Instead, someone pulled me down by the hair.
It was one of the privates. He started dragging me back to the military vehicle, still clutching my hair. I thought he would rip it out by the roots in a clump. I grasped for his wrists to hold up my weight as he dragged me.
"Don't shoot her!" Shawn yelled. "I wish like hell we could, but they're wanted for questioning!"
"I know, I know," said the private, still dragging me.
Jason jogged over, waving his hand at the private. "Hey man, hold up. Hold up."
The private let go of my hair and Jason helped me stand. The private obediently walked ahead.
Jason put his arm around me.
"I'm watching out for you, Ash," he whispered. "Don't forget that. I've got you. I'll take care of you. We'll just get you all checked out, make sure you're clean. I know you been through a hell of a lot. But I'm here for you. I can help you take the edge off." As he guided me toward the military vehicle, he pressed a couple of round pills into my palm. "These'll make you feel better. Remember, Ash, I'm here to help you take the edge off, in any way you want." He squeezed my shoulders.
He didn't release his firm grip as he lead me all the way back to the vehicle.
I didn't think I could be any more sickened by Jason after what he'd just done with the swather, but I was. I was so distraught and angry, I thought I'd collapse again. I didn't really understand exactly what he'd been hinting at, but I got the gist. I knew he'd do anything he wanted to me, given the chance. I held on to the pills he gave me only to avoid pissing him off. I would have rather died than be held captive by Jason Gibbs, but that was exactly what was happening.
Gunshots rang out. A burst of rapid fire.
The rangers lifted their weapons, startled. I ducked down.
I thought someone was shooting at us, but when I glanced up I saw a man approaching us from a dark military SUV. He was dressed in a black version of the combat uniforms the rangers were wearing, shooting not at us but into the air.
"Stop," he called out, firing his rifle again.
The rangers lowered their weapons.
"What is it?" Jason yelled back.
"What is it, sir," the man barked as he approached.
"What is it, sir," Jason mumbled.
"I'm taking these two off your hands."
It was only now that I realized the man approaching was Ian.
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