I know, I know! J/K fics where they're thrown together because of an assignment are way overdone….but I still wanted to write one….I must be loosing my mind. I used to hate J/K fics….I've been reading wayyyyyyyyyyyy too many J/K fics lately…I promise some Kel/Joren fluff later

Summary: Joren and Kel are assigned to go after a Tortallan traitor. They must catch him before the traitor gets to King Maggot and tells of Tortall's strategy for winning the war. Kel and Joren, a seemingly impossible pair, find themselves strangely falling for one another (I know it's sooooo overdone but I still like it) but what will happen when they face worse than death and must choose between what they thought they liked and what they've come to love. Set in a modern day Tortall.

Tortall is still a monarchy, as are many of the surrounding countries.

Don't like it? Tough. I wanted to write this and if I'm the only one who reads it and actually likes it then o well. :- Not that I don't love you all! Please R 'n' R…..please….tell me what you love, tell me what you hate, tell me what you wish there was more of, tell me what you wish there was less of, tell me anything you want…..

Disclaimer: the one and only genius, Mrs. Tamora Pierce, graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (I want to go there…only one year b4 I start applying to colleges….yikes), and writer of the brilliant stories set in Tortall, owns characters, fiefdoms, cities, etc. mentioned in this story….no infringement intended on any copyrights.

I can't believe that Tamora Pierce's Alanna; the first adventure was published before I was born….it makes me feel sooooooooooo young…. (I know it was random)

I want feedback…..Review or else…..

Don't make me angry….my temper can more than rival the Lioness's :-)

Review, review, review…….this is only my second fanfic and my first Kel/Joren one……please tell me what you think

Anyways on with the story:

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"Sir?" Kel asked uncertainly, not knowing her Yamani mask had faltered and her jaw hung open.

"Don't gawk Mindelan," a reproachful voice scolded. "I told you this next assignment wasn't going to be easy."

"Yes sir," Kel replied humbly, quickly regaining her Yamani mask.

"Now I asked Mr. Stone Mountain to report to headquarters ten minutes ago," Commander Wyldon Cavall looked at his watch. "It's probably traffic."

Kel nodded knowing that traffic in the capital, Corus, was impossible at this time of day. She herself had faced the battle merely twenty minutes ago when she had been stuck behind a particularly slow car. Just as Commander Cavall was checking his watch for a second time a flushed, handsome, blond man rushed through the door, straightening his black shirt before he saluted Commander Cavall.

"Sorry I'm late, sir," Joren Stone Mountain said, cheeks hot with embarrassment.

"As long as you do not make a habit of it," Wyldon replied, being unusually lenient.

"Sir?" Joren was unsure why Wyldon was going easy on him.

"Sit," Wyldon said, ignoring Joren's confusion. "We've more important matters to discuss."

Joren looked about the room, arrogantly making his way towards the empty chair in front of Wyldon's desk. He stopped short, eyes taking in Keladry Mindelan. His icy, blue eyes became distant and he shot her a glare before settling in his chair, pulled far away from Kel.

"I know you two have never gotten on well," Wyldon sighed. "Ever since Mindelan came to the Academy to train, you," he said, glancing reproachfully at Joren. "Strongly discouraged her. I must say I'm proud of you Mindelan. You exceeded my expectations. I see what folly your probation at the Academy was. You know that. But now I am asking you two to set aside your differences."

Joren cleared his throat and looked over at Kel who avoided his glance. Keeping her face as stone she squared her shoulders and looked and Wyldon. "If the Lump can, I will," Joren growled. Kel nodded, still not facing Joren.

Wyldon nodded and continued, "We have reports that a Tortallan by the name of Wayland Marti broke into the main palace and stole classified documents. They contained our plans, strategies and tactics, for winning the war with King Maggur. The realm needs you two to go after him and capture him before he gets to King Maggur. We believe that King Maggur is holed up in the remains of Castle Ratthuasak. You will need to find, track, capture, and return home with Wayland before King Maggur gets wind of anything. I need you two to pretend to like each other. One of the greatest aspects of spying is the mastery of acting. You two must put this into play; pretend to like each other and worm your way through Scanra."

Wyldon paused and looked from Kel to Joren. 'The difference in their attitudes is amazing,' Wyldon thought as he observed Kel and Joren. 'Kel sits there letting none of her emotion show, keeping all of her dislike and such inside. Quite a contrast to Mr. Stone Mountain's blatant disgust.'

Commander Cavall sighed and continued, "There you will establish yourselves as well-off merchants. You will report any and everything that you deem important. It is imperative that you keep your reports secret. Details are on these PDAs. If you have any questions you may call me on my cell anytime before you cross the border. After that I'm afraid we will have to severe all contact. I will get in touch with you when I need to. Until I contact you do not speak with anyone you know in Tortall. I am sending you with a rather fat purse and I need you to actually make a few transactions. Anyone in Scanra who follows your movements need not be alerted to your true identities. Joren, your undercover name is Matthew Lucio. Keladry, your undercover name is Christiana Kelian. I will not order either of you to do this. If you are caught, chances are you face death. I came to you two because you are the most qualified and the best Knights I could ask for in this situation. Please, think about it."

Joren had been scowling the entire time. At Wyldon's 'please' his thoughts softened…barely (I mean come on…it is Joren :- ).

"You two will be honored as heroes once you return," Wyldon added, no doubt trying to play up into Joren's ego.

"I'll do it," Joren growled. "No need for bribes, I'm doing this for Tortall, not for you or me."

Wyldon nodded and turned to Kel. He raised one eyebrow.

"Aye sir," she said. "I accept. I do it for Tortall, you, and all the other masters I learned from."

Wyldon could not keep the relief and thanks out of his eyes. "Thank you both. May Mithros and the Great Mother Goddess bless and protect you both on your journey. You leave in two days time."

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"Kel what's the matter?" Neal said loudly, voice pitched to carry over the din in the mess hall. He peered down at his best friend with concern in his eyes. He had noticed that throughout the entire meal Kel had been more quiet than usual.

Kel set down her roll and smiled up at her friend. "Nothing Meathead. I just got a new assignment, that's all," she said with a pointed look, indicating to Neal she would discuss it with him, later. She looked around at the rest of her friends who, thankfully, hadn't noticed this exchange.

"Oh fine," Neal said and returned to eating his cake, deliberately ignoring his vegetables that were cooling fast on his plate. "So Merric," he said, leaning around Kel and ignoring her glare, as she looked first at his vegetables and then him. "Gotten a new posting yet?" Most of the new Knights that had graduated from the Academy were present. The Scanran war was coming to a close thanks to a new plan and weapon formulated by a group of the King's Own, the name commonly used for the King's favored army.

Merric looked thoughtful and said, "Yes. Scanran border patrol."

Neal winced and moved on to Cleon. "How 'bout you?"

Cleon looked around, eyes lingering on Kel, and said, "Um, well actually I've asked for leave. Uh- my betrothed and I set a date. We're having the wedding in a few weeks."

Neal looked over at Kel who had suddenly become very interested in her food. Inwardly Neal sighed. Cleon had only recently broken up with Kel who later found out that Cleon had been cheating on her and had broken up with her to pursue the other woman. They had come to a truce of sorts when it came to their friendship but Kel's close friends had never really forgiven the redheaded giant and Kel would certainly never forget that he had betrayed her.

"I assume my invitation got lost in the mail," Neal said sarcastically.

"Actually we didn't send out invitations," Cleon said hastily, cheeks redder than usual. "It will be a small service; only our families will be there." At this Cleon grabbed his tray off the table, returned it, and quickly walked out of the mess.

Kel sighed. Neal noticed this and looked over at her. "Sorry Kel," he said carefully.

She forced herself to grin up at him. "It's ok," she said. "Gods know I was an idiot to ever even date him. He's much better off with that flake, and I without him. I don't think I ever really had any feelings for him."

Neal watched her pick up her tray, return it, and walk out of the mess, shoulders erect. He knew that she had really had feelings for him. Although she hid it well, he could tell the memory of him still hurt her.

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"Come in," Kel called to whoever it was that just knocked on her door.

Neal poked his head into Kel's room. "Is this a good time?" he asked.

Kel nodded and resumed packing her suitcase. Wyldon had said it would be a long assignment and that he needed them undercover in Scanra once Wayland was caught. She intended to go prepared.

"I see you're packing," Neal commented. "So where are you headed off to?"

"I'm sorry," she told him. "I'm not allowed to tell you any details. I'm off on a classified mission." Just then a knock came at her door. "Come in," she said loudly.

Joren stepped into her room; cheeks flushing when he saw Neal was there too. "I just wanted to make sure you would be ready to leave in the morning. Commander Cavall said we should head out around eight in the morning."

Kel nodded. "Good idea," she said. "I'll be ready."

"You better not hold the mission up," Joren growled, shutting the door with more force than necessary as he exited the room.

Neal looked over at Kel. "You're going with Joren?" he fumed.

"It's not like I had a choice, Meathead," she told Neal without looking at him. "Commander Wyldon paired us. He said the mission could take a few months." Kel kept her head low, brown hair partially hiding her face. 'Gods,' she thought. 'I hate leaving my friends behind for long periods.'

Neal saw what she was doing and reached out. Gently he cupped her chin in his hand and drew her face up till she looked at him. "I'll tell the others. I'm sorry I know you hate leaving. I should go. Mithros knows you will need your sleep having to put up with that dumbass." He smiled halfheartedly. 'I hate it when she goes,' he thought. "Gods all bless, Lady Knight, Protector of the Small," he said with seriousness in his voice.

Kel ruined the moment by shoving Neal. "You know I hate it when you call me that," she reminded him. Although her face was stern, Kel's eyes were laughing.

"I'll miss you," he said. Neal gave her a hug and left her to finish packing.

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Ok I know that not much went on but I had to set up the story. Sorry it was short. No this will not be a Kel/Neal fic….ew….that's a gross thought. :-)

Please review. I promise I'll try not to neglect my other story 'The Revolution Continues' while I write this one. It's hard. I don't feel anything right now for Kel/Dom pairings, only Kel/Joren. I promise I will add Kel/Joren fluff to this. Eventually it will get very fluffy. Just not too quickly. I hate things that just jump right in.

I want feedback. Please, please, please review. I will try and add another chapter soon. Since I started the other story first, my priorities are to add to that one more often. But I will try not to neglect either story. Key word try, I am human after all.