A/N One-shot, Torn x Ashelin. Advanced critique is most certainly welcome, though I would like to stress that this my first one-shot. Please treat it kindly.

Thank you 3

Loud music and laughter echoed throughout the streets of Haven. Passersby would glance over; some with curiosity, some with annoyance. A bar, with a large, glowing, twelve-foot ottsel on the roof was the source of the racket. The party had begun already late in the evening and was still going strong into the wee hours of the morning.

They were all celebrating a victory. Beers, food, laughs and smiles were being shared.

All were celebrating, except one.

A man with tattoos masking his rough, handsome face, sat at the second to last seat at the bar, with a shot of hard liquor in his hand, looking rather solemn. His back hunched slightly and his head tilted to the right only just. He sniffed dryly and held out his tiny shot glass toward the female ottsel barmaid. Without a word from either of them, she poured another shot of liquor in his glass. He downed it as quickly as he received it only to hold his glass out again and silently demand for more.

The female ottsel hesitated this time and he took notice. He raised his eyes to meet her worried gaze.

"Torn, honey, what's the matter?" She asked. He blinked once, but said nothing, and shook his head. She gave him a disbelieving look. "C'mon, hon," she tried. "No one drinks like that all by themselves when they're perfectly dandy." Her motherly tone triggered a tiny smirk on his lips and he scoffed a chuckle.

"I'm fine, Tess." He replied in a voice raspier than usual. She was definitely not convinced. She hopped over to him and sat on his fore arm that was resting on the table. He looked a bit taken back but did not move.

"Torn, Sweetie, you know you can talk to me right? If somethin's botherin' you, you should voice it. And no worries, Auntie Tess won't say a word to anyone." Torn smiled slightly and awkwardly patted her on the head. He was at least 7 years older than her, if not, more. He opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by a loud, drunken slur behind him.

"Eh was HOT, maaaaan!"


"I s-swear! They wa-wer havinnuh tongue war ur summan. Mar, it was allmoss like a PORN iffya ass me." Tess rose an eyebrow.

"What's he talkin' about?"

Torn's eyes darted to the edge of the table and his mouth set in a harder line than usual.

"Ashelin, the super mega hottie, lockin' lips with my Jakky boy here." Daxter said as if he had heard Tess.

"Thass uh LUCK-hic-LUCKY GUY."

Tess lifted her head in understanding.


She turned towards Torn to see that he was facing the other way. Her eyes became sympathetic and she put a paw on his thumb.

"I see now," she said. He turned his head, trying to look oblivious.

"See what?" she gave him a sardonic look.

"Honey, there is no girl on this planet, Ottsel or not, that can't detect romantic feelings in a man whether it be directed at her or not."

"I don't know what you're talkin' about." He replied, pouring himself another shot of liquor.

"Oh, come on, Torn, don't play dumb. It's as obvious as blue eco that you've got feelings for Ashelin."

He puffed out some air, but said nothing and turned his gaze in the other direction. The direction that just so happened to be where Ashelin sat next to Keira who sat next to Jak.

He didn't want to admit it out loud, but Tess was right. He did have feelings for Ashelin. Hell, maybe it was even love. He didn't know. All he knew was that every time she was near, he'd get this overwhelming feeling of warmth and joy in his entire body, but when he saw Jak and Ashelin together, his chest and stomach twisted painfully.

After hearing about the kiss the first time, his first impulse was to rip Jak's insides out and tie them around his neck. Then after a few hours and many shots of hard liquor, he decided that it might not be a good idea to do so.

"You know," Tess started after a while. "If it makes you feel any better, I heard from Ashelin that it was nothing."

Torn turned his head to face her.


"I mean, she said it was, like, one of those, 'Spur of the moment,' type of things. Like, it didn't really matter to either of them. (Trust me, Daxter is over exaggerating. He's punch drunk.) I mean, Jak had pretty much just saved everyone's lives and it was more of a, 'Congrats and thanks' kiss. Nothing more."

A miniscule sparkle of relief grazed over Torn's face, but he immediately replaced it with indifference.

"Whatever Ashelin's feelings are towards Jak are her business. It's none of my concern." He reached for the liquor bottle yet again but Tess snatched it away before he could grab it.

"No more for you, mister." She said. "You'll end up with a hangover worse than Daxter's if you keep shootin' that stuff."

He said nothing but grunted. Her eyes shifted past him a little.

"And besides," she continued with a tiny smirk. "You wouldn't want your lovely Ashelin to see you drinking like a sailor, now would you?"

He cocked an eyebrow at her, but she said nothing and glanced past him once again.

She quickly filled a tall glass with water and pushed it his way.

"This is to prevent your morning head-ache. Drink up, hon." She winked and left the bar.

He was about to sip the water she left for him when he felt a sudden hand on his shoulder.


"Hey there, soldier." She greeted kindly. She sat in the chair next to him and tried to examine his face.

"Hey…" He replied, not meeting her gaze.

"Why're you here all by yourself, and why do you look so serious? This is a party, you should be having fun." She lightly nudged his shoulder with her own.

"It aint my style, Ashe." He replied before sipping his water. She rolled her eyes and pulled at his elbow.

"C'mon, Torn, loosen up a bit and dance with me. Jak just saved our lives, after all. You should at least pretend you're having fun to show him thanks."

Torn scoffed lightly.

"Yeah, bet you had fun showin' him your thanks…" He mumbled inaudibly.

"What was that?" she asked.

"Ashe, I don't dance. Especially not in front of other people." She sighed, still holding on to his elbow.

"Fine." She said. "Then will you at least come with me outside? It's getting stuffy in here anyway."

This took him by surprise and it showed on his face.

"Uh…sure." He replied.

Ashelin smiled and led him out the back with by the elbow.

"Yeah, TORN!" Daxter yelled. "Gonna get you some hot ASS-lin just like Jakky, aintcha?"

Torn scowled. "Go to bed and wake up with a back-splitting migraine, you obnoxious rat." He retorted.

Daxter laughed as they both exited the bar.


It was slightly chilly night and the two had walked a few blocks to get away from the noise.

The walk was slient, but comfortable. During the walk, Ashelin had started shivering, so Torn gave her his jacket. They had found their way to bench in a park and sat there in silence. A few moments passed and Ashelin decided to break it.

"Is something bothering you, Torn?" She asked, turning her head towards him. He was surprised at her sudden forwardness. Though he reminded himself that this was Ashelin he was about to converse with.

"No," he replied. "I'm fine." She turned her body towards him. "Torn, I'm not an idiot. I've known you for years. I can tell when something's bothering you." He raised his eyebrows slightly.

"I'm not lyin' Ashe. I told you, nothing's wrong." Her look became stern, but she let up and rested her back to the back of the bench. Minutes passed, then she spoke up again.

"It's because I kissed Jak, isn't it?"

His eyes widened considerably and he turned to look at her again.


"Does it bother you," she met his gaze with an unusually serious look, "that I kissed him?"

"Ashe, I-," he started.

"Don't lie to me, Torn." Her tone was stern and she looked him straight in the eye.

"Does it bother you that I kissed Jak?" It sounded more like a statement rather than a question from her serious tone.

He looked at her, bewildered. She wasn't going to let up.

He finally gave in and looked away from her.

"Yes." He replied almost in a whisper. "It bothers me a hell of a lot."

Her eyes softened. "Why?" she asked.

Torn's ears perked up for this one. Was she seriously asking him this? His blood started to heat up a bit.

"Why? Seriously, Ashelin? You're asking me why?"

She said nothing but continued staring at him, waiting for an answer. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He could feel that migraine coming that Tess warned him about.

He was silent for a few moments debating on whether or not he should tell her. He could see that she wasn't going to take silence for an answer. It was now or never. He resolved to give her his heart on a silver platter and have her do what she wants with it.

"It bothers me, Ashe, because I… I have feelings for you. Really really strong feelings for you." Her eyes widened and he turned away from her.

"You're… Mar, dammit, I don't even know what to say. After all of the not-so-subtle flirting, I thought we had something. Then you go and make out with Jak and once he and Keira become an item you come back to me."

"Torn, I-," she started.

"I don't wanna be your fallback, Ashelin. I want to be your first choice. Your number one man. Your-"

He was cut off by her lips. He froze, wide-eyed, shocked at the warmth and subtle taste of apples. A warm feeling spread throughout his body and he suddenly forgot what he was saying. Despite his lack of response, she deepened it by moving her lips on his and pressing her hands on the back of his neck to deepen it even further. His eyes fluttered shut and before he knew it, he was returning her kiss with the same rough passion. However, the kiss ended shortly after. She was still inches away from his face. He could feel her breath on his neck.

"Torn," she almost whispered. "You ARE my first choice. My number one man." She held his face in her hands and lightly stroked his cheekbone with the pad of her thumb. "I chose you a long time ago. I thought all that flirting would get you to move but you're as solid as a rock… but that doesn't mean I gave up on you. I have no romantic feelings for Jak whatsoever. That 'kiss' I gave him was not even worthy to be called a peck." She brushed her lips so lightly against his chin, he could barely feel it. It was so impersonal, he felt like it was just a small gust of wind.

"That was it?" He implored. She nodded.

"That was it. The way I see it is," She kissed his lips briefly, "Jak is a handsome young boy." She kissed him again with a bit more pressure. "But you are a sexy, irresistable man." She ran her hand from the nape of his neck to the top of his abdominals.

For the first time, in what felt like years, he smiled.


Ashelin raised an eyebrow.

"Wow, I haven't seen that in a while." She inched closer to him so their noses were touching.

"Don't get too used to it, babe." He replied.

With that, he grabbed her by the waist and pulled her into his lap and kissed her passionately.


A/N: Horrible ending sentence, I know. I've never been good with conclusions. Well I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed writing it. Reviews are welcome as always, but I'm not going to beg.

Remember, advanced critique is smiled upon, but don't be too harsh this time around.

Thank you for reading