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Author's note: This piece is still undergoing some major work. I only have two chapters done so far.
Richard Thomas was returning to his family after a hard day’s work. Richard, codename Maverick, worked for the CIA and is their top agent on the field. His wife Maura and daughter Jane was closely watched 24/7. Now a usual day for Richard contained getting shot at multiple times, coming home with cuts, grazes, and bruises, and feeling safe when he entered his house. He was good enough his work never followed him home, but tonight it felt different. Richard could feel something was not right; he shouldn’t have gone straight home, let alone agreed to the plan. He finally arrived home and slowly got out of the car. He only took a few steps when he felt a gun pressed against his back.
“Hello Agent Maverick.”
“Good evening Kirill.”
“Let’s see the family shall we.” Kirill pressed forward and let Richard lead the way.
Richard stopped at the front door and slowly turned his head to Kirill. “My family is not to be harmed do you understand. They have nothing to do with this.”
“I’ll be the judge of that, now keep going.”
Richard opened the door and Jane came running towards him. He took in the lively sight of his only child, how alive and thrilled she looked. She was a beautiful 11 year-old. Richard’s wife followed and then picked up Jane.
“Look whose home pumpkin. We weren’t expecting you until tomorrow night dear.” Maura walked over and gave her husband a kiss on the cheek and that’s when she saw Kirill standing behind him. Maura let out and scream and ran into the living room putting down Jane and grabbing the phone. Richard went to stop her, but he was too late; Kirill shot Maura. Jane screamed and ran upstairs to hide; Kirill took aim at her.
“I said my family is not to be harmed!” Richard spun around and started fighting Kirill off. Kirill hit Richard across the face making him unable to keep balance. Richard fell to Kirill’s feet.
“And I believe I said I would be the judge of that.” Kirill said as he closed the front door and locked it behind him. Maura started moving; Richard saw that it was thankfully only a shoulder wound.
“Maura! Maura, just stay where you are honey! Help will be here soon.”
Jane came from her room and hid on the staircase. Watching, waiting for her dad to get up and save the day just like he always did.
“This is not over Kirill! MI6 and CIA will be here any minute. You’re wasting your time.”
“See that’s where you’re wrong. Besides where is your partner, oh what’s his name Adam Morrison?? Oh that’s right I believed I left him unconscious. You see Maverick, no one is coming to save you not now and not ever. Say goodbye to your family.” Kirill shot Richard first and then shot Maura once again. Jane let out a squeal and ran back towards her room; Kirill followed closely behind. “Come here you little brat!” Jane spun around and kicked the gun out of Kirill’s hand. “Looks like Daddy has been teaching you a lesson or two.” Kirill knocked Jane to the ground and stabbed her in the right side and picked her up and threw her into the nearest closet and locked it. Jane was losing consciousness and the last thing she could remember was the smell of smoke and the heat of fire. She started screaming: “Daddy! Daddy!!! HELP ME!!”
“Jane, come on now! Jane wake up it’s only a nightmare.”
Jane kept screaming and kicking; Nikolai picked her up and cradled her in his arms. “Shhh Jane it’s okay I’m right here.” Jane woke up and saw Nikolai.
“Umm,” Jane began to speak while trying to sit herself up “I’m fine now you can uhh let go please.”
Jane Thomas and Nikolai Stunner were agents for the CIA. Nikolai specializes in combat and was Jane’s go to guy when she needed help the most. Jane specializes in weaponry - mostly guns, and she is also the CIA’s prodigy. She was like her father Richard, Agent Maverick, in so many ways. However, the CIA kept that a secret from the rest of the team except for Nikolai, who is Jane’s partner. They were inseparable. Nikolai helped raise and teach Jane mortal combat. They were only a few years apart but all they had was each other. After a couple missions, they got a place together. Jane could not be left alone, not with the dreams she had, and especially not with Kirill still out there.
“You sure you want me to let go? That dream was worse than the last one. I was afraid you were never going to wake up.”
“Nik I’m fine… so just please let go.”
“Alright, but I think we really should find you some--” Before Nikolai could finish his both communicators went off. Jane grabbed hers and Nikolai went to his room to fetch his and then came back. “If it’s another mission we’re not taking it you need rest.”
Jane flipped open her communicator and read:
“URGENT message to all CIA: There will be changes in the way we have things work. Each team will be assigned new members; you will receive new information upon arrival at base. Further information will be given then.”
Jane closed her communicator and jumped out of her bed and ran into the bathroom to freshen up.
“So much for resting.” Nikolai said as he went to his own side of the apartment.
A couple hours went by and Jane and Nikolai arrived at the CIA base located in Langley, Virginia. They went through security and headed to their main commander. The new commander would have been her father if he was still alive but Kirill took everything away, changing her life drastically. Jane was only 11 when that happened and when the CIA took her in for her own protection. For all she cared, her dad’s old partner should have never shown up and rescued her. Where was he when her father needed him?!
“Yeah I’m fine.” Jane gave a fake smile, but like always, Nikolai was not fooled. “Let’s just get our new team assignments and be on our way.”
They entered the office just like any other day, always together.
“Ah! My favorite dangerous duo!” The commander smiled. “You are the best team to ever fight alongside the CIA. I hate giving you two more members but rules are rules.” He handed them the new portfolios of their two new teammates.
Jane was handed the portfolio of Clay Hunter, codename Archer:
“Age: 20 years-old. Specializes in technology; considered one of the best hackers around. Speaks fluent French and Hebrew. Description: Short straight blonde hair, rugged, 5’10”, pale blue eyes, fair complexion, with a slight, but muscular build. He was part of a bio-terrorism group at the age of 13 and was caught by MI6 for hacking their intelligence mainframe for international terrorism.”
Nikolai had the portfolio of Heather Meyers, codename Susie Q:
“Age: 19 years-old. Specializes in surveillance and counter intelligence - has many street contacts and is very skilled in surveillance. Speaks fluent Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. Description: Long curly chocolate brown hair with natural highlights, 5’9”, forest green hazel eyes, sun kissed tan. Mentored by Adam Morrison, a retired top agent of MI6. Knows how to blend in well into any background. Had trouble with foster parents; constantly in and out of homes. Knows very little combat, but is great when put on the streets.”
Jane and Nikolai looked over each portfolio before asking any questions.
“So what we get MI6’s leftovers?” Jane asked.
“They are not leftovers Jane. Agent Susie Q happens to be MI6’s prodigy just as you are ours. Agent Archer and Agent Susie Q are MI6’s best team and we feel that by combining the four of you, your team will be unstoppable.”
“Wait back up a second, how is she a prodigy? She barely knows any combat. She’s just a chameleon. We have our own.”
“Jane, I’m sure you can recall her mentor’s name.”
“Yes he’s my father’s old partner. He is the reason why I don’t have a family and why I’m stuck here living a not-so-normal life. So what, that makes her a prodigy just because she was mentored by the very man who has betrayed my very own father? You’ve got to be kidding me!”
“Commander, what does this mean?” Nikolai asked.
“This means we are no longer known as MI6 or CIA. We are now and forever more CI6. With the new team assignments, you will be sent to London to meet up with your new teammates, and you will undergo more in-depth training together.”
Jane rolled her eyes, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“It’s another beautiful day in London, and I’m sitting here on a park bench wondering where the hell you are. Come on Heather, you don’t have to hide.”
“I’m not hiding thank you very much. I’m right here.”
“Well of course, now you are.”
Heather sat down next to Clay on the park bench. They were currently on their fifth mission which shocked every MI6 agent. Usually Heather only lasted about three missions before her partner got sick and tired of playing “hide” and “seek” with her.
“Did you find out anything?”
“Unfortunately not this time. My contacts are afraid to come forward… I don’t know what has them so spooked. What about you?”
“Nothing on their mainframe. I’m starting to think this is just something to keep us busy. There just might be something going on at MI6 which they don’t want us to know about.”
“If you’re talking espionage, you obviously have not been focused on your studies then.”
“Well excuse me, not all of us have the brain power for counter intelligence. So Miss Know-It-All, what’s going on at MI6?”
“I’ve heard some chatter about a new partnership.”
“A new partnership you say?” Clay brought up MI6’s mainframe and began hacking his way through countless files.
“You know they’ve updated that since the last time you hacked the mainframe. You won’t get in.”
“But that’s where you are wrong.”
“And in three, two, one.” Clay’s computer blacked out and a video chat with their commander popped up on screen. “See told ya.”
Clay gave her a smirk and turned back to the commander. “Why hello there commander!”
“Morning Agent Archer and Agent Susie Q. Since you two are ever so impatient you might as well head back to headquarters for a new briefing.” The commander signed off quite abruptly before Clay could ask why.
“We’re getting new team members, if that’s what you’re so concerned about.” Heather got up and began walking back towards headquarters. Clay followed but no matter how close he was to her, she kept disappearing.
“Right then. Guess I’m walking back by myself.”
Heather was the first to arrive when Clay found her waiting by the main doorway.
“You’ve really got to stop doing that. I’m responsible for you. I don’t want to lose my only partner.”
“You’ll get over it.”
They walked inside and went through security just like any other day. Heather as seemed to just slip on by like she was never there. No one ever seemed to notice, Clay did, but only when Heather was not paying attention. Clay did his best not to bring attention to her - it only made her uncomfortable. Heather and Clay arrived at their commander’s desk.
“Well hello you two. Heather I see Clay has yet to lose you.”
“Yet.” Heather said with a smile.
“You know you can be awfully mean these days.”
“Can’t help that you’re just too soft.”
“Ouch.” Clay laughed.
“Okay commander who is the new partnership with, and what teammates are we getting?”
“Ah! Someone was doing their homework.” The commander went to hand them the new portfolios.
“Of course! It’s even a bonus when you don’t get caught.” She smirked at Clay who just laughed and shook his head.
Clay was handed Jane Thomas, codename Crimson:
“Age: 19 years-old. Specializes in weaponry; most skilled with guns. Speaks fluent Russian and Gaelic. Description: Straight short red hair with bangs covering the left side of her face, grey steel eyes, pale freckled skin, 5’3”, knife wound on her right side. Story unknown to every intelligence agencies, including the CIA.”
Heather was handed Nikolai Stunner, codename Blackjack:
“Age: 21 years-old. Specializes in combat. Speaks fluent Greek and Farsi. Description: Short straight raven black hair, ocean blue eyes, 6’1”, sun kissed tan, extremely fit and well toned. Resident bad boy who was sent to the military for disciplinary problems at age 15 and where he excelled greatly. Trained with the Army Rangers. Can be very arrogant at times.”
Heather and Clay read both portfolios and gave each other a glance of curiosity and disgust.
“I hate to say it but I don’t see Blackjack and me ever getting along.” Clay was the first to speak.
“Oh really, I can see Crimson and I being the best of friends.”
“Could you two be anymore childish?”
“You really think we’re being childish? Have you read Jane Thomas’s profile? She’s just one riddle wrapped up inside mystery packs in an enigma.”
“Give her some credit. Didn’t you read that she has a knife wound in her right side? Maybe something bad happened in her past and the CIA is just keeping it hush hush.”
“Well that is not surprising, CIA is exactly like her; they’re all dumbasses.”
“Heather, come on now. Cut her some slack.”
“Clay, are you really sticking up for a random girl who you only have a portfolio and picture of?”
“Give me some credit here.”
“It’s nice to see that there is at least one person attempting to keep chivalry alive. Good luck with that though. After meeting these two, I think we’ll need to kiss our manners goodbye.”
“You actually know what manners are? Wow, I’m impressed, Heather! It’s so rewarding to see how much of a positive impact I’ve had on your life.”
“You two are not going to put MI6 to shame, so I demand that the childish antics stop here and now! These are very good agents from CIA - one of their top teams.”
“And your point is?”
“We are very grateful for CIA joining their intelligence center with ours. We are even more grateful for them letting us to join our best team with theirs. Our prodigy and their prodigy will be most feared.”
“Excuse me, prodigy?”
“Yes Heather a prodigy. Agent Crimson is their new top agent just like you are.”
“Ouch, bring out the mace.”
“Shut it Clay!”
“Both of you need to accept we are no longer MI6, but now CI6. It will forever remain this way, and Agents Crimson and Blackjack are now part of your family. They will be arriving this week. Then the four of you are being sent away to a training camp.”
“What the French toast? This is just going to be a fan-freaking-tastic team.” Heather said very sarcastically.
On the plane ride to London:
“Relax babe. It’s just a new start.”
Jane just rolled her eyes and sighed.
“Why are you being like this?”
“I’m not comfortable with this. They can’t be trusted.”
“Them or him? Look I know you’re not excited to run into the one guy who saved your life, but I am. I want to thank him because if it wasn’t for him I would not have such an amazing partner.”
“Well I’d like to thank him for destroying what life I had or could have.”
“Is this life that unbearable?”
“I just want a family Nik.”
“And what I’m not family? For all I knew I thought I was or at least I assumed so.”
“Nik please not this again.”
“Jane I just want to understand you.”
“You already do! Okay?! You already do!”
“Not enough apparently.”
“Look, as long as Kirill is still out there I can’t risk getting close to anyone. I just can’t bear having my heart ripped out again or worse watch them die.”
“I know, but I want you to understand I’m not letting him get anywhere near you.”
“Stop trying to be my safety net, okay, Nik?”
“Only trying to establish partnership.”
“Okay you’re getting a bit to mushy for me so I’m checking out. Wake me when we finally get there.”
“Good idea you need to chill out - sleep should help you relax.” Nik leaned into her seat and whispered in her ear. “I’m right here if you need me okay? I promise no nightmares this time.” Nik grabbed her hand.
Jane smiled to herself and whispered: “I know.”
Both agents fell fast asleep and tried to enjoy the rest of their flight to their new home.
Clay waited near the gate terminal where he would meet his new teammates. Heather waited at the MI6 main base where they would take a jeep towards the training grounds. Clay kept texting Heather but could not get much of a response. Clay decided to try one more time:
“Y couldn’t u come again?”
Clay waited for a reply. Nothing.
Clay spoke to himself. “Fine Heather, don’t answer me.” He sighed and put the phone in his pocket- as he did it went off. He took it out once again and read:
“Plain and simple - I don’t want to be there. End of story.”
Clay did not bother answering her back. There was no point in arguing with her. His phone went off again.
“What is taking them so long anyway? Don’t they have some speedy jet or something absolutely ridiculous?”
Clay texted back: “They need to keep some cover. If we were going there, our company would have wanted us to do the same.” As soon as he sent his message he looked up and was startled to see a young woman who seemed to be Jane Thomas.
“Did I scare you?” she smiled.
“No just surprised.”
“Well a good agent knows to expect the unexpected so why weren’t you prepared?”
“Look lady I’m not an agent.”
“You’re not a very good liar either. You’d think MI6 would train you guys with a better defense.”
“Okay you must be on crack or something because I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Jane be nice!”
Clay looked over her shoulder and saw Nikolai Stunner.
“Ah darn and I was having so much fun.” Jane gave a mischievous smile.
“So I take it you’re Nikolai Stunner?” Clay extended a hand.
Nik placed the bags on the ground and took Clay’s hand and gave a hearty hand shake. “Yeah that would be me, but please call me Nik.”
Clay glanced over at Jane and smiled. “So you must be Jane Thomas?”
“And no photographic memory how do you remember who you ever have to come across. Tisk tisk Clay you’re slipping.”
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
Jane smiled again and began walking towards the main doors of the airport.
“Well she’s got spirit.”
“You have no idea.” Nik picked up the bags and followed Jane out. Clay was at his heels.
The Drive to MI6:
Everyone was quiet. Nik gazed out the window and Jane had her iPOD playing as loud as it could go.
Clay nodded towards Jane and asked: “What’s her problem?”
Nik only shrugged.
“Okay then so much for making conversation.”
“I don’t have a problem.”
“How’d you hear me?”
Jane rolled her eyes and went back to her iPOD.
“Dude she hears everything and sees everything. There’s no way you can get anything or anyone past her.”
“Okay. So then since she can hear me, is it okay if I ask a question?”
Nik glanced at Jane and she nodded.
“Why isn’t there a more in depth profile on you Jane?”
Jane froze and Nik tensed up.
“I’m taking it I asked the wrong question.”
“You got that right.” Jane mouthed.
“Then I apologize for overstepping any boundary I just crossed.”
Jane then took out her headphones slid forward on her seat to where she was knee to knee with Clay. “There are some things about me which are too dangerous to know. So unless you have some death wish, don’t bother asking again.” Jane slid back and put her headphones back in her ears and turned up the volume.
Clay just looked at her and then glanced at Nik.
“Dude your fault you asked.” Nik slid up next to Jane and out an arm around her. Jane handed him a headphone. Jane rested her head up against his shoulder and the nape of his neck.
The rest of the car ride everyone remained quiet while everyone rested up.
Heather was waiting outside the main doors with Agent Morrison.
“I understand that patience is a virtue but this is ridiculous.”
Just as Heather spoke the car pulled up with the rest of her team. Jane stepped out of the car first. She was wearing Decree ripped skinny jeans and a tight To Write Love On Her Arms shirt with her iPOD in one hand and a cell phone in another.
“Well this is going to be fun.”
Jane locked eyes with Heather. She wasn’t dressed in clothes that stood out - actually none of her clothes seemed to be in style.
“Oh my, this is so not going to be easy.”
Clay and Nik both got out of the car. Jane helped Nik get the luggage out of the trunk and Clay walked up to Heather.
“Are you kidding me with this? She looks like some high school poser.”
“That’s the least of our problems. So lay off of it!”
“Oh what’s wrong Clay, had your little heart broken?”
“Shut it!” Clay spat.
They both looked over at Jane and Nik.
“High school poser?! She looks like a damn moth!”
“Chill Jane, your temper is not going to help us out here.”
“And really? Clay?! Does he really think I’d fall for someone like him! Please he’s not my type.”
Nik just laughed.
“What are you laughing at?”
“I find it funny that they think we’re a couple.”
Jane smiled and laughed along with him.
Clay looked at Heather. “Did you catch any of that?”
Jane and Nik walked up the stairs with their entire luggage.
Heather noticed that Nik was carrying most if not all of the luggage. “Funny how you make your partner the pack mule.”
Jane just smirked at her.
“You really don’t need all those clothes. They won’t be necessary for where we’re going.”
Nik and Jane laughed. “Who said I only brought clothes along?” Jane reached into a bag and pulled out a Tactical Sniper. “I love to look stylish and all, but guns are my specialty.” Jane put the sniper back into the bag.
“Well that’s just a thousand airline rules broken.”
“Oh just shut up already!”
“Temper girls, temper.” Nik spoke sarcastically.
“Try telling her that!”
Jane lunged for Heather but Agent Morrison got into her way.
“Let go of me you bastard let go!”
Agent Morrison pushed Jane back and as he did she began to fall backwards down the stairs. Clay dove to catch her, but he was too late. Jane did a couple of back flips using each stair as a push off and landed safely on her feet.
“Are you okay? I’m sorry that I didn’t catch you soon enough.”
“Please, I don’t need a safety net to catch me when I fall. And I don’t need to be held back!”
“Jane please this is—“
“Shut up! You have no right to speak to me, Morrison.”
“Actually I do. I’m your trainer for the remainder of your stay. Jane, you need my help.”
Jane clenched her fists and jaw as tears welled up in her eyes. “I think you’ve helped me enough.” She grabbed their entire luggage and stormed inside the building.
Nik walked up the rest of the stairs and glared at Heather. “You all need to lay off of her. And I mean all of you, just lay off. This isn’t easy for any of us.”
Agent Morrison and Nik both walked into the building.
“What is her problem?”
“Just shut it Heather!”
“Clay, you really need a new comeback. But seriously, she’s got issues… Oh well. As long as they don’t interfere with my agenda, I don’t really give a rat’s ass.”
“Well look who’s talking! That’s the teapot calling the kettle black, and you know it Heather. In case you’ve forgotten, you don’t have the brightest past either. You just choose to pretend that those things didn’t happen instead of dealing with it, and that’s no one’s fault but yours.”
Heather glared at Clay, and it took all the strength she had not to hit him. She started to storm off, but before she did, she turned around one last time and said, “At least I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve for all to see. Let me make one thing clear - you better get your priorities straight, or these next few weeks will be complete and utter hell for you.”
Clay just stood there and watched her leave… that had been a low blow and he knew it. And he had no idea how the heck he was going to make it up to Heather, but he knew he needed to think of something - fast.
Only a couple of hours went by and it seemed to Jane that Nik and Morrison were getting way to chummy for her taste. The staff each made their individual favorite meals but she could barely eat the food that was put in front of her. Nik was devouring a huge burger with the works; he called it the “Nikmeister” since it’s pretty much impossible to find anything else like it. Clay was having the Cashew Chicken with yellow rice. As, for Heather she had the same meal as Jane: Mac & Cheese. Morrison made a joke about the two of them being exactly alike and all Jane did was shoot him a dirty look that would chill anyone to the bone; Heather just gave the best fake laugh she could. Jane kept to herself the whole time barely lifting the fork to eat - she just wasn’t hungry.
“You know if you want to lose weight, anorexia is not the right way to go.” Heather said with a smirk.
“Look who’s talking.” Jane got up from the table without excusing herself.
“Nice caveman manners of yours.”
Jane ignored Heather and just kept walking away. She could not handle it anymore; her heart was breaking even more so. Looking at Morrison, let alone being around him, only brought back the painful memories of her parents. No girl at that age should have to witness her parents’ death like that, nor should she be stabbed and left to die. Not to mention the fire - Jane still could feel the flames licking the closet door trying to get through to her. She let her mind wander and the tears flow. After a few minutes, Jane could sense someone following her. Jane slowed her pace a little and slid a blade from her arm down to her finger tips. She counted to herself:
“One, two, three.”
On three she turned around to stab her stalker right in the jugular, but whoever it was grabbed her arm. Jane realized it was Clay and the blade was only a few inches away from his throat. Her eyes widened with guilt and fear - only briefly did Clay catch it for then it turned to anger.
“Never sneak up on me like that! Ever!”
Clay let go of her arm and Jane placed the blade back into place where it would remain secretly hidden away.
“Okay. Lesson learned.”
Jane calmed down a little and shook her head as if trying to clear out all the memories, to erase all the pain, and to shake away the tears.
“What do you want?”
“I was just coming to check on you. That’s all.”
“Well I’m fine.” Jane turned her back to him.
Clay walked around to face her. He was so taken aback by her -how could this woman who could do so much damage be so broken? Clay put a hand on her chin, Jane winced, and he pulled her gaze up to his level. “In all the years of being an agent that’s the best lie you can come up with?”
Jane let out a weak laugh. Clay stepped a bit closer, but she pushed his hand away and stepped back.
“Look I don’t need some personal doctor. When I say I’m fine, I’m fine.”
“Okay then, if that’s the case, why did you walk away from your dinner? I hear it’s your favorite.”
“Yeah well I’m not that hungry.”
“This isn’t about Heather is it? Because she doesn’t mean everything she says.”
“Oh the hell I don’t!” Heather came over to them with Nik and Morrison in tow.
Nik hurried over to Jane and grabbed her by the waist and walked away from the group leaving Clay with Heather.
“What the hell is your problem?”
“Nothing lover boy. Just make sure to keep it in your pants.”
“So we’re on speaking terms again?”
“Not exactly, but I love the mind games you’re playing on that chick.”
“Heather enough! You need to get your act together and fast if you want to be the best of the best.” Morrison scolded.
“Umm I think your memory is going Gramps, because word on the street is I’m the shiz.”
“Not without your team.”
Morrison walked away from the two MI6 agents and spoke to Jane and Nik.
“I rather hope you enjoyed dinner. Jane, I had the staff package up yours and to take it to your new premises.”
Jane wanted to give him a retort, but all she did was nod. Jane was exhausted; the emotional toll was killing her and she knew there would be no reason to sleep tonight for she would not be getting any.
“So what’s next on this agenda of yours?” Nik asked Heather. “Oh yes I heard that.”
Morrison spoke before Heather even had a chance:
“We have to visit the head commander of CI6 for further briefing.”
The Commander’s Office:
The four followed Morrison through many different corridors and stairwells until they were finally outside the commander’s door. Morrison went in first to announce their arrival.
“I’m really hoping we keep our bosses. We need a little fairness.” Jane spoke with very little hope.
“Would you like some cheese to go with that whine?”
“Shut the hell up!” Nik and Clay both snapped.
Morrison came back out and let the team in. Jane looked around the office - it all looked very familiar like she’s been in this very room before. Jane started getting restless - she knew this place but could not remember where from. She looked and looked then she finally saw it: a picture of a red headed little girl dressed head to toe in camouflage holding a crossbow which happened to be aimed at a young teenage boy with chin length sandy blonde hair, piercing brown eyes, and a very toothy grin. Jane picked up the frame smiling and laughing to herself - she could not believe who was now the new commander of CI6.
“Good times weren’t they?”
Jane hadn’t heard that voice in so many years. Ever since Jane joined the CIA, she never once thought she’d see him again. Jane spoke while still looking at the frame:
“Thankfully you forgot to load it. I was a trigger happy kid.” She placed the picture down and turned to face the teenage boy who was now a full grown man.
“Wow, look at you! You shot up and developed quite nicely if I might add.”
Jane sighed: “And you’re still the same hormonal teenager I grew to know and love.”
Jane and the commander just stood there for a few more minutes before Heather spoke:
“Ummm eww. This has to be some joke right?”
The commander just laughed and faced the rest of the group.
“Sorry Agent Susie Q, but no, this is not a joke. Jane and I go way back all the way to childhood.” The commander walked over to Jane and embraced her with the biggest hug picking Jane up off her feet.
“Susie Q? What the eff is this? Okay, wait I get it - I’m being Punk’D… so is this the part where Ashton Kutcher comes out - because if it is I would SO totally tap that ass.”
“Well that was unnecessary.”
“Dude you’re just upset she didn’t choose you.”
“Whoa, that’s just uncalled for Nik,” uttered Clay.
“Alright the three of you knock it off. “Tapping asses” is not something which should be discussed in front of your commander.”
“Again I must apologize,” he said as he placed Jane back down “this wasn’t the greeting I had planned for.”
Jane walked over back to Nik. She felt like the little girl she once was in that picture.
“My name is Jasper Croft. I am your new commander of CI6 and from now on you will report to me, obey my orders, and bring any complaints that you may have to me and only me. Is that all clear?”
Every agent nodded their head. Jasper walked back over to his desk and grabbed new identification files for each new member along with their new training schedules that they must adhere to.
“These files contain your new identities - your new names which you will only respond to within these walls or on missions. If your codenames were to get out, I would not be able to protect you. Is that clear?”
The agents nodded again.
Jasper began to hand out their new files. First up was Clay:
“Clay, you are now Agent Archer.”
Second up was Heather:
“Heather, Agent Susie Q.”
“Nik, Agent Blackjack.”
“Can I take a guess Commander Croft?”
Jasper smiled and nodded his head.
“Nice to see you still remember.”
“Of course I do, Agent Hercules.”
Jasper squeezed her shoulder and finished up his “I’m the new commander speech.”
“Now inside is a rule book. I have based the rules on how I want each of you to treat each other. If these rules are not followed through, I shall leave the disciplinary actions up to Agent Morrison. You are now a family and it’s time you started acting like one.”
Agent Morrison gave a grunt in approval.
“That’s all for today. Agent Morrison will show each of you to your designated rooms. Agent Crimson I would like it very much if you were to stay behind, there is much I would like to discuss with you.”
“Yes Sir!” Jane gave the biggest grin she could ever manage.
Morrison ushered the other three out and closed the main door behind them. Jasper walked over towards his desk – he pulled up a chair across from him and then went over to the mini fridge which was located to the far left of his office desk. Jane walked over to the seat which was meant for her and sat down. While Jasper rummaged through the fridge and small cabinet that was underneath the mini fridge, Jane looked at each individual photograph. Jasper had only four which included the one she saw earlier. The first one she picked up sat directly in front of him: a teenage Jasper sitting Indian style on the floor with a small Jane in his lap, a man that was a carbon copy of Jasper was kneeling next to both children on the left while a beautiful brunette woman kneeled on the opposite side, each one with a huge smile on their face.
“It’s the only one I have.” Jasper turned from the fridge and brought over two tall glasses one with milk and the other chocolate milk. Underneath his arm he carried her favorite cookies Chips Ahoy!, which made Jane smile.
“What are the other pictures of?”
“Well the second one to my right is of when we took you to Disney World.” Jasper turned the frame around.
“I was so obsessed with pirates like there was no tomorrow. Then what’s the one on the left.” Jane reached for it as she did Jasper took hold of her hand – she pulled gently away. “It’s of someone special I take it?”
Jasper let out a soft sigh and gave a meek smile. “It’s something like that. I just don’t want you to think I’m some type of sex offender or something.”
Jane just laughed and turned it around. It was a more recent picture of her. She recognized it immediately – it was the last mission she ever took alone. Jane was sent to the Grand Caymans just south of Cuba – what for remains top secret. It was a mission she had given herself.
“I wouldn’t say sex offender…more like stalker.”
“What can I say? I care about you.”
Jane just smiled and went onto another subject.
“So what, you got bored with being a Special Agent?”
“No not really.”
“Then why commander of CI6 – why take a desk job?”
“Still the same level headed adrenaline junkie I see. What have I always told you?”
“Okay, so yeah, maybe you can make a difference sitting behind a desk and barking orders, but how did you manage this job?”
“Well certainly not by killing so many people.”
Jane laughed. “The day you kill as many as I have will be the day hell freezes over - but seriously, how? You didn’t buy your way in did you? No wait - it’s because of that damn IQ of yours isn’t it? Of course, that is the only reason to explain why they hired a twenty-four year old.”
Jasper laughed. Jane enjoyed the playful banter just as much as she loved sharing her favorite snack with her favorite person.
“This is not why I asked you to stay behind.”
“Then why did you Jasp?”
“I wanted to know how you were doing. The last time I saw you – Jane you were only a kid.”
“Yes we all grow up Jasper. Seriously what’s this about?”
Jasper just stared at her with despair and hurt.
“Not you too, who did you hear it from?”
“You eyes give it away. They’re darker and heavier than normal – shows that you haven’t been sleeping much.”
“Jasper they’re just nightmares. That’s all - just silly nightmares.”
“They are not just silly nightmares! I understand having them as a child – hell it took everything to finally get them to stop. You’re nineteen – they should have been repressed or erased by now.”
“Look, stop diagnosing me with PTSD or whatever! I’m fine and if you haven’t noticed, these nightmares have NOT interfered with any of my work. I can think clearly.”
“Jane I was watching the surveillance – you almost drove a blade through Clay’s jugular. You’re more irritable. The Jane I grew up with never verbally brutalized anyone, and the way you go after Heather is just not normal.”
“Don’t even get me started on her. You rightfully know I did not start anything.”
“This new team is complicating things, I know.”
“No you don’t Jasper! No you don’t,” Jane got up from her seat and paced back and forth “Every day I have to be careful. Every day I have to watch what I do, what I say, who I get close to, and I can’t do it anymore.”
“Jane you have to let someone in. Tell someone. Let someone protect you. Hell you’ve got Agent Morrison and we both know very well how much he cared for your parents.”
“Jasper I can’t just tell someone. I can’t just let someone in. They can’t just protect me,” Jane’s eyes began to fill with tears “Not even Morrison can protect me. No one can. Kirill is still out there and I’m at the top of his list. I’m not safe - not ever. You would figure that growing up with a father known only as Agent Maverick to the CIA and a mother who worked for the IRA would be protection enough for a family,” Jane began wiping at the tears “but it’s not.”
The room then fell silent only the suppressing sobs could be heard.
“Not even foster care along with witness protection could stop the inevitable,” Jane looked at the smiling family on last time “I’m sorry. Your parents didn’t deserve a fate like that. You may look at me and say it’s not my fault – but in reality it is. As long as I’m still alive and he’s still hunting me down no one is safe. Not even you Jasper.” Jane gained control again and properly adjusted her posture, “If you don’t mind I think we’ve done enough damage for one day.”
Jane started to turn and was stopped when Jasper spoke:
“Hang on for one minute please. Just one more minute before we go on with our days as commander and agent.”
Jane turned back to face him:
Jasper rooted through his desk drawers until he found what he was looking for – he pulled out a similar picture which he had sitting across from him. Jasper handed it to her.
“No matter what you say it was not your fault – and you will always be family.” Jasper then kissed her on the forehead like he always did when Jane would get upset.
Jane gave a very weak smile and walked out with the picture in hand. She knew this was the last time she would ever feel safe again.
The rest of the team started unpacking their things and arranged their rooms to their liking – all except for Heather. She lay on Clay’s bed wondering what connection Jane had to the new commander Jasper Croft.
“Heather you’ll get wrinkles all over your forehead if you keep concentrating like that.”
“I’m not in the mood Clay. Besides, that’s what Botox is for.”
“So what? They have something going on. No big deal.”
Heather shot up and slapped Clay as hard as she could:
“It is a big deal! If she’s so tight with the commander, we lose all our top spots.”
“Don’t you mean YOU will lose the top agent title?”
Heather completely ignored Clay’s remark. “The only thing I can come up with is: she’s a whore and is sleeping with the new commander.”
Nik threw down his suitcase and stormed on over to Heather.
“You know, you two aren’t that different.”
“I think I will take a pass on being a part of whatever weird sex fantasy you have going on with Jane and the commander, but thanks anyways. Really, I’m flattered.”
Nik moved in closer with his chest puffed out.
“Come on man, calm down.”
Clay placed a hand on Nik’s shoulder but was soon was pushed onto the ground with great force.
“This whole day I’ve been listening to you bitch and complain about the new arrangement. It’s about time you get your head out of your ass - we ALL hate it. It’s going to take some getting used to, so DEAL with it. Commander Croft wants us to all get along and follow those rules because he knows exactly what will happen if we don’t. So suck it up and play nice!”
“Why should I play nice with the office slut?”
“Funny – what do you call your relationship with Agent Morrison then? It’s just like the one between Jane and Commander Croft. In that comparison I would assume that would make you an office slut as well.”
Nik left the room and searched for Jane. He left Heather completely speechless and fuming with Clay to handle her and her mood swing. Nik wandered around the halls until he spotted Morrison walking Jane to her and unfortunately Heather’s room. Nik invited himself in when Morrison left. When he entered the room, he could see that Jane was a wreck. Nik sat himself down beside her and pulled her in for a hug. He swayed side to side to ease her mind – but nothing worked, she just kept crying. Nik looked down at her hands and saw that Jane was holding a picture of a family – tears were falling down distorting it. Nik slowly pulled it out of her hands and looked around the room for an empty frame until Jane finally spoke.
“His name is Jasper Croft. Those are his parents – the little girl is me,” Jane swallowed. “The government placed me into a witness protection program - the only downfall was that I was a foster kid. They took me in – Jasper welcomed me with open arms. They wanted to have another kid but every time his mom would get pregnant with a child she’d miscarry. They decided to adopt when their last child died during birth – it was a beautiful baby girl. I was eleven but they took me in anyway.”
Nik found a frame and placed the picture on the book case directly next to her bed.
“He found me. Somehow, just somehow he found me. It was my twelfth birthday and Jasper was picking me up from school. Our parents stayed home – they were planning this big huge party just for the four of us. I was so excited I ran into the kitchen…then I found our mother Denise first. She was lying on the floor with a knife shoved through her heart. Jasper found our dad William near the living room phone – he tried to call for help but was strangled by the cord. I remember shaking Denise begging her to wake up, but she never did. Jasper was able to call the police and not too long after that the U.S. Marshal showed up at our doorstep. I was still shaking her – Jasper had to pull me away. Then I saw it. I saw all the blood – I was covered in it. I still see myself covered.”
Jane began to sob harder – it was just all too much. She cried in Nik’s arms for what seemed like hours, maybe days. Jane just wanted to get it all out of her system – she needed it out of her system before nightfall. Nik let Jane lay down to rest while he unpacked all her things and arranged the room to what he knew would be her liking. There was peace for once. Jane was able to relax and drift off to sleep – but was awakened by Heather’s screaming. Nik ignored it and continued on with his task. Jane tried to tune her out – but could hear her storming towards their room.
“Brace yourself Janie.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Jane just rolled onto her side and faced the wall.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Heather shouted at Jane.
“Uh I would get up if I were you.”
“Why?” Jane rolled back around to face Heather but remained where she was.
“Because you are on my bed.”
Jane just smirked:
“Your bed you say? Right, well, if I remember correctly you weren’t in here; in fact I was the first one in the room and by the looks of it the first to start unpacking.”
“Well that’s the last of it.” Nik said as he plopped down next to Jane – he looked at Heather “Do we have some sort of problem here?”
“The hell we do. I want the bed nearest to the door.”
“Why not take the one nearest to the window. It’ll be much cooler over there and you have more privacy.”
“It’s not about privacy.”
“I’m just going to end this now. Heather, Jane was here first so she gets the bed of her choice – you would have done the same. Jane, since you made a choice without your roommate present to agree on the subject – it would be at best to let her give what she likes and doesn’t like to avoid any further arguments.”
“As long as she’s kissing Morrison’s ass, there’s no way I’ll choose to get along with her.”
“Well as long as you are keeping your pants off around Commander Croft, there’s no way in hell we’re going to be friends.”
“Did you just call me a slut?”
“Call you that no – heavily implied yeah.”
Jane shot up as fast as lighting and within seconds was in Heather’s face. “Mind your own damn business. My life and who it entails is none of your concern – and if it were true at least I’d be getting some action.”
“Yeah you would, you top teenage drama queen.”
“You are not too far off either, Heather.” Morrison scolded
Morrison looked at Jane and Nik and ushered them out – once they left he closed the door behind him.
“Heather we need to talk.”
“What is it, because right now is not the time.”
“You need to be kinder to Jane.”
“Why? What did I do to her?”
“The question is - what is it that you believe she did to you?”
“Okay Chinese fortune cookie, tell me what is it that pissed me off.”
“You are afraid of losing Clay. You think she’ll steal him away or that he’ll leave you for Jane. None of this is true. Jane Thomas is misunderstood and needs more people to help her remain intact. I’m expecting you to help her.”
“Why? Why does she deserve to be treated like a saint?”
“Because she too comes from a troubled background, plus I promised her parents that one day I would have a student of my own who would help guide her in the right direction.”
“Okay that would be your cue to go Dr. Phil – I’m no one’s therapist or tour guide.”
“Leave her stuff where it is – if I find one thing out of place you’ll answer to me AND the commander.”
An hour went by before Jane came back from Nik’s and Clay’s room. Heather was finally settled into her liking: a nightlight was plugged into the wall nearest the TV not to mention one was place in the bathroom – those Jane had no problem with, it helped her feel a little safer. Her stuff remained exactly where Nik had left it; Heather had the window open which let some cool air in on Jane’s side – that helped out a lot since Jane was also nearest the vent. The one thing Jane hated the most was the locked door – she needed the door to remain open. Without bothering to ask Heather, Jane left the door unlocked and opened. Jane then grabbed a towel and fresh clothes and went to take a very long hot shower. After about twenty minutes, Jane dried herself off and towel dried her hair. The shower still did not help any – Jane could barely cope with herself. She didn’t even bother to wipe the condensation from the glass mirror. Jane was just not ready to face herself.
Jane finally came out of the bathroom to find Heather asleep in her bed and the door once again locked and closed.
“Unbelievable. This is not going to fly.”
Jane unlocked and propped open the door once again before climbing into bed. Once she was in bed she heard Heather get up from her bed, she came over to Jane’s side of the room to close and lock the door. Jane sat up and looked at Heather – Heather noticed Jane and spoke:
“Oh sorry, thought you were asleep. Listen I like to have the door locked at all times. So if you can remember that much then we won’t have any problems.”
“Actually, I prefer to have the door unlocked and propped open just to be on the safe side of things. So if you would please succumb to my understanding and leave the door open, that would be wonderful.”
“In your dreams Jane - this door stays tightly shut and locked.”
“You really aren’t seeing the silver lining of my preference at all do you?” Jane said as she rubbed her eyes.
“Oh yeah because you call someone sneaking into the room through an open door safe?”
“And the window being open is safer? I would rather have an open door to run out of then an open window to jump out. So if you please would leave that opened, I would greatly appreciate it.”
“You’re really pushing it.”
Jane was exhausted and couldn’t handle anymore fighting – she just wanted to sleep.
“You know what fine. I’ll let you have your way.” Jane said as she curled up under her covers again.
“I’m glad to see you realized the errors of your ways.”
Heather walked back over to her side of the room and crawled back into bed.
“And you call me the teenage drama queen – well honey, you’re the Queen B.” muttered Jane under her breath.
Jane rolled back over onto her right side and faced the wall – she would just have to deal with any nightmares on her own.
Jane’s nightmare returned with a vengeance:
“Look who’s home pumpkin. We weren’t expecting you until tomorrow night dear.”
“I said my family is not to be harmed!”
“And I believe I said I would be the judge of that.”
“Maura! Maura, just stay where you are honey! Help will be here soon.”
“This is not over Kirill! MI6 and CIA will be here any minute. You’re wasting your time.”
“See that’s where you’re wrong. Besides where is your partner, oh what’s his name Adam Morrison?? Oh that’s right I believed I left him unconscious. You see Maverick, no one is coming to save you not now and not ever. Say goodbye to your family.”
Jane ran up the stairs and the dream changed.
“Hurry Jasper hurry!!!” Jane ran screaming into the kitchen then she saw her – she saw her new mother on the floor covered in blood and her father strangled by the phone cord.
Denise rose from the kitchen floor.
“It’s all your fault. Taking you in as our daughter was a big mistake.”
“No! Please! It wasn’t my fault! I promise it was not my fault.”
“We just wanted a little girl. We wanted a regular family.” William spoke.
“We never knew that you would be so much trouble. The nightmares were one thing but now this. We died because we chose to be your parents.”
“It’s all your fault Jane.” Both Denise and William said together.
“NO!! NO!! JASPER SAID IT WASN’T TRUE!!”
“And you believed him. You killed us Jane – you are still covered in my blood.”
“No this is all just a dream. Just some stupid dream!”
Heather woke up – she couldn’t take it anymore. She needed to shut Jane up just for a little while. Heather walked over to Jane and took a throw pillow and started hitting her in the face with it repeatedly.
“Just shut the eff up already!!”
But that only made Jane scream louder and louder. Heather walked to the kitchen to grab a small glass of water to toss on her face. All Jane was doing was screaming:
“IT’S NOT MY FAULT. NO PLEASE STOP! I CAN’T BREATHE PLEASE!”
What happened next went by in a blur. Nik broke the lock on the door and rushed into the room. Heather didn’t see who it was and instinctively attacked Nik.
“Get the fuck off of me!”
Nik threw Heather against the bathroom wall so hard the room began to spin. Nik hurriedly picked up Jane in his arms and began to soothe her.
“Jane, wake up. Everything is fine now. Quiet down.”
Jane woke up in hysterics and Heather finally came to. Nik turned to Heather and started screaming:
“What the hell is wrong with you?! That door is to remain open at all times!”
“How the hell was I supposed to know she’d have a meltdown? Honestly I don’t give a shit about her.”
“She’s in hysterics! That door is meant to stay open at all fucking times do you hear me?!”
Heather couldn’t take it anymore – she ran out the room and knocked Clay over.
“Hey whoa, easy there – where’s the fire?”
“I hate her Clay! Why does she get to be treated special? I went through my share rough times too but you don’t see people treating me like a freaking princess, do you?”
Clay helped Heather up and walked her into his room – Nik followed.
“Sorry dude, but this rooming situation is not going to work out. I’m moving all of the stuff out and moving in with Jane. She can’t live in those conditions.”
“It’s understandable. I’ll be over for Heather’s stuff later.”
Nik left with all his things.
“Oh so you’re siding with them too?”
“You should have just left the door open.”
“But Clay, I can’t, you know that – I had no clue she would go ballistic.”
“Enough! Alright I’m going to bring your things over here. Are you happy now? You won.”
“What do you mean?”
“You got me all to yourself and made Jane crack under pressure. You know she has a past too but the difference is you can leave yours, she can’t.”
Clay got up and left the room.
“That’s not the reason why. I just wanted to keep myself safe. Is that so horrible? I just needed to feel safe for once. ” Heather whispered to herself as tears rolled down her face.