Sequel: Faith
Status: Complete.


"I'll still be here."

The "something" that Tommy figured out showed up a week before the order expired. Jordan's black eye had distracted her when the two men first entered the gym together; it was the first Jade had seen him since they had sparred. She could tell the injury was a few days old, yellow starting to color the edges of the bruise, though his eye was still red with blood. Guess Tommy hasn't forgotten about his promise. Jordan gave her a nod and walked away.

She turned her attention on the second man the, recognition smacking her mute.

"Tommy!" he called before pulling the shorter man into a hug.

"Brendan, ya came." Tommy clapped him on the back as they released each other. Guess the estranged brothers weren't so estranged anymore.

"All you gotta do is call, baby brother." He turned his attention on Jade then, his eyes kind, but appraising. "So this must be her, huh?"

"Her has a name, you know. Jade," she introduced, holding her hand out for him to shake.

Brendan's laugh was light as her took her hand. "Brendan."


"You're right, Tommy, she is a firecracker. This might even be fun."

Something about words peaked her interest. "And what's 'this' about?"

Tommy spoke this time, seeming to sense the anger that was strangely brewing inside of her. "He's gonna work with you, Jade."

She knew she was overreacting, but this little arrangement he had made without talking to her had Jade pissed. It didn't help that Tommy had been mostly mute for days, not touching her once since their kiss. Jade's head was spinning; the man had been nothing but confusing since that day. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

Brendan took the cue to walk away, sitting on a bench along the wall, looking nonplussed. He had been expecting her to react like this, she realized.

"What did you tell him?" she hissed so that no one else could hear. "What does he know about me?"

"Nothin' you would care about." Jade glared at him until he continued. "Just that you want to learn to fight, doll. He doesn't know the why."

"Why him?"

"After the shit storm of all that was Jordan? No one else I could trust you with but my big brother."

"I thought when you said 'figure something out', you meant some grand solution to the whole Andrew problem, not calling your brother to come babysit me while you get to play. Your fights not 'til July anyway."

"You think this whole 'Andrew problem' will be gone in a week? A month? Fuck, a year? Who fucking knows. But I know when my fight's coming, and I gotta be ready."


"You forget Brendan beat me, doll?" Tommy's teeth clenched as he said it, the memory of losing apparently still fresh enough to piss him off. "He knows what he's doing. And you know the story, that he used to be a teacher?" Jade nodded. "He'll help you, maybe even more than me." His eyes softened, begging her to take the offer, it seemed. "Look, I don't want anyone else trainin' ya, but if its gonna be somebody, I want it to be him."

Jade broke his gaze and stared off into nowhere, worried her voice might crack if she was looking at him. "I don't want anybody but you, Tommy."

He stepped to the side so that she was facing him, his finger lifting her chin so that she was finally looking into his eyes again. "Look, I gotta train or I'm not gonna be worth shit in that fight. I'm not going anywhere, doll, okay? I'll still be here."

"Get a room!" someone catcalled from across the gym.

Jade rolled her eyes, flipping the bird to the room at large. "Fine, Tommy, I'll do it."