Only Two

The news came on a bright, sunny Sunday. Not the type of day when this certain kind of news should be received in. The small envelope was completely unassuming and as Dr. Benton Quest opened it, he thought nothing of it. He assumed it was an invitation from his foster son for another one of his banquets, for the stamp was from Bangalore.

Race Bannon watched as his boss and friend unsealed the envelope. He watched with baited breath to see what Hadji had in store for them now. To his surprise, rather than telling him what the note said, Benton turned a pale, ghostly white. His normally steady hands began to shake. His mild brown eyes watered and his mouth quivered.

"Benton?" Race said, reaching out to put a hand on his friend's arm.

Benton held out the short note, the paper shaking hard enough to make a rustling sound. Race frowned and took it. He read the sentences that were printed on it.

Dearest Benton,

I regret to inform you that two days ago, our dearest Hadji was attacked by a terrorist cell that we have apprehended and now being punished. We tried to save him and he was comatose for a day, but despite the best medical care, he did not pull through. Sultan Hadji Singh, our son, died this morning at 3 o'clock. Nothing can compare to the pain that I feel for the death of my only son and the pain that his wife and son are now in other than yours. His funeral is scheduled to be held in one week.




"Oh God," Race breathed. "Hadji."

"We have to tell Jonny," Benton said, running a hand over his face. "He has to know."


The phone rang in Jonathan Quest's Bangor apartment just as he was entering from his morning jog. Still breathing hard, he picked up the phone. On his back, an infant dozed. Little Rachel Quest was used to her father's morning jogs and was not bothered at all.


"Jon," Dr. Quest said.

"Dad?" Jonny said, frowning. "Is everything alright?"

"Jonny," his father began. "Could you come to the mansion? I have something important to tell you."

"What's happened, Pop?" Jonny said, starting to get worried.

"Come to the mansion."

Benton hung up the phone and Jonny heard it click. His mind whirled with the possibilities. Something terrible had happened and he felt a knot form in his stomach.

He wiped his face and threw some clean clothes on. He rushed to his car with Rachel and drove to the Compound as fast as safety allowed.


Jessie lifted her face from her father's shoulder and wiped the tears from her face.

"How could this have happened?" she said softly, brokenly. "He was the sultan. He was supposed to have guards. Where were they?"

Race could only shake his head. There were so many questions to be asked that didn't have answers. At least not the answers that they wanted. The assassins had slipped past security and the guards and shot Hadji cleanly in the head. Not once, but three times. Fortunately, his wife, Keisha and his son, Haresh were not harmed. Haresh was two years old. He never even had the chance to get to know his father.

"Where's Jonny and Rachel?" Jessie asked, looking around the mansion. She had just arrived twenty minutes earlier after being picked up from New York by the Quest Enterprises jet.

"Jonny disappeared as soon as we told him," Race replied. "Rachel is with Benton."

Jessie turned to look out the window and towards the cliffs. Without another word, she threw on her coat and walked outside. The bright sunny day had turned into a gray one and rain fell hard on her. Her hair got soaked in less than a minute, but she hardly felt it. She was numb. And she wanted to see Jonny.

They had not seen each other in six months for trial separations did not involve estranged husbands and wives to spend a lot of time together. Jessie couldn't imagine being any happier the day she was married to Jonny, until their daughter was born, but that happiness could not stop the fights the continued on brewing between them. Soon, fights became rampant in the Bannon-Quest household as two strong wills clashed. Years of living together had not taught them compromise. There were no referees to stop them now. Even with the advent of Rachel, the fights had not lessened. The only thing that had kept them together was the strength of their love, but that love could not stop them from leaving each other although it still burned brightly. One year old Rachel was shipped between her parents by either Race or Benton. Jonny and Jessie avoided each other at any cost ever since that last terrible fight…until now.

Although she never looked up, she knew exactly where she was and which direction she was going. With sure steps, she climbed the cliff face and to the cave hidden near the top. Just as she thought, she saw Jonny seated, his arms wrapped around his legs, his face hidden from her view.

"Jonny," she whispered.

Jonny looked up. His normally bright blue eyes were haunted and red-rimmed. The second he saw his wife, he straightened, all emotion from his face wiped away. Jessie stood at the entrance to the cave, feeling foolish that she had come.

"What are you doing here?" he asked roughly.

"He was my friend too, Jonny," she replied curtly.

He stood and came towards her. "That was nice of you to come. Now that you can't do anything for him."

Jessie gasped at the sting of his words, feeling as if she had been slapped. "I wasn't there, Jonny. I couldn't stop anything from happening. I wish to God that I could, but I can't!" she threw back at him. "Don't blame me for this too," she finished weakly.

Watching her sobbing in the rain, her once slender, but now thin form quivering in the cold, he felt his heart melt. She had gotten a lot thinner since he'd last seen her. Since that last painful argument that caused her to pack her bags and leave him and their daughter. Her features stood out in her thinness, her beauty becoming delicate. This haunted woman was not the laughing bride he had married two years before and he ached to know that he that once was the source of her laughter was the source of what haunted her now.

"I don't blame you, Jess," he sighed, running a hand through his blonde hair. "I'm..I'm just…"

"Hurting," she finished for him. "I am too, Jonny Quest. Stop being a selfish bastard and open your eyes."

Breathing hard, Jonny curled his fists, the muscles in his forearms corded and powerful. He looked into her eyes, saw the answering pain in them and rushed to her, crushing her in his arms. All arguments were forgotten, all past pains forgiven. All they knew was that they needed each other more than ever. For now there was only two. They sobbed together, holding each other. Jessie buried her face in his neck, her hot tears mingling with the raindrops that had fallen from his hair.

"Oh baby," he breathed. "I can't believe he's gone."

"I know," she soothed. "I know."

He pulled away and looked into her face. Her emerald green eyes glistened with pain. With a shaking, but gentle hand, he brushed the red hair that had come loose from her bun from her face. With one finger, he gently traced the line of her jaw, his eyes loving every line. Jessie felt a quiver deep within her that she hadn't felt in a long time. She put a hand over his, stilling its path along her face.

"You came to me," he whispered. "Why did you come to me?"

She blinked. "I knew you needed me. So I came."

"I'm so sorry, Jessie." He leaned his forehead against hers. "So sorry."

She rested a hand against his cheek, her thumb wiping away the tears that fell from his eyes. She couldn’t speak. She wanted to rest. The pain in her heart threatened to choke her.

Jonny led her to the back of the cave where two blankets and a sleeping bag rested. It had been there for years, since the time when they were younger and Hadji was still alive. They had camped out in this cave, just the three of them, the closest and best friends in the world. But now there was only two.

Gently, using the same touch he used with Rachel, Jonny peeled off Jessie's soaked jacket and clothes until she was revealed to his sight. He wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and held her to him. He could feel her hands picking at his damp jacket and soon his own clothes were discarded on top of hers. They huddled for warmth inside the sleeping bag with the two blankets wrapped around them.

There was nothing sexual about the way they held each other. All either of them wanted was comfort, but they were only human. Hands began to drift and they discovered each other again. The love that was unspoken wove between them now, exploding with a glorious release. Then, they held each other.

The sadness was lessened now that they had found each other again, but the death of their friend hung over them like a cloud. Here in the cave that they had shared as children would never be filled with the three of them again. For now there was only two.

"I miss him so much, Jess," Jonny whispered into her now dry hair. "He was the only thing, other than Rachel, that kept me from falling apart while you were gone. He called every night to make sure I hadn't lost my mind yet. He talked me through it. I was going to ask you to forgive me, you know. He made me see that I was not being the good husband I was supposed to be."

Jessie pressed a kiss on his shoulder. "I wish we had found out earlier. So we could have said good-bye."

"We're saying our own good-bye."

"I didn't think it would happen this way, you know," she said. "After everything we've been through together, it seems semi-climactic that he would be killed by a bullet while he was going to say goodnight to his son. His death was so meaningless, Jonny. So wrong."

Jonny felt his lips quiver. "I miss him."

She kissed him. "I do too."

He turned to look at her. "He did give us one last present. He always had his way, even after death."

"What was it?"

"Each other," Jonny whispered, pressing his lips against hers.


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