The next morning Jason's body is aching, especially his back and jaw. He shifts and realizes that no one is beside him. He sits up slowly and looks around the barren room.

"Shadow?" He whispered.

As if being summoned Shadow suddenly walks through the door. She's dressed, wearing a soft blue sweater and a pair of black leggings.

She walked in with a tray.

"Shadow?" Jason noticed that on that tray was breakfast. A bowl of cereal, a glass of orange juice and even some toast.

She gave him that blindly beautiful smile as she climbed carefully in the bed beside him and put the tray on his lap, then fluff's the pillows behind him a little.

"Shadow."

"Is that all you're going to say. You've said my name at least 100 times." She teased with a wink.

Jason blushed, "It was only three."

Shadow smiled, "I'll be right back." She said, ruffling Jason's hair and skipping out of the room.

Jason looked down at the tray and felt rather...pleased that Shadow had done this for him. A warm feeling of contentment settled deep in his heart as he slowly ate, otherwise it was too painful.

He wondered how swelled up his jaw was today.

Shadow came in a few minutes later with two bags of frozen peas, one smaller than the other. Putting them down beside Jason she grabbed one and had him lean forward a little to put the bag down on his back. When he leaned back he shuddered.

That was nice, cold, but nice.

"Hey Shadow, can you put like a wash cloth in-between that so it doesn't hurt too much when it gets real cold."

She nodded and hurried off for a wash cloth and was back very quickly, adjusting the bag with the wash cloth. Jason leaned back and continued eating. After he was finished eating Shadow collected the tray and put it down at the end of the bed on the floor. She took the other bag of peas and pressed it gently to his jaw.

Jason let out a sign of relief.

"Thank's Shadow." It was hard to believe a girl like her took out five men yesterday.

She smiled at him brightly. "You're welcome."

"It's a good thing we don't have school today, this would be hard to explain."

Shadow nodded, not that she really understood much about the police and the morals against fighting but she did understand that going to school black and blue wasn't exactly a good idea.

So as the day slowly progressed Shadow was everywhere at once doing her best to tend to Jason. He told her it wasn't necessary but a small brush of her lips on his forehead with a few simple words, "I want to," shut him up.

If Shadow wanted to help then she could do whatever she wanted. Things couldn't get any more personal considering she did take off his clothes last night...Jason's skin burned for a moment as he mentally shook his head from those thoughts and sighed.

Where was Shadow now? Half the day had pasted and she promised to get a movie ready. Jason frowned, he shouldn't be relying on her to help him walk, he could get out of this bed.

Jason slowly got out of bed, wincing at the spikes of pain that followed. But moving was good, it would help loosen up the tense muscle. Sitting around all day like a lazy-bump had never been something Jason had been very fond of so he didn't know why he was doing it now.

Jason headed down the stairs slowly, limbering up his aching back as he walked. As he neared the first floor he heard Shadow bustling about in the living room and smiled, she must have gotten carried away. He got to the ground and walked into the living room to see Shadow was sitting crossed legged on the floor, looking curiously at the movies.

Jason realized that he probably hadn't been a good idea to ask her to pick out a funny movie, she most likely didn't know which was which. Jason shook his head a little and began walking toward her.

"Do you need help Shadow?"

She sprung around in surprise at his voice and immediately jumped to her feet. "What are you doing out of bed!" She hurried over to him with her hands on her hips, her eyes narrowed.

Jason smiled and wrapped an arm around her shoulder's, pulling her against his chest. She didn't resist but instead lined up against his body with a sigh.

"You could get even more bruised up."

"I'll be fine. I'll get worse if I stay in bed all day."

"Are you sure Jason."

"Of course, now to more important matters." He pulled back to look down at her concerned face, "Do you need help picking out a movie?"

Shadow rolled her eyes with a small smile when the door bell rang, followed by a series of knocks. Jason looked toward the door in confusion while Shadow looked over his shoulder in surprise and was about to move forward when Jason stopped her.

"Shadow..." He whispered, "Smell first."

Shadow understood immediately and lifted her nose up in the air. "I smell three men." She whispered, "And...something else..."

Knocks on the door again, "This is the police, open up!"

Jason sent a strong, silent command for Shadow to stay hidden and started toward the door but Shadow skitter's in front of him.

"You're hurt!" She whispered sharply, "If this is about last night that bruise will definitely be proof. Please let me do it."

"No Shadow, if this is about the fight last night I'll tell them I was attacked and someone came and saved me but soon disappeared."

Shadow looked torn, "I...I don't know Jason."

"Don't worry Shadow. I've been prepared for this."

It was bound to happen sooner or later, it was time to prove to his Dad that he really could take care of himself and be fine where they were now. Jason gently pushed Shadow away from the entrance so she couldn't be seen and went to the door, swinging it open.

Three police officer's stood, the one in the front caught in the middle of the action of getting ready to knock again with a look of annoyance and surprised caught on his face.

"Is there a problem officer?"

"Yes, there was a fight last night. Four men were injured and one was killed. We were wondering if you knew anything about this?"

Jason froze. Did...did he just say one of them was dead. But when they had left they had all been breathing. Jason almost couldn't believe it, Shadow had killed someone. His sweet, loving Shadow.

"I don't know about it." Jason lied completely, any reference to this story could possibly lead to life in prison.

"Are you sure, you got an awfully big bruise there."

"I fell down in the shower, land right on my back and a bottle of something smacked against my face."

"Sounds nasty." The police didn't really seem to care. "Are you sure you didn't hear anything?"

"I'm sure sir."

"Well...I don't suppose there is much to do here then."

"Good day officers." Jason nodded to them, closing the door shut with relief when a foot from one of the officer's slipped in the crack.

"Wait...one last question."

Jason looked through the door.

"Is your name Jason Cobalt?"

A ragged scream ran through the back of the house. Shadow. Jason turned in horror when something hard slammed against the back of his head. His vision went gray, then black.

When he slowly woke up he was in a military fashioned room on a green, thin mattress that did not help his aching back. Daylight poured from a small square window in the top of the room...morning light.

"Shadow." He whispered in horror and scrambled to his feet, ignoring the pain completely as he lurched for a door across the room and threw open the door so forcefully that it bounced against the wall with a hard smack, leaving a hole in the wood. But when he opened the door he saw someone standing there he hadn't been expecting.

"Mary...Mary Ann?"

She grunted, "Please don't call me that, I got my name legally changed. It's Jackie now." She winked.

"Jackie?" He felt a rush of childhood emotions as he stared at the first girl he had ever loved.

She grinned wickedly at him, "So captured by the military Jason, you've hit a new low." She whacked him on the shoulder, "Nice to see you again kid."

Jason just stared at her, stunned. She was tall, like Shadow. Slender, curved nicely but not as much as Shadow. She wore a green tank top, camo pants tucked into gray combat boots and it was hot. Her brown hair had grown out so it ran down her back in a long braid and her hazel eyes were still as vivid as ever. She had more of a petite structure now, but with the scratch's on her cheeks and bandages on her arms you could tell she was a tough cookie. He never thought he'd see her again...but here she was looking at him with an amused expression.

Jason didn't want hazel eyes though, he wanted glittering sky blue of a huskies.

"Where's Shadow?" He hissed.

"Cutting to the chase huh, well come one then."

'Jackie' gestured for him to follow her out of the room, which were towering steel walls, crates in random places and a long gray concrete ground that spilt off and opened up in many places.

Jackie led him through this maze of a building, occasionally passing other military members who only acknowledged Jackie.

"So why the name Jackie?" Jason asked.

"It was my Mom's name." She said, "Plus Mary Ann is pretty disgusting."

"I wonder how many Mary Ann's you just offended."

Jackie rolled her eyes, "I'm sure they like their name, I've got nothing against the name personally. I just don't like it for myself, it was too feminine."

"Isn't Jackie to."

"Nope, because it can be shortened to Jack. A total boy name!" She grinned, "I'm pretty pleased with it."

"You ridiculous." Jason told her as they turned another corner and she opened a green colored door. As they walked inside Jason saw Shadow sitting on the ground, talking to some teenage boy. Shadow was talking eagerly to this boy, wearing clothes unlike the day they were taken. She wore a black t-shirt that was a bit tight on her chest area and also a pair of camo pants with white socks. She must have borrowed clothes from Jackie.

Jason's eyes narrowed as Shadow looked up and when she saw Jason her eyes lit up, dashing up onto her feet and flying toward him.

"Jason!" She squealed, wrapping her arms around him as she rubbed her cheek on his shirt. "I've missed you."

"What's...what's going on?" Jason decided to that it might be a good time to ask.

Shadow didn't pull back as the boy she had been talking to stood up. "Hello Jason, I am Nate." He had light blond hair with silver eyes, slightly taller than Jason but instead had a lanky frame, a crooked smile, and a boyish jaw. "I was made into a human by your Father and he gave me that name since I was originally a wild animal with no name."

He...he made a man? "What are you doing here?"
"I escaped from your Father."

"Excuse me?"
"Your Father has been changing wild animals against his will and keeps us in a basement...I can't remember where exactly, but I was the only one who was able to escape. Don't you see, animals are meant to be animals, while humans are meant to be humans. I only want to stop your Father and turn things back around to the way they should be."

"I...I don't understand."

"I figured as much. Look at it this way, would you want to see humans kept as pets in cages because they will fight for their freedom otherwise?"

"No..."

"That's what your Father has been doing. He's been lying to you Jason, he isn't changing back the animals that want to return to their original form."

Jason's eyes narrowed at the information, how was he suppose believe this so easily from this questionable character? "What...what animal are you?" He decided a more easily subject he could find more acceptable.
"I'm a lion."

Shadow pulled back, "Isn't that cool Jason? Although I don't agree with him completely. I like being human." She smiled up at him. "But still, he's just like me but this time he's a wild animal!"

Jason actually felt a little challenged as Shadow gushed about the stranger. Was this guy competition? Was he after Shadow? Jason wrapped an arm around her waist tightly. Whatever he was after, if it was Shadow he wasn't getting her.

"Still. What do you want exactly Nate?"

"I told you, to stop your Father."

"And how to you plan to do that?" Jason shook his head in disbelief.

"I'm not sure yet." He shrugged.

"I thought the military just wanted to use you guys to their advantage."

"They did until they saw what I could do awakened, it was decided that us 'experiments' are too dangerous to be kept in this form."

It suddenly dawned on Jason. "You plan to change Shadow back!"

Shadow shook her head, "It's alright Jason, he said he'll leave me alone." Shadow did her best to reassure Jason but his eyes only narrowed with distrust. He didn't believe a word that crossed from that guys pale lips.

"I'm guessing you want our help then."

Nate nodded, "We would be most grateful. You are his son, we figured you of all people would be able to get to him."

"Listen, I have no idea were my Dad is right now. He has houses everywhere."

"Are there any close by here?"

Jason blinked, "Where...where is here?"
"Italy."

Jason's jaw dropped. How in the world had he slept through a plane ride to Italy!

Shadow looked up at Jason and noticed that he was having a hard time processing this. She halfway turned towards Nate, "Can you give him some time to think. This is an awful lot to just drop on someone."

"Of course, he is only human. You can stay here with me if you prefer Shadow."

Jason's hand locked around her wrist. "Shadow stays with me." He glared.

An amused grin cracked along the corner of Nate's lips, slanting to a tip to the side but he didn't give away too much as he bowed his head. "Alright, then go as you will."

Jackie led them out of the room, closing the door behind them.

"So where to you two love birds wanna go? I can't leave you confided alone because of the possibility that you both being two different..."

"Jackie." Jason cut her off sharply. He wasn't in the best mood. "Just take us somewhere."

Jackie's eyes narrowed, "Well haven't you turned into a real man." She shook her head and they walked off. Shadow wrist never leaving Jason's hand until she wriggled it. He released it thinking he was hurting her but all she did was interlace her fingers with his.

He looked down at her as they walked, her big husky blue eyes gazing into his.

"It's alright Jason."

"How...how long was I asleep." Jason felt like he had skimmed through a week of his life.

"Only four days."

"What!" That was close enough to a week.

"Its alright though, because your injuries are all black and yellow now. So its good right?" She smiled.

Jason gave her a small smile, maybe his face was black and yellow, but his back didn't feel a days better. "That's not the problem Shadow."

"Whats wrong then?"

"Don't you notice the situation we're in? We've been captured by the military."

"Because they want our help. They don't want to hurt us like we assumed, like your Dad led you believe."

"But...but they basically jut told me everything my Dad told me is a lie."

"Because he did lie." Shadow looked just as hurt, her eyes even watering over for a moment.

"How can you be so convinced!" Jason hissed, lowing his voice to a whisper, "What if they're lying to us?"

"Would Nate lie about such a thing!" Shadow defended the stranger, Jason's eyes hardening. "What if he's telling the truth! What if there're people like me trapped in cages because they don't want to be human!" Shadow shouted back.

They were shouting at each other again, but this time more there was a larger fuse lit under them. Betrayal, lies, love, it all boiled under the surface of their skin.

Jackie could nearly feel the tension in the air resting hard on her shoulder although she had no idea what she was suppose to say, no one knew if Nate was telling the truth. They assumed because in truth who could lie about such a horrible thing. Plus, for normal people, putting an end to a super human generation part animal before it got out of control was the smartest idea.

"I don't want to hear it Shadow! After what he's done for you!"

"And I'm forever grateful to him because I get to be with you! But other animals shouldn't be forced!"

Jason turned his head away from Shadow and she tried to jerk her hand out of his but he only tightened his grip.

"Let go of me!" She shouted, her voice cracking on the end. Jackie knew what was happening here and quickly disappeared around a corner, they weren't watching her anyway so they didn't even notice her disappear.

They did stop walking though as Jason turned to Shadow, "No! I'll never let go of you!"

Shadow eyes watered again. "If you're going to be angry at me I'd want you let me go!"

"Shadow...how many times do I need to tell you."

She paused, "Tell me what?"

"That you're not leaving me Shadow." Jason made his voice gentle, rubbing his thumb on her wrist. "I love you for pete's sake."

"You've only told me that once." Shadow said, the corner of one of her eyes giving away to a single tear. Jason reached forward to wipe away the tear with his free hand before resting his hand on her cheek.

"I want you to tell me that you love me too."

Shadow's eyebrows went up, "Why?"

"Because...because I need to know. I need to hear you say it."

Shadow flew forward into his chest, "I love you Jason. I always have."

"And you're not leaving me?"

Shadow leaned back slightly to look up at his face, "What?"

"For that Nate character."

Shadow suddenly snorted, "Are...are you jealous?"

"What? No of course not! What gives you that idea?"

Shadow laughed lightly, "I'm not going to leave you Jason, not now or ever."

Jason frowned, despite how much her words pleased him. Shadow leaned up to ruffle Jason's hair with her hand, "Lets start this over Jason. Right now we are in Italy, Nate is a lion/guy that escaped from your Dad. There is a rumor that there could possibly be more animals held captive by your Dad. Nothing is set in stone, so how bout we just find out together okay?"

Jason liked that idea and nodded, "Alright, I can do that." He looked in front of him when his eyebrows pulled together in puzzlement. "Where's Jackie?"

Shadow giggled.

Sorry for the long wait my cherries, school isn't being very nice at the moment and a lot of other things are going on as well. I hardly touch my computer and I'm worried Yoko (computer's name) is feeling neglected. Anywho, I brought in a male animal person! Pretty exciting :) review please.