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Skye looked down at her ring again. She couldn't help herself. It was just so beautiful. She would've taken a piece of gravel tied with a string, she thought. She really would have. This ring was just so unique. The way he thought of it, the way he proposed. It was so him and so perfect. She'd hardly been able to get out the words to accept.

Who would've guessed? She wondered, looking up at his rugged face as she sat on his lap. Who would've guessed we would end up together. She giggled. If bets had been taken over the summer on them, would anyone have been game enough to lay money down on them? Probably not. I certainly wouldn't have.

A bemused smile came to Dylan's face. "What's so funny?"

"You and me. I was just wondering who would've guessed."

"Me. I woulda."

"No! No way!" Skye was wide-eyed as she teased him.

"Yes, way." Dylan nodded his head decisively. "From the moment I saw ya."

Skye tipped her head. "And when, exactly was that?"

"A warm summer day as I stood leanin' against the drug store's brick wall. You came out of the coffee shop. Took my breath away. After that, I stood there every time I came to town."

Skye laughed. "What? You spied on me."

"Oh you betcha, darlin'. Over and over again."

Skye lightly slapped his arm. She vaguely remembered someone in the coffee shop saying something to her. "Dylan," she whispered, "are you? Are you the low-down, dirty skunk?"

He raised an eyebrow, and she explained the warning an old lady had given her about him. "Probably," he laughed, "I been everything else."

"I saw you! Well, not really because you were back in the shade, but I saw you." She laughed. "I love that. I mean, it was probably better I didn't know it then. But now that I know you and everything is so right, I love it that you spied on me."

Skye laid her head back down on his chest. "How are we going to do this wedding? What do you want?"

Dylan pushed her hair back and kissed the top of her head. "I just wanna be married. How we do that is up to you. But I did asked the judge to come back to marry us."

"You did? Oh, that was a great idea." So he has been planning this for a little while.

"Yeah, well, I didn't want this thing to drag out."

Skye had a finger to her chin, her mind already mulling over possibilities. "I think I'd like most of the community there. Maybe if everyone pitches in for the food, like a covered-dish, it would be okay. I just wouldn't know who to leave out."

"Okay, but I wanna know when? Cause I want this done as soon as possible."

Skye laughed. "So you said. Why does that not surprise me?"

Dylan scoffed. "Because it shouldn't."

Skye put a hand to his cheek. "I promise as soon as possible."

"Tomorrow?" Dylan asked, with a twinkle in his eye.

Skye giggled. "The judge won't even be here, and you know it. Find out when he can get here. Whenever that is, we'll have the wedding."

Skye stood and held out her hand to Dylan. "Come on. I can't wait any longer to tell them."

Dylan grabbed her hand as he stood and they leisurely strolled back to the cabin. Arms around each other, and heads together, they talked. Every so often, Dylan would raise his head to scan the area, but he wasn't worried. It had been weeks since any of the sick had been this close to the community.

They crossed a little glen and watched a few deer shy away at their arrival. There was a canopy of birds this morning, all seeming to sing at the top of their lungs. Skye giggled as she mentioned it. They saw a groundhog make its lazy way across the open area nosing around for its favorite grasses.

Without warning, the thunderous, sharp crack of a rife instantly stilled the forest. The echo rolled through the hills. Skye felt Dylan's exhale stir the back of her long hair.

A bullet pushed past them close enough to hear. Its whiny buzz mixing with the last roar of the gun blast.

"It's close!" Dylan roughly pushed Skye to the ground as another boom filled the air. Dylan stumbled and ducked, covering Skye. For a moment, Skye felt his ragged breath on her neck.

He pushed her hard toward the trees and brush across from them. "Go! Stay low!" Skye obeyed as she tried to keep her stomach from heaving.

Rifle in hand, Dylan scanned the forest to their right. It was thick with trees and brush. He couldn't see anyone.

That's where it had to have come from, he knew it. Dylan looked for a shadow, a glint from the sun, anything.

He put a hand on Skye's hip, hurrying her along as she half army-crawled to the treeline. He had to get her to safety. He had to. A few more feet. Then they were there.

Dylan winced as he got into position. He turned and fired a shot at his best guess on where the gunfire had come from.

Skye put her hands to her ears. As the roar faded, she said, "Dylan! Maybe they were firing at the animals!"

"No. They weren't."

"You don't know that!"

"I know." He did know. The deer had scattered. No one that knew anything about hunting would have tried for them. Most people don't go for groundhogs when their cupboards were already full. And that shot was close. The second one closer. Whoever it was, shot at them. Directly at them--on purpose.

"Dylan!"

"Skye," he said as he raised his rifle again, "Be quiet."

Dylan fired again and watched. Nothing moved. He suspected they were already gone, but worried they were not.

Turning to Skye, he took in her wide eyes and trembling body. "Are you okay?"

She shook her head yes as he turned and examined her to make sure. He put his hands to her face. "Your okay, darlin', your okay," he murmured as he comforted her.

Dylan ran his fingers down her arms and took her cold, clammy hands in his large, warm ones. He studied them. Her light ones where almost engulfed by his darker ones. He brought them to his mouth and blew on hers, hoping to warm them. Then he tried, rather unsuccessfully, to control his breathing.

"Darlin', you're gonna need to go on back home now. Send Wade out here."

"Why?" Dylan watched her wide eyes look at everything but him. She needs to calm down.

"Don't argue with me girl, just go do what I say."

Skye was having trouble concentrating. Her eyes zigzagged from one side of the clearing to the other, worried the gunman would come back. Or worse, be waiting for them to move before continuing his assault. Who? Why?

She felt Dylan's warm fingers stroking her hands. Focus, Focus. His last words echoed through her ears.

Skye brought her gaze to his. Though his words were hard, his gaze was not. They were loving, and worried, and filled with pain.

Panic seized her tightening her muscles as she looked him over. "Dylan?"

"I said go." His tone was harsh and gruff this time.

She ignored him. Instead, she yanked open his thick, red flannel jacket. A couple of buttons flew. There was a second, blue flannel below it. And there was more.

Blood. Blood soaked his shirt, turning it dark. Having saturated the shirt, it had started onto his jeans. She went numb.

Skye sucked in her breath. "No!"


A/N: Thank you so much for reading Sanctuary! :) If you enjoyed the chapter, please hit the little star below. :)

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