Thanks for the review! I hope you enjoy chapter 2! I've pretty much settled on telling their back story as a series of flashbacks/memories each triggered by a different scar that Jason asks her about so each chapter will focus one event/scar. Kinda morbid? But I think it'll work.

"I remember this one." he said, gently caressing the bullet wound on the back of her left shoulder.

Jason was sitting up in bed with Nicky laying sideways across it with her head resting on his lap. The sheet covered her lower half but left her back and shoulders exposed to his view.

She thanked god that she was laying on her stomach with her face turned away from him when he softly voiced that statement. His tone was confident, more so than the other times he'd shared a half-remembered event with her, but she knew that he didn't fully remember. Every little reminder of the memories that he had lost was excruciating.

She schooled her face, as best as she could, into the nonchalant mask that she'd perfected and rolled over to face him before she spoke. "No. You don't."

The matter-of-fact tone with which she contradicted him was unexpected. He did remember it- at least he'd gotten a small flash; a fragment of a memory.

He'd frantically rolled her over onto her side, cutting through her shirt to expose the exit wound he knew was there, desperately hoping that it wouldn't be as bad as he expected and relief had flooded though him at the sight of the wound. It had been a through-and-through. The exit was clean and smaller than he had any right to expect. Blood welled up, pouring out of the hole, but it wasn't arterial.

It was survivable.

"I do." he insisted. But even as he spoke, he shook his head in frustration. "I remember... looking at it and... realizing that... that you weren't going to die."

This was torture for her. The things he could remember they weren't the important things. He only remembered the bad stuff. He'd never recovered any of the sweet moments that they'd spent sharing a drink overlooking the city from the balcony of a hotel in Prague, swimming late at night in the Mediterranean Sea, making plans while intertwined in a bed in Kiev. All he could remember were the darkest parts and she wanted to scream at the unfairness of it all.

But, instead of screaming, she sat up, nestled herself between his legs, and leaned back against his chest. She was so much shorter than he was that when she leaned her head against the right side of his face, he could almost rest his chin on top of her head. As his arms encircled her lovingly she lifted his left hand to touch the scar that the bullet had left as it penetrated the front of her left shoulder, just below the collarbone.

"You don't remember it. Not really. That bullet went right through me..." she paused, leaning forward slightly and twisting to face him. Then she guided his hand to the small scar situated directly over his own heart. "But it was meant for you."

Her statement left him reeling. He'd never given much thought to the scars on his own body. He had analyzed them in a detached sort of way, mentally categorizing them by type and severity but not bothering too much over the unanswerable mystery of how he'd earned each one. How could it be possible that he could remember, so very vividly, that one small flash of a memory of Nicky's injury and have absolutely no recall of his own?

As she had done so many times before, the words she spoke echoed his own thoughts. "How can you say you remember... when you can't even remember what happened to you?" she asked him. He had no answer to her question and although it hurt her, terribly, to do it, she began, once again, to explain.

"We were here, in Paris, when it happened.

Nicky could barely contain her anxiety as she walked towards Jason's apartment. He'd been gone longer than usual this time and it had been almost three months since she'd last seen him. She could hardly count that debriefing conference that they'd had yesterday as quality time. He'd answered her questions with his usual professionalism and nothing he'd said indicated that anything unusual had happened during his time in Moscow. But Nicky, who knew him better than anyone else, recognized that his answers were a carefully crafted deception. He had been lying; not to her, but to Treadstone. He had something to hide and she needed to know what it was.

And he had been so tired. She noted the circles under his eyes and detected a slight sluggishness to his movements that was totally at odds with his usual gracefulness. She was worried about him so she had deliberately left out a few crucial questions during the interview, necessitating this little after hours meeting.

She was still puzzling over what could possibly have happened to him in Moscow that he'd have needed to hide from Treadstone as she reached the keypad that unlocked the main entrance to his apartment building. She hadn't noticed the dark figure that had slipped out of the car parked a few spaces back from hers and followed her towards the doorway. But Jason had taught her well and she instinctively did a quick scan of the sidewalk in both directions and finding it empty, she glanced at the dim reflection in the glass doorway in front of her before she entered the code.

And she saw him. She saw him and she knew that something was wrong. He was wrong. There was something about this guy that just felt wrong. In that split second sight of him reflected in the glass she recognized it intuitively. Had she been asked to explain it, she may not have been to articulate the reasons but he was too close, his clothes were too dark, his steps too quiet, his stance too rigid. He didn't belong here. She rapidly entered the eight digit code and when the lock clicked open, she slipped in as quickly as possible.

She almost made it.

He caught the door just before she could slam it closed behind her and he forced his body through the small opening. He grabbed her upper arm with his left hand and slammed her into the wall, pressing a gun against the center of her chest.

She knew that she should be afraid but her mind remained oddly calm and when he spoke to her, she detected the barest trace of a Russian accent that tainted his speech. "Which apartment is he in?" the man demanded of her. Her gaze didn't waver as she looked him straight in the eye and refused to answer. His only response was to pull back the hammer of the gun, that small sound echoing loudly in the empty foyer, and redirect it from her heart to her elbow. He'd shoot her, not to kill, just to cause her enough pain that she'd give him the answer he wanted. The gun he threatened her with was equipped with a silencer so he wasn't afraid of Jason, or anyone else, hearing the gun shot and she fully believed he'd carry out his threat.

Her heart was pounding in her chest but she knew that she needed to delay him as long as possible so she whimpered in fear and cried out "Please, don't, don't. I.. I'll take you to him." There was not even the faintest chance that she'd actually lead him to Jason; it was a simple tactic designed to keep him here, in the entryway, with his back turned to the stairs. She kept her eyes trained on his- determined not to give away her secret.

Jason was already on his way.

The code she'd entered hadn't been the regular entrance code but rather a special under-duress code that did unlock the door but had also triggered a silent warning to Jason.

She actually smiled a tiny little smile of relief when the man dropped to the ground in front of her, already dying from the wound caused by the knife Jason had dragged across his throat. Jason stepped on the man's wrist, picked up the gun, and handed it to the blood-splattered Nicky. "You okay?" She nodded. "We've gotta get out of here. Now. Where's your car?"

She answered with characteristic efficiency despite the shock of the last few minutes. "This side of the street twenty yards north." By the time she finished answering, she already had her keys out of her pocket and she handed them to Jason as he led her to the door, being careful to keep her behind him as he exited.

As they ran down the street towards the car, gunshots broke out behind them. He pulled her in front of him and changed course, propelling her down the dead end alley adjacent to his building and skidding to a stop beside a motorcycle he had stashed there. He put her on the bike and slid on behind her. It was awkward, trying to drive with her in front of him but he knew that he'd have to head north, away from those gunshots, and he wanted to be between her and the shooter.

He peeled out of the alleyway, his body leaning low over hers with his head looking over her left shoulder. "Keep your head down." he ordered as shots once again rang out from behind them. He angled the motorcycle to the right and cut the corner, running over the sidewalk. Now, with a building between them and the shooter, he changed course again, heading north, still intent on putting as much distance as possible between him and those men.

They had to be the Russians that he'd encountered in Moscow. He cursed himself for leading them to his home... to Nicky. His plan, developed even as he accelerated down the street, was to take Nicky to the nearest safe-house, give her the information he knew she'd insist on as quickly as he could, and then track down his attackers. He approached a roundabout and the buildings on either side of them opened up.

And that's when the sniper perched on nearby bridge took his shot.

The bullet was certainly meant for him. The sniper didn't care that Nicky was between him and his target. He would have aimed for Jason's head, but with Nicky in the way, he didn't have a clear shot; a bullet was unlikely to penetrate both of their skulls from this distance. So he aimed for Jason's heart. The bullet tore through her left shoulder and came to rest millimeters from his heart.

The impact almost threw them from the bike, but he had slowed down as he approached the intersection and was able to put his foot down and catch them. He didn't dare stop while the shooters behind them were certainly still following them. He clutched her tightly with his left arm, trying to put pressure on her wound, and sped away towards the safe house, indescribably relieved that it was so close. He could feel the blood soaking the clothes between them but he had no way of knowing how much of it was his and how much was hers.

He had managed to lose the shooters following them and he kept pressure on her would as he eased her off the bike and ditched it behind the house. She was able to walk, with assistance, to the door. But she collapsed on the floor of the kitchen as soon as they entered.

"I don't remember what happened next" she admitted.

Her part of the story was over but he picked it up where she left off.

He'd frantically rolled her over onto her side, cutting through her shirt to expose the exit wound he knew was there, desperately hoping that it wouldn't be as bad as he expected and relief had flooded though him at the sight of the wound. It had been a through-and-through. The exit was clean and smaller than he had any right to expect. Blood welled up, pouring out of the hole, but it wasn't arterial.

It was survivable.

He quickly grabbed the med kit stashed in the house and applied a pressure bandage to her wound without even bothering to assess his own. It wasn't serious, the bullet would have to come out, but he knew it hadn't reached his heart and he still had pretty much full range of motion so he ignored it for the time being.

The agency would be arriving soon; their unscheduled entrance to the safe house would not have gone unnoticed, so he held her hand and tried desperately to figure out how he'd explain this to Treadstone as he waited for them to arrive.

"What did I tell them?" he asked her but she just shook her head. "I have no clue but it must have been good. They never asked me about it."