Sequel: Faith
Status: Complete.


"Wouldn't dream of going anywhere else."

Tommy stared at his brother in disbelief. "You did what?"

"Asked her if she wanted to try this professionally. Frank knows a promoter looking for some girls-"

"And you thought that would be a good idea? You're training her to help protect her, you asshole, not throw her into someone else's line of fire!"

Brendan glared at him. Tommy may have been intimidating to most people, but never to his older brother. "It's her choice to make, Tommy."

Jade jogged up to them then, her belongings gathered, duffel bag on her shoulder and apparently ready to go. "Shoulda never been a choice, Bren! Don't know the fuck you were thinking." She apparently had caught the gist of their conversation, because when she turned to Tommy, she was pissed.

"Look here, Tommy," she growled, finger poking into his chest. "I am sick of you taking away my goddamn rights to make a decision."

"I'm just trying to-"

"Protect me, I fucking know. But I am not a child." Jade turned to face his brother. "I'm in." Tommy opened his mouth to respond, but she just cut in. "Fuck you, Tommy, it's my decision to make. I'm in, Bren. Talk to your promoter friend, let me know when and where to show up. See you tomorrow."

And at that, she turned heel and walked off, leaving Tommy scrambling to follow her. "You know what you're getting yourself into?" he called out as he caught up to her.

"I've got an idea." Oh, she was pissed and he knew it. Her hands were in her pockets, angry glare on her face as she positively stomped down the street. He knew the life that Brendan was offering her, and he didn't want that for her. She deserved better.


"I don't want to fucking hear it." She turned on him, pointing a finger at his chest as she snarled. "I know I might get hurt. I know you don't want that." Her face softened as she looked up and into his eyes. "I want something more. I don't want to wait tables forever, Tommy."

"Who says you have to?" She started walking again, her pace a little slower as her anger seemed to deflate.

"You see a lot of opportunities around here, Tommy?" Jade stopped again to face him. "I'm doin' this, with or without your support. I'd really like it, though."

Tommy cupped her face in one hand, lost in her hazel eyes, rubbing a thumb across her cheek. How could he say no to her? "Alright, doll. I'm behind you no matter what. Doesn't mean I have to like it though."

She leaned in to give him a soft kiss. "Never expected you to. Race you home!" And she was off like a shot, leaving him dazed for a moment before he followed.


May morphed into June morphed into July. They had all kicked their training up a notch, Tommy with his tourney just a week away and Jade's unknown fight somewhere on the horizon. Brendan had even started working her in five minute rounds in the ring before taking her down to the weight room to lift with Tommy.

Word came down about Jade the day before his tournament.

Tommy was only watching her train that Friday, taking the day off to give himself some rest before the big day. She was in the middle of one of her rounds when Brendan's cell rang. Tommy tossed his brother the phone, handing Jade some water as Brendan took the call.

"You're looking great, Jade." She smiled and nodded In appreciation, too out of breath to respond. "He's workin' you good."

His brother's voice drifted back towards him. "Thanks, Frank. Yeah, she'll be ready." Brendan tossed his phone back to Tommy. "August 31, you'll be fighting a girl goes by Riveting Rosie. You'll be the opening 'act' before a big fight."

Jade let out a squeal of delight and launched herself at Brendan, pulling him into a hug. Tommy found it hard to be upset about her first fight becoming official when it brought her so much joy.

"Yeah, yeah," Brendan muttered, clapping an awkward hand on her back before releasing her. "You still owe me another five minute round, let's go."

Their walk home that day was quiet, each lost in their own thoughts. It finally came out after lunch, Jade laying against his chest on the couch. "You're not mad, are you Tommy?"

He had to think about it for a minute before responding. "Nah, I'm not mad. More nervous for you, now."

"Speaking of which, nervous at all about tomorrow?" He rolled his eyes, shooting her a look that clearly said please. Jade chuckled, nestling against him a little more before falling asleep against him.

The morning of the tourney dawned, the skies stormy to match Tommy's mood. Something else was brewing, he could feel it in his bones. He and Jade went through their usual run, coming back soaked and exhausted. They shared a warm shower before breakfast, where she finally seemed to pick up on his mood.

"What's wrong?"

"Can't explain it. Feel like something bad is going to happen." He moved his eggs around on the plate. "Just stick close today, okay?"

"Wouldn't dream of going anywhere else."

It didn't do anything to settle his nerves. He paced the floor for hours, irritating Jade enough that she insisted they leave for the tourney early. Jordan met them half an hour before his first fight, ready to escort Jade to their seats ring-side. He wasn't happy about it, but Brendan had some function with the girls and Tommy wanted someone watching out for Jade while he fought, even if it had to be Jordan.

His heart was hammering as she turned to leave the locker room. Unable to help himself, he grabbed her arm and pulled her into a long, hard kiss. He didn't want to let her go, but knew he had to. That feeling was back in his stomach. "Tommy, I'm gonna be fine," she whispered. "I'll take Jordan wherever I go, promise." He nodded, forcing himself to drop her arm so she could leave.

The first two fights were quick, knocking out each opponent within the first thirty seconds. Having Jade there to root him on meant the world to him. He couldn't help but seek her out before each fight, finding comfort and sanity in her smiles before unleashing havoc in the cage.

His third and final fight wound up being more difficult than the first two, and he was unable to finish it in one round. Tommy went to pace the corner for his minute before the next one started, automatically searching for Jade as he did. But she wasn't there. His stomach fell. "Jordan!" His pace was too slow as he jogged up to the cage. "Where is she?"

"She got some kind of message on her phone, said she had to go home."

It was wrong, it was all kinds of wrong. Maybe it was her grandmother. But she wouldn't have gone alone. Jade would have dragged Jordan along with her. She knew the rule, she wouldn't have gone alone. And suddenly he was panicking. Andrew. It had to be Andrew.

He was up and to the cage door before he had even made the conscious decision to leave. The ref jogged over, blocking his exit. "Where you going, Riordan?"

"I forfeit." And with that, he was out of the cage, dragging Jordan along by the shirt as they exited the building. "Car, fucking now! Give me your phone!"

Tommy tried her number over and over as Jordan started speeding through the streets at his instruction, his heart pounding. It just kept going straight to voice mail. "Fuck!" He dialed the police, desperate. "Just hold on, doll, I'm coming. Hold on."
♠ ♠ ♠
The next chapter is probably going to alternate between both Tommy and Jade's POV, fair warning. I'll try to get the next chapter up tonight.