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Decided to split my last post up because it's a silly move. ^_^


by Daniele Marx

A cell phone let out a shrill ring in the quiet apartment. Dana and Jordan nearly cringed from the familiarity of the sound; it usually meant trouble for them when Colin’s phone rang. The sound of Colin presenting them with yet another dilemma to their already building tension made nothing easier to bear. Thankfully Colin was there to answer his own damn phone.

“Merriam speaking.” Dana sent a look to Jordan, waiting for the bad news to rear its ugly head, but the man was already angry at his superior for reasons he would not disclose, which meant that it concerned her. The man wasn’t too hard to figure out, despite his psychological defenses and cloaking devices. What did Colin say to him that had her caretaker on edge? “Sorry, you must have the wrong number.” The A.D. was even upset about something, being completely unreadable as he poured himself a brandy from his flask. It was a nasty habit to break for him; he usually did it around Dana when she was exceptionally difficult. This was their bimonthly meeting with the three of them. The A.D., Alfred Young, was not angry at her otherwise he’d been discussing whatever behavior she’d displayed with her by now. No, he was angry at Colin, but for different reasons than usual.

Colin was outright spiteful towards the young woman. He reasoned that she wasn’t trained for the work he was ordered to give her, so instead of adapting to the arrangement between himself and the other three who were in on this setup, he piled her with enough work that both she and Jordan suffered from sleep deprivation. The two often had to call in delivery in order to get a meal in while they looked over paperwork that Colin had dropped off. The week prior to this one, Dana had gotten a total of twelve hours of sleep; Jordan had gotten ten, but that’s only because he fell asleep on his file and she decided to let him lie there for two hours. He woke up with a start, nearly scaring Dana as she poured herself more hot tea.

But now Colin was paying for something he did. Dana just wished she knew what it was so she could hate him as much as Young did. “There’s no Jones here.” Jordan let his façade drop. There it was, Dana thought. Someone was looking for her. That’s why no one was looking at her, why everyone was keeping her in the dark. They didn’t want her to know they screwed up, that someone was looking for her. Who was it? She still didn’t know if she wanted to be found. She was lost. The A.D., who had once glared at Colin, was now content to look away from the trio in order to contemplate the possibilities of the caller.

“Put Jones on the line,” the man repeated on the other end of the line.

“Who is this ‘Jones’ you speak of? There is no one here by that name.”

“Of course there is.” Colin was shaken out of his confusion by Dana’s hand, which came up to take the phone. “She’s right there beside you.” Colin’s face paled at her blank stare. She had been confused for a moment until she’d looked around. Everyone was trying not to think about what was happening on the phone, trying to deny that someone had leaked information about her whereabouts. She wasn’t one to deny the facts, but Jordan should’ve known better. At least the A.D. was trying to discover a way out of this, either that or he was too upset about the fact that someone opened their fat mouth.

“I’m Jones.”

“No you aren’t.”

“Did you even read my file? It was the first thing at the top you idiot.”

“I’m not giving you the phone.” Colin looked at Jordan, who was giving him a stern look of disdain. “I’m not giving her the phone.”

“Give her the damn phone, Merriam, or it’s your job.” A.D. Young said. The taller man’s shoulders sagged from reluctance; he surrendered and dropped the phone into Dana’s hand. His revulsion towards her was childlike and frowned upon among his colleagues, but he continued to let her bother him. At first she debated even answering it but she saw Young’s blank stare. “Answer it, Eiseley.” She brought the phone to her ear, turned away from the three stares, and held her breath.

“I knew you’d be there. That Colin has a big mouth.” Well, she reasoned, she couldn’t argue with fact.

“Who is this?”

“Joseph Ridge.” Dana blinked. Was she supposed to recognize this name? No one she knew had that name or alias. “You don’t know me, Jones, but I’ve heard about you.”

“How do you know about me?”

“It doesn’t matter. What matters is time. You are running out of it.” Dana scoffed at the message. Running out of time? About time. “I have placed a rather powerful explosive in a very crowed place, and I’m going to give you the chance to find it.”

“That won’t fly, Ridge. I’ve got no power to do that.”

“Then how come you’re the one I keep hearing about? The hacker turned FBI commodity? Everyone wants one now that you’ve come along.” Dana took a seat and leaned back into the cushioning. She had a feeling that this wouldn’t be quick or simple.

“And everyone wants me, I suppose?”

“You suppose correct. What are your thoughts on this?” Dana, without missing a beat, changed the subject. She’d try to not become too curious. Jordan was too anxious to leave in the dark at this point.

“Why would I give a damn about a bomb?” Jordan and the A.D. stared at her in shock as the words left her mouth. They couldn’t believe, with her self-sacrificing attitude, that she would say such a thing. Was she bluffing? Jordan knew that she’d been suffering mental strain these past few days; he just didn’t know it was as serious as she was acting. She had to be bluffing.

Then Ridge backed up to the original topic, went along with her topic. Why? Dana wondered momentarily.

“Because you don’t want to be responsible for the one-thousand casualties when this device goes off. You’re not ready to risk more lives in order to fulfill your own need to rebel.” Jordan watched her face turn a little more stony, as though met with a challenge. Suddenly, she was ready for a fight. The man on the line was making little to no sense. Why would he not pursue her lack of response to his apparently play on her position? She was angry because of his lack of interest.

“I could disconnect this call right now and would not lose--”

“Eiseley, don’t you dare.” the A.D. barked. She rolled her eyes, sighed from frustration, and threw her arm over the back of the couch. Her patience had been waning for three days, and now she seemed to be lashing out against a threat to national security. She could do this and no one would be able to force her to do anything else--they’d have to send her to prison; she wanted that from the beginning. But, with a raised eyebrow and look of pure apathy on her face, she could hardly resist.

“Sure, why not? Tell me about your bomb, Mr. Ridge, I have all the time in the world. It’s not my phone.” There was laughter on the other line. Colin shifted uncomfortably at the thought of her racking up his phone bill. The notion almost made her smile. Jordan wasn’t sure whether she was still serious about her reluctance to help them by staying on the line. He was starting to wonder whether keeping her on the line was a good idea. In her moods like this it was well known to keep her away from people she’d once been associated with. She was on no one’s side when she reverted to this attitude.

He sent a look to the A.D. Young said nothing, but stared at Dana, trying to read her expressions.

“I’m not impressed.”

“Of course you’re not. Are they still in the room?” Dana looked up to see the three staring at her intensely.

“They are. Do you wish to speak with one of them?”

“Your voice is infinitely more arousing than any of theirs.”

“Not flattered.”

“Not disgusted. I’ll bet Svela had some real chivalry and class you could compare men to in the future.” Her mouth went numb. How did he know about Alan? “I don’t stand a chance.” Jordan didn’t even know about Alan until she told him and even then he had to fight her for the information. Her caretaker was staring oddly at her, or was it she who was uncomfortable enough to interpret his looks differently? She took a second to gather her reserves, her breath being hasty and draining as she realized her state. Her hands were clammy and her face was obviously pale; her jaw was slack. There was good reason for her to be this way, and she meant to stop it now. She stood up and made her way to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, moving the phone to her other ear so she could wipe the moisture from her hands.

“Leave him out of this.” She passed between Jordan and the A.D. and aimed straight for the hallway that led to the bathroom. His voice stopped her.

“You’re nervous. Stop moving around.”

“I wouldn’t be if you’d stop beating around the bush.”

“I’m not the one running from my past. Don’t move another muscle until

I’m done speaking.” She looked down, feeling anxious for moving and allowing him control.

“Lets just get to business; we can talk about me some other time.”

“It’s a date. Meet me outside in ten, and wear something nice.” Before she could say anything, there was a click and she was disconnected. Looking up quickly, the realization that she was once again tricked soaked into her mind; she wouldn’t go through this again. She was numb. Suddenly, her arm jerked away from her and the cell phone went flying onto the coffee table. She didn’t move another inch.

Dana, after the conversation with Joseph Ridge, turned on the three FBI agents in the room. “What the hell kind of system are you running here? He knew everything about me!” She picked up the phone again and threw it hard at the wall, watching with near satisfaction as it thudded heavily into the wall and fell to the floor, unharmed. “He knew too much about me, so who opened his big mouth? What idiot do I have to thank--” She looked at Jordan, who had settled for grunting to clear his throat and shifting from one foot to the other. The A.D. sent a fleeting glare in Colin’s direction, not approving of the man’s actions apparently. Then it hit her. She settled her sights on Colin.

“You’ve got to be kidding me! You idiot! You god damn, self-serving bastard! He ran me through the wringer and told me to meet him out front! I probably won’t even get his demands.”

“What?” Jordan practically yelled. She didn’t move to face him. Colin was avoiding her eyes, his stare somewhere over her right shoulder.

“Apparently he thinks I’m desperate.”

“This may get us the leverage we need.” Dana sent daggers at Colin, who promptly quieted down.

“You have no say in what happens to me.”


“Shut up, Colin. You’re in hot water as it is. Agent Brenner, Miss Eiseley, we’ll continue this discussion in a quieter place.” She looked downwards.

“There’s no time for discussion. You’ll have to talk while I get ready. I have less than ten minutes.” The A.D. nodded and she walked into Jordan’s room where her stuff was stored away in her suitcase.

“You are excused, Agent Merriam. I expect you in my office first thing in the morning so we can discuss your actions further.” Colin sent a glance to Dana’s retreating form, then left. Dana paid him no attention as she dragged out a long black skirt and a silk shirt. She would have to improvise her outfit.

Jordan pushed past the A.D., intending to keep her from leaving the apartment. She wasn’t thinking clearly; it had to be that. She hadn’t been kidding earlier when she was tired of playing those mind games with everyone. The stress had to be wearing her out. When he walked into the bedroom and saw her sitting against the wall under the window crying, he knew he was right. He shut the door behind him and walked over to her, sitting down beside her without speaking at first. “Dana, you don’t want to hear me say this, but I’m here. Tell me what’s on your mind before I tell you you’re not going out there.”

“He knows too much about me, probably wants to be able to identify me before acting out since there are no pictures around for him to see. He only knew my alias as far as we know otherwise he would’ve called me Dana when he talked to me.” She was speaking coherently, which was a good thing, but her words were mumbled in a low-toned chant. Her mind was comprehending everything that had happened, but she was too dazed to get up from the floor. “He knew about Alan…”

Jordan was silent. He didn’t mean for any of this to get out. Colin was supposed to be his superior, responsible enough to keep his mouth shut. Dana was sure Colin must have been drunk or completely enraged by her performance on the Chicago case. It really wasn’t her fault that people wanted to get their hands on her. She didn’t want this in the first place, so there was no need getting all upset at her; it wasn’t like she had a choice in the matter.



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I'm enthralled by the story. I can't wait to read the next post! Curious, Dana/Jones isn't just a computer hacker, it sounds like she's a pretty good profiler to boot!

Understand this lad, fate is a fickle lady. Work with the hand you're dealt and you may just be able to run your flag up the pole. Don't, and well, you may just find your mast cut down.

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I'm enthralled by the story. I can't wait to read the next post! Curious, Dana/Jones isn't just a computer hacker, it sounds like she's a pretty good profiler to boot!

Lol. As one who was privy to Dana in her pre-writing form (and a sticky board for ideas) I have to tell you, Mathias, you really have no idea just what kind of person Dana is! Hacker, profiler, mental dominant...the list goes on!

Definately need the next chapter, Marx!

"There's no such thing as can't. You always have a choice."--Ken Gor, Ying hung boon sik II


Thank you to everyone who has ever made me sigs, you are all wonderful!

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Ack, working on it. It's so hard when everything's pretty much laid out and wants to be written. :( I've been dancing around this one for months and nothing seems to be getting done except this other story involving Maran and the Pied Piper [it's for WillyCon]

*decides whether or not she'd be great at writing early in the morning. . . *

Edited by D_Marx



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Now there is a character I haven't heard about in ages! I hope it goes over well, I remember you saying the WillyCon judges can be harsh...Good luck.

"There's no such thing as can't. You always have a choice."--Ken Gor, Ying hung boon sik II


Thank you to everyone who has ever made me sigs, you are all wonderful!

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“They’ve confirmed your presence and they have a motive. You have to go through with it.” A.D. Young said from the door. The man snapped his phone shut, probably calling for a trace. The call was so short there’d be no way to give an actual address. “He’s close, obviously, if he can send for you.” Dana straightened up and wiped her face dry.

“Doesn’t mean a thing. D.C. can’t all be combed--”

“For the right motivation it can. But it’d be easier to track you.” She wouldn’t let him see her vulnerable. She couldn’t afford to be weak around anyone else. Colin exempt, she had to be graceful around everyone. It was her way. “You’re a hacker, he has a bomb that he wants you to find without us. It’ll be computer-related.”

“It won’t be easy but you know what you have to do.”

“I’m more worried about why he thinks I’d be suited to hunt down a bomb.” Her voice was steady now, appearing unaffected by the previous minute. “It’ll put me out in the open even more and that usually leads to problems.” The two men went quiet. Dana wasn’t trying to communicate to him. She just thought ideas better out loud. She stood up and walked to her suitcase.

“You’re talking to me more.” Jordan. She frowned, rummaging through her clothing. They had a real situation on their hands and he was getting all emotional on her. The last thing they needed was an overly protective caretaker. [A/N: you gotta admit, that was fucking funny]

“Don’t read into it. I don’t trust you or any of those bastards with more than my color preference at this point.” She didn’t say anything, just turned and looked down at him. He was still sitting there, staring at the blank wall as if unsure what to say. Part of her didn’t want to say anything else, just stand there. She’d walked into too many traps in her short life that she was surprised when one hit close to home. Her body ached with tension, tension that could’ve been avoided by someone in this apartment, and she didn’t know what to do. Alan, her ex-whatever, would’ve never done this. He would’ve been stern with his demands, would’ve thought about the consequences before acting. The only thing he didn’t plan was showing her he cared, but this was one of those things he wouldn’t have screwed up. What would he do if he were her instead of him?

Try to get as much in compensation as he could. . .

She had an idea as she walked to the closet. It didn’t matter what they thought, she just had to convince them that they owed her, right? She stripped down to her undergarmets, not caring that there were two men in the room. It wasn’t her problem if they didn’t leave. She grabbed a gray carly knit and slipped it on, smoothing it out as she made the statement that seemed to have a life of its own.

“I want to see my file, and after reading it, I want it hidden and monitored so that anyone wanting to see it has to go through you, me, or Young.” The words left her before she knew it, her heart beating loudly as excitement coursed through her. There was no hesitation in what she wanted, and she didn’t mind the satisfaction of Jordan’s crestfallen face as he registered the demands. She knew this was going to be a tough case, but the F.B.I. didn’t have a lot of footing this time around. It had been only a matter of time before something else came up, then she would request something else, but as she looked at Jordan she knew she was going to have to stand her ground. She’d been fighting herself on what they could give her, but this was important, but a locket was an heirloom—not to mention lost to both of their parties—and her file was available. This was business.

“We have no way of answering that request. It was already in lockdown, and there is no way we can--”

“It doesn’t take a god damn thing to hide something you don’t want found.” As if it wasn’t hard enough to fight him on this. They didn’t have time to argue. “I’ve been hidden by more than one person, you and Alan. I myself have things hidden that no one could possibly locate. Don’t you tell me it’s impossible.” It was possible, and it was possible that Jordan could lose his charge once again. Who knows what Ridge would do with the knowledge he had. So much damage, so much leeway, it must be nice to have the gusto of that man. She was a bit scared, but she’d find out more when she talked to him how unnerving the situation could be.

“I’ll see what we can do.” She turned to see that Young had left the room, possibly to threaten Merriam’s job.

“You’re going to give me your word.”

“No.” Dana slipped on a pair of black shoes and exited the room. A.D. Young was whispering to Colin when she stopped in front of them. She set her sights on the taller of the two, Merriam.

“How much did you tell him.” Young looked squarely at her.

“They know where you are, that you’re a hacker, a vague notion of Svela’s relation with you.”

“They know I’m a hacker. . . ” She trailed off, closing her thoughts off from her mouth. That was interesting to know, and she could have this solved depending on what Ridge wanted. The three of them stared hard at her, trying to make sense of what she just said, but she thought Young had the right look on his face. He wasn’t telling anyone that he’d probably figured out what she had. Jordan almost had it, and Colin was, well, flustered still at the thought of almost being fired because of her.

Why did she suddenly feel gratified?

“If we got a proper trace, Young would’ve told us. Ridge might be expecting us to waste time searching for him or trace the call,” Jordan said, entering the room. “He didn’t specify how she was to show up.”

“You want to bug her?”

“You already are,” she muttered, grabbing her coat.

“We don’t have a team to help with bugging.” Young said. “What I can give you is the recording device on the living room table. Keep it in plain sight and they’ll most likely allow it. I don’t want to screw this up.” Dana nodded, walked to the table, and took the small device, somewhat relieved that there wasn’t much to say. Frowning, she wondered what their yearly budget was for surveillance devices was and if she got the bottom of the barrel. Maybe she just didn’t pose as much a threat as before because she hadn’t disappeared in awhile. She clammed up after that, and she went to the door with Jordan following. Jordan was sending Young a very powerful look, one that communicated a message quite clearly.

“What?” she said. Jordan looked at the door, then her. He wasn’t going to say anything, was he? “What was that look, Brenner?”

“Don’t think about it for now. You’ve got enough to worry about.”

“That’s not reassuring. Tell me.”

“No. You’ve got an appointment to keep.” The enemy was at her doorstep and it called to her. The thought of them wanting her computer skills made her heart race, and the thought of losing a charge this night raced Jordan’s. But she might get to use a computer. It had been months and part of her wanted to meet Ridge in person just so she could be handed one. Why the F.B.I. had a hacker and didn’t want her to hack was beyond her. Maybe because they knew they couldn’t control her. The air was too heavy for her, but they managed to make it down to the main floor.

Of course, they could kidnap her and tie her up in a cellar as well. Best not to entertain the thought of an invitation as a promise for safety, which Ridge didn’t actually give. She could be walking headfirst into a trap.

The lobby was well lit, but there was only a glass door to breach before hitting fresh air. Jordan had his gun out and in plain sight. “If something doesn’t feel right, get back inside without them seeing your face.” She nodded and reached for the door. He put his hand in her way. “Recorder?” She held it up, and he took it, checking for batteries. Satisfied that they weren’t missing—they’d had some fun times with on-tape discussions—he handed back the device. “I’ll be waiting for a cue that you’ll be okay, so don’t leave me hanging.”

“If I do, it won’t be by my doing.” A second passed. Jordan looked Dana in the eyes, not sure what he was doing for a second, then exited before her.

It was cold tonight. She didn’t have to wait to see her breath, and dressed as she was, she hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with it for much longer. Jordan let her catch up to him, ready to let her stand in front and take the lead. “There are too many questions going through my head right now it’s spinning. They didn’t promise me protection and they certainly didn’t ask you to be my chauffer.”

“They’ll have a plan for that, they knew who you were and where to find you. That has to count for something.”

“If you’d kept my file hidden properly and sources quiet, this wouldn’t have happened. As the situation stands, if I have to do something illegal in order to gain footing, you technically can’t do a thing to stop me or punish me.”

“You’re right, but the government has ways of changing their methods for punishment.” Dana stared at him as though this was no surprise to her.

“Yeah, I figured you’d have that reaction. Good for you. Behave like an unofficial rep for the bureau if you can. Don’t pull that crap you did on Colin’s phone.” Dana smirked then, pushing open the door with her back and turning out into the chill.

“Date with trouble, Brenner. It’s unfortunate that neither of us have the job security we thought we could have.” And right before the door shut Jordan burst through after her, his eyes connected to a pair of lights connected to a dark van coming around the corner and screeching to a halt in front of them.

Three men filed out of the van, the driver remaining inside. All of them wore black clothes and masks, and before either of them knew it, gun barrels were shoved into their faces. Dana’s hands reached upwards, aware of the danger she’d found. “You’re Jones?” One laughed, cocking the shotgun. She nodded. “We’re your chauffeurs. Who’s the suit?”

“None of your business.” The barrel pressed into her cheek and she was suddenly against the brick building. One of the men moved from her eye sight, right next to the building. He was hiding from her view. She recalled what she saw of him. Black shirt, gloves, brown eyes, or hazel. She was tired. White shoes, Nike sign, blue socks. Nothing really distinguishable was helping her analysis, but he was still familiar to her.

“You’re in no position to be a smartass, Jones. To the van.” Dana was let forward, her eyes searching for those which evaded her. “She’s calm,” the guy said.

“She’s scared. Look at her face.” Another said. The second guy was right, but the first was still familiar. Who was he?

“She’s biding her time. Watch her move.” They were watching her like a hawk, like she was dangerous. She wasn’t, though, at least not in her book. “Like a dragonfly ready to flit away.”

It clicked. Her eyes searched for his, wanting to confirm her sudden suspicion.

“Frankenstein?” A hacker. Frankenstein was a hacker working for a terrorist. Her eyes went wider when a blast of pain impacted her temple and she fell to the ground.

“What the hell did you do? He wants her unharmed!” The man facing Jordan cocked his gun and told the agent to drop the gun. The command was followed immediately.

“Bag ‘em both.” Despite the pain, Dana cursed and looked up in time for the bag to come down over her head. She’d guessed right, and Brenner was going to disappear as well. Damn Colin.

She was dragged to her feet and to the van, where she was thrown into yet another darkness. Several thuds and threats followed and she moved to a sitting position with her head still pounding.

“Who are they?” Jordan asked. She turned her head to where Jordan’s voice came from. She was in the back of the van, and close to the back door, surely. She dared not move just in case she sprained anything. Her body was ready to run out the back door, to feel for the handle and push. Instead she decided to wait for a second and answer Jordan’s question.

“Hackers, at least one of them. Where’s Ridge?”

“We’re the transport, keep your mouth shut.” Frankenstein. She put her hand behind her back and reached for the handle. She pulled down. Locked. Oh well. She sat back and someone shuffled near to her.

“Pat her down,” that someone said. Her arms were pulled up and out, and she felt her pocket swing out a bit. She sighed when a hand went to it and she spoke.

“I have a recording device in my right pocket, I want to use it for proof that I actually met someone who has information on the bomb.” Hands went over her arms and the rest of her body, lingering a bit on her chest. A growl from her kept them moving. He found the recorder and its weight fell back into her pocket.

“It can stay.” Her hands came down to her sides again.

“You hire freelance hackers. Are they all unwilling to do your dirty work?”

“Just the hard to reach ones.”

“Frankenstein wouldn’t have been able to find me. It had to be someone else.”

“You must perform under pressure very well. This’ll be a good exercise for you, Jones.” She stilled and sat back, taking in this new information. Jordan hadn’t spoken. He must’ve found this as an opportunity to soak in more information against everyone, including her. The agent was quiet, so she could only assume he wanted her to be the informational outlet.

“The only one I’ve heard of who could find my exact location isn’t someone I want to meet anytime soon. I’d be grateful if I were just meeting Ridge and not this other person.”

“Eager little thing, aren’t you?”

“It took two of the greater hackers out there to set up this meeting.”

“It wasn’t just them,” Jordan said. His voice was strained. Dana was finally able to pinpoint his location. He was lying down near the front. One of the guys must’ve been leaning against him like an armrest the way he was talking. She sighed. It was going to be a long night.


[A/N:This is a skeleton draft of the second chapter. I'm sure it'll come back and bite me in the ass sometime soon, but tell me what you think and what could go away?]

[offtopic]Yeah, the judges were a little screwy this year too. Didn't make it for a third year. Maran will get her spotlight, though. Guarantee, even if I have to throw her into the mix with the Chosen. She might do better with the supernatural after awhile.



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Nice... Has a good feel, tense fast pace. Maybe don't give the idea of the abductors being hackers, it might be more useful later... Just a thought.

Skellie chapters are useful, whether they bite you or not; the outlining they give can be useful, I've found.

Maran and the Chosen, hmm? I like the thought, especially if you go to the idea of her having traversed several of the Ephemeral Relms(with Ben's help, of course) that you had mentioned awhile back(her claw becoming a psychic extention, not just a physical weapon, due to her time in the Relms). Or just the fact of how much of a natural fighter she is anyway, her and Jade could get into some interesting conversations...

"There's no such thing as can't. You always have a choice."--Ken Gor, Ying hung boon sik II


Thank you to everyone who has ever made me sigs, you are all wonderful!

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