So…I think the first thing I need to do is apologize for my hiatus. I didn't intentionally do this at all, time just sort of escaped me and then I got another nasty case of writers block. Then my friend finished his book so I've been busy helping him get that all ready to be released this summer…so really I haven't had much time with college and my social life to sit down and write a chapter. I'm going to make a promise to NOT go on another hiatus that is this long, though I can't promise that regular weekly updates can take place since I have a few other stories that I need to work on/ wrap up and I don't get out of school till mid-May. I hope my delay hasn't caused any of our readers to leave the story. I am sorry that you guys had to wait—I know I hate waiting for a story to be updated.

Disclaimer: I do not own Lorien Legacies, its characters or its plot. That belongs to Pittacus Lore. I only own my own plot.

John

The drive back to Paradise was tense. He and Six hadn't spoken one word to each other since they had quickly assessed the truck back in the clearing and reoriented it back onto the narrow mountain road. Sam's light body lay draped over his legs in the passenger seat, and he cradled his limp and broken body into his own strong chest, trying to keep Sam awake. Although Six was driving way above the speed limit on twisting roads and highways, he still caught her searing gaze sweeping over Sam's body, making sure he was still alive; still breathing through his injuries. The blood had long stopped flowing out of him, and while at first he had tried to wipe off the dried mess caking his skin, the new blood that flowed out to take its place had quickly put a stop to that.

During the course of their drive, they hadn't stopped unless absolutely necessary, and only then in secure locations; a deserted 24/7 gas station, an empty grocery store, a quiet public rest stop. They had only stayed for a few minutes, during which time they would take turns watching Sam while they did their business and ate. They had learned after the first day that Sam's body couldn't handle solid food, however, that had been only after he had painfully regurgitated the small amount that had been painfully swallowed. Now he was only drinking fluids—and most of the water poured into his mouth dribbled out and onto him instead.

As pale and broken as Sam looked back in the deserted clearing, he now looked twice as worse, and he knew that if Sam was not back in Paradise where Sarah and Mark could help him receive proper care, Sam would only last another day. And though he hadn't spoken this aloud, Six seemed to know that as well. Her driving was becoming more reckless as they approached Ohio, and he was just happy that they had changed their appearance before while they were in Canada so that any police officer that might pull them over would not immediately report them to the FBI.

His heart pounded in his chest as they got closer and closer. The thought of Sam not making it made his heart beat irregularly and a lump form in the back of his throat. However, the thought of seeing Sarah also had him nervous, and he found that he was having trouble staying still for long periods of time as they drew nearer to her. The thought of holding her in his arms and being reassured that she was safe and secure seemed like the best thing in the world. But after that thought he would feel guilt. Sam was not ok. Six could not glean comfort by holding Sam.

….

It was a rainy Tuesday when the dingy sign appeared along the side of the highway. In big letters that seemed like the most comforting phrase in the world, he observed "Welcome to Paradise, Ohio" out of the passenger window, and his heart leapt in his throat. Six was already slowing down, and digging around in the small center console in front of them.

"You have to call Sarah and set up a rendezvous point somewhere secure. I'm pretty sure the US Government hasn't forgotten about Paradise, Ohio John, and I don't really need to worry about you getting arrested by federal officers while Sam's blood dries on your shirt and the upholstery."

Her words were callously spoken and her eyes never left the front windshield as she started into town, but he knew she was right and when the disposable cell phone was thrust into his hand he hardly stared at it before he punched in her phone number. It rang twice.

"Hello?"

Her voice was soft and breathy. She sounded like she was in the midst of doing a monotonous activity; one that she found extremely boring.

"Sarah?" His voice sounded raw and choppy to his ears, but he heard the sharp intake of breath when she heard his voice, and then the scrape of her chair against the wooden floorboards. In the background she heard a male voice asking who it was on the phone, but she did not respond to him.

"John? Is that…is it really you?"

The television in the background flicked off, and heavy footprints on the hardwood floor could be heard coming near Sarah. "Yes Sarah. It's me. It's really me. God I've missed you." The tears pricking at his eyes made him blush, but he heard Six clearing her throat, a sign that he needed to quickly get Sarah to meet them somewhere safe so that they could help Sam.

He could hear her smile as she said, "Where are you? We got Sam's letters…Mark and I. You can't imagine how much I've missed you John. It's been so hard without you."

He nodded. "I've missed you so much too, babe. Listen…I'm near the park. Six and Sam and I."

She gasped again, and there was a murmur of voices in the background, followed by an excited swear. "Our park? You're back in Paradise?"

He nodded but then realized she couldn't see him. "Sarah listen. I need your help. Sam got hurt very badly and we need a safe place where we can hide out and get him some help. You and Mark are the only two people in this town that I trust. I need you."

Sarah gasped. "Hurt? How badly? Is he ok?"

"I…I'll tell you later. We need to get out of the open though. I'm sure there are federal agents and Mogadorians here. Six and I are taking a huge risk being here."

There was more murmuring and then a male voice was on the phone. "John. It's Mark. Tell Six to take the car and drive down Bridgeport Street. It'll take you all the way out of town, past the abandoned church. There's an empty barn house along a side road called Algonquin. The doors are always locked, but I'm sure you can take care of that easily. The doors are hidden from the road by shrubs, and the back is tucked away against a thick tree line and a cliff. You can park inside. It's far enough away from everything that anyone looking for you won't even think about it, and nobody lives that way anyway, so nobody really ever goes past it. Sarah and I will be there in ten minutes."

He nodded and repeated the information for Six, who was already turning onto Bridgeport. "Ok. We're headed there."

"Let me talk to Sam."

Mark sounded desperate and excited. He wondered if all those years of torture hadn't been a sign of infatuation. "He can't talk. He's hurt."

"How bad?"

"Bad."

Mark was scribbling something down on a piece of paper, and then telling Sarah to run upstairs and get the stuff on the list.

"Is he going to be ok?"

They turned onto Algonquin, which turned out to be a dirt road that looked abandoned. Green crab grass and shrubs were encroaching onto the road, and the trees lining the sides hung over it, creating a natural canopy that blocked the sun from reaching the ground.

"I hope so."

Mark

They were back. He couldn't really believe it, and when he had first heard Sarah say his name, his heart had literally skipped a few beats. At first he had thought that he was dreaming, that he had fallen asleep during the game and that any second now he would jolt awake to find Sarah still dusting in the dining room and the Broncos still losing. That he would still be perpetually waiting for something that could lead him to where John and Six and Sam were.

However, when her face had suddenly gone from surprised to rapturously happy, he knew deep down that this was no dream. On one hand, he felt a large sense of despair. His days of playing house with Sarah were over. He could no longer pretend that John had never existed; that he and Sarah were still a couple. He would have to watch Sarah race into the arms of her beloved once more. He knew that she would never turn back to give him more than a second glance, and she would never think about the possibilities that they could have. And why would she? He was an alien, with amazing powers. He was just a jerk that ruined her high school career.

At the same time he had felt a jolt of elation. This was his chance. He could get out of this town and join a real adventure. Fight for a cause bigger than this provincial town or anything his father had hoped for him. He could see the world, fight actual aliens. Become a hero. He could finally prove to himself that he wasn't just some asshole that picked on those happier than he and that he could actually do something meaningful, not just for himself but for others. He wouldn't have to pretend like nothing had happened, or do his math homework and play football and laugh at stupid jokes that he didn't really find funny.

And he would get to see his friend again; because really, that was exactly what Sam had become to him in the short time that he had been away. Of course, there was still the giant elephant in the room. He had made Sam's life hell ever since he could remember. He had never ever been nice to him…not before John had arrived. But he was hoping that along the way on this adventure, they could mend their relationship and move on. Sam was a one of a kind person. He had never pretended to be something that he wasn't and it looked as if he never judged someone for their faults or past transgressions. He had never had a friend like that. All of his buddies would have abandoned him if he acted the way he wanted to. He had never actually had a real friend in that way. And he wanted one. Sam could potentially be that friend. He was tired of feeling like he had to pretend, like he had to act a part when he was around others. He coveted a relationship like the one Sam and John had.

He didn't know that his heart could flutter like it did. Or that he could care about another person besides Sarah. However, when he heard that Sam was badly hurt, his mind went into overdrive and his heartbeat started to increase. Tearing a piece of paper out of a stray notebook on the dining room table, he scribbled quickly the medical supplies that they would need to try to help Sam, while simultaneously giving directions to the safest place that he could think of for them to stay. It wasn't the most secure place in Paradise, but it would have to do for now. They would worry about food and water and clothes and heat later. The car ride had been awkward. Neither he nor Sarah had been able to find the words to talk to each other about what was going to happen. They were both too anxious and excited to make small talk—even if they could.

Now they were nearing the barn, the plastic bag holding all the medical supplies he could think of shifting between Sarah's knees. Music was blasting through the speakers, but he wasn't paying attention, his thoughts solely on the fact that he was so close to John and Sam and Six. So close to being a part of something once more.

Six

The hay in the barn was musty, and she could hear the mice scurrying around the barn, nibbling on old rope, empty burlap sacks, and scattered, rotting seeds. Usually, she would have grimaced at the conditions, scrunched herself into a ball in the far corner, and quickly went to sleep. That was before she had met John though. Way before she had met Sam.

Sam. He was laying on a pile of hay in one of the stables meant originally for horses, his face pale and a thin line of blood escaping his mouth. He had started coughing up blood almost as soon as he had been moved when they had reached the barn, and the longer it took for the two humans to arrive, the more she fell into despair. If he died, Lorien only knew what she would do. She had heard stories from her Cepan about what happened when their soul mate died. Most of them lost the will to live. Many didn't last more than a few months; assuming that they didn't commit suicide before then. According to Katarina, when a Lorien falls in love, a powerful connection is weaved between the two mates, one that connects their very soul and heart. When one of the two die, the connection is severed, and the heart and soul, accustomed to the warmth and deep connection that had existed for so long begins to fade and brake down. The result: the death of the remaining love.

As much as she wasn't afraid of death, she was afraid, deep down, of a life without Sam. Her will to fight this war had been changed when she had met him. From the time of the devastating massacre of her people, her only objective was revenge for her people. But, after spending time with Sam, knowing Sam, loving Sam, it had changed to the desire to keep Sam safe. If they failed, Earth and the Human race was doomed. And that would mean the enslavement or death of every single human being.

The sudden movement of the barn doors being thrown open has her up in seconds, the Mogadorian weapon she stole years ago cocked and aimed, her finger grazing the trigger. If it was an enemy, they would be dead seconds after she saw them. If they were the two humans….well then she would lower the gun. Never mind an apology to them. She was involved in a war. They would have to realize certain precautions needed to be taken.

"Sarah!"

She whipped her head to the right to see John race toward Sarah from the horse stable, who was beaming, her eyes glassy with her unshed tears. They were in each other's arms seconds later, and they were laughing and happy and kissing each other. Big wet kisses with damp cheeks and rosy faces. The other human was carrying a plastic bag, but the look of jealousy and sadness in his eyes told her that he was not over the girl. His eyes met hers, and he hefted the bag up for her to see.

"Where is Sam? I've brought supplies. If we hurry, maybe we can stop him from dying"

That sobered the loving couple. They pulled apart, and John motioned for Mark to follow him, his grip still tight around the girls. She looked at her as she passed, then stopped and placed her hand on Johns arm. The boy was already in the stall, swearing and dropping the plastic bag, pulling up his leaves. The girl whispered to John, then kissed his cheek and pushed him into the stall, before turning and walking over to her. She sat down, and after several awkward seconds of silence, she sat down too. The girl placed her hand on top of hers.

She let it stay.

It wasn't that she didn't want to go back and be with Sam as they worked on him. It was that she couldn't bring herself to watch them try. Because she knew if she went back there, she would grow frustrated with their attempts. She would feel as if they were moving too slowly, and she would commander the situation, which would only cause Sam to suffer more.

So she waited.

Tada? I know that its short, but this really is all that needed to be written for this chapter. The next one should be a lot longer, and juicier. I hope that it makes you anxious though to find out if Sam can recover. Please Read and Review for me, it makes my life to read what you have to say about my story, and I do take your ideas and comments into account.

Thanks for reading! Till next time!