A/N: This story is dedicated to my friend Isa, who I am a terrible friend to and keep forgetting to message back. And then I decided I'm going to write her a story instead. You're probably wondering why I couldn't just do both. Shhh just read.

Fifty-six days.

It had been fifty-six days since Teacher had told them about the rouge witch causing trouble downtown.

It was a routine errand, nothing too big. Cassidy was stationed downtown, camping out near where the witch lived, instructed to report back with any information. Teresa hadn't liked it, she never approved when the plan was to split the group up, especially for more than a few hours, but she hadn't said much in argument. It wasn't her call.

For two days everything had gone normally. Cassidy had checked in almost every other hour, reporting mildly suspicious activity a fraction of the time, but the majority of his phone calls were complaints of boredom. Teresa had felt a bit vindicated that he was having such a rotten time, but then the calls stopped.

At eleven o'clock on a Thursday night he didn't call back like he was supposed to. At first it wasn't much of a concern, perhaps he forgot, perhaps he had gotten caught up in something. Teresa's nerves were wound tight, but as eleven shifted into twelve, her Clave siblings assured her that he was fine. It was Cassidy after all.

She didn't sleep that night.

At dawn's first light the next day she called him, her lips swollen with her own worry marks as she dialed the numbers. The others continued their same assurances, but the conviction in their words did nothing for the anxiety in their eyes that hadn't been there last night.

We're sorry, the number you have dialed is not in service, please try-

Teresa snapped the phone shut quickly as if it had bitten her. She didn't look at the others as she dialed again, training her eyes on the tiled kitchen floor, following the hectic pattern as her mind raced.

"What's wrong?"

"What happened?"

"What's going on?"

"Where's Cassidy?"

She waved a dismissive hand at the instant volley of questions, all of their false optimism dropping in an instant. "I dialed the wrong number." Of course she did, it was the only explanation.

We're sorry-

Her heartbeat was speeding up as she ended the call once again.

"What's Cassidy's number?"

Three more calls with the same result had her rushing for her gear, the rest of her team right behind her, grabbing weapons as quickly as they could before dashing for the door.

The rest of the day fell into the blur that became the next eight weeks. They were at the site in a half an hour. There was no sign of Cassidy anywhere. All discretion forgotten they pounced on the witch, who turned out to be even more harmless than he was rude, and still found nothing.

When Deamon returned, he too could find nothing of their missing brother.

Cassidy O'Rourke had disappeared into thin air.

At the start of week six in her new position of leader of her clave, Teresa was making a sandwich.

Sometimes it felt weird, to continue on with such mundane activities when Cassidy was missing, when he might be injured or in trouble, or…

She cut the bread with a little bit more force than necessary.

They had looked all that they could, and still were. Questioning every hunter or night thing that came their way. Her family has even begun to question the normal humans, seeing if they had seen a young ginger man with bright blue eyes and glasses. All leads led nowhere and they were no closer to finding him than they had been the day he went missing.

His absence…hurt. Right in her chest it was like something was dully throbbing, fighting its way out, or maybe just knocking around in a space it didn't belong. When she was working sometimes the ache was less, just a mild inconvenience. Other times, when she was laying awake at night in her bed, it was like someone was stabbing her from the inside, tearing through her organs and muscles like they were made of paper.

As poetic as sobbing in her bed and starving herself until his return was, she had no such luxury. She was a hunter, a warrior, and not only that, but she was now team leader. It pained her to do so, but their time searching for him was dwindling as more cases and disturbances popped up, forcing them to investigate and abandon their searching efforts.

Life had to go on.

"Are you Ok?"

Teresa startled at Ten's sudden appearance, dropping her knife in the process.

"I'm fine," she informed the other as she searched for the fallen knife.

"No you're not, none of us are."

Behind her Ten was moving, pulling out a chair to sit down on.

"Well yes," Teresa conceded, eyes still on her meal. "I suppose so."

"So how are you doing then?"

Teresa signed in annoyance, glancing at Ten out of the corner of her eye. "If you already know the answer, why are you asking?"

Ten's face scrunched up in concern and thought. "I think you know why I'm asking."

Teresa narrowed her eyes, unsure. "No, I don't." She took a bite, intent on ignoring Ten.

For a few minutes all was silent save for Teresa's chewing.

"Have you heard from Teacher-"

Ten interrupted Teresa's attempt at a conversation change, derailing her hard. "You're in love with him."

Ten's statement was so abrupt and without apology that Teresa found herself half doubled over the sink before she realized what was happening, choking on her food. Behind her Ten said nothing, but her silence was deafening.

"WHAT?" Teresa snarled in shock once she had regained her breath.

Ten was still silent, eyes sympathetic and fingers laced in her lap.

"He was my brother!" Teresa's voice was rising, her hands making unnecessary gestures in her frantic state. "That's…that's disgusting, it's not even allowed!"

Ten rolled her eyes. "He wasn't your actual brother. He was your clave brother. There's nothing disgusting about it, and whether or not it's allowed doesn't change the way you feel."

"That's not true!" Teresa yelled back, and there was a sharp pain in her chest, that knife twisting deeper. She wasn't even sure what she was arguing anymore.

"Yes it is," Ten was plundering on, well aware of the dangers of Teresa's anger. "You loved him, and you never told him, and now you can't even talk about him because you're so afraid of what you're going to do."

"That's not true!" She was shouting now, undoubtedly attracting unwanted attention, but she couldn't find it in herself to care, because that wasn't true. It wasn't.

Ten's face fell even further, her eyes widening in shared pain. "Oh Teresa." She was on her feet in an instant, lunging for Teresa and clutching her hard around the middle.

Teresa was frozen with shock as her friend gripped her tight.

"I miss him too."

It was only then that Teresa felt the tears on her own face.

That night as Teresa lay awake in her bed, thoughts racing through her head like wild horses, she tried to not let Ten's words repeat themselves in the scramble.

"You loved him."

The words made her feel sick, both in her stomach and in her chest, and there was even a scrapping feeling behind her eyes, threatening to become a headache. It simply wasn't true. It couldn't be true.

Teresa was swinging her legs over the side of the bed and padding across the room before she would have time to contemplate her decision, even as her mind screamed in protest. She was a woman possessed, unable to stop herself.

Her door creaked closed behind her and she was stalking past Ten and Mar's room, her heart slamming against her chest. Surely they could hear the sound in their own rooms?

Crossing the hall she hesitated at the door, her fingers brushing the knob before she finally pushed it open.

Cassidy's room was still, pitch-black if not for the moonlight filtering in through the window. It was sparse, only a bed, a desk and an open closet. All of his clothes still hung on their hangers, and there were a few papers splayed out on his desk, a book laying on its side, as if he was planning on coming right back. The thought put a lump in her throat.

His bed was made, without a single wrinkle. It almost made her not want to disturb it. Almost. Instead she was pulling back the covers, and ignoring her dignity and pride which were screaming at her injustice to them both, she slid under the sheets, curling up in a ball in Cassidy's old bed.

Her face was burning, as if someone was watching her and judging her actions, but she couldn't bring herself to care. The sheets still smelled like him, despite the weeks of disuse. It at once made her happy and horribly sad, because in a way it made him seem both closer and farther away at once.

It made a heat rise to her face to realize that she still remembered what he smelled like.

She settled in between his sheets, burying her face into the pillow, hiding her flush from the darkened room. For the first time in weeks, she was asleep within minutes.

The next morning when she emerged from his room instead of her own, no one said a word.

Two weeks later, she was back in his bed, which was starting to smell less like him and more like her as the nights wore on. This was her new room; it had been accepted by everyone without a word being passed, though she never went in until after everyone else was asleep. She couldn't handle the emptiness during the day.

It was almost therapeutic in a way. During the day she could almost, almost, push him out her mind, and continue on with her day like normal. At night though, her thoughts were only for him. Wondering where he was, if he was in trouble and waiting for them to come help.

Her thoughts would crash and collide and upset themselves until exhaustion overtook and the thoughts would fall off into nothingness. Sometimes she wondered if it wasn't so much falling asleep as it was passing out. Regardless it was some form of rest.

It was on the thirteenth day of this routine that she awoke suddenly in the middle of the night.

Someone else was in the room.

A hunter would always wake with the presence of another; it was something ingrained in her since she was a toddler. She could never sleep when someone unwarranted was in the room. Training also allowed her to not open her eyes immediately, taking in the situation with her other senses before giving away her current state.

They were sitting on the bed, only inches from her, and she could have cursed herself for allowing them to get so close to her before waking. The bed was dipping with weight. It was someone bigger than herself.

Terence.

Humiliation burned her to her bones. Of course the others knew she was staying here, but to be openly confronted…that was another matter entirely. She had always been close to Terrence, and he hadn't said a word to her about Cassidy's disappearance, and now he was cornering her with it.

His hand brushed hers where it lay above the covers. He laced their fingers together in a comforting gesture. She buried her face deeper into the pillows, biting her lip to hold back…she wasn't even sure what.

He squeezed her hand once, and she returned it.

She set her jaw in determination. What was she doing? Hiding in the pillow? That was just embarrassing. She was a hunter, the leader of her clave; she did not hide in the pillow like a frightened four year old. Stealing herself, determined to look him in the eye, she emerged, opening her eyes.

The light filtering in from off the street silhouetted him, resting one arm on his knee and the other outstretched to hold her hand. Terrence was staring off into the darkness of the room, most of him nothing but a shadow. She exhaled a heavy breath, letting him know he had her attention.

He shifted in the dark, moving into the moonlight, illuminated orange hair.

Teresa's eyes went wide, her hand tightening to a vice around his.

"Cassidy?" She whispered into the dark.

He gave her a small smile, the side of his mouth just pulling up as if the effort was too much.

"Hey." His voice was hoarse.

A thousand thoughts raced through her head at once before falling into complete and staggering silence. She didn't remember sitting up, but suddenly she was, her hair falling in her face and she didn't have the cognitive ability to move it. Her lips parted and moved but no sound came out, no words would form on her tongue.

Cassidy watched her silently, body half turned her way. He looked so much like the last time she had seen him, face an almost unreadable mask, except for the slight curve on the side of his mouth, the heaviness of his eyes, and the minuscule twitch on the edge of his eyebrow. She knew the signs well enough, he was tired and nervous, but there was something else. Something was wrong.

For a brief moment, these thoughts broke through her haze of confusion, and then were quickly tossed aside because there was a much more pressing issue right now.

He was back.

Their teeth knocked together when she lunged for him, but she barely took notice. Her mouth moved furiously against his, her fingers somehow in his hair, pulling him closer. She felt him tense under her assault, his muscles tight and body ridged as she pressed herself as close as she could get. Suddenly he was kissing her back, his arms tight around her back, just as desperate as she was for connection.

Teresa didn't know how long they stayed like that, kissing like their lives depended on it, hands everywhere at once. She could feel his sliding across the back of her shirt, tracing her spine and shoulder blades through the material. Her own were traveling through his hair, over his ears, across his cheekbones and along his jaw, trying to memorize every inch of his skin. She moved her mouth from his to kiss across his freckles, following the same pattern as her fingers. His lips pressed against her skin wherever he could, pulling away to kiss down her neck. Eventually their mouths met again and it was once again a clash of teeth, tongue, and lips.

It seemed like a year later when they finally pulled apart, foreheads resting together as they gasped for breath, faced flushed and eyes hooded.

Breathing was becoming a task, her inhaling ragged and exhaling shaky. It was increasing with each breath she took, and it took her a moment to feel the tears on her face. She was trembling with the effort to hold back the sobs, but it only made it worse.

All the pain of the past weeks came flooding back, the fear, pain, and regret. Now here he was, finally back, and he found her curled up like a lonely child in his bed and she pounced on him like a cat in heat, and was now sobbing uncontrollably.

Never in her life had she been simultaneously so humiliated and so happy.

"Resa," Cassidy whispered against her cheek. "Please, please don't cry."

In hindsight, the punch she threw was rather unfair, but she didn't seem to have a choice on the matter.

Cassidy groaned where he had collapsed on the floor, turning his head to spit out a small spray of red. "Okay," he said, cracking his neck and rolling his shoulder. "I probably deserved that."

"WHERE WERE YOU?"

Her quaking had turned into full out shaking as she stared him down, hands still balled in fists at her sides and eyes wide with rage.

Cassidy sighed, pulling himself into a sitting position on the floor, arm brushing her leg. "I…got caught up."

"With what?" She demanded.

A minute passed but he didn't answer.

"Were you kidnapped?"

"No."

Teresa ran her hands through her hair, pulling at strands in her frustration. "We looked for weeks, Cassidy. You had us worried SICK."

"I know."

"Then why? Where did you go?"

He glanced up at her and it took all of Teresa's will power not to just melt at his expression. "I had to do some things. I'm so sorry for everything I've caused all of you, but I had to do this." His eyes were pleading with her, desperate for her forgiveness and ashamed that he had to ask for it. With a final frown he turned back to face the shadowy room.

Teresa sank to the floor next to him, unsure of what to say. She knew Cassidy better than anyone else ever would, and she knew he was sealing this up, at least for now. Stubborn as she was, she knew all the determination in the world wasn't going to pull this secret from him.

And for once in her life, she didn't feel like fighting.

"Do you know what it was like without you?" She managed finally, her voice barely a whisper.

She didn't look at his face, but she could imagine the expression, the cringe of guilt that pulled at his skin and quirked his lips down. "I'm sorry."

"I thought you were dead."

Cassidy didn't have anything to say to that.

Teresa sagged against his side, resting her head on his shoulder.

"I'll make you a deal," she whispered, her voice sounding more tired than she expected.

"What?" He asked into her hair.

"If you promise, on your word as a Hunter, to never, EVER, do anything remotely like this again, and to never leave me, I will forgive you for this."

Teresa felt her hair stir as he let out a breath of an unhappy laugh.

"Alright," he whispered. "I promise. Never again."

She closed her eyes, leaning heavier against Cassidy and she didn't push him away as he draped an arm around her shoulders.

Silence was never Teresa's forte. She always had something to say, always had to have the final word and last dig. Yet, as she sat there in Cassidy's bedroom, lit only by the light filtering in through the blinds, and feeling Cassidy's chest rise and fall, she had nothing to say.

"I missed you." Cassidy's voice was tight and quiet, as if it hurt to get the words out.

"Obviously," she bit back, eyes still closed and fighting to keep a smile down.

"You missed me too." He was careful with his words, trying not to aggravate her, but the old habit of teasing her wouldn't die easy.

"I did not."

He leaned in close, lips brushing her ear. "You were in my bed," he stage whispered.

Her face burned, embarrassment curling in her stomach. "It's comfier than mine," she whispered back.

Cassidy titled his head back against the bed and laughed. "I wouldn't know. I've never been in your bed."

"And you never will," Teresa assured. The tension was leaving her bones, easing out as the familiarity of their banter began to fall back into place.

As if he had never left.

It seemed that her tension was the only thing keeping her awake, for as she began to relax she found it more and more difficult to lift her limbs and keep her eyes open. The anxiety of the past months was draining, leaving her with little else. She knew it was silly to discard all of her worries. Cassidy still had been gone for months, with not so much of a word of explanation.

She should be throwing punches and words that would make Mar blush, wracking herself senseless with worry and doubt about what had happened when she wasn't there to watch him. Yet, she couldn't find those emotions in herself. They had either burrowed deep inside her to awaken another day, or had simply floated off.

Regardless of the future consequences, Teresa was just tired now. She remembered his lips on her neck once more, arms snaking around her torso as hers ran through his hair again in what she was quickly discovering was her new favorite activity. They were kissing again as they somehow ended up on the bed, limbs tangled and hands roaming.

The next thing she knew she was blinking against the sunlight streaming between the blinds. Cassidy was pressed along her side asleep, and at once the sight struck her. He looked so much smaller in his sleep; his shoulders relaxed and limbs sprawled across the bedspread. It appeared he had lost some weight as well, during his disappearance. Teresa could see his hipbone sticking out between his shirt and jeans and she was fairly certain it hadn't been so pronounced before. His glasses caught the light, making her adjust her position so they weren't blinding her. For half a second her heart hurt because she couldn't remove them, could never look at his eyes without them, but she cast the thought aside. She had too much else to deal with to give any thought to silly things that could never be.

With as little motion as she could she moved to a sitting position, sliding her legs over the side of the bed. She needed to get back to her own room, needed to get out of Cassidy's room before anyone found them together. For a moment she deliberated before leaning forward and pressing a kiss to his cheekbone, right on the biggest cluster of freckles. Pulling away she couldn't even bring herself to be embarrassed, just so relieved to have him back.

Her heart gave a sick sort of thud as she pretended not to notice the small white half-moon scar just under his ear. That hadn't been there before he left.

One day they were going to have to deal with this. With his disappearance. With his refusal to tell her where he had gone. With all his new scars. With what had happened between them last night.

Today though, she told herself as she crossed his room and slipped silently out the door, was for nothing but celebration.

Because Cassidy was back.

A/N: Help. All I want to do is write Cassidy/Teresa make outs and I can't write plot someone stop me.