Katherine was sitting against the wall in her room, hugging her knees to her chest. She was silently crying into her knees. Jake walks in quietly, watching her from across the room, his heart feeling like it's filled with bricks at watching Katherine seem so sad.
"Katherine," Jake said softly, not wanting to startle her. She slowly rose her head to look at him. "Want some company? I know you don't need it but sometimes what you want isn't something you need."
Katherine nodded her head slowly as more tears trickle down her cheeks. Jake sits to her right and hugs her tightly, burying her head into his chest. She starts to cry harder, something she didn't think was possible.
Jake strokes her hair gently with one hand and intertwines her hand with his with the other. She slowly starts to calm down, though sobs still manage to break through.
"Thank you," she said when she turned so her head was resting on his chest.
Jake shakes his head and says "Hey, no need to thank me. I'm here for you because I wanna be."
Katherine looked up at him slowly and says "Why do you wanna be here anyway? I'm a complete mess."
Jake shrugs and says "Why wouldn't I wanna be here with you?"
"Maybe 'cause I'm a blubbering mess and not very good company. I'm always crying and the worst part, don't think I'll ever be able to stop. I'll just keep crying and crying because I'm the reason my best friend is dead. They were after me. It was supposed to be me. It should've been me."
Katherine broke into a sob again. Except, this time she started pacing the room. She started throwing pages everywhere and slammed her fists against her wooden desk. Jake goes behind her and pulls her into a hug.
"Don't talk like that. Katherine, it's not your fault. Skylar loves you and would do anything to protect you."
Katherine shakes her head and says "That's what upsets me the most. I shouldn't have people trying to protect me. I should be protecting everyone else. I'm the leader. I'm the person they all look up to. They shouldn't be trying to guard me. I'm the one who's supposed to protect them."
Jake then says "You devote every second of your time to training us or making sure we're all safe, the least we can do is the same for you."
Katherine shoves him away and slams her fist against the wall as she shouts "That's not the point!"
The bracelet fell to the floor and Katherine drops to her knees. She picks up the pieces off the bracelet and sheds another tear. She had broken it when she slammed her fist against the wall, cutting the black leather straight through. Katherine drops the pieces and runs out of the room.
Katherine ran into the woods. Jake chased after her but Katherine had a better knowledge of the area and was a lot faster than him. She ran to the lake and climbed onto the giant rock to the right of it. The wind picked up momentum and the leaves started swarming around her like she was the center of this mini tornado. The still water starting to crash violently against the rock, shooting up in front of her. The leaves disappear and Katherine sits at the edge of the rock, allowing the water to spray her slightly. Katherine smiles out into the distance and closes her eyes as she thinks of Skylar. Jake finally makes it to her and sits beside her on the edge. Katherine opens her eyes and glances at Jake quickly before reverting her eyes back to the lake.
"Skylar and I would go here when we were angry or just wanted to escape people. It was sort of our happy place." Katherine looks down at her hands and shakes her head slightly. "She'd be so mad with me if she knew I was blaming myself for her death. She probably slap me upside the head. She always loved how well we went together. You know, since I'm pessimistic and how she was always optimistic. They say opposites attract and well, we became best friends. James is like me, a pessimist and now, I don't have anyone that sees the upside of everything to help me decide what to do."
Jake takes a hold of her hand and intertwines their fingers once again. "Lucky for you, I'm an optimistic person. Plus, I just so happen to enjoy spending time with you so if I can help while doing that, I'd be really happy."
Katherine laughs as she turns to look at him. He chuckles and looks down at his lap.
"I know, that was cheesy. I couldn't think of anything else. Give me another chance. I can come up with something better, I swear."
Jake gets a distant look like he's thinking of something to say. He smiles and turns to face her again, ready to say something. Katherine smiles at him and he freezes. Katherine laughs and waves her hand in front of his face to snap him out of his stare.
"You were gonna say something," Katherine asked sweetly.
Jake sighs and says "I forgot. It was good though. Now, just promise you won't blame yourself for what happened to Skylar? She wouldn't want that and I definitely don't want that."
Katherine nods and says "From here on out, I will not blame all of what happened to Skylar on myself. Whoever pushed her is the real culprit."
Katherine stands and a cool breeze hits her, throwing her hair behind her and sending the sent of burnt wood into her nostrils. She stumbled back at the sudden scent and Jake was on his feet quickly and steadied her. Jake looked up above the trees and sees grey smoke. Katherine sees and jumps off the rock. She runs in the direction of the smoke.
"Get the others. We need to see if we can save whoever is in that fire. Make sure to bring something to get rid of the flames before it can hit the trees," Katherine shouted over her shoulder to Jake.
Jake went to get the Shadow Knights that weren't asleep. Katherine followed the smoke and after five minutes of running, she had arrived. The building was a large cabin. The fire seemed to have started outside, almost like someone had purposely set it on fire. The flames were raging and the wind was pushing it dangerously close to the trees. Katherine quickly noticed a window on the other side of the cabin where the flames hadn't reached yet. She grabbed the top up the window sill, pulling herself up so she could kick the glass in. As the shattered pieces fell in and swung through, landing on her feet but with her left hand on the ground and her right hand in the air to her side. She stood up and when hearing the scream of girl, ran toward the sound in a hurry. The heat from the flames already causing her to sweat bullets.
"I'm here to help you," Katherine shouted looking around the rooms and traveling deeper toward where the fire started. "I need to know where you are."
Katherine hears crackling and starts to head back to where she entered. As soon as she turned around though, she was face to face with a girl. She had long blonde hair and green eyes. She wore a green tank and black shorts with a black bandana covering her mouth.
"A reaper," Katherine said.
The girl simply nodded and threw a punch at her. Katherine easily dodged though and kicked the girl into the opposite wall. The girl slide to the ground but wasn't gonna give up that easily. Removing the bandana as she stood to her feet.
"You Shadow Knights are so predictable. Coming to the rescue of complete strangers. We knew you'd fall for the trick and boy were we right. Where's your friend? Oh right, we had her killed," the girl said with a smirk.
Katherine snapped and got into a fighting stance. The girl quickly followed and the two began circling each other.
Katherine then says "You know, I actually feel sorry for you. Your leader's so obsessed with ending us that he doesn't even know how to train his followers. You don't stand a chance against me."
The girl launched at Katherine and punched her in the stomach. Katherine stumbled back an inch but other than that, was unfazed by it. Katherine quickly punched the girl, making her bend over to cradle her stomach, allowing Katherine to knee her perfectly. The girl quickly fell to the ground, Katherine still in a fighting stance above her.
"Aw, looks like someone never learned to take a hit," Katherine said mockingly.
The girl grins and says "Oh, I've never been a good fighter but I am the perfect distraction."
Katherine was immediately swarmed by four guys in green t-shirts and black shorts with black bandanas covering their mouths. Katherine's quick to react and analyzes her possible ways of escape. Two of guys launched at her but she side stepped them, causing them to crash into each other. Katherine easily knocked out the remaining two guys. The girl quickly rose to her feet and started attacking Katherine. Her attempts were failing though since Katherine was dodging the attacks easily. Another guy rushed into the room. He wore the same outfit but had on a black hood, hiding his face and only showing the bandana.
"Get rid of this one. You got rid of the other Shadow Knight, finish this one off!"
Katherine used this distraction to knock the girl out, sending her flying into the wall just below the window. The guy rushed over and grabbed Katherine's throat, cutting off her oxygen and threw her into the wall. Katherine fell to the ground onto her hands and knees, coughing little specks of blood onto the floor. She raised to her feet slowly and swept the guy off his feet. The cabin was still burning and the roof was caving in. Both coughing as the smoke filled the room now. The guy once again stood up and pulled out a pocket knife. He slashed at Katherine, cutting her wrist slightly. Katherine punched him in the throat, knocking the wind out of him, he clenched at his throat and his sleeves slid down to just pasted his wrists. Katherine noticed the scythe tattoo located on his right wrist. A flaming part of the roof crashed down, separating them. The guy ran away coughing and Katherine started to run toward the window. She felt specks of water hit her skin through the holes of the room. The flames were quickly being extinguished and she swung through the window, spotting five Shadow Knights, holding the reapers captive. Jake ran over to her quickly and ripped off part of his sleeve, tying it around her wrist to stop the bleeding.
"There was another reaper. He got away though. He had a tattoo of a scythe. He killed Skylar. I've gotta find him Jake. I just have to," Katherine said rapidly.
Jake nods and a boy with brown hair and grey eyes runs over. He matched Jake and was frowning.
"Katherine, you ok?"
"Just a flesh wound. I'll live. Trevor, how are you doing with all that's happened?"
"I just wanna kill the person who hurt Sky. I still can't believe she's gone. Katherine, she was your best friend and I know she loved you like a sister. It's my job to help protect you now more than ever."
Katherine then says "How can you handle this and still have a clear head? She was your girlfriend."
Trevor sighs and says "Jake's my best friend and he's been there for me just as much as Skylar has always been there for you. Skylar wouldn't want me sitting around grieving. She certainly wouldn't us wasting time on that when we can focus on the reapers."
Katherine nods and says "I've got one reaper in mind. He had this tattoo on his right wrist. I can draw it and we can keep an eye out for him. We can get revenge for Skylar."
Jake then says "First, I've gotta patch you up. Seems you took some pretty hard blows. You have blood on the side of your mouth Katherine. You're on bed rest when we get back to the warehouse."
Katherine then says "I'm fine Jake. Just a little light headed. I'm fine."
Other Shadow Knights run over and smile at the cabin. The flames were all put out and they were happy to see the captive reapers. They gather around Katherine for her orders. Katherine finds a tree stump and stands on it so she was a foot above them.
"Skylar didn't fall, she was pushed. I fought with the reaper that did it. Sadly, he got away. He had a tattoo of a scythe on his right wrist. If anyone sees it I want you to contact," Katherine stopped, touching her forehead with her right hand.
Jake gets a worried expression and says "Katherine, you ok?" Katherine nodded slowly but blacked out, lunging forward. Jake was quick and caught her bridal style. "Katherine? Katherine?"
The Shadow Knights all ran to a hospital and Jake laid Katherine onto a gurney. The people in white who had taken Skylar away appeared, wheeling her into a room. Jake goes to enter with her but they shake their heads and block him from the room as a doctor rushes in. Katherine woke up ten hours later and was quick to notice that she wasn't in the woods anymore. She had an IV in her left arm attached to a water bag. It was morning out, late afternoon from the looks of it, and Jake was asleep in the chair to her left and when she turned to the right, she noticed James and all the other Shadow Knights. Luckily, it was a pretty big room so they all stood comfortably against the wall.
"Katherine, you're finally up," James said happily. "These ten came to tell me what happened so I rushed over. Jake's been here since he brought you. Refused to leave the room once he was allowed in."
"James, I found him, the one who killed Skylar. I'm gonna make him pay. Give me a piece of paper and a pencil, I can draw it. It's a scythe on his right wrist.
We can find him and we'll make him pay."
James then says "Katherine, you passed out from exhaustion, dehydration, and hunger. The fight didn't make it any better. Have you not eaten since what happened to Skylar? Be honest with me Katherine."
Katherine sighs and says "We can find him and then everyone can be safe again."
James then says "Katherine, listen to me. You have to eat. If not for yourself, for me. I lost one of my best friends, I can't lose another. We need you now more than ever, especially me. Katherine, you're my sister and losing you would destroy me. The three of us started this family and I don't wanna continue it if you're not by my side. Please, take care of yourself."
James had tears streaming down his face and got on his knees so his head was level with hers. He took her hand in his and squeezed gently.
"Ok, it won't happen again. I promise. I'll take care of myself," Katherine said quietly.
James stands up and hugs her gently, not wanting to take the IV out. The other Shadow Knights soon hug her one by one. Jake woke up and jumped to his feet.
"Katherine! You're awake. How are you feeling? Does anything hurt? Should I call a nurse," Jake questioned rapidly.
Katherine shakes her head and grabs his hand. "I'm fine Jake. Thanks for bring me here."
Jake smiles and says "No need to thank me for that. I wanted to make sure you were ok. You did amazing yesterday and I'm just really glad you're healthy and safe."
"Thanks Jake. Now, I have this really important question to ask," Katherine said smiling sweetly. They all nod and gesture her to continue. "When can I get out of here?"
They all laugh and Trevor says "Stacy said that we could take you when you woke up but we have to call her so she can take the IV out."
Katherine nods and James takes his phone out, quickly typing a message and putting it away. A couple of minutes later, a girl with brown hair and brown eyes walks in. She wore a doctors uniform and she walked over to Katherine. After removing the IV, Katherine stood giving her a tight hug quickly.
"It's so nice to see you again Stacy. You were one of the first Shadow Knights. I'm glad you started this hospital for Shadow Knights and for the people in town."
Stacy waves the comment away and says "I'm only eighteen. You, Skylar, and James helped me track my uncle. This is his hospital, he just allowed me to use this entire section of the hospital for Shadow Knights. He's really grateful for you taking me in after my parents left. He was so worried about what had happened to me. He feels indebted to the Shadow Knights. He's just the best and to think that I wouldn't have found him without the help you provided makes me feel hollow inside because you and the others are literally the best thing that has ever happened to me."
"Don't mention it. It was our pleasure. So, I'm free to leave?"
"Yes, but Katherine, take care of yourself. I don't wanna see you rushed in here again. Do you understand?"
Katherine laughs and says "Yes, I understand."
They leave the hospital and walk into the warehouse. Quickly entering the dining hall. James and Katherine quickly notice that Rebecca is with Peter. The two were laughing and just joking around. Katherine glared at the boy who caused her best friend so much suffering. Peter spotted Katherine and waved with a sweet smile. Katherine huffed and stormed to her room, needing a nice nap and change of clothes.