One thing that my mother always taught me was when the chips were down to have faith. That when life was hard, things were bad, and you were at the end of your rope have faith. Have faith that there is something out there and that there is in control. That there is a plan, a lesson for us all. She always told me to have faith in something when things were hard and praise something when they were good.

But how can I have faith in a god who let this happen? How can I believe that there is a plan when something like this happens? What lesson is there to learn from this? How can I have faith in something when the entire world has gone to hell?

I'm staring at his body and I can't believe that this is my Jesse, my lovely, sweet innocent Jesse. He's so battered, so abused, so…….god, so broken.

This can't be my Jesse; this can't be my sweet innocent lover. How could anyone do this to him? How could anyone hurt him like this? What right did they have to abuse him, to hurt him, to touch him! What right!

What lesson is there to learn from this! What plan calls for this!

I undo the shackles from around his arms and let his broken body crumple into my arms. Four days of searching, four days of hunting, detective work, threatening and desperation has lead me... us Here…to find him chained up like some dog, striped down to his boxers covered in welts, bruises, burns, blood, dirt...four days to find him and this is what we find.

He moans softly, barely, as I guide him to the floor. I lay him down gentle, as gentle as possible, and cradled his body in my arms. My hart breaks as I stare into his face; I can see the tear tracks.

Four days…what god could do this to someone so fucking innocent?

He still looks innocent, lying here in my arms. I know what they've done to him, I know what 'fun' they've had with him and yet he still looks so god for shaken innocent. What plan calls for this?

I can hear Shal and Em in the back ground talking to Adam, reporting what we've found.

"We have Jesse, but there are no signs of the fucking bastards…"

Fucking bastards, that doesn't even began to describe them. My anger, my hatred, my desire to hurt them like they hurt Jesse. Those fucking bastards, the one's who betrayed us so utterly. Those fucking bastards…

"Please help us…we're afraid of him…we want to get away but we're too scared…" and they had done such a damn good job of lying that none of us picked up on it, not even Emma.

So when Jesse had said that he'd take them to a safe house, that he'd help them get settled cause the rest of us were to sore and to tired too, we let him. We didn't think twice…four days ago…we just let him walk out with the enemy and never even thought twice. And when he didn't come home, when we couldn't reach him…four damn days.

They were the worst days of my life. The worry, the fear, the guilt, just the plain not knowing. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat, and I could feel myself slipping over the edge. Four days…four fucking days of the worst kind of hell.

It took us four days to figure out that they were the wolf in sheep's clothing, those three fucking bastards. They had asked for our help, they had gained our trust, and they had taken our most vulnerable member, our most innocent teammate straight to the slaughter.

They had given him to Ashlock like a fucking offering and the god for shaken bastard had nearly destroyed him. He had beaten him, tortured him, used him, and then left him to die. Had just left him in this cold, dark dungeon to die!

There's no warmth from his body, no glow to his skin. He looks so young, so much younger then he should be and so abused…so very abused. They had no right, no justification…there was no reason to hurt him this badly…he didn't even fight back! There are no defensive wounds anywhere; he had a governor in his neck! There was no reason for this amount of brutality!

I wrap my jacket around his shoulders careful not to jar him so that he's pressed into my body as much as he can be. Hoping that it's not too late, hoping that I can warm him. But he's so cold, so broken, he can't even shiver.

How can you have faith at times like these? If it was me, that would be one thing. I'm so jaded, so battered and broken that one more blow wouldn't matter. Not that Jesse would ever let me get away with think that. When ever I start thinking like that he all ways reminds me what he sees. He always shows me what he feels. God, he's so damn innocent that I swear he passes it on. He makes me feel so clean again that I can laugh and not have the world on my back. He makes me innocent, if only for awhile.

I could take this; I could deal with what was done to him. It would be just one more blow to me. But Jesse…he's so innocent, so beautifully innocent…How do you have faith when you look at the good in your world and he's broken?

"He's not responding Adam, but he's breathing…" I can hear Shal, the frantic note in her voice. She's seeing the same thing as I am her broken light. Jesse keeps me clean, but he keeps Shalimar human. She'd go completely feral if he wasn't there and now…"He's so cold, he's not evening shivering…Adam he's so beaten, I don't think…"

No, don't say it Shal. Don't say those cursed words. Don't even think them. Jesse's going to be fine; he's going to be FINE! Come on Jesse wake up, show them that you're stronger. Show them that you're tougher then they think. Show them you can take it, take everything that they give you and still stand.

I brush my hand through his hair, the once golden straw blond strands now grimy and dirty as the rest of him. I brush it out of his face, and I brush my knuckles down his face. How cruel could they be? To touch everything but his face, to leave that perfect, sculpted art work untouched? How cruel….

"Come on Jess…Come on kiddo…wake up. You're better then them, you're stronger…wake up…" I whisper as I continue to stroke his face. "Come on Jess…don't let them win…don't let them take you from me…"

I sob, tears starting to fall from my eyes. "Please…I need you…I…Jesse I've never loved anyone more…Please…." And I'm begging in earnest now as I turn my face up to meet the eyes of the others.

Their faces mirror mine, red rimed eyes with tears falling, desperation and hopelessness ageing us well buoyed our years. Emma's head is moving from side to side some silent scream just waiting to be unleashed. Shal is still, so very, very still. Like an animal who knows death is near. She's ready to run, she wants to, knows that she has to, but she won't. She won't leave Jesse.

Jesse…With each passing second our greatest fear is coming closer and closer, losing one of our own. Losing a lover, a brother, a son, a comforter, a protector, an innocent….

And as the weight of it falls on me, as the gravity of the situation hits me, I look up to god and I scream "PLEASE! DON'T DO THIS! PLEASE!" and I can't help it, I break down into sobs, burying my face into his hair, sobbing like a baby. And I can't help it. I start begging and pleading, and begging for a miracle.

My words make no sense, they're just babble but I don't care. I don't want to be here. I don't want this to be happening. I don't want this to be real. How can this be real? How can this be apart of any plan? What can anyone learn from this? How am I suppose to have faith?

I don't know how long we stayed like that, just crying and rocking, falling deeper into despair. All I know is that I gave up, that I let go. If the greater powers wanted him so badly then there was nothing I could do. At least he wouldn't be damaged anymore, no more pain, no more fear, no shame. If the lesson was how important love and life and sharing that before you lost it and then what it felt like when you lost it…if that was the lesson, that you would give up anything, any part of you for the ones you love, then I'm learning it. I'm learning it and hating it. But if they wanted him, then he was going to take him and there was nothing I could do except cry and hold him and rock him and pray and beg and hope.

And once I had excepted that, once I admitted that I had no control, that there was nothing that I could do I finally found some kind of peace. Some kind of morbid peace in the fact that this was completely out of my control. And I'm able to just hold him, to rest my head on his and just hold him.

And then I can feel him, his body start to shiver, start to twitch. I look up at the others praying that this wasn't some desperate false hope, that this wasn't the end. And the looks on their faces reassured me and they fell to their knees next to us staring intently at us.

"Jesse…" I say again, shaking him lightly. I'll worry about hurting him latter right now I just want him to wake up. "Jesse wake up…come on kiddo, wake up. We have you, you're safe…I have you…Come on love wake up…"

And blue eyes flutter open, the most beautiful blue eyes in the world open. He's looking at me confused and a bit apprehensively as his mind struggles to focus. And he's scared, I know he's scared because I can feel his tension and I can't blame him in the least.

"Shss…it's ok it's me. Don't struggle, you'll hurt yourself. It's us Jesse, you're safe now I promise…"

"Bren…?" he calls softly, unbelievingly. He looks at me, so afraid to hope, so afraid that I'm some barbaric trick that Ashlock thought up. And he moves into me, to fell my flesh, to smell my skin, to confirm that I'm real. And once he does he starts to cry, his body starts to shutter, and he's shivering and he's crying and still he manages to speak.

"I knew you'd come…I told him…He…He tired to make me think it was you…he tried to make me believe that it was you…and I never did…Never…You never hurt me…." He sobs and my hart breaks at what he says.

Part of me is livid and wants to hunt down everyone that touched him, everyone that hurt him and ripe tem limb from limb. Another part of me is dying at the thought of what he suffered. But a third part is bursting with such joy and love that I can't even began to describe.

The most powerful mutant in the world was fucking with his head, torturing him, and he never once lost faith in me. He never once believed the lies Ashlock tried to sell him. He knew me, knows me, well enough that he never once believed Ashlock…and that means the world.

If that's the lesson I'm suppose to learn, if that was the plan, show me that the one person I love the most in the world feels the same. That even when the world is unbearable there are things that make it bearable, that the faith of a lover, a friend, means more then anything else in the world, if that is what I was to learn then I have. I've learned it a god awful way, but I have.

Sitting here, Jesse is my arms, his body so close to mine and knowing that he never lost faith in me…I think I can have faith again.

Someday, maybe.