Title: Gen X-6 (3) – Twilight Choices Deepthought Deepthought 1 8 2001-11-04T17:31:00Z 2001-11-04T17:39:00Z 5 1806 10298 Deepthought 85 20 12646 9.2720

Title:  Gen X-6 (3) – Twilight Choices

Rated: R – Language and one, possibly two chapter with SML

Spoilers:  Nothing from the show, actually.  As you should be able to see from the title, this is actually the third story in the series.  If you haven't read the first two you are going to be totally lost as to whom these characters are, and what the deal is with them.  Don't worry; I'll wait while you finish the first two.  Done?  Good, let's go on.

Disclaimer:  Actually, I think almost every character is mine, all mine!  Ha!  Take that!  Never mind, Max, Logan, Zack, Renfro and Lydecker all belong to James Cameron.  They are mentioned, so he gets the rights to them, as well as the concept of Manticore.  Also, Savage Garden and B.B. Mack did not give me permission to reprint their lyrics, so just buy the CD and listen to "Truly, Madly, Deeply" and "The Ghost of You and Me" when it's in the fic so they can look at this as free advertising and won't sue me.  If anyone does choose to sue me, they can have an '81 Corolla and some leftover Halloween candy.  My betta fish stays with me.

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Ghost of You and Me

What am I supposed to do with all these blues

Haunting me everywhere

No matter what I do

Watching the candle flicker out

In the evening glow

I can't let go, when will that night be over

I didn't mean to fall in love with you

And baby there's a name for what you put me through

It isn't love it's robbery

I'm sleeping with the ghost of you and me

Seen a lot of broken hearts go sailing by

Phantom ships, lost at sea

Well one of them is mine

Raising my glass I sing a toast to the midnight sky

I wonder why the stars don't seem to guide me

I didn't mean to fall in love with you

And baby there's a name for what you put me through

It isn't love it's robbery

I'm sleeping with the ghost of you and me

The ghost of you and me

When will it set me free?

I hear the voices call

Following footsteps down the hall

Trying to save what's left of my heart and soul

Watching the candle flicker out in the evening glow

I can't let go

When will this night be over?

I didn't mean to fall in love with you

And baby there's a name for what you put me through

It isn't love it's robbery

I'm sleeping with the ghost of you and me

*************

Three weeks, Janice thought.  It had been three weeks since she had returned to her old life.  It felt a little funny, like finding an old suit she hadn't worn in years and then trying it on.  It was tight in some places, loose in others, and didn't look quite the same as it did when it was first bought.  Interesting analogy she thought, catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror.  She had to bring out all of her suits that she used to wear to work when she moved back to Virginia.  It had been more comfortable in Seattle when she was wearing sweats or gym shorts to work everyday, but she didn't mind going back to suits terribly much.  She had her career back, and that was what counted.

She plopped down on her couch and looked around her mess of an apartment.  She'd been too busy to worry about getting everything unpacked and moved in properly, but it was close to coming along.  Getting back into the swing of things had been a pain in the ass, but her old unit was back together and even with a new fifth, they were falling back into line.  It hadn't been easy, but it was far better than teaching gym.

She had just gotten home the day before from spending Christmas with her mother and sister and nieces.  They had been thrilled that she was moving back to Virginia, especially her oldest niece.  She told them that her bosses understood that it was a simple misunderstanding that lost her job, and now that it was cleared, she had it back.  They thought she was an analyst, not an operative.  She loved them, she really did, but there was a reason why she decided not to stay until New Years Day.  She had the excuse that she had lots of stuff to catch up on, but in truth, she didn't need them determined to play matchmaker and make other suggestions about her life, especially considering the messes her sister and mother had made of their own lives.

She definitely did not need anyone tampering with her life right now.  Things were going along rather interesting.  She had told her mother that there was someone she had gone out with a few times, and that was true.  They were wildly curious about the new man in Janice's life, but she didn't give too many details.  It was true.  Janice and Cole had been on three dates since she got back to Virginia.  He and his brother Xander had a house closer to Maryland, but the distance wasn't terribly bad.

The third one had been a few days before Christmas.  Cole told her that he was going to be in Seattle over the holidays, but she caught what he didn't say.  He wanted to see her before he left.  They'd gone out to dinner twice, and to a movie afterwards once, and the second date, they had just gone for a long walk together and talked forever about everything in the world.  It was dawn before he finally took her home.  Janice knew she was getting sappy over everything, and since high school she never got sappy over a man, but this was different.  Hell, he was different.  She'd never dated anyone like him before, and it had nothing to do with the fact he was a genetically engineered killing machine.  He was just…she had a feeling he was one of the few men in the world that could deal with her and her career.

Cole had invited Janice over to his place, and he made dinner for them.  Janice was rather surprised at his culinary skills.  It wasn't an elaborate meal, but it was very well done, and she enjoyed it thoroughly.  He did however have atrocious taste in wines, so she had brought a bottle and they worked their way through most of it during and after dinner.  Maybe it had been the wine, but she had finally asked him about his life at Manticore.  Previously all of their conversations about his life were post-Manticore.  Maybe it was the wine affecting him, but before they knew it, they were on the living room floor and he was showing her pictures of himself and his siblings that had been taken in their previous life.

The pictures were mostly from their teen years.  Janice noticed that some of the kids that appeared when they were twelve and thirteen didn't show up again in the pictures taken at sixteen and seventeen.  She had learned that not all of the kids had survived to maturity and thought it best not to ask what happened to them.  Still, some of the pictures were funny like the one with a very filthy Cole climbing out of a mud puddle, or the one of Alicia chasing one of the others with a knife.  Cole said that the one running for his life had just discovered what itching powder could do.

There was one picture in particular that had grabbed her attention.  It had been taken at an odd angle, like there was someone who didn't want them to know he was getting their picture.  She had stared at it for a few minutes while Cole was in the bathroom, wondering what was going on in the picture.  There were about fifteen of the kids there, all of them appearing to be around sixteen or so.  They were all dressed up, but in black, and they were on a ship.  Janice recognized a very young Alicia, Cole, Shawna and Xander, but they all looked like they were under terrible strain when the picture was taken.

"What's this one?" she asked Cole when he came out.  For a moment she could see a flash of pain on his face, and all of his earlier humor fled.

"It was a funeral," he said flatly.  She looked at the picture again, and realized what Alicia had in her hand was an urn.  "We lost one in a helicopter accident and were scattering her ashes over the ocean," he explained in that same lifeless tone.  It had gotten a little awkward for a moment.

"I'm sorry," she said softly.  "I didn't mean to…"

"No," he interrupted, "it's okay, I just wasn't…I didn't think there was anything about that in here.  Anyways, it was all a very long time ago."  He smiled a little at her, but she could still see the memories were troubling him.  He picked up another picture of Alicia and a "friend" of hers from high school and started telling Janice about how the friend started dating this soldier from the base and almost busted Alicia when she was coming home from a mission.

They had spent a well over an hour looking over the pictures and laughing at Cole's stories.  It had amazed Janice that even though the purpose of Manticore was to create the perfect soldier, they had really been kids there.  They had laughed and played and teased and fought, just like any real siblings would do.  He had just finished telling her about the time that the sixers had gotten pissed at some visiting brass and had put a seven-foot snake in her bed, and they had been laughing over his story when their eyes met.

Without even thinking about it, they both leaned towards each other, enjoying a long kiss.  It certainly wasn't their first kiss, but it was the first time they had been this relaxed with each other.  Janice wasn't sure quite how, but it seemed just a few minutes later and she was in his lap and they were making out like a couple of teenagers.  It had been literally years she had just made out with a guy and it not be considered foreplay, although had he even suggested it, she might have been inclined to throw him on the floor and have her way with him.

She had told him earlier that she did have to be home a little early that night.  It was a long drive and after a while, she had to break it off.  Janice could see the debate in his eyes on if he should ask her if she wanted to stay.  She'd gotten up finally, trying to discreetly get her bra straps back up.  How had he managed to get his hand in her blouse without her even noticing till she felt him softly caressing her breast?  Cole had gotten up with her and walked her out to her car.

On impulse she had grabbed him and kissed him hard, their bodies pressing together, the heat from the passion they managed to generate almost enough to burn skin.  He had seemed a bit surprised at first, but responded with equal passion, nearly lifting her off her feet to get better access to her mouth, one hand in her hair and the other on her rear.  She finally pulled away from him and grinned wickedly.  "You should have asked," she said and then got into her car and left.

Now, a week or so later, Janice sat in her living room and debated the wisdom of leaving.  She was certainly not a first-date lay kind of girl, and usually it would be a couple of months before she would sleep with a guy.  Actually it was normally after she ran a full background check and managed to discreetly get a blood sample so she would know everything there was to know about him.  Cole was just different though.  Most men she dated fulfilled certain criteria that she had about their intellect, personality traits, and hygiene. 

Her last three boyfriends had been a lawyer, a computer engineer, and an FBI agent.  Her relationship with the engineer had lasted almost a year until they started seriously talking about a real future together.  Nick was such a great guy, and she really liked being with him until she realized that she wasn't the wife and mother that he wanted to marry.  She had been injured a little on an assignment, nothing major, just some bad scratches on her face and a sprained wrist, but she couldn't tell him anything about how she had gotten hurt or why.  That had led to some bitter fighting, and she knew it was going to be him or the CIA.  She heard later he married a second-grade teacher about a year after they broke up.  Figured.  Her choices in men had all been so…blah.  They would back off if she told them to sharply enough, and most were terrified of her.  Once she could see that they wouldn't argue with her because she knew more ways to kill them, the relationship was over.

She had to admit that she hadn't tried checking Cole against any stated criteria.  He knew about her, wasn't scared in the slightest, and quite simply could curl her toes with just a single kiss.  Responsibility and reason said that she should look for more than that in a man.  Responsibility and reason could go to hell as far as she was concerned.  They hadn't found her a man like Cole before.  He wasn't scared of her, and she couldn't control him.  What kind of man was he?  For once, she had a dammed interesting one.