Disclaimer: I don't own YJ
Notes: Listened to A Fine Frenzy's Almost Lover as I wrote this; Inspired by an episode of Grey's Anatomy - "As We Know It"; 2x17
She doesn't remember their last kiss.
How everything was led up to that moment when their lips touched, first softly, then rough. How it was filled with passion and love that she never knew she craved for so much. Did he initiate it or did she? At what point did he wrap his arms around her – did he do it right away, or did he gently glide his arm up her back and then place his hand onto the back of her neck?
Jade doesn't remember what her husband's lips feel like anymore, what they taste like anymore. She doesn't remember waking up and feeling warmth surrounding her body through two, strong arms nor does she remember what it felt like to have more than one person on the bed.
She used to wake up to the smell of breakfast, and although she never forced him to cook for her, the gesture made her feel almost nauseous at how cute everything was between the two of them. But now, she would do anything to feel that sort of nausea again, because the last three mornings of vomiting in the toilet due to her own cooking was not the type of sickness she wanted. He wasn't even there to hold her hair back like their wedding night.
It wasn't just breakfast either that he skipped out on her. It was lunch as well. And dinner too, because rushing through the fridge while she was also in the kitchen for a quick snack before leaving the apartment was not having dinner together.
If Jade had known their last kiss was the last kiss, she wouldn't have stopped kissing him.
That was a cheesy way of thinking, she realized, but it was the truth. She had once been struck with infatuation, and now she, despite her wishes, is cured of it. She is now alone in their tiny apartment. She is now lovelorn. Jade knew she'd rather be widowed and alone than to be left alone.
Her decision to leave that rundown apartment wasn't easy. But there was no use in staying in that ratty place and pay for its bills when she knew he would rarely come back to it. After all, why would he? He might as well stay wherever he was to make his search for his genetic donor easier.
Jade had been tempted to go find him one last time, to tell him this was it, but she knew that the moment she laid eyes on him, the moment she heard his voice, feel his skin against hers, feel his lips against hers one last time, that it would become her second-last time, and she'd be back to being the girl at the tea party, waiting for the White Rabbit to come on time; she knows the role of Alice was not hers to have.
They have one photo together and it sits on the nightstand next to their bed, but regardless of how long Jade sits there and stares at it, she couldn't remember being as happy as she was when the photo was taken. It's the only thing that's theirs when she leaves.
As she leaps from rooftop to rooftop, the midnight chill calls out the goose bumps along her arms and she recalls the nights when both she and him laughed in each other's hold, temporarily allowing her to forget how chilly the night air was. Jade bitterly pushes that memory aside and continues to leap towards nowhere in particular, so long as it was away from him.
She sleeps in an abandoned warehouse that night. Just like the good old days, she tells herself, securing the blanket around her form. She supposes she should find a new apartment the following morning, now that she wasn't subletting with him in their small – comforting, warm, homey – apartment anymore. Sleep doesn't come as easy now and her stomach continues to disrupt the process. Jade shakes her head at how pathetic she's become, unable to survive out in the cold and feeling starved every other hour despite how bloated her belly's become since living with another person.
She doesn't cry or mourn that night for her loss, nor the night after. She should've known better than to fall in love with a hero – she should've known better than to have fallen in love, period. Jade leaves the city the next day and finds a quaint place after reconnecting with some old accomplices. The first thing she does is litter the apartment with her clothes because she hated how the rooms smelled.
Jade doesn't remember what home smelled like either, now that she was somewhere else.
Instead of going back to work right away, she watches old Vietnamese soaps that her mother watched along with her and Artemis when they were younger; she fast forwarded and skipped almost every scene in the drama. The heroines were too whiny, too stubborn; they fought for their place in the world, for their loved ones, and it only reminded Jade that she didn't do any of that. She didn't fight for him.
She knows she should've fought for him, should've went after him and pulled him back into her arms, and whisper everything she never thought she'd say or feel into his ears if it meant keeping him with her. But it was his life, his decision, and she had put too much faith into a man she thought would love her enough to come back. And now it was too late.
Jade wonders how long it would be before he notices that she left, that she packed everything that belonged to her and turned away from the apartment they furnished together, leaving only one photo of herself and him on the nightstand because she knew that if she had taken it with her, she would only come back. But chances were high that by the time he came back, their apartment would be rented to someone else who had bothered to pay the bills and all of his belongings, including their photo, would be thrown on the streets. Then again, why would she think he would even come back, when the last time she saw him was over two months ago?
"I don't want to talk to Cheshire, I want to talk to my wife." She doesn't remember many of their conversations together, but she remembers the night he fought to keep her at his side and bites her lip at the painful realization of knowing he would never do it again. Neither of them would have given up in a battle, but it seemed that the two of them had given up on each other a long time ago. A whole year of knowing him, flirting and teasing him, another year of being what people would call an item, and a blissful year of marriage – Jade had lost three years to him, and despite it being relatively short compared to the rest of her life, she knew that she wanted it back.
She also knew that she couldn't have what's already lost.
Jade spends another three nights in the new apartment before reaching out to her former colleagues and starting her job again, trying to get the image of him out of her head. She had seen people go through withdrawals before, from smoking to drinking or gambling, from drugs, from killing, but never had she seen someone suffer so much from being away from one person until she had looked in the mirror; she hides it with her mask. Behind Cheshire's grin, Jade looks straight up to hold back the moisture in her eyes, takes a deep breath, and leaves the apartment. She feigns composure for the rest of the night.
Her missions now seemed foreign, as she had long ago quit her night time job for him, and she expected some sort of adrenaline rush when she arrived at the scene, but the twisted knot in her chest told her it would never come. Her first mission since her return was almost a failure, because all she could hear in her head were his lectures about her field of work and his soothing voice tickling her ear, wishing she'd give up all that and stay with him to live a happy, normal life.
Luckily she still succeeded in the end, and was given another mission soon afterwards – an undercover mission. Having many aliases in the past for these sorts of things, each with its own paperwork ready, Jade digs through her belongings for them. Amongst the many illegal files she has in her possession, she finds their marriage license, wrinkled with a coffee stain on the corner.
She doesn't remember what it feels like to wear a wedding ring on her finger anymore, having taken it off the night she left and leaving it on the coffee table where he had placed his own as well, claiming it to have gotten in the way of his mission to rescue the man who shared the same identity as him. Her ring finger still feels naked, even after two weeks of leaving their home. It still feels wrong when she uses that hand to crumple up the license and toss it aside. It felt wrong to toss their marriage aside, but she knew that he did it first.
Jade doesn't remember how they had gone so far as to getting married, how they had gone so far as to talking about having kids and having a perfectly normal family, how she had gone so far as to loving him back, but the thought finally brings tears to her eyes.
She used to be Jade Crock, and then she became Cheshire, masking the lonely Jade Nguyen. At that moment, she was Jade Harper.
A/N: Jade was pregnant during the entire story hence the nausea, the vomiting, the bloating; she just didn't know about the baby.