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Jenifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A (raw update)

Rob strode through the darkness, cussing under his breath. The battle with the Soul Eater had distracted him from watching over Jennifer. A man had left with her from the café, but he also seemed to have disappeared.
He heard moans coming from an alley near the Super House fire station on Eutaw Street. Walking rapidly, he saw a couple leaning against a wall. The man had his back facing the alley. Shadows cast by the building prevented him from seeing more. As he approached, the sounds the woman was making seemed to be of pleasure. He sighed. Of course it wouldn’t be that easy to find her again. Rob turned to continue, when something about the woman’s moans caught his attention. He moved closer. Both were too into what was occurring between them to notice his approach.
The noise the woman was making signaled an undercurrent of pain to it. Soon, Rob heard sucking sounds and could see the man had his face buried in her neck. He punched other man in the base of the skull and gripped the guy by his forehead. Rob pulled his head back. The moon came out from behind a cloud. Blood coated fangs gleamed in the white light. ‘Vampire. Fucking thing.’ Rob’s fingers sank into the parasite’s skull as he slammed its face into the brick wall beside the woman. As she slumped from the vampire’s grip, the moonlight fell on her face. ‘Jennifer.’
The vampire twisted in Rob’s hands, trying to fight back. The chronomancer spotted writing on the back of its neck. It appeared to be a serial number like the Nazi’s had branded their victims with. This one was identified as a Gypsy.
“Salutari, vampir. Hrănire pe oameni? Timp sa moara,” Rob said in Romanian, before slamming the monster against the wall again. There was a wet crunch and the vampire howled. He hurled the vampire across the wide alley. It struck the wall of a parking garage and slid, senseless, to the ground. Turning back to Jennifer, Rob reached within himself and summoned the energies to manipulate the time stream. He wove a temporal bubble around her unconscious form and turned back to deal with the undead.
The vampire shook its head and snarled at Rob, seeking to intimidate. The chronomancer merely laughed. “I wish I had time to play with you, but I don’t.”
The undead creature leaped at Rob who sidestepped. There was a flash of blue and the vampire hit the ground, decapitated. Rob sheathed his crystal sword and headed to Jennifer. Lifting her in his arms, he concentrated on his home and the two vanished. The air rushing to fill the void left by them scattered the ashes of the destroyed vampire.

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Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. (Raw update)

This part of the story comes from further along into the story than the last part. If you haven’t read any of the prior, part one is here. I’d be delighted if you read and told me in the comments what you think of it.

A golden skinned, bald man knelt before a gigantic loom. The threads on the loom were thousands of different colors, almost all glowed in the dim light of the room. Every so often, one of the threads would stop glowing, and turn transparent. The bald man’s strong, sure fingers would move to the no longer glowing thread, follow it down to where the color stopped and tied it off. Almost immediately, a pair of shears would appear in his hand, the transparent thread would be cut and moved to another section where it would begin to glow once more. Sometimes, a thread would be cut before it became transparent, and it would be spliced to another. Almost always, when this happened, more threads would sprout from the joined ones. Other times, nothing would happen.
At his knees was a very long, very black thread. It seemed to suck the light into it, it was so dark. Though this dark thread was at the bald man’s knees, he would frequently dip his hand down and tie it to some thread or another. The thread he tied it to would lose its glow and turn transparent. Sometimes, when the golden man would attempt to tie the black thread, a greenish purple one would weave itself in place. He would consider for a moment, nod and then tie the back on another place.
The bald man glanced over the tapestry, wondering where the next thread would go, when his eyes suddenly opened wide. A strange thread wove its way through the tapestry. This thread was electric blue; neither transparent, nor opaque, but somehow both at the same time; and no matter what, it would not be controlled by the old man. He sighed. It was going to happen again.
But, it didn’t happen the way he was expecting. To his horror, the thread doubled back on itself. “No, no, no, no, no, no,” he moaned. Helpless not to, yet knowing it was pointless, the old man reached for the loom, trying to stop the thread. As soon at the thread touched itself, the tapestry burst apart: threads flying everywhere. “Fuck!” the old man shouted, punching the floor. As the room shook, the old man spread his hands apart and the loom reorganized itself. He sighed again.
“WALKER!!” he bellowed.
Moments later, the air shimmered. A tear on the fabric of reality appeared and Carter stepped through. He breathed in the scent of jasmine and rose petals. He turned and looked up at the Titan who had summoned him.
“What is it, Kronos?” he said.
The Titan spun and bent over him. “Your friend has done it again,” he rasped.
“Um, would you be a bit more specific? I have a lot of friends and they do a lot of things repeatedly.”
“You have only one friend that I would be interested in,” Kronos growled.
“Good point,” Carter said. “What has he done this time? How extensively, I mean.”
“Six months.”
‘Shit. Another wish, Robilar?’ “I hate when he does that.”
“You hate it?” The Titan gestured at the loom. “Look at what he’s done to my work.”
Carter gazed at the destruction. Hundreds, if not thousands, of threads lay scattered around the room. Not many still glowed. Each thread represented a life. The glowing ones were those who lived, the transparent ones were those who would be born. ‘Does Robilar know, or care how many lives he interrupts, or changes, with his wishes?’ He looked back at the Titan. “I will make sure he doesn’t grant any more wishes, Kronos.”
“Thank you, Walker.” The Titan sat cross-legged on the floor and reached behind him. He came up with an immense platter of figs, dates, wine, grapes and goat, ox, bull and sheep meats. These were surrounded by an assortment of cheeses.

Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. (raw update)

His fist came to a halt inches from her face. His index finger flicked out and tapped her nose. “You know better than to sneak up on me, Kirei-chan.”
She wrinkled her nose in that cute way she had. “Sorry. I was entranced with your awkward dancing. Do you have seizures often?”
“It’s called a kata, as I’ve told you before.” He scowled.
Jennifer smiled. “You keep straining like that and you’re gonna crap yourself.”
He couldn’t help it, he started laughing. It was so much fun being around Jennifer. After a few seconds, he grew more serious. He looked her up and down, taking in the turquoise karategi and the tape in her hands. “Couldn’t figure out what to do with the tape, eh?” She shook her head. Rob plucked the roll from her fingers. “This is to help protect your joints, Kirei-chan. Hold out your hand.” She raised her right arm and he began to wrap the adhesive tape around her wrist and hand. When finished, it looked like she had a fingerless tape glove on her hand. As she flexed her hand, getting used to the new feeling, he told her to raise her other hand. Moments later, he had her left hand done as well and had moved down to her feet.
Jennifer sat on the floor to make it easier for him to wrap her feet and ankles. She stared at him when instead of rising to his feet after the taping was done, he began to caress her leg. He grinned at her and slid his hand further along her calf up to her thigh. When he lightly squeezed the back of her thigh with his thumb and index finger, she squirmed away, giggling.
Rob rose easily to his feet and held his hand out to her. She took it and allowed him to pull her to her feet. When she stood this close to him, her heart started to beat a little faster. He smelled so good; leather from the sheathe, Brut aftershave and a clean, masculine scent that seemed to be all his own. ‘If only I knew what he was thinking,’ she thought. ‘Then I might-’ She pushed the thought away. It wasn’t the time or place for thoughts like that. Rob positioned her so that she was a few feet away from him. She enjoyed his strong hands on various parts of her body: her legs as he adjusted her stance, her arms so they were ready to defend her and her waist as he tried to get her to relax. ‘I’ll never tell him that I find it hard to relax when his hands are on me like this.’
Rob shook his head. “It’s gonna hurt if you don’t loosen up.”
“I’m loose, let’s go.”
He nodded. “I’ll start slowly. Don’t worry about countering, or blocking. Just duck each swat. When we have increased to a sufficient speed, we’ll move forward, okay?”
“Ready.”
He delivered a long slow swing at her head. It came in so slowly, that she put up her arm as he’d taught her two weeks ago and lightly punched his chest. He raised his eyebrows and she scowled at him, daring him to say anything. Instead, he fired his left hand at her faster than she could see. His open hand tenderly touched her right cheek. She blinked as he grinned. ‘Point taken, Rob.’ Instead of continuing with the lesson, he instead stroked her cheek, lightly trailing his fingertips along her jaw and caressed her lips. ‘His fingers are so gentle. I like the roughness of his callouses. It’s manly.’ She looked into his eyes, trying to mask her thoughts. His pupils were dilated, making his eyes look black. Her breathing came a little quicker. He stepped forward and she took and answering step backward. He stepped forward and she retreated a step once more. They did this twice more, Rob’s grin growing each time.
“Kirei-chan,” he crooned. “Why are you retreating?”
“I’m not. I’m advancing to the rear.”
He paused, the words slowly trickling through his Jennifer filled brain. When they finally sank in, he guffawed. Once again, she had caught him off guard with her wit. She gazed at him, amusement and…something else dancing in them. He approached her again, but this time the wall of the training room was behind her, leaving no place for her to retreat. He stood so that his chest was brushing against hers. She tilted her head up to gaze into his eyes.
“Worth, what are you-”
He tilted his head down and slanted his mouth across hers, catching her with her lips parted. His mouth moved against hers, kissing her with an intensity she had never felt before. When his tongue slid into her mouth and lightly touched her own, she automatically wrapped her arms around his neck as she began to caress his tongue with her own. ‘He’s been eating blueberries,’ she thought briefly. His lips were firm, yet soft. Demanding, yet giving. His scent filled her nostrils as she held him tightly to her. Her pulse thrummed in her veins as she melted against him.
Rob pulled back a bit and began to rain feather light kisses along her jaw as she tried to catch her breath. He kissed his way around to her ear, nibbled it for a second, or two, then moved down the side of her neck. She held him tightly to her, nuzzling the side of his neck. Her breathing was short and shaky as adrenaline raced through her. She ran her hands through his hair, enjoying the silken softness of it. He nibbled the side of her neck before lightly biting it. Jennifer gasped as heat flooded her belly and spread outward. Shortly, Rob’s mouth returned to her lips. She pushed him back a bit and playfully kicked his shin. “What the hell, Worth? What are you doing?”
He chuckled. “You have to use every weapon at your disposal.”
She scowled, eyes narrowed. “Oh really?” She then kicked his shin a bit harder this time. It wasn’t enough to hurt him, she didn’t want that. He hopped up and down on his left leg, clutching his right shin and rubbing it.
“Ow, ow, ow! What the hell, Kirei?”
As he hopped, she stepped forward, gripped his right arm, pivoted into his body and flipped him over her shoulder with a judo throw he’d taught her last week. He slammed to the mat, hard, with the air knocked from his lungs. She stood over him, her hands on her hips. “How’s that for using every weapon at my disposal?”
He started laughing. Before he could formulate a response, Danijela’s voice sounded in the room.
“Mr. Worthington, we have a situation near Fort Avenue. Take your new recruit and investigate.”
“Roger that, Danni. What are the particulars?”
“According to the reports, it seems a wild dog attacked a jogger near the Koba Café. Local Leo’s are on scene. Be careful, you two.”
“Change up, Kirei. I’ll meet you back here in five minutes. There will be a tactical vest in your locker.”
“Roger that, Worth.”

Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. (raw Update)

Agents Markham and Jensen looked around the cave. There was no sign that anyone other than Rob and Jennifer had been there. Jensen was a brunette woman with dark brown eyes that sparkled as if she wear constantly amused. Markham was a bald man with a deeply lined face. He was only 37, yet the stress of the job had him looking much older. They had been partners for seven years and communicated almost silently. At her partner’s nod, Agent Jensen raised her radio to report. Just outside the cave, a small branch crackled as if someone had lightly stepped on it while trying to sneak up on them.

Agent Markham indicated that he was going to investigate, drawing his weapon as he did so. Agent Jensen nodded and drew her own firearm. Markham stealthily crept to the cave opening and peered out. Strain as much as he could, he couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary outside. He pulled a long breath through his nostrils, but couldn’t smell anything either. He turned back to his partner and shook his head. He didn’t see anything. Jensen blinked. When her eyes reopened, her partner was gone. Her jaw dropped and she ran over to the opening of the cave.

She looked out and stared around. Some instinct had her keep silent. It was probably the same one that had her heart racing like an excited horse. Her breathing was coming fast and hard, yet shallowly. Black spots passed before her eyes and the cave felt like it was going to collapse on her. She had her gun pointed out, moving it here and there, jerkily searching for a target. She was so freaked out by Markham’s sudden vanishing act that she wouldn’t have been able to hit the ground had she aimed there.

A branch shook lightly, drawing her attention. The green of the brush’s leaves was a light brighter than she had remembered. She gently pushed aside the roughly barked branch, ignoring the green leaves. Before she could see what had made the branch move, she was abruptly hit in her face with a steam of warm liquid. The hot, greasy, coppery odor told her it was her partner’s blood. Squeezing her eyes shut, she recoiled. She never saw the thick, brown hand that snaked out of the brush and yanked her in. The brush shuddered, then was still. In the distance, birds chirped unconcernedly. A tan doe and white-speckled fawn dipped their heads to drink from the nearby stream.

Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. (raw update)

Out in the hallway, away from the others’ sight, Rob turned to Jennifer and pushed her lightly against the wall. He had an intent look on his face, no sign of humor. “What the hell was that in there, Jennifer?”
‘Shit, he’s using my name. This must be serious,’ she thought. “What do you mean, Worth?”
“This is no time for games.”
She could hear his breath coming out of his nostrils. She wanted to laugh about it, but the pulsing vein in his jaw told her maybe now wouldn’t be the best time. “Maybe a clue?” she said in an attempt to be diplomatic.
“The swat on my ass,” he said through clenched teeth.
She blushed as she replayed that event in her mind’s eye. She grinned, eyes going wide, and showing teeth. “I got caught up in the moment?”
That adorable grin defeated him as always. “I have a request: Don’t do it again?” he sighed.
She shook her head, brow furrowed. “Oh no. Definitely not.”
He stared into her eyes for several long moments as if trying to gaze into her soul, then smiled. “Good. Thank you, blue eyes.”
She sagged against the wall as the tension drained from her body. She hadn’t been sure what was going to happen next. He was simply too unpredictable. It looked like she wouldn’t have to disappear from another guy’s life yet. “My eyes are hazel.”
He grinned, face lighting up. “Not under these lights.”
She smiled. “You’re weird, Worthington.”
His grin widened into a full-blown smile. “Yeah. It’s part of the reason why you’re so attracted to me.”
She lost her smile. “No, I’m not.”
“Of course you are. But that’s okay. It happens to everyone, eventually.” He sighed, “Oh the perils of being as pretty as me.” That caught her unawares, making her laugh. He had been messing with her again. Rob reached out and gently squashed the tip of her nose with his finger. “Beep.”
Outwardly, she smiled at his actions, but inwardly, she wanted to cry. It always happened this way. She’d meet a guy that she enjoyed spending time with, but wasn’t attracted to, and they’d look for more. After a bit of time, she’d disappear. She was sure it hurt their feelings a little, but it would hurt them a lot less in the long run. She decided to hang out with Rob one more time before vanishing from his life. She recognized the signs of him falling in love with her, but didn’t want to hurt him: he’d already been through a lot.
“Hey, Kirei-chan. Pay attention!”
“Sorry,” she said. “What does “chan” mean?”
“I erred earlier when I called you Kirei-kun.” He smirked. “When a male uses the honorific “kun” for a female, he’s stating a level of intimacy with her. Usually, they are lovers. I should have called you “Kirei-chan,” which would actually be more accurate. Because we are friends.”
“Oh.”
“Follow me.”
“Where are we going?”
“Training room,” he said with a sinister grin.
She raised her eyebrows. “What’s with the grin, Worthington?” He laughed aloud. “Don’t hurt Kirei, Worth,” she said in a small voice.
“Come on. Has Worthington ever hurt his Kirei?”
“His Kirei?”
“Indeed,” he rumbled.
“Oh.” She shook her head. “No, he hasn’t. Kirei is just being sure. Worth likes being mean to Kirei.”
“That’s different. Worthington wants to make sure Kirei doesn’t get used to him being nice to her. Because that would be boring.”
“Indeed,” she said, giggling.
Rob lightly swatted at her butt. “I warned you about using my words. Only I get to.” She blocked his hand with both of hers behind her, laughing with her tongue poked out. He smiled. “Okay, Kirei. Let’s get going.”

Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. (Raw Update)

“So, tell me about this crush you have on Rob, Danni.”
Danijela smiled. Her eyes sparkled before she closed them. “My crush on Mr. Worthington was merely my cover. It wasn’t real.” Rob muttered something. “Would you repeat that a little more clearly, Mr. Worthington?”
“No.”
She chuckled. “Smart man.”
Jennifer scratched her head. “Wait a minute. You said Rob has a butt a woman could sink her teeth into. I remember the look in your eyes then. That wasn’t a cover.”
Danijela chuckled. “Indeed. I always was a sucker for a nice ass.” She then slapped Rob’s rump, hard. His eyebrows shot up. Jennifer grinned and also slapped his butt.
“Hey now.” He glanced at the two women on either side of him. “If y’all keep that up, we won’t get anything done today.”
The women looked at one another, eyebrows raised, faces reddening, and burst out laughing. They bent at their waists, clutching their ribs. Rob watched for a moment, differing expressions at war on his face. Finally, he grinned, threw both fists into the air, and shouted, “Yes! I made you both laugh.” He turned and walked to the center of the Operations Center.
Stevenson met him part way across. He lowered his voice. “You have to see this, Rob.”
Rob’s right eyebrow quirked upward. This had to be big. Sam never used his first name. He followed the analyst without saying anything further. The young man sat in his swivel chair and called up an image on the monitor. It was the interior of the cave where Jennifer had spent the night. A dark shape was huddled near the ash pile left from her fire. Suddenly, the shape rose to its feet, revealing itself to be a gaunt man in a tan leather duster. Long, stringy hair covered his face. As they watched, he began to blink in and out of sight. Every time he returned to sight, he was closer to the camera. Within seconds, he was right in front of the camera. In a voice sounding like it came from a mouth filled with rotten garbage, came, “Ah! Ah! Ah!” In the next instant, it appeared that he had eaten the camera. The feed dissolved in a spray of static. The monitor suddenly leaped forward as if something within was trying to jump out. Stevenson leaped back and to his feet as the monitor landed on the floor. The men stared down at the screen.
“Um, w-what j-just hap-happened?” Stevenson stammered. His eyes bulged, and his fingers dug into his cheeks, pulling furrows into them. He flinched when Rob grabbed his shoulders. ‘Christ! His skin is like ice!’ Rob thought.
“Hey, Sam. Look at me,” he said softly. The younger man looked at him. “Tell me about the Fibonacci sequence.” He knew that was Stevenson’s favorite integer sequence and it would get his mind off of what just happened.
“The Fibonacci sequence is named after Leonardo of Pisa, who was known as Fibonacci. Fibonacci’s 1202 book Liber Abaci introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics, although the sequence had been described earlier in Indian mathematics,” Stevenson began.
“Very good, Sam. Keep going.” Rob turned to discover Danijela and Jennifer standing behind him. He wasn’t surprised. He took them by their arms and lead them a little way away. He quietly filled them on what had just happened. “I don’t get it. Do you think that was what had been following you, Kirei?”
She shrugged. “I have no idea. I never saw anyone, or anything, remember?”
The director interrupted. “Mr. Worthington, I will have an agent investigate this. In the meanwhile, you should begin Ms. Steel’s training.”
Rob sighed. He hated leaving things to other people. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Don’t call me ‘ma’am’. I’m only ten years older than you.”
“Would “Yes, sir” suffice?”
Danijela threw a stapler at him. “Cheeky bastard.”
Rob laughed as he ducked. “Let’s go, Kirei.”

Jennifer Steel (1st draft)

Jennifer stepped out of her tan Isuzu Rodeo and shut the door after locking it. She looked around, but couldn’t find her friend Danni. ‘That’s odd. Danni’s usually at our meeting spots before I am,’ she thought. She looked around at the deserted amusement park. It had closed down years ago, but the city never seemed to have the money, or inclination, to tear the place down, or do anything else with it. Even though she preferred the darkness, Jennifer had to admit to herself that the area was giving her the willies. She walked closer to the gate. The steady wind began to pick up. Near the base of the gate, Jennifer saw a slumped shape. ‘Oh, God, Danni!’ Jennifer thought as she rushed over. However, it wasn’t her friend slumped over by the bottom of the gate. Instead, it was her ever present laptop next to a pile of garbage bags. She bent over and picked up the computer. It was a little dinged up, but it still powered on. When the screen lit, Jennifer let out a small scream: there was a lot of blood on the keyboard. She resisted her first urge to throw the laptop away from her in revulsion and instead carried it over to her truck. She set it on the hood and attempted to wipe off some of the blood from the screen. It smeared a bit, but then she was able to see the login box. She thought for a few moments, then typed in Danni’s favorite phrase: “Rob is a hottie!”
She shook her head at that. The Rob in question was a friend she had met at a coffee shop/internet café. He was a little annoying, but he was fun, too. She had introduced him to Danni about a month ago and she couldn’t stop talking about him. Rob, for his part, was completely oblivious. Jennifer enjoyed teasing him about how much he wanted to date herself, and had even more fun verbally playing the role of his boyfriend and having him play the role of her girlfriend. He was even willing to play dress up for her. She chuckled: Rob only did that stuff because he wanted to go to bed with her. Naturally, he claimed otherwise.
The computer beeped and displayed a wrong password notification. A hint also appeared: Fibonacci. That made no sense to her. She shrugged and put the laptop into her truck. After stashing it under the seat, she pulled the gift that Rob had given her earlier in the day from the glove compartment. Seeing it again caused her to flash back to him giving it to her.

part 2 is here