A/N Oneshotitus has struck again. This is the first fic completed on my new laptop. :D Hoorah! I know it's a bit strange...but I do love writing darker Cassian pieces and needed some quality Cassandra time. Inspired by the song 'Missing' by Evanescence. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

-x-

Please, please forgive me. but I won't be home again.

Maybe someday you'll wake up, and barely conscious you'll say to no one,

"Isn't something missing?"

Naked, face down, skin bruised and broken, I lay quietly. It's cold in this room and my entire body shivers in the icy air. My face is pressed into sheets that were once white but are now beyond description. My wrists are circled by rope burns, my neck covered in bruises. I am a cocoon of cold pain, aching, bleeding and struggling for breath.

I smile.

It's okay, being here like this. It's okay that I won't be alone for very long. It's okay that I have allowed myself to be used in this way, degraded myself beyond anything I have ever experienced before, even during my lifetime. It's okay. By doing this, I hope I can make life easier for you, give you a reason to smile, or at least, a reason to not cower and flinch. By doing this, I can stop that vile creature from ever laying his hands on you and taking away the only part of you that is still pure. By doing this, I can save you.

And I will save you, Jizabel. Whether you realise it or not.

I wonder, have you even noticed that I'm not there? It's been five days since I left your side but I have heard nothing to suggest this bothering you in the slightest. Perhaps you've found someone else to collect your samples and hide the bodies. Perhaps you're enjoying working on your own, I remember you saying when we first met that you didn't require help. Or perhaps, and this is what I think is the most likely possibility, perhaps you haven't even noticed that I've been gone. After all, you don't really need me, or want me, do you? Even when you're lying crumpled on the floor, blood running down your back and pain in your eyes, you pretend you don't want me. You shut your eyes and pretend I'm not there. Well, you may find someone else to help you, but I can tell you something – you'll never find anyone else to clean your wounds. Not here. Not in a place like this. A place where morality and kindness have been forgotten, where someone as hideous, vile and monstrous as him can be titled something as grandiose as 'High Priest'.

It happened after the celebration, the one to honour your new position as one of the Major Arcana. Neither you nor I attended. You, because you were shaken badly enough by Cassandra's words to break everything in your room. I, because I was sitting outside of that room making sure you didn't hurt yourself. I would have stayed until you emerged but it was then that he approached me. Strolling down the corridor with his usual self-satisfied swagger, Cassandra was obviously heading for your room. The purpose behind his visit was so obvious it make me sick to think of it; you were suffering already because of this man, and he wanted to hurt you more. I stood up to confront him, asked him what he was doing...

"Why so suspicious?" he asked, smirking. "I'm simply here to see why the doctor did not attend his own party, and to offer my...assistance...should he require it."

"He doesn't want to see you," I said shortly, clenching my fists and doing my best to look like a guard on duty, rather than an unwanted lurker.

"Oh? And how would you know that? Everyone needs comfort sometimes, even Jizabel."

"Don't say his name," I hissed and was surprised when Cassandra leant down and grabbed my chin with one hand, the other coming up to stop me from grabbing a knife.

"Hm, why are you so worked up about this, little trump card?" I could smell the alcohol on his breath. "You are his subordinate, yes? An assistant. Nothing more. You do realise this?"

"Yes," I breathed.

"Or...oh, I see now. You might be nothing more to him, but he's something more to you, am I right?"

I looked away from him, and knew heat was rising in my cheeks. Whether it was from anger or shame or some curious mix of both I did not know, but Cassandra evidently took it for shame and laughed in my face.

"What a ridiculous sentiment. Jizabel would not want a little runt like you. He needs someone who can cater to his needs, a grown man, do you see?"

"No," I murmured, glaring at him. "You can't. I won't allow you to go through this door."

"You would do the same in my position, wouldn't you? Have some sympathy."

"No!" I said, more loudly this time.

"And what can you do to stop me?" he asked, raising an eyebrow, grip in my chin tightening. "Kill me? Do you honestly think you're capable? And as soon as people find out, they'll kill you. Don't you see? Your high ideals mean nothing. You can't protect him and you can't win. Unless...there was something you could offer me in exchange?"

My eyes widened, mind suddenly full of whispering voices, fragments of rumours all clamouring to be heard. Faced with Cassandra now, I knew them all to be true. He was watching me in the way I had never been watched before, a look that was hungry and shameless. Cassandra may have been interested in you, but he had always had a predilection towards young boys and in his eyes, I fit the requirements perfectly. A child's body with an adult's mind...a combination that may have exceeded his expectations. I would be what he wanted physically, but be able to understand what he was doing and why he was doing it, in the way he wanted you to suffer. The idea was sickening. Terrifying. Wrong. And yet...I could picture you in Cassandra's clutches, that awful mask of indifference hiding your emotions as he slowly broke you down, in the one way your father never had. What would be left of you after that? How could I live with that on my conscience?

"Yes," I whispered, eyes lowered in defeat. "There is something I can offer."

I went that night, to the manor house he inhabits just outside of London. I didn't wait to see you emerge and so never told you I was leaving. The reason I have sacrificed myself to this monster was to save you, and you have no idea. As I said before, you most likely haven't realised I'm gone. I suppose people would find it strange, that I am fine with this arrangement, that I am okay with suffering for someone who doesn't appreciate what I am doing...it all comes down to one simple fact.

I love you, you see. Insane, isn't it? You are never kind to me. If you knew I was here, I doubt you'd come to save me. If I tried to explain this situation to you, you'd laugh. But that's okay too, after all, you're just a child compared to me. As long as you're safe from him, I'm satisfied. My small heart is all yours and I'll gladly give my body to preserve the remnants of your dignity.

There is a click as the door to my luxurious prison is unlocked and all my thoughts are rendered meaningless. When I'm alone, I can convince myself that I have no problem with you not caring about me, that this situation is what I asked for and so causes me no pain. When Cassandra is here with me, I realise all of those thoughts are stupid, conceited, childish.

When you are suffering, you think no one cares but you're wrong; I care, and I am always watching you. Now I am suffering and I know no one cares. No one in this world cares about me. Cassandra values me as a toy, you value me as a tool...but you don't care. Not like I do.

As I hear his heavy footsteps on the carpet and the door being locked behind him, I realise that I am crying. I'm going to be hurt again. I'm going to be violated again. I'm going to cry, and scream, and bleed again. No one gives a damn, not in the whole fucking world. Why am I so unimportant? After all I've done for you, why don't you care? If I knew you loved me in return, I would willingly give my life in this room. But you don't. So why am I here at all?

"I have news you might be interested in."

Cassandra's voice breaks through my thoughts, sliding its way under my anger and lacing it with fear. I lie perfectly still, too sore and tired to move.

"News about Jizabel."

I remain silent, but my chest suddenly feels tight. Have you asked about my whereabouts? Have you noticed I've gone?

"The Hermit found him on the floor of his study, where he had collapsed from blood loss. Apparently, he thought it was a good idea to slice himself up with the same scalpel he uses on those hideous corpses of his. Why do you think he would do that?"

I bite my lip so hard it bleeds. I will not answer him, will not give him the satisfaction of knowing he's upsetting me. I am not surprised by his words, it's something you do often. Normally I am there to stop you passing out and to clean your wounds before someone notices. Perhaps you had lain there, vision going dark, waiting for me to come, assuming I would be there as I always am.

Forgive me. Please forgive me.

Cassandra has removed his clothes and is nearing me again, conversation abandoned. My wrists are secured to the headboard again, and soon the terrible dance begins. Time passes slowly and nothing is left but pain. My breathing is shallow and shaky, and I hear myself cry out several times as though from the next room. My vision begins to blur and my ears begin to ring. I wonder, would this be enough to kill me? Would you realise I was missing then? Would it even matter if I died here? Would it change anything?

I try and push the pain deep inside myself, forcing myself to remember my dream the night before. It had been peaceful. You had lain down with me and simply allowed me to hold you. You didn't speak but I knew we had reached an understanding, that you had thanked me for saving you from Cassandra, that somehow things were going to be okay. This dream doesn't matter, either. No matter how often I fall asleep to be with you, you won't be there when I awake.

There is a sharp rap on the door and Cassandra is instantly off of me, dressing and hurrying to slip out before the servant can get a good look inside the room. The door slams shut and I am left alone, still shaking and hurting. I don't bother moving. He'll be back.

"Jizabel! What a surprise!"

Cassandra's voice, outside the manor. My eyes widen and I find strength I didn't think myself capable of possessing. I start pulling at the ropes around my wrists and listen to the conversation outside, all my abused muscles screaming in protest.

"I did send you a letter to tell you I was coming."

The rope cuts into me properly, drawing blood. Still I pull.

"Ah well, I've been rather busy lately. How are you doing?"

My breath is ragged with pain.

"Fine."

"Not busy?"

"Not at all."

"You're not understaffed then?"

I finally pull one arm free from the ropes, hand and wrist now covered in blood. I quickly untie the other rope and stand up, only to fall instantly to the floor with a thud. My legs won't hold.

"Why do you ask?" Your voice is quiet, hesitant. Could it be...

I struggle my way over to the window and lean on the sill, looking out to the road below. You're standing beside the carriage, a pile of paperwork in your arms. You look tired and pale. Ill. I raise a hand and knock on the glass frantically. You both turn in my direction but Cassandra is quick and instantly turns you away.

"No reason," he says and begins walking towards the main entrance. "Let's get inside, shall we? It's cold."

And then you're gone. I sag to the floor and sigh in defeat. Knowing you're so close yet unreachable...it's torture.

I hear your voices echoing from the floor below and close my eyes. Please forgive me, Jizabel. I'll be back soon, whether you realised I was gone or not. You'll be safe and everything will be as right as it can possibly be. I should be satisfied, after all, this situation was of my own making. And yet... I still have no answers. Answers to questions that repeat themselves over and over in my head.

Do you need me? Are you okay on your own? And... do you miss me?

I close my eyes and cry. The answer to all three questions are probably no. But that's okay...everything is okay. Yes...

"Isn't something missing?"

Isn't someone missing me?

-x-

A/N Please review darlings, even if you hated it.