NEW A/N: Folks, don't get excited, I just hopped back on the old site to edit a few things. I've been wanting to write something light lately, and I skimmed through this story for inspiration the other night. Found a couple of places that could use some polish... And I may be lying a little bit. Again. I kind of want to do another one of these, what do you guys think? I just love the Jak/Keira thing, how easy and novel their relationship is. They're fun to write and I need a distraction. So we'll see. But for now, the edits!

Original A/N: Yeah, I know, I said I was done. Guess I lied. Anyway, I've been wanting to write a really strong romance as a protest to the end of Jak 3 since it came out, and well, I'm lazy. So here it is, two years later. Yay! Or whatever. So, a few things I should mention before we get started: 1). This has very little to do with After the Storm. It's pretty independent. 2). When I say strong romance, I mean it. There are no explicit sex scenes, so don't go screaming for the hills. I don't work that way. But there's a ton of emphasis on Jak and Keira's relationship... and not much else. Be forewarned. And most importantly, so really read this one, 3). This fic is dedicated to my friend CopyCat87 over on DeviantART. She is THE SHIT and I'll tell you why. One of these scenes was inspired and basically completely ripped from one of her amazing drawings. The name of the artwork in question is Grease Monkeys, so go check it out. Check out all of her Jak and Keira pics, they will make you cry. For realz. That's gangsta for "Seriously. Do it." Okay, enough of my banter for now. Enjoy! (I hope...)

"CRAP! Oh, frick! Crappity crap crap hell damn crap…"

"Keira? Babe, you okay?"

She ignored the concerned query and continued to swear.

"Shit hell and damnation. Bastard son of a whore, that hurts!"

Stumbling, frenzied footfalls on the staircase. Jak appeared in the doorway to her workshop, clumsily catching himself against the jamb as he tripped in his haste.

"Hey, what's wrong? What'd you do?"

Again, Keira elected to ignore his remarks. Instead, she made little hopping motions in place while her hands covered her right eye. "Oh, DAMN it!" Her voice was losing its angry edge, and this last curse was despairing.

"Keira," Jak began imploringly, approaching her quickly and turning her around to face him. "Honey, what did you do?"

Breath hissed out of her lungs, a painful sound.

"Ugh, I hit my eye. On the bench. I'm okay. Shit. I'm okay." She still hid her injury beneath her hands.

"What? How did you… What were you doing?" He seemed confused.

"I dropped my screwdriver. And I bent down to get it, and when I stood up I was too close to the workbench and I caught myself right in the …"

A tiny amused grin was beginning to pull at the corners of Jak's mouth. He suppressed it, but not before Keira noticed.

"It's not funny!" she snapped defensively.

Jak quickly altered his expression to one of concern.

"No, no, I know it's not. I'm sorry. Here, come here, let me see." He reached up to touch her face.

She pulled away. "Don't touch it, Jak, crap that smarts. Leave it."

"Okay, okay. I won't touch it, I just want to look. Let me see how bad it is," he placated her. He cautiously took her hands and moved them away from her face.

Her eye was shut tight, and the area around it was already turning a vibrant purple. Jak's face fell. He wasn't expecting the bruising to be this bad…

Keira took in his grimace and moaned.

"How bad is it?" she asked, though she already knew.

"Ah, you uh, you're gonna have a shiner, Keir." He made a hissing sound of inarticulate empathy. "Ouch, sweetheart. How hard did you…"

"Ah shit." She quickly turned from him, taking a few steps back to the offending workbench. A rearview mirror rested on the counter, and she picked it up to confirm Jak's diagnosis. The skin around her eye was indeed rapidly darkening. In a few minutes, she would have developed a stunning black eye fit for a bar brawl. "Motherfu…"

"Hey," Jak interrupted. "It's really not that bad. It'll fade in a few days."

"Jak, look at it! It looks like I was attacked with a two-by-four! I can't even go out in public with this thing."

Jak did look. She tried to open her eye. It only slid open halfway before she had to blink. Both her green orbs were wet with excess tears. Jak didn't like to see her cry. He closed the gap between them and took her hand in his.

"Oh, Keira, it really is okay. I promise it'll be gone before next weekend's Class Three." He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her against him, kissing the tip of her ear. She hugged him back, but after a moment she looked up at him, her face serious despite the wetness of her eyes.

"I'm not crying, love. My eyes are just watering from the impact."

That made sense, and Jak couldn't help but feel a bit foolish. Nevertheless, he didn't release her. He really wished she'd been more careful. He ran his fingers through her hair.

The weight of the situation dissipated as the pain in her eye dulled a bit, and she grinned at him. "You said it yourself, Jak, it's okay. I'm okay. No big deal. See?" She stood up on her toes for a second to kiss his lips quickly before coming back down. "Thanks for worrying about me."

He smiled back roguishly. "You're welcome."

A moment of content silence passed between them.

Then Keira whispered close to Jak's ear, "I should get back to work." She had tried for a hint of sarcasm, but the statement came across unenthused.

Jak reluctantly let her go. "Are you sure you can see everything all right?" he joked.

She elbowed him playfully on her way to the vehicle port. "Don't be a jerk," she replied lightly.

"I'm just saying. You want some help with anything?" The question was seemingly innocuous, but Keira's face burned a little anyway. She remembered what had happened two days ago, when Jak had asked that same question and she had gladly accepted the offer. They had popped the hood on one of her racers and done some adjusting to the undercarriage. When everything was finished to her satisfaction, they were both hot and filthy with grease. She was sitting on her workbench when Jak had approached her, shirtless and gorgeous, smudges of oil on his naked muscles, in his short golden hair. He walked straight up to the bench and touched her bare midriff. Remembering it sent a pleasant chill up her spine. There had been no humor in his eyes, no playful sparkle. Just passion. And subsequently, there was no irony in the way she wrapped her leg around his waist, no embarrassed smiles when his hand began to travel up her shirt, no suppressed laughter as she put her hand at the base of his neck and drew him into a kiss…

Afterward, they had made love again in the shower. This kind of spontaneity was becoming more common as their relationship became more comfortable. Keira wasn't used to it quite yet, but heaven help her, she loved it. It was new and exciting, and she had never loved anyone the way she loved Jak, both emotionally and physically. Now she was always anticipating their next impulsive exploit.

"…thought you wanted to bring in your NYFE today."

Keira shook her head, and tried not to blush visibly. "What? Sorry."

Jak had a knowing smile on his face. She had been caught daydreaming.

"I said I'll help you bring the NYFE in, if you still wanted to. What's on your mind?"

She pretended not to hear this last bit. She turned back to the vehicle port and bent to inspect the socket into which she'd reinstall the rearview mirror later. Unrelenting, Jak followed close behind her. He waited until she had stood back up. She had nowhere to escape to now; Jak was casually blocking her exit.

She glanced up at him, but quickly cast her gaze downward in embarrassed submission when he didn't move to let her pass. She refused to meet his eyes.

"What are you thinking about?" he inquired as innocently as he could.

By this time, her face was radiating heat from the scrutiny. She knew that he must see it. Oh, to hell with it.

She feigned rubbing the back of her neck so she still didn't have to look at him while she confessed. "Um… Tuesday."

To her immense relief, Jak didn't laugh. He simply continued to grin rakishly at her. He took her in his arms again, lovingly, and she let him slide his hands into her back pockets.

"What about Tuesday?" he asked, not bothering to hide the mischief in his voice. His lips tickled her ear, and she fought not to squirm in pleasure. Instead, she put her hands on his chest and pushed at him until their torsos no longer touched and she could look up at him. His hands remained in her pockets.

"I think you know what," she replied indignantly, this time locking with his gaze bravely as she spoke. "If you don't, I'm certainly not going to tell you."

Now Jak did laugh. For a second he didn't know what to say, but then he rebounded smoothly. He leaned in to kiss her deeply. "You mean up here?" he asked against her mouth, then paused to kiss her again. "Or in the shower?" The bold inquiry caught her just a little off guard, and she laughed, pleased and surprised that he would ask.

She kissed him back, her hands on his chest clenched into fists that clung to his shirt. "All of it," she whispered seductively.

"You know, I can't seem to remember how that all started. I know we were recalibrating the racer, but then what happened?" He was trying so hard to sound sincerely confused that Keira had to fight laughter. "Maybe you should… refresh my memory." He pulled her airtight against him as he finished.

Another deep kiss. Jak tugged at her shirt, gently pushed her up against the racer. She felt that familiar heat shoot through her body like quicksilver. Her heart redoubled its efforts. This was it, this was what she wished she was doing two years ago, what excited and frightened her so much…

Frightened? Yes, it was there, that wasn't a slip of the mental tongue. But… why? She loved Jak. There was no question of that. And she loved this thrill. She loved sharing herself with him and she absolutely loved that he could do the same so freely. What the hell was so scary about that?

Her eyes, even the bruised one, came open as Jak began to pull her top over her head. She stopped his traveling hands just as they touched the underwire of her bra. She flicked her gaze up to meet his. There was no question in his expression. She knew that if she stopped him, he would respect it without bitterness. His hands found a more appropriate perch on her hips. In recompense, she kissed his neck softly. She didn't know what else to do, so she let her head rest where it was, pressed into the hollow between his neck and powerful shoulder.

"I love you," she whispered. Then, haltingly, "I'm sorry."

Jak held her tighter. Those words, every time she spoke them, sounded like a miracle. He kissed the top of her head. "I love you too, Keira. Don't be sorry. For anything."

For an eternal moment, he just held her. The anxiety Keira had been suffering just seconds before ebbed. Another more unwelcome emotion replaced it quickly: guilt. Guilt? God damn it, what was wrong with her? She had nothing to feel guilty about! Okay, so she hadn't exactly given Jak what he'd wanted, but that was her right. But… why hadn't she welcomed his advances?

Oh god, I do love him, she thought desperately. The idea did little to subdue her panic. She knew that. That wasn't the problem. Something was bothering her, something was lurking in a dark crevice of her mind that was driving her to keep Jak at arm's length, and she didn't know why. It wasn't that she didn't want it. It wasn't a question of loyalty. Then what the hell is it?

Jak seemed to read the silence with psychic accuracy.

"You okay?" he asked.

She nodded against his chest, not trusting herself to look him in the eye.

"Did I… was it something I did?"

"No," she replied, maybe a little too quickly, peeling herself from his shoulder to make eye contact. "God no. I just… I'm tired, my eye hurts. Just not now, okay?" Why did I say that? Stop being so defensive! She gave him an apologetic smile. "Later, though. I promise." She let her fingertips lightly brush the back of his neck. He shivered involuntarily a bit from the touch. Keira laughed quietly. No matter what was going on, it still pleased her that she could make him squirm.

Before he could recover, she kissed him softly on the lips. "I've got it covered up here. I just need to finish up with the mirror and replace the grip on the throttle. I'll be down in a few minutes." She released him and turned back to the workbench. She picked up the rearview and fiddled with it. She could feel Jak watching her, his eyes boring into her neck. Finally, she heard movement behind her.

Angling the mirror over her shoulder, she saw Jak turn away and walk out the door. As soon as his footsteps began to echo on the stairs, she put the mirror down and slumped against the bench. She raked a hand through her turquoise hair and closed her eyes.

What the hell is wrong with me?

An hour later, Keira shut the lights off in her workshop and stood at the top of the stairs. She paused to take a deep breath before heading down. She didn't really know what she was going to say to Jak when he asked her what had taken so long. The truth was that she hadn't done anything in the way of work in the last hour. She hadn't even put the mirror back on the racer. She'd tried to, but she'd found that she just couldn't focus. Every time she picked up a tool, all she could do was stare at it absentmindedly and wonder why she had the urge to sleep alone tonight.

She just couldn't figure it out.

With no small amount of trepidation, she took the stairs down.

There was no greeting from the living room as she descended. The television was off, the floor lamp the only light in the house now that the sun had set. Puzzled, Keira peered into her bedroom. There was no one waiting for her under the covers. She crossed the room to the door that led to the bathroom. She knocked twice, tried a cautious "Jak?" and pushed the door open. No silhouette in the glazed glass of the shower door.

He had left.

Her heart tightened for a moment in something akin to panic, but quickly converted that energy into depression. He'd probably gotten bored waiting around for her to come down and gone back home to Daxter's. What did it matter that she and Jak had only been living together for a week? He'd had enough time to change his mind. She was certain that she'd get a call from him later, and they'd talk it out then.

Oddly crestfallen, she entered the bathroom and shut the door behind her. I guess I will be sleeping alone tonight, she thought as she started to run the water.

Twenty minutes later, Keira was combing out her wet hair when the front door opened. Startled, she grabbed her towel and wrapped it around herself before coming out of the bathroom to confront her visitor.

Jak was setting fast food sacks and styrofoam cups down on the coffee table. He looked up, gave her a very fetching grin. "Hey."

"Hey yourself." Bemused, Keira watched him pull wrapped sandwiches and fries out of the bags. "What's this?"

"Dinner," he answered automatically. "I mean, it's just burgers and fries, but…"

"I thought you went home."

Her hair was starting to drip onto the carpet. The towel had begun to slip, but she didn't seem to notice. Jak had, of course.

"Do you want me to go home?" he asked half-heartedly. He'd leave, if that's what she wanted. But he sure didn't want to.

"No," she replied firmly. Then, softer, "No." She took a step toward him. "I want this to be home to you." Her heart faltered, and she felt herself blush a little. Her mind had been on autopilot all day, and she just now realized the implications of what she was saying coupled with her appearance. She flicked her gaze to the floor, then found the scrap of courage she needed to meet his eyes. "I want to wake up next to you every morning."

Keira knew that everything she said was true. It was such a relief to be caught off guard by emotions that had been overlooked. It was conformation that she really did love him, so much it hurt to even hint at not being with him. The weird mood from earlier had passed. Thank god.

Jak put the food down and crossed the gap between them. He took her face in his hands. "I'd love nothing more," he whispered. He kissed her. "You're beautiful, Keira."

Her heart twisted. There were those butterflies again. She wanted to hold him so bad at that moment that she almost dropped the towel. She tried to stave it off.

"Even with this thing?" she joked, indicating her eye with a jerk of her head.

Jak smiled and ran his thumb gently under the bruise. "Prettiest black eye I've ever seen."

She smiled up at him, wanting so bad to touch his face, his neck. She would, she decided, just as soon as she got something on.

"Hold that thought." She quickly disappeared into the black recess of her bedroom to get dressed… or at least, partially dressed, she thought mischievously. Damn, it felt good to be back to normal. What in the world could have made her feel so out of whack earlier?

Who cares, it's gone now.

She began to pull a loose shirt on, but was spontaneously struck with a better idea. Grinning playfully to herself, she went to the closet, where Jak had put his clothes until they could get him his own chest of drawers. She selected the button-up flannel shirt that he had worn last Saturday when he had taken her out to dinner. It seemed appropriate that she would wear it while they stayed in for dinner, so she climbed into it and left the first button open.

Completely unsure of how to present herself, she dried her hair with the towel again and left it on the floor. When she came out of the bedroom, she walked directly over to the sofa and sat down right next to Jak so that their thighs touched. She reached for the fries and caught him staring.

"What?" she laughed.

"I don't know what to say. I'm honored."

"About the shirt?" she laughed incredulously.

"I've got to hand it to you, though. You make it look much sexier than I ever could." He grinned coyly.

Keira matched his smile. "Oh, I don't know about that," she drawled. "You make everything sexy."

"You are sexy," he grabbed her wrists and pulled her to him, kissing her neck first, then her lips. The kiss was phenomenal, and she sighed into his shoulder when it had finished. He ran his fingers through her hair, the two of them slouched into one figure.

"You hungry?" he asked quietly, a hopeful lilt to his voice. Keira knew that Jak was probably starving. Her stomach was beginning to growl, too.

"Yeah. Let's eat."

Jak rationed out the sandwiches and felt around in the inside of the bag. "Ah crap, they didn't give us any napkins."

"Hang on." Keira stood up and headed for the kitchen. "I got it."

She flipped the kitchen light on long enough to take a handful of napkins out of a cabinet. As she passed the small table on the way back out, a tiny white square of paper caught her eye. She paused, trying to remember if she had left anything on the table earlier. She reached out and picked it up, scanning its contents.

Jak had left her a note.


Went out to pick up something to eat. I hope fast food's okay, I don't know

many good take-out places. Don't work too hard up there, we've still got

a week before the races start. Be back in a little. I love you, baby.

She didn't know whether it was the term of endearment or just the fact that he had bothered to leave her a note, but suddenly there were tears in her eyes. It was silly, she knew, but every little gesture seemed so profound tonight.

Clutching the note in one hand, Keira stood in the doorway facing Jak as he sat on the sofa. Her head tilted to the side a fraction and the standing tears in her eyes refused to go away as she spoke. "I love you so much." The words came out as a confession, thick.

Immediately, Jak stood and crossed the room to her.

"Shit, what's wrong? Keira? What's the matter?" He was anxious. He touched her face, brushed her hair out of her eyes.

"Nothing's wrong." She held out the note for him to see.

He glanced at it, confused. "I don't understand…" General realization dawned on him a second later. His tone went from concerned to loving sympathy. "Oh, honey…" Instinctively, he enveloped her in his arms and spoke into her drying hair. "I love you too Keira. I can't even begin to tell you how much. Please don't cry."

He was making it worse.

"I'm sorry. I don't know why I'm acting like this. I've been weird all day. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm sorry," she repeated, still fighting those damnable tears. Her arms looped about his waist possessively.

"You wanna talk about it?" he asked gently.

She thought for a moment. "There's really nothing to talk about. I've just been feeling strange all day." Shouldn't have said that, she reprimanded herself.

"What do you mean? Feeling like what? Sick?" His questions weren't prodding insomuch considering the information she had just given him, but how was she supposed to answer that?

"No, nothing like that. Just… weird. I don't know how to explain it." She pulled back and furiously shook the remaining tears out of her eyes. "Your note just caught me off guard. That's all."

"Hey." His tone was mildly accusatory. He took her chin in one hand and gently forced her to meet his eyes. "I know when something's bothering you. I haven't said anything, but I've noticed these past couple of days. I wish you'd just tell me. You know you can tell me anything, Keira."

This gave her pause. He wouldn't let her look away, so she couldn't lie to him. He'd know. It was true that she could tell him whatever she wanted to and know that he'd listen. But she couldn't guarantee that he wouldn't take it the wrong way. Finally, she settled on the safest reply available to her.

"I know."

"But you're still not going to tell me."

Damn your gorgeous eyes.

She released him with one arm so that she could touch his face. "There's nothing to tell. It's just… oh, I don't know, hormones. If there was a reason, I'd let you know. I promise."

"So it's not me?"

There it was. The million dollar question. Honestly? She wasn't sure. The only times she felt this way were when she and Jak were alone. She didn't want to believe it, but she couldn't rule it out. Pretending she knew was the best way to cope with it.

"How could you even ask that?" she demanded quietly. She didn't have to act hurt; she really was. Just not for the same reason. To put things in perspective and to ease Jak's worries, she told him what she'd figured out so far. "Jak, I love you. I'm in love with you. I can't imagine being without you. There's no one else, and I am so thankful for every day that you're with me. If I had never seen you again, after that horrible rift gate thing…" She had to stop and take a deep breath. It wouldn't help things if she started crying again. "I don't know how else to say it. I love you." By the end of this speech, she'd even convinced herself that Jak wasn't the problem.

He reached out to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "I know you do. I'm sorry. I just want you to know that I'm here for you. If you want to talk it out…"

"You'll be the first to know." She held his palm against her face. "Let's eat, okay? Your fries are getting cold."

"Don't walk away from that guy, he's got a gun…"

Jak was reclined on the sofa, his length laid out along the cushions and his back propped against the arm. Keira lay against him, her back on his chest, one of his arms languidly draped about her waist. She rolled her eyes.

"He can't hear you, Jak. It's a movie."

He ruffled her hair playfully. "I know that, Keira."

She flinched away from his touch, annoyed that he'd mess with her hair when she'd finally gotten it to dry right. She tilted her head back and glared at him upside down.

Without missing a beat, Jak bent forward and planted a kiss on her forehead. "Sorry. Bad habit."

They had eaten quickly (both were hungrier than they had thought) and settled in to watch a movie. Something about a bank heist. Jak had been constantly warning the protagonist against "rookie mistakes" since the damn thing had started. It was beginning to grate on Keira's nerves.

She relaxed against him, confident that he would try not to talk through the rest of the movie. He did better… There were a few instances where she felt obligated to elbow him in the ribs good-naturedly.

The credits rolled, and Keira sat up to reach for the remote. Jak tightened his grip about her waist and pulled her back to him. He was trying to be romantically mischievous. The idea appealed to her, and she grinned to herself as he buried his face in her neck.

She let him kiss his way up to her ear, then pulled away from him quickly before he had time to register her actions. She grinned wickedly at him from the opposite end of the couch, her ruffled hair falling back into her eyes. He took in her expression and returned it, his eyes flashing black for a brief moment.

Keira's breath caught in her throat. She knew there was nothing to worry about… His eyes went black sometimes when he was turned on. He'd tried to explain it to her at one point, but he'd seemed embarrassed and she'd let it go. All she knew was that it had something to do with those dark eco experiments that he'd undergone after the accident. And even though deep down she knew that he was harmless, those eyes still scared her.

He blinked once, and his irises were blue again. She sighed with relief, hoping fervently that he hadn't recognized her fear moments before. He didn't seem to.

Jak made a sudden move, like a half lunge, towards her, still grinning playfully.

"Oh no," she giggled, leaping to her feet and taking a few steps backward. Her eyes never left his. They'd played this game before. As soon as she broke eye contact, he'd come after her. It was predatory, and she loved it.

She backed up until her foot hit the edge of the pile rug behind her. Now she was stuck. If she looked back to gauge her footing, he was going to make a move. If she kept walking, she risked tripping on the rug, and if she fell he was going to be right on top of her. He laughed at her when she gave him a rueful grin. They both knew she'd lost.

Jak stood up and stalked her around the coffee table to where she stood. He took his time, savoring her obvious defeat. As he came to within three feet, her eyes darted to the dark doorway of their bedroom. Before Jak could read this signal, she had made a break for it. He reached for her, but she was too fast. He took off after her, quick on her heels.

It was dark in the bedroom, but some light from the lamp in the living room leaked in. Keira stopped next to the bed, wondering where she had thought she was going. Jak snuck up behind her, and she gasped as in one fluid motion he lifted her off of her feet and lay her back on the bed. She had no time to retaliate. Jak began tickling her ruthlessly.

She squirmed and fought and laughed. She tried to crawl away from his teasing fingers, but he caught her. He pinned both her wrists together above her head with one hand and continued to torment her with the other. "Stop stop stop, oh my god I'm going to kill you Jak seriously I can't breathe please stop…" They were both laughing now, fighting for breath. Still, Jak tickled her. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore. "Okay, I'll be good, I'll be good!"

He stopped. Keeping her hands above her head, he leant in to kiss her lips. "Yeah you will," he whispered, nipping at her ear. Heat pulsed through her as she tried to catch her breath.

He let go of her wrists, signaling that the game was over. Before he could do anything, Keira took his hands in hers and pulled him down onto the bed next to her. Her fingers intertwined with his and she pressed her forehead against his, their eyes on the same level. "About this morning. I'm sorry. I…"

Jak interrupted. "We've been over this honey, you don't ever need to be sorry for that. Ever." He brought her hands to his lips and kissed them. She gave his hands a squeeze in appreciation.

"I know, but I am." She let go off his hands and put hers on his chest, slowly trailing fire down his torso. "Really sorry." She gave him her sexiest smile when her fingers found his belt buckle. "Let me make it up to you?"

Jak's eyes flashed to black again.

At three in the morning, Keira woke up suddenly. She checked the clock on the nightstand. Both of Jak's shirts lay haphazardly on the floor. Jak himself lay on his side, rolled away from her in sleep. She sat up groggily, letting the comforter fall away from her body. She gazed around the room, wondering what had woken her. Jak stirred from her movement, and Keira's eyes settled on his naked back. She smiled to herself, remembering how Jak had thought it amusing to take his shirt off of her for a change.

Then Jak screamed. Keira jumped, her hand flying to her mouth to stifle a yelp of fright. He began to twitch in his sleep, his eyes clenched tight and his teeth bared in a heart-wrenching grimace. He spoke, but the words were low and unintelligible. She caught "No, enough," and "Leave me." She couldn't do anything but sit and stare in horror at this development.

Jak was still for a second, his body unmoving. Keira was just beginning to think that it was over when he flipped onto his back and shrieked "Get out!" He flung the comforter completely off of himself in his thrashing.

Quickly, Keira acted.

She reached out for him, terrified that he'd hurt himself. She touched his chest, tried to shake him. "Jak! Jak! Wake up, love, it's just a dream." He kept twitching. She shook his shoulders harder. "Jak!" Her voice was high with fear. This time his eyes flew open. They darted about the room, then came to rest on Keira. Her eyes were panic-stricken and she was breathing fast. He put his arms around her bare waist and let his head rest on her shoulder without explanation. Instinctively, she held him tight, one hand on the back of his head, fingers combing through his hair softly. He was trembling.

Oh my god, what was he dreaming about? He never does this. He's not scared of anything…

"Hey, it's okay, baby, it was just a nightmare. Everything's okay," she soothed gently.

"I'm so sorry, Keir. I thought I was done with those…" He spoke into the flesh just below her shoulder.

"Shh, it's okay."

"I scared you."

"No you didn't."

"I know I did. I'm sorry. I haven't had that nightmare for a year now. I don't know why…" he trailed off as another tremor ran through his body.

"Jesus, baby." She held him even tighter. "What's wrong? What nightmare? You're so cold…" She reached behind her with one hand to grab the discarded comforter. She wrapped it around both their naked bodies and held him again, sharing her warmth.

"Always in that damn chair. And then the needles… god. They never stop, it's relentless. It hurts, so much…"

It hit her before he had finished the thought. Tears of anger clouded her vision. How dare anyone hurt him like that? She never asked him about the experiments, because part of her didn't really want to know. And she never wanted to remind him of something that gave him such horrible nightmares. She still couldn't fathom that someone had done this to Jak. Her Jak. She wanted to find them and hurt them back.

She kissed his neck. "Who hurt you, sweetheart? Do you remember?"

"They're dead. Both of them."


"Okay." He was still shaking, though not as much. Keira didn't realize she was crying for him until a tear fell onto his back and he looked up at her.

He touched her face tenderly. "Are you okay? I didn't mean to scare you."

"No, honey, I'm fine. I'm just so pissed that they did this to you… Oh, god I'm so sorry Jak. I never realized how awful that must have been. It shouldn't have happened to you. I'm sorry, baby, I'm so sorry." She rocked a little with him, using every technique she knew to make him feel better. "I wish I could take your pain away," she whispered.

He made her stop rocking and kissed her. "You do," he replied softly.

Later, when Jak had gone back to sleep, his arms still around Keira, she watched his even breathing. She was snuggled up against his chest, one hand stroking his hair absentmindedly. Since Jak had opened up to her about the nightmare, she'd had a lot on her mind. Not only about his wounds and how she wanted so bad to fix them, but the irrational mood she had been in earlier was weighing down on her too. How could she have ever wanted to push him away? If anything, she wanted him closer. But there had to have been a reason for it, didn't there? Dammit, why can't I figure this out? Something changed between then and now, I've just got to think back. It's got nothing to do with him, I know that. So then it's…me? But what? I'm still me, I haven't been doing anything different. I'm not on my period. So what, then? This is so frustrating.

Her last thought before she drifted off was, Damn, my eye hurts.

A/N: Yeah, review this shit. Is basically what I say in this spot down here.