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A Meeting of Threads
Liberty for the first time since the crisis in Sierra Leone. Jared had arrived in Moscow with a Commander Danjou and a contingent of security. Jared had been granted a break he needed very much. For the first time in forever, he was in civilian dress and felt like a civilian.

He still stood with a military precision. Certain habits were hard to break. Jared took a deep breath and looked around the market. He stepped into a shop and began to examine the wares. He had no plans to buy anything, he just wanted to look.

Having seen Sierra Leone, he had to marvel at everything they had here. There was so much here where as the Sierra Leonans had so little. Most of these items were unnecessary to anyone. He hoped that someday, more people could live in this kind of prosperity.

He left the shop he was in and decided to walk farther. Strangely enough, he was so used to being busy that he didn't know what to do with his free time.

Edited by Jared Vanders, Oct 11 2016, 09:44 AM.
A meeting was scheduled with Jacques Danjou. Sometimes Emily wondered what she was doing, but that pull was still there. Something that drew her towards the leader of the Legion.

On top of that, she had other things on her mind. Ayden still wasn't talking to her, and Emily had come to the conclusion that Ayden had left. Perhaps it had to do with the Ascendancy's message, and Emily could understand that. What she didn't understand was why she hadn't said goodbye.

It hurt more than she thought it would. Ayden had been a good friend - her best friend really. Amongst everything going on in her life, Ayden had brought a sort of stability to that, but she was gone now, and without a word.

Why didn't she say goodbye?

It was all she wondered. Why had Ayden left without a goodbye? Why was everyone leaving her alone. Emily knew she was more blessed than most in the world, but it still hurt.

A walk through the market was helping. She wasn't shopping. She hardly went into shops. In fact she hadn't even planned on coming to the market. She had just started walking, and her footsteps had taken her here.

Emily looked up. The pull was there. She could feel it. Just as she had felt it before, but stronger now. Was Danjou here? Emily couldn't see him as she looked. She tried to focus on it, but it was almost pulsing. She couldn't focus. She turned a corner and then...

A man embraced her, comforted her...

He pulled away, another came, darkness surrounding him...

The man, green skinned and crowned, lay on the ground broken...

Intense sadness followed by joy...

A child...strong a powerful...

Emily shook her head. The images remained in her mind. She felt a little dizzy. She was sitting on the ground now, confused and disoriented.

Emily looked up and saw a man standing before her. He looked concerned. Emily's eyes widened. The pull hadn't been towards Danjou. It had been towards this man - whoever he was. Emily knew it.

What did this man have to do with anything? What did he have to do with Sierra Leone? Why was he here now?

Emily wasn't sure what to do, so she summoned her magic as the man reached towards her.

"Are you okay?"
the man asked and Emily realized the hand was to help her up.

"I'm fine,"
she said, standing up on her own. Whatever had happened with the images had happened when they had touched. She wasn't going to touch him again.

Edited by Emily Shale, Oct 11 2016, 10:28 AM.
Jared left the store he was currently in, a strange feeling prickling at him. He didn't understand what was going on. He had felt something similar to this before although he couldn't place it. Everything within him told him to run; that he needed to get somewhere quickly. It was like a soldier's sixth sense, although this one didn't feel dangerous.

Jared resisted the urge to run. Instead he walked, keeping his eyes open for whatever was causing this feeling as he racked his brain trying to figure out where he had felt this before.

He moved to an intersection and a woman ran into him...

A beautiful woman, her arm holding on to his...

Darkness...utter darkness...surrounding a man

Pain...terrible pain

Gasping...clawing for life...a bright light...

The woman above him...with child...

Jared was brought back to the moment seconds later. The woman had fallen backwards. Jared offered her a hand and asked, "Are you okay?"

When she looked up, he recognized her and something clicked into place. This was Emily Shale. He had seen her picture once in Sierra Leone, and that is when he had felt the feeling before. Somehow he knew it. Somehow they were connected.

Jared had seen enough fear to know that is what she felt. At least at some level. Perhaps she had experienced what he had when they had touched. The images meant nothing to Jared although they felt familiar.

Emily rejected his hand, standing up on her own. "I'm fine,"
was all she said as she took a step back. Yes - there was fear there.

"I'm sorry,"
he said. "For running into you."

The woman looked at him with bright green eyes. There was a question behind those eyes. Jared found himself wanting to stay with her - to ask her to coffee or something. It wasn't something he ever did after meeting someone for the first time, but at the same time, he felt as if he had known Emily his whole life.

"It's fine,"
Emily said, after a moment's hesitation. "The fault was mine.

For a moment the two stood there looking. Both not understanding what kept them from moving away from each other.
Emily tried not to stare at this stranger. But no...not a stranger. Why did Emily feel like she knew this man already. There was something so strangely familiar about him.

That was what Emily didn't like. She didn't like the connection she seemed to share with him. Emily wanted to run, her first instinct to call Ayden and ask for advice, but Ayden wouldn't answer. Emily knew that now. Emily also couldn't run. Some unknown force kept her where she stood.

Emily responded to him, telling the man that the fault was hers. It really had been. She had been so focused on finding what was pulling her that she hadn't been paying attention to her surroundings. She had literally run into the thing that she had been looking for.

The man smiled, and she found it attractive. Now that she looked at him, she realized she found him to be a attractive man. More the reason to run. Emily argued within herself. She wanted to run, but she didn't. She had no idea what to do. Should she introduce herself, should she just leave. She took another step back, feeling afraid.

the man said. "Have a good day, ma'am."
he said, beginning to turn.

the word came out without thought, surprising Emily as much as it did the man in front of her. The man turned and looked at her.
Jared could sense her hesitation. She was scared, that much was certain. Jared was a little bit too, but he kept his in check. His fear was more because of lack of understanding than anything else.

Still, the both of them seemed glued to their spots, unable to move. Jared smiled at her as an idea came up in his head. Jared had the feeling she was in the same boat as he was - finding herself being pulled to someone she had never met before. Jared decided to take a gamble.

he said, accepting her acknowledgment of fault. "Have a good day ma'am."

Jared began to turn, something in him wanting to resist the action. It was a gamble though. If she was feeling what he was, perhaps his leaving would get her attention. If it didn't, well, Jared didn't know if he would see her again - except for their meeting anyways.

she said, and Jared almost sighed in relief as he turned to face Emily.

"Let me buy you coffee...for running into you,"
there was a strange timbre in her voice as if she was trying to convince herself it was just to make amends.

Jared smiled. "I'd like that,"
he said. "Lead the way."

The woman smiled for the first time since their meeting, and Jared marveled at how beautiful it made her look.

Wow...I haven't been like this since high school.

"I'm Emily. Emily Shale."

"Jared Vanders.
He said. "Very nice to meet you."
Jared Vanders. The name matched the accent. Emily had known that he wasn't Russian. He had struck her as American. Jared walked beside her, but he was following her lead. She noted that he walked very tall, and even though he seemed relaxed, he seemed ready for anything to happen. Even though her companion didn't seem to be looking around, he seemed to have an idea of what was going on around him.

Emily summoned her magic, and it allowed her to see and hear things more clearly. She noticed a slight hesitation in Jared's steps as she did so, and she wondered if Jared had felt something. She knew Nox felt cold when she did it. Had the other man done the same?

As they walked, Emily couldn't help but wonder what was happening. She felt like she was having a high school crush again. She couldn't believe it. She invited a stranger to coffee - by herself! Emily knew she was acting strangely, but she had to figure this out.

They arrived at a nearby coffee shop, and Jared moved forward to open the door for her. It was a polite gesture. "Thank you,"

Emily said with a smile.

Jared smiled and nodded, following her inside and they took a seat at a table. She sat across from him and smiled. "You're American - I can tell from your accent. Where are you from?"
Jared walked with her, once again feeling as he did in high school. His heart rate was elevated, but he kept his breathing in check. It was such a strange feeling in general. Suddenly he felt cold. His step hesitated a moment in wonder.

Emily led the way to a coffee shop and Jared politely opened the door for her. It was a reflex. In some ways, Jared was a bit old fashioned. He smiled as she pegged him as an American.

"New Mexico - Roswell to be exact. I've had my fair share of aliens."
She giggled - actually giggled. "How about you?"

Jared knew the answer. Most Americans would.

"Chicago. I'm surprised you didn't know."

Jared gave her a grin. "I did, but I figure with everything going on in your life that it might be a relief to meet someone who didn't know your life story. I hope I don't offend."

Jared was sincere. It had been the whole reason why he had asked the question. She smiled at his response, and once again Jared felt something flash through him. That smile did things to him that so very few woman had done.
Jared hadn't offended her. "I'm not offended - that's actually really sweet."

Like Jared she was sincere. It was refreshing to have met someone who asked where she was from instead of just knowing. Of course, he did know, but he made an effort to engage her in conversation. Their drinks arrived and Emily took a long sip, feeling her heart beating in her chest rather heavily.

The pair chatted and she got to know a little more about her companion. Jared Vanders was an ex-marine who became a cop after he resigned. Later he joined the Legion Premiere which is what brought him to Moscow.

"So you're here to meet with me then?"
She asked, legitimately curious.

"Yes - small world isn't it,"
he said flashing that smile.

Emily almost melted, but she kept herself together and replied. "Indeed. I'm glad I met you before."

Emily could feel her cheeks turn bright red and she looked down to hide it. It wasn't until Jared responded with "Me too,"
that she looked up.

Jared was smiling again, and she returned it. This whole situation had changed her. She wasn't as defensive with him as she had been with other men and she didn't want to be. It was scary and wonderful at the same time.

"Walk me home?"
she asked hopefully.
"Walk me home?"

Emily's tone made it a question, and Jared was almost taken aback. It was unexpected. He had never gotten to the point where he had felt this way about someone so quickly. Jared still couldn't get out of his head the feeling that they had met before.

"I'd be honored,"
he finally responded.

They walked through the market, making their way closer to the Shale house. Jared thought about it as they walked and talked. Emily was rich, but she didn't behave like most wealthy people. She was different.

Jared was drawn away from his internal thoughts as he felt her hand take his. Their fingers interlaced and he gave her a smile.

"It's strange,"
she said. "I never would have done this with someone before. Not when we just met. It just feels - natural."

Jared chuckled. "I know. I feel the same. Like...I've known you for a long time."

She smiled that pleasant smile and nodded. "Exactly."

They arrived at a large mansion. Clearly Emily's house. "Thank you for the walk,"
she said, stepping in front of him and taking his other hand.

"It was my pleasure,"
he said, suddenly wanting to kiss her.

She acted before he did, and like the hand holding, it felt natural. It didn't last long, but it was the most wonderful kiss he had felt. They didn't speak for a moment.

was all Jared said after a long silence.

Emily laughed. "I know,"
she said. "What is happening?"

It was Jared's turn to laugh. "I don't know, but for once I'm okay with it."
His watch beeped, bringing a frown to his face. "Unfortunately I have to go back to duty soon."
He sighed. "That will take me away from here eventually."

She gave him an encouraging grin. "We'll see where things go."

A quick kiss goodbye and Jared waited a moment. He didn't want to leave, but understood his duty. He turned away with a smile to head back to the house that they were stationed in.
Emily stepped inside her home and sighed as she closed the door behind her. She had kissed him - and she had liked it. Emily could still feel her pulse racing. Emily tried to wrap her head around it. She went from having little to no trust in men to trusting this one completely.

Emily felt like she had a high school crush, but it still felt different. It felt like more than that and that scared and excited her at the same time. Emily had never been sure about fate, but based on the past couple of days, she felt as if something had drawn her to this man.

A voice drew her out of her thoughts. "Huh?"
Emily asked turning to face her youngest sister, Mara.

Mara smiled and let out a laugh. "I said, 'I saw that,'"
Mara looked extremely pleased and had that look that said she was going to be teasing her sister soon.

Emily smiled. "I don't know how it happened,"
she said, being honest. "It just sort of did."

Mara laughed again. "Probably a good thing?"
Mara responded - she always had been rather wise for her age.

"We'll see,"
Emily said. "We'll see."

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