabbing his uninjured arm, she tugged him towards her. "Ichabod, we have to go."

"So, the two of you had more than a relationship," Jenny said, seemingly piecing two and two together. "You had an affair."

Ichabod abruptly stood from the chair he'd sat in and ran a frustrated hand down his face. "It wasn't an affair! We were in love and forced to keep it a secret."

She watched as a flurry of emotions crossed his face. Anger. Grief. Confusion. With this particular subject resurfacing, she could see his patience wavering more with every moment that passed and it had her more than a little worried. Stepping toward him, she threaded their fingers together again before turning to Jenny. "You can't possibly understand what it was like, then; the customs and mindset of people. For me to have spurned Abraham's advances and taken up with another man, especially his best friend... He would have ruined us without blinking an eye."

"The guy had that much power?" Abbie asked, doubt present on her face. "I mean, you're talking about him like he was a mini god, or something."

"He was," she said, looking at her friend with a measure of seriousness. "His wealth was a major contributor to the war efforts. His influence extended across the colonies. Everyone who was anyone knew who Abraham von Brunt was."

Jenny blew out a long breath as she nodded. "Ok, so what? Moloch brought him back from death? Why him?"

She shook her head, more concerned with Ichabod's state of mind more so than the Horseman of Death. The aftermath of that day had plagued him for so long afterward. For a time, she'd thought she'd lost him, too.

Softly knocking on the wooden door, she listened for movement, but received nothing in response. The room was so quiet that if she didn't know for certain he was in there, she would have doubted his presence altogether. For three days since arriving in Boston, they'd each been held up with their own meetings and business. It had torn her apart to leave him alone for so long, but her coven meeting had been too important to avoid. Now, though, she was finally presented with some free time and she found herself outside his door at the inn, attempting to gain entrance.

"Ichabod, please..."

No answer.

She thought about leaving again, but knew that would only stretch the distance between them. Ichabod would close in on himself even further the longer he went without talking about it. That was a habit of his she wished she could snatch from his being and burn to cinders. With a deep breath, she glanced down the hallway to make sure no one was watching before waving her hand over the lock and hearing it turn on the other side of the door. Gently pushing it open, she stepped through the small space she'd created for herself and squinted to see in the dark room. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light of a lone candle across the room, she saw him. He was curled on the bed, fully clothed, his gaze on the window. Feeling her eyes begin to burn at how childlike he looked, she closed the door, forcing herself not to run to him, and walked as slowly as she could to the bed. Upon reaching it, she sat on the edge and laid her hands in her lap.

"Any other time, I'd know exactly what to say," she whispered as she looked at him, taking in the way he didn't even seem to blink. "I don't know what to do, my love. What do you need? I'll do anything you ask of me."

When he didn't move, she continued to sit there for a few minutes, watching the candle flicker across the room. Uncertainty plagued her once more as she attempted to discern the best possible course of action. If he wanted to be alone, then perhaps that was best. Some people found comfort in solitude when it came to grieving. However, Ichabod had never seemed to want that. Every time he'd had a reason to grieve, she could always expect him to make an appearance in search of her comfort. The problem, this time, she supposed was that she was a direct result of his grief. Their love had sparked the quarrel that had led to his friend's death. Maybe that was reason enough for her to leave him be.

After a time of remaining undecided and receiving no sign that he wanted her there, she sighed and stood from the bed. To her surprise, though, she felt his fingers wrap around her wrist and halt her from moving away. Glancing back at him in question, she found he still wasn't looking at her, nor had he moved anything besides his hand. Unsure what this meant, she went out on a limb and asked, "Is it alright if I lie with you?"

His fingers tightened around her wrist. Taking that to mean yes, she crawled over his legs and laid on her side behind him. The decision of whether to touch him or not plagued her, but she eventually made her choice and scooted closer to him before wrapping her arm around his middle and pressing as close into his back as she could manage. If he was consenting to her being with him, she wasn't going to spare any space between them. Content that he was accepting of her gesture, she pressed a gentle kiss to the back of his neck and held him tightly while soothingly stroking her fingers along his chest and arm. He was so very still that, after a time, she was sure he'd fallen asleep. It mattered not to her. She was simply appreciative of the chance to be in his presence. It was so quiet in the room that she could hear the many patrons on the lower floor bustling about happily; their hearts seemingly nowhere near as heavy as her loves. For her part, she wasn't sure what she felt about Abraham's death. It was a tragedy for sure. Abraham might have grated her nerves and been an overly pampered man in her eyes, but he was still a human being who didn't possess any irredeemable qualities as far as she knew. He had an over fondness for beer and women, but that was hardly reason to hate him as that was the way of most men she came across. The only personal dislike she'd held for him was his treatment of his supposed best friend. At times, Abraham had treated Ichabod no better than his servants; ordering him about; talking down to him. For the life of her, she couldn't understand how they had ever became friends in the first place. Ichabod had always insisted it was because of his intelligence that Abraham had wanted him around and that may well have been true, but she believed there was more to it. Ichabod had the kind of personality that was a draw to people. The way he spoke, always mesmerized by the world, intrigued others. He could spend hours explaining the same thing and never cease in his wonder of it, nor did he ever become dull and uninteresting. That was why, at the end of the day, she truly believed Abraham kept Ichabod around. Her love drew people in and Abraham never failed to capitalize on that; using it for his own gain. In her opinion, it had been a very one sided relationship, despite whatever opportunities Ichabod had said he gained in return.

His body shivering as though he were cold prompted her to tighten her hold around him with the hope that she could encompass in her hug all the love and comfort possible. After another moment passed, he turned over in her arms, his face now resting mere centimeters from hers. There was so much pain and sadness in his forlorn eyes that she could barely stand to look at him. Then, he lifted his hand to hers, turning her palm over. Frowning at the action, she watched as he placed the sapphire in her hand.

"Do you still want it?"

Her eyes jerked back up to him in shock. "How could you ask that? Of course, I want it."

His body sagged into the mattress as he dropped his eyes from her, his fingers now digging into the blanket beneath them. "I don't deserve you."

It was just as she had assumed. He was retreating into himself; blaming himself for Abraham's death. "Don't you dare do that," she said, her voice scolding as she reached out to lift his face back up. "Do you love me?"

A pained look crossed his face. "Katrina-"

"Do you love me?" she repeated more forcefully, not having any of his dark thoughts entering the space between them. "Because I love you." She stroked her hand up his cheek until she was pushing his hair from his face. "I love you more than anything in the world and if you truly love me in the same way, then you won't hurt me by closing yourself off. You won't proceed with any of the things you've been lying here telling yourself because it's all a lie, Ichabod. So, I'll ask you again. Do you love me?"

"More than the air I breathe," he whispered through a fresh cascade of tears. "I love you, Katrina."

Overcome with emotion, she reached up to rid him of his tears before placing the sapphire back in his palm and sitting up. "Please, put it back on me."

He sniffed and closed his fingers around it before following her up. As she lifted her hair from her shoulders for him, he carefully placed the chain around her neck and latched it; the feeling of the sapphire settling back between her breasts filling her with a welcome comfort. The precious jewel hadn't parted from her neck for two solid years and the last three days spent without it had tormented her. Every so often, she had reached up to roll it between her fingers and each time had wound up disappointed to find it missing.

When his hands began sliding down her arms, she turned to face him, taking in the way his eyes fixed on the place the jewel disappeared beneath her dress. "Don't ever take it off again."

Gently smiling, she rested her hand over her breasts. "I swear."

At his nod of acceptance, she slid her hands up his arms, minding the place his bandage was wrapped around his bicep, and pulled him down with her as she settled back against the pillows; adjusting herself so he laid half on top of her with his head on her chest. As she lifted the hand resting along his back to tangle in his hair, she felt his fingers toy with the sapphire; his hot breath warming the flesh along the tops of her breasts.

Gaze on the flickering light of the candle on the ceiling, she considered how precious her love was and just how close she had come to losing him. With that thought, she vowed she'd protect him always; no matter the cost.

Never before had that cost seemed so heavy. This entire situation was all just so overwhelming.

Glancing at Ichabod again, she took in his jumpy eyes and twitchy hands. "My love?"

"It's Abraham," he whispered, his eyes trained out the window. "It's really him. I never meant to hurt him. His pride..." He shook his head as his gaze fell to the ground. "Why would he make such a choice?"

Abbie turned to face the window. "Maybe we should ask him that."

Without hesitating, Ichabod nodded and started walking toward the door, much to her chagrin. "Ichabod..."

Not unsurprisingly, he ignored her and continued on; the three of them trailing after him and watching as he took up a stance in front of his former friend.

"What have you done, Abraham?"

The chained man smiled in a way that had her skin crawling. "So many horrid things; things that would make your stomach churn if you knew of them."

Ichabod only stared at him in bewilderment. "Why? For revenge?"

Almost nonchalantly, Abraham shrugged his shoulders; the chains holding him rattling with the movement. He acted as though Ichabod had asked him about the weather. "Men have killed for less, but I do have a greater treasure in mind."

"And what is that?" she asked, moving to take up a stance next to Ichabod. "What would you want so badly that you'd relinquish your soul to a demon?"

The chains rattled again as he shifted, his blue eyes drifting over her in a lecherous manner. "My lord Moloch made an enticing offer."

"Stop looking at her that way," Ichabod growled as he stepped in front of her.

"Ichabod Crane, ever the gentleman," Abraham spat in disgust, the chains creaking as he pulled on them. "You were always jealous of what was mine." Abraham's eyes jerked back to her. "I'm not sure why I cared. The only thing you'll ever be good for is spreading your legs to accommodate whatever man is in front of you."

She felt a fire light in her belly as she jerked a hand out to stop Ichabod from pummeling him. "Perhaps, you're right. I've certainly accommodated Ichabod plenty."

"You filthy whore!" The chains clanged as Abraham snarled and pulled forward on them, his lips pursing dangerously. "You teased me for years, practically begging for it. I should have taken you, then."

Ichabod broke out of her hold and forcefully snatched the lapels of Abraham's coat before all but growling, "Do not speak to her that way!"

"Oh, come now, Ichabod," Abraham said in amusement as he stared straight into his former friend's eyes. "Do you not ever grow tired of always playing the gentleman? We both know you aren't one what with the way you snuck around with the woman I was going to marry behind my back."

Having had enough, she grabbed Ichabod's arm and pulled him from Abraham. "The only person jealous is you. Everyone respects Ichabod because he's a genuine soul. It's why he's loved and you were tolerated at best. Do you think anyone ever paid you attention for any reason other than your wealth? They wanted your company in the hopes of gaining something while they sought out Ichabod for who he was as a person. Admit it, Abraham. You've never been anything more than what you could buy yourself at the time. Even now, you've sold your soul for what? A chance to put me in my place? To take what you so foolishly believed was yours?"

Abraham glared at her. "This is all your doing!"

She stared at him oddly for a moment before pacing in front of him. "You mean, you still being alive? Or dead? Or whatever it is that you are exactly? Then, yes. Unfortunately, my saving Ichabod also saved you at the time of your fall."

He was silent for a moment before he returned to his previously cool demeanor. "It is no matter how I am here. Your fate will remain the same; as will Crane's."

Eyes narrowed, she said, "My fate, along with my love's, will be what we make of it." He unintentionally jerked at that, causing her to shake her head in a form of sadness. "All you had to do was be a good man. You couldn't let him have one thing, could you? He loved you and all you ever did was use him."

Body tensing at her accusation, Abraham shouted, "Neither of you cared for me! You betrayed me by consorting together behind my back. You were meant to be mine and yet you laid with someone beneath my station. Then, attempted to present him with a child."

She started, unconsciously stumbling back a step as a burning shock tore through her body like a sudden bolt of electricity had struck her. If he'd broken free and punched her in the gut, she'd have felt less winded, less like the world was caving in on her; crushing her and making it so she could never recover again. She felt exposed; like he'd just tampered with a raw nerve.

Now lightheaded, she considered his words as they kept tumbling around in her mind while she attempted to understand; to make sense of how this was possible. How could he know about her most closely kept secret? The secret she'd attempted to bury so deeply within herself as to attempt forgetting it altogether?

Chapter Text

"How do you know that?" she demanded shakily as a coldness began to set in at the very core of her being. "No one knew that."

"I am Death; the First of the Four Horseman," Abraham declared, standing taller and titling his chin up in that way he always used to when he felt he had the upper hand. "I know everything there is to know about those who've lost their souls." He sneered at her as his fists clenched around the chains. "What a weak mother you would have been anyhow. Just look at how easily you lost your child."

"I did not lose my child!" she denied, digging her fingernails into her palms for some measure of control as her body begin to quiver. "My baby was taken from me by monsters like you!"

His throaty laugh echoed around the chamber, the sound grabbing hold of her and making her question if any of this was even real. It seemed more like a nightmare than reality. Abraham, then, leaned forward and stared directly into her eyes. "I take great pride in the fact that I took Crane's life and robbed him of meeting his only child."

At those words slipping from his vile lips, she came to herself and realized there were others present in the room; one in particular she needed to find. Her eyes desperately sought out Ichabod, who was standing a few feet behind her, only to feel her heart sink even further at the sight of him staring at her as though he'd never seen her before. His eyes were wide and his body uncharacteristically stiff.

"Ichabod..."

"What is he speaking of?"

She felt as though she had a rock lodged in her airway as she shook her head and attempted to reach out to him, but he stumbled back, furthering not only the distance between them, but also the distance between the confident person she had been moments before and the ball of raw nerves she was now. "My love, please..."

"You told me you'd never been pregnant," he accused, jerking a finger at her as his own breathing intensified to a near panic like level. "You lied to me."

"I told you I'd never given birth to a child," she whispered, her memories attempting to overtake her and crush every last ounce of sanity she had left. "And I haven't."

He held up his hands and the fact that they were shaking only furthered her desire to collapse into a heap of sobs. "Don't. No more lies."

Abraham practically howled in laughter; the sound reverberating around the chamber tauntingly. "Surely you know by now that all she does is lie? I'd question if she ever loved you at all. Haven't you ever wondered why a witch of her caliber would want a lowly, pathetic human of your standard?" The sides of Abraham's lips curled up as his eyes rested on her. "Clearly, she was keeping an eye on Washington's prized soldier."

Feeling her sanity slip by a vast degree, she bolted forward with lightening like speed, her wrath at an all time high as she meant to tear their chained captor to pieces. However, before she could manage to lay her hands upon him, Jenny had successfully caught her around the waist and halted her steps with a jerk backwards.

"Kat, he's not worth it."

Not to be stopped, she ferociously kicked out and screamed in an attempt to break Jenny's tight hold and accomplish her goal of raining hell down on the monster who had stolen everything from her. However, Jenny only slipped her forearms under her armpits and brought them up in a lock behind her head as she began forcefully dragging her backwards out of the chamber. By the time they had reached the viewing room, she found she couldn't even breathe as her struggle had winded her considerably, nor could she hold herself up any longer. Almost limply sliding down Jenny's body, she crumpled to the floor in a heap of gut wrenching sobs that felt like they were stealing her every breath as images of a tiny, pale face assaulted her from every angle. Her vision was so blurry that she couldn't see two feet in front of her, prompting her to slam her eyes shut and wrap her arms around herself as the only sounds that echoed around the room became that of her own sharp gasps as she attempted to catch a breath of air to feed her oxygen starved lungs.

Then, arms wrapped around her, strong arms, meaning it was her love; the one who had only minutes before assaulted her with a look of utter betrayal.

"Katrina," he whispered into her hair as he held her tightly, almost too tightly, to his chest. "You have to breathe."

She could hear his words and she understood them, but, for some reason, she couldn't remember how to do as he'd instructed. That thought only furthered her erratic heartbeat and desperate search for air while she clawed at his arms in an attempt to breathe.

"I can't-" she choked as hot tears streamed down her face. "I-"

"My love," he whispered, gently cupping her cheek and pulling her face around to catch his eyes. "Look at me and breathe with me."

His bright blue eyes were like that of a light in the midst of a dark and stormy tempest; one that had the means to lead her home if she followed it.

A moment passed before she was able to concentrate enough to focus on his mouth; the way it took in and slowly expelled the air which she was so helplessly lacking; each breath precious. As her body finally began the process of calming, she managed to suck in a soothing breath which at last managed to penetrate her constricted throat. After a few seconds more of following his lead, an exhaustion set into what felt like her very bones as she slumped forward in his comforting arms. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

Her comfort, however, didn't last long as he abruptly pulled from her embrace and pushed himself up to stagger across the room to where Abbie was standing in worried observation. When he reached her, Abbie quickly grabbed his arm to support him as he hunched forward to clutch the edge of the table; his knuckles going white with his grip.

From her crumpled position on the cold, stone floor, she could see his tense shoulders and just make out the fact that Abbie was whispering to him. Still shaking slightly, she felt Jenny squat beside her and lay a hand to her arm. However, before either of them could say anything, Ichabod had spun around with narrowed, seething eyes and jerked a firm finger to point out the window toward Abraham. "Was what he said true? Were you pregnant with my child?"

The painful truth she'd shoved and hidden so deeply within herself was finally bursting forth. This was never the way this was supposed to happen. It wasn't meant to be through anger that he learned he had at one time created something so beautiful with her; and most especially not from anyone other than her.

With an unsteady breath, she wiped at her burning eyes and gave a miserable nod. "Yes."

She expected him to scream at her; accuse her of being a liar. Perhaps, he would take back his proposal and claim he'd had enough. With all the pain she'd caused him, she could hardly blame him. However, he did none of those things. Instead, he slumped heavily against the table, so many emotions flashing over his face as he dropped his gaze to his boots. The worst part was that she found the longer he avoided her gaze, the harder it, once again, became for her to breathe.

So caught up in attempting to decipher his feelings, she'd nearly forgotten Jenny beside her until her friend squeezed her arm and said softly, "I'll be right outside."

With that, she and Abbie, who placed a pat to Ichabod's arm as she walked away, cleared the room; leaving her and her silent love completely alone.

It took all of her willpower not to burst into tears at the way he was still gripping the table. What was he thinking? Was he even thinking at all? Perhaps, he was still too in shock to formulate any thoughts.

"My love-"

"Why didn't you tell me?" he whispered dejectedly, his eyes trained on the ground as though they were stuck in a trance. "I deserved to know."

His voice was so forlorn and in need of comfort as to have her somehow finding the courage to unsteadily push herself up as she answered, "I tried." When he began shaking his head in contradiction, she gently pressed on, "The morning you faced the Horseman, I tried to tell you."

Slowly threading her fingers through his dark, tangled hair, she scraped her nails along his scalp, a gasp building in the back of her throat as his lips deftly wrapped around her hard nipple, his hot breath sending fire coursing down her spine as it practically soaked through her skin. Her flushed and sweat drenched body was agilely rocking against him in a pleasure induced haze, desperately clinging to him as though he were her lifeline and the only thing saving her from an existence without the feelings currently overwhelming her. As another wave of pleasure rushed through her, she reflexively dropped her head back, arching her lower body further into him as she began rocking with more urgency. The feel of his strong hands sliding along her slick back, holding her securely to his unyielding mouth as he leaned forward at an angle with her, sent a shock of sensations throughout her that turned her heavy breathing into a string of gasps and moans bubbling uncontrollably from her throat. Her sex throbbing, she clenched all the muscles she could manage around him as that long awaited euphoria finally took her completely over and shook her to her core. Mouth soundlessly falling open, she went limp in his arms as he continued to buck his hips beneath her; drawing every bit of fire she had from her.

"You're so beautiful at the height of your passion, my love," he reverently whispered into her skin as she trembled in his arms, enjoying the faint shocks that still had her body pulsing as he pressed scattered kisses along her chest and neck.

After finally regaining some semblance of her previously lost composure, a sly smile came to her face as she sucked in a panted breath and firmly pressed her hands to his chest as a means to lean him back against the blanket beneath them and flirtingly circle her hips over him.

"Is that so?"

His eyes shamelessly trailed down her flushed chest as he chewed at his bottom lip; one hand digging into her hip and the other supporting her neck. "You consume me."

Trailing her fingers up his neck and along his jaw, she pressed them over his mouth and groaned when he wrapped them in his chapped lips; sucking at the slender digits as his tongue teasingly swirled around them. Between the heat of his mouth and the slick saliva coating her fingers, her sex began involuntarily clenching around him. Overcome with the desire to feel that burning ache fulfilled again, she placed her other hand to his chest for leverage as she rocked faster, wanting to pull every last ounce of his willpower from him.

He was meeting her thrust for thrust; the sounds of their slapping flesh filling the small tent. She was truly attempting to be as quiet as possible, but her uninhibited state which tended to make appearances when with Ichabod in this way was tearing through her without hesitation. Though, she did suspect that a few of Ichabod's closer comrades already assumed he was consorting with one of the many nurses; most likely reaching the conclusion that it was indeed her as it was no secret they were close friends. Eight years of sneaking about was bound to turn up a few suspicious people, but no real accusations had ever been made for which she was extremely grateful.

Breaths already coming in short pants from her exertion, she gasped when his hand holding her neck slid up into her hair to pull her down to his waiting lips as his other hand simultaneously slipped between her thighs. Now, feeling like she were on sensation overload, she closed her eyes as the feeling of all consuming pleasure began building in her again. How it was possible to feel such things was beyond her. The way Ichabod could make her come undone... There could be nothing else like it.

While his mouth tormented her lips, chin, and jaw with zeal, his hips jerked up into her at a rapid pace, touching places hidden deeply within her, as yet another forceful orgasm washed through her, stealing her breath and leaving her a trembling, gasping mess over him.

A series of low grunts left him as his hands grasped for her hips and dug almost painfully into her as he lifted her enough to slide out of her. Before he could reach for it himself, she slipped her hand between them and curled her fingers around his slick length, the combination of their arousals giving her the ease she required to pull his end from him. It didn't take but a moment's further work for him to arch his back from the ground as his warm seed began spurting onto her belly. Not ceasing her stroking as he continued to empty himself, she felt him stiffen and heavily collapse back to the ground in a heap of sweat and heavy pants.

From her position over him, she was able to watch the various expressions flit across his face; pleasure and satisfaction being two of the most prominent. It was strange how just knowing he was satisfied brought on her own satisfaction.

Leaning down to drag her lips along his flushed chest, she made her way up to press light kisses to his neck and muttered, "Are you going to survive?"

"I'm not sure," he whispered through an unsteady breath as he smoothed his hands along her back and sides. "I think I might be dying."

With an amused chuckle, she lifted her head to grin down at his sparkling eyes. "Well, that's no good. What can I do to make it all better?"

He reached for his discarded shirt and began removing the sticky mess from her skin. "If you did anymore, I'd surely perish."

As the material gently rubbed at her belly, she couldn't help but let her eyes dance over him, her heart warming at the way he cared for her. There couldn't be a more right moment than this one. "Ichabod?"

"Yes, my love?" he asked as he carelessly tossed the shirt to the side. However, when his gaze returned to hers, his brow wrinkled. "What's wrong? Are you still worried?"

A moment passed before she realized what he meant. Her earlier feelings over the day to come. For some reason, she feared it greatly, but that was far from what she wanted to share with him now. No, her news was too wonderful to delay any longer. She'd been keeping the secret of the child growing within her for a handful of weeks now and it was nearly about to eat her alive to not share it with him.

"Oh, no, I- I have something to tell you," she whispered, feeling her nerves begin to overcome her despite how ready she was. Tenderly tracing her finger over his furrowed brow, she continued, "Something special."

With a delighted smile taking his worry over, he lifted a hand to push her hair back as he leaned up slightly on an elbow to be closer to her. "What is it?"

"I-" She chuckled nervously as she attempted to push the words out. "I'm-"

A series of gunshots cracked in the distance, causing them both to flinch and jerk their gazes to the tent's flaps. In a matter of moments, he was removing her body from his and reaching for his trousers.

"Something special," he said, his eyes distant as he appeared to be lost in another world. "We were going to have a baby."

"Yes," she replied as she stepped closer to him and hesitantly lifted a hand to push some of his dark hair behind his ear. "We were."

His tear filled gaze bore into her and she could see him attempting to reconcile this news. Then, he finally touched her, his hands resting on her waist to hold her. "What happened?"

Unable to maintain his searching gaze any longer, her eyes fell to his shirt as she softly admitted, "I lost it."

There was a moment where his body stiffened before his hands slid up her back in order to pull her closer; his arms wrapping around her in a comforting embrace. "My love..."

"I was so close," she began weeping into his chest, her fingers desperately digging into the back of his shirt. "I was so far along- I thought-"

One of his hands cupped her face as he pulled back just enough to wipe his thumb under her eyes to rid her of her tears. "Tell me."

Hands protectively clutching at her swollen belly, her gaze darted every which way, searching for an escape, any escape, or place to hide. If she didn't manage to do so soon, there would be no hope for her, or the precious life twisting in discontent within her. However, the open forest provided little cover. It didn't help that her body was weak and she was terrified for the safety of her baby. She could feel the way her child moved within her, making her reality all the more pressing. Night would be upon her soon. Her only hope was that if she could keep herself hidden until then, she might be able to escape unnoticed.

"There!" came a shout from her right, sending a flicker of dread down her spine.

Gaze jerking to the red clothed figures moving through the trees, she pushed away from the old oak she'd taken a moment to rest against, intent upon running in the opposite direction. Mud and water splashed over her boots and torn skirt as she ran as best she could through the dark trees, her hand ever holding the place her most precious love resided. Her gaze was fixed behind her on the swiftly approaching men. However, when she turned to see where she was heading, her eyes widened just in time to slam into a thick body, which promptly knocked her to the ground with some force.

It was a painful fall, the shock racking her body with searing agony and she thought for sure she must have broken something. Biting down the scream building in her throat, she felt the cold, damp earth seep into her dress as her eyes ventured upward. What she saw had her face paling even more as she took in the familiar face of Ichabod's former superior, Captain Tarleton.

"Please," she whispered over her pounding heart. "Leave me be."

An evil smile lit his face as he raptly watched her crawl backwards over the soggy ground, her dress catching on everything in its path as her fingers slipped along the slick earth. However, instead of finding an escape, she suddenly found herself meeting an obstruction as she bumped into the boots of another man. Realizing she was now completely surrounded, she shook her head in desperation. "I don't know where the Horseman is."

Tarleton squatted to her level, his gray eyes boring into her with a calculating gaze. "Now, that's not true, is it, witch? Your coven disposed of his body on your orders; hiding it from us. Where is it?" When she met him with silence, the back of his hand met her face, the crack of it sounding in her ears. "Where is it!?"

Quickly lifting a muddy hand to soothe her stinging skin, she glared back at him defiantly. "I'll die first."

He stared at her for what seemed the longest moment of her life before he roughly pressed his hand over her swollen belly. "And your child? Will you take it to the grave with you?"

A searing panic burned inside her as she swiftly shoved his hand away with the desire to get this demon as far from her baby as possible. "Don't touch me."

He snarled and made to grab her before a distorted voice echoed around them; one she couldn't understand, but still somehow managed to make her tremble. Tarleton stiffened, his previous demeanor changing to one of fear as he stood and paced away, whispering lowly to the voice as if it were right next to him. In confusion over what was happening, she watched him and, after a moment, he looked back at her with a knitted brow. Unsure what his look meant, her eyes widened when he began threateningly stalking toward her as he drew his sword. However, she wasn't met with the blade as she'd expected, but the hilt of it as he brought it down toward her head. There was a sharp pain and then all went black.

Ichabod's hands began tracing over her forehead as if he'd find the injury still present upon her now. "You were captured?"

"No," she whispered, still not entirely sure of what had happened that night. "I can't remember much after that. There was an overwhelming pain that felt like my body was splitting open and the rain beating down upon me. I kept fading in and out of consciousness." She waved a hand back and forth as example. "Then, it was just darkness and a bone chilling coldness."

His hand tenderly stroked down through her thick hair. "What about...?"

The unfinished question on his lips couldn't have been more pitiful. How could she tell him? Opening and closing her mouth a few times in an attempt to begin her explanation, she finally just closed her eyes, feeling the tragedy of that night coldly creeping back over as though she were still there.

Eyes cracking open only to be greeted with a world of searing pain, she reached up to clutch at her abdomen, which felt as if it had been struck numerous times, and cried out.

"Oh, my dear," came an elderly woman's distressed voice. "You mustn't move."

Gaze blurred in the glowing room, she furrowed her brow and searched for the source of the voice. "Where am I?"

The bed she was lying upon gave in before a wet towel met her forehead. "Calm yourself, dear. You're safe now."

So very confused, she rested a hand to her belly only to gasp when she felt the change in her body. "My baby." Her gaze frantically lifted to the person touching her. "Where's my baby?"

There was a heavy silence as she desperately blinked to make out the elderly woman tending her. She was a shorter woman with graying hair pulled up into a bun, but that wasn't what captured her attention. It was the sorrowful look on the woman's face that had dread building within her.

"Please, where's my baby?"

"I'm afraid your baby has perished."

Wanting to deny and curse the woman's words, everything began to burn as her throat closed off and her chest felt as though it would burst open from the gut wrenching pain. "No," she whispered, shaking her head in refusal to accept the woman's words. "No, I was..." Unable to stand another moment of the pain, she began struggling to push herself up.

"Please, dear," the woman gently pressed, holding her down by her shoulders. "You must rest. You were barely breathing when we found you. It's a miracle you're even alive."

Her breathing intensified as she held onto the hope that it was all a horrible nightmare. "Where's my baby?"

The woman peered across the room and she followed her gaze to a tall, elderly man, who was bending over a small, wooden box next to the fireplace. "We found you this morning by the river," the woman explained as the man approached the bed; a small, tan blanket cradled in his arms. "You were soaked in blood and filth. If you'd been left out there much longer, you'd have surely perished."

She stared at the tan blanket in the man's arms as he came to a stop by the woman's side, barely even hearing the words being spoken to her as she was so concentrated on the approaching moments.

"It seems as though you miscarried..." the woman went on softly. "The baby was..." The woman tiredly shook her head and stood to take the blanket from the man before turning to her with another sorrowful look. "I'm so sorry, dear. We would have buried the child, but the storm's prevented us from going out. My husband only found you by chance on his way home from town."

"Please..." she whispered pleadingly, holding out her weak arms as best she could. "Give me my baby."

The woman sighed, the weary lines in her face knitting, and bent to gently place the tightly wrapped blanket in her arms. When she had the small form secure, the first thing her eyes latched onto were tiny fingers peeking out of the thin blanket. Tears blurring her vision, she pulled the material further back to finally see the precious creature she'd spent the last four months, since learning of its existence, bonding with. The first glimpse of her baby brought a rush of hot tears down her cheeks as reality began to sink into her. Her baby was so small and fragile, but its small features were still discernible. Soft, dark hair covering pale, pale skin. A small nose and tiny, thin lips. She briefly wondered what its eyes looked like. Did her child have her own olive green eyes with flecks of golden brown? Or did it have Ichabod's beautiful, crystal blue that she so adored?

"It was a girl," the woman whispered softly.

"I thought... I thought for sure it was a boy," she said in a cracked voice before clutching the blanket tighter and collapsing back into her pillow in heartbroken sobs.

"I lost our baby," she moaned into his shirt. "I wasn't strong enough."

"It wasn't your fault," he whispered, his arms winding around her waist to embrace her tightly to him. "None of it was your fault, my love."

"It was," she pressed firmly, not allowing him to coddle her and lessen her failure. "Our little girl... She never had the chance to live because of me."

When she pulled back in a desperate plea for him, he bent his forehead to hers and tightened his grip around her. "Katrina..."

Clutching at the front of his shirt, she whispered, "Abraham's right. I would have been a horrible mother."

Ichabod's face contorted into a deep frown as he jerked back to stare at her. "That's the most ridiculous thing you've ever said."

"You don't understand," she said, pushing away from him and running her hands through her hair. "I've always heard there's supposed to be this... bond between a mother and child. While I was carrying her, I felt it, but after she was born..." She looked back at him, so ashamed of herself. "I felt no connection to her. Maybe that's why she was taken from me. Maybe I wasn't worthy to be her mother."

A determined look overtook his face as he quickly paced to her, his hands reaching up to firmly cup her neck and keep her gaze on him. "Don't you ever say that again." His arms then wrapped around her, pulling her back into his chest, and engulfing her quivering form. "Why didn't you tell me this before? Over the past few days, we've spoken of everything under the stars. Why would you omit this?"

Pressing her face deep into his neck, she whispered, "Because it's hurting you. You've lost so much already. I couldn't give you such wonderful news only to take it away in the same breath."

"Oh, my love," he replied mournfully as his fingers spread over the back of her head and stroked down her hair. "This wasn't a burden you needed to carry alone. I could've-"

Without warning, he was forcefully jerked from her as the room quaked, a powerful explosion tearing them apart and knocking her into the stone wall behind her. Disoriented and dizzy, her head felt like it had been used as a piñata at a children's birthday party. Lifting a hand to touch her forehead, she felt a thick wetness coating her fingers and brought her hand down to see blood staining her skin. Dust was heavy in the air as she attempted to squint through her blurry vision and look around the room.

"Leftenant!"

Ichabod's voice abruptly pulled her gaze to the left to see him already on his feet and frantically stumbling toward the door. Realizing the explosion had occurred in the inner chamber where Abbie and Jenny had been, she felt her heart begin to race as she unsteadily pushed herself up to follow after him. However, as she staggered through the door, she came up short as her eyes fell on Abraham loose from his chains, a figure cloaked in black robes snapping them from him like tooth picks.

Instinctively, she lifted a hand to blast them, her power surging forth and hurtling across the room in a blue blur of energy. However, to her complete surprise, the cloaked figure deflected it with a wave of the hand, sending it speeding back toward her at an even faster rate than she'd cast it. With no time to counteract, she only had a moment to dive out of the way before it made contact with her. As she hit the ground, her hands scraping in the debris as she caught herself, she winced at the sharp rocks slicing into her palms. Then, the next thing she was aware of was the ear-splitting gunfire erupting around the room, prompting her to swiftly lift her gaze to see Abbie lying on her back with her weapon trained at their enemy; her left leg trapped under a fallen boulder.

Panic flew through at remembering she wasn't alone, making her jerk her eyes around the room in search of Ichabod and Jenny. However, the dust in the air was so thick that she was having a hard time seeing anything at all, leaving her with a horrified loss of knowledge about where Jenny or Ichabod were. When her eyes returned to the center of the room, she saw Abraham give her a smug smirk before he and the cloaked figure disappeared in a blinding light, leaving nothing but swirling dust in their wake.

Releasing a series of strangled coughs from the polluted air, she used all the strength she had to push herself up and basically hobbled over to Abbie where she collapsed to her knees at her friend's side.

"Abigail..."

Abbie's head fell back for a moment in a horrible grimace before she grunted, "Where's my sister?"

Shaking her head as she had no answers, she focused on summoning her power and managed to lift the boulder enough for her to reach beneath it and pull Abbie's leg free. Once clear, she gasped from the effort and let the boulder collapse back to the ground with a thud. Taking a moment to regain her breath, she searched over Abbie's leg, taking in the damage. The left leg appeared to be broken, but she was having a hard time properly making it all out due to the debris.

"Katrina!"

Waves of relief washed through her at hearing his voice. Quickly glancing behind her as best she could without jarring herself too much, she saw Ichabod, supporting an unconscious Jenny, stumbling toward them.

"Oh God, no," Abbie mumbled agitatedly as she clawed at her arm to sit up. "Is she...?"

Ichabod shook his head as he gently lowered Jenny's still form to the ground. "I believe she hit her head in the explosion, but she's breathing."

Hands pressing to various places along Jenny's body, she briefly closed her eyes and thanked the heavens before looking down at Abbie. "She's fine."

When she turned to check on Ichabod's well being, their eyes met and his immediately widened considerably. "Katrina," he said as he hurriedly reached out and touched her cheek. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," she said dismissively as she returned to assessing Abbie's legs.

Ichabod ignored her words and slid his hand to her cheek again to turn her face back to him. Then, he swiftly began inspecting her forehead. "You're bleeding heavily."

"It's minor," she said as she pulled back and resumed assessing Abbie's leg. "I'll be fine, but I need to look this over."

Ichabod finally relented and moved to kneel beside her, sliding his hands under Abbie's head to support her sagging form. "Can you heal her?"

Nodding, she reached and laid her hands to Abbie's jeans before catching her eyes. "This is going to hurt... A lot."

Abbie grit her teeth and dug her hands into Ichabod's legs for support. "Just do whatever it is you have to. I can take it."

Hesitating just long enough to glance at Ichabod, who's eyes were trained on Abbie's mangled leg, she said, "Ok."

Peeling the material from Abbie's wound as gently as possible, she took in the bone jutting out of her shin and strategically laid her hands on each side of it. With a deep breath, more so to keep herself upright than to gather her nerves, she closed her eyes and began pulling her power around her like a blanket, allowing it to swarm and electrify the air around her, before coaxing it to seep out of her hands and over Abbie's wound. Almost immediately, Abbie's body tensed as a small scream she tried to hold in slipped through her lips. The sound brought her eyes open to see Abbie's fingers digging into Ichabod's thighs in what had to be a painful manner as her face contorted into one of overwhelming pain. Her eyes were clenched shut and she could see a vein attempting to pop out of her neck with the strain she was placing on herself.

"Hold her still," she hastily ordered Ichabod, who nodded and tightly wrapped his arms around Abbie's small, writhing body.

"You're going to be alright, Leftenant," he whispered into her dark hair. "It'll be over soon."

Concentrating as best as she could, she closed her eyes and visualized the bones snapping back into place; the skin healing over. It wasn't long before she felt a dampness begin to trail down her face at a quicker pace and knew she was moments from losing all the strength she contained. A heavy throb was increasingly growing in intensity along the front of her skull with every moment that passed worsening it. Then, just as she opened her eyes to catch Ichabod's and speak, everything went black.

Chapter Text

Fingers gently stroking through her russet hair, he observed the soft fluttering of her eyes in sleep. He prayed she was sleeping peacefully, but the light bruise on her cheek as well as the spotted red patch on her forehead had his stomach in knots. Blinking rapidly to keep his eyes from drifting shut, he slumped against the bed and propped his face in his hands. He wasn't sure exactly how long he'd been awake now. The last time he'd actually slept had been the night before the last and he recalled that it had been a particularly, wonderful sleep; one he so wished to return to, preferably with Katrina in the same place she'd been against his body.

The last couple of days felt like a gigantic blur as he considered all that had transpired in such a short amount of time. The idea that he'd learned his once best friend was now his greatest enemy seemed otherworldly; an idea that only increased his befuddlement when taking into account that the woman he loved more than life itself had kept yet another rather large secret from him. Good reasons or not, it still pained him greatly to think that they weren't beyond such things; that the air still wasn't clear between them. Now that a new secret had come to light, he felt the tension he'd cast off previously had returned to his shoulders and was once again weighing heavily upon him.

The bed shifting slightly jerked his eyes open to find her drowsily squinting at the ceiling.

"Katrina?"

At his voice, her head rolled to the side; her olive, green eyes searching as she whispered through a cracked voice, "Where...?"

Standing from the chair he'd earlier pulled beside the bed to watch over her, he took a seat on the edge of the mattress before lifting his hand to gently brush through her mussed hair. "We're home, my love."

With a furrowed brow, her gaze danced around the room. "Why? What happened?"

"What do you remember?"

A deeper frown creased her face for a moment before her eyes widened and she attempted to sit up. "Abigail... and Jenny. Are they...?"

He smiled; caressing her unhurt cheek affectionately. "They're fine. Before you collapsed, you managed to completely heal the Leftenant and not long after Miss Jenny recovered herself. They're home washing up and acquiring some much needed rest."

She nodded and, to his relief, settled back down as she lifted her hand to touch the white cloth covering her cut. "My head hurts."

Reaching to grasp her hand in his to prevent her from tearing it off, he explained, "It seems you hit your head at some point during Abraham's escape." He lifted her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss to her fingers. "I was so worried for you. The Leftenant assured you were fine, but I've still been doing my fair share of panicking."

A momentary smile came to her face before it dissolved into another frown. "Who was that cloaked figure? Where did it come from?"

Shaking his head as he knew no more than her about the mystery figure, he answered, "We're unsure. We've never come across it before. All I know is that it possessed magic."

"Yes," she whispered, her eyes narrowing. "A magical being."

"Do you thing this cloaked figure could be a witch?" he asked, more than afraid they'd now have to contend with more magic. Monsters he felt comfortable with. They could be shot, stabbed, blown to bits; but witches? He recalled Serilda and how she'd caught his bullet in her hand. Destroying her had been a stroke of luck on his and the Leftenant's parts. However, he wasn't sure they'd have such luck again.

Katrina shrugged her shoulders as the fingers of her other hand fidgeted with the blanket covering her. "Possibly. There really aren't that many practicing witches in Sleepy Hollow any longer." Her eyes fell to their hands which were resting against the dark sheets; her thumb rubbing circles over his knuckles. "Throughout the centuries, they've scattered and let the practice die out. If this person is a witch... it could be anyone from any bloodline."

He nodded and released a tired sigh. Perfect. Now, they not only had a Headless Horseman out on the loose, but a being of immense magic as well.

As he became lost in his thoughts, he felt her fingers cease stoking his hand and lift to his cheek; the touch sending a shiver throughout his body.

"You look exhausted."

"I hear that happens when one doesn't sleep for days on end," he wearily replied. "Another reason one doesn't sleep is learning your former best friend is a Horseman of the Apocalypse due to your actions."

"Abraham made that choice for himself," she whispered; though, her eyes fell from his, telling him she believed that no more than he. "We didn't force him to accept Moloch's offer."

"Perhaps not, but we certainly didn't help matters."

She shook her head and returned her gaze to the ceiling. "It was terrible timing all around. No one is at fault."

Try as he may, he could not convince himself of that. "We betrayed him, Katrina."

"All we did was love each other," she defended, her voice taking a rougher tone. "I owed Abraham no obligation."

"You didn't," he agreed, before softly adding, "But I did. He and I had been friends since we were boys. We did everything together and then... I did this to him, Katrina. I should have trusted my gut and told him the truth."

Her eyes fell closed as a heavy sigh slipped through her nose. "Why must you always take the weight of everything? Abraham is a well educated, grown man. He wasn't a boy when he made his choice. Yes, perhaps, we could have done things differently, but Abraham has always been vindictive and obsessive. He's always enjoyed playing the victim when it suited him." She looked up at him with a slow shake of her head. "I truly believe the timing would not have mattered. Abraham has always wanted to possess me and one up you." She laid a hand to his cheek and continued in a more caring voice. "Stop second guessing yourself. You cannot change the past, my love. What's done is done. What you can do is do your best with the present and future laid before you."

Swallowing the lump in his throat he nodded, but didn't trust himself to speak lest his voice crack.

Now," she said; a mildly, scolding look taking over her features. "You should already be resting."

Shrugging his shoulders, he whispered, "I'd never have slept without knowing you were alright."

Her hands lifted the blankets as she scooted over. "Please get in here with me before I pitch a fit of such magnitude that you'll come to regret not just doing as I said."

Rolling his eyes at the way she ordered him about, he did as she bade and settled down into the heavenly feel of the mattress' embrace. He honestly felt like he could live out the rest of his days in this wonderful bed.

After she'd adjusted the blankets over him, she pulled on his arm until he had rolled to his side and wrapped his arm over her waist to rest along her belly.

"Why are you facing away from me?" he asked, propping himself up on his elbow to look down at her. "I enjoy watching you sleep."

"I'm aware," she whispered. "Which is why we're lying this way. You need sleep."

"Katrina..." he groaned, dropping his head to the pillow.

"You know what I look like, Ichabod," she softly scolded. "Now, please, for my own sanity, get some sleep."

He laid still for a moment before sitting up and looking down at the side of her face again. "I need to see you." Sliding his fingers along her arm, he whispered, "Please."

With a heavy, and slightly annoyed, sigh, she rolled over until she was facing him. Now, with them both on their sides, he settled into his pillow and lifted a hand to her cheek. "Thank you."

She narrowed her eyes and shook her head with an exaggerated sigh. "I don't know what I'm going to do with you."

He gave a tired grin as his fingers traced along her jaw. "Whatever you want, my love."

At that, she rolled her eyes before pulling the blanket higher up her body and snuggling into her pillow. The idea to simply let it go for now and acquire the rest he knew he was in desperate need of tugged at him, but he found he couldn't help himself as his next question slipped from his lips.

"Did you name her?"

As expected, Katrina's eyes snapped open; the green he so loved full of surprise. "Ichabod..."

Defeat swept through him. He'd tried so hard all night not to think about it. To think about his little girl, the one he'd never lay eyes on; never see smile, or hear laugh... It was too much to bear. Life shouldn't be so cruel and, yet, it was. Life had robbed he and Katrina of the one thing they'd both desired so desperately; a family. Having a large family was something they both had dreamed of. Both of them having been raised as an only child had left them quite lonely in their separate youths. For his part, he'd had a wonderful mother; the best one could ask for. The two of them would stay up for hours at night, well past the time he should have been asleep, to share stories of all the wonders of the universe. They'd lived in their own small world. His father, on the other hand, had been a hard man, yet also intelligent and proud. He'd wanted so much for his only son; pushed him to his limit in his schooling; mapped out his future. In his heart, he knew his father had loved him, had wanted the world for him, but had simply been one of those types who were too prideful to show it. Then, in the end, when he'd finally began making decisions regarding his future that had contradicted his father's wishes, they'd lost any hope of understanding one another.

On the other side of the world, Katrina had grown up in a loving environment. Her mother had been the kindest woman he'd ever had the pleasure of meeting. She'd had a gracefulness about her as well as a humble soul. He'd truly enjoyed conversing with her on the few occasions he'd had the opportunity. Of course, when thinking of Katrina's mother, one also had to think of Katrina's father; as the two were hardly ever seen apart. Baltus van Tassel had been a different sort of man. He, too, was very humble and, though Katrina often denied it, had been a man who had loved his wife. It had been such a subtle love he'd seen exhibited between her parents; one that if you weren't looking at just right, you might have missed it. However, the little things had given it away. The way, every so often, he'd absentmindedly stroke her hand, or the way she'd genuinely laugh at his every quip; even when they'd been confusing, or off beat. Their interactions had brought a smile to his face when observing them. Even in those long two years where he'd secretly longed to share the same affections with Katrina, he'd always imagined he and she would be quite similar, except with a more burning passion underneath.

However, as pleasant as their separate childhoods had been, he and Katrina had wanted more for their shared life together. They had wanted a house full of little ones to occupy their attention; to bring laughter and joy into their lives. The only problem was that Katrina had always been on the more cautious side in their fantasies; always making sure he understood that it would be a very long time before they would be able to have the sort of life they enjoyed dreaming up. He supposed her misgivings made all the more sense to him now. She never had any intention of giving into their dreams back then. If only he'd known that during the times he'd relented in their arguments.

Her fingers in his hair were coaxing him into a far too calm state. He just knew she was attempting to lull him into sleep. "Stop it."

A chuckle escaped her as she said, "I'm simply admiring your fortitude. I've never seen a grown man fight sleep so fiercely."

Rolling his head to the side to catch her sparkling eyes, he whispered, "I don't want to leave you."

A soft smile spread over her lips, but he could still see the flicker of sadness creep into her eyes. "It won't be for long."

"You don't know that," he replied, not wanting her to lessen the growing pain of loss in his heart. "It could be months; many months."

Her fingers slipped from his hair and trailed down his jaw. "It's a possibility. There's also the possibility that it could be less than a month."

Unable to make himself relax, he turned on his side to face her. "A day is too long."

She bit her bottom lip, effectively drawing his gaze. There was nothing in the world more beautiful than her in this state. After a few hours of them rolling all over the inn bed they were currently resting in, her hair was a tangled mess and her bare body was half covered by a thin sheet pushed down to her hips. She was exposed to him, vulnerable to his gaze, and he loved the comfort she seemed to have while being thus.

"You're so beautiful," he whispered as he laid a hand on her waist and slid it upward along her skin.

She chuckled and tapped his nose. "So are you."

He rolled his eyes and brought his hand toward gesture to his face. "Handsome, Katrina. I'm handsome."

"And humble, apparently," she teased.

Narrowing his eyes, he grasped her hips and enjoyed the slight squeak she made as he rolled to rest over her. "You, my love, are going to drive me mad."

She laid her hands on his waist and smiled. "Going to?"

"You never allow me the last word," he said with a huff. "I thought, of the two of us, I was the know it all snob?"

She gave a half shrug of her shoulder and glanced between them to the place his body was intimately resting against hers. "I don't want you to become too complacent in your role."

"Is that so?" he asked as he leaned down to brush a chaste kiss to the side of her slender neck. "Always keeping me on my toes."

"I prefer you on your back," she whispered as she bit his ear and slipped a hand between them to grasp his cock.

"For the love of-" he groaned and slumped into her.

"Roll over," she whispered as her other hand pushed at his arm.

Without really agreeing, or disagreeing, he allowed her to flip them over and straddle his thighs.

The sight he was now partaking of had his pulse pounding. Her pale skin was lovely as the bedside candle light cast shadows over it and her smooth breasts were practically begging to be touched.

"As you refuse to do as I've asked and acquire some rest, I'm going to have to wear you down."

Her words were accentuated by her fingers tickling up the side of his now pulsing length. "Katrina..."

"Mhm?" she mumbled as she placed pressure at his tip.

"I want to have a child with you."

It wasn't that he actually meant at this very moment, but from her reaction, he knew she was taking it to mean right now. Her hand had stopped all of its movements and she was now staring at him wide eyed with very little indication that she was still breathing.

Knowing without a doubt that she was internally scrambling for a response, he leaned up on his elbows and said, "At some point."

Her brow furrowed as she crossed her arms over her breasts; the action causing his heart to drop. Perfect. Now, she was going to close herself off from him.

"Please, don't do that," he whispered. "I shouldn't have-"

"Then, why would you?" she asked rather vehemently.

Slightly wincing at her tone, he felt his gut twist. "I'm sorry. It just... It slipped out."

Her eyes narrowed as a light redness began painting her cheeks. Now, she was angry with him.

"Another woman's name in the throes of passion is something that slips out. A sarcastic remark is something that slips out. Saying you want to have a baby isn't something that slips out, Ichabod." Her eyes fell shut as a noisy breath left her nose. "You've been thinking about it."

"Are you saying you haven't?" he asked as a tightness formed in his chest. "You act as though it's such a strange thing for a man to ask for a child after half a decade of being with a woman."

When her eyes finally opened to stare at him again, he noticed the first signs of tears forming in her eyes. "We can't right now." She rubbed at her brow. "We're not even married." Before he could form a response, she jerked up a hand to silence him. "Don't start."

It was one thing for her to say no, but another thing entirely for her to tell him not to speak. A hot burning spread over his chest as he pushed himself up and knocked her hand out of his face. "Don't tell me what I can and cannot say. I am not someone for you to order about in that way you do."

Not backing down from his heated gaze in the least, she responded, "Then, don't say things that aren't going to get you anywhere. It's a waste of breath."

Suddenly feeling as though all the energy had been sucked from him, he gave a slow nod of his head and fell back against the bed; his eyes searching out the bedside candle as a tightness formed in his throat and chest. She could be so blunt at times; almost cruel. It filled him with such hopelessness when she fell into these moods. If he didn't know better, he'd think she didn't love him at all in these moments.

He heard her give a tired sigh before he felt her lean forward. Her hair tickled his neck as she placed a lingering kiss to his cheek; the sapphire around her neck resting against his chest.

"I'm sorry."

Having nothing to say to her, he maintained his stare on the flickering candle. At least it was dependable. It would burn him when expected and light his way when he needed it. It wouldn't suddenly decide to set the room ablaze without provocation.

"My love," she whispered as she smoothed a hand through his hair. "I shouldn't have reacted so abruptly. I know how much you want a family and I... I simply hate these conversation because, in the end, I'm unable to give you what you want and that pains me as much as I know the refusal pains you."

Wearily turning his gaze back to her, he took in her worry creased face. "I didn't mean right now."

She tilted her head and traced her fingers along his cheek. "Then, what did you mean?"

"I don't know," he replied softly as he avoided her eyes by staring at the jewel hanging between them. "I simply... It's such a deep desire of mine." He swallowed to wet his dry throat as he attempted to sort out his muddled thoughts. "I suppose it's so ingrained in me that I can't keep it in at times."

When he finally worked up the nerve to meet her gaze again, he found her staring at him with glistening eyes.

"I know it must seem as though I feel differently, but, the truth is, I want that, too."

Chest deflating, he asked doubtfully, "Do you? Because there are times I feel as though you're completely indifferent to the idea of marriage and children." She opened her mouth in clear objection, but he carried on. "You don't act as though those are things you want, Katrina."

She pursed her lips and gave a half nod as her eyes fell to his chest. "Jeremy. Elizabeth. David. Samuel. Rose. Emma-"

"What are you doing?" he asked with a knit brow.

She lifted her eyes back to his. "I think about names for our children all the time."

Well, that was news to him. Throat once again feeling tight, he asked, "If you think that way, why don't you ever share it? Why must you always keep your thoughts a mystery to me?"

A weary sigh escaped her as she shook her head. "Because I'm not made that way, Ichabod." She trailed her fingers over his eyes. "You're the tender one while I'm the realistic one. You think with your heart while I think with my head. There's nothing wrong with being either way, but I suppose it doesn't make for the most fulfilling conversations."

Swallowing the knot in his throat, he nodded. "We should do better."

She gave a soft laugh. "Yes, we should. It'd probably make for a great deal less headaches."

Finally allowing a smile to grace his face, he whispered, "I want to discuss these things with you. Even if they never happen, I enjoy thinking about such a life."

A gentle smile came to her as she maneuvered onto her side and propped her head in her hand as she caressed his neck. "What would you like to discuss?"

He shrugged with a lopsided grin. Now, that she had him on the spot, he was at a loss for what to say.

With a chuckle, she scratched her toes along his calf. "Well, did you like any of my names?"

Furrowing his eyebrows as he mentally ran through them, he said, "Jeremy was my grandfather's name."

Her fingers skimmed over his lips. "Which is why I chose it. I know how much you adored him." She playfully tilted her head. "Any others?"

"I like Elizabeth," he answered softly as he lifted a hand and threaded his fingers through hers. "I want a daughter." More than anything, he didn't want her to assume he was one of those men who only wanted sons. "I would adore a daughter."

Her eyes softened as she whispered, "I know. I've always known that."

Of course, she did. Despite his doubts of her thoughts at times, there was little doubt that she knew all of his. Katrina had always been perceptive in that way.

"Have you thought of any names?"

Suddenly feeling short of breath, he cleared his throat and began fidgeting with her fingers. "I'm very unimaginative."

The bed shook with her laughter. "Oh, no," she said, her voice teasing. "If I've thought of a handful of names, you've scoured every book and pamphlet you could get your hand on for ideas."

Knowing he wasn't getting out of this one, he shrugged his shoulders and said offhandedly, "Bella's nice."

"Is that your favorite?" she asked softly.

Feeling on the spot again, he flipped onto his side and pressed a quick kiss to her lips. "No, Katrina's my favorite."

An amused grin lit her face. "Well, that might get a tad confusing."

Trailing his hand up her side, he whispered, "I adore you, Katrina."

Her fingers slid beneath his chin and tilted his face up where she caught his eyes. "And I love you."

Unable to stand another moment of not fully touching her, he grasped her neck and pulled her into a deep and promising kiss.

"Forgive me, I simply..." He tenderly ran his fingers over her arm as he attempted to explain. "I need to know her name. I need a name to place on the various little girls running through my mind. All the sweet laughter she would have made... I need a name for our daughter, Katrina."

"Sarah."

His eyes jerked up to find her staring at him sorrowfully. "Sarah? That's not a name we ever discussed."

She gave a sad smile before stroking her fingers along his jaw. "I was so devastated as I held her. It didn't help that I couldn't bring myself to weep for her so much as I was weeping for the loss I felt within me."

Knitting his brow, he asked with a slight wariness, "What do you mean?"

"I mean," she began as she fidgeted with her pillow. "Ichabod, I didn't feel anything for her. It was as if..." She shrugged helplessly, as though she were searching for an answer beyond her reach. "It was as if she wasn't my baby. I don't know if it was because I didn't give birth to her, or at least remember doing so, but I didn't feel connected to her."

"You didn't love our baby?" he asked, unsure what to make of that.

"No!" she said quickly, her wide eyes darting to his. "That's not what I mean at all. I loved our baby more than anything. I would have gladly traded my life for our child's, but... I don't know how to explain it. She didn't feel like she was mine. I felt a loss deep within me, a longing, but it felt odd, like it was displaced and far away." She shook her head again as her face fell. "I suppose it didn't help that I had been so sure the connection I felt with our child in the womb had been distinctly that of a boy."

Now, he felt a deep frown crease his forehead. "A boy?"

"I had been so sure we'd have a son," she whispered with a furrowed brow. "Witches have a more... sensitive pregnancy. There's a connection with our offspring that's indescribable. I suppose it's like saying since we shared a body, we also shared a mind of sorts."

Out of his depth and too tired to read into why Katrina didn't feel connected to their daughter, he asked, "Why Sarah?"

"Because despite whatever I felt, I know she would have been your princess." She finally smiled as she stroked his cheek. "You would have doted on her; given her everything."

He pushed a smile forward in spite of the heaviness of this conversation and pulled her closer. "I wish... I wish things were different."

"So do I," she whispered as she burrowed her face into his neck. "Every day."


The porch swing he was currently, half-hazardly lying across was hardly the place to seek out more rest, but even after spending the majority of the day in bed with Katrina to make up for all the sleep he'd lost over the last two days, he was still utterly exhausted. It didn't help that it was making him rather short tempered as well. When he was tired, everything was annoying and everyone was a bumbling idiot.

At present, his head was in Katrina's lap as she'd forced him to lie down as they waited for Jenny to make an appearance so they could all go out to eat. The slender fingers stroking through his hair had been lulling him into half consciousness for about ten minutes now, soothing him, despite the way a great deal of his body was hanging off the swing with only his back and hips secure in its cradle. However, the feel of his face pressed into Katrina's belly was making up for it. She smelled so wonderful; like the vanilla soap she used earlier in their shower.

Katrina smiled in the dim light of the porch; her stare on the dark yard. He loved watching her watch the world. She always reminded him of a small girl; one excited by everything that moved, breathed, or gave off even the slightest beauty.

"So," Katrina began after Abbie stopped talking on her phone. "You and Luke..."

Though, he couldn't see her face, he was positive Abbie was currently rolling her eyes.

"Yes?"

Katrina laughed; her body slightly shaking. "Are you going to make me drag it out of you?"

"What do you want me to say?" Abbie asked in a tired voice. "I was moving to Virginia and we broke up. Crane popped up and told me I couldn't leave and now I'm stuck here for... the foreseeable future."

"Maybe you simply belong here, Abigail."

In response, Abbie gave a heavy sigh. "Maybe."

"I'm sure Luke would agree with me," Katrina said in clear amusement.

"Yesterday, I would have agreed with you, too, but..."

Katrina's brow creased. "But what?"

"I haven't heard from him since dinner the other night. He won't answer, or return my calls."

Well, that was news to him. Despite his intrigue over how his love and best friend were interacting, he felt slightly guilty over eavesdropping on their conversation. However, what was he to do? Interrupt? Cease their moment? That didn't seem very wise considering they seemed to be making ground in their relationship. From what he'd gathered from each of them on separate occasions, they'd become very close over the years.

"Perhaps, he's simply busy on a case," Katrina offered, her voice full of hope. "Luke adores you, Abigail. You know that as well as I."

"I don't know," Abbie went on in a tone he wasn't accustomed to hearing. She sounded almost vulnerable. Was this the way women talked to each other? There seemed to be an openness between them that he knew they wouldn't show if he was sitting up and listening to them. "Can I ask you a personal question?"

Katrina chuckled. "And here I thought we were already having an intimate chat."

Abbie was quiet for a moment before softly asking, "How'd you do it? Keep your secret from him for all that time? I mean, it's clear you love him. How do you keep something so important from the person you love?"

Feeling himself wanting to hear her answer as well, he perked up at Katrina's answer.

"It wasn't easy," she began with a heavy sigh. "When I met Ichabod, he was... He was so lost. His whole life had been dictated by others. His father pushed him too hard. His friendship with Abraham was very one-sided. Everything they did was according to what Abraham wanted. No one ever allowed him to make his own choices. Then..."

"He met you," Abbie finished, causing Katrina's fingers to once again begin running through his hair.

"I imagine you've heard the story of how we met."

"Oh, yes," Abbie chuckled; her chair creaking as she rocked. "You walked in and told him how it was; no if's, and's, or maybe's."

Katrina's laughter made him fight back a smile. "I suppose that's rather accurate. We became quick enough friends. I won't speak for him, but I was so... enraptured with him. He was so trusting and kind; the definition of a follower. I loved the way he would lap up everything I said as if I were telling him the world's greatest secrets. Men weren't really keen on listening to women in our time. So, he was a breath of fresh air." He could practically feel her smile in the way she spoke. "We'd spend hours conversing over everything from politics to the shapes of the clouds in the sky." She ran her hands along his forehead. "In those moments, he was his own person, but, then, Abraham would come in and Ichabod would close up; barely speaking at all."

"Abraham sounds like a real pal," Abbie commented rather sourly.

"I hated him," Katrina admitted, bite in her voice. "I hated the way he held himself, the way he looked at me, and most of all the way he spoke over Ichabod any time he offered an opinion. Abraham was one of those people who always had to be the center of attention; never giving anyone any room to seem greater, or more superior than him." Her fingers traced over his cheek. "By the time I realized I was in love with Ichabod, it was too late. I was entirely too far gone. The lies had already begun and..."

"If those rules hadn't been in place, would you have told him?"

Katrina shrugged. "I'd like to say I would have. I certainly wanted to, but... despite knowing in my bones he wouldn't look at me differently, there was still that doubt."

"That it would be too much? That you were a complete freak?" Abbie offered softly.

Katrina stopped moving. "Is that how you feel with Luke? That he'll think you're a freak?"

"Just admitting to loving him would be difficult enough," Abbie admitted. "Tack on this whole demons are real and I'm supposed to stop them mess and it can really start to make you question your sanity."

"Yes," Katrina agreed. "It can."

"Crane said that until I tell him, we'd never really be able to move forward. The thing is, I imagine Crane is looking at this from the point of view of being on the outside of the secret." Abbie chuckled. "I guess I'm you in this situation."

After a moment of allowing silence to fill the air, Katrina asked, "Do you want to move forward with Luke?"

Abbie released a weary breath. "I love him, but... this secret is a really big deal. I can't just tell him and hope for the best. I have to be sure, but... how am I supposed to be sure without the time to find out if he can handle it? You can't lie to someone, constantly cancel on them, and expect them to stick around while putting forth one hundred percent effort into you; especially when they know you're lying to them."

Katrina remained silent for a moment before saying, "Sometimes you simply have to leap and hope the person your leaping toward will catch you."

"What if they don't?" Abbie timidly asked. "What if you hit the ground in a way that cripples you for life?"

Katrina shrugged her shoulders and whispered, "You'd be surprised what you can recover from by starting over on the ground."

"So, you're saying I should tell him?"

"I'm saying you should do what your heart tells you."

Abbie groaned as the rocking chair she was in creaked again. "I swear to God, you and Crane share a brain."

Katrina chuckled and he felt her fingers resume stroking through his hair. "I suppose when you love someone as long as he and I have loved one another, you start taking on a few of the same tendencies."

Abbie laughed. "Yeah, consider that a point not in Luke's favor."

When Katrina's fingers trailed over his mouth, he finally opened his eyes to catch her knowing ones. So, apparently, she hadn't been fooled by his feigned sleep in the least.

Smiling up at her, he lifted his hand to cover hers before pressing her knuckles to his lips. He dearly loved this woman. However, before he could say so, Abbie's phone ringing pulled his attention. While she spoke, he contented himself with snuggling his face into Katrina's shirt.

"Sorry," Abbie said, prompting him to turn as she fumbled and placed her phone in her pocket. "That was Devon; Luke's partner. He said Luke has been acting really weird all day, but won't talk about it. He said he's getting worried as Luke hasn't left his desk since this morning."

With a furrowed brow, he sat up and adjusted his coat. "Do you think something supernatural might be at play?"

Abbie shrugged and stood from her rocker. "When is it ever not?"

He nodded and glanced back at Katrina, who smiled and said, "Go. I'll let Jenny know."


He didn't enjoy waiting. Most of the time, he tended to get himself into loads of trouble while trying to behave. As a boy, his father had laid a ruler to his fingers many times during study time. It wasn't that he didn't want to pay attention and be still. It was that he simply couldn't. He was so curious about everything; sights; sounds; even smells. He could listen, or watch the world around him and have it all engrained into his memory instantly and that only gave him a craving for more. He wanted to know everything.

Now, he found his curiosity peeked again as he watched over a few rows of desks while Abbie spoke confidentially with Luke on the other side of the room. Luke seemed to be avoiding eye contact while Abbie did most of the talking.

"Need something, Crane?"

Nearly jumping out of his skin, he spun in Abbie's chair to find Captain Irving standing just behind him. "Oh, Captain. You startled me."

Irving raised an eyebrow. "Tell me the two of you aren't up to some strange witch hunting again."

As he stood, he clasped his hands behind his back and pushed a smile forward. "Not this day. However, I'm afraid I shall never think of witches in the same fashion again."

"Ah," the Captain nodded pointedly. "Your lady friend. Mills mentioned her."

Smile coming to his face at the thought of his love, he said, "Yes, Katrina van Tassel; my fiancé."

Irving looked him up and down before the wisp of a smile tugged at his lips. How odd. He was positive he'd never seen the man smile before. "Ichabod Crane, our resident time traveler, getting married? Who'd have thought it?"

"Certainly not me," he chuckled in response.

Irving patted his shoulder as he walked toward his office. "Good for you, Crane."

As he watched the Captain close his office door, he sighed and glanced back toward Abbie, who was still speaking with Luke. Nearly groaning at having to wait even longer, he considered that this must be the way Abbie felt while waiting for him and Katrina to pull themselves apart. Rolling his eyes, he assumed this was his due diligence and took a seat in her chair; the items on her desk drawing his attention. Picking up one strange looking contraption, he examined it and attempted to discern its use. If he turned it on its side, it almost formed a v-shape. However, he noticed it had a spring at the back, allowing one of its sides to move. Finally pressing it down, he jumped when it made a loud snapping noise and a thin, metal object fell from it to the floor. Startled by the new discovery, he bent over in search of the tiny piece, but found that he couldn't see anything beneath the dark desk. How curious. Resuming his position, he snapped the contraption a few more times until he had a small pile of silver pieces gathered on the desk.

"What are you doing with my stapler?"

For the third time in as many minutes, he jumped and spun around in his chair to find her frowning at him.

"Oh, I was..." he glanced back at the mess he'd made. "Exploring."

She rolled her eyes and wiped her hand over the desk, moving his mess to the waste basket. "Let's go, busy body. We have stuff to talk about with Luke."

Recalling why they were here in the first place, he cast a glance at the fidgety detective standing by the door to the room and asked, "We do?"

"Apparently," Abbie began as he rose to follow her. "Andy threatened Luke to stay away from me."

"What?" he exclaimed. "Andy... As in your friend, Officer Brooks? Isn't he the one who...?"

"Yep," she said, her lips making a popping sound. "Not so dead for some reason."

Now, that was very curious. "And why did he threaten Detective Morales?"

"I don't know," she said as they reached Luke. "But I intend to find out."

"Hey," Luke greeted, lifting an unsteady hand in gesture.

"Detective," he nodded briskly while taking in the sheen of sweat over the man's brow. "Are you quite alright?"

Luke shook his head and wiped his hands down his shirt. "I don-I don't know."

Abbie cast him a slightly concerned look as she took the Detective's arm and pushed the door open. "Ok, well, let's go somewhere and talk about it."

When they reached the Archives, Luke finally asked, "So, Andy's alive? Because I'm having a rather difficult time reconciling that fact as I was there when they rolled his corpse from the station."

He glanced at Abbie, who had a deep frown on her face. "Why did Andy attack you?"

Luke looked at her as though she must be kidding. "Uhm, I don't know. Possibly because he's been in love with you for years?"

Raising an eyebrow, he turned his back to Luke and leaned close to her. "And you tease Katrina for her infatuated followers."

"Ok," she said, pushing him away in annoyance and tapping the desk in front of her. "So... you know that whole Apocalypse thing the Bible talks about?"

Luke looked between them as though they were insane. "Yeah, uh, the end of times."

"Mhm," Abbie muttered with pursed lips. "Anything else you recall about that particular topic?"

An ever growing frown was appearing on Luke's face. "Uhm... Four Horseman?"

"Death, War, Famine, and Conquest," he added, clasping his hands behind his back.

He had to admit that he was very curious over how the detective would take this knowledge and even more curious over the fact that Abbie was telling him. Not an hour ago, she hadn't been sure Luke could handle it. He supposed Officer Brooks had helped make that decision for her.

Abbie blew a heavy breath out through her nose as she went on. "You remember how it talked about two witnesses?"

Luke stepped up to the desk and placed his hands on it as he narrowed his eyes. "What? You trying to tell me you two are the two witnesses?"

Quite surprised the detective had reached the correct conclusion so fast, he glanced at Abbie, who looked rather ill.

"Yeah," she said softly. "That's what I'm trying to tell you."

To his confusion, Luke began laughing and pushed himself away from the table to gesture toward him. "Right and I guess this guy was telling the truth about being a time traveler, too?" He pointed over his shoulder. "Oh, and I suppose next you'll tell me Jenny's a witch who flies around on a broomstick."

"Actually," he said, raising a finger. "Katrina is the witch... and also from the past." He chuckled at his own words. "Well, she's actually not a time traveler so much as someone who has lived for two centuries while waiting for me to wake up." He frowned in thought and shrugged. "I'm not so sure about the broomstick. I must admit that I'm not all that well versed in what she's capable of quite yet."

When Luke only stared at him as though he'd suddenly grown a second head, Abbie cleared her throat. "Crane, you know what? I think I've got it from here."

Raising an eyebrow at her dismissive tone, he said, "Very well, then. I can see when I'm no longer wanted." He began walking toward the door and turned in its frame to bow rather dramatically to them in departure. "I shall return to my witch who will appreciate my input more than the two of you."

"Hey, Crane," Abbie called as she came around the table to talk to him. "I'm glad you were here with me for the ice breaker part of this, but I think we could both use a day to ourselves tomorrow."

Narrowing his eyes with a glance over to Luke, who was shifting uncomfortably and attempting, for once, not to stare at them, he asked, "A day to ourselves?"

"Yeah," she said, nodding her head from side to side. "I have a feeling this is going to be a more than five minute conversation."

Knowingly nodding, he gave her a small smile. "I wish you the best of luck, Leftenant." He looked at Luke once more before adding, "Though, I don't think you'll need it."


When he walked through the door, he'd expected her to be standing there, ready to pepper him with a dozen questions. However, as he rid himself of his boots and coat and placed them in the closet, he found it odd that she wasn't popping up.

"Katrina?"

No answer.

With a frown, he made his way around the corner as he heard the television on and concluded she may have not heard him. As his gaze swept the room in search of her, he felt a smile appear on his face when his eyes finally found her on the sofa; curled into a ball with a small blanket pulled over her.

Quietly making his way toward her, he knelt to the floor beside her and gently brushed her russet hair over her ear. At his touch, a low groan fell from her lips, prompting his smile to widen as her brow furrowed ever so slightly. Not wanting to wake her, but wanting even less to be far from her, he stood and pulled his shirt over his head before carefully sliding into the small space between her and the sofa. Once laid out, he wrapped his arms around her middle and gently pulled her against his chest. She shifted slightly, causing him to cease breathing altogether, but otherwise didn't awaken. Satisfied that she was still asleep, he pressed a kiss to her shoulder before resting his head behind hers and closing his eyes.

Chapter Text

The nearly scalding, hot water spraying against her bare form felt blissful. She couldn't exactly remember the last time she'd spent more than a handful of minutes in the luxury of the water's warm embrace, but this morning was shaping up to be one of those mornings that allowed her to do so and she was enjoying every single minute of it. The way the water caressed her skin like a long lost lover longing for just a moment's connection with her; kissing her chest, then sliding over her breasts and down, down, down, dipping into her belly button until it filled to the brim and was forced over and out to continue down between her thighs and finishing its journey by meeting her knees and slithering around to stroke her calves and ankles where it finally met the floor and circled the soles of her feet.

To be completely honest, as wonderful as the water was in its attentions to her body, it was likely the strong arms around her that was the true source of her happiness. Ichabod's chest was pressed flush to her back as his hands wandered up and down her slick skin, taking time to touch every dip and crevice along the front of her heated body. Adding to those wonderful sensations was his warm mouth, which seemed to want to taste every inch of her neck, shoulders, and face; leaving nothing unloved. The tingles left from his teeth nipping along her skin had her core twisting with a fire that was beginning to reach unavoidable heights. Like the water, he seemed to want to caress every part of her.

This was definitely going to become a morning routine if she had any say in the matter. Though, from the feel of Ichabod's hard arousal pressed between the hollow of her back and his belly, she was rather confident in her assumption that she wouldn't receive any objections on the matter.

As his hand slipped between her thighs again, toying with that button he so loved pressing, her eyes fell closed and a satisfied smile came to her face. Yes. Definitely a morning routine.

It seemed this particular morning was producing all sorts of things for them to hold each other to now.

He was so adorable.

She wasn't even sure what time it had been when she'd realized he'd climbed onto the sofa and snuggled against her. However, upon waking to the bright rays of morning shining through her living room window, his arm had been around her waist, his mouth open, and one of his legs had been hanging over her and off the sofa. It'd been too sweet a moment to end and, f or a while, she'd contented herself with simply touching him; tracing her fingers along his strong jaw; brushing his dark hair back; nuzzling her nose and lips along his cheek. In truth, all she'd really wanted to do was wake him and convince him to love her to pieces, but when she'd had enough of just watching him sleep, she'd finally decided to slip from his embrace and prepare breakfast for him, which she was currently doing. She, herself, was starving as the last real meal she could remember eating had been the one at Abbie's house two days prior while waiting for Ichabod to call.

Scraping the scrambled eggs onto a nearby plate, she set them aside before quickly returning to the stove to remove the sizzling bacon before it burned and smoked the whole house up. The last thing she wanted to do was have the smoke detector going off and scaring Ichabod right back into his grave, no matter how comical it might have been to observe.

When she had breakfast all set out on the snack bar, she wiped her hands on a dishtowel and returned to the living room where he was now sprawled out on the sofa; hair mussed and arms twisted every which way. Biting her lip as she considered all the different ways she could go about waking him up, she finally came to the conclusion that startling him might not be the best manner in which to start the day. It would surely set him into a dramatically sour mood and fill him with the urge to repay the favor when she as least expecting it. Instead, she slowly lowered herself to straddle his waist, being careful not to wake him, before placing her hands on each side of him and leaning forward to hover over his unmoving form.

His mouth was still open causing her to stifle a giggle as she brushed a chaste kiss to the side of his neck. When he still didn't move, she took to trailing her kisses down his neck and over his throat, taking the time to drag her teeth over his prominent Adam's apple; a place she'd love to spend more time on if not for the other plans she had. His body shifted under her slightly at the light scrape of her teeth as a low groan escaped him. Delighted she was finally evoking a response, she continued teasing him; his earthy scent and salty taste awakening more than just his body.

Finally settling her body down along his, she s lid her hand over his shoulder and rested it at the nape of his neck, twirling her fingers in his short curls there, as her lips moved to his other ear where she slipped her tongue out to drag along the hard shell, enjoying the way his body shivered under her in return.

"Good morning," she purred, strategically pressing her lips to that place just below and behind his ear that drove him crazy.

She wasn't disappointed as his hips jerked up; the beginnings of his arousal now present against her pelvis. Then, his hands found her waist and his palms pressed flat into her back as he began sliding them up her spine, the warmth from his skin now seeping through her shirt and setting all of her nerves on end.

"Any morning that starts this way is more than good."

Smiling into his skin at how husky his voice was, she gave another nip to his ear and replied, "So, you like this, huh?"

His fingers snuck beneath her shirt, the likes of which had goose bumps popping up all over her body as he caressed along her skin. "Like is not nearly a strong enough descriptive word." He paused his assent at her shoulders before splaying his hands out to hold her close; the result having her upper body flush against his. "Love. Adore. Crave. Cherish. Exalt."

Unable to stop herself, she laughed and leaned up on her elbows to stare down at his now open and sparkling blue eyes. "Exalt?"

His answering grin was enough to further her laughing into a bout of giggles.

"What can I say? I really, really enjoy this." To add effect, he slid his hands down her spine, not stopping at her pajama pants, and continued below her panties and along her backside where he dug his fingers into her round flesh. "I demand to have such lovely treatment every morning."

Raising an eyebrow, she said, "Actually, I think it would be best if we took turns. You know, equal rights for men and women now and all." She playfully tapped his nose. "It can't always be about you, lover."

His grin only grew as his arms tightened around her as he attempted to flip them over. It was a rather awkward roll as they both nearly fell off the sofa, but he finally managed to land himself over her, his arms still around her, effectively holding hers tightly to her sides and pinning her down.

"Ichabod," she groaned as she wiggled beneath him to no avail, prompting her to stop moving altogether; her breathing heavy as she huffed and turned her head to the side, refusing to look at him anymore.

She positively hated it when he got the best of her.

As she focused on her dusty coffee table, littered with random magazines and books, she considered it might be a good idea to take the time to clean it at some point, but her thoughts were interrupted as she felt him mold himself into her body as he laid flush over her, his own panted breath hitting her ear and, of course, making her lower body pulse with that wonderfully, annoying ache.

Clutching her fingers into the sofa, she did her best to ignore him; to not give reaction to the fact that he was getting to her. However, he was pressed so firmly into her that he was hitting all the right spots; not to mention the way his cock was now tucked against the lower arch of her body, making her desire coil in her belly all the more at the sweet pressure; a pressure that only grew sweeter as he began kissing along the side of her neck, his beard prickling at her skin with every movement of his head. It all just felt so good that she was having a difficult time not lifting her hand to touch him while simultaneously rolling her hips against his for some delicious friction.

When he began trailing his kisses up her jaw, she felt her breathing pick up at the way he had to shift to reach higher, resulting in his arousal digging even deeper between her parted thighs. Then, his lips slid over the strong bone until he met the side of her mouth and sucked at it, occasionally slipping his tongue out to lick over her skin. That, she could have resisted. However, his hands coming into play were what finally began to break her. One had taken up residence along the back of her neck, a super sensitive place on her body, while the other had began sliding down her side, paying quite the amount of attention to the side of her breast and effectively pulling a slight shiver from her as the sensations tickling over her skin began to consume her.

He knew all of her buttons and she was only a little grateful he couldn't reach her back very well, which was the most hyper sensitive place on her body. Even the idea of someone touching it had the ability to set all of her nerves to coiling and twitching.

The moment his fingers circled her hard nipple, a throaty chuckle fell from his lips. "I see I'm not the only one enjoying this morning's lovely treatments."

Rolling her eyes at his cocky attitude, she breathed an unsteady, "Shut up."

His body shook with another chuckle as he moved his lips to her ear where he began quite literally biting her. "Moan for me, Katrina."

She was surprised she hadn't punctured her sofa by now with how deeply she'd dug her fingernails into the cushions. Clenching her jaw, she attempted to fight the onslaught of heat rushing through her at the feel of his hot breath in her ear, but it all ended when his hand drifted even further down her body and slipped under her clothing to cup her rear so he could hold her tight and roughly grind into her center.

Feeling her resolve evaporating, a moan finally slipped out as the bulge in his trousers pressed into her at just the right spot, sending jolts of pleasure into her pulsing core and forcing her to spread her thighs even further apart for him as she wrapped her ankles around his calves.

With a curse under her breath, she lifted her hands to the back of his head and chased his lips to finally allow him to kiss her the way she knew he'd been wanting to. His eagerness was displayed w hen his tongue immediately began tracing the outline of her lips, practically begging her to let him in. Unable to help herself, she finally smiled and allowed him to slip his tongue between her lips to duel playfully with hers; the slick heat of their saliva mingling with every swipe and flick.

She could honestly kiss him all day, every day; just lying in bed or anywhere with him as he lathered her with all the desire he had within him for her.

As he took to caressing her belly and hips, fingers dancing over her heated flesh, she pulled him harder down into her, enjoying the way his muscles flexed under her fingers as they slid over his hard back.

However, her contentment that came with the kisses and slight naughty rolling of their hips against each other abruptly ended the moment his fingers began teasing the edge of her panties, toying with the material. Then, before she even had time to register what he was about to do, his fingers had slipped down the front of her panties and pressed into her wet slit, prompting her to break their kiss and arch her neck with a ragged moan.

"Oh, God," she whispered as her fingers dug into his shoulders and her breath hitched somewhere in the back of her throat. "That's so good."

She could feel his mouth contort into a grin against her skin as his other hand turned her face back to his where he practically devoured her mouth to match the timing of his fingers circling her faster and harder. Apparently, he wasn't in the mood for a slow build up, but, instead, wanted something more quick and dirty as he didn't even bother with the drawn out, lazy teasing he usually partook in.

"Mmm, Ichabod," she hungrily murmured against his lips as that light headed feeling started clouding her mind; leaving her with one goal in mind as her toes curled against the soles of her feet. "Don't stop."

His growl of "Never" only added to the building pressure that was now spreading from her core and up her belly with a warmth that was rising to such temperatures as to have her ears burning.

All but panting, she clutched at the back of his head, her fingers twisting in his long hair, as she began falling over that precarious edge between sanity and reality into a realm of intoxicating ecstasy. The throb that was currently pulsing between her thighs was all she could focus on as he began slowing his fingers movements in the slick mess of her heat and trailing kisses over her chin as the aftershocks kept her quivering beneath him.

Quick and dirty, indeed, she thought as he finally removed his hand from down her panties and began sliding it up her side, teasing her warm flesh with his damp digits.

How she loved this man. He could get her of by barely doing anything.

"You know," she whispered teasingly against his lips once she'd regained her breath. "Our breakfast is getting cold."

He pulled back with a raised eyebrow, his blue eyes dancing over her. "Breakfast?"

She chuckled and pointed toward the snack bar. "Yeah, it's why I woke you."

"Oh?" he asked, an offended look coming to his face after a quick dart of his gaze to the kitchen. "You didn't wake me for this?"

Continuing to laugh, she shrugged rather nonchalantly, prompting him to shake his head and place another kiss to her mouth; one much more chaste than the previous ones of the morning. Then, he pushed himself up to rest on his haunches over her.

The view she received of his rather prominent bulge pressing against his breeches brought a grin to her face and she couldn't resist the temptation to trail her fingers over the outline. His subsequent groan brought her gaze to his flushed face and heavy eyes.

"Food? Then, a shower?" she asked, promise filled eyes staring into his.

A knowing look creased his face as he dropped his hand to hold hers still against his cock. "Are we going to inhale our food in the quickest manner possible, or are you going to torture me?"

Biting her lip, she sat up and pressed a kiss to his lower abdomen just over the hem of his trousers before taking the material between her teeth and pulling it from him just far enough to gain a nice pop when it snapped back against his body.

"I was simply being considerate of your health," she said as she slid her hands behind his thighs so she could rest her chin on his belly to look up at him. "I don't want you tiring out on me from a lack of energy."

He cleared his throat and practically jumped from the sofa before holding a hand out to her, an eager look on his face. "What are you waiting for, then? I'm starving."

Grinning at his exuberance over what she was sure had nothing to do with food, she allowed him to drag her toward the kitchen.

Slipping on the slim bracelet to match the silver earrings currently dangling from her ears, she stepped back and looked herself over in the mirror, taking in the lacy white sundress as she pushed her hair over her shoulder and pulled her leather jacket on.

While eating breakfast, they'd decided to finally get to their walk around town; the one she'd been dying to take with him since they'd reunited. Yes, they had other things they could be doing like rooting out the mystery of the cloaked figure who'd helped Abraham escape, but they really didn't have anywhere to start and as both Abbie and Jenny were at their respective jobs, the latter of which was a recent development that had Jenny sifting through old artifacts at Adams' Antiques all day, that left her and Ichabod with the day to themselves; something she was doing her best not to allow her excitement over to have her jumping around her room like a four year old.

Satisfied with her appearance, she exited her bathroom and walked to the bed where she sat down to pull on her sandals while thinking about all the places she wanted to take him. There were so many things they could do and explore.

"Are you almost ready?" he asked from behind her at the bedroom door.

Chuckling at the evident anticipation in his voice, she shook her head in amusement. "I suppose a man in any century would ask that question."

When she turned to face him for his reaction, she felt her stomach twist and it wasn't only over the fact that he had his hair pulled back and up off his shoulders exposing his long, lean neck.

"You-" Her eyes trailed over the thin, white sweater, down over the dark, slim jeans, and lastly taking in the prized converse she'd fought so hard for on their shopping trip. Wetting her lips in an attempt to gather herself and not slide to the floor and give way to the pile of mush she'd just dissolved into, she gestured to him rather awkwardly. "Y-You're wearing the clothes."

He glanced down at himself before nervously smiling up at her; his long fingers flexing at his sides as he shifted his feet. "I thought it might be an appropriate time to test the waters."

So thrown off by his wardrobe and how freaking sexy he looked, she barely even registered his words. Maybe they could go explore town another day.

"What? I mean-" Shaking her head to clear the lusty thoughts of pushing him down on the bed and inspecting every inch of him in his new clothing, she stood and moved toward him on what felt like the wobbly legs of a newborn colt, a smile coming to her face as she reached up to push some of his fallen hair back. "I wasn't expecting this. You look..." Her eyes trailed over his tight sweater. "Edible."

His bright grin was immediate and despite the dirty thoughts running through her mind, she felt so proud of him for taking this step. It was no secret to anyone how attached to his clothing he was. So, this was a really big deal and she had every intention of letting him know how wonderful he looked.

"You're the one who looks stunning," he said, resting his hands on her hips and leaning down to brush his lips to her cheek, which, of course, made her feel like a girl going out on her first date. How did he do that to her even after all of these years?

Unable to help her giddy excitement, she began bouncing on her toes and playfully asked, "Are you going to hold my hand again today?"

He pulled back with a chuckle, his blue eyes dancing with mirth. "Why yes, I am, Ms. van Tassel. Do you mind such forwardness from your fiancé?"

Biting her bottom lip, she gave a small shake of her head as she slid her hands down his arms until their fingers were tangled together and she was dragging him backwards down the hallway.

"Absolutely not."


"This is the most foul thing I've ever tasted in the entirety of my existence," he muttered, setting the sample of mint ice cream down like it was day old milk left sitting out.

"I told you," she said with a laugh at his scrunched up face as she slid another plastic cup toward him. "Here, try this one; Cookies n' Cream, my favorite."

He eyed her warily, prompting her grin to widen as he hesitantly lifted the sample to his lips. He was such a cantankerous drama queen.

When his eyes widened at the taste, she slightly leaned forward and asked, "Do you like it?"

His nod was immediate as he lifted the cup to stare at it like it was the holy grail of ice cream. "Yes, this one-" He pointed at it, wiggling his finger with a measure of exaggeration as he seemed beyond proper words. "Wonderful."

Delighted that he finally liked one out of the five he'd already tried and disapproved of highly, she turned to the annoyed looking teenager behind the counter, who'd been irritatingly popping her bubble gum the entire time, and smiled brightly. Nothing was ruining her mood today.

"We want two of those."

As the girl rang up their purchase, she glanced back at Ichabod who was rubbing his fingers together in curiosity at the stickiness coating them.

With a smile, she considered how happy she was that he appeared to be happy, too. So far, their day had been filled with rushing memories at all of the old buildings that were the same, yet very different, along with Ichabod's running commentary on it all; both the impressed and disgruntled versions.

However, with all of the rushing memories that had assaulted them, all had not been excitement. Before they'd ventured into the more busy parts of town, she'd decided to take him and show him something she knew only he would appreciate; a special part of their past that she held very dear to her heart.

"Where are we going again?"

As she steered her way down the old, dirt road, she made a right turn at a fork in the trees. "You don't recognize this place?"

He stared out the window with a perplexed look as his fingers absentmindedly ran over hers. "Everything's so overgrown and the roads are different, but..." He turned to look at her with narrowed eyes. "Isn't this near to where your home once was?"

Pleased with his correct guess, she nodded and glanced at him with a smile. "I kept it."

His eyes widened. "You... kept it? What exactly is it that you kept?"

"After my father passed away, I had no family left to pass it on to. So, I decided to keep it for myself. I paid to keep it up and allowed another family to live in it for a long time while I was gone." She shrugged her shoulders. "I couldn't very well stay in Sleepy Hollow while never aging for too long unless I wanted suspicion to arise. So, for about forty-five years, I travelled and lived in different places before returning under a different name." She frowned as she tried to recall who exactly she'd pretended to be during that time period. "I believe I went by Katelyn van Tassel, a cousin of my father's at that time."

When he remained quiet, she glanced to see him staring out the window at the passing scenery, taking in the world as it zoomed by with that deep concentration he always held.

"Is it very different?"

"Not too much," she replied before adding, "It has been updated for modern use. I believe my last tenant vacated it about seven years ago."

As they rounded a bend in the road, the large grounds area came into view followed shortly by the house, tall and sturdy as ever, tucked away in a grove of oak trees. Sparing another glance at him as she drove down the graveled road, she noticed he'd sat up straighter in his seat as his eager eyes danced over the grounds, absorbing everything as they passed it. When she parked and they'd both exited her car, she made her way around to stand next to him where he was gazing up at the second level where her bedroom used to be.

"Lots of memories up there," she offered, slipping her hand into his with a smile at his distant stare.

"Yes," he whispered, his gaze now sweeping the rest of the house. "I feel as though I've stepped back in time. I can't believe it's all still here."

"Of course," she said, eyes dancing over the balcony above the entrance; a place she could so clearly remember standing as she gripped the railing; her eyes trailing his approaching form on one of his many visits. "I'd never let this place go. It's home."

He looked to her with a frown. "Why don't you live here, then? You make it sound as if you've not been here since your father passed away."

Kicking at the loose gravel as she chose her next words, she answered softly, "Because this is our home, Ichabod."

His body turned toward her and she noticed his hand come up just before it slipped under her chin to tilt her face up where she found a gentle smile gracing his face.

"Our home?"

She shrugged her shoulders ass he began fidgeting with his sweater. "Well, yeah. I mean, I kept it because I always imagined us raising a family here." She gestured to the house. "It's a beautiful house and the grounds provide plenty of space."

"What about the house we live in now?"

She couldn't help her heart skipping a beat at him referring to her house as theirs. Sometimes prayers take a while, but the desires of one's heart are always provided for eventually, even if not in the way you expected.

"Don't get me wrong," she began saying as she twisted her fingers along the bottom of his sweater. "That house is great; convenient. It's right in town. Abigail and Jenny are next door, but... Sooner or later, the two of them will have their own families and so will we. A two bedroom house isn't going to cut it for the plans I have in mind for the houseful of children I want."

He grinned and leaned his forehead to hers, a content sigh leaving him and washing over her face. "A houseful?"

Sliding her hands around him to rest along his lower back, she nodded. "Mhm... As many as possible."

His fingers danced up and down her sides as he pulled her head to rest against his chest. "I'm so very eager to meet them."

Smiling into his sweater, she whispered, "Me too."

"I've always loved this house," he said, his breath caressing the top of her head. "Or perhaps I simply loved its red haired occupant."

With a laugh, she pulled back and tangled their fingers together. "Come here. I want to show you something."

She led him around to the back of the house where the gardens, once magnificent, were now overgrown with weeds and briars. Lifting a hand, she banished a few left and right to clear a path, making it so they parted like the red sea before them.

"Do you remember this place?" she asked, gesturing to a certain spot up ahead.

His nod was accompanied by a mixture of solemn sorrow and reminiscent happiness creasing his face. "We spent hours picking out the shapes of the clouds."

"We did," she whispered as she stopped before the spot they'd once lain and pulled him to kneel beside her as she brushed some branches and leaves away to reveal a small stone with the simple inscription: Sarah Crane, Beloved Daughter.

It took her a moment to finally will herself to look at him, but when she did, her heart broke for him as she noticed his eyes tearing up. "I'm sorry if this was a mistake, or if I've hurt you by bringing you here. I simply thought you should know the place she was buried. You seemed to want to know her and... this is all I have to offer." When his tears began trailing down his cheeks, she swiftly reached up to brush them away. "Please, say something."

A shuttered breath left him as his arms encircled her and pulled her tightly against him. "Thank you."

Eyes falling closed at his broken whisper, she clutched at the back of his sweater to hold him close. "I wish you could have been there. Every father deserves to meet his child; you, more than most."

"I will be next time," he said softly with a kiss to her temple. "I'll be right there with you the entire time."

"So, did the ice cream win you over to modern times?"

"Oh, it's a sure start," he answered with a chuckle as she swung their hands in the space between them. "The Leftenant rather enjoys watching me flounder with the more simple, modern conveniences. Tape has been a strange discovery, but, by far, the best is indoor plumbing."

"Oh, yes, that's one of my favorites, too!" she replied, giggling at the idea of adoring such a thing. "I don't know how we survived before."

They were currently walking down the docks as she'd wanted to show Ichabod the newer version of their country's ships. To say, he'd been a little impressed would be a serious understatement. He'd dragged her all over the place like a small boy showing off his prized toy at Christmas; telling her of the differences and definite improvements to the ships structure and modern machinery. To be honest, she still didn't have the first clue as to what he'd been talking about, but she'd enjoyed his eagerness all the same.

"Well, I'm glad to see we're winning you over; one new and improved thing at a time."

He shook his head and pulled her closer, giving her the opportunity to wrap her arm around his back as they walked; hips bumping into one another at the close proximity.

"I'm glad we had this day."

Glancing up at his smiling face as he took in the world around him, she said, "Me too. I love the simplicity of walking around town with you like we might be any other normal, engaged couple enjoying their day together."

"Normal," he muttered with a chuckle. Then, his gaze found a couple leaning against the railing in a rather deep tongue war. "I do admit I rather enjoy the more accepted forms of public affection this century offers."

Intrigued and deciding to push his statement a little, she slid the arm wrapped around his waist lower until she could slip her hand into his back pocket and squeeze. She received the expected response as he jumped a good six inches off the ground and turned to her with wide eyes as he squeaked, "Katrina!"

"Ichabod," she said in the same tone as she stopped him and lifted her free hand to the back of his neck to pull him down to her waiting lips.

Oh, how she loved kissing him; especially when they were able to touch each other as well. Like currently, with her hand still inside his back pocket as she continued to squeeze the prominent flesh below while pulling him into her own body.

"You're being very naughty," he whispered against her lips as he finally pulled out of their kiss for a smidge of oxygen.

She bit her lip and stared up at his flushed face enticingly. "Be naughty with me."

The way his throat bobbed with his hard swallow was too adorable. Her poor love was squirming for a response. Taking pity on him, she untangled herself from him and slipped her arm back around his waist.

"So, is my old man tired yet?"

He gave a huff of displeasure as he recovered himself. "You're seven months older than I am."

Practically grinning from ear to ear, she glanced around the docks at the many people enjoying the sunny evening. "Whatever you say, lover."

She could practically feel another response building in him when her eyes fell on a tall, blonde haired, and very disgruntled figure staring at them from a few yards away.

"Nick."

Ichabod stiffened at her side and she noticed his gaze sweep the docks before reaching the same figure she had; the one who was now walking in the opposite direction from them with a more than irritated stride in his step.

"Perhaps, you should speak with him."

Startled at such a suggestion from her prone to jealousy lover, she glanced up at him with raised eyebrows. "What? Are you serious?"

He shrugged his shoulders and dropped his gaze to their hands as he answered softly, "We need all the friend's in this fight we can find." He glanced to the retreating figure. "And we most certainly don't need another Abraham on our hands."

"Nick would never do anything like that," she assured him while following his gaze. "He'd never admit it, but he's a good soul."

"Either way..."

She sighed rather heavily and turned back to him. "We shouldn't leave it to fester, I know, but today is for us and nothing is going to ruin it, nor are we going to share it with anyone else." She gave a small smile. "I'll deal with Nick at a later time."

Her love stared at her in thought for a moment before he smiled and nodded his head to the side as a signal that they should resume their walk. However, they didn't get far before they bumped into yet another familiar face who was leaning against the dock's railing, her eyes on her phone.

"Jenny?" she asked, her eyes raking over her friend's dressy appearance.

Clearly startled, Jenny jumped and turned to look at them with wide eyes. "Hey," she drawled out before clearing her throat. "You two are just everywhere, aren't you?"

Still looking over her friend's fixed hair, perfect makeup, and actually matching clothes, which consisted of nice dress pants and a dark blue blouse, she asked, "What's the occasion?"

Jenny glanced about searchingly for a moment as though looking for an out to this conversation before saying, "Nothing much. I'm just hanging out."

It was Ichabod who spoke next. "Are you on a date, Miss Jenny?"

Eyes widening as Jenny stared at Ichabod dumbfounded, she exclaimed, "Oh my God, you're on a date!"

Jenny rolled her eyes and mumbled a low curse under her breath as she brought a hand to cover her face. "I dress nice. I'm sorry that you old folks don't get out enough to see it." Her eyes slid over Ichabod. "Speaking of people dressing up..." She cocked an eyebrow. "You clean up nice, British. I'm beginning to see what Kat wants with you."

Not about to let Jenny slip out of this one, she pressed, "Well, if you're just hanging out, then you wouldn't mind us hanging out with you."

Ichabod looked at her, his face now downtrodden. "I thought today was our day and we weren't sharing it."

She raised an eyebrow at him. "Are you whining?"

He huffed and looked over the railing into the dark water while she turned back to Jenny who looked like she was hoping they'd forgotten about her. "Come on, Jenny. Is he here?"

With a defeated sigh, Jenny gestured up the boardwalk toward the throngs of people enjoying their evening. "He's getting ice cream."

Unable to stop her grin, she said in a tone dripping with girliness, "I'm so excited. You're dressed up and on a date and he's getting you ice cream." She wiped at her imaginary tears as she touched Jenny's arm. "I feel like a proud mama. Where's my camera?"

"Oh, shut up, Kat," Jenny groaned as she looked back up the boardwalk again before closing her eyes. "Crap."

More than excited to finally meet this mystery guy, she followed Jenny's gaze to the young, dark haired man, who appeared to be about Jenny's age, approaching with two ice cream cones. On first glance, he wasn't anything like what she would expect Jenny to go for. There were no visible tattoos, or body piercings to be seen and he certainly didn't look like he'd ever spent a night in prison. To her surprise, this man looked relatively normal, even sophisticated; clean cut with short brown hair and nice clothing. She had to admit that she was impressed over Jenny's change in taste. However, the moment her eyes met his crystal, blue ones, she felt her smile falter as a prickly sensation crept over her; one that had her breath catching slightly in the back of her throat.

"Here you go," he said with a deep voice as he handed a vanilla cone off to Jenny, who smiled and held out a hand toward she and Ichabod.

"We've been caught," she said jokingly as she gestured to Ichabod. "You remember Ichabod."

"Yeah," he replied with a kind smile and nod of his head. "It's good to see you again, Ichabod."

For his part, Ichabod was staring between the two oddly; as though he were suddenly perplexed. "You're... the two of you are...?"

"Dating?" the man finished with a chuckle as he affectionately slipped an arm around Jenny's waist. "Yeah, sorry for the surprise. She's been keeping me all to herself." His eyes then slid to hers, making her feel oddly uncomfortable with the intensity in his gaze. "You must be Kat. Jenny talks about you nonstop."

Forcing a smile to her face in the hopes of covering her growing discomfort, she gave a clipped nod. "I am, but I'm afraid I'm out of the loop as to who you are exactly."

He smiled widely as he said, "Henry Parrish."

Chapter Text

The sounds of shattering glass brought him bolting upright, fighting the sheets and blankets shrouding his body along the way, his eyes darting every which way as he attempted to blink through the sleep obscuring his vision.

Disoriented and on high alert, he glanced about the room in search of the threatening sound that had pulled him from his pleasant dream and set his pulse to racing.

His answer came in the form of the rather foul curse originating down the hallway, making it clear that the sound had actually come from what he believed to be the kitchen and, with a look to his left, he found the proof he needed that the sound had indeed come from his love, who was not so surprisingly absent from her place in their bed.

Lifting a hand to rub his burning eyes, he released a weary breath and wondered what she was doing now. More than that, what in God's name was she even doing up? It barely looked to be daylight outside and yet she wasn't snuggled into him the way he would have preferred her to be. That, more than anything else, irritated him to no end.

When yet another loud crash came down the hallway, he roughly shoved the blankets away and practically stumbled from the bed while wishing this was all another nightmare and that he was truly still asleep before journeying toward the source of the raucous that had awoken him; the soles of his bare feet cold against the wooden floor.

Upon rounding the corner to the brightly lit kitchen, a setting he had to take a moment to allow his eyes to adjust to, he halted in his tracks at the sight which greeted him; his eyes widening as far as they possibly could.

"What in God's name are you doing!?"

There she was; his love; the holder of his heart; the most powerful person he knew; standing in the middle of their disarranged kitchen. There were various dishes, items of food, and even cabinet drawers scattered all over the place; leaving very little evidence of what the floor used to look like in the first place.

For her part, Katrina was still dressed in her shirt and sleep shorts with her fiery, red hair pulled up into a half hazard bun, which looked like it was on the verge of collapsing at any moment. Her eyes were rimmed with dark circles and she looked as though she were fighting to keep herself from throwing every breakable object within her reach when taking into account the way she was glowering at the various items strewn about.

After dropping a dishtowel to the countertop, she ran a hand over her messy bun and replied, "It's filthy in here."

With a deep breath, one he hoped would calm his racing mind and grant him a smidge of patience, he carefully stepped over the line of canned green beans and corn on the floor before reaching for her waist to turn her toward him in the attempt to stop her from moving.

"My love, you must cease this madness." When she only avoided his eyes while worrying her bottom lip between her teeth, he continued in a gentle voice, "You must acquire some rest."

"I'm fine," she muttered as she attempted to pull back from him.

Not allowing her to do so, he lifted a hand to her chin and turned her face to his so he could properly relay his worry through his gaze. "You are anything but fine and..." He shifted his feet and whispered the dreaded words he'd been avoiding, "I miss you."

To his chagrin, she only rolled her eyes and said with a measure of sarcasm, "I'm sorry, am I being inattentive toward you? Do we need to return to bed so I can further fulfill any requests you might have?"

"No," he answered honestly, quite unsure he could take any more of her attention in the bedroom. "You're being over attentive in that area while being less than loving in the process."

At that, she tore her chin from him and took to staring at the countertop; arms crossed and defiance practically burning a hole into the dishtowel she'd earlier discarded.

"Katrina, my desires are thoroughly sated and the house is," he trailed off as he glanced about the rather unkempt kitchen. "Was clean."

She still refused to look at him, prompting him to tread into more dangerous waters. "You should call her."

A wave of visible fury washed over her as she pushed his hand from her waist. "If she wants to talk to me, she knows where I am."

With that, she picked up her dishtowel and went back to furiously scrubbing the shelves that had once resided in their refrigerator; her fingers digging into the dishtowel so hard her muscles were clenched all the way up her arm.

As he watched her falling back into the darkness she'd been marinating in for the past few days, he felt his own anger building. There was simply no will power left within him to tolerate this negative behavior.

"I've had enough of this."

Stepping forward and ripping the dishtowel from her grip, he tossed it to the floor, not really carrying where it landed. As expected, she turned to him with an incredulous expression; one he had little time or patience for any longer. Every man had his breaking point and he'd reached his for this particular week.

Grabbing her wrists to prevent any physical rebuttal, he brought them above her head before he bent down and lifted her over his shoulder.

"Ichabod Crane, put me down!"

Ignoring her vehement objection as he adjusted her, he made sure to watch his step as he headed for their bedroom while she scratched and clawed at his back the entire way.

"I swear to God," she screamed, slapping at his back and leaving what he was sure was a very red hand print judging from the stinging skin he now had. "If you don't put me down, I'm going to light you on fire!"

"Then, do it," he snapped back at her only to stumble into the wall when her knee connected with his chin, prompting him to lose his footing and bump into the wall, nearly dropping her in the process.

Grunting out his frustration with her childish antics, he forced himself on until he was stopped at the edge of their bed where he tossed her down; her body flopping up and down as it hit the mattress.

When she finally stopped bouncing, she attempted to sit up, her face red and furious, but he halted her progress by hastily taking her hands and holding them at her sides while he leaned over her.

"Ichabod, stop," she bit out, kicking out at him like a wild animal attempting escape.

However, he avoided her knee as he pressed his body flush over hers and forced her back into the bed; making sure to pin all four of her bucking limbs firmly beneath him.

"What the hell do you think you're doing!?" she exclaimed, her body squirming fitfully; every part of her alive and fighting.

Not caring to answer, he adjusted his body over hers and released her hands just long enough to slip his arms under her, effectively wrapping himself around her smaller form. It was a task for sure as he'd never known Katrina to be quite so contrary, but he finally managed it and, knowing he had her secured, he rested his head in the crook of her neck and sagged against her.

"Go to sleep."

Of course, never one to accept being ordered about, she continued in her attempts to escape his hold, wiggling and even going so far as to try biting him, before reaching no positive results and screaming at the top of her lungs. He was sure she'd burst one of his ear drums by the time she'd run out of air.

Finally still, she growled rather gruffly, "I can't breathe."

"Yes, you can," he tiredly whispered against her skin, unmoved by her words while enjoying the warmth of her skin he'd been longing for since earlier in the week.

Another huff left her, one that blew his hair from his forehead, as she finally released all the tense muscles in her body and relaxed into the sheets. "I highly dislike you in this moment."

Unable to stop his grin, he pressed a kiss to her neck and whispered, "I highly dislike you, too."

"I'm serious," she said in a sterner voice.

"So am I," he quickly replied. "Do you have any idea how tired I am with the way you've been carrying on until all hours of the night?"

"Fine, then," she said, the irritation in her voice still present, but less strong than before. "But, just so you know, I'm not having any form of sex with you today."

With the first hearty chuckle he'd had in days, he relaxed and burrowed his head further into her neck, praying to God she didn't attempt to bolt out of his arms again. He wasn't sure he had the energy to chase her.

"I'm sure."

A few minutes passed by and sleep once again tugged at him, begging him to give into it's comforting embrace. He honestly felt like he could sleep for days with how exhausted he was. Night after night of Katrina either all over him, or cleaning the house until ungodly hours of the night had begun to take its toll on his body. Sleep was such a precious commodity to him. After years of war keeping him awake and alert, even carrying over into this century, he cherished every minute of rest he obtained. However, Katrina was refusing to allow him any of that wonderful luxury which was being offered to him on a silver platter this week with the lack of supernatural activity occurring around town.

"I don't know what to do."

The helpless sorrow in her voice dug into his heart. He wished he could take every ounce of pain from her, but, in truth, he didn't know what to say to her, or how to help fix the mess she'd created. She'd really done a number on her relationship with Jenny, which was the reason for her odd behavior of late.

"There's something off about him," she whispered as Henry and Jenny walked ahead of them in search of an available table along the pier.

Taken off guard by her quietly spoken words, he looked at her with a perplexed frown and asked, "With Mr. Parish?"

She gave a clipped nod, her gaze still trained on the two figures in front of them; an expression upon her face that told the story of her attempting to solve a new puzzle. "I got the strangest sensation when he joined us. It felt like a warning."

Now extremely confused, he darted a glance up at the happily chatting couple and asked, "Like he might be dangerous?"

He found that hard to believe. In the short meeting he'd previously had with Henry, he'd thought him more akin to a lost and deeply wounded lamb than a lion on the prowl.

She shrugged as though barely hearing his question; her eyes squinting. "I can't really explain it. It's difficult to describe the senses of a witch, but I know what I felt if only for a brief moment. It's as if, upon seeing me, he shut off the lights to his aura. Now, I can't sense anything about him."

Well, while that was interesting, he still found himself in need of more information. However, just as he was about to implore further, Henry and Jenny found a table and began situating themselves in their seats.

Setting aside his questions about Katrina's lack of a more thorough explanation for a later time, he stepped forward and pulled her chair out for her, making sure to help her with her jacket as she sat down.

"So, Mr. Parish," he began with forced cheerfulness as he took his seat. "How are you? We've not seen you since you gave us your aid some odd months ago."

Henry's youthful face bore a small smile; one that had his crystal blue eyes glinting in the evening sunlight. "Oh, I'm quite well. Thank you for asking."

Katrina shifted in her seat and tilted her head toward Jenny. "That's right. Jenny mentioned you helped Ichabod and Abbie with something not long ago."

"Yes," Ichabod answered for Henry, glad to have some knowledge to offer. "He relived me of the blood tie I held with the Horseman."

Katrina's eyes widened. "You're the Sin Eater, then?"

With a humble nod, Henry explained, "I am. A gift I've been cursed with I'm afraid. The ability to see and consume sin... It's not quite as rewarding as being a witch I would think."

Jenny gave a dramatic roll of her eyes as she leaned forward to rest her elbows on the table and threw a sullen look Henry's way. "Oh, please, at least you have a cool power. Imagine being a boring, ole human."

Softly chuckling, Henry laid his arm over the back of her chair; his face creased with a grin. "As if any of us have something over you. I've seen you wield a weapon."

Ichabod raised an eyebrow in agreement. "She's quite... terrifying at times."

A sarcastic glare consumed Jenny's face as Katrina asked, "Was your power inherited?"

With a seemingly thoughtful pause, Henry regarded Katrina. "No, my being a Sin Eater wasn't inherited, which I'm sure plays some part in why I was abandoned as a child."

That was news to him as his eyes settled on Henry with a new light, but it was Katrina who continued the conversation without missing a beat, "It must have taken an understanding soul to take in a child of such power with no knowledge of the supernatural to aid them."

"Understanding," Henry mused aloud as he tapped his fingers along the table. "Yes, I suppose you could say my father was understanding. He kept me on the straight and narrow while I was growing up. He had rules and I was to follow them. Children need rules to properly function. And within those rules, he helped me nurture my gifts; hone them."

"Jenny mentioned you were aware of who your parents are," Katrina probed further as she sat back and crossed her arms. "It's rare for a magical child to be born into a human family. Some say it's impossible. Are you sure your parents possess no power?"

Henry shrugged his shoulders as though the matter were of little import. "There didn't seem to be anything special about them. You see, I was... born of an affair. The only people my birth parents truly cared for were each other. When it came down to a choice between me and the one they loved..." He narrowed his eyes at Katrina."Well... I'm sure you can guess the answer."

Seeing Katrina ready to probe even further, he decided to halt her questions by taking her hand and rubbing his fingers over her knuckles in the hopes that she would realize this wasn't an interrogation. "So, how long have you and Miss Jenny been keeping this secret? I must say that I'm very surprised."

Jenny shifted uncomfortably. "Since we met."

"And is the Leftenant aware?"

"No," Jenny muttered quietly. "I'm not quite ready for the numerous speeches and background checks she'll immediately start doing."

Katrina spoke, her voice indicating she'd not been swayed by his attempts to change the tone. "One can hardly blame her in this day and age. She loves you and simply wishes to protect you." Her eyes coolly slid to Henry. "I might do a little research of my own."

As Jenny stared at Katrina with an ever deepening frown, he found himself tempted to do the same. What on earth was wrong with her? It wasn't so much that she was practically interrogating Henry after having just met him, but moreso that she was doing it in such a careless and blatant manner. She was usually so much more calculated and manipulative than this.

"I'd expect nothing less from someone who truly loved Jenny," Henry said, never flinching under Katrina's intense gaze. "However, I assure you that I have only her best interests at heart."

"Her interests?" Katrina repeated as though chewing on the word. "And what are your intentions toward her, Mr. Parish?"

Before Henry could answer, Jenny spoke through a chuckle that did nothing to hide her eyes communicating her scolding toward Katrina, "Please excuse Kat, Henry. She's extremely old and has a few weird tendencies left over from her past life."

Clearing his throat as he saw Katrina ready to dive into her interrogation again, he said, "Yes, we do have those. In our day, things were done very differently when it came to courting. It's a bit of an adjustment."

An understanding look graced Henry's face as the waitress came forward to inquire to their needs. It was an awkward few moments of placing orders, which Katrina barely even acknowledged as she was still staring at Henry as though he were some insect she were attempting to dissect. For a moment, he mourned the peaceful day they'd been enjoying. He could already tell that there would be no further enjoyment to be had this day.

The waitress had barely stepped away from the table when Katrina began again, "What's your profession, Mr. Parish?"

Jenny moved to speak, but Henry laid a hand to her arm as he answered, "I'm a lawyer."

"A lawyer?" Katrina repeated with a disbelieving chuckle. "I suppose you have a lot of friends then."

"Not really," Henry answered with a shrug. "I'm not very outgoing. It's a burden to be able to read everyone's sins and very difficult to maintain relationships of any kind with others when their life's story is one touch away."

Katrina leaned forward in her seat. "So, tell me something about myself; my greatest sin."

Not missing a beat, or backing down from Katrina's challenge, Henry sat forward as well and held out his hand; palm up. "Give me your hand."

For a long moment, Katrina stared at it as though contemplating if she really wanted to do so before she finally settled her hand in his. Every fiber of him wanted to object to what was about to happen and with a glance at Jenny, he knew she felt the same judging from her stiff posture and her fingers twitching; telling the story of how it was only a matter of time before she tore into Katrina.

Henry's eyes went black and, for a few short heartbeats, he found himself wondering what Katrina's greatest sin actually was. However, that only lasted long enough for the question of why she would share that deeply personal information with the table to come to him. Her greatest sin was something that not even he knew. Wasn't that something a person tended to want to keep to themselves?

When Henry's eyes returned to their normal shade of blue and focused on Katrina, he thought he saw the faintest twist of the man's lips. However, he brushed it off when Henry said, "I don't know."

Katrina chuckled, her amusement clearly forced. "Oh, come on, just tell me. Everyone has sin in their heart."

"I'd rather not say," Henry replied, his eyes staring into Katrina's more seriously than Ichabod thought he should have been doing.

Katrina rolled her eyes and waved her free hand. "Just spit it out already. I'm beginning to think you don't have any power at all."

"Your greatest sin is that you feel not an ounce of love for the baby girl you buried in the garden behind your family home two centuries ago."

His heart skipped a beat as a stark silence washed over the table as Henry continued to stare at Katrina with little reaction while Jenny's eyes had popped to the size of quarters, which he could hardly blame her for. Sarah's mention stung his heart in ways he couldn't properly express, but Henry's words confused him to no end. Sure, Katrina had mentioned difficulty over describing how she felt for their child, but he found it hard to believe she felt no love for her at all. They'd created Sarah out of love and Katrina had went above and beyond for her after her birth in regards to her remains.

Speaking of his love, she didn't even appear to be breathing, which prompted him to reach out and brush a few strands of sun kissed hair behind her ear. "My love-"

Without warning, Katrina jerked her hand from Henry and bit out, "Fuck you."

Startled by this turn of events, he found, for a moment, he could only stare after her as she abruptly stood and began storming away. It was Henry's quiet apology that had him quickly rising, nearly toppling his chair over in the process, and starting after her.

"Katrina!"

Whether she didn't hear him, or she was ignoring him was lost to him, but when he finally caught her arm and managed to get in front of her, he saw a wild look in her eyes that honestly frightened him a little.

"He doesn't know anything about Sarah," she said as her breathing began to quicken. "I loved our baby more than anything, Ichabod. I still love and long for our child."

Unsure what to say, he cupped her face with his hands, taking note of her quivering body, and nodded understandingly. "It's alright, my love."

"What the hell is the matter with you?"

Gaze jerking over Katrina's shoulder as she turned to a furious Jenny Mills, he slid his hands down her arms, making sure to maintain some form of connection to her. His love was very literally about to fall apart.

"Miss Jenny-"

"What was that back there?" Jenny interrupted, effectively cutting him off. "I thought you wanted to meet him, not interrogate him."

Katrina shook her head and attempted to explain. "Jenny, there's something wrong with him."

It didn't take but a second for Jenny's eyes to narrow into slits. "Oh, so the opinion you formulated in a matter of minutes gives you the right to treat him like a criminal?" Her gaze flickered up to him, the heat in her eyes making him swallow to dry his throat. "And do you agree with her?"

Suddenly on the spot, he noticed Katrina turn to look at him as well, making his throat want to close off with how tight it was feeling. "I-" He sighed at the conundrum he was now in. "I don't know what I think." Katrina made to pull away from him, but he held her fast. "Henry saved my life, but apart from that, I know very little of him and I'd hate to make an assumption about his character. However, we must take into account that Katrina is a witch-"

"I don't care if she's the Almighty Himself, she had no right to treat him that way!"

Jenny's outrage was clear and, try as he may, he couldn't exactly fault her. Katrina had been overzealous in her questioning in the extreme. She hadn't even attempted to pretend to get along with the man.

"Jenny, I'm only trying to protect you," Katrina began.

"By interrogating the first person outside of my family who's ever loved me?" Jenny shouted as her eyes narrowed again.

More than uncomfortable, he watched as Katrina pointed toward Henry, who was standing a few yards away with his hands in his pockets and his gaze on the ground. At least, the man was helping his case by looking downright distraught over the situation.

"What he said about Sarah-"

"You were baiting him," Jenny defended. "He didn't want to tell you that, but you forced him."

"No," Katrina protested with a firm shake of her head. "He wanted to say that. I saw it in his eyes, Jenny. There was a perverse pleasure in his gaze. It was like he wanted to hurt me."

Jenny gave a disbelieving sound and threw her hands up. "You know what? No. Not everything is about you. He wanted to hurt you!?" She thrust a finger out at Katrina. "He doesn't even know you! But why am I surprised? You seem to think that every guy who lays eyes on you should fall on their hands and knees to worship you."

"That is not true!"

"Oh?" Jenny began counting off her fingers. "You have a freaking Horseman of the Apocalypse who gave up his soul to have you. You have Nick sulking all over town because you dumped him. And let's not forget this idiot here who can't even formulate his own thoughts anymore since you showed up."

"Jenny-"

Jenny held up her hands to halt whatever Katrina had been about to say. "Stay away from me and stay away from Henry. I'm not going to have you ruining the only good thing I have going for me in my life."

With that, Jenny turned on her heel and began stalking back toward Henry, leaving his love shaking in his arms as the tears finally escaped her glistening olive eyes.

"You look exhausted," Abbie said, her gaze sweeping over him as he approached her.

He shook his head and wiped a hand over his beard. "I feel exhausted."

With a knowing expression, Abbie pushed herself up from her hunched position over the table. "Jenny and Kat still not talking?"

"You are correct."

She nodded with pursed lips. "And you're still not going to tell me why?"

"As I said before, Leftenant," he replied with a sigh in resignation to the fact that he was bound to his principles. "I'm not at liberty to say. It's simply not my place to divulge the very personal events which caused their rift."

Abbie groaned and ran a hand through her hair. "Jenny's barely come home at all over the last few days. I think she's avoiding the chance of seeing Kat."

He stared at his hands as every fiber of him wished to spew forth what he knew. It was eating him alive to keep this secret to himself, but he knew Katrina was slowly being eaten from the inside over her sudden obsession with Henry Parish. It was like she was a dog with a bone and she wasn't dealing with it properly. Instead of listening to reason, she'd taken to avoiding the fact that she and Jenny were at odds. When she wasn't tearing their house apart to keep herself distracted, she was physically exhausting him. Normally, he'd enjoy such attention from her, but a man could only go so long without sleep and she was permitting him very little. He swore every time she noticed his eyes closed, she would endeavor to keep him awake by either slipping her hand beneath his breeches, or pull them from him entirely and wrap her sweet lips around his most intimate of body parts. Yes, he was enjoying it, but, the truth was, it had to stop. They both needed rest and he'd finally told her so this morning when he'd untangled himself from her embrace in an effort to escape her while making her swear to him that she would stay in their bed until he returned. Though, she attempted to wiggle out of agreeing, he'd finally managed to get her to promise she would.

"Leftenant, may I inquire as to your impression of Henry Parish?"

Abbie's eyebrows knitted together. "The Sin Eater?" At his nod, she shrugged. "I don't know. We only met that one day. Why?"

Not wanting to lie, but needing some way to broach the subject, he said, "I bumped into him the other day and... he seemed different than when we first met."

Abbie's evident confusion didn't lessen. "Ok?"

"Perhaps, we could do a bit of research," he offered.

Maybe knowing more about Henry's background would put Katrina at ease.

"As we're completely at a loss for a mission at the present time," he continued. "I think it might be prudent to check into our past acquaintance's lives. One can never be too careful as to who they trust."

With a sigh, Abbie nodded and opened her computer. "Alright, then, the life and works of Henry Parish coming right up."

As she began typing away on her laptop, he studied her own weary body language and found himself at odds with what he was seeing. Never before had he seen her so disheveled. Her clothing wasn't pressed and she bore very little makeup upon her face while her hair was pulled up with a band. It was then that he realized he'd yet to ask her about her conversation with Luke. While they'd had a few brief conversations over the last couple of days, they hadn't really had a moment to dig into the fact that Luke was now very aware of the secrets under Sleepy Hollow's nose and, if her appearance was any indication, it would seem it might not have went as well as he'd previously thought.

"How goes your time with Detective Morales? Has he finally warmed up to the idea of your being a-"

"Defender of his future?" she finished with a raised eyebrow.

Chuckling at her definition, he felt the tension seep out of him. She surely had a way of doing that to him; making him feel lighter even in the midst of a world of confusion and worry.

"Is that what we're referring to it as now?"

Abbie grinned as her eyes returned to her laptop. "It took a great deal of explaining and a half a dozen cups of strong coffee for him to finally wrap his mind around it, but..." She gave a half shrug. "I mean, he's asked me a thousand and one questions over the last few days, things I didn't even know the answers to, so at least he's interested and seems to be ok with it." She squinted and glanced at him. "Well, as ok with his girlfriend fighting demons as he can be."

"He'll want to protect you now," he said knowingly.

"Yeah," she admitted wearily. "That's been an ongoing argument over the past few days. He got all up in arms about me being in danger and no amount of my telling him I'm a cop and it's kind of my job to be in danger helped." She cut her eyes at him. "I have a feeling that between him and Katrina, we're going to be stalked every step of the way throughout this apocalypse stuff."

Understanding exactly what she meant, he smiled. "Sometimes I miss it being just the two of us."

"Don't let Katrina hear you say that," she said with a chuckle. "Unless you really like your couch."

"I simply mean it was simpler back then," he quickly explained. "Sometimes too many voices and opinions can make situations worse. It's hard to listen to a loved one say something and then have to decide whether to agree with them, or possibly anger them by going another way."

"Agreed," she said. "I don't know where Luke fits in all of this yet, but Katrina, at least, has proven herself to be useful when it comes to this weird stuff. She really seems to know what she's doing which is extremely helpful." She stopped typing and stared at him. "I know I was wary of your engagement to her, but... I just want you to know that I am really happy for you, Crane." She smiled. "I've been watching you and... you're different with her."

"Different?" he inquired, unsure if this was leading to a good place or not.

"More relaxed; less fidgety," she further explained before tilting her head. "I guess now is a good time to admit that I was worried you might not ever find a real home in this world. I've tried my best to be all I can for you, to support you and be your friend, but I never could have given you the things she can; the kind of love and comfort I know she's going to provide you. At the end of the day, I can go home to Jenny, or Luke and it always bothered me that you might be alone; that you might be hurt or sad." She shrugged. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm really glad you're not going to miss out on the better side of life." A smile that reached her tired eyes creased her face. "You seem genuinely happy."

Unable to stop his grin, despite the knot that had lodged itself in his throat, he stared down at his hands. "I never thought I could be so happy. In all my life, I've never wanted anything more than I want her."

A comfortable silence passed between them before she said, "Alright, enough with the sappy stuff. Let's see what we can find on our favorite Sin Eater."


It was driving her mad. She knew she was right to have been called out on her first meeting with Henry, but the fact was that something was off about him; very, very off. Regret for the way she'd went about learning more about him constantly gnawed at her. She should have been more subtle; more careful of the way she'd approached the situation. After all, she'd been one of Washington's prized spies. She knew how to gather information without being caught. However, when she'd laid eyes on that man, all rational thought had went out the window. He'd stirred something so deeply within her that she'd found she had no words for it. Her heart had nearly jumped out of her chest upon seeing his crystal, blue eyes, but it had been more than that. There was something buried in him she'd felt the edges of; something she could have sworn he was attempting to hide. For a solid moment, she'd thought it was magic, but then it had disappeared so quickly as to have left her doubting herself and her senses.

Now, as she sat on the street corner adjacent to the bank, she watched as he walked out, his blue eyes dancing in the morning sunlight.

She wasn't supposed to be here. She was supposed to be in her kitchen cleaning up the mess she'd created in spite of Ichabod's plea to leave it for him. He'd practically begged her to remain at home and get the rest she'd denied herself for too long and she'd promised him she would. In all honesty, she was exhausted. After three days of avoiding sleep, she felt as though she would fall over at any moment. She wasn't sure how she'd managed remaining conscious for so long. She supposed it had been all of the distractions and quick naps she'd taken between destroying her house and all the attention she'd been giving her love.

As she shifted her stance of leaning against the edge of the building, she felt the soreness between her thighs give a sweet throb. She'd lost count of the number of times they'd taken pleasure from each other over the last few days. Despite Ichabod's protests, he was giving as good as he was getting as evidenced by the pleasant discomfort of her body, but she knew he was right in his earlier assessments that they had to stop; that she couldn't bury her grief in his body or their house for another day. He'd been adamant that she acquire some much needed rest before attempting to sort out her issues.

She'd truly attempted to lie in bed and do as he'd begged. She'd even contemplated a hot bath to soothe her aching body. However, it hadn't taken long after Ichabod had departed for her obsession to set in again. She was going to find out who this Henry Parish was exactly. If not for her own sanity, then for her friend's heart. From the handful of conversations she'd had with Jenny about Henry, she'd gotten the distinct impression that Jenny Mills was falling head over heels in love. But the feelings in the pit of her wouldn't allow her friend to be hurt by whoever this man really was. Jenny was too precious and if she gave her heart to someone undeserving, the fallout would shatter her. If that could be prevented, then she was going to do so whether anyone believed her or not.

When he crossed the street and began walking in the opposite direction, she waited a moment before following. He walked at a leisurely pace, forcing her to stop every so often as not to actually appear to be following him. It wasn't something she enjoyed doing as she lacked a great deal of patience, especially when she wanted to do nothing more than slam him into a chair and demand answers for what he was hiding.

After a time, he entered a local bookstore, prompting her to take up residence along the corner of the building just out of sight of the door.

As she stood there, her eyes fell on the Archives, which was situated three streets down and across the road. The sight of the old brick building brought a wave of guilt over her. Ichabod was going to be so disappointed with her. By now, he was probably back at their house wondering where she was. The urge to send him a text that she was alright crossed her mind momentarily before she realized she'd left her phone in her car, which, of course, was parked too far away as she hadn't wanted Henry to see it and become suspicious of her following him.

With a sigh, she ran a hand through her hair and stared up at the fading evening light.

What was she doing? Jenny would murder her if she knew she was stalking her boyfriend. If her friend ever found out just how obsessed she'd become with Henry, she'd surely never speak to her again. However, try as she may to remove herself from the spot she was currently occupying, she couldn't make herself take the first step. It felt too wrong to leave now when she was so close to him. Everything within her told her this was where she was supposed to be. It was as if her senses were screaming at her to learn more about this man; to understand why he was hiding that flicker of magic she was almost positive she'd felt.

"Why are you following me?"

Startled out of her wits, she stumbled away from the building and spun to find none other than Henry Parish staring at her; his crystal blue eyes boring into her with such intensity as to make her take a step back.

She'd been outsmarted. He must have noticed her following him and circled the building, but how could he have known? She'd been so careful.

"Because you're lying about who you are," she replied upon finally regaining her wits about her. "I know it."

His stare continued to drill into her for a long moment before he shook his head. "Why do you care who I am?"

"You're involved with my best friend," she said in a clipped tone. "And you've interacted with my fiancé. If anyone has cause to question your motives and who you are, it's me."

Crossing his arms, he asked, "And why is it that you think I'm lying?"

"I sensed magic in you," she said, gesturing at him as though it would make her statement more true. "You're attempting to block it from me, but you'll find that I'm not your ordinary, novice witch. You're going to have to do better than that to fool me."

He shrugged his shoulders. "Have you ever encountered a Sin Eater before?"

Sensing he was about to make an attempt to fool her again, she narrowed her eyes and replied, "No."

He gave a small nod and dropped his gaze to his hand, which he was holding palm up in front of him. "When I remove someone's sin, I take it into myself. I literally eat it." He placed a hand to his chest and lifted his eyes to hers. "I've eaten a great deal of sin and, because of that, it now rests within me." A frown creased his brow. "Has it not occurred to you that perhaps I ate the sin of someone who possessed magic? Has it not occurred to you that maybe that's the reason you sense the slightest bit of magic inside me? I'm not blocking it; it's faint and barely there. That's what you're sensing Katrina. You're sensing the remnants of another being's magic within me."

Taken aback at such a simple explanation, one she'd not even considered, she shifted her stance and asked, "So, you're saying that you're telling the truth? That the magic I sensed is just a byproduct of your sin eating ability?"

"I love Jenny," he whispered, his eyes softening ever so slightly. "It's not something I expected, nor even something I wanted." He chuckled. "But it happened. I'm sure you can relate to that notion. You fell in love with Ichabod against your better judgment, did you not?"

Despite the suave way in which he was delivering his perfectly logical answers, she still couldn't shake the prickly sensation that danced along her spine while meeting his eyes. However, it was time she started using a little more sense and actually begin acting like the woman who'd once led an entire coven of magical creatures.

Forcing a smile to her face, she said, "Perhaps, we have something in common after all. Forgive me, Henry. I only want what's best for my friend and to be honest," she added, deciding to lay it on thick. "I suppose I grew accustomed to being the only supernatural being in their lives."

He gave a gentle smile. "Of course. I must say that I truly respect you for the care you show toward Jenny. You're a wonderful friend to her and I hope we can now both be allowed the honor of having a part in her life."

With the still lingering doubt she held toward the very skilled manipulator in front of her, she doubted the accuracy of that statement, but nodded nonetheless. "Well, I should get back. I promised Ichabod I would be home."

Henry quickly bowed his head. "I hope to see you again soon, Katrina."

Allowing a thin smile to crease her lips, she replied, "Oh, I'm sure we will, Henry."

As she stepped around him and began walking toward her car, she felt his eyes following her; the prickly feeling still lingering in her belly.

Chapter Text

Arms stiffly crossed over his chest, he surveyed the kitchen he'd just spent the last two hours putting back in place as a means of distraction; hoping the work would help in the clearing of his thoughts. Upon arriving home earlier in the evening, he'd expected to find Katrina had ignored his plea to allow him the work and gone on to straighten their kitchen herself before moving on to ripping up the carpet, or whatever other crazy idea she might have thought up while in his absence. He'd even prepped himself for the argument they were sure to have over it.

However, his assumption had been very wrong. When he'd walked through the front door with new information he'd thought she might appreciate regarding Henry Parrish, he'd found the kitchen still in complete disarray and Katrina gone without a trace. Over the first two hours, while he'd fumbled around in his attempt to fix the mess she'd created, he'd called her at least a dozen times with no positive results. Without the shadow of a doubt, he'd thought he knew what she was doing. Her obsession had finally led her out of the house and after Henry, himself. What had angered him the most, though, was her lack of a note, or the decency to pick up the ringing phone that was forever in her hand and permit him the peace of mind as to where she was.

He hadn't the faintest idea why the people of this time spent so much time on their cellular devices. Yes, they were useful, but at what expense? He'd watched, over the course of his time in this century, as whole families sat down to dinner and never lifted their gazes long enough to even see what the rest of their family was wearing. It was utterly ridiculous. Many times, he'd had to restrain himself from walking over and scolding the lot of them for their rudeness. What he wouldn't give to have a family to converse with over dinner, something this generation seemed to take for granted at every turn. But Katrina... she knew better. She should have known that when he arrived home, he would worry after her. She should have known that more caution should have been used. It wasn't just the fact that she'd broken her promise by leaving. It was the fact that she was out chasing someone she thought to be duplicitous all the while knowing a Horseman of the Apocalypse was intent upon claiming her as his own. That thought alone had struck another ping of worry within him. What if she wasn't ignoring him at all? What if Abraham had her and that's why she wasn't answering her phone?

That had been the point where he'd picked up his own phone and placed a call to the Leftenant in a frenzied panic. However, to his annoyance, that conversation had not gone the way he'd wanted it to in the least. Despite his worry and fervent belief that his soul mate was now in the clutches of the enemy, Abbie had calmly told him to slow his horses and calm down. She'd assured him that Katrina was a powerful witch with knowledge and abilities well beyond either of them and that she was likely out getting groceries or something. When he'd pressed that it had been two hours of her missing, she'd asked him when the last time he'd went grocery shopping was. Apparently, it was a time consuming task and there was a reason missing person's reports couldn't be filed until a certain amount of time had passed. However, that still hadn't stopped him from pressing his points and he'd managed to work her down to promising that if another two hours passed without the red head's appearance, then she'd go to the station and track her cell.

That had been half an hour ago and he was now, not so patiently, sitting on the sofa in their living room; his fingers drumming against the arm rest and his legs crossing and uncrossing every few minutes. Why did she have to do this to him? Why couldn't she have just rested like he'd begged her to? Why was she so blasted stubborn?

As he swallowed against the knot stuck in his throat, he again considered the idea of her being captured. Where would he even begin to look for her? What if he never saw her again? The very idea of never awakening to her green eyes again attempted to halt his heart. How would he survive in a world without Katrina? She was everything to him. In her rested all of his hopes and dreams for any real happiness; for a family of his own; for them to finally share their deepest and most longed for desires. The first time he'd thought he'd lost her had nearly destroyed him. He couldn't go through that again. Even if he did continue to live, he imagined he'd be nothing more than the shell of a man.

The click of the front door opening and closing perked his attention up as his eyes shot open. Bolting off the sofa, he darted toward the archway and nearly stumbled around the corner; his heart hammering in his throat at the knowledge he would soon lay eyes on her again.

The first thing his sight was drawn to was her russet hair tossed over one shoulder in a careless manner. Then, came the leather jacket she wore along with the skinny jeans she was so fond of. Lastly, he took in her gold flecked, olive green eyes as they jerked up to meet his harried appearance.

"Ichabod-"

"Where have you been?" he asked breathlessly as he clutched at the doorframe leading to the living room; praying he could keep himself upright long enough to receive answers.

He thought he'd surely pass out from the mental exertion his body had went through over the past few hours.

Her brow knit as she stared at him. "I went-"

"After Henry?" he cut in again, having no patience for long explanations. "I called you."

"My phone was off," she responded as she twisted her keys between her fingers, leaving him to believe she looked rather guilty. "I didn't see your calls until I turned it back on fifteen minutes ago."

Not able to stand another moment of not touching her, he began closing the distance between them, prompting her to begin speaking again; her eyes wide and practically pleading with him.

"Ichabod, I'm so sorr-"

Hands lifting and tangling in her thick hair, his mouth crashed into hers with a crushing kiss; one that had her stumbling back only to be pinned against the wall.

"Icha-" she attempted to mumble against his lips while simultaneously resting her hands on his arms; gripping him with her fingers and shoving at him.

For two hours, his anger had built and then, during the last half hour he'd spent sitting on that blasted sofa, he'd thought he'd lost her. He had literally been waiting for the allotted time the Leftenant had given him for her to confirm the inevitable outcome that was his love being gone forever. Now, there was a massive storm in his chest because of such thoughts and it needed a place to release its force; its furious outburst of emotion.

Pressing her as firmly against the wall as he could manage, he dropped the hand tangled in her hair to her neck and held her in place as he tilted his head for better access to her mouth; prying her lips apart with his tongue and slipping it inside her hot cavern to trace around her own.

It was then that her hands finally stopped pushing at him and, instead, began gripping his shoulders to pull him closer; her body welcoming the weight of his. With the assurance that she wasn't going anywhere, he dropped his hands to her sides where he began pushing her jacket away from her body; reveling in the heat beneath which told him she was alive and here; that she was his to claim.

When the jacket was as far off her as it would go, he pulled her from the wall and shoved it from her shoulders before blindly tossing it down the hallway; caring not where it landed. There was little patience in him for proper etiquette. His emotions were raw and demanding a means of healing.

As her slick tongue chased his back into his own mouth, the warmth of her saliva making him tingle, he pushed his hands up her shirt; sliding his fingers along her smooth skin; the hem of her shirt catching and tugging upwards until they were forced to pull apart so he could rid her of it and discard it in the same direction her jacket had went.

He was burning and he wanted her to burn, too. While there had been a fair amount of anger over her absence, for the most part, he had settled on actively counting the minutes that passed by until he'd found he was practically hyperventilating with worry. Now, he needed to be as close to her as possible.

Slipping the thin straps off her shoulders, his fingers fumbled with the clasp along her back and pulled it free before allowing the last hindrance of her upper body to fall away; leaving her exposed to his wants; to his needs. She was such a beautiful creature; her chest flushed; her breathing labored. Normally, he would take his time with her, but not now. There was no appreciation to be had in the passing moments. There would be time for that later; when he was positive she was his again.

His hands fell to her waist and guided her back against the wall as his mouth descended to her warm breasts, which were so soft and smooth beneath his lips that he felt as though he were falling into a deep state of intoxication from just touching them.

She was his greatest desire and he wanted her to awaken the following morning knowing it. He needed her to have a deep understanding of how vital she was to his existence. It wasn't just her anymore. She couldn't just run off as she pleased. Everywhere she went, she took his heart with her and he needed for there to be an understanding that that part of their lives was over. Now, he knew why she was so angry over his capturing the Horseman without her knowledge. It was unacceptable behavior; reckless even. If they were going to be man and wife, a certain acknowledgement needed to be in place. As they would be one flesh, they would need to act accordingly. There was no her and him; there was them.

Her mewls of satisfaction under his frenzied touches flickered over his skin like a raging furnace, effectively arousing him even further as he grunted against her skin. Her hands were splayed along his lower back; tickling his skin as she hooked a leg around his calf to bring them closer together. Lifting his head, he caught her desire coated eyes; darkened in ways that made his skin prickle with how very real she was. It caused such a heaviness in his chest that he found he could no longer allow her to go without scolding.

"Do you have any idea how worried I was becoming? The thoughts that were beginning to run through my mind?" He caught her chin in his fingers to level their gazes, needing her to see how affected he'd been by her actions. "I thought Abraham had you."

A few rapid blinks led to her eyes falling closed as she spoke through heavy pants, "I'm so sorry. I never consider that."

Her lack of forethought did nothing for him. His chest still felt overwhelmingly tight; like everything was coiling further and further around his heart. She had to make it stop. Only she could.

"I'm burning on the inside, Katrina," he whispered as he leaned his forehead to hers; their warm breaths mingling in ways that had him feeling lightheaded. "I feel like a knot of anger and worry is balled tightly inside my chest. Why would you do that to me?"

She couldn't have looked more forlorn if she'd tried. Her fingers crept up his neck, the touch of them practically scalding him, as she tilted her head and brushed her lips over his cheek. "I'll do anything to stop it. Just tell me what you need, my love."

Eyes falling tightly closed, he took in the smooth skin of her back beneath his fingers; the way her chest pressed into his; her bare skin exposed; her warm breath on his face. It had him burning ever hotter.

A small part of him knew he needed to calm himself; that he was acting irrationally, most likely from a significant lack of sleep and exhaustion. However, the larger part of him needed her reassurance; needed her touch to sweep it all away.

"Take the rest of your clothes off and get in bed."

Perhaps it wasn't the best solution to go without talking things out, but it was the only thing he had the energy to do.

There was a slight hesitation in her eyes, but she still gave a small nod as she dropped her fingers to the button of her jeans. "Do you not want to talk about it?"

"Not now," he whispered as he held onto the walls on either side of her for support; the lightheadedness still present. "I need you. I need to know..."

As she backed down the hallway toward their room, he followed her like a starving predator stalking its prey. That's what they were right now. Just like any predator devoured its prey and made it a part of them, so would she be devoured and become a part of him.

Upon reaching their bed, she leaned against its edge and began pushing her boots and jeans down her legs; leaving him to swallow the clot of saliva building in his mouth. Every inch of her smooth skin set his skin to blazing hotter and hotter.

Her eyes danced over him with a mixture of worry and curiosity, but he ignored her looks, instead choosing to keep his eyes on her body.

When she was left in only the dark green underwear wrapped around her most intimate of places, he took a determined step forward and settled his fingers on the sides of her thighs where he tapped along her skin, moving upward inch by inch until he was slipping them into the sides of the material.

Throughout it all, she never took her eyes off him and it sent a pulse straight down his spine, prompting him to summon his strength and rip the material caught in his grasp right up the middle, causing her to give a slight gasp as her hands grasped his upper arms.

"You should yell at me," she murmured softly, her eyes darting between his. "I deserve it."

Fingers skimming over her hips, he ducked his head and slammed his lips against hers in a bruising kiss, leaning her back in the process, until she was lying sideways across their bed; the soft mattress giving under their weight.

Whatever hesitation she may have had disappeared the moment she settled herself as her hands began sliding along his sides in a hurried manner, fumbling for the hem of his shirt and slipping beneath it to scratch over his abdomen; her thighs parting to rest alongside his hips, presenting him with the home he craved.

Her taste was bitter, like she'd recently partaken of a cup of coffee, but her mouth was still plenty inviting; her hot saliva coating his tongue as he swirled it around hers.

"Katrina," he moaned against her wet lips as he rested his forehead to hers. "I burn for you."

A slow grin brought her dimples out, all worry and nervousness gone, as she splayed her hands against his back and pulled him closer. "How brightly?"

Eyes darting to her darkened ones, he swallowed with the need to wet his throat which had suddenly gone dry. It had been a very long time since she'd said that to him. During those times where they'd snuck about all those years ago, she'd taken to asking him that question any time he would tell her he burned for her; whether they were reuniting after a long winter of separation, or simply overcome with lust and feeding it in some dark corner with her pressed firmly into a wall. Needless to say, he'd always attempted to make her feel his burning reciprocated deep within herself.

Quickly pushing himself up, he regained his feet and reached for the hem of his shirt before hastily pulling it over his head; never taking his eyes from hers as she leaned up on her elbows to watch him. He, then, slipped his hands into the waist of his trousers and shoved them down his legs; wasting no time in stepping out of them.

Her eyes followed his progression with a lick to her lips; her tongue teasing over the plump flesh.

Unable to stand another moment's separation, he returned to her; crawling onto the bed and resuming his place over her; absorbing the scent of vanilla which was attempting to mask her natural scent. It was enough to draw his descent to her neck where he began placing biting kisses along her throat; enjoying every moment of the way she mewled beneath him; her fingers digging into his arms while the other tangled in his hair to press him closer with twists that were nearly painful.

What added to the coursing heat in his core was the feeling of her dampness every time he shifted his lower body, which caused his cock to slide against her; each time greeting him with a gasp that prompted him to suck harder at her skin. He was so enthralled with touching her. Sometimes it felt like he might not survive without the feel of her skin beneath his fingers; without her heartbeat throbbing against his chest. Was it even natural to crave a person so deeply?

Dragging his mouth to her ear, he whispered, "Did you cast a spell on me, witch?"

With a turn of her head toward him, she pressed a damp, wet kiss to his cheek. "As if I'd need to."

Eyes falling closed as she began kissing along his throat, he sagged onto his forearms and rested his forehead to the bed. Sometimes, he imagined he could just bask in her presence for eternity and be content.

The way she kissed him; touched him. Everything she did in these moments screamed her affection for him; her love.

Sucking in a shuddered breath, he attempted to concentrate on her lips rather than her fingers, which were digging into his muscles and easing him into a far too relaxed state. The way she every so often slipped her tongue out to swipe over his skin, often to accompany the light nips she placed to his flesh, were all he wanted to think about.

Sliding one hand up the opposite side of her body to tangle in her hair, he began softly massaging her scalp; reveling in how perfect she felt against him. He had no doubt she was perfectly designed just for him. No other would ever fit against him the way she did. No other would ever make him feel the way she did.

When her fingers slid even further down and grabbed a handful of his flesh to pull him closer, he nearly jumped off the bed. So lost in his thoughts, he'd nearly fallen right to sleep with her soothing caresses.

"Katrina..."

"I hope we'll always burn this way," she whispered into his ear, her warm breath invading him. "I never want to stop burning, Ichabod."

Needing to see her, he lifted his head and caught her olive eyes; the gold flecks he so loved full of love; full of life. The look in her eyes was so earnest that he found himself unsure how to respond, leaving him to go with a simple, but no less powerful, "I love you."

Her eyes softened as she slid her hand up his back and over his shoulder to rest along his cheek. "I'm sorry I disappointed you." She gave a hard swallow and shake of her head. "I hate disappointing you. I'm so afraid that one day you're going to cut your losses and find better than me."

Stunned by her train of thought, especially considering his, he grasped her hand and brought it to his heart. "It beats for you and you alone." He smiled lightheartedly. "Besides, who else would put up with my antics? I practically begged the Leftenant to file a missing person's report earlier."

When she only gave the tiniest of laughs in return, he pressed a kiss to her forehead and rolled off her body, greeting the cool air of the room as he sat up.

Crawling up the bed, he pulled the covers back and glanced at her, where she was now sitting up, her brow knit as she watched him.

"What are you doing? I thought-"

"Come here," he murmured as he reached for her hand and tugged at her until she relented and followed him up the bed.

Struggling with the blankets as they were both sitting on them, he finally managed to lift them enough for him to slip beneath and then hold them up for her to follow.

While she did everything he signaled her to do, the frown never once left her face. Obviously, this wasn't what she'd been expecting. To be completely honest, this wasn't where he'd thought the night would go either.

When she was situated in her usual resting place, he slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her back into his chest; molding into her out of habit.

With his lips just over her ear, he whispered, "I adore you, Katrina van Tassel."

Her fingers threaded though his as she brought them to her lips where she placed a tender kiss to his knuckles. "Even though I broke my promise?"

Pressing a kiss to her ear, he said, "No matter how angry and frustrated you make me, I swear to you that my adoration will never cease."

She shifted his arm and brought it to rest between her breasts. "I'll do my best to keep the need for anger and frustration in our home at a low."

Lightly chuckling, he asked, "Did you find what you were searching for?"

She shrugged her shoulders and sighed rather wearily. "I don't know. He gave the perfect explanation that should have assuaged my doubts, but, despite what he said, I still feel there's cause to doubt him."

"The Leftenant and I searched for information regarding him that might corroborate what you felt, but we didn't turn anything up," he tiredly whispered into her ear. "I'm not sure what more proof you need."

"Ichabod, I swear," she pressed on, the conviction in her voice strong. "There's something more going on with him. He makes me feel so... I can't explain it. It's not just that I feel he's lying. There's something else; something deeper."

As his arms wrapped further around her, he burrowed into the back of her neck. "Doubt him all you like, my love, but you must remember that it's a tightrope you're walking when it comes to you and Miss Jenny. She seems to care for him very deeply and, loathe as I am to admit it, she's a very good judge of character."

"I know," she said, tracing her fingers over his arm. "I just... I can't seem to let this go. He's gotten under my skin in a way no one ever has. There's something about his eyes that unnerves me. I feel so... strange when he's present; like there's something just out of my reach that I should be understanding."

Knowing this issue was far from resolved, he gave a heavy sigh and closed his eyes. "He's a supernatural being. I think strange is implied." He could practically feel her rolling her eyes, but he was too tired to confirm it. "Katrina, I trust your feelings, but the man hasn't done anything wrong. I'm torn between having my own feelings which say he's perfectly alright and wanting to believe in your unending doubts concerning him."

"Do you think I'm wrong?" she asked, her low voice giving way to her fear of his answer.

"I think we all need to be more careful when it comes to who we trust," he answered as evenly as he could manage. "Only time will tell when it comes to Henry, but, for now, I think it best to treat him as someone Miss Jenny deeply cares for."

When she remained quiet, he added, "Perhaps, tomorrow will shed some new light on the issue."

"Perhaps."

The off manner in which she spoke left him feeling more tired than ever.

"I simply want to lay here with the knowledge that you're safe," he whispered against her skin. "Can we do that?"

She pressed another kiss to his knuckles before turning in his arms, her gaze finding his. "I'll even let you watch me sleep."

Grin spreading over his face, he whispered, "Perfect."

Chapter Text

He refused to acknowledge it. To acknowledge it would mean that it was actually happening and it simply couldn't be happening.

"Ichabod..." came Katrina's groggy voice as she shifted on his arm which was currently pinned beneath her neck. "Your phone."

Turning off his back with a jerk of irritation, he wrapped his arm around her waist and grunted his protest against her skin, "No."

When the offending sound silenced at last, he relaxed his shoulders and nuzzled into her sweet smelling hair as sleep clouded his mind once more. However, seconds later, the ringing started up again, prompting him to groan against her neck.

"Make it stop," she whispered as she roughly pushed his arm off her and burrowed further into her pillow.

Cursing under his breath with the question of why heaven despised him so deeply, he sat up and crawled over her legs to blindly reach in the dark for his trousers that were persisting with their ringing. Roughly tugging them up and jerking the phone from the pocket, he flopped back against the bed and growled out a gruff, "Hello?"

"Hello to you, too," Abbie said in a non too amused tone. "Look, I know it's late, but we have a problem."

Now more alert due to the seriousness of her voice, he knit his brow. "What sort of problem?"

The bed shifted as Katrina turned over and laid a hand to his chest. "What's wrong?"

Absentmindedly threading his fingers through hers, he listened as Abbie replied, "Someone broke into Sleepy Hollow Savings and Loans fifteen minutes ago."

Body tensing at the implications, he asked with more than slight dread, "Is it gone?"

"Yeah," she answered; the weariness in her voice coming through. "I'm heading over there now."

Wishing this was all a dream he would soon awaken from, he nodded his head and said, "We'll be there as soon as we're able."

As he shut his phone, Katrina sat up and snapped her fingers, prompting the bedside lamp to fill the room with light.

"What happened?"

Rubbing at his heavy eyes as they adjusted to the room's sudden brightness, he said, "It would seem Abraham has located his head."

"What?"

Finally looking up at her, he took in her wide eyes. She looked like she was on the verge of either screaming or weeping, but he couldn't quite figure out which it was.

"Where did he find it? I thought the two of you had it hidden?"

The accusation in her tone struck a nerve, prompting him to sit up and shove the blankets off of him before standing from the bed. "We did."

"Well, obviously not very well," she returned as she, too, untangled herself and stood in a rather agitated manner.

As he began pulling his trousers on, he sighed, "Katrina..."

"Two hundred and thirty-one years," she exclaimed as she jerked a drawer open. "It remained hidden for over two centuries in a safe place, but the two of you had to stick your noses in it with your 'We're the Witnesses' mantra."

More than slightly offended, he narrowed his eyes at her as she pulled a pair of underwear up her legs. "It was our mission-"

She spun around with a finger pointed at him; her nakedness making her no less intimidating. "You have no idea what you're doing! Five months ago, the two of you had no knowledge of who you were." She flung a finger at the door. "You're like children pretending to save the day when, in truth, you have no idea what you're meddling with."

"We're the Witnesses," he began before she clenched her jaw and cut him off as she snapped her bra.

"And that suddenly gives you knowledge?" she asked hotly; her nose practically flaring. "I'm sorry, did you suddenly become downloaded with all kinds of supernatural information? Because the last time I checked, you didn't know magic and demons even existed before awakening in this century." She shook her head and pulled a shirt out of another drawer. "The two of you act like it's the Witnesses against the world, but even the most foolish man knows to ask for help when he's in over his head."

Anger coursing in his veins, he picked his shirt up and all but stomped from the room. He wasn't going to argue with her. He was too tired and so was she. Nothing good would come from it and he needed to remove himself from this situation before their tempers got the better of them.

Making his way toward the door, he opened the closet and pulled out his boots and coat before venturing to the front porch to begin tugging them on all the while praying the cool night air would calm the raging heat under his collar.

She was so condescending at times. It's not as if Abraham had even been around to search for his head throughout the centuries. If he had, who's to say he wouldn't have found her hiding place for it? He and Abbie had done the right thing.

However, a nagging sensation he associated with doubt crept up his back making him clench his fists against his knees. He positively hated when she made him doubt himself. It was a skill she was positively an expert at.

Not three minutes later, she appeared; her hair pulled up in a loose bun and her car keys in hand. When she caught sight of him, she held up her hands and bit out, "Well, are you ready?"

Without bothering to answer her, he stood and started down the steps toward her car. If she was going to be snippy with him, there was no reason he couldn't freeze her out. It was what they did when in these particular moods after all.

Upon pulling on the handle to open the door, he found it to still be locked, prompting him to glare at her over the dark hood. "Perhaps, you could unlock it since you're so eager to depart?"

She clenched her jaw and the car suddenly beeped as the door clicked. Jerking it open, he all but fell into the seat and slammed the door shut, causing the whole car to shake.

"Unless you've magically found a boatload of cash to fix the damages to my car, maybe you might want to go a little easier on it."

Digging his fingers into his palms, he turned to her with the falsest smile he could muster. "And here I thought we had come to an understanding that everything that's yours is mine."

With a roll of her eyes, she started the car and put it in gear. "This ring is starting to feel like a life's sentence."

"Then, take it off," he shot back as he turned to stare out the window at the dark night.

A tightness was now present in his chest, making him feel like the whole world was attempting to suffocate him. He hated it when they fought. It was never simple with them. Their tempers didn't permit simple into the equation. No, it was always all out war as pride and stubbornness followed them around, bringing harsh and angry words with them.

After she'd pulled out onto the road, he closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against the glass, the cool feel of it swiping the heat in his face away little by little.

"Where am I going?" she softly asked.

The regret was thick in her voice, making him squeeze his eyes tighter. "Sleepy Hollow Savings and Loans."

A tension filled moment passed before she whispered, "It was a smart place to hide it."

Releasing a weary breath, he lifted his head and turned to see her staring straight ahead, her eyes glassy in the dash light's reflection. The sight sparked the urge within him to end this before it got worse. They were like two twisters seeking to destroy everything in their path with little control over what happened next.

Gently taking her free hand in his, he determined to change their paths and said, "I didn't mean it."

She swallowed and gave a small nod. "I know." She glanced at him for a quick moment; a half smile creasing her face. "Neither did I."

Lifting her hand to his lips, he placed a light kiss to her knuckles.


Red and blue lights blinded him as he and Katrina maneuvered through the crowd of people before being stopped by the yellow tape roping off the perimeter as well as an officer who held up a hand for them to stop. The barrier between him and the answers for this night's outing were beginning to grate his nerves.

While searching the various police officials for Abbie with growing agitation, he heard Katrina say, "Over there."

Following her indicated direction, he saw Abbie lingering in the doorway with Captain Irving. However, it was another voice that drew his attention.

"Let them through."

Jerking his gaze to the left, he saw Luke pointing at them. Relieved to find a way through, he gave the officer who'd stopped his earlier entrance a smug look before pulling Katrina with him under the tape and walked toward Luke.

"Detective Morales," he greeted, unsure of what else to say.

It wasn't as if the two of them had become great friends solely because Abbie had confessed all to the man. That was something that would only come with the assurance that Luke Morales was actually someone he could trust and, moreso, someone worthy of the attentions Abbie was bestowing upon him. Until that day came, he decided he would hold the man in the same respect he always had.

Luke slipped his hands in his pockets and nodded toward the bank. "Since you're here, I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess this isn't your usual robbery?"

He gave a terse nod as he took in the droves of officials covering the sidewalk. "Your guess would be correct."

Katrina tightened her hold on his hand, prompting him to glance at her. She was chewing her bottom lip rather fiercely, giving him a measure of confusion.

"Is something the matter?"

Rather than meeting his gaze, she nodded in Abbie's direction and, with a glance up, he found Abbie approaching with a rather disgruntled looking Jenny trailing closely behind.

"Oh," was all he managed to utter before the Mills sisters were in front of them.

"Well, it's definitely gone," Abbie said, as she gestured toward the building. "Whoever did it got inside and then proceeded to rip the doors off all of the safe's around the one they wanted."

Before he could respond, Katrina asked, "What do you mean by 'whoever?' Wasn't it Abraham?"

"That's the thing," Abbie answered as she glanced around at the various people walking past them. "The assailant got in without detection and managed to short out all of the cameras before escaping in the same manner." She shrugged as she turned to meet Katrina's gaze. "That doesn't exactly sound like Headless to me."

He knit his brow as a thought came to him. "You think it was the cloaked figure who set him free? The magical being?"

"Yeah," Abbie said with a nod. "I do."

"Hold up," Luke said with a deep set frown as he lifted a hand. "What's missing exactly?"

Jenny rolled her eyes while shifting her weight. "The Horseman's head."

He watched as Luke brought his hand to his eyes and rubbed at them. "Of course, because that happens all the time."

"We have to find Abraham," Katrina said, her voice full of near panic. "Him having his head will mean he now has the ability to summon the other Horseman."

"And who's Abraham?" Luke asked with another frown.

"Kat's ex," Jenny replied tersely; clearly appearing as though she'd rather be somewhere else. "One of many idiots who fell for her pretty facade."

Well, he was certainly offended and meant to let her know it. "Miss Jenny, I understand-"

"Henry was here today," Katrina said suddenly, prompting him to jerk a glance to her.

Had she gone completely mad? Now was hardly the time to bring up that particular subject.

"How do you even know that?" Jenny asked as she narrowed her eyes. "Are you following him?"

Despite the steam he swore he could see coming out of Jenny's ears, Katrina held her ground. "He was here for over half an hour."

"You manipulative, controlling witch," Jenny bit out as she threw her hands up. "I told you-"

Holding up a hand as he noticed Abbie darting glances between Jenny and Katrina with a growing frown, he said, "Perhaps, we should have this conversation somewhere more private?" He raised an eyebrow. "The Archives, perhaps?"

Without response, Jenny shook her head and began storming off in that direction while Luke and Abbie looked after her searchingly.

"What was that about?" Abbie asked as she watched her sister barely pay mind to the traffic as she crossed the street.

He blew a heavy breath through his nose. "Now would be the time to inquire into those personal affairs of your sister's."

As Abbie only stared at him in confusion, he shrugged his shoulders and began pulling Katrina along. Once they were a few feet ahead of Abbie and Luke, he asked, "Do you really think that was wise?"

A guilty look took her over as she stared at her feet. "No."

Running a hand through his hair, he said, "Well, on the bright side, I no longer have to keep this secret from the Leftenant."


The Archives were unusually quiet as the larger than normal group gathered around the table. It seemed as though no one wanted to be the first to speak and, for once, he had no desire to start the conversation.

With her arms crossed, he watched Abbie glance between a fuming Jenny, who was leaning against the table with her back to them, and Katrina, who had his hand in a death grip. He couldn't blame her nervousness. Jenny seemed like she was of the mind to kill her as soon as look at her again.

"Well," Abbie finally said. "Is anyone going to tell me what's going on?"

"It's not my place," Katrina whispered as she shifted her feet.

In response, Jenny spun around and pointed a finger at Katrina. "But it was your place to follow Henry around when he's never done a thing in the world to you?"

Abbie neatly folded her hands on the table, looking more like that of a school teacher rather than a detective, and pursed her lips. "Why is everyone suddenly so interested in Henry Parish?"

"And while we're at it," Luke added. "Who is he?"

"He's my boyfriend," Jenny said, stiffly folding her arms. "And Kat is being her usual self-centered self and throwing a fit because all of the attention isn't on her."

Not sure whether to remain silent or defend his love, he narrowed his eyes at Jenny. "She's only looking out for you."

Jenny glared at him as Abbie cut in, "All of you stop." She then turned to Jenny with a softer expression. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Seeming to deflate under her sister's more concerned gaze, Jenny shrugged her shoulders and said, "Because you're overprotective... and busy."

"I'm never too busy for you, Jenny," Abbie said, stepping toward her sister. "Have you been seeing him this whole time?"

Jenny gave no response, prompting Abbie to release a heavy breath.

"Ok," she said, turning back to Katrina. "Why the interest in Henry?"

"He has magic," Katrina said without hesitation, almost as if she was expecting the question. "And I think him being at that bank isn't a mere coincidence."

"He doesn't have magic and he was taking out a loan on a house," Jenny said, her harsher tone returning. "We're moving in together. That's why he was there."

Instead of seeming shocked by the news, Katrina shook her head. "I know you think I'm wrong. If you were accusing Ichabod of something, I would be defensive, too, but, Jenny, you know me. I would never do anything to hurt you."

"Like you never did anything to hurt Abraham? Or Ichabod? Or Nick? Or Abbie?" Jenny held out her hands with an incredulous laugh. "All you do is hurt people. You gain their trust and then you hurt them."

As the accusations settled in the air between them, he felt how completely tense Katrina was at his side. Jenny had certainly hit the mark she'd been aiming at.

Threading his fingers through Katrina's to let her know she wasn't alone, he whispered, "That's enough."

"Don't you dare defend her," Jenny nearly shouted. "Don't pretend like she didn't have you contemplating the idea of telling her you never wanted to see her again. She hurt you; lied to you. If she can do that to the man she loves, what does that mean for the rest of us?"

"She had good reasons-"

"Always?" Jenny asked with raised eyebrows. "Because there comes a point when the lies begin to pile up and you have to wonder if it's become a natural part of that person's persona."

Abruptly jerking her hand from his, Katrina started toward the door.

"Katrina-"

Never even glancing back, she ignored him and shoved the door open before disappearing from sight.

At the end of his wits, he spun around and pointed a finger at Jenny. "You stop!" When her eyes widened at his tone, he went on, "She has sacrificed everything to keep the one's she loves safe. If she thinks there's something wrong with Henry Parish, then there's something wrong with him. You can choose to think otherwise, but I trust her judgment. She's a powerful witch with senses beyond any of our understanding." He stepped forward, making sure he had her eyes for his next words. "And she's been your friend much longer than Henry has been your lover."

With that, he set out after his love; not caring about the others' reactions.

When he finally met the cool night air, he searched the sidewalk and streets for Katrina, finally finding her rounding the corner of the church and heading for the graveyard. Setting off after her, he quickly cleared the distance and entered the gates to see her standing in front of the gravestone which bore her name. The sight was more odd than anything else.

Hesitantly approaching her, he whispered, "My love?"

She didn't turn, or speak, prompting him to sigh as he stopped next to her and glanced down to the stone that had broken his heart. The memory of seeing it was still fresh as well as the pain which had accompanied it.

"I thought believing you were dead hurt, but seeing this stone..."

Another moment of silence passed before she crossed her arms and spoke. "She's right."

"She's hurt-"

"Because of me," she whispered as her eyes filled with tears. "I hurt her by attacking Henry's character with little to no evidence."

Unable to disagree, he reached for her arms and spread them apart before pulling her flush against him. As her arms encircled him, he pressed his lips to her ear. "I have faith in you."

A small shiver went through her as her hands slipped under his coat. "And what if I'm wrong?"

Her small whisper brought a smile to his face. "I'll still have faith in you. No one's infallible."

A light chuckle escaped her as she leaned back to run her lips along his cheek. "I love when you protect me."

Eyes falling downcast, he said, "I fail miserably at it."

"No," she whispered softly. "You don't."

Giving her a brief smile, he leaned his forehead to hers. "What now?"

She sighed, her warm breath washing over his face. "If I acquire my spell book, then I might be able to perform a tracking spell, but I'm going to require something of Abraham's to do it."

He nodded as his eyes narrowed in thought. "I believe I have a book he gave me in one of those boxes you kept. Will that work?"

She pursed her lips and tilted her head side to side. "It might. It seems to be our best option."

"Alright then," he said, more energy in his voice as he began tugging her toward the gate. "Let's begin our search."

When they were back in her car, he dialed Abbie and relayed the information to her. She agreed to their plan and said they'd meet them at their house so as to speed things up.

"She's going to meet us," he informed as he hung up his phone.

The foggy night was eerily silent as they made their way down the street.

"What are we going to do when we find him?" he asked, his mind already seeking to work out the details. "We don't exactly have a means to defeat him; especially considering he has his own warlock to protect him."

Katrina shrugged her shoulders. "Defeating him shouldn't be the priority. We need to regain his head."

A slight groan bubbled from his throat. "Well, that should be easy."

"Just promise me you're going to be careful," she said with a concerned glance at him. "This isn't an ordinary war; it's a hundred times more dangerous and your enemy isn't going to simply back down from a pistol in the face."

Not wanting her to work herself up, he reached for her hand and whispered softly, "I know, my love, but I'm not afraid." When she glanced at him again, he grinned. "I have you to protect me."

She gave a small laugh and turned back to the road with a shake of her head. However, he noticed her eyes widen as she suddenly slammed on her breaks, causing him to brace his hands on the dashboard out of reflex.

As the car skidded across the wet red, he saw the cloaked figure standing in the middle of the road with its arms outstretched. Then, out of nowhere, the car hit an invisible barrier and gave a hard jolt before flipping into the air.

It all happened so quickly that he barely had time to brace himself for the impact. However, all the bracing in the world didn't prepare him for the shock that invaded his system as the car slammed back into the ground.

Everything was hazy as he attempted to turn his head to the side and discern where he was, but the moment his eyes landed on Katrina, his body became alert. Her eyes were closed as blood trickled down her face with her body hanging upside down, only suspended by her seatbelt.

"Katrina..."

She didn't move, causing his worry to heighten as he attempted to move, but couldn't. Gaze darting down to his legs, he found them pinned by the dash, which had come in on them with the impact that had sent them rolling across the road.

His body screamed at him to be still as every inch of him felt like it was on fire. However, the driver's door suddenly flying off sent another shot of pain across his chest as the force jerked the car sideways. When he managed to force his eyes open, he saw a large set of boots as a scarred hand reached in and snapped Katrina's seatbelt, allowing her to fall into his arms.

"Abraham," he growled with all the might he could muster. "You leave her be!"

Glass cracked as the boots shifted to accommodate pulling Katrina's body from the wreckage.

"Abraham!"

No reply came. However, when Katrina was gone from his sight, something hit the hood of the car, causing his gaze to fall to the small object. When the realization that it was Katrina's necklace settled in, fear spiked through him as the Horseman began walking away, causing his chest to begin heaving as he attempted to breathe.

He had to get free.

However, the car was so crushed around him that he knew it wasn't going to happen. The longer he struggled, the weaker he became. Blood leaked over his cheeks and began obscuring his vision. Then, there was only darkness.

Chapter Text

Aching soreness. Stiff muscles. Slight dizziness.

That was how she felt as she began slowly cracking her eyes open only to find her vision more hazy than not. Before she began to wonder why she felt such a way, the dim light dancing over the ceiling told her that Ichabod had once again forgotten to turn the lamp on his side of the bed off before falling asleep, prompting her to stretch her body with a groan.

"Ichabod?" she whispered as she blindly laid a hand to his side of the bed, hoping he would wake up and turn the lamp off.

However, the moment her hand made contact with the scratchy material of the blanket she was lying on, she found herself bolting straight up with little care for how the abrupt movement felt to her stiff muscles.

Heart pounding in her chest, she took in the small room around her; every new inch of it causing more anxiety to swell within her. A vanity set across the way holding various trinkets on its surface. She, herself, was on an old, wrought iron bed that that seemed to be newly made up. If her surrounding hadn't been odd enough, there was also the distinct smell of burning pine wafting in the air; a scent which was attempting to dull the musky smell of the small room.

Where was she?

Lifting a hand to her head, she pressed it against her eyes, hoping some explanation would present itself to her. The last thing she remembered was Ichabod. They were in her car and then... She shook her head at her inability to recollect how she had gotten here and, more importantly, where Ichabod was.

The sounds of movement drew her gaze to the door she just realized was open. Wherever she was, it seemed she was, at the very least, not locked in. That knowledge brought her a small measure of comfort... but not much.

Slowly pushing herself off the bed, she practically tiptoed toward the door and ever so slightly peeked around its frame.

A long hallway greeted her sight and, at the end of it, she noticed flickering shadows indicating some sort of fire. As best as she could tell, that was the room that seemed to be where the sounds were originating. Hesitantly stepping from the room, she began walking; the flames and footsteps of more than one person holding her attention. Maybe this was Luke's new house. Abbie had mentioned he was remodeling an old cabin. Perhaps, she'd fallen asleep at some point and Ichabod had driven her here.

Even so, she did her best to strategically place her steps so as to not alert whoever was in the far room to her presence. No matter how much she desperately wanted to assure herself that she was safe, she still had a sinking dread steadily growing within her that told her she was the furthest thing from it.

All hope vanished when the acutely, distinctive shadow that passed over the wall across from the lit room halted her steps altogether.

Abraham.

She was with Abraham. Quickly leaning against the wall, she searched her mind for how this had happened, but found herself growing more and more confused with every second that passed. If she was with Abraham, where was Ichabod? Was he the other person in the room? Was Abraham torturing him? How had they even gotten here without her remembering?

Gaze once more darting down the now looming hallway, she pushed her fear away and began moving again, needing to have certainty concerning her love's situation.

Boots thudding on a wooden floor were the only sound that was coming from the room and she found herself confused over why she wasn't hearing voices. Surely, if Ichabod was in there, he wouldn't be remaining silent. If there was anyone in the world who was prone to having his opinion known, it was Ichabod; most especially in the face of adversity.

As she came to the edge of the door, she just barely glanced around the corner while mentally attempting to brace herself for what she might see. Sure enough, there stood Abraham in all his Headless glory. He was facing a side of the room she couldn't see and dared not to attempt trying. It seemed as though he were having some type of silent conversation with whomever he was conversing, which made sense of course.

No head equaled no voice.

However, that didn't solve the mystery of why whoever he was talking to was remaining so silent.

Stepping away, she once more pressed her back to the wall and sucked in a deep breath. She had to get out of here, but knew she couldn't leave without knowing for sure where Ichabod was, or if he was even here at all. If the last place they were together was her car, then something must have happened. Had they wrecked?

Surely she would remember such an incident, or at least have some physical indication. That thought drew her gaze to her hands and arms, which held nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn't until she was squinting in the dim lighting that she noticed a few dark stains along the chest area of her green sweater. If she was to guess, she'd say it looked like dried blood, but she couldn't be sure. Blood meant injury, though, and she felt no sign of that. Perhaps, it wasn't hers? But if it wasn't hers, did that mean it was possibly Ichabod's?

Closing her eyes, she searched her mind in an attempt to find a calm place, but, to her confusion, she felt... weak. Snapping her eyes open, she stared at her hands and attempted to summon fire to her palm. When nothing happened, not even the slightest spark, she felt a wave of panic swell in her chest.

Her magic was being blocked somehow.

However, before she could truly process how that could be, fingers suddenly tightened around her arm and she was roughly jerked into the next room.

So caught off guard by the force with which she was hauled around the corner, she barely managed to catch herself as she stumbled into a table, but not before her thigh hit the edge of a chair, prompting her to let out a small grunt of pain that washed over her in sharp throbs. The subsequent burning sting that set into her skin had her gripping the table's edge.

When she managed to spin around, she found not only Abraham, but the cloaked figure standing opposite her; every inch of the creature covered in black; obscuring any distinguishing feature he might have.

Gathering all the composure she could rally, she attempted to steady her breathing.

"How did I get her?"

Rather than answer her in whatever way he could, Abraham turned to the figure and made some sort of loopy gesture in her direction. Brow knitting over the exchange, she watched as the figure she was now sure was a warlock waved a hand over the place Abraham's face should have been and, like static waves on a tv, Abraham's head shimmered into appearance.

Blonde hair pulled back by a piece of lace, every single strand perfectly in place, Abraham tilted his head as though cracking his neck and greeted her with a thin smile. "Hello again, Katrina."

The dryness of her throat was causing the situation to worsen by the minute. It was bad enough that her mind was betraying her with fear, but to have her body doing so as well was too much.

Swallowing in the hopes of wetting her throat enough to properly speak, she asked with as much diplomacy as she could manage, "Where's Ichabod?"

A barely perceptible frown creased Abraham's face before he began walking toward her, prompting her to quickly stumble away and put the table between them. If that was the only small bit of control in this situation she could maintain, then she was most definitely going to use it.

Instead of chasing after her, however, he picked up a silver pitcher which had been sitting on the table and poured some water into a cup that he then lifted toward her. "You must be thirsty."

She was. Her throat felt like sandpaper and her tongue felt too thick in her mouth, but there was no way she was accepting anything he offered her.

Ignoring the cup, she whispered more slowly and demandingly, "Where is Ichabod?"

He stared at her for a long moment, almost as though he were attempting to work out what she'd asked, before releasing a heavy sigh and setting the cup down. From the way he was acting, one would think she was a child asking her parent an unreasonable question.

"I assure you that he's alive."

Eyes narrowing, she asked, "And I'm supposed to just take your word on that?"

He shrugged his shoulders rather nonchalantly. "I have no reason to lie. Surely you must know that I'd be gloating if he were indeed dead."

Unable to deny that, she went on with her questions, "How did I get here?"

"My friend," he said as he gestured to the warlock, who was standing stone still against the wall. "Assisted me in stopping your modern carriage."

It was like his words were settling too slowly in her mind as she blinked at the other being in the room. He stopped her carriage? What did that even mean?

"The car..." Her eyes widened; the realization having her heart pick up pace with a stinging clarity. "You left Ichabod in the car? He could die!"

After that and without much thought, she bolted for the door and jerked it open. However, before she could further flee, a hot energy swept through her and nearly knocked her off her feet. It was so shocking in its intensity that it took her very breath from her.

Stunned at having been halted in her tracks by the air itself, she gazed at the doorway incredulously; her heart pounding in her chest. It was when her vision finally cleared that ever so slowly a slight shimmer in the air became more apparent to her. The visual of the energy settling made her realize that a barrier had been placed around the building, which was likely the reason her magic wasn't working.

"While you must know that his death would not move me in the least," Abraham began as his boots thudded against the floor. "I see that you need comfort and will give you some measure of it. Just as we departed the area, the other Witness arrived to his aid."

"Since when have you ever cared about my comfort?" she heatedly bit out as she spun back to him. "You don't care for me, Abraham."

"I had my friend heal you of your injuries," he replied with a gesture back to the warlock. "Does that not show my concern?"

"The only person you've ever cared about is yourself."

Abraham shook his head, his face a tale of disappointment. "I could have given you the world. You'd have never wanted for anything; never needed comfort in the first place. Your life would have been one of ease and contentment."

Face contorting at just how deluded he'd become, she said, "That was always your problem. You thought your money could give you whatever you wanted, but I never wanted the world, Abraham. I never wanted anything you offered. I wanted love. I wanted a reason beyond myself for waking every morning."

"And how did that work out for you, Katrina?" he almost haughtily taunted as he held his hands out in a wide gesture. "Did you and Ichabod live out the fairytale life? Did you marry? Have children? Grow old together?"

Flinching at the denials of life she'd faced spewing from his cold lips, she accused, "You stole those things from us. If it weren't for you, Ichabod and I would have had all of that."

"It matters little now," he said as he paced toward the bright hearth, which she just noticed held his skull on the mantle. "As soon as this is back where it belongs, I will usher in the rest of the Horseman; War, Famine, and Conquest. The end will begin much sooner than you can imagine."

"It won't happen," she denied with as much confidence as she could muster. "The Witnesses will stop you. Ichabod will stop you just as he did before when he took that skull from your neck."

"Perhaps," he said with a shrug before turning to her; a sickening grin coming to his face. "But not before I take you as my bride."

Body going rigid at the implications, she stared at him as the ideas she could see whirling in his eyes clouded her mind. For the first time since she'd awoken, it was her safety she began fearing for rather than Ichabod's. However, that wasn't something she wanted Abraham to know.

"Poor Abraham," she mused with fake sympathy. "The only wife he can find himself is the one he forces into wedlock. Tell me, since you have the habit of buying everything, did you pay your whores to fake their orgasms as well?"

A violent mask of seething rage overtook his face as he stalked toward her, every heavy footfall forcing her to back up as far as she could until she found herself with her back to a wall. With nowhere to go, she was trapped as his hand slammed into her neck, clamping around it in a vice grip, as his body pressed her firmly against the stone; effectively pinning her in place.

The stinging pain was instantaneous, causing her to immediately lift her hands to attempt jerking his away, but it was to no avail.

"You will be my bride," he sneered over her, his pupils blow wide as they bore into her. "And you will give me the heir I deserve."

A sickening, cold fear swept through her as his free hand rested over her belly, pressing against her in a way she knew would leave a bruise.

A smirk creased his lips at the flinch she gave in response as he leaned in to whisper in her ear; the lack of warm breath on her skin filling her with mixed feelings. "Oh, the pleasure I intend to pull from your body as I feel you with my seed. I've dreamed of it for so long; the things I intend to do to you."

"Go to hell," she bit out as she struggled against him and even attempted to bring a knee up, but found herself once again thwarted.

His lustful gaze flickered up to her and his grin widened as his hand ventured south to the dip between her thighs where his fingers pressed against her intimately. Every inch of her body burned with not only anger, but also fear; deep, deep fear. Fear that had her crippled under his hold.

"Oh, I fully intend to, darling, and I'm going to take you with me. You are no longer Ichabod Crane's lover, but mine." He pressed harder against her sex, the action causing her breathing to halt. "Do you understand?"

When she only grit her teeth in response, he tightened the fingers of his other hand around her neck, every word he spoke making them dig deeper. "Learn your place and answer me, Katrina."

Gathering all the strength she could muster, she pushed down the knot in her throat and spit in his face, obviously forgetting he didn't really have a face to spit at.

His reaction wasn't to jerk back as she'd expected, but instead his forehead once again pulled together with rage as he gripped her even tighter.

As she gasped for air, she shouted as best as she could, "I'll kill myself before I submit to you."

"We shall see," he growled as he tangled his hand in her hair before forcing her to her knees; the pain of the concrete floor overwhelming her system as the stone bit into her joints.

"Perhaps, I should start teaching you now," he sneered, his hand tightening in her hair. "I assure you this is the position you'll find yourself in the most often during our new life together."

Not knowing where she gained the energy, she glared up at him, despite the fear coiling in her belly and spat, "You don't have the balls, Abraham."

Without pause, his face fell and the next thing she knew was the aching of her jaw as he gripped it while his other hand fell to the belt of his pants where he began jerking it loose. The sight and knowledge that washed through her had her struggling all the more. Without doubt, if she didn't get away from him, the atrocities he planned to visit upon her would come to pass.

However, before she could even begin to put up a decent fight, Abraham suddenly stumbled away from her due to some unseen force.

With him no longer supporting her, she had to catch herself with her hands as she fell toward the floor. Then, just as quickly as she'd been freed, she darted her eyes up in confusion to find Abraham glaring at the warlock, who was now dropping his hand to his side.

Wait. Did that mean he had just stopped Abraham from hurting her?

Her answer came when Abraham stalked across the room and leaned in close to sneer in the warlock's face, his finger pointed directly at the dark hood. "Interfere with my plans again, servant, and I will take your head from your shoulders. You may be Moloch's favorite pet for reasons I've yet to understand, but I will punish you."

With that, Abraham stalked across the room to the table, picked up his axe, then turned to glare down at her. "Before this week has finished you will know what it is to be wholly mine."

"You may take my body, but you'll never take my love," she returned with just as much heat, despite being crumpled on the stone floor. "I have given my heart to one man only; a man that you will never measure up to."

A cloud of pure fury clouded his features and, with an animalistic snarl, he brought the back of his hand against her mouth; the sting of it catching her off guard and knocking her into the table. Then, barely even casting her another glance along the way, he disappeared out the door and into the night.

The moment he was out of sight, she finally released the breath she'd been holding and leaned forward to rest her head on her arms. Everything ached and the circumstances she now found herself in were more dire than she cared to admit. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest and she was sure she was bleeding in various places along her body. None of that was to mention that fear she still held for her love.

Just as a sob attempted to make its way out of her, awareness entered her once more and she slowly glanced up to find the warlock, still unmoving, seemingly watching her.

Not wanting to appear weak with her enemy still present, she sucked in a deep breath through her nose and pushed herself up while rubbing at her throbbing neck and knees. What had nearly just occurred to her was still processing in her mind as her gaze drifted to the door, then returned to the stone still warlock.

The very idea that he'd protected her from Abraham's evil intentions stirred more fear in her than Abraham himself.

"What sort of plans do you have for me that you'd stop him from hurting me?"

Without a word, the figure soundlessly moved to pick up the skull before following in Abraham's path and leaving her in complete bewilderment. Unsure of what to make of what had just happened, she ran her fingers through her hair and released a heavy breath.

"Ichabod, please be strong."


He wanted to utter a curse at the irritating beeping sound that was slowly waking him, but instead cracked his eyes open to blink at the dim lighting of the room. It was a constant, shrill sound to his right and it was fully within his intention to snuff it out. However, the stiffness of his body stopped him from doing much of anything even close to that.

"Hey, you're awake."

Rolling his head to the side, he took in Abbie who was sitting on a sofa, jacket throw over her lap with Jenny's head resting on it.

"Leftenant...?" he whispered as he searched the room with more precision. "What...?"

A hospital. He was in a hospital with various wires and tubes attached to him, some in rather uncomfortable places. Though, none of them bothered him as much as the throbbing spot on his forehead. As he lifted his hand to inspect why he was in so much pain, he noticed a few cuts spread over his skin along the back of his hand.

"Don't move too much, alright," Abbie said as she came to stand beside the bed. "The doctor said you'd be in a lot of pain. Your left arm is broken and you have a few bruised ribs from the seat belt."

Images of Katrina being pulled from the wreckage of her car struck him as he suddenly attempted to bolt into a sitting position, but only managed to fall back down with a groan when a sharp pain shot across his chest.

"Whoa," Abbie said as she laid a hand to his shoulder, her forehead creasing with concern as her dark eyes practically pled with him. "Crane, please, don't try to get up just yet."

"Katrina," he croaked as he clenched his jaw through the throbbing pain. "Abraham has her."

Abbie released a heavy sigh as she glanced at the door then back at him. "I know, but you have to stay still."

"I can't," he whispered through his dry throat. "He'll hurt her... do things to her. I have to find her."

"I'll find her, Ichabod," came Jenny's soft voice as she stepped next to her sister and laid a hand over his. "If you swear that you'll stay in this bed until told otherwise, I'll leave right now and start searching."

Wanting to protest, but knowing there was no way he'd make it out of the room without collapsing, much less the hospital, he nodded through a blurry gaze. "Please..."

A reassuring smile thinned out over Jenny's lips as she pressed something small and hard into his palm. With a curious glance down, he found Katrina's necklace in his grasp. The sight of it made his vision cloud over even further. It hadn't been off her person in over two centuries. To see it now with her nowhere to be seen stirred something deep within him that he could only associate with heartbreak.

"I'm gonna help you get her back, alright?" Jenny whispered with a squeeze to his hand. "I'll call you when I have something."

With that, Jenny exited the room, leaving he and Abbie in the wake of her promise; one he hoped with everything within him she would keep.

"Hey," Abbie said with a soft smile that should have settled his nerves. "If anyone can find her, it's Jenny. It's kinda her thing."

When he couldn't bring himself to respond, Abbie shifted closer to him.

"Kat's made of some tough stuff, Crane. Wherever she is, I'm sure she's fighting like hell to get back to you." After a pause, she added with a chuckle, "Besides, I don't think you could peel her off of you at this point."


It was just before morning when she heard the door to the house abruptly open and shut with a slam. Flinching at the sound of his arrival, she quickly stood from the bed and moved to stand beside the window. He didn't need her propped up on a bed giving him any more ideas on what he planned to do to her. She imagined he had enough ideas to last them a lifetime of torture and they were likely nothing in comparison to the cut lip and bruised ribs she now possessed.

The last few hours had been one horrible play on her imagination after the other. Images of his headless body entering and tearing hers apart filled her with the urge to empty her stomach of its contents. It was going to happen. She knew it was inevitable and there was nothing she could do to stop it at this point. All she could really do is mentally prepare herself. The only problem was that she didn't know how a person could do that.

How do you prepare yourself to be raped? How do you keep yourself from having a breakdown at just the thought of it? The very idea of him touching her was enough to send her into a bout of shaking. The odd thing was that she wasn't that she was afraid of the pain. Physical pain only lasted so long. She knew that from a couple of lifetimes' of experience. It was the emotional and psychological toll she was afraid of having to endure. What if he scarred her so deeply that she could never permit even Ichabod's touch again? What if she couldn't bear anyone's touch, be it friendly or sexual?

She'd seen it so many times in the women she'd cared for over the centuries. War time had been a playground for men to use women as they pleased. The filth of the earth were nearly given free reign in those days as everyone was always too busy with their own business or lives to care about such things as a woman being emotionally scarred from having to endure the unwanted base desires of men. Even in more recent history, with the women she'd sheltered amidst fleeing abusive relationships, she'd seen the results; the constant fear.

She didn't want to be that way. She didn't want to become afraid of her own shadow. She didn't want to become afraid of Ichabod.

Of course, thoughts of Ichabod and his touch brought even more dread to her. What if the results of the events to come weighed more heavily on him than her? Would he even want to touch her again after this? After Abraham? He'd been so angry with her about Nick.

No. Ichabod would never treat her such a way. If anything, he would blame himself; take the weight onto his already heavy shoulders. That would be what drove the deepest wedge between them; the guilt he would harbor. He'd make himself out to be unworthy of her.

Heavy footfalls and the slamming of objects drew her gaze to the door while also alerting her to the fact that Abraham wasn't in a pleasant mood. Then again, she would find it more odd if the Horseman of Death wasn't in a foul mood.

When the steps began drawing closer to her room, she practically held her breath. This was it. She was going to have to be the strong one. Ichabod would come for her; she had no doubt of that. However, what he found when he arrived was going to be completely up to her. She wasn't going to be broken. She wasn't going to give him an excuse to take on more of the world's burdens. She was going to keep her mind clear. Abraham was a monster and that was his choice, but she wasn't going to let him make her one. She wasn't going to let him change her, or take her spirit.

Then, just when she thought she might die from the dreaded anticipation of his arrival, the door flew open. Gone was his red coat to be replaced by a white shirt and tan trousers. If she wasn't sure of herself, she'd think she'd just stepped back in time. However, his significant lack of a head could never allow her to forget that she was very much so in the present with a very real mass murderer standing before her.

He stepped through the door and gestured toward the hallway in what she took as a signal for her to go, but, as she had no intention of finding out what he wanted with her, she stayed her ground.

In response, he gave an exasperated sigh, or what she assumed was one anyway, as his shoulders rose and fell and he gestured more forcefully toward the doorway. If the situation hadn't been so dire, she would have almost found it comical.

When she still didn't move, he began stalking around the bed, forcing her to back into the window.

"Stay away from me," she said with as much force as she could manage. "Unless you're here to make good on your threats, there's no reason for you to be anywhere near me."

Unsurprisingly, he didn't listen, but instead grabbed her arm and shoved her ahead of him.

With little else to do but go along with whatever he had planned, she knocked his hand away and began walking toward the door; hoping it would prevent him from making any more physical contact with her.

The front room was nothing she'd expected, not that she'd been sure what she was expecting in the first place. It was bathed in candlelight as all of the windows were bolted shut to ward off sunlight. The table was set with various meats, vegetables, and fruits and she momentarily wondered where Abraham had acquired his supplies. She couldn't imagine him simply walking into a grocery store to attain them.

When he stepped forward and pulled out a chair for her, she gave him a scathing look and walked around the table to take the opposite seat.

Pleased with the fact that he clenched his fists, she kept her eyes on where she assumed his would be as he took the seat himself. He, then, proceeded to seemingly stare right back at her.

Perfect. He was going to watch her eat.

Choosing to now ignore him, her eyes danced over the meal and the thought occurred to her that the many various foods laid out before her was likely the result of him having no idea what she liked.

"If you'd paid an ounce of attention while you were pursuing my hand, you'd know what I like and would have been spared this overcompensation."

As she popped a grape into her mouth, she added, "I suppose we won't be having idle conversation over dinner. I guess I should be relieved as your habit to incessantly boast used to grate my nerves, but, at the moment, I find it entirely rude for you to sit there and eat nothing. I thought you were raised better than that what with how you constantly spoke of your superior breeding and all."

So, perhaps, she was insane for trying to bate him to anger, but the way she figured it, he would do one of two things. He'd either go ahead with his plans and rape her, which she found highly unlikely as he seemed to be the subordinate to the warlock who stopped him the other night, or he'd send her back to her room. At the moment, she was really banking on him doing the latter. Either way, she refused to sit here and play nice with him.

When he made no movement, or any indication that he'd heard her at all, she decided to press harder; maybe even grow a little bolder. There was no way she was staying out here for him to lecherously stare at all morning. If he thought she was giving him an ounce more of her time than she was forced to, he was highly mistaken. She was not a damsel for him to hold hostage. She was a lion and before this was all over he was going to come to know her claws.

"I recall the last time I was in this carriage house." She picked up a piece of bacon and twirled it between her fingers. "You and Ichabod were going on and on about the war. I, on the other hand, was nearly bored to pieces. However, just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, you were called away to speak with someone up the road, leaving Ichabod and I alone." A smirk came to her lips as the memories of long ago trysts came to her mind. "Ichabod and I have always had a bit of a hard time not touching each other, which we did plenty of in your absence."

With the tensing of his body, she imagined his fingers clenched as tightly as possible beneath the table. There was little doubt in her mind that she was getting to him. He wasn't the one in control of the emotions at the table; she was.

"It was always such an adrenaline rush to be so close to being caught," she went on. "It heightened everything."

He gave no further reaction at that, prompting her to take a few nibbles of the bacon. It turned out to be better than she expected, which only reminded her of how hungry she was. Dinner had been skipped in favor of chasing leads on Henry Parish and then, of course, Ichabod had kept her from it as well.

Thoughts of her love filled her with gnawing worry. She still didn't really recall the wreck they'd had, but she imagined that if she had managed to be knocked unconscious from it, then it had to have been severe; at least enough to send him to the hospital.

As she stared at the lavish meal, she realized how truly eye opening this whole thing was and shook her head as a wave of sorrow for the life that had been stolen washed over her. It could have been so different. So many choices led to this life she was living, but the man, if he could still be called that, sitting across from her could have prevented a great deal of the sorrow involved.

"You could have found someone else," she whispered while staring at the place his head should have been. "You could have married a woman who would have appreciated your attentions, given you children to carry on your name. You could have thrived, gone on to live the proud life you dreamed of, but you instead chose to act like a spoiled child and lost everything that ever held any value to you. You threw everything away because Ichabod had the pretty face you wanted." She tilted her head. "When phrased like that, it truly does make you sound as pathetic as you are because no matter what you do, no matter what atrocities you visit upon me, Ichabod will always be my choice; he will always be the better man."

Before the last words had tumbled from her lips, he had abruptly stood from the table, reached across it to grab her, and proceeded to drag her across its width. Glass cut into her arms and thighs, but nothing hurt as bad as when he slung her to the floor.

Already bruised from the previous night's brutality, the added trauma to her sore body brought a small whimper to her lips. That was when she made her move. The moment he jerked her up by the back of her hair, she brought the knife hidden in her hand up into his chest from a downward angle; managing to lodge it just beneath his rib cage.

Though he momentarily reeled back in what she could only assume was shock, he was still quick to grab her by the neck before proceeding to drag her down the hallway. She could barely manage to keep her feet underneath her to prevent her from dragging along the stone floor, which, for the most part, she did. However, the few times her knees caught against the floor managed to rip her jeans even further as a result.

When they finally reached the room she'd been occupying, he shoved her through the door, where she stumbled to the floor in a heap of arms and legs.

Then, before she could even turn around for a last dig at him, he'd slammed the door shut; the sound ringing loudly throughout the old house.

Eyes falling closed as the sting of the dirt and glass now embedded in her palms reddened with blood, she leaned back against the bed post and wrapped her arms around her knees; wishing with everything within her that she was still in her love's embrace and that this was all a terrible dream.


He'd been patient with the doctors; listened as they droned on and on about things he'd never heard of and things that hardly seemed to matter. It seemed like forever had come and gone before he'd finally reached the end of his patience, thrown the sheets from his body, and stubbornly limped from the room. Abbie had begged him to stay put due to the seriousness of his injuries, but it had become out of the question for him to do so. The only thought that had continually circled his mind over and over during the past few hours had been Katrina and the hell she was surely enduring. He'd blocked it from his mind as best as he could, but it still managed to creep back over him and freeze him in place. Images and vile thoughts filled his mind to the point that he thought he'd surely go mad. He had to find her; today. If he didn't, he wasn't sure what state he'd be in at a later time and he couldn't afford to fall apart while she was the one who was captive at the hands of a demon who wished to possess her; body and soul. After all she had sacrificed for him, he had to save her. For once, he had to be the truly strong one and come through for their love.

By the time they had reached the archives, mid afternoon had set in; which was far too long for his liking to have gone without word about Katrina's location.

"Crane, what are you doing!?" Jenny demanded as she grabbed his arm and she, along with Abbie, helped him practically fall into a chair. "You shouldn't be out of bed."

Not wanting anything to do with the fuss they were making over him, he shrugged both of them off and grunted, "I assure you I'm fine."

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Jenny exchange a look with Abbie before she gave a rather weary sigh and gestured toward a book. "I figured Abraham would take her somewhere he knew so I looked up his family's estates."

As she spoke, he pressed his palm to his forehead in the hopes that it would relieve some of the pain of his pounding headache. "That'll take forever. His family possessed everything of import in Sleepy Hollow and most if its surrounding areas."

"Yeah, I noticed that," Jenny said with a measure of disdain in her voice. "I see now why Kat was afraid he'd ruin both of you."

Not caring to comment on the truth of her words, he lifted his gaze to the map she'd laid out, noticing the various places circled in red and others in black; the likes of which he recognized as the properties the von Brunt family owned.

"What are the red for?"

"Places with still standing structures," she replied. "I figured it would narrow the search."

Nodding his agreement with her logical thinking, his eyes searched the page when a particular red circle struck him. He laid his finger to the place and said, "This was the house Abraham lodged in while staying in Sleepy Hollow. I've lodged there with him many times. Katrina used to visit us there as well."

Jenny stared at the spot, her brow knit in thought. "So, it's likely our best shot, or at least a good starting place."

"We'll need a plan," Abbie chimed in. "We can't just barge in and demand he let her go. I somehow doubt that would go over well."

Jenny narrowed her eyes. "A distraction."

He was supremely grateful they were trading ideas as he wasn't sure he'd be much help in his present state. His body felt as though it was broken and he couldn't help the longing for the comfort of his bed. If only his love were there to welcome him into her warm embrace.

"I have an idea," Jenny said, before casting him an odd glance. "And you might not like it."

Chapter Text

"Have you lost whatever shred of dignity you have?" he exclaimed as the loathsome man at the end of the dock came into view. "You want to ask Nick Hawley for aid?"

With a roll of her eyes that gave him the impression she thought he were making a scene out of nothing, she gestured toward Nick. "If you want a distraction, Nick is the king of them. He has all kinds of weapons and resources we can use."

Agitatedly raking a hand through his hair, he released a heavy breath and glanced at Abbie, who was standing in wait, hands on her hips, and staring at them.

"Don't look at me," she said with a resolute shake of her head. "This is between the two of you, but I will say that we're lacking options and time is of the essence. If you want to find Kat sooner rather than later, I'd say you can't be too choosy with your choices."

Abbie then shrugged and leaned against the railing. "Besides, Jenny is correct in her saying that Nick is the go to for the things we'll need."

With another look at Jenny, who was staring at him with a challengingly raised eyebrow, he sighed in defeat. It may not sit well with him to seek the man out, but there was little he wouldn't do for Katrina. If that meant relinquishing some pride and begging the last man on earth he ever wanted to assistance of for help, he'd do so.

"I'll do whatever it takes to retrieve her; dignity be damned."

So, with the plan to sink to the lowest of lows made, they continued the remaining distance down the dock toward a man he wasn't keen on being in the company of for any reason.

Thankfully, it was Jenny who spoke, saving him from the obligation to do so. "Hawley."

Nearly dropping the wrench in his hand, Nick spun around; blonde hair falling down around his eyes as his shirtless torso tensed in surprise. The sight of it made him inwardly groan.

He wasn't the most fit man in the world, but he knew he held his own well enough and had never been self conscious of his body. However, now that he was armed with the knowledge that Katrina had been attracted to this man, touched this man, rubbed him in ways he despised. It didn't help that, at this present time, he could barely walk without wincing. That fact left him feeling less than robust enough to be standing toe to toe with Katrina's former lover.

As Nick's blue eyes darted between them, a frown creased his flawless forehead. "Alright, clearly someone's died, or you need something, which is it?"

Slightly taken aback by the man's candor, he pulled his mind away from vanity and took it upon himself to speak. "We're in need of your assistance, Mr. Hawley."

Nick's eyes narrowed as he leaned back against the guardrail and crossed his arms over his chest, which he most assuredly flexed on purpose. "And why should I do anything to help you? Last I checked, you stole my girl."

"Stole?" he asked incredulously, his eyes widening at the gall of the man before him.

Ready to charge him right then and there, he straightened his spine as best he could and lifted a finger in the man's face. "Katrina is not a possession to be stolen. She is a beautiful, intelligent, and self sustaining woman. There isn't a man alive worthy of her, but you seem like the type of man with the brains of a caveman so let me lay it out simply enough for you, Mr. Hawley."

He took a daring step toward the fair haired man, who was now staring at him with a raised eyebrow. Oh, how he wished he was in the right condition to physically lay hands upon him.

"Katrina has always been mine and she will never cease to be mine in this or any other life we come to know. I love her more with every breath I take. She is my reason for enduring this strange world and my happiness begins and ends with her. Can you say the same?"

For his part, Nick stared at him with what he could only describe as something between amusement and dumbfoundment before glancing from Jenny to Abbie. "Is Shakespeare serious?"

A hearty chuckle escaped Jenny as she said, "He's just getting started."

Unamused by this exchange, he pointed up the docks and did his best not to flinch at the pain that shot through his system from the movement. "Forgive me for my lack of proper protocol when it comes to manners, but the love of my life is in imminent danger. So, if the three of you wouldn't mind ceasing your mockery of my heartfelt declaration, might we move this along?"

Suddenly more alert, Nick stood straight and narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean danger? Kat's in danger?"

"Yeah, she was uh..." Jenny glanced at Abbie with a shrug. "Kidnapped and we need some supplies to help free her."

"Kidnapped?" he asked, his voice jumping an octave as he fully faced Abbie with accusation exuding from his clear eyes. "Well, why aren't you out looking for her? You're a cop, aren't you?"

"It's complicated, Nick," Abbie said softly, her eyes imploring him to just agree and help them. "Please, just-"

"She was kidnapped by Death, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, and we're in need of your assistance, Mr. Hawley."

Abbie cleared her throat and touched his arm, but he ignored her prods for him to stop and looked the man before him, who was staring at him as though he were insane, square in the eye.

"Regardless of what I may think of you, or how much I'd like to physically injure you for ever even considering to touch my love, I fully trust her judgment. Now, she deemed you a worthy companion for a time and I know Katrina well enough to know she would not have entertained someone of a less than honorable standard."

He took another step forward, albeit a painful one due to the throb in his side, and placed himself directly in front of Nick, nearly nose to nose.

"Are you going to prove her correct in her thoughts, or will you allow her to suffer at the hands of the enemy because of her rejection of your perceived love?"


The evening light had faded to leave darkness in its wake, the night sky bearing not even a star for her viewing pleasure. She was glad for it nonetheless as that meant it would take Abraham with it, or so she dearly hoped. Another moment spent in his presence would surely drive her mad. If it wasn't for what she assumed were his lecherous stares, she might have endured it better. She was, at the very least, grateful for the silence his lack of a head provided. Of course, there was the occasional thrown object when she didn't rise as fast as he liked, or when she gave a smart remark she should have kept to herself. Dinner had been a silent affair as he'd stood by the mantle, all but ignoring her, as she begrudgingly ate for no other reason than to prevent herself from collapsing from lack of nourishment.

At present, she could hear him out in the hall; his boots thudding against the hard floor and the metal of his guns clanking as he moved. He was obviously preparing for something, which regardless of how much she wished him gone, did nothing to lessen her nervousness. At least, if he was here, she knew what he was doing. However, his absence more than likely placed Ichabod in danger; something she couldn't bear to think about too much.

Having nothing left to do but drop her head to her hands and attempt to stop the burning in her eyes, she prayed it would just end. How had it come to this? Things had been so simple once. She'd been a woman, free of men; free of the burdens of the heart. Then, it had all changed so abruptly and without too much choice on her part. She'd allowed her heart to begin practically dragging her into the deepest depths of complicated feelings she'd ever experienced.

The tavern wasn't her favorite place to spend her spare time. She had so many other important tasks she could be seeing to during her night away from the infirmary. However, her father had practically demanded she seek out Abraham and thank him for his generous donation to their farm. A new ox to plow the field seemed to be the going rate for buying her hand in marriage these days and she was honestly surprised she hadn't become Mrs. von Brunt that very day. If it wasn't for her mother's pleas with her father to hold off on engaging her to Abraham, she was sure she'd be his fiancé by now.

Smoke and the smell of beer and sweat invaded her senses as she stepped through the doors, held open by a rather inebriated man, who did little to hide his lustful looks at her body. She wished it wasn't such a common occurrence for men to look at her in such a way, but there was little she could do when she worked so closely with the public and had a father who practically shoved her out the door.

As her eyes swept the crowd in search of the blonde haired man who'd come to truly grate her nerves of late, her gaze latched onto a particularly tall gentleman at the bar. It actually took her a moment to gain her bearings as the image of Ichabod Crane, the man who'd so affected her only two weeks prior, became the center of her attention.

She couldn't begin to imagine why he was in Sleepy Hollow as she'd sent him on his way to confer with Commander Washington himself. As far as she knew, he was supposed to be hundreds of miles from here, not standing in a tavern in her hometown acting as though he hadn't just defected from his country.

Then, almost to her own surprise, she felt her feet carrying her toward him like they weren't even hers to control any longer.

However, that wasn't anything in comparison to the wavering smile that had her stomach in knots at the way his head swiveled toward her, his brilliant blue eyes widening upon catching her gaze.

"Ms. van Tassel," he all but breathed, clearly as surprised by her presence as she was by his.

"If it isn't Mr. Ichabod Crane."

The way his name slipped from her lips left her feeling rather breathless. When had she become one of those women who allowed a man to control her state of mind?

He gave a nod that seemed almost as uncontrolled as her earlier steps. Then, to further the strange happening in her belly, their eyes locked in a stare like she'd never shared with anyone before. It had her truly wondering if he, himself, was a creature of magic and he'd cast some sort of spell over her.

"Officially shed off your red coat?" she asked, at last attempting to break the thick tension between them.

"Uhm, yes," he replied, his breathing visibly as shallow as hers was becoming.

At least she wasn't the only one being affected by this chance meeting.

"I believe the new one will suit you so much better," she said, her voice practically shaking.

Whatever hold this man had over her was almost supernatural. She'd thought it a burst of emotions when she'd encountered him a few weeks past, but now that she was once again with him, the same feelings as before coursing through her, she determined it must be something more; something she'd yet to place her finger on.

However, before she could begin to ferret out the name to place on what she was feeling, the last voice on earth that she would have welcomed to hear called out to her.

"Oh, Katrina! My darling!"

Ichabod's eyes dimmed a bit as Abraham strutted up to her before laying a sloppy kiss on the back of her hand. The action had her own eyes dimming as she fought the urge to jerk her hand from his.

Instead, she forced a thin smile to her face and greeted, "Hello, Bram."

As her eyes swept over him, she noticed the slight stumble in his step and it caused her to inwardly groan. An inebriated Abraham was even worse than a sober one as it meant he would be far less reserved with his touches. Never before had she met a man so bold as to wrap an arm around her or lay kisses to her cheek and hand as though she already belonged to him.

"The blush on your cheeks tells me you've been enjoying your evening."

"Well, how could I not?" he exclaimed with a jolly pat to Ichabod's shoulder. "After reuniting with my dearest of friends?"

Her eyes caught Ichabod's only to find him staring at the place Abraham's hand now rested around her waist. His expression was one of deep set confusion and perhaps even a touch of anger.

The sight filled her with more mixed feelings than she cared to entertain.

"You two have met?"

Slightly startled by the two of them knowing each other, she found herself searching out Ichabod's eyes for the answers she needed. However, when his sea of blue met her gaze, she found her breath catching at the depth of emotion swirling in them.

"Briefly, in Boston."

If three words had ever been any more untelling, it was the three she'd just uttered. Her meeting with Ichabod Crane may have been brief in truth, but it had turned her world upside down in ways she still didn't understand.

The way his lips pursed as he nodded along with her words left her feeling empty inside. For some reason, she just knew she'd hurt him and for whatever reason it pained her as well; something that seemed utterly ridiculous as they barely knew each other.

"Well, what serendipity," Abraham exclaimed, in her opinion, too excitedly as he patted Ichabod on the chest. "You must join us at my estate this weekend. I have a feeling you two will be thick as thieves."

He punctuated his last words by tapping her on the nose, forcing her to laugh rather than tear his hand from her person. Obviously in need of a chair to sit himself in before he made a fool of all three of them, she pointed to the drinks in front of Ichabod.

"Is this yours, Abraham?"

His eyes followed her fingers indication and grinned. "Why yes it is! Join us at our table, darling. I can't wait to tell Ichabod all about you."

"I'd be delighted to hear such tales, Abraham," Ichabod said with a smile that was clearly forced. "However, I'm afraid the hour has escaped me and an early morning awaits."

The urge to protest his leaving washed over her, but, before she could, Abraham spoke in a disheartened tone, "Very well, friend. I suppose Katrina and I will be forced to enjoy our evening alone."

Ichabod gave a low bow to her, his eye deftly avoiding hers, before patting Abraham's arm as he passed him. "I'll be sure to visit you soon."

It shouldn't have stung her as deeply as it did, but his leaving without properly acknowledging her left her feeling empty. As she watched his figure weaving through the crowd, a sudden urgency to seek him out filled her.

Clearing her throat, she slipped a sweet smile onto her face and said, "Actually, Abraham, I can only spare you a moment. I was passing through on my way home and wished to thank you for your generous donation to my father. He was greatly excited by your gift."

It took a moment for the information to register on Abraham's face and she briefly wondered if he even remembered what he'd given her father.

"It was a pleasure to help your family, darling," he said with a wet kiss to her hand. "My greatest desire is to see a smile upon your lovely face."

Forcing another said smile to her lips, she replied, "You're very kind."

"Must you leave so soon, though?" he asked as he pulled her closer to where his front was pressing flush against her side and his thick breath heated her neck. "There's still plenty of evening to enjoy."

How she wished she could simply shove his unwanted advances away.

As politely as she could manage, she slipped from his embrace and smiled teasingly at him. "Now, Bram, you know I'm a lady."

A pout graced his lips as he said, "So you've said before."

Drawing on her last ounce of patience, she giggled and began backing away from him. "I'm sure I'll be seeing you later in the week."

He gave a clumsy bow that nearly had him toppling over. "Count on it, Ms. van Tassel."

The moment she turned her back to him, the smile slipped from her face as she quickened her steps toward the door, bumping into various patrons on the way out. In all honesty, she felt like a woman possessed. There was a compelling pull she felt toward Ichabod Crane and she simply knew she couldn't let him disappear from her this night without alleviating the tension that had settled between them.

Upon breaking through the throngs of people standing in the doorway, her eyes began an immediate search of the star lit road for the man who'd captured her attention like no other ever had.

The street was littered with all sorts of people walking and singing, but none offered her the face she was seeking. That is until one rather tall figure caught her eyes a few yards up the street.

Quickly descending the steps, she started toward him, hoping she didn't stumble over herself in the process.

"Mr. Crane," she called as soon as she was down the steps.

He immediately turned at her voice, a display of surprise in his eyes. "Ms. van Tassel? Is everything alright?"

The dirt road was lit with enough moon and star light to provide her an easy path toward him, something she took advantage of as she hurried toward him, her dress bunched in her hands to allow her safer steps.

Out of breath, more so because of heart's wild beating due to his proximity than her small sprint to him, she smiled and paused before him. "I simply wished to speak with you."

"Concerning?" he asked, his voice less warm than it had been earlier.

Not wanting to acknowledge the sting his tone gave to her heart, she continued smiling and explained, "I was surprised to see you here this evening. I honestly hadn't thought I'd see you again."

An almost brooding look came to his face; one that seemed so out of place on his handsome features. "I'd heard Abraham was here and endeavored to visit him."

"Oh," she whispered as her eyes fell to the dirt beneath her feet.

"Yes," he went on in the same tone. "I admit that I was surprised as well to know you're the woman he's so enamored with of late."

Properly deflated, she allowed her gaze to flicker up at him, taking in the stiff posture he was choosing to present.

Deciding to bite the bullet rather than prolong the agony she was sure they were both enduring, she asked, "How long have you and Abraham been friends?"

"For as long as I can remember; since we were young lads."

"Hmm," she murmured as she glanced back at the tavern. "So it's safe to say you know him well, then?"

Ichabod raised an eyebrow as he said, "I'd say I know him better than anyone."

"He gifted my father with an ox for his field this morning. Apparently, it was out of the kindness of his heart and my father thought it imperative that I personally visit Abraham to convey my appreciation."

When Ichabod's eyes caught hers, she gave an amused smile. "As someone who knows him so well, would you say generous acts of kindness are one of his natural qualities?"

Ichabod's face relaxed as he said, "Abraham possesses many strong qualities."

"But not that one?" she prodded knowingly. "Because I have the sinking feeling he's the type of man who requires some form of compensation for everything he does. He is a business man after all."

A heavy sigh slipped from Ichabod's lips as he shifted to fully face her. "He's in search of a wife."

"Yes," she said with a light chuckle. "I'm aware of that. However, what I'm truly curious about is just how horrible the fall out of a refusal of such advances would affect me and my family."

"Ms. van Tassel-"

"Katrina," she interrupted with a small smile.

He took a step closer to her, never losing eye contact with her. "Ms. van Tassel, you could do little better than accepting Abraham's proposal. You'd never want for anything in this life again."

"What about love?" she asked, her eyes momentarily flickering to his mouth before returning to his surprised sea of blue.

The effect of her question was obvious in the way he was now looking at her; his blue gaze earnest and pure.

"Love is a luxury few ever come to know."

"You're right, of course," she said, taking a step back from him while hoping to regain some of her senses.

Whatever pull this man had on her, she had to get it under control.

"But you didn't answer my question," she added as she glanced up at the stars. "What will happen to me?"

"Abraham is my dearest friend," he whispered in a tone that was less than convincing. "And a very powerful man."

Understanding his answer, even with it being as veiled as it was, she nodded and continued to stare at the beauty above her.

"Will you be attending the party this weekend?"

She heard his heavy sigh and could practically feel his eyes on her. "I'm not sure."

Finally tearing her eyes from the night sky, she turned to him.

It truly was baffling to her how a man she'd only encountered for such a brief time could affect her so. That night he'd come to her and collapsed in her arms had been such a turning point for her.

The fact that she was almost positive he was the one her coven had been waiting for was hardly a thought that had plagued her that night.

No. Instead, she'd tended to his wounds and shared in more laughter than she could remember enjoying in recent history. There'd also been tears, not on her part, but his.

After she'd taken him to a safe house on the outskirts of town, he'd laid himself bare before her; all his fears of the unknown; all his worries of abandoning his family and country. She'd held him close until the early hours of the morning; all the while assuring him that everything happened for a reason; that everything would work itself out one way or another.

Then, morning had arrived, pulling them out of the bubble they'd taken safety in throughout the night. She'd went about her duties of contacting one of her sources while he'd re-cooperated and, by that evening, he'd been gone.

Now, here she was, drowning in those same eyes that had touched her so deeply.

"I hope you will," she whispered. "Mingling at those kinds of parties isn't exactly one of my strong suits. It would be nice to have a familiar face there to share in my pain."

A bright grin came to his face as he tore his eyes from hers to stare at the ground. "How could I say no to such a wish?"

Pleased to have his agreement, she smiled as she walked past him. "Goodnight, Mr. Crane."

"Goodnight, Ms. van Tassel."

She wondered if she'd done it all to herself. That night had been the beginning of this two centuries long struggle for all three of them. The choices that followed, choices all three of them had made, were what had her sitting here now.

But what could she have done to prevent this? How could she have know it would escalate this far? When she'd asked Ichabod what would happen to her, she'd known it would be awful, but how could she have guessed the extent of it?

She supposed it mattered little at this point. It was done. She and Ichabod had made their beds; something she wouldn't trade a moment of for anything. They'd done their best to fight the inevitable love between them, but it had been a pointless struggle. Their love had been set in motion from that very first meeting and had grown over the course of every meeting afterward.

A sudden explosion shook the ground under her feet, knocking her right out of her musings and prompting her to rush to the window. Once there, she witnessed the sea of orange and red flames licking at the once tall structure that had been the barn. Black puffs of smoke coiled in the air; escaping into the night sky.

She heard Abraham in the hallway running towards the front door, his heavy footfalls filling her with a sense of urgency to escape. Unable to stay in her room while something was clearly unfolding outside, she dashed toward her door and down the hall until she was once more in the front room. The door was standing wide open, but before she could decide where to fix her gaze, another loud explosion came from the trees beyond the burning barn.

Lost in so much of the confusion happening around her, she barely noticed that Abraham had disappeared on his horse in the cloud of smoke and, the last she saw of him, he was galloping toward the trees, clearly in search for the intruder to his refuge.

Desperate to know what was going on, she ran from window to window, throwing them open in the hopes of witnessing something that would tell her who was out there.

Still seeing nothing, she was about to dash to another window when a shout came from outside causing her body to give a jolt at the voice she'd been longing for.

"Ichabod."

When she spun around, she found him clutching the doorframe, his clothing disheveled and his body covered in dirt and soot.

However, despite his haggard appearance, the moment their eyes connected, she felt a wave of relief wash through her.

He was alive.

"Oh, my love," he whispered as he limped toward her, his body crashing into hers as he tangled a hand in her hair. "You're alright."

Doing the best she could to hold back the sob building in her throat, she clutched at his coat. "I knew you would come for me. I knew it."

"Always," he whispered as he pulled back to look her over, his eyes darting about her face. "You are alright, aren't you?"

He touched the bruise along her cheek; his eyes flashing with fire to match the flames devouring the barn. "What has he done to you?"

"Nothing," she breathed as she flinched at the contact to the still fresh bruise and lifted her hand to hide it from him. "I'm fine."

Ichabod's eyes darkened as he grabbed her wrist to pull it away. "Did he hit you? Did he-?"

She gave a quick shake of her head before reaching up to touch the cuts sprinkled over his face. "Are you alright?" Then, she dropped her hand to his chest and noticed his wince. "Ichabod, how hurt are you?"

Darkness still present in his eyes, he took her hand and lifted it to his lips where he placed a lingering kiss to her palm. "It doesn't matter. We'll discuss it later."

With that, he began weakly pulling her toward the door and, suddenly, reality seeped back into her.

"I can't go, my love," she said as she tugged his hand to stop him.

At her words, he turned back to her with a deep frown, his eyes a sea of confusion. "What? Of course, you can."

Another bomb went off in the distance; one that had the ground shaking beneath their feet again.

"Crane!"

Jerking her gaze to the door as new arrivals appeared, she saw Abbie and, to her surprise, Nick burst through the opening.

"We have to go now," Abbie said, panting as she bent over to rest her hands on her knees. "That was the last C-4 charge Jenny just set off."

"I can't leave," she said, even as she felt Ichabod's fingers tighten around hers. "There's a spell around the house preventing me from leaving." She met Ichabod's eyes, which were staring at her with building panic. "You have to go without me."

He was shaking his head before she'd even finished.

"Ichabod-"

"I am not leaving you," he growled as he cupped her face with both hands. "I am never leaving you again."

Tears finally breaking free of her, she felt them begin trailing down her face. "He'll be coming back. You have to go right now."

"Kat," Abbie said as she moved next to them. "There has to be a way."

Fighting against her instinct to somehow survive, she shook her head and said, "That cloaked figure; it was him who cast it. My magic is being suppressed and, short of another witch breaking the spell, I'm stuck here."

A vehicle skidded to a stop just outside the door and she heard Jenny yell, "Let's go!"

Quickly turning her attention back to her love, she noticed him staring at the ground as though his mind was fumbling for an answer. "Ichabod-"

"I can't leave you," he whispered as he wrapped his arms around her. "I can't leave you, Katrina. I know what he'll do."

Eyes falling closed at the desperate way he was clinging to her, she did her best to stop herself from dissolving into a panic attack. She had to get him out of here.

"I won't let him hurt you," he breathed into her hair as his fingers tightened in the back of her shirt. "I'm going to kill him, Katrina. I swear, he won't touch you again."

The first set of eyes she found when she opened hers was Nick's and she found herself suddenly beseeching him for help; hoping that past differences could be set aside long enough for Ichabod's life to be saved.

As he ran a shaky hand through his blonde locks, he gave a firm nod and that act alone gave her the strength she needed to bring Ichabod's head back enough to catch his tormented eyes.

"I love you; only you; always you. Nothing will ever change that."

With that, she leaned forward and captured his lips in a frenzied kiss; one filled with all the love and devotion she could muster. It felt so final, so doomed to be the end for them, that she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him as close as possible, wanting every last piece of her to exude her love.

His skin was slick with a sheen of grimy sweat and he was breathing so erratically through his nose that she knew he was in more pain than he was letting on. It made her want to do another inspection to find what he was hiding.

But, then, he was so warm, so safe, that all she really wanted in the world was to sink into his embrace for eternity. She wanted to be his forever.

Then, he suddenly went slack in her arms and his heavy frame began pulling her down. Thankfully, Nick caught him under his arms just before they both hit the floor.

"Ichabod," she whispered as she reached for him and laid a hand to his face to make sure he was alright.

"I've got him," Nick said with a reassuring nod before he began dragging Ichabod backwards out the door, her love's long legs scraping the floor along the way as his arms hung limply beneath him.

"Wait, wait," she begged as she stumbled forward and pressed another kiss to his cheek. "I love you so much."

The sobs she'd earlier attempted to repress were fully escaping her now as she stroked his face and brought one of his hands to her lips.

"Promise me he'll be ok," she urged with a look up at Nick. "Please."

Nick's eyes softened as he knelt and lifted Ichabod off the floor before slipping a secure arm around his waist. "I've got him, Kat."

Finally letting Ichabod's limp hand slip from hers as Nick carried him away, she heard Abbie say, "He's going to be furious."

"But he'll be alive," she whispered before turning to Abbie. "Don't let him return here."

Abbie nodded even as she searched the house, ever alert and aware. "What's he going to do to you?"

Eyes dropping to the floor, she shook her head. "Ichabod can't ever come back here."

"Kat-"

Shaking her head, she jerked forward and wrapped her arms around Abbie; clinging to her in the hopes that some of her friend's courage would wash over her.

"Whatever happens, he can't come back here. He can't ever come back here."

"Kat," Abbie said as she pulled back and caught her gaze; her brown eyes seeking answers. "We can't just leave you here. We're not made that way."

The fear in her chest was coiling.

"The warlock will restore Abraham's head as soon as possible." She shook her head in the hopes that the nightmare would disappear. "Abigail, they must be stopped."

"We'll figure something out."

"Ichabod won't be willing to do anything that might jeopardize me, but you must make him see that the world is more important. I can't be his priority."

A shot rang in the night; the result busting out the jeep's back window.

Urgency to have her friend get to safety had her pushing at Abbie's shoulder as she urged, "Go!"

Abbie fluidly drew her gun and leveled it just outside the door frame before firing three shots.

"You can't defeat him with mortal weapons, Abigail," she shouted over the deafening shots. "You have to go!"

Abbie shook her head and fired twice more. "Crane will never forgive me for this."

"He'll never get the chance if Abraham gets hold of the two of you," she argued as she quickly laid her hand over Abbie's. "We all have our missions. This is mine and you must go fulfill yours."

"Kat-"

"Abbie," Jenny yelled as she backed up to the door while Nick threw the trunk open. "Let's go!"

With a last concerned glance over her shoulder, Abbie dove into the back of the jeep just as more shots rang out; piercing the night.

As Nick pulled the trunk shut and the jeep spun out, she felt her last hope of survival disappear with it.

Mere moments later, the looming form of Death appeared in the doorway, prompting her to back up; hitting the table in the process.

"Abraham," she whispered, hoping to quell his anger before he reacted. "I'm still here. They didn't take me."

Not pausing his steps, Abraham grasped her arms and shoved her back into the table, the bite of it stinging her as he jerked a hand up to her neck to hold her still; his intimidating form only made worse with the flames of the barn licking the air behind him.

His body was heaving, every muscle tensed, and she imagined piercing blue eyes boring into her with seething hatred. She could feel it exuding from every part of him and wondered if he might actually kill her this time. There was only so much more her body could take before he finally broke something.

Then, as abruptly as he'd appeared, he spun on his heel and exited the cabin, leaving her to collapse to the floor as gut wrenching sobs finally tore their way out of her.

"Ichabod, please, come back."

Chapter Text

It was such a small thing; hardly bigger than a nickel. It didn't provide her nourishment, or water to quench her thirst. It didn't protect her from Abraham's abuse, or from the torments her idleness in this room lent. However, it was all she had; all that was keeping her from losing her sanity. It was her one hope in the midst of so much despair.

As she laid on the bed, she turned the ring around her finger and thought of the pure joy on Ichabod's face when he'd placed it on her. She swore the man had never grinned so much in all his life. The way he'd wrapped his arms around her, sheltering her in his embrace, and whispered all the love he held within himself to her had been one of the most beautiful moments of her existence.

Then, he'd carried her to their bed and worshipped her in a fashion she had dearly missed during his two century absence. He'd touched her with such admiration, such reverence. The time he'd taken with her body, pressing his lips to every inch of her, had been truly awe inspiring. Never would she ever doubt Ichabod Crane's love for her.

If only she could cling to him now instead of allowing the bitterness that was attempting to overtake the sweetness of her memory to win. Were they never going to be allowed happiness? Were they never going to simply be left alone? It seemed Ichabod had been right all those years ago about Abraham. His vindictive hatred had indeed ruined the both of them.

That day he'd taken Ichabod from her on the battlefield had been the catalyst that had set in motion all her misery. She'd lost her coven that day; her family of sorts. She'd been forced on the run and, in turn, had lost her and Ichabod's beloved child; a child she would give anything to be able to share with her love. Now, Abraham was once again attempting to keep she and Ichabod separated.

A large part of her was terrified she'd never see Ichabod again. If this night proved successful for Abraham in the regaining of his head, he'd come to her; take her body in ways he'd been imagining for centuries.

No doubt Ichabod and Abbie would attempt to stop him, but what if they didn't? What if the end of days did indeed begin this very night? What would that mean for her love? Would she even still have a love by the time morning arrived? Or would Abraham have claimed victory by then and finished the mission he'd set out on more than two centuries ago.

Another part of her feared Ichabod's survival in such circumstances more than his death. In her heart, she knew Abraham was just perverse enough to capture Ichabod and force him to watch; force him to his knees right at the foot of the bed; hands bound and eyes wide open. There was little doubt in her mind that Abraham would take vast amounts of pride out of Ichabod witnessing his violence; witnessing her be filled with a demon.

It was a nightmare she imagined could easily enough become a reality and every minute that passed was only bringing it closer. It was inevitable; almost as assured as her coming defilement.

The glint of the ring against the candle light brought a wave of constricting pain in her chest as regret for her and Ichabod's last night together swelled within her. They'd been on the verge of joining, of once again becoming one, when he'd changed the mood and chosen to, instead, hold her.

Of course, she loved him for his actions that night, for the care he always took with her even while seething with anger, but, now, in the midst of knowing she may never have the opportunity to make love to him again, she wished they had seized that opportunity. She wished she had one more memory to add to the many they already share. She had a feeling she was going to need all the wonderful memories she could collect to last her through the coming times that were sure to leave her wishing for death.

Eyes falling closed, she pulled the ring tightly against her chest.

"Ichabod, please, be safe."


"I cannot believe this is happening."

Barely able to keep his eyes open, he lifted his hand to press against his face as he sat in the passenger seat of Abbie's jeep; his nerves frayed right down to their roots. He couldn't remember the last time he'd actually slept. Had it been three nights ago? Or four? He wasn't sure. Even with his perfect memory, the days still seemed to blur together. He knew for sure he'd not had a proper night's rest since Katrina and Jenny's fight over a week ago. Regretfully, that now seemed so long ago.

"Can't you, though?"

Casting Abbie a weary glance, he all but groaned, "Well, usually, we only have one demon at a time to deal with. Forgive me if I find this whole situation more than a little inconvenient."

She shrugged her shoulders, paying his mood little mind as she had been continuously doing for the past two days. She acted as though he were in a perfectly agreeable mood and not on the verge of lashing out at the next person who looked at him suspect. Every new moment that failed to lend a means to reunite him with Katrina only furthered the intensity with which he internally spiraled out of control and he felt too much more time spent without her at his side would result in a more outwardly reveal of such facts.

"Technically, we do only have one."

"We should be finding a way to free Katrina," he whispered, his heart in his throat. "Why must this spirit choose now to go on a killing spree? Couldn't it have waited a few more days?"

"The Weeping Lady has been a legend for centuries," Abbie answered as she turned down another street. "For her to begin killing now, something must have triggered her."

"But what?" he asked in frustration as he fisted his hands against his thighs to keep from throwing them up. "Miss Caroline was a kind and lovely young woman. She was hardly a prime target for a murderous spirit."

"I don't know, but we'll figure it out."

"And you think the library will hold the answers we're searching for?"

As she pulled into a parking spot and exited her vehicle, he followed and met her on the sidewalk.

"I think," she began as she walked toward the building's entrance. "That it's our best shot. I'm a little rusty on my Weeping Lady knowledge, but the library will have the information we need to hopefully get a start on how to take care of her."

Eyes on the building, he nodded his approval. "Let's just finish this quickly so we can return to Miss Jenny and her research. The sooner we find what we need to stop Abraham from regaining his head, the better."

Abbie cast him a sympathetic glance, one he did his best to ignore. He didn't want her to think of him as weak, or off his game. He was perfectly up to the task of whatever needed doing, but it didn't mean he was going to be gung ho about it; not while his love was in ever increasing peril the longer she went without rescue.

The sight of her skin bruised and cut had set his blood to boiling, something that had only intensified once he'd awoken at the cabin and learned that Nick Hawley had knocked him over the head and torn him from Katrina's embrace.

Not caring one iota about the fact that he was broken and bruised, he'd launched himself at the fairer man and set to rolling about the cabin floor, punching and roaring at him for taking him from his love.

To his credit, Nick hadn't put up much of a fight as he'd come to later learn that no one had truly wanted to leave Katrina behind. As the man had allowed him to reign fist after fist against him, it had finally taken both Abbie and Jenny to pull him away while he was still screaming curses at the bleeding man on the floor.

"You think you're the only one allowed to love her?" Nick asked as he pushed himself up while wiping his busted and bloody lip with the back of his hand. "Look, I get it, man, the two of you are legit soul mates or whatever, but that doesn't mean I don't love her, too; that doesn't mean it didn't kill me to leave her there."

Nick flung his hand at the door. "She and I spent night after night together and whatever she's told you about us was likely the truth on her part, but it wasn't for me. Her story isn't mine and I know I have to deal with it, but I'm in love with her, too, alright? So don't stand there and pretend like it doesn't bother each and every one of us that she's still back there with that headless bastard."

He pointed at Jenny. "She's Kat's best friend. You think she didn't want to get out and kill that guy? And what about Abbie? Do you even know how many nights those two stayed up playing scrabble and other crap like that while pouring their hearts out to each other?"

"No," Nick said, jabbing a finger in his chest. "Because the only person you're thinking about is yourself, and that's fine, man. But how about instead of acting like some kind of cavemen, we put our heads together and figure out how to get her back, huh?"

Whatever his thoughts of Nick Hawley's lifestyle, his respect for the man had been established that night.

Between Nick and Jenny, the two had tracked down various documentations regarding the Horseman and ritual he was to perform, but still nothing had presented itself as a useful means to stopping him.

That fact was what had him so out of sorts. He wanted Abraham to suffer in the worst ways imaginable and he fully intended to see it happen. Whatever he had done, or was planning to do to Katrina, he wanted to return the favor ten fold.

Even if it cost him his own life in the process, he was going to make sure Death met his end; hopefully before he inflicted too much damage upon his love. It was taking everything he possessed to not return to that carriage house and attempt to drag her out. He'd even started on his way toward it, only to have Abbie and Jenny stop him with the fact that he really couldn't do anything to help her. They'd reasoned that one, or both of them, would end up dead if he made the attempt to free her without a proper plan and that was the only thing staying him. That was the only thing that still had him still functioning in any sort of rational capacity.

Moment after moment, when a lull in their research occurred, he'd find himself staring at nothing while visualizing the absolute worst nightmares imaginable. Then, someone would draw his attention away and he'd be forced to attempt refocusing; something that was nearly impossible after the thoughts that had been plaguing him.

He knew Abraham. No one else in the present world was aware of him in the same way as him. No one knew what sort of man he was; how vengeful he could be; how dark and twisted his thoughts ran. Abraham, while having been his dearest friend at one time, had always hidden behind his wealth and status, attempting to appear as though he were a generous and merciful man, but he'd personally seen him commit too many contradictory acts without blinking an eye. Upon one such occasion, Abraham had become so furious over the loss of a card game, he'd interfered with the his opponent's form of employment and had even gone so far as to take the man's wife to bed as further punishment.

With the mantle of Death, he could only imagine the evil Abraham was now capable of and, without a doubt, he would take vast amounts of pleasure in the violence he would perpetrate against Katrina. It was obvious he didn't want her dead. No, Abraham wanted to claim her; wanted to make her regret her decision to reject him. That, more than anything else, is what worried him. The acts worse than death that would befall his love if he didn't find a way to free her.

However, the first step to freeing her was knowledge and he fully intended to acquire it this day.


Something big was happening. She could feel it in her bones. Despite her magic being absent, there was a presence in the air that was unavoidable. It was thick with power and had managed to set a nervousness deep within her that she was currently attempting to keep at bay.

As her door was locked from the outside, she was currently doing her best to strain to see something, anything, out the window, but all that was visible through the murky glass was a faint glow from firelight around the corner of the house.

Defeated and quite jittery, she resumed her place on the bed and tried her hardest not to let her mind run away from her. Perhaps, it was only a fire to warm the night, or he needed the light to see what he was doing.

Who was she kidding? This was the night. It was happening and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Before morning came, Abraham's head would be returned to him and she will have been violated in the most despicable of ways. Her and Ichabod's vow and renewed commitment to belong only to each other for eternity will have been tarnished. Regardless of the way it happened or her choice in the matter, her body will have been used for pleasure by another man.

Fingers biting into the edge of the mattress, she trained her eyes on her bare feet and did her best to quell the rising panic in her chest. She wouldn't let him see it. He may take her in the most violent of ways, but she refused to give him the satisfaction of knowing he'd gotten into her head. No. He wouldn't get that from her. She wasn't going to give him anything; not an ounce of fear. If he expected a fight, he was sorely mistaken. Men like him got a sadistic thrill from the fight. No, she was going to lay there and say nothing; do nothing. He may as well be raping the bedspread for all the life she'd give him. He'd never know the experience of complete trust and love that only Ichabod had ever gained from her.

A crack of thunder over the house made her jump, causing her eyes to dart to the window. There hadn't been a cloud in the sky when she'd looked earlier, but now she could almost swear the heavens were lit with fire as an orange glow was currently flickering over her window seal.

However, it was the hard click of boots which began thudding against the wooden floor outside her door that had her heartbeat picking up pace.

This was it. Her moment of truth.

With her heart in her throat, she twisted her ring around her finger to hide it in her palm as the door finally swung open.

Despite how prepared she'd attempted to make herself, the sight of his blue eyes piercing her still sent a tremble down her spine. Abraham had always been an intimidating man when he called for himself to be such. His dealings in business had taught him how to work his way through a crowd, both in soft and hard ways. So, he was no stranger to setting whatever kind of mood he wanted and what he seemed to be wanting now was intimidation.

The smirk on his face didn't help her nerves in the least as he took a bold step into the room.

"Nothing to say, Katrina?" he asked with raised eyebrows; his blue eyes focused intently on her. "No witty remark? Smart mouthed offering?"

Swallowing the knot lodged in her throat, she squared her shoulders and said as evenly as she could manage, "You know what you are. Why waste my breath confirming it for you?"

As he circled the bed with unhurried, measured steps, she stood stock still, just waiting for the inevitable. There was no point in running as she had nowhere to run toward. She was locked in this house with him with no hope of escape; no hope of rescue. Even if her love did find her again, what could he really do to save her?

When Abraham's hand lifted to caress her face, she turned her gaze to the window and prayed it would pass quickly. He'd had two centuries of abstinence. Surely, release would find him sooner rather than later.

"I have no desire to hurt you," he whispered with an almost gentle voice. "We can start over, Katrina, with you as my queen. You will be spared all the heartache and torment the rest of the world will suffer."

Gaze firmly planted on the once more darkened sky, she replied, "I'd rather die than live in any world you deemed fit for yourself."

His hot breath ghosted her cheek as he leaned close to her; sending a prickling sensation down her spine. "I'll spare him."

So startled and taken off guard, she turned back to him, her eyes wide with shock as they darted over his completely serious, even kind, face. "What?"

The satisfaction at her reaction was clear in his eyes, despite how caring he was posing to be. Whatever game Abraham was playing, he was doing it in a completely calm fashion.

"Ichabod," he said, the name rolling off his lips like that of an old friend. "I'll spare his life."

Positive she must be hallucinating, she asked, "And why would you ever do that?"

Abraham had never been a man of mercy. She couldn't imagine him starting to exhibit such a trait now.

He shrugged as his fingers trailed down her neck to the top of her shirt where he began toying with her button; the feel of his skin brushing hers setting her flesh to crawling.

"You may have tricked yourself into believing I never cared for him, but you're wrong. If I ever cared for anyone's company, it was his."

His icy blue eyes flickered to hers, leaving her reeling. He looked so earnest; even sorrowful. How on earth was the Horseman of Death managing to look sorrowful? Why were they even talking in the first place? Wasn't he supposed to be visiting violence upon her by now?

"He was my best friend; someone I thought I could trust; depend upon." He shook his head and sighed as if he'd been visited some ill timed news. "I admit I overreacted that day in the forest, but, you see, I never saw it coming; the two of you. I can't say I would have ever forgiven the two of you, but, perhaps, with a little forewarning, I might have reacted differently."

The way he spoke left her more confused than afraid.

"Why are you telling me this?"

His eyes ventured back to hers. "All I ask for, in return for his life, is your loyalty."

"My loyalty?" she asked through a near laugh. "You really are delusional if you think I'll ever give you that."

"I'll even let you have him," he went on as though she'd never spoken. "Give me an heir and I'll let you and Ichabod have moments together here and there."

Quite more than a little taken aback, she stared at him as though he were insane. "Moments? And what would these moments entail? Me watching you beat him to within an inch of his life? Him being our servant; forced to his knees? Would you keep him chained in a dungeon until you called upon him?"

He rolled his eyes as though she were being overly dramatic. "Coddle him; confess to him your eternal love; lay with him. The moments will be yours to do with as you wish. I care not what they entail so long as your first priority is always me."

Breathing picking up, her eyes couldn't quite seem to focus on anything. Her thoughts were too muddled to even consider this right now, especially with Abraham's hands on her; touching and caressing her as though she were his. The conflict she was feeling between shoving him away and attempting to understand what he was saying was overwhelming her mind.

Her fate was most certainly sealed, but if she could spare Ichabod... maybe even Abbie and Jenny, was her body really too much of a price to pay? It was just flesh and bone. He wouldn't hurt her if she cooperated. For some reason, she just knew he wanted the opportunity to attempt outdoing Ichabod as a lover. If she gave him that, allowed him to think that, maybe no one in her family had to die. Maybe she could even manage some good in this world he was planning to see destroyed.

"We can all live in harmony, Katrina," he went on, his voice hypnotic. "All you need do is cooperate."

Her mind ventured to Ichabod and what he would say; how he would feel about this offer. What would he do given the same option if their roles were reversed? He'd want her spared; she knew that. There was little doubt he'd go to hell for her, sacrifice himself, if he thought it would save her.

But would he accept what Abraham was offering her? Would Ichabod ever be alright with her agreeing to this?

She closed her eyes and pictured him here; listening to this conversation; his blue eyes apt with concentration.

He'd hate it.

Ichabod would never forgive her if she allowed such a thing to happen. He'd never give in or cooperate and neither would she. If she said yes to this, it would be admitting her lack of faith in Ichabod and that was something she simply couldn't do. No matter her fate, she believed in him; believed in Abigail. They would see their mission through. Her only priority should be to see hers through.

"No."

"What?" he asked, his facade slipping away as coldness settled back into his icy blue eyes.

"If you're going to rape me, do it, but don't stand there and pretend to be a man of mercy because you and I both know you're not."

It was like a light switch. One moment his eyes were filled with kindness and the very next his mask of kindness had fallen completely away to be replaced with a rage matched only by the one she'd seen in him the day he'd fought Ichabod and died.

His fingers fell to her arms and gripped her so tightly she was sure he was cutting off her circulation altogether. It was a sharp, stinging pain that had her wanting to fall to her knees and beg to be released.

Then, before she'd hardly registered the shift in his mood, he began shoving her against the bed, causing her to trip over her own feet and fall backwards with him collapsing on top of her; his weight knocking the breath out of her.

Despite her earlier decision not to fight him, she found herself doing the exact opposite as she kicked and struggled beneath him while he ripped her shirt open, sending buttons flying everywhere.

"Abraham, please, don't do this," she pleaded as she attempted to loosen her wrists from his hold. "You were a good man once. You could be again."

"And here I thought I wasn't a man of mercy," he growled into her face, his breath hot and bitter, as he settled his weight on her. "You're right, Katrina, I was never a good man."

His lips slid along the side of her face, the coating of his saliva sticking to her, before he leaned to whisper in her ear. "I'm going to gut Ichabod Crane right in front of you and allow you to watch the life seep slowly out of his eyes, but only after he witnesses your screams filling his ears as I pleasure myself inside you. Then, when he's so far gone he can no longer bear to watch, I'm going to hang his head on my mantle for you to stare at for eternity with the knowledge that this was all your doing."

The image brought bile to the back of her throat, but she shoved it away as she continued to claw at his back; ripping at his coat and anything else she could find to grip.

However, no matter how hard she scratched at him, he never flinched; never even acknowledged she was fighting him in the first place.

Then, to her horror, he began tearing at her jeans with his free hand; the button flying off and the zipper shredding with the force of his movements.

With him distracted with her pants, she attempted to sit up and crawl away from him, but it only managed to give him the leverage he needed to pull them off of her entirely.

Now clothed in only her ripped shirt and panties, she scrambled across the bed with the thought that she might actually escape him, but, to her horror, he managed to grasp her ankle and jerk her back down before proceeding to cover her body with his again.

His torso, now bare, pressed into the skin of her upper body as he fumbled with his pants while pinning her down with his weight.

"Abraham, this isn't who you are," she cried, hot tears rolling down her face as she felt his arousal, hard and hot, against her thin panties. "Please, stop."

Rather than acknowledge her, he ducked his head and nudged the cup of her bra aside to envelope her nipple in his mouth where he began forcefully sucking and rolling his tongue around it.

The sensation left her with mixed feelings she wanted to ignore as she clawed at his neck and shoulders; drawing blood that was now dripping onto her chest.

No progress was gained, however, as he had her waist firmly grasped between his hands as he ground between her thighs in a repetitive, rolling motion; one that had him rutting against every inch of her middle.

Panic now fully set in, she felt her control gone with her hope quickly following. Reality that this was happening to her was unavoidable and all she could manage to do was weep and pray for a miracle.

She tried to kick him, but he was so wedged over her that all she really managed to do was further spread her thighs and give him more room to bury his cock further against her. It was impossible to ignore how fully erect and stiffly wedged into the slit of her folds it was, leaving her hyper aware of every inch of its pulsing length.

The worst part was that he wasn't hurting her; not physically anyway. His mouth around her nipple wasn't biting; only sucking, with the occasional groan sending vibrations through her upper body. His grip on her waist was only firm enough to keep her from getting away and his weight was like concrete over her, but not suffocatingly so.

All in all, he was gently raping her.

"Abraham," she breathed through a choked sob as she pushed at his shoulders. "Please-"

She lost her breath amidst a hiccup, leaving him to vacate her breast and press a forceful kiss to her mouth, which only furthered her labored breathing as it stole the breath she'd been trying to catch.

In response, she lifted one of the hands pushing at his shoulders and brought it to his face to try dislodging him, but it did no good as he, in turn, lifted a hand to grasp her chin and hold her still as he sucked at her lips.

It was like he was made of steel. Nothing she did seemed to help her. Instead, he only found ways to use her body against her.

The moment his tongue attempted to delve between her lips, she managed to grasp a fistful of his blonde hair and jerk her head to the side, causing him to grunt an animalistic growl. Seeing an opportunity, she slapped out at him, scratching his face, and used all the leverage she could to roll away.

Another growl reverberated throughout him as he grabbed her loose hands and enclosed them in the fingers of one hand over her head as he roughly grinded into her center with more pressure.

That was when her worst nightmare truly began to come to life as coiling heat spread over her belly, causing her to clench her eyes shut as shockwaves began to rock her body.

"It feels good, doesn't it?" he breathed into her ear as his free hand twisted a nipple between his fingers. "Don't deny it, Katrina. I can feel your muscles contracting. You're enjoying it."

Another sob shook her body, causing him to groan into her skin as he continued rolling his hips with an unhurried rhythm; each motion drawing her further and further into the nightmare that was her body betraying her.

"Ichabod," she cried, wishing more than anything in the world he would burst through the door to rescue her.

"I don't fault him for desiring you," he whispered, his breathing ragged and hot in her ear. "Any man with a pulse would. So, I know how he must have felt when in your company; always aroused; always yearning for a taste. He probably spent dozens of nights, cock in hand, like I did."

His hand slipped to the edge of her panties, causing her to writhe beneath him in an attempt to roll away, but she only failed as he delved beneath to touch her intimately; fingers sliding through her thin curls.

"Not dripping, but damp is fine for now," he said as he pressed his fingers along her slit; violating her to her core. "We have all night to get you where you need to be."

"I hate you," she wept as her body further betrayed her and trembled under his gentle probing.

She hadn't anticipated this. Never in her wildest imaginings had he been gentle; seeking to pleasure her. Self hatred for her lack of foresight began to consume her even as the heat intensifying in her lower belly began to spread along the rest of her body.

When he dipped his finger slightly within her, she thrashed her head, but it did no good as he was soon knuckle deep inside her.

"So warm," he groaned against her cheek as his mouth trailed kisses along her jaw, his finger pulling out slightly only to push back in, this time going deeper.

Her breathing was laboring as his thumb pressed into her clit while his finger gently pumped in and out, stretching her further each time. The result of the feeling had weakness beginning to overtake her as she gave a slight roll of her hips.

More tears blurred her vision as she fought the need for friction.

"Ichabod's going to kill you," she bit amidst a gasp. "He'll tear you apart for this."

"What would Ichabod think of you for this?" he taunted as he finally lifted the finger, damp with her slick, to his mouth. "Mmm, so sweet, Katrina. I'd promised you would spend time on your knees, but I feel it might turn out to be the other way around."

Shaking her head, she gave a last surge of energy over to trying to knock him off of her, but he only pressed her harder into the bedspread in response; his bare torso hot to the touch as he maintained his hold on her wrists.

Everything was hot to the touch as his sweat made both of their bodies slippery.

He, then, gripped her chin and forced her to look at his face which was full of satisfaction; his icy blue eyes darkened with lustful desire and a sense of accomplishment. The sight brought on another bout of tears. He was beating her; taking something she'd sworn she wouldn't give him. Why couldn't he have taken her with violence? With everything the Horseman of Death represented? Why did he have to do this? Take this?

"I bet Ichabod enjoys your taste," he whispered as he dipped his slick finger just inside her mouth; allowing her own taste to fill her. "How many times have you cummed for him?"

"Go to hell," she spat as she attempted to head butt him, only to miss and be slammed back into the bed with his hand against her throat.

Short of breath, she unintentionally jolted her hips up when his fingers found her clit and began circling at a fast pace.

"Do it," he growled as his fingers spread her folds apart and pinched her clit. "Give me what you've given him. Betray him right now."

Her will was fading as she squirmed beneath him, every movement furthering his goal of claiming her rather than hers of escaping.

All she could think of was how disgusted Ichabod was going to be when he found out. Abraham would surely tell him. He'd tell him of her body's flush and how she'd bitten her lip to keep from screaming. He'd tell him what she felt like; how she tasted.

Ichabod wouldn't believe a word of it, but she was sure in such an event Abraham would force her to face her love; force her to look into his eyes. Then, he would know. Upon seeing her guilt laden features, Ichabod would have little doubt of the truth in Abraham's words. After it settled, her love would never want to touch her again.

Nails clenched so hard against her palms she was sure she was drawing blood, that inevitable burn began sparking even hotter low in her belly; coiling and reaching as release loomed in her vision.

Abraham was unrelenting in his quest. His fingers were hard on her clit and his mouth had found her nipple again; sucking ferociously as he swirled his tongue around the hard point.

That was when her body began to convulse slightly as her hips rolled against his fingers. Rational thought was seeping away and she only prayed she would never recover it; never have to acknowledge that she'd lost it.

Turning her face into her arm, she bit her lip and fought the scream lodged in the back of her throat.

However, just as she was about to explode, Abraham tensed above her, ceasing all movement as his fingers released her wrists and left her panties.

For a moment, she thought he might actually be having a change of heart.

However, his gaze hardening as he abruptly stood from the bed had her thinking perhaps Ichabod had come for her again. Opposed as she was to the idea of him being in peril, or being witness to what had been about to happen, she could surely use the strength she gained from gazing upon her love.

"Who are you?" Abraham demanded as he jerked his trousers up his legs; looking more intimidating than she would have thought with his face and shoulders covered in blood.

Quickly sitting up, she turned to find not Ichabod, but a woman shrouded in darkness, her clothing torn and drenched.

"I demand you leave this place immediately," Abraham said as he reached for his axe.

However, before he was able to grab his weapon, the woman had already lunged at her and, the next thing she knew, she was submerged in dark water; unable to breathe.

Chapter Text

The weight of the water suffocating her from all sides made the fight for freedom feel like it was happening in slow motion with each second of struggle leaving her feeling more disoriented than the last. It certainly didn't help that the dark water provided little means of helping her discern what was happening around her other than the constricting presence of the creature held tightly to her from behind.

Lungs burning from the accidental intake of water she'd swallowed upon submersion, she desperately clawed and thrashed against the form; hopelessly attempting to escape its firm hold which had her arms pinned at her sides, making it impossible to untangle her upper body from it.

The moonlight danced along the water's surface about a dozen feet above her. That much she could decipher. However, she knew if she didn't free herself soon, all would be for naught as the air she was so needy for only provided icy water to her lungs instead; a factor that was also causing her to lose feeling in her fingers and toes.

Due to the increasing panic her body was producing, there was no calm to be found and it didn't help that she could feel the darkness of the creature seeping into her skin. Whatever this being was, it held a deep seated hatred toward her; one she could barely stand to be in contact with. It was as if the things very existence revolved around tormenting her; dragging her down into the abyss it had ascended from.

Eyes clenched shut in prayer that she could regain her control, she finally managed to collect her thoughts just long enough to summon her power, which she had began to feel the presence of the moment she felt the icy depths surround her.

Bright lights shone from her hands, seeking out the vines along the floor of the river; commanding them upward. The feel of the power flowing between her and the plant life connected with every nerve in her being, leaving her to relax in the creatures arms as she gave her life over to the river's occupants; trusting in them to do her bidding.

Her faith wasn't misplaced as the moment they reached the creature, wrapping around it tightly, the being tensed behind her, giving her the prompt she'd been waiting for as she gave a hard jerk forward; effectively untangling herself.

A shrill sound coursed throughout the surrounding area as the creature shrank away from her; descending into the dark depths.

Free at last, she struggled to reach the surface, desperate for air as her blood pounded powerfully behind her eyes and within her ears.

Upon breaking the surface, disorientation overtook her; her vision blurry from the sting of the water. Her chest rose and fell at an accelerated rate as she spun herself around, desperately searching for an escape; any place that might offer sanctuary from the freezing depths still surrounding her.

The night sky was bright with a full moon which seemed to be gazing down upon her, guiding her with its light, which finally permitted her sight of the shore not far off. A spark of hope swelled in her as she quickly set out for it, splashing against the freezing surface and propelling herself toward the land as quickly as she could manage; something that was becoming increasingly difficult as her body became more and more numb by the second.

When her feet finally grazed something solid, she collapsed forward and took to crawling up the bank, tripping and stumbling along the rocky, uneven floor of the river. Sand stuck to every inch of her nearly naked form as she fell into its embrace while also attempting to look over her shoulder and determine if the figure had yet regained itself and taken up pursuit.

Now, sitting amidst the sand, she shakily scanned the water's black surface, searching for any signs of impending danger; any sign that she'd once again be forced to defend herself. Whatever that thing was had been whole; capable of being injured. If it came at her again, she'd not be unprepared.

Her magic was rejuvenated; swirling in her chest brighter than ever as she tested its familiar boundaries; stretching and bending it to her will. It was like she'd been reawakened from a half life; her existence made whole once more.

When no signs of danger presented itself, she tried to calm just enough to take a deep breath amidst the pounding of her heart in the hopes of figuring out her next move, but the uncontrollable shaking of her body wasn't helping her accomplish that goal in the least.

With a glance down at herself, she took in her thin panties and bra; the only covering still left upon her. They, of course, did nothing to shield against the cold night air which was only further dropping her soaked body's temperature by the second. Something else the lack of clothing did nothing to cover was the angry, red marks along her chest; the imprints from Abraham's teeth clinging to her, despite her escape from him.

Fitfully shaking her head in the hopes of ridding him from her mind, she took in her surroundings and nearly fell over at the sight of the Dobbs Ferry Bridge in the distance; a bridge that was only three miles from her house.

Shocked she'd ended up so far from where she'd been only minutes before, she unsteadily pushed herself up and set off in a mad dash for the trees; her mind finding her goal. Now, that she was free from the carriage house, there was nothing preventing her from returning home.

Every step of the way, the forest floor bit into the soles of her bare feet, causing her to wince as she flung the branches in her path aside; running forward with no particular direction in mind. The dense fog helped nothing as the trees tended to all look the same when she could barely make out anything other than the next few feet before her. She couldn't really tell what was coming until she was right on top of it.

Unfortunately, her flight from danger ceased when a horrible wail in the distance caused her to grind to a halt and double over while looking back toward the way from which she'd come; her breathing strained and uneven; every muscle in her body throbbing or numb.

Whatever that creature was had obviously been set free and was now ticked over her escape. The thought of that thing in hot pursuit of her caused her already rapidly beating heart to double its frantic pace as panic shook her.

The irrational setting of her mind wasn't helped in the least by the icy feeling coating her skin as the water still clung to her; dripping from her hair and coursing down her skin.

"Katrina!"

Going stone still, the sound of his voice permeated her being; leaving her to clutch at the tree beside her for fear that she had hallucinated it.

The forest was so quiet, nary bird nor insect was moving about. There wasn't even any wind rustling the trees. Had she imagined Ichabod's voice? Perhaps, she'd hit her head in the struggle. No other realistic scenario would truly have him in this forest, shouting her name. There was no cause for him to be anywhere near here. As far as he, or anyone else knew, she was at Abraham's carriage hour, nearly five miles away.

Just as she was about to chalk his voice up to a concussion, or hallucination from having gone so long beneath the water's surface, she felt her heart falter when he broke through the dense fog; his tall, lean form rushing toward her.

So shocked to actually be seeing him, she couldn't even bring herself to move in response. If she moved, she might break the spell that had surely been cast over her.

She needn't have to move, however, as he was around her before she could suck in her next breath; strong arms tightly clenching her to his chest in moments.

"I feared the worst," he whispered into her soaked hair; his breathing ragged and loud as his fingers pressed into her spine.

The heat of his body seeped through his shirt, providing her with the first feelings of warmth as she clutched his coat; still unsure he was actually here. He couldn't actually be here, could he? That was too fantastical; too dreamlike.

However, when he placed his hand alongside her neck and pulled back whilst brushing her wet, plastered hair from her face, she could clearly see his beautiful blue eyes and knew he was real.

It also helped her sanity, or hindered it perhaps, that he looked so different than she last recalled. His beard was thicker and his hair unkempt; as though it hadn't been touched in days. A dark, painful looking bruise rested over his left cheek and his expression was one of a man on the brink of insanity.

"We went to the carriage house and saw the water," he explained breathlessly, his eyes darting over every inch of her face; panic and despair practically exuding from him. "I thought-"

The idea of him returning to that place had her body shaking even worse than before as the feeling of Abraham's hands caressing her, probing her, took control of her senses. She swore she could even feel his hot breath on her skin; greedily licking and nipping at her flesh.

"Kat?" Surprised to hear another voice, her eyes darted to Abbie, who she just realized was standing a few feet behind Ichabod, her brown eyes shining with obvious concern. "Are you alright?"

Breathing becoming erratic as ghost like fingers danced along her skin, she weakly shook her head and collapsed against Ichabod's chest; her fingers desperately clutching along the back of his shirt. "Don't let me go."

The immediate way his chest tightened beneath her cheek as his hands wound around her bare waist left her with a horrible feeling in the pit of her belly; one that was confirmed when he firmly pulled her back.

His eyes locked onto her chest, which was exposed to the night air; every inch of her covered in sand and the icy remains of the river which was still clinging to her.

"What happened to you?" he whispered, his eyes hardening into flashing orbs of blue. "Did Mary do this to you?"

Following his heated gaze, she took in her sand coated black bra and panties as well as the few angry red splotches where Abraham had nipped at her skin. The sight of it all, combined with Ichabod's eyes on the evidence, had her nearly about to fall to pieces right then and there. Her body was on full display, leaving no secret as to what had happened to her.

"I-no, it..." She gasped for the stinging, cold air which was deftly avoiding her. "It wasn't her."

Hot anger crept into his blue eyes, which had darkened considerably, as he tightly gripped her upper arms and demanded, "What did he do?"

The sensation of being held down sparked terror deep within her chest, one she could neither cast aside nor ignore, prompting her to abruptly jerk away from him and stumble back; the idea of being pinned down sending her into a near panic attack.

As her heart frantically pounded in her chest, the pulse taking over her entire being, she watched his face reflect one of surprise.

Then, before another word could be expressed, a shrill scream came from the trees behind them, causing Ichabod to tear his eyes from her and physically move to her other side, blocking her from the direction the sound had come.

"Crane, we have to do something," Abbie urged as she stared through the trees; her stance on high alert. "If she finds us unprepared, who knows what she'll do, especially with the two of you now together."

Without a word either way, Ichabod began hastily shrugging his coat off before he spun on his heel and held it open for her, a determined glaze over his dark eyes that only intensified with the stiff posture of his body and each harsh breath that appeared in front of his face. He truly looked as though he were prepared to break someone in half; something that did nothing to help her move to accept his offering.

"Katrina," he whispered, his voice cracked and broken. "Come here."

A sob stuck itself somewhere in the back of her throat and, more than anything else, it was the numb feel of her body that finally helped her regain some control of herself.

With a wary step forward, she allowed him to pull his coat around her shoulders; his movements gentler than she'd have expected from looking at him.

The whole time he was helping her, his gaze remained intent; one she deftly avoided as she slipped her arms through the thick, coat sleeves.

"It's Mary Wells," he offered softly as his fingers nimbly buttoned the coat. "You met her in my company many years ago."

Distracted from her previous thoughts, she searched her memory for the familiar name and asked, "The young woman from England?"

"The very same," he answered, finishing with the buttons and stepping around her to pick up the bow she'd only just now realized he'd dropped upon reaching her. "This creature is her tormented spirit given flesh. I don't know what has brought her here, but I must learn the truth."

"She's already killed one woman and attempted to drown me," Abbie added as she stepped closer to her; her gaze never leaving the trees. "She's trying to kill women Crane cares about and you, I believe, are the grand prize she's really after."

Grand prize, indeed, she thought, as she recalled the clear hatred that had exuded from the creature.

"She was raised by dark magic," she offered, her mind swirling with the possibilities. "I can undo the work, send that poor woman's soul to a better place, but I, too, must use dark magic to accomplish the task."

She met Ichabod's eyes, which were still trained on her; hard as steel. "In order to raise a spirit, I must risk my own. The only way for the spell to be achieved is for another witch to serve as an anchor to keep me from losing my way."

Ichabod seemed ready to protest her idea, but Abbie quickly piped in, "We're all out of witches, how about a Witness?"

Regarding her friend for a moment, she considered that it might just work. The internal strength and fortitude of a Witness ran much deeper than the average human being; something she'd observed within Ichabod numerous times when he wasn't paying attention.

Not that it really mattered at this point as it was their only option.

"The spell will take some time to cast."

When her eyes met Ichabod's again, he was staring at her as though still wary of her; as if she was the one who'd just looked to be on the verge of committing murder.

"I'll hold her off until the incantation has taken full affect," he said as he pulled the bow back, making her realize he was about to separate from them.

He'd barely taken his first step toward the wails before she'd grabbed his arm and quickly moved in front of him, panic at being parted from him filling her to her core.

"My love, please..." His blue eyes, ready, but still hard, darted over her face as she helplessly begged, "Don't leave me. You can't leave me."

As his intense gaze searched her face, she felt as though he were inspecting her like an insect; every part of her on display for his judgments; for his damnation if he so chose.

"Katrina-"

The next set of wails were too close to ignore, prompting Ichabod to jerk his gaze to the forest even as her fingers tightened around his arm.

"Please-"

"Do the spell." He turned back to her; his eyes holding hers. "I'm not going anywhere."

"Alright, let's do this," Abbie said with a measure of urgency as she held out her hands. "What do you need from me?"

Maintaining her gaze with Ichabod, she searched his eyes for assurance that he wouldn't back out on his word.

However, Abbie grabbing her arm to spin her toward her forced her to let him go and meet her friend's focused gaze. "Kat, what do we do?"

Coming to herself, she, then, grasped her friend's arm and pulled her to kneel on the ground with her. "I'll teach you the words you must repeat."

The chanting between them fell into a flow, Abbie's brightness holding her in place as she ventured into dark territory; into the lure it always held. Everything seemed to be moving too quickly, too erratically, to concentrate as her spirit hung in the balance, tethered to the world of good and light by Abbie's strength, which was burning like a beacon of hope in the center of her thoughts. She was surprised by how much brighter it was than Ichabod's; more assured and grounded. It struck her that despite her years of attempting to prepare Ichabod ahead of time, Abbie was already more in tune to her destiny than he was even close to being.

Drawing on her friend's energy, she attached herself to it as the dark words tumbled from her lips; the blackness of them raising a sick feeling in the pit of her belly; one that was attempting to stick to her in a vice like fashion.

Nearby branches began snapping, prompting her to jerk her gaze up to find the dark spirit racing toward them, evil intent clear in her erratic gait. However, as the creature closed in, it abruptly halted as though meeting an invisible wall, jolting backward and collapsing toward the ground.

"Mary," Ichabod said with urgency as he stepped toward the figure, who was writhing amidst the littered forest floor.

"It's done," she said, the darkness seeping from within her. "As the enchantment takes hold, Mary's spirit will be free to leave this earthly plane."

"Crane, be careful," Abbie warned as she released her and rested one hand on the holster of her weapon. "She could still be dangerous."

As he knelt beside the woman, he glanced up at Abbie; self assurance in his gaze. "Not to me. She won't harm me."

As if to affirm his words, he carefully pulled Mary's shaking form into his lap.

"Mary..." he whispered as he gently brushed some of her plastered hair from her face. "I thought... I thought you'd returned home. Why are you still here? What happened to you?"

Unsteadily rising, she watched as Mary stared up at Ichabod, her gaze clearly drawn to the care exuding from him.

Then, with an unsteady hand, she lifted her fingers to stroke his cheek as she whispered something so low it was unable to her heard.

Whatever the woman had said clearly shook Ichabod as his eyes darted to hers, his face seemingly draining of color.

However, before she could begin to understand what was happening, Mary moaned, her body going stiff as her skin began to blacken and decay.

Then, within moments, Mary Wells was gone.


The car ride home was spent in silence as was the trek across the lawn, up the steps, and into her house.

Currently, she was standing beneath the showerhead, desperately attempting to remove the chill from her bones as well as the feel of fingers still clutching at her body. She swore she could still feel Abraham probing her; still feel his hot breath on her skin; teasing and taunting her.

Bringing both hands up to smooth over her slick hair, she closed her eyes and squeezed them as tightly as she could manage.

Ichabod had not spoken to her since Mary had faded away, nor had he even looked at her other than to help her into the car and make sure his coat was tight around her body as he buckled her seatbelt.

After that, even Abbie had been silent as she continuously darted worried glances over at him as she drove.

Whatever conclusions he'd come to regarding Mary's death was clearly weighing on him, but he didn't seem of the mind to share it with her or Abbie. Truthfully, that was fine as she wasn't sure how much more she could take from this day, but what she wanted more than anything else was his embrace, which he wasn't, and didn't seem to plan, giving her. Even during the journey home, he'd ridden in the front seat, far from her touch.

For her part, she had no idea what to think of anything other than her need for his comfort; for the love he'd always freely given her. She was truly having a hard time concentrating on anything else as her every other thought seemed to return her to places she dreaded; places she was desperately trying to ignore, but somehow managed to still be the center of her thoughts.

In the forefront of her mind, she knew she needed to work this all out in her head if she was going to coax Ichabod into holding her. He had to be of the mindset to recognize her need for him. If she didn't present herself in a certain way, she knew he'd close off from her; just as he'd done in the forest. He was already wary of her and the demons circling her mind continually taunted the idea that it was because he knew. Her greatest love knew what she'd done; what she'd come so close to giving away. She could still feel the pressure that Abraham had started in her core and it wasn't abating; wasn't leaving her be. Her body, despite the hell it had endured over the past hour, still longed for release.

Dropping her head back against the shower wall, she clenched her eyes shut and released a sob; one that shook her entire body as she sunk to the floor.

It was too much; the pain; the desperation to feel something other than dirtiness. She was tainted now; used and battered. This wasn't something she'd be able to hide as easily as all the other things she'd kept from Ichabod. He'd see it. He'd know what she'd allowed to happen to her and he'd hate her for it.

Roughly wiping at her eyes, she brought her knees up and wrapped her arms around them before settling her chin to rest atop them.

She wasn't going to solve her internal problems right now; she couldn't. She didn't even want to delve into them. So, instead, she set about considering Mary Wells, something that was difficult to do as the one and only time she'd met Mary Wells was a time that hadn't went very smoothly.

"You don't have to do that," she said as she held the mug tightly in her grasp; her eyes focused on the sweat drenched, oh so beautiful man in front of her. "You know he'll have someone else take care of it."

Ichabod glanced up at her with a half hearted smile; one that caused her heart to constrict. He was just so enticing, his hair down around his shoulders and his shirt hanging low in the front, revealing his hard, defined chest, that, suddenly, all she wanted was to have him again; to have him love her in the same manner he had the night before.

She could still feel the imprints of his insistent fingers along her hips from where he'd held her close as she'd sat astride him; draining him of every ounce of passion he possessed. It had been an unplanned, dangerous encounter; one that had left her sore and desperate for more.

"It's the least I can do."

Spell around him broken, she heavily sighed at the stubborn mule knelt by the wagon wheel he was repairing, her thoughts changing as she groaned, "Ichabod..."

"I don't wish to speak of it," he tersely replied, grunting with effort as he pushed against the wagon. "He's my best friend and I'm repairing his wagon wheel. It's what friend's do for one another."

Fighting the urge to roll her eyes and kick at the ground in a tantrum, she asked, "Is this because of last night?"

He cut her a hard glance as he picked up a hammer and began beating against the knobs. "I said I didn't wish to speak of it."

"We made love, Ichabod," she said, ignoring his attempts to put this conversation on hold. "That's what two people who love each other do with one another."

"They don't generally do such things when their best friend, who they're repetitively betraying, is just beyond earshot."

The bite in his voice did nothing to halt her.

"I hate when you act like this; like you and I are doing something irrevocably sinful. We're not betraying Abraham. I have no obligation to him."

He tossed his hammer to the dirt as he rammed his arm into the wagon with a grunt; his eyes still boring into hers. "Perhaps, not, but I still feel wrong about it."

Pursing her lips, she gripped the mug more tightly; attempting to keep her emotions in check and not throw it at him. "It felt wrong to make love to me?"

Shakily running a hand through his hair, he gave an exasperated sigh and shook his head. "Don't twist my words, Katrina. We've had this conversation a dozen times before. You know how I feel."

"Well, perhaps, we need to have it another dozen times as you're still being stubborn about it."

A flash of irritation swept over his face as he stood and took a hard step toward her. "For the love of God, Katrina-"

"Ichabod!"

While Ichabod quickly spun around at the high pitched voice, she had to step to the side in order to see past him only to find a woman she didn't recognize grinning ear to ear as she closed her umbrella.

"Mary," he said, his voice startled and more off beat than she'd ever heard it. "Uhm..."

Before he could get another word out, the woman had flung herself around him, leaving his arms flailing out to the sides, clearly conflicted over what to do with them.

Confused over this situation and, honestly, a little miffed at the woman's audacity to place her hands on Ichabod, she listened as Ichabod stumbled over his words.

"This is... unexpected."

Mary, as she'd been called, was practically bouncing on her toes as Ichabod half turned to look at her with wide eyes to which she only raised her eyebrows in return. If he didn't start explaining soon, she was going to light him on fire; consequences be damned.

"Uhm... Mary Wells," he began as he awkwardly gestured between them. "Katrina van Tassel, a treasured friend of mine."

Despite her bubbling irritation, she forced a smile for Mary, doing her best to recall where she'd heard Ichabod mention that name before. She knew quite a few Mary's, but couldn't place this one at all. She was positive she'd never met the woman before as she practically screamed of someone hard to forget.

The painstakingly detailed stitching of her dress spoke of a high birth, which was hard to avoid as she twisted and turned the fabric around her, clearly unconcerned about the material's well being. Even she, a woman who hardly cared for such materialistic things, knew how a dress of such cost should be treated. The fact that Mary was treating it otherwise spoke of the spoiled nature the woman possessed, obviously aware she could have another at any time. Such women irritated her to no end as they did nothing other than set their sex back decades at a time; reinforcing the ideas that men like Abraham held toward them.

"A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Wells," she said as cheerfully as she could manage, though she likely could have put more effort into it.

"Charmed," Mary replied, barely sparing her a glance as all she seemed capable of doing was giggling and staring up at Ichabod.

If the mug in her hand hadn't shattered by now, she must be succeeding at keeping her emotions in check better than she thought.

Ichabod, hands nervously twisting, went on, "Mary is a dear friend from London."

Ah, she thought, finally realizing where she'd heard the name. Ichabod had had a mouthful to say about his childhood friend turned former fiancé when they'd been divvying up their romantic inclinations one night as they'd laid in bed together, pulling every last detail they could manage out of one another. Apparently, Mary was in a league all of her own; a league Ichabod had spoken of being glad to now be departed from the company of, but that didn't explain what was she doing here.

"I've only just arrived."

Ichabod stared at her as though there may be more, which the woman clearly didn't catch onto, forcing him to ask, "And you came for...?"

"You, Ichabod," Mary said as if it should have been obvious. "To bring you home so you can finally make an honest woman of me."

Eyebrows shooting up as the woman took an even closer stance to Ichabod, she couldn't help but ask, "You're engaged?"

Ichabod turned toward her with a pleading expression, but she was too enthralled with what was happening in front of her to care. This woman was either completely touched, or Ichabod had been less than truthful when saying he'd ended his engagement to Mary before departing for the colonies. As she highly doubted the latter, that left only the former, which had her nearly about to choke on laughter.

"Promised to each other since we were children," Mary went on as she reached up to push Ichabod's hair back, something that ceased her amusement altogether and took to leaving her irked instead. "Our father's have long been close companions."

For his part, Ichabod didn't appear to have a clue as to what to do with himself as he glanced between them with a forced smile; his blue eyes darting everywhere but directly into her gaze.

"But..." he went on, his voice rattled. "Mary and I have not seen each other since I departed for the colonies."

At that, Mary bit her lip and looked at her as though she wished to be alone with Ichabod. As if that would ever happen. The poor woman had no idea just how close she was to being thrown across the yard.

Ichabod cleared his throat and turned to her. "Katrina, I uhm..."

The pleading in his gaze was so pitiful as to have her torn between laughing at him, wrapping him in a hug, and slinging him across the yard along with Mary. His panic was clear in his blue eyes, but she wasn't exactly sure what he wanted her to do. She couldn't tell the woman to leave, nor did she intend to invite her to stay. Either choice was a definite negative in regards to her and Ichabod's relationship.

Forcing a smile, she chose to do the proper thing for once and said, "Why don't I give the two of you a chance to reacquaint?"

Ichabod's eyes widened considerably, but she only raised an eyebrow in return, fingers clenching the mug, and headed for the side door of the carriage house.

Pulling Ichabod's old shirt over her head, the one that had seen her through some of the toughest nights of her life, she placed her hand on the doorknob and did her best to mentally prepare herself for whatever mood she found him in; if she found him at all. The worst thing she imagined could happen was him being absent from their bedroom entirely. It would break the last threads of her spirit.

When she finally forced herself to open the door, she thankfully found him sitting in his usual place in the bed with his back to the headboard, his gaze trained on something in his hands.

To her disappointment, he never acknowledged her entrance; something that caused her heart to fall further into despair as the fear of his disgust consumed her. Now, unable to help the hesitation in her step, she made her way toward the bed and slowly crawled into her side; being careful not to jostle the bed as she feared bothering him to the point that he would abandon her.

Upon pulling the covers over her legs, she leaned against the headboard and situated her hands in her lap; unsure of what else to do, or if she should do anything at all. What was she supposed to say? In the past, it hadn't always been best to press him; to force him to talk. Most of the time, he simply needed a little time to sort his thoughts out before he revealed them to her. All she usually had to do was wait, something she was awful at doing.

Tentatively turning her head to stare at him, she took in his defeated posture and prayed she wasn't about to make a disastrous mistake.

"Are you angry with me?" she began before adding through a broken whisper, "Did you not miss me?"

His gaze jerked toward her; the blue eyes she so adored filled with obvious surprise. "What?"

"You-" She dropped her gaze to the blanket she was currently worrying between her fingers. "All I want is for you to hold me, but you've barely even looked at me and, while I was in the bathroom, I kept hoping you'd come to me. I-I didn't even want to be in the shower without you. I just- I just wanted-"

The bed shifted and she choked on a sob when his body pressed into her side; his arm slipping around her belly.

"I missed you every moment," he whispered against her ear, his breath warm and familiar. "I truly thought I'd go mad without you."

Finally working up the courage to look at him, she found his eyes swirling with that love she so craved. It was enough to help her reciprocate his touch.

"I didn't think I'd ever see you again," she whispered as she clutched at the arm around her; her fingers digging into his flesh. "I thought-"

"Hell, itself, couldn't have stopped me from finding you," he swore as he pressed a chaste kiss to her cheek. "I'd have done anything; paid any price."

Breathing beginning to labor, she turned and sought out his lips; needing to feel him; needing his love and the purity she always received from his touch.

His fingers dug into her side as he pulled her closer while his other hand lifted to cup the back of her head; his fingers sinking into her wet hair.

Their kiss grew insistent; needy. It was deep and warm and everything she'd prayed to feel again; everything she'd been sure she'd only experience in dreams for the rest of her miserable existence.

When his tongue traced her lips, she parted for him without hesitation; welcoming his touch within her. She longed for it; would have even begged for it had he asked.

Unfortunately, before she could draw him further into the pit of darkness she was trying to use him as leverage to crawl out of, he pulled back, his lips tugging at her bottom lip until he was breathing against her through heavy pants.

"I never want to leave your arms again," she greedily whispered, pressing her forehead to his. "Please, don't ever let me go, my love."

When he winced as he tried to wrap his arms around her, she lifted her gaze to his and found his eyes squeezed shut; a look of pain on his face.

"What's wrong?"

He winced and grabbed her hand to rest along his side. Eyes following the path their hands had taken, she took matters into her own hands and felt along his ribs; her eyes widening when she felt the swollen knots.

"Why didn't you say anything?" she exclaimed as she scooted down in the bed to inspect his bruised ribs. "Did you go to the hospital?"

"I awoke there," he whispered softly as she guided him to rest against the headboard. "The doctor's wanted me to remain there, but... I had to find you."

"That was nearly a week ago, Ichabod," she scolded as she searched the rest of his body; taking in the numerous cuts and bruises she hadn't even noticed before. "What did they say about your injuries?"

"Bruised ribs and a broken arm."

Her eyes flew to his as burning guilt took hold of her. How could she have been so selfish as to not notice? "You broke your arm? Why isn't it in a brace?"

"Katrina..." he whispered as he laid a hand to her hip; his eyes pleading. "Please, just heal me."

With a heavy sigh, she did as he asked, running her hands over his upper body to make sure she covered everything she could find. He was so tense; every muscle clenched and knotted.

Eyes falling closed, she absorbed everything that needed taking away. That is, until something hard tapped her shoulder, pulling her gaze to find her sapphire dangling from the hand he now had in her hair. The sight of it sparked light within her.

"I thought I'd lost it," she whispered, her voice cracking as she touched the jewel. "Where did you find it?"

When she looked up at him, her joy at him having found the prized necklace overtaking every part of her face, she found him staring at the jewel with a look she couldn't read. All she knew was that it certainly wasn't joy.

"She saw us."

"Who?" she tentatively asked as she watched his face for any sign of what he was feeling.

"That night, when I returned to you after speaking with Mary," he said, running his finger over the sapphire. "You were jealous and I was angry."

"I remember," she softly offered, the night clear in her mind.

"We made love behind the carriage house," he went on. "We thought we heard something."

"You think it was Mary?" she asked as she shifted closer to him, her hand stroking his arm. "Ichabod, you can't know that."

A tear streaked his cheek as he shook his head. "But I do. I found her umbrella the next morning and just assumed she'd left it behind, but, now that I've went over it in my mind, I remember she had it in her hand when she stormed off after telling me I was to return with her."

"Well?" she asked as he finally made it back to where she was leaning against the wagon; arms crossed with a pout on her lips.

As the light had disappeared from the evening sky, she'd watched them walk up the road from the house's front window. All had been fine as they'd seemed to be in light conversation, possibly reminiscing over their entwined childhoods, or at least that's what she kept telling herself. The idea that they were doing anything else but that was enough to spark jealousy deep in her soul, which was something that unnerved her as she'd never been one prone to such feelings.

Perhaps, it was simply because she'd never been in a position that had permitted the feeling, or, perhaps, it was because Mary shared a part of Ichabod's life she could never touch; never honestly know. She wasn't permitted the freedom to walk arm in arm with him that freely, or whisper sweet nothings in his ear at parties.

Instead of those sorts of moments, she had to keep herself at a distance; never showing him favoritism over Abraham. No matter what she told her love, she was aware of the fact that while she truly didn't owe Abraham anything, she always had to be on his side when it came down to it, lest she show too much loyalty toward Ichabod; something Abraham would surely pitch a fit over; maybe even punish her love for somehow.

Yes, she supposed, for the first time, she really was jealous. Ichabod had never spent time in another woman's company. At least, not while in her presence. When he was around her, he was always all about her. He'd never chosen another woman's time over hers; never even really looked at another woman over her. So, the idea that Mary had seen him grow up, been able to call herself his fiancé, had experienced her families approval to join her life with Ichabod's, made her truly feel like some sort of mistress.

Just before the light had faded too much for her to see them and begin irrationally imagining what they were doing without her knowledge, they'd paused and taken to pointing and gesturing rather heatedly amongst themselves.

Her curiosity had been piqued, turned from jealousy to a wish to know what they were talking about, but she'd firmly held her ground and not gone to him the way she'd desperately wanted.

Then, before long, Mary had stormed off, leaving Ichabod to stand in her wake, watching as she disappeared up the deserted road.

"She's demanded I join her at the docks for departure in the morning."

He looked weary as he twisted his hands in front of him; his gaze downcast and clearly conflicted.

"Did she?" she asked in amusement. "She's quite the woman. I can't imagine why you supposedly broke your engagement to her. You must be dying to return to England in her company."

With a roll of his eyes, he looked over at her with a testy expression. "There's no supposedly and I'm not going anywhere."

"Did you inform her of that?" she inquired with raised eyebrows, knowing full well he didn't.

Ichabod was always one to procrastinate. She'd often imagined him as a boy, rising early in the morning to complete the studies he should have finished the night before. He was just so kind and considerate that sometimes she wondered how he had ever made it this far in life. Of course, he also bore a fair amount of fear when it came to change, but who didn't? It was a very natural trait.

"No," he answered as he turned to lay his hand on the wagon and look over his work. "I'll tell her in the morning."

"Oh, so you're going to meet her at the docks?" she asked, her tone heightening due to his failure to just do what he needed. "Why didn't you tell her while you were with her? You're going to allow her to think she's won."

"Won what, Katrina?" he exclaimed as he turned to glare at her; his blue eyes laced with contempt. "As far as anyone knows, I'm unattached; free and marriageable. It's not as though many women look at you as competition for my affections what with the way you allow Abraham to put his hands all over you as though you're his. Half this damned town thinks he's bedding you and it's not as if I can correct them; tell them that you're mine; that I'm the one who touches you; that I'd murder anyone who ever tried to take what was mine. No, instead, I'm forced to sit and listen to them speak of you as though you're his; as though I'm someone you'd never even consider as a prospective husband."

Taken aback at the heated conviction in his tone, she felt her mouth slightly drop open. "Ichabod-"

"She told me you'd never have me," he muttered lowly as he defiantly kicked at the wheel he'd been repairing.

Tentatively stepping closer to his anger riddled form, she gently laid her hand over his which was gripping the side of the wagon. "Why would she say that? Did you tell her about us?"

A small bubble of fear rose in her. She and Ichabod had had one too many disagreements on the secrecy involved in their relationship. If he ever told someone...

"Of course not," he groaned with a helpless glance up the road. "But she must have noticed something. After I told her she and I could never be, she went on to accuse you of stealing my heart; of bewitching me into falling in love with you."

The way he was standing, all stiff, yet forlorn and weary, pulled at her heart. She could make out his downcast eyes in the glow of the lantern, causing her to take another step toward him and press solidly against him, hoping contact with her would soothe his tenseness.

"Well, she wasn't wrong about that was she?"

He glanced down at her body pressed into his side before shooting another glance up the road; one she knew all too well.

"You shouldn't stand so close," he said as he took a full step away from her; disconnecting from her entirely. "Aren't you the one always carrying on about me being your dirty secret?"

Clenching her jaw as all pity for him ceased, she icily replied, "I hate when you act like this."

"Act like what?" he asked as he rounded on her; eyes bathed with daring. "Like a man who has one woman practically begging him to wed her and another refusing with her every other breath; leaving me looking like some pathetic fool begging for your attention?"

With narrowed eyes, she turned on her heel to return indoors. She absolutely refused to allow him to drag her into his toddler like tantrums.

However, before she got more than a few feet away, he'd firmly grasped her upper arm and took to dragging her past the wagon toward the back of the house.

Upon their abruptly rounding the corner, she firmly bit, "I have no desire to further converse with you."

"That's fine," he said as he let her go only to wrap one hand around her waist and place the other alongside her neck while forcefully backing her into the wall. "I had no desire to converse with you in the first place."

With that, he possessively pressed his body flush to hers and captured her lips in a punishing kiss; one that took her breath and left her blindly reaching out to support herself with his upper arms.

If she wasn't so angry with him, she might have already praised the heavens for his turn in mood. She loved when he took control and passionately loved her. With them both fuming, she imagined a few more marks were sure to be left come morning; signs of their intense joining she could cling to when they were parted by time and distance.

As he hungrily devoured her lips, his hands began possessively sliding up and down her dress; roughly pressing into her through the material as she held onto him.

He didn't show signs of releasing her anytime soon, leaving her to wonder just how angry he was. Not a full hour ago, he'd been attempting to guilt her with the fact that she'd tempted him into making love to her on Abraham's property the night before. Yet, now he was the one instigating such an act.

Not that she was complaining. She'd allow him to take her anywhere; at any time he chose.

His fingers found her laces where he began insistently slipping the material loose while his mouth never let up on hers; never even permitted her the air she was beginning to need.

Moaning into his kiss, she yanked his shirt from his trousers and searched out the skin beneath, sliding her hands along his sides and chest; enjoying the contact it provided. He was so hard and warm; leaving the planes of his skin open to her lust filled exploration.

When he finally had her laces loose enough, he parted the folds of her dress and dropped his hot mouth to her chest where he began laying open mouthed kisses along her skin; the burn of it sending pulses straight to her core.

Finally sucking in the air she'd began to feel desperate for, she brought one shaky hand up, tangling it in his hair and pulling him closer; delighting in the way his thick thigh slipped between her legs and placed pressure on her hungry center.

"Ichabod," she whispered as she helplessly ground down on him; her mouth falling open at the sweet friction. "I don't want to wait."

Her words were all it took for him to begin slipping the buttons loose on his trousers, his nimble fingers keenly accustomed to their rushed unclothing, before he eased himself free; already hard and heavy.

Hastily shifting her dress up, she tangled her fingers in her skirts and tugged them out of the way so he could press into her; placing his cock right at her slick entrance.

She was ready, beyond ready if she was being honest. Her thighs were damp and her center was throbbing with that need only he could thoroughly meet. With Ichabod having been so close all day, she was surprised she hadn't dripped down her leg by this point as she'd forgone knickers that morning with the knowledge that they'd never manage to keep their hands free of one another. They never could. Their joining tended to be an inevitability depending upon the time of day and who was nearby.

When he thrust into her; his pulsing length finding its home in her welcoming warmth, he resumed their earlier frenzied kiss; this time even slipping his tongue between her lips; the slick feel of it coating her lips as he flicked it back and forth.

Now rapidly rutting between her legs, she held him close with her hands scratching under the back of his shirt; teasing her fingers along his rippling muscles.

If only she could bottle the feelings he stirred within her. She wanted to stay here, wrapped in his tight embrace as he lost his control; hammering himself inside her; making her his.

Their act was becoming so animalistic, so primal, that she had to bite into his shoulder to keep from screaming.

Arms locked under his shoulders, she dug her nails into his shoulder blades, holding him tightly as he grunted into her neck; his hot breath sparking the heat in her belly in ways she never wanted to lose.

Every thrust was hitting places in her that had her core pulsing; begging to have that ache fulfilled.

When he filled her to the hilt and rolled his hips, ensuring he touched every reachable inner part of her, she tossed her head back into the building as her mouth fell open in a soundless scream.

"Oh God," she moaned as she desperately wrapped her thigh over his hip. "Right there."

The pressure against her clit when he repeated the motion, along with the buildup of slick between them, left her dizzy as she buried her face in his sweaty neck to keep from alerting the entire countryside as to what they were doing.

However, the guttural grunts he was now releasing into her ear had the next words which came tumbling from her lips laced with doubt.

"Are you completely furious with me again?"

His rough thrusts faltered as he hotly pressed his mouth to her ear and groaned a soft, "Yes."

Nodding her understanding, she blindly reached for the hand tangled in her skirts and threaded their fingers together before lifting his knuckles to her lips.

"I am yours, my love; only ever yours."

His forehead pressed against hers as his hips slowed to a gentle roll between her abused thighs; the pressure less animalistic and more adoring. "I know."

"Then, will you touch me like you know that?"

He chuckled, the sound filled with lightness, and whispered against her lips, "You and I both know that's not what you desire."

Before she could respond, the snap of a branch not far away had them both freezing in place as they disengaged their mouths and searched the night; acutely aware of the scandalous position they were currently in.

He leaned away from her slightly and glanced around the corner; his body tense with energy.

"Is anyone there?" she whispered, watching his face, which she could barely make out in the dark.

With a shake of his head, he continued to glance around as he remained buried deep within her; the pounding of his heart thumping against her hand as she held it over him.

"I don't think so," he answered as his eyes continued to search the night.

Satisfied that if anyone were there, they would have announced themselves by now, she cupped his cheek and turned his head back to hers before recapturing his lips.

Eyes falling to the tiny scratches the branches had left on her hands, she said, "She came back."

"She saw us," he whispered with a cracked voice. "She saw what we were doing. Then, she... she must have run off, distraught, and somehow..."

His head fell back against the headboard as he choked out a strangled, "It's my doing she drowned."

"Oh, my love," she said as she carefully crawled into his lap and cupped his wet face. "You can't think like that. This wasn't your fault."

He shook his head as he clutched the sapphire more firmly in his grasp, prompting her to lean her forehead to his. What she wouldn't give to have them be whole; free of all the past torments that continued to chase them.

"You're a good man, Ichabod. If you'd known-"

"I should have told her the truth," he firmly objected. "Our secret... It destroyed lives."

Not having that, she gripped his chin and titled his face to hers; taking in his tear streaked and splotchy cheeks. "No. We've already been through this. Everyone has choices to make. You can't take their choice away by taking it onto your shoulders as blame. Mary made the choice to get on a ship and come for you, knowing full well it was over between the two of you. And Abraham..."

Trailing off as her own torments returned, hands stroking her and blonde hair tickling her face, she noticed Ichabod's shoulders stiffen as his fingers dug deeply into her thighs; the pressure painful.

"What did he do to you?"

Unable to help her tensing over him, she shook her head, desperate for him to not take her down this path. "We're not going to talk about that right now."

"You have to tell me," he demanded as more tears streaked down his face. "If you don't tell me, then, I'll imagine it and... please, don't force me to imagine it, Katrina. The nightmares will be enough to endure. I'm already tormented with them."

Eyes falling closed, she sucked in a deep, shaky breath and fixed her gaze on the sapphire in his hand; the one she adored and considered so out of place while unlocked from her neck.

"He didn't rape me," she began, wanting, no needing, him to know that first and foremost. "Not completely."

If there was one thing that they made clear tonight, it was that Abraham von Brunt had found no release within her. She harbored no seed of his and hopefully never would.

"You were in your underwear," he protested as his breathing intensified. "And you weren't... The way you were acting-"

"Mary interrupted him," she assured as she finally lifted her gaze to his wide, panic filled, eyes. "She arrived just in time."

"That's not it," he pressed, his eyes darting all over her face; a certain, crazed glaze over them. "I saw the bite marks on your breasts; the finger prints on your hips. You were terrified when I found you, Katrina, and you didn't want to be held in place. You were afraid of me."

Squeezing her eyes shut, she felt her chest constrict as a sob tried to claw its way out of her.

She couldn't do this; couldn't watch him listen to this anymore than she could share it with him. It was too much. They'd never recover from it.

"Katrina, please, just tell me," he pleaded, his hand cupping one side of her face while the other snaked around her back, cocooning her in his embrace. "Whatever it is, whatever he did, please..."

"He touched me," she whispered, eyes still clenched shut as the nightmarish words began escaping from her.

"Where?"

The dread in his voice was thick and it did nothing to lessen the sting to her heart. This was going to destroy him. He was too good a person to be able to handle it.

"Katrina," he pressed, desperation in his voice and touch.

"Everywhere," she breathed, unsure if any sound even escaped her. "In-inside me."

His fingers tangled in the side of her shirt, pulling the material tight around her body. The action caused her to finally open her eyes and take in his gaze which was fixated on her neck where she knew she had a mark; a red one with the faintest impression of teeth. She's stared at it for the longest time while in the bathroom; wishing it away.

For his part, Ichabod's eyes were dark and his body was stiff. He looked like he was on the verge of a breakdown and she knew there was little she could do to stop it.

"Mary interrupted him, Ichabod," she said as she slid her hands to his neck, desperate for him to see the truth in her eyes. "She stopped him before I-"

His eyes jerked to hers, leaving her to abruptly stop what she'd been about to say. What had she been thinking? Why would she ever utter such a thing?

"Before you what?" he asked barely above a whisper; his blue eyes void of the brightness she so loved; instead, filled with near panic as they darted between hers.

Not wanting to go anywhere near that path, that disgusting, demon riddled road, she shook her head, but he only gripped her shirt more firmly; the material becoming almost suffocatingly tight. Anger rippled off every inch of his body and she was becoming too distraught to even breathe in the midst of it.

"Before you what, Katrina?"

"He was touching me," she confessed as she pressed her face into his neck, unable to watch the disgust flicker over his face. "All I wanted was for him to hurt me, but he didn't. He wanted me to betray you. He held me down and put his hand between my-"

She couldn't even bring herself to say it.

Instead, she burrowed even further against him, drawing her thighs up and around his hips as she wrapped her arms around his chest. She needed to be close to him; needed to feel safe in his arms. She wanted to disappear to another time; one where none of this had happened; a place where they were two normal people far from this evil world they dwelled in.

"Please, oh God, please, don't hate me," she hysterically wept against his skin; clutching at every inch of him she could grab onto. "I swear, I didn't betray you. Mary stopped him. She stopped him, Ichabod, I swear."

He still wasn't touching her; not voluntarily anyway. She was wrapped completely around him, leaving not a breath between them, but he wasn't returning her embrace in the least. If his heartbeat hadn't been hammering against her chest through the shirt she was wearing, she might have thought he wasn't breathing at all.

Now, uncontrollably shaking to the point that she was sure she was breaking to pieces, she finally felt his hands slide up and down her back, his fingers scratching against her shirt.

"I'm so sorry, I left you there," he whispered, his voice hoarse; broken. "This is my fault."

Shaking her head as best she could within the tight, sticky space she'd burrowed into, she desperately cupped his face and pulled back to find his cheeks soaked with tears; his blue eyes void of hope. "You didn't. I forced you to leave."

"We can't be apart again, Katrina," he said through choked sobs. "Please, promise me we'll never be without one another again."

Leaning her forehead to his, she whispered, "I wish I could, my love. You have no idea how much I wish I could make that promise."

The next thing she knew, his lips were insistently sealed against hers as his hands fumbled up the sides of her shirt, brushing over her skin and leaving a trail of goose bumps in his wake.

He felt so warm and safe that she imagined she could dissolve into his arms right then and there.

Almost hypnotically dropping her hands to his shoulders, she took to needily exploring his back as his lips sought after hers like she held all the oxygen left in the world.

"Ichabod," she whispered when he finally popped free of her mouth to begin trailing wide, open mouthed kisses along her neck. "I'm yours. I've always been yours."

Everything was becoming so hot to the touch.

His skin was already heated and, with the added effect of his impatient mouth on her neck, his hot breath was awakening every nerve in her body, honestly making her feel like she was burning alive.

Tangling fistfuls of her hands in his long hair, she boldly rolled her hips against his lap in desperate need for friction on her aching center, finding that relief was quickly becoming her only concern; her only thought.

As her movements picked up to an uncontrollable pace, he huskily groaned against her skin while his long fingers dug into her shoulders, pulling her closer as the scratchy feel of his beard followed his kisses up her neck; leaving no part of her smooth flesh unattended.

Then, upon one particularly deep grind of her hips into his welcoming crotch, he made a guttural sound deep in his throat that had his hands abruptly falling to her waist; insistence exuding from his grip.

She followed his lead by going up on her knees so he could hastily push the covers as well as his sleep pants down his legs, leaving his cock to spring up and stiffly press against his belly; the sight of it already thick with desire causing her to whimper with need.

He wasn't disgusted with her. He wanted her; was already on his way to be completely hard for her.

"Ichabod."

His eyes flickered up to hers, dark with passion, as he hooked his fingers in her thin panties and tugged them down and off her legs before dropping them to the floor.

There needn't be any time with buildup. No, what they needed was to be whole again; to wash away the past and reunite in the present.

However, before he did anything else, he ceased his quick movements and gently placed her necklace, which was still tangled between his fingers, around her neck for what she hoped was the last time.

Eyes falling to the sapphires home against her chest, she settled in his lap, her hands now cupping his cheeks as she held him close.

"My beautiful, Katrina," he whispered, lovingly sliding a hand through her hair. "Mine."

"Yours," she confirmed as she stared into his crystal, blue eyes. "Always yours."

He pressed another thorough kiss to her lips, his hastiness returning as his tongue met hers with little resistance.

Unable to stand another moment without it, she reached for his hand and guided it between them, directing his fingers to rest in the thin curls between her thighs.

"Touch me," she breathed against his lips as she pressed him harder against her; leaving no doubt about what she wanted. "Please, touch me."

His blue eyes stared straight into hers as he crooked his finger between her slick folds, delving into her slit and slowly dragging upward.

With a shuddered breath at his intimate touch, she kept her hand over his as the other lifted to rest at his neck and hold his gaze on hers, hyper aware of his pounding pulse beneath her fingers.

His stare was intense, unfaltering. Everything within it screamed of his observance; of his clear intent to watch her find her release. A part of her was unnerved by it while another part of her found herself wanting to prove herself to him. She had to come undone for him; only him.

His finger gently circled her clit, adoring it in that way he did, before dragging down through her folds and dipping into her entrance, applying the slightest of pressures.

She knew he'd repeat the process, but, rather than allowing him to pull back from her, she pushed her fingers over his and guided him within her soaking entrance until he had one finger knuckle deep; snugly encased inside her.

The pressure was pulsing and it unexpectantly brought a flash of memory to the forefront of her mind, one of blonde hair hanging in her face as a thick, scarred finger impatiently pumped her, but she squeezed her eyes shut and forcefully shoved it back. He wasn't taking this from her. No one would ever take Ichabod's touch from her.

"Open your eyes," he growled as his free hand gripped her jaw and jerked her face up, causing her eyes to pop open and take in his swirling blue ones.

His anger had returned in full force. She didn't even have to look at him to know it. The resentment was present in the way he began pumping his finger deeper within her; nothing sweet or caring left in the gesture.

She had to fix it; had to show him he was her only. That the other was an errant thought; a bad taste that meant nothing except to remind her of how precious the two of them were.

"I want to cum for you," she whispered, her lips teasingly brushing his. "Make me cum for you, my love; only you."

A shuddered groan came from deep in his throat as he stretched her, insistently pumping his fingers in and out, even adding a second in as she continued to open for him, her juices slipping out and down her folds; coating both their hands.

"Ichabod," she breathed as she worried her lip between her teeth. "Don't stop."

His hot, panting breath on her face added to the heat coiling in her belly; the aching throb in her center. She was so close.

When his fingers slipped out of her, soaked in her arousal, and returned to sliding up and down her folds, eventually pressing into her clit and circling, she gripped his hand with hers and rocked her hips back and forth; the friction causing her eyes to roll back in her head.

"Fuck," she whispered as she began to pant and clutch his shoulder while rubbing her chest against his; her nipples, hard and stiff, scratching against the shirt between them; every inch that their bodies pressed together moving the feeling she was searching for further along.

Then, his palm pressed against her mound, making her gasp as she circled over him faster; the slippery sounds of her juices spreading along his hand making her body heat.

Fingers desperately gripping along his shoulder and neck, she gasped out his name, allowing it to slip between his parted lips and into his hot cavern.

Almost at the edge of release, she felt his fingers tighten at her hip to stop her from rocking as he began circling her clit again, this time harder than before.

"Please, don't stop," she begged against his lips, praying this wasn't some cruel dream.

Then, just as she began crashing, that blinding heat overwhelming her as she convulsed above him, he did the most Ichabod like thing she could have asked for.

He softly pressed his lips to her forehead as he wrapped his free arm around her, engulfing her in his embrace; his mouth moving to her ear and whispering his love. In a matter of seconds, he'd turned something that could have been perceived as animalistic and without feeling into the sweet gesture of a lover.

By the time the overwhelming sensations died down enough for her to open her eyes, his fingers were barely moving around her throbbing clit as he stared up at her; his blue eyes searching.

Not wanting to talk for fear of what might be said, she let go of his hand and grasped his cock; wrapping her fingers around the velvety length and twisting them upward.

A low groan bubbled up from his lungs as his head collapsed against the headboard; his face contorting with unquestionable pleasure.

Lifting her hand to clear his hair from his face, she raised up on her knees and pressed an open mouthed series of kisses along his jaw as her other hand attended to the throbbing length in her palm; twisting and squeezing it in rhythmic circles.

His breathing deepened as he sat there, his eyes clenched shut, his mouth cracked open, and his hands clutched around her hips. He was so trusting of her; so open to whatever she had planned.

She, then, lifted just enough to align him with her entrance; allowing his cock to slip through her slick as she bit her lip to keep from just plunging down on him.

It felt so good to know she was in control; that he would do whatever she wanted. He was hers for the taking whenever she was ready and not a moment before.

That was one reason she loved him so desperately to the point of distraction. He was hers; wholly and completely. He knew what she needed even when she didn't.

Twisting her fingers around his shaft, she leaned close to his ear and whispered, "Tell me."

The bite of his fingers into her hips burned as he whispered, "I love you."

Allowing his words to wash through her, she slowly eased over him, taking him in and cherishing every moment of the pressure that came with him filling her completely.

When he was wholly encompassed, she allowed the breath she'd been holding to easily slide through her lips as his hands smoothly glided up the back of her shirt and pulled her chest flush to his; his blue eyes dark as he sat up to hold her.

"Is this what you want, Katrina?" he asked, breaking the moment, his hot breath washing over her face as his eyes glistened. "Is it making you feel better?"

Brow furrowing at his sudden tears, she shook her head and cupped his face, "Ichabod-"

"Because I feel broken," he whispered, his body holding still within hers even as his hands shook against her skin. "Help me. It-"

His breathing hitched as he clutched her tighter to his chest. "It hurts."

Lost for what to do, she ran her fingers though his hair and began pressing chaste kisses along his cheeks. "I've always loved you and, whatever happens, I will always love only you. Nothing and no one will ever come between us again."

A strangled sob escaped him as he lifted a hand to her face. "You swear?"

Eyes focused completely on his, she whispered, "I'll destroy anyone who dares to separate us. I don't care who, or what, it is."

Thumb stroking her cheek, he leaned his forehead to hers and dropped his free hand to the sapphire tangled in the collar of her shirt.

"Whisper your love to me," she begged as her fingers twisted in his dark hair; tugging his gaze back to hers. "Tell me everything."

As they began a slow rhythm of hips rolling against one another, he did exactly as she'd asked; every word she'd ever wanted to hear falling from his lips as he pressed them against her ear.

She was his and he was hers; the rest of the world be damned if it thought otherwise.

Chapter Text

Puffs of smoke rolled out in front of her as she released the breath she'd been holding; her eyes focused straight ahead.

She wasn't necessarily what she'd call a smoker. To be honest, she found the whole thing more disgusting than not, but, tonight, she found need of some form of stress relief, something to ease the tension which had built between her shoulders, as the one she preferred was currently unavailable, leaving her with an old habit she'd rather not have as her only option.

The half empty bottle of Barbadian Best Amber sitting next to her in the passenger's seat hadn't really done the trick. It had, instead, just made things far worse. The fact that she wasn't even the biggest fan of the rum, but had only stock piled it because it was Ichabod's favorite, was just the icing on the cake of why her night kept going from bad to worse.

Movement across one of the windows caught her attention, making her tilt her head in curiosity as she tapped the cigarette out the window.

In her core, she knew she shouldn't be here; shouldn't be anywhere near this evil infested place. Generally, when a person escaped captivity, they didn't go charging back at the first opportunity.

However, fighting internal demons wasn't her strong suit and now here she was, miles from Ichabod and the comfort of his embrace, waiting for Abraham's form to flit across one of the many murky windows to signal he was inside.

It was like she was caught in some spell, one she hadn't cast and truthfully wanted no part of, but couldn't escape. She'd shut the truck down half an hour ago and had barely moved since then other than to fiddle with her alcohol and cigarettes.

Her phone vibrated in her lap, drawing her gaze to find Jenny's name, once again, written across her screen; various curse words and exclamation points accompanying her name.

She couldn't blame her. When she'd stepped out of her house with the intent to take this stupid drive, she'd been struck with the fact that she didn't have a car; another reason she hated the bastard she was now stalking.

So, without blinking an eye, she'd magically hotwired Jenny's truck, which had been sitting in its usual place in front of Abbie's house, and proceeded to drive to her current location.

Maybe it had been a foolish choice, but she was far past caring about the difference between right and wrong when it came to this night. What she wanted more than anything else was to have assurance; to have a handle on what was happening around her.

To be truthful, it wasn't Jenny's name she kept hoping to see flash across her screen. Heartfelt pleas and loving words weren't what she wanted right now, but she'd take them over silence and lack of acknowledgement. She'd take them over his not even realizing she was gone.

She supposed it didn't matter. No matter what he could say, the blackness of her mood wasn't one she imagined could be dispelled. She still wanted action; something real that would ensure accomplishment; a sense that she hadn't lost more than she'd gained this day.

She refused to be a victim, something she would have been if she'd remained tucked away with him; returning to life as though everything were normal.

"Stay with me," she whispered, pressing a chaste kiss to his jaw; one hand gliding up and down his back while the other remained tangled with his over their heads.

A soft groan vibrated in his throat, but, other than that, he didn't respond, leaving her to continue her hand's path down his body and finally pausing between their still cooling forms where it rested around his cock.

His head sagged forward as he tensed under her touch.

"I can't keep this up, my love," he softly muttered, the arm around her waist tightening as his hand flattened against her back to pull her closer.

Fingers teasing along the velvety flesh, she replied, "You don't have to do anything. I'll do all the work."

Her leg pressed between his as she melded their bodies even closer; absorbing the warmth he offered her.

However, when nothing about him seemed to respond, she internally groaned.

Sleep was not something she wanted and, if she could help it, was something she'd avoid for as long as possible.

A glance at the clock told her it was half past three; officially six hours since she and Ichabod had returned home together. In that time, they'd done nothing but distract one another; touching each other to the point of exhaustion.

Now, though, he was leaving her alone; alone with her thoughts and the darkness which was attempting to press inward and consume her.

Every second that ticked by seemed to taunt her a little more, the quiet of the night making the demons screaming in her ear all the louder; drowning out anything that could have calmed her sprits.

Unable to stand it, she lifted her hand to his neck; her fingers scratching his skin. "Ichabod, please, my love, don't go to sleep."

Not even a blink greeted her.

He was out.

On the verge of tears, she ran a hand over her face and attempted to steady her breathing.

Abraham was going to come for her. She just knew it.

Any second, he'd kick their door in and drag her away. He'd take her back to that dreaded room and finish what he'd started; this time replacing his fingers with her worst nightmare.

Eyes returning to her love, she observed the steady rise and fall of his chest; the soft puffs of air that hit her face every few seconds as he breathed.

Resentment for the peace written all over his face began to bubble in her chest. Was he not tormented? Did he not fear the loss of her as greatly as she feared being torn from him? It seemed, to her anyway, that he didn't have a care in the world. He'd reclaimed her body, made her his again, and was now peacefully resting without a care for what she was experiencing.

Did he not realize she would fear sleep? Surely, he'd thought of it? Considered the fact that nightmares might seek her out? Or had he been too wrapped up in burying himself inside her; taking back what he thought Abraham might have stolen?

A hot knot lodged in her chest as she burrowed closer to him; hoping, praying, that his warmth would somehow be enough to fight off the demons coming for her.

Ichabod had demons, too. She'd felt it in the grip of his fingers; the way he'd pushed inside her as though he could somehow push Abraham from both their minds. His eyes had darkened and every so often she'd seen rage exuding from them; that unbridled fury that had left him gasping for air as they'd tangled themselves even further around one another.

Yet, now he was sleeping; lost to her.

Ghost like fingers on her side had her tensing; afraid to even breathe.

She couldn't do this.

Another drag on the cigarette filled her lungs as she stared straight ahead.

Sex had been easier, more distracting, but it had let her down. Ichabod had let her down; leaving her to resort to other measures. She'd give anything to still be in bed with him, writhing in pleasure as he gave her his all.

However, that's not what was happening as she finally worked up the nerve to push the door open and step from the truck while tugging her jacket tighter around her body to ward off the cool night air.

Each step was an adrenaline rush. It was dangerous; forbidden. More than anything else, it was unexpected. No one would guess her presence here; not Ichabod; not Abraham. She could do anything she wanted and no one would be the wiser.

When she was a mere two dozen feet from the front door, her gaze flickered around the yard.

There sat the pyre; the ritual to bind her to him set and prepared. She briefly wondered why he hadn't performed the ritual before attempting to take her. They would have been made one; linked through blood and magic. She truly would have become his dark bride.

Then again, she could see why he didn't. He'd wanted her to suffer; to know what was happening and fight against it. He'd wanted to watch her struggle to remain loyal to Ichabod and, bit by bit, steadily give into him. He'd wanted her to succumb to the numbness of despair.

Fury flew through her at his gall, his belief that he could actually break her. It was enough to effectively pull her hand up as a bright burst of flame shot from her fingertips.

The pyre went up in smoke and flames; black and orange mixing and reaching toward the starry, night sky.

Within moments, the front door to the carriage house flew open, the door snapping as it broke off its hinges; Abraham's pulsing and intimidating form stalking out in a frenzied manner.

She didn't flinch at the sight of him and she wouldn't. That's what the smokes and alcohol had been for; steeling her nerves; making her feel invincible. All of her intentions would have him be the one flinching and begging for mercy.

It took a moment for his brooding eyes to find her, but, when they did, she noticed the tensing of his body as he warily lifted his shotgun.

It was almost strange to see him standing there in his tunic and trousers; his blonde hair wavy around his shoulders. He could have been a regular man protecting his property.

"Where's Ichabod?" he called as he glanced around; his dark gaze flickering over the trees. "I wouldn't have imagined him allowing your return to this place."

Nails biting into her palms, she circled the flames; barely paying mind to the fiery embers which were floating around her. "No one allows me to do anything."

His eyes tracked her as though she were prey. "What do you want, Katrina? I can't imagine you've returned to continue spreading your legs for me."

Unbridled fury heated her chest as her hand snapped up and a burst of light hurtled toward his form; one that had his shotgun clanging to the ground as he sank to his knees; hot rolls of steam sizzling off his back.

It was a brief burst of energy; one she couldn't have maintained if she'd wanted to, but he didn't need to know that. All he needed to know was that she wasn't some helpless fool.

"I hope you understand your place in the order of things, now, Abraham," she said as he staggered back to his feet, his gaze hard and dangerous as his chest pulsed with each labored breath.

He looked like a pent up predator aching to escape his cage.

"Understand what?" he growled, not even bothering with his weapon. "That you're nothing more than a whore who has no clue as to what's going to happen to her?"

She paused her pace, the flames crackling between them, and tilted her head. "Monsters don't get their happy endings."

His body was riddled with tension; every vein standing out along his neck and fists. She could clearly see each one from where she was standing, but she found herself unafraid; unmoved by the fact that Death, himself, was staring at her with murder written in his eyes.

"Neither do witches," he growled.

"Really?" she asked, clicking her tongue. "Is that why I just spent the last six hours with my fiancé buried inside me? With his fingers, tongue, and cock doing things to me you'll only ever be able to fantasize about me reciprocating."

She shrugged her shoulders. "That kinda sounds like a pretty good chapter on its way to a happy ending."

Abraham growled, his eyes reflecting the crackling fire. "Is that why you're here? To infuriate me with your lovers attempt to cover what I've done to you? What I still intend to do to you?"

A smirk lifted her lips. "I'm here to warn you to stay away from me."

"There's no stopping me, Katrina." Icy blue eyes bore into her. "You should be aware of that better than anyone. Death will have his prize."

"Oh, my darling, delusional Abraham," she cooed as she tilted her head with a laugh. "How many losses must you suffer before you realize you're always going to be the one who gets screwed over?"

Done with waiting, she jerked a hand up, allowing all of her hatred to exude from her in the form of hot fire soaring from her fingertips.

The carriage house went up in flames, prompting him to roar in denial as he spun to fully face her.

"Before this is over, you'll burn, too, Abraham."

Releasing another burst of energy in his direction, it connected with his chest; flinging him backwards into the flames.


It spoke a great deal to her that their house was still quiet; giving no insight into what life was inside. Obviously, Ichabod hadn't missed her enough to even wake up and notice she was gone.

For some reason, she'd hoped he would be awake. She was primed for a fight and wanted him to follow her down that long spiraling tunnel that would leave them hot and angry in each other's faces. At the very least, she wanted him to make her feel alive; unafraid of every moment; every breath she breathed.

It was so hard for her to let bottled fears burst forth; those fears she never uttered to anyone, not even herself. There were certain things she never wanted to admit because to admit them was to admit weakness; something she had always loathed like nothing else.

In truth, though, she had more weaknesses than she'd ever let on. Fear plagued her constantly; taunting her with its vice grip; with its ever pressing need to let her know it was present within her. Sometimes, in the dark of night, she considered just how easy it would be to give into the darkness of her thoughts. It would be so easy to end all her pain, or worse... inflict it on others. She'd thought about it too often; how the world had turned all her dreams against her; had stolen the few small things she'd ever wanted. Why was the world allowed to continue in happiness when she suffered with such pain?

However, Ichabod had changed all of those dark thoughts with his reemergence. He had banished the pain like a light bursting forth in the pressing darkness. He had saved her, made her feel whole again, but the thought of losing him left her with the knowledge that she could easily fall back into such patters again. She had tried over the past months to throw herself into her mission to help others and it had worked to an extent, but the nights... the nights were always the worst. Without her own will to live, for herself, she would surely shrivel into some dark being; one riddled with the pain of a lost life.

This was a darkness she had come close to giving into so many times; something she knew she had to admit to Ichabod at some point. She had to tell him of the things she'd done in his absence; things she couldn't be more ashamed of if she tried.

After the night she'd just had, she realized that the darkness she'd been pushing away from for so long was steadily creeping back inside her and it filled her with a dread she wasn't sure she could hide.

As she placed her hand on the door handle, she tensed and went still.

"I'm alright," she whispered, leaning her head to the door.

"Where did you go?"

His voice was low; weary. It made her feel a momentary guilt for leaving him without a word, but it quickly passed as she considered that he'd left her first.

"I did something instead of pretending like everything was going to go back to the way it was."

When he didn't respond, she shook her head and pushed the door open.

She was so tired that she could barely see straight and she had no interest in continuing to watch him act as though he were the one hurting.

As she stumbled down the hallway, she held onto the wall to keep her balance and marveled at the fact that she'd managed to get home without incident. She wasn't drunk, but she wasn't sober either. She was just glad Abbie wasn't here to lecture her on the dangers of driving tipsy.

All she wanted was to get what felt like layers of filth off of her. It didn't matter that she'd had a shower earlier in the night. The feel of Abraham's gaze on her was enough to make her want to peel the skin off her body.

After stepping into her shower, she allowed the hot water to roll over her; absorbing the way it brought relief to her stiff muscles. Everything ached. She wasn't sure if it was from the abuse she'd suffered at Abraham's hands, or from the struggle she'd put up with Mary. Reasonably, it could be argued that both had left her with their own marks.

It didn't really matter, she supposed. She just wanted to feel something other than their fingers on her skin; clawing at her; suffocating her.

Done with what she hoped was at least a temporary release from the pains she felt, she pulled back the shower curtain only to tense up when she found Ichabod leaning against the sink, his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes trained directly on hers.

"Where did you go?"

There was less weariness in his voice now. Instead, he sounded more angry than anything else.

"To Abraham's." With that, she stepped from the shower and grabbed a towel from the rack. "All in all, I probably pissed him off more than anything else, but at least I accomplished something."

"Accomplished something?" He jerked the towel from her hands and turned her to face him, his eyes holding a deep rage she hadn't been expecting to take him over so quickly. "What you accomplished was to give me nightmares over what might have happened to you. What you accomplished was to lessen my trust in your judgment."

"You speak of nightmares like you know anything about them." She jerked away from him and squared her shoulders. "You weren't the one who had awful things happen to you, Ichabod."

His eyes narrowed. "No, I just stayed home and felt nothing; did nothing. I got a week's worth of rest while you were gone with not one nightmare in sight."

Not caring to listen to him compare their experiences as if they were anywhere close to the same thing, she snapped the towel from his hands.

"Well, you certainly rested tonight, didn't you?" She began drying herself off. "You went right to sleep and left me to care for myself."

"Forgive me for finding relief and some measure of peace at having you in my arms again, Katrina."

Leaning over the sink, she reached for her hairbrush. "The fact that you actually went to sleep while knowing Abraham could come for me at any moment does you no favors, Ichabod."

"So, you went back to him?" he asked, his voice full of venom. "He tries to rape you and you just go waltzing back to him."

Disbelief flew through her as she spun to face him. The fact that he actually thought she went back to Abraham for reasons other than to hurt the monster was outrageous.

"I blew his fucking house to the sky." When his eyes widened, she shook her head. "I'm never going back to that place as his captive. If he ever gets his hands on me again, it won't be to take me there. I'll never be forced into that room, onto that bed, again."

Not waiting for his reply, she turned back to the mirror and chunked her brush into the sink as she leaned against the counter.

Everything was weighing so much heavier. She felt like she was slowly suffocating with no escape in sight.

But, then, his hands wound around her waist to pull her against his chest and his mouth found the side of her head.

"You're safe with me."

The warmth of his body surrounded her trembling form, prompting her to release a heavy breath through her nose.

His words were the furthest thing from the truth, but that was irrelevant. It was the passion with which he said them that triggered her next words.

Lifting her head, she pressed a light kiss to his ear and whispered, "Make love to me."

That was all it had taken to have him lifting her and carrying her to their bed; his determination clear.

Her love took her like a man on a mission to prove his love without any doubt of it lingering. There was no teasing on his part, nor was there any slow and gentle lovemaking. He took her fast and hard in a way that suggested he was literally trying to bury his love as deeply within her as he could manage.

Now, they were lying amidst the blankets, damp from their sweat and shower water; their skin practically molded together.

She should have be content, happy, but the press of the darkness was weighing too heavily on her.

His fingers were combing through her tangled hair as he breathed against her cheek; his nose pressing into her gently as he inhaled her. It was all so trusting that she felt her breathing begin to quicken.

"I haven't been completely honest with you."

At her confession, his fingers paused and his face pulled away from hers, a frown creasing his brow. "What do you mean?"

She wiped a hand down her face before taking to rubbing her temples. "I mean, I have, but I haven't."

"Katrina," he whispered as his fingers wrapped around her wrist to pull her hand away from her face. "What are you talking about?"

Eyes opening and finding his concerned ones, she said, "About the other man I had sex with."

The way Ichabod's body practically retracted from hers had her heart dropping.

"You said it didn't mean anything."

"It didn't," she assured as she moved closer to him, needing him to feel the sincerity exuding from her. "But it had a lot to do with what happened to me afterward, with the path that I took, because the parts of my past that I'm ashamed of all started with him."

When he didn't immediately shove her away, she decided to just bite the bullet.

"It happened in 1824, a little over half a century after I buried you." She sighed. "My father died."

The immediate softening of his face soothed her as his hand lifted to brush her hair back. "I'm so sorry, my love."

"I never pretended to understand my father. He was stand offish, shy. We never had many heart to hearts, but the day he passed away, he wanted me there with him." She caught Ichabod's kind eyes. "He wanted me to be the last person he saw."

Fingers caressing her cheek, he whispered, "He loved you."

She shrugged and shook her head, dismissing the notion. Her relationship with her father was hardly a topic she wished to venture into now.

"My coven came, of course, as a show of support because my father had been the last member of my family. I was so angry and hurt and alone and all sorts of other things that I..." Her eyes fell closed as she attempted to gather herself. "Do you remember that night we talked about our first kisses?"

"Rachel Baer. It was the first of many awkward kisses to follow." He ran his thumb over her lips. "At least, until I met you."

"Do you remember what I told you about mine?"

"John Martin. Your mother's best friend's son. He was your childhood friend until his family moved away when you were sixteen." His countenance dropped as he deadpanned, "I take it he came to your father's funeral."

She pressed closer to him, sliding her arm around him and digging her fingers into the middle of his back.

"It wasn't nearly as intimate as your imagining it."

Eyes falling closed, he whispered, "I'm not imagining anything."

Sensing the darkness swirling within him, she began trailing her lips along his jaw. "Yes, you are and I promise you're wrong."

Seemingly at the end of his restraint, his hands fell to her waist and he rolled her until he was resting over her on his elbows. "Then, tell me."

While staring up at him, she took in the earnestness in his blue eyes and found herself hesitating. It didn't matter what she said, she knew this would bother him.

"As you can imagine, I was upset over my father's passing. I forced everyone out of the house and holed myself up in my old room, trying to figure out what to do next, but then John found me. For a while, it was like old times. We spoke of the things we'd done and seen when we were younger. I was comfortable with him in a way I hadn't been with anyone else in so long. I suppose I was desperate for that; for the comfort of someone who knew me, who understood."

She felt her eyes begin to burn. "I told him things about my life... things about you, about how much I loved you."

His frown deepened as his brow drew closer together. "I thought no one knew about us."

"I only told him you were a soldier who had been killed in battle and..." She shifted under him, her eyes falling to the side. "I told him about Sarah."

When a tear made its way down her cheek, his fingers were there to wipe it away. "It's alright, Katrina. You'd been alone for a very long time."

"He was so kind; understanding," she whispered. "He kissed me and I just... I wanted to feel something other than sadness."

He leaned down and placed a kiss to her hair. "I understand."

His lack of anger at her only made everything worse.

"Our mother's always said we had a fondness for each other and... he was a part of the coven. It made sense for us to be together and... if his family hadn't moved, he would have become my husband; the father of my children. That's the way it was always supposed to be." She hesitated before adding, "He was someone I could have deeply cared for had that been my path."

His hand slid under her cheek as he turned her face to him. "Why didn't you? You could have done those things."

"Must you really even ask me that?" she asked with a softness to her voice. "I was still trying to save you."

A heavy sigh slipped through his nose as he leaned his forehead to hers. "I'm sorry."

"I'm not going to lie and say what John and I did wasn't..." She sighed and slid her fingers into his hair. "It was wonderful for what it was, but all it really ended up being was me attempting to bury my grief in his body. The next morning I was beside myself with what I'd done. I felt so ill and disgusted with myself for allowing it to happen. I told him it was a mistake and could never happen again."

Ichabod pulled back from her and caught her eyes; a worry shining in them. "I can't imagine he took that too well."

"No, he didn't," she whispered. "He got really angry and stormed out. I departed from Sleepy Hollow that very day and when I finally returned months later, he was gone."

"Alright," he said, seemingly attempting to absorb everything she'd just told him.

"Ichabod, after I left, I-I did things."

His eyes found hers again. "What do you mean? What kinds of things?"

"Things I regret," she admitted, dropping her eyes to his chest. "I dabbled in dark magic."

He tensed, causing all the air to seep from her lungs. "Dark magic?"

"I made deals with demons and other warlocks for artifacts and spells. I went rogue for a little while and, honestly, I think I went a little crazy."

When he didn't immediately speak, she began to worry her lips between her teeth. His forehead was creased in deep concentration; something she was doing her best to attempt being patient with.

"Whatever happened then, it's not who you are now."

"But it is," she pressed. "I was at a low point and I was struggling with my grief. I turned to darkness for comfort and I can feel that same darkness trying to take hold of me now."

"Because of Abraham?" he asked softly before cupping her face. "My love, don't let him take your joy from you."

"I don't know how I can avoid it," she whispered, desperate for him to give her a solution. "I'm so afraid."

"So am I." He pressed closer to her, wrapping his arms around her body in a full embrace. "But we're going to be alright."

Eyes falling closed, she relaxed against him; feeling more drained than ever before. "You won't let anything happen to me if I sleep?"

"I promise," he whispered, his warm breath soothing along her neck. "Rest, my love."

Chapter Text

If there was ever a thing she wished she, as a witch, could have some power, either physical or mental, to avoid, it was a hangover.

Throwing back the thick blankets, she rolled her head to the side with a groan and squinted at the light streaming in through the bedroom window. It was far too bright to be morning, a thought that prompted her to glance at the clock on the bedside table.

4:00 p.m.

Perfect.

She'd slept the greater part of the day away.

While taking note of the fact that Ichabod was missing from bed, she groggily pushed herself up and brought a hand to her head in the hopes that it would stop the weak, dizziness she felt, which was worsened by the constant pounding in her temples. She needed an Aleve or Tylenol or really anything that might be of help.

When headaches got this bad, one couldn't be too choosy.

Finally forcing herself out of bed, she stumbled into the bathroom only to trip over a pair of sneakers lying beside the shower.

Cursing at the sight of her own mess from when she'd undressed the night before, she sat down to relieve herself and placed her head in her hands.

She felt utterly terrible and smelled even worse. How many showers was she going to have to take before she finally felt clean? Between the smoke, the alcohol, and the sweat, she hardly felt like she'd just woken up. More like she'd ran a marathon through a bar while spinning in circles.

Once done with her business, she reached for the sink to steady herself and turned it on before grabbing her toothbrush.

The first sight of herself brought a groan from deep within her.

She looked like hell.

Her hair was tangled and mussed, her eyes were puffy, and her breath was horrid.

Not caring to stare at how awful she looked, she dropped her gaze to the running water as she thoroughly scrubbed her teeth, hoping to get at least some part of herself clean.

"Good evening."

Practically jabbing herself in the back of her throat, she gagged on her toothbrush as he walked through the doorway, a pleasant smile on his face.

Well, at least, one of them looked cheerful, she thought with a roll of her eyes.

Leaning forward to spit in the sink, she cupped a handful of water to rinse her mouth out just as his arms wound around her waist from behind.

Grateful he appeared more relaxed than the night before, she gathered herself and met his eyes in the mirror while giving a groggy, "Evening."

His beard scratched along her skin as he nuzzled her neck, gifting her with the occasional kiss. "Nightmares?"

"None," she answered as she turned in his embrace. "Thank you."

A gentle smile graced his face as his hands began rubbing up and down her back; the action so soothing it had her relaxing in his arms.

"I'm just glad you were still in my arms when I opened my eyes."

Justified as she may have felt the night before, and still felt to a degree, regret for all she'd done managed to well in her as she pulled back to look at him.

"I'm so sorry. I was out of control last night and-"

His lips caught hers, pressing deeply into her as he backed her against the sink.

He felt so wonderful; every part of him welcoming. His face was freshly trimmed; allowing her more of his smooth skin to touch. His breath was minty to match her own. Then, of course, his body was hard, warm, and positively tantalizing.

There really wasn't any better way to start the day.

"It's Abbie's birthday," he said when he pulled away. "Luke called earlier to ask if we were coming over. He's throwing her a party and, from what I can tell, it's going to be rather large."

"Do we have to go?" She slumped against him. "I've only been home half a day and I'm not sure I can handle a crowd right now. I'm just so tense."

"We'll do whatever you want," he whispered as he wrapped his arms around her waist, his long, slender fingers skimming the rim of her pajama pants.

"Alright," she mumbled, content to be in his arms. "Though, I guess we can't stay holed up in this house forever."

His lips, warm and wet, pressed against her ear as he replied, "Yes, we can."

Eyes falling closed, she further relaxed in his embrace as he continued teasing the side of her face and neck, his attentions holding her full concentration.

She imagined if he had anything to do with it, Ichabod would attach himself to her side with no signs of ever parting from her again. The last thing she remembered from the night before was him wrapped completely around her, his fingers even locked over hers as though she might try to leave him at some point during the night.

It was a sweet gesture; one that had her wanting to shower, dress, eat, and do everything else in between with him still attached to her. In truth, all she wanted to do was lay on the sofa or bed with him snuggled up to her while they watched television, read, or whatever else he wanted to do.

It was something she'd truly love. After the hell they'd endured over the past week, she wasn't sure she ever even wanted to be separated from him by anything more than a few feet again.

As he dipped his digits inside the front of her pajama pants, she tenderly ran her hands down his arms and whispered, "If we go, we won't stay long, right?"

The way he spread her folds, stroking his middle finger over her clit, caused her breath to hitch in the back of her throat.

"We can go there, or stay here." He punctuated his words by swiping his tongue along her ear. "I'll do anything you want."

"Ichabod," she moaned as she melted into his embrace; the throb now present between her legs achingly bothersome. "Maybe it'll be good to get out of the house for an hour or so. It might get our minds off things."

"Maybe," he muttered as he slid his free hand into her hair and pulled her closer against him.

Everything was becoming so hot.

Had she felt disgusting before? If so, that was all in the past as she felt positively wonderful now.


"You look really handsome," she said, her eyes trailing down his form as they walked across their yard toward Abbie's house, which was already bright and brimming with laughter. "What made you choose to dress up so nice?"

The dress pants he'd chosen to wear had been a slight surprise to her, but it was the blue dress shirt which brought out the calm color to his irises that she absolutely loved.

"I wanted to look presentable for you," he whispered, his eyes on the street.

"Why?"

He'd likely met over half the people in the house already. She couldn't imagine to who she was going to be presenting him.

"These are you friends and..." He shrugged his shoulders. "I thought I'd spare you one night of having to explain me away."

"Explain you away?" she asked, her brow drawing together. "Ichabod, the way you dress doesn't bother me. You can wear whatever you want."

Rather than directly responding to her, he threaded their fingers together and continued to remain concentrated on the yard and street beyond. He seemed more on guard than usual, which both saddened and pleased her. Of course, he should be wary, but now was hardly the time to avoid her. She'd been too harsh with him the night before, she knew that, but he seemed to be taking her words about protecting her to heart.

"Hey," she said as she pulled him to a stop just after they'd ventured up Abbie's porch steps. "Look at me."

His fingers tightened around hers as he did as asked, his blue eyes carrying that storminess she'd observed being present in him since he'd found her by the river.

"I know it was hard on you while I was gone and I know you must have endured countless hours of worry." Her eyes started to burn. "But, my love, I'm here with you and I'm doing my best to hold myself together. Please, don't leave me questioning what's going on inside you."

A heavy sigh slid through his nose as he leaned his forehead to hers. "I'm sorry."

Shaking her head, she lifted a hand to lay against his cheek. "Don't apologize. This has been the week from hell."

"You know me better than anyone, Katrina," he whispered as he ran his hands up and down her back. "It takes time for me to sort myself out and I tend to do that in my own head. Sometimes, I can be blind and thickheaded when pushed into a corner."

"I know that," she replied. "But I just feel as though you're miles away from me even when we're as close as can be. Every time we make love, it's like you're trying to prove something, not to me, but to yourself."

"I know."

His eyes fell shut as he clutched her tighter and she could so clearly see the war waging within him.

"I don't want to be disconnected from you," she whispered as she stroked her hands over his knot riddled shoulders, something she intended to deal with the moment they returned home. "Just tell me what's happening inside. You know you could never say anything that would make me stop loving you."

Every part of his body was trembling as he pressed closer to her. "You're not the only one who sees him when you close your eyes."

"Ichabod-"

"I see what he does to you every time I fall asleep," he admitted. "And I'm so afraid that if I let you out of my sight for even a moment, I'll lose you to him again."

"Oh, my love." She brushed her lips against his skin. "This war will end if it's the last thing I do."

"Stay with me, Katrina," he breathed while turning into her kiss. "Stay."

Unable to help herself, she gave into him; sinking into his embrace as he clenched her tighter; his hands exploring beneath the back of her jacket and jeans.

Moaning at the sheer intensity with which he was holding her; she tangled her fingers in his hair and delved between his lips, seeking out the warmth within.

This war had to end. She couldn't allow him to suffer through anymore disappointment or pain. None of them could take much more loss; not even Abbie and Jenny, who had already lost so much of their family and youth to the evils of this world. This war had stolen as much of their innocence as it could and she was going to be damned if it stole anything else from the people she loved most.

"Now, now, love birds," came a gruff voice from behind them. "Save that for private time."

A groan worked its way up her throat as she slipped from Ichabod's embrace to find Nick ascending the steps, a toothy grin stretching his face.

Out of breath, Ichabod immediately straightened, his face kissed pink by the night air and heightened arousal. "Mr. Hawley."

Nick only grinned all the wider while giving a stiff salute. "Captain Crane."

More than slightly intrigued by their odd interaction, she glanced between them, eyes narrowed.

The change in dynamic between them was too obvious to ignore and it was throwing her for a loop. If anything, she would have thought Nick would be more put out, but the self satisfied look on his face seemed to speak differently.

"I feel as though I've missed something."

"Oh, you have, darlin." Nick crossed his arms. "I am now privy to the fact that you were robbing the cradle with me."

That piece of information took a moment to actually make sense, but, when it did, her jaw dropped.

"I was-"

"Don't even bother, grandma," he cut in with a raised eyebrow. "You're witchy behind is out of the closet."

Ichabod's fingers tightened around hers as he gave her a pressing look; one that said he was clearly uncomfortable.

"I believe we should join the other guests inside."

With a glance at Nick, who was still grinning from ear to ear, she allowed Ichabod to pull her through the door and help her out of her coat.

"Well?"

Gaze returning to Nick, she shook her head and chuckled. "Yeah, I'm sure everything you've heard is true."

"So, you and Mr. Bingley, here, are really from back then?"

"Mr. Bingley?" she asked with a laugh, hardly having her mind wrapped around Nick knowing her secret to comprehend what he was going on about now.

"Yeah, there ain't no way in hell he's pulling off Darcy." Nick winked at her. "Though, he does have that snooty attitude down."

Ichabod groaned and set out for the kitchen, surprisingly leaving her alone with Nick. She supposed he really must have gotten to know Nick better if he was prepared to leave her with him.

"Yeah, I guess you could say we've set the record for longest romance of all time."

"I guess that's just my luck," Nick said as he kicked at the floor. "Fall in love with a girl who makes Romeo and Juliette look like amateurs."

And there it was.

"Nick," she whispered, sensing the pain he was trying to conceal behind his words. "I never meant to-"

"I know," he said as he lifted his gaze back to hers; a kindness in his eyes she hadn't been expecting. "I get it, Kat. I really do."

Unsure what to say to him, bumped his shoulder with her own; searching for some levity between them. "You're a great guy, Nick."

He waved her off while nodding toward Ichabod. "Shakespeare's really into you, you know?"

"I know," she said with a small smile and glance over her shoulder, finding Ichabod watching her from the kitchen, his fingers clenched together in front of him. "I'm really into him, too."

"He nearly beat the crap out of me when he woke up from that bump I gave him."

"He... what?" she exclaimed, spinning back to Nick with wide eyes. "You and Ichabod fought each other? Physically?"

Nick tilted his head with that familiar glint in his eyes as he gestured to a bruise over his cheek. "Hey, the way that guy fought for you, that's the way a man's supposed to fight for his girl. I respect him for it."

Taken aback, she returned her gaze to Ichabod, who was now caught up in conversation with Abbie. "Ichabod's not usually one to fight with his fists. You must have really irked him."

"I have that effect on people."

Rolling her eyes, she nodded toward the kitchen. "Let's go in there before he starts doubting his decision to leave us alone over here."

With another boisterous laugh, Nick stepped around the corner and yelled, "I brought the drinks!"

The room erupted in chuckles as he pulled a bottle from his bag and set it on the counter. "I heard from a little birdie that someone likes Barbadian Best Amber."

Ichabod eyed him for a moment before half a smirk formed on his face. "Did you steal it?"

"I'm offended," Nick said as he held a hand over his heart. "As if I would ever do such a thing."

Smiling at the easy camaraderie the two had formed in her absence, she slipped her arm around Ichabod and glanced at Abbie. "Hey, birthday girl, everything smells wonderful."

Abbie grinned and patted Luke on the arm. "Actually, Detective Morales here is responsible for tonight's meal."

Eyebrows raised, she looked over the countertop, which was covered with half a dozen dishes. "Really, now? Do I want to eat this?"

Luke chuckled while wiping a rag over the counter where a coke had spilled.

"Hey, I've gotten a lot better since you left." He winked at Abbie. "Besides, I had to impress my lady on her birthday. While she's out saving the world, the least I can do is make sure she's fed."

With a roll of her eyes, Abbie took the bottle Nick had brought and moved to the other side of the kitchen.

Ichabod's fingers tickling along her back brought her gaze up to find him smiling down at her and, from the looks of him, it would seem the past few minutes had perked his spirits drastically.

"Are we alright?" she asked softly while tangling her fingers around his.

His smile softened as he whispered, "I love you."

The man always knew when to say it. Without fail, he could slide and 'I love you' into conversation like no one else.

He completely deserved the kiss she leaned up to press against his cheek.

"I promise, I'll make tonight up to you when we get home."

She could practically feel his body heating with the possibilities, which only made her burrow further into his side. The man was like a walking heater; one she wouldn't mind staying snuggled up next to for eternity.

"Well, look what the cat dragged in," Nick said, drawing her gaze to the doorway where Henry was helping Jenny shed her coat.

The sight of her friend brought an icy ping to her heart which only made her do her best to keep all emotion locked away so as to prevent disappointment.

Clinging closer to Ichabod, she chose to fix her gaze on the countertop while trying to also ignore the fact that Henry was present.

"I didn't realize we were feeding strays, Abbie," Jenny said as she entered the room more fully; her playful tone tugging her helpless gaze up to see her friend's brown eyes teasingly locked on Nick.

Abbie chuckled and slid a glass of the freshly opened rum across the counter to Ichabod. "I was getting that owe him one thing out of the way sooner rather than later."

"Smart," Jenny replied as she took a seat at the counter, her eyes flickering in her direction for a heartbeat before returning to Abbie. "So, what's for dinner?"

Though, she tried to ignore the blatant ignorance of her, it still managed to bother her.

However, nothing bothered her more than when she glanced at Henry to find him staring at her; his face blank and unreadable.

It left her with a chilly feeling; one that had her maintaining her tight hold on Ichabod.

Deciding to remove herself from the situation entirely, she turned her back to them and noticed Ichabod's eyes fixed on her, concern exuding from every part of him.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah," she whispered, more shaken than she cared to admit, before nodding to the other room. "Let's just go sit down, alright?"

It didn't take long for things to fall into full swing as soon as half the police department arrived. With them, came all of Luke's and Abbie's friends, half of which she didn't even know.

Honestly, as she sat pressed flush into Ichabod's side, she couldn't have cared less about who was present as most of her energy was focused on avoiding the fact that Henry and Jenny were in the same air space as her and nothing had exploded up to this point.

Yet, somehow, despite her frayed nerves, she still managed to speak with almost everyone in the house.

Surprisingly, Luke, Nick, and Ichabod had fallen into discussion over common interest topics, the likes of which left her bored and uninterested other than when she was directly addressed. She supposed with everything out between everyone, they could all stop sniffing each other like a pack of dogs and actually speak like grown adults. If only they would talk about something she actually cared about.

Regardless of her earlier fears, she found it actually felt good to be around other people, especially with ones as full of life as Nick, who never ceased cracking jokes and laughing. He took some kind of enjoyment out of everything said or done. It was a rare quality and she found herself grateful for the fact that she wasn't going to have to shun him from her life completely. Whatever had existed between them romantically was most definitely over, but he was still someone she cared for deeply and her only hope was that they could somehow form a lasting friendship.

Nuzzling her nose against Ichabod's neck, she whispered, "I'm proud of you."

"Oh?" He shifted and wrapped his arm around her, his eyes meeting hers. "For what?"

"Just because." She bit her lip as she traced her fingers down his chest. "You've come so far."

He chuckled. "Only because of you and Abbie."

"Well, there is that," she replied with a grin before brushing her lips over his.

The gentleness with which he held her calmed her nerves and before she thought better of herself, she'd deepened their kiss.

"If you two are gonna get up to anything too naughty, I recommend taking it next door."

Groaning, she pulled away from Ichabod and glanced over at Nick, who had a teasing grin on his face.

"Don't be jealous," she said with a smirk.

Ichabod cleared his throat and stood from the sofa. "I, uh, I think I need a refill."

Now, having allowed Ichabod to lead her back into the kitchen, she was doing her best to ignore the silence between her and Jenny, who was speaking with Abbie and Henry on the other side of the room, and the fact that Ichabod was pressed into her side while talking to Luke, his fingers practically welded to the skin just above the rim of her pants, was doing nothing to help her concentration.

He'd been touching her there off and on all night like he was drawn to the spot or something. All in all, it left little doubt in her mind about how their night would end. In all honesty, she wasn't sure what was the most healthy number of times a couple could have sex before it became unhealthy, or if such a thing was even possible, but all she knew was that she and Ichabod were constantly in a state of arousal and it didn't seem like it was going to be letting up any time soon.

"If it isn't Kat van Tassel." Devon Jones was walking toward her, a saunter in his step and a huge grin on his face. "You still haven't called me about that date."

Shaking her head, she half heartedly accepted Devon's bear hug as she knew there was no escaping it. While doing so, she caught Ichabod's eyes over Devon's broad shoulders.

He looked positively sour.

"Sorry, Devon," she said as she tapped his face and resumed her place beside Ichabod, even patting his chest to soothe the burn she was sure had started to simmer there. "I would, but I don't think my fiancé would like that too much."

Devon's eyes flickered between her and Ichabod for a minute before he crossed his arms and straightened his back. "So, the rumors are true."

"There are rumors?" she asked with a laugh. "I didn't realize I was so popular."

"Oh, baby, you're like that head cheerleader every guy wants, but knows he can't have." Devon shrugged his shoulders. "I didn't really believe Luke when he said you'd given it up to the professor here."

Ichabod tensed under her hand as she grinned. Yep, they would definitely be having sex tonight. Ichabod was never more hungry for her than when he'd been around other men with all that testosterone filling the air.

"Devon, come on, man." Luke punched him in the arm. "Leave her be and quit creeping us out with your stalker tendencies."

"Well, I wouldn't have to if you hadn't wooed the only woman hotter than her in all of Sleepy Hollow."

While those two fell into an argument like a couple of old married hens, she felt Ichabod's hot breath on her ear.

"I'm ready to go home," he whispered, the smell of the rum on his breath thick as he nuzzled her skin.

There was something about being right that was so satisfying.

"Are you, now?" she teased.

He moved behind her and pressed his front into her back, allowing her to feel the slight bulge in his pants as he wrapped his arms around her in the guise of hugging her.

"I'm more than ready," he huskily groaned, twirling his hips against hers ever so slightly. "Please, let me have you."

Well, that put an end to this party. It was time to go home.

Turning in his embrace, she snaked her arms around his waist and leaned up to brush a kiss to his lips as her fingers teasingly tugged on the hem of his shirt.

"Alright, let's go home so I can take care of you."

He seemed ready to burst, but before he could actually get the words of agreement out, he looked over her shoulder and tensed.

"Ichabod, it's good to see you again."

The voice was enough to make her stomach do a few somersaults.

As she untangled herself from Ichabod and fixed her shirt, she turned to find Henry standing about two feet from her; too close in her opinion, forcing her to take a step back.

Clearing his throat, Ichabod extended his hand toward Henry. "Always a pleasure, Mr. Parish."

Hardly, she thought, as she crossed her arms.

For his part, Henry looked right at home; something she considered odd as he hadn't been around any of these people before tonight.

His dark hair was tousled, as though he'd ran his fingers through it too many times, and his clothes were as nice as Ichabod's; his shirt nearly identical to her loves.

However, it was his blue eyes that still struck her more than anything else. There was just something about them that unnerved her. They were irritatingly familiar while also seeming like they didn't belong to him.

"Hey, you ok?"

Jenny slid her arm around Henry's waist as she gazed up at him, the look in her eyes not so different than how she imagined she, herself, looked at Ichabod. That fact made her heart falter as the reality that her best friend was really in love with a man, who couldn't have left a more sour taste in her mouth if he tried, rocked her.

"Yeah," Henry said with a too cheerful smile. "I was just saying hello."

"And how are you, Miss Jenny?" Ichabod asked.

Jenny shrugged her shoulders. "Pretty good. Though, I woke up pretty pissed to find my truck gone in the middle of the night."

Inwardly cringing, she reached for her glass of wine and lifted it to her lips as she deftly avoided Jenny's eyes.

"Uh, yes," Ichabod mumbled as he shifted his stance. "I'm sure that was..."

"No harm done," Henry added with a light laugh. "I'm sure you really needed it, right, Katrina? I heard you had a pretty awful accident a few days ago."

She swirled the liquid in her mouth before swallowing it and meeting Henry's eyes. "Yeah, it was the same day I ran into you by the bank. A powerful warlock nearly killed Ichabod and I while we were on our way home."

Henry nodded, his face solemn. "Jenny told me about that. She said none of you know where this warlock came from or what his intentions are."

"I know he has an agenda beyond the Horseman's," she replied as she set her glass down.

Ichabod turned toward her, curiosity wafting off him. "How do you know that?"

"He was at Abraham's house." She met Ichabod's eyes. "He healed me of all my injuries."

Ichabod's eyes widened as his hands grasped her waist, almost as if she might have some visible sign still on her. "He... healed you? Whatever for?"

"Obviously, he didn't want me injured."

"Or he was just healing the Horseman's prize," Jenny offered, her voice more even than before. "Abraham probably ordered him to do it."

"He didn't take orders from Abraham," she replied in near agitation that they didn't just take her word for it. "He stopped Abraham from attacking me the first night I was there."

"This warlock must be powerful if he outranks the Horseman of Death," Henry said, drawing her gaze back to him. "He must be someone of great import and influence."

There was just enough emotion in his voice that she was able to sense something off in it. If she wasn't mistaken, it almost sounded like pride.

More and more, her distrust of Henry Parish grew.

"He's a madman with power," Ichabod said as he smoothed his hand down her arm. "And he's going to meet his end just as Abraham will."

This time, she was sure she saw a flicker in Henry's eyes; a flicker that set off all of her alarms.

"Whoever he is, I'm sure it all work itself out."

Jenny smiled at Henry's words before nodding toward Abbie and Luke, who were taking out a couple of trash bags.

"Do you think you could help my sister out? I need to talk to Kat about something."

With a smile, Henry kissed her on her cheek before hurrying over to the door and taking a bag from Abbie.

"Listen, Jenny," she started, deciding to just go ahead and apologize. "I'm sorry about your truck, but I-"

"Can we talk somewhere private?"

The tone of Jenny's voice had softened drastically, making her more confused than not.

So, with a glance at Ichabod, who was sharing in her frown, she followed Jenny down the hallway and into her bedroom.

As she watched Jenny close the door, she said, "Look, before you say anything, I want to thank you."

Jenny turned to stare at her, her brow drawn tight. "For what?"

Shrugging her shoulders, she fiddled with the bottom of her shirt and said, "For everything you did over the last few days. I probably wouldn't be standing here without you."

"I might be pissed at you," Jenny began, her voice softening. "But I still love you, witch."

That was a relief. For a while there, she'd thought she and Jenny might never recover.

"I feel like we're starting over."

"It's just been a really weird week," Jenny said, a sigh slipping through her nose.

The idea of it was crazy.

"Has it only been a week?"

"Well, almost two." Jenny glanced at her with a smile. "If that makes any difference."

"It feels like a lifetime." She sank to the bed and ran a hand through her hair. "Two lifetimes."

"Yeah, well, I think that's just our lives now."

Jenny joined her on the bed, her lip caught between her teeth in a worrisome manner.

"I know things are weird between us and we have a lot of crap to work out, and that's hardly to mention what's going on with you, but..." Jenny paused and released a heavy sigh. "I really need to tell you something and then I need you to tell me not to freak out about it."

There was a lot to take in about Jenny in this moment, but she found her confusion winning out over everything else.

"About what?"

Jenny twisted her fingers together in what looked like a painful manner; her face paler than normal and her breathing a little shaky. She honestly looked like she was about to be sick.

"I think I might be... Oh God." She groaned and ran a hand down her face. "I can't even say it."

"Jenny," she whispered, beginning to become a little concerned. "What's wrong?"

After a few deep breaths, Jenny looked up at her, a terrified expression on her face. "I think I'm pregnant."

With two centuries under her belt, she wasn't the kind of person who tended to get shocked by people anymore, but, right here, in this moment, she was completely floored.

Pregnant? Jenny?

As she stared wide-eyed and mouth agape, she found herself stuttering, "Wha-Why do you think that?"

"I haven't gotten my period," Jenny replied with a pitiful shrug. "I'm over three weeks late."

Mind fumbling for excuses, she ran a hand through her hair and asked, "I thought you were on the pill?"

"I am," Jenny whispered, her voice cracking. "But, I'm always on time, Kat, and... I don't know. I just feel like I'm pregnant, or, at least, how I think I would feel if I was pregnant if that makes any sense."

"Ok, just... don't panic," she said, rubbing soothing circles against her friend's back. "At least, not until you know for sure. After that... well, after that, you can do whatever you want."

Jenny plopped her head into her hands. "I don't know what to do."

Thankfully, she did.

"We'll go to the drug store and get a test," she explained as she jumped to her feet. "I'll drive you."

"Kat-"

"Don't Kat me," she scolded as she reached for Jenny's hands. "We're going."

"I don't want to ruin everyone's night," Jenny protested, procrastination exuding from her. "I mean, it's Abbie's birthday and she's so happy with everyone here. Do you have any clue how rare that is?"

"Jenny-"

"And you and Crane are attached at the hip. There's no way he's going to let you go anywhere."

"Jenny," she assured as dread for the conversation with Ichabod filled her. "You're not ruining anything. Come on."

When she finally had Jenny up and walking down the hallway, she pushed her toward the front door so no one would see how distraught she was and took it upon herself to enter the living room.

"Hey," she said, hoping she didn't appear too odd or over excited. "Jenny and I are running to the store. Do you guys need anything?"

"Nah, I'm good," Abbie said, shaking her head and returning to whispering with Luke on the other side of the room.

Ichabod, on the other hand, who was standing with Henry, approached her with a panicked expression. "You're leaving?"

This wasn't going to be easy.

Smiling reassuringly, she leaned up to kiss his cheek. "Just for a minute. Jenny and I need to go get something."

"Katrina," he began, his fingers digging into her sides too deeply. "I can't-"

"I'll be alright," she whispered, her eyes pleading with him to not make a scene. "I swear, I'll be right back."

More doubt swirled in his eyes, so she added, "I made a promise to take care of you and I intend to do just that. Don't worry."

"I have to go with you," he pressed, his eyes darting all over her face. "What if-"

"My love, please," she begged, tugging his fingers from her before he cut off her circulation altogether. "It's a private matter and I wouldn't be asking this of you if it weren't really important."

Oh God, she thought, as his breathing picked up. He was going to have a panic attack.

Going up on her toes, she cupped his cheeks and sought out his mouth, hoping she could distract him enough from his thoughts to prevent the meltdown she knew was quickly approaching.

If she let him start down that path, she'd never be able to make herself leave him.

Fingers tangling in his hair, she tugged her teeth off his bottom lip with the most assured smile she could muster.

"I can't wait to taste you," she whispered, trailing her kisses to his ear. "I'm gonna do so many good things to you when we get home. You won't be able to stand it."

A shudder passed through him as he dropped his head to her shoulder. "Just a few minutes?"

"Ten minutes tops," she replied. "I swear."

She felt him take a few deep breaths before he eased away from her.

"Alright," he whispered, tenderly brushing her hair behind her ear as he lifted his blue gaze to hers. "I'll miss you more with every second that passes."

Well, that deserved a proper kiss.

Returning to her tiptoes, she cupped his face and pressed deeply into him; wishing to convey just how serious she was about returning to him.

However, the room erupting in whistles was enough to prematurely end the kiss, the resulting faint blush on Ichabod's cheeks bringing a smile to her face.

"I'll be right back." She shook her head as she backed toward the door. "Just wait until I get you home and we can work out who missed who more."

His half hearted grin, one she knew he was forcing, caused her to flash him the brightest smile in her arsenal as she turned out the door.

The night attempted to falter her steps as every shadow became the enemy, but she pushed on toward Jenny's truck, which was idling in the driveway.

When she'd buckled in and pulled out, she glanced over at her friend, who was leaning against the passenger door, her stare straight ahead.

She, then, asked the question now weighing on her mind, "Does he know?"

A heavy breath slipped through Jenny's nose as she shook her head. "I don't know, I didn't want to freak him out until I knew something for sure, but, with his power, I'm not really sure what he can sense and what remains a mystery to him."

"Alright," she said, nodding her head at the logical thought. "Well, let's just get this figured out and then we can consider what happens next."

"I know you don't like him, Kat," Jenny began, her voice smaller than she'd ever heard it. "But if I'm pregnant..."

Swallowing against the thick feeling lodged in her throat, she said, "You love him, Jenny. That's all that matters right now."


"Why are there so many choices?" Jenny groaned as her eyes danced over the dozens of boxes. "Don't people know that women are too high strung when buying one of these to read every box? What the hell is wrong with people?"

"I'm sure any one of them will do," she calmly said as she pulled a pink box down while trying to simultaneously text Ichabod that she was still alright.

It had been five minutes and he was already asking if she was on her way home. She couldn't imagine what he was going to do the next time he and Abbie had to run off on a demon hunt. She'd probably have to give him a Xanax.

"Here, let's get a few so we'll know for sure."

As they made their way toward the check out line, she watched her friend drag her feet ahead of her.

"Kat," Jenny said after they'd paid and began walking toward the bathrooms, having determined taking the test at the house wasn't the best idea as Jenny didn't want anyone to know. "I can't do this. I can't be a mom."

"That's the most ridiculous thing you've ever said." She pushed the door open and held it for Jenny, who she practically had to pull through. "You're not as hard as you like to make yourself out to be, Jenny."

When her young friend only shook her head as she shakily tore at one of the boxes, she sighed and laid a hand over hers before gently taking the box from her.

"Listen to me," she began again, setting her phone down and lifting the flaps on the box. "This kid, if there is a kid in there, is going to be the most awesome kid around. Everyone's going to envy him or her because they all missed out on getting the cool mom."

When Jenny only gave a half smile, she went on, "And, of course, weird Uncle Ichy and stylish Aunt Kat, who spoils the mess out of them, will be an added bonus. This kid is set for life."

Finally earning a chuckle from Jenny, she handed her the test with a smile and turned her back so her friend could have some privacy.

"What about Abbie?"

The soft question tore at her heart.

For those two to live together, could they be any less confident in the other's love?

"She's going to be supportive, Jenny."

"She's going to be disappointed."

With a sigh, she turned after the toilet had flushed to see her friend laying the last test on the counter, tears glistening in her eyes.

"Maybe at first, but she'll also be really proud of you." She smiled reassuringly. "Your sister loves you more than anyone, Jenny. She raised you, helped you get job after job. She'd do anything for you."

A low 'yeah' was the only reply she got, prompting her to step up next to Jenny and turn her away from the tests to face the opposite wall.

Before any definitive answers were obtained, a few things needed to be set straight.

"She does," she pressed more firmly. "You're both so busy trying to act like nothing in the world bothers you, but, the truth is, I've never met two more deeply caring people, especially when it comes to each other. When this is all said and done, she's going to be right there with you, cheering you on every step of the way."

As Jenny wiped at her eyes, she realized just how young she was. So much pain and disappointment for such a young woman. Twenty-six years old. She only hoped that whatever fate laid behind them on the counter would lead Jenny to some form of happiness.

So, with a small prayer of peace on her friend, she glanced behind them to the three sticks lying on the sink. Two plus signs and a 'pregnant' greeted her, prompting her to close her eyes and take a deep breath.

"They're positive, aren't they?" Jenny asked without looking at her. "I know they are. I didn't even have to take them to know."

Not knowing what to do other than be positive, she whispered, "Everything's going to work out, Jenny."

"Really?" Jenny asked as she turned to her with narrowed eyes. "Is that why you and Crane aren't trying? The guy begs you for a kid and you still say no, despite wanting one as badly as he does. Why, Kat?"

Before she could get a word out either way, Jenny had bolted for the door and slammed it shut behind her.

Left alone, she lifted a hand to her head and took a moment to lean there and sort out her thoughts.

Of course, Jenny was right. There was a reason she and Ichabod were waiting. Times were entirely too dangerous to bring a child into the world.

Tiredly depositing the tests into the trash bin, she picked up her phone, which was lit up with five new messages from Ichabod, and made her way toward the truck where Jenny was waiting.

Grateful Jenny hadn't left her altogether, she opened the driver's door and hopped into the cab.

Whatever she was going to say had to be helpful. Jenny needed her to be the one with reason.

"If I were pregnant right now," she said as she sat with her hands in her lap. "I'd be scared to death; completely terrified."

"That's comforting," Jenny groaned as she leaned her head against the seat.

"The world is dangerous and... who knows if it'll even be here tomorrow?"

"Is this your attempt to make me feel better?" Jenny asked with a frown. "Because I got to tell you, Kat, you're sucking big time. If you're ever in need of a job, definitely strike pep talker off the list."

"Jenny," she said, turning toward her friend. "No one is promised tomorrow. I can't promise you this is going to be easy, or that you won't doubt yourself at every turn. What I can promise you, though, is that you're going to have a whole team of people supporting you. You're not gonna go through this alone."

Jenny nodded, but didn't speak, prompting her to go on.

"Two Witnesses and a witch are more than most average women get."

"I don't know how confident I am in your side of the Witnesses," Jenny muttered as she buckled herself.

With a chuckle, she said, "I bet you'll be surprised at how much Ichabod will dote over you and the baby. He'll be more protective than Abigail and I combined."

Finally revealing a smile, Jenny shook her head and said, "This kid is going to be so weird."

"Yeah... but the best kind of weird."

Chapter Text

"Jenny," she quietly urged across the back seat, doing her best to keep her voice low, but afraid her frustration would seep into it. "You have to tell her."

In response, Jenny cast her a scathing look, one that had all the heat of a pure cursing behind it, and mouthed, 'Shut up.'

More than a little aggravated, she crossed her arms and fell back against her seat as Ichabod turned to cast her an inquiring look which she shrugged off while turning to stare out the window.

For the past week, it hadn't only been Abbie this secret was being kept from, but Ichabod as well and it was driving her absolutely crazy, especially considering he knew she was keeping a secret; something that was a huge no-no in their renewed relationship.

Her fingers danced in a soothing gesture along the back of his shirt as he stared at the wide mirror, a mild apprehension plaguing his gorgeous face.

"This is your last chance to change your mind."

A heavy sigh slipped from his nose as he looked up at her with a mix between exasperation and discontent. "Katrina, this is what I want."

Frown not dissipating in the least, she ran her fingers through his long hair, her eyes following the long strands as they slipped through her fingers.

"This isn't like your clothes. You can't just change your mind five minutes from now."

The internal groan he was clearly attempting to keep down bubbled out his mouth. "My love, I'm tired of fussing with it and I'm ready for a change."

"Because you haven't experienced enough change in the past few months," she said, sarcasm dripping from her lips.

The man could drive her mad when he chose to do so.

"Katrina, I'm positive," he groaned, while trying to swat her hands from his person. "Now, will you let this woman perform her job?"

She turned to look over her shoulder through narrowed eyes at the blonde girl a few feet behind them.

"Fine. Do what he wants, but leave some length on it." She stepped away after running her fingers through his hair one last time and winked at the hairdresser. "I like having something to hold onto while my lover ravages me."

"For the love of-" He lifted a hand to cover his flushed face. "Must you speak so inappropriately?"

While the young girl moved to stand behind Ichabod and did her best not to let her laughter slip through her lips, she plopped into a chair and picked up a magazine, her own uncontained laughter filling the small room.

"Calm down, lover," she said as she flicked her eyes up to his. "I'll make it up to you later."

At that, he began deftly avoiding everyone's eyes.


 

"I like it," she said as she ran her fingers through what few inches of hair he had left.

"So, it's to your satisfaction, then?" he asked, a grin tugging at his lips as he continued walking. "There's still plenty for you to tangle your fingers in left."

She grabbed his arm and slowed him enough to get in front of him.

"Slow down, you big baby," she said as she slid her hands up his chest to wind arou