Disclaimer: I own the OC's (Sapphire, Kris, Jonas, Raoul, etc.) and nothing else. Oh! And I own the story. ^_^ Mine, all mine.

Author's note: Wow. ^_^ I'm happy to see that my story is having a warm welcome. Thank you for the reviews and alerts, everyone. ^_^ Oh! And in this chapter we have three more introductions (kinda, for one) of characters that are key to the story… ;)

And by the way… This story is dedicated to the people of the forum who have been an amazing group of e-friends these last 2+ years. Yes, I said it. "Friends". But that's what you guys are. Gotta catch 'em all, right? XD


The Past…

It took me a while to regain my night vision. When you're a lab-grown being who's told what to do, who to act like, and where to go, you tend to forget just what you can do, who you are, and what you want to do.

I stumbled as I ran into a stalagmite, a groan escaping my lips as the rock broke under the force of my legs.

Cursing my genes, and wondering if this meant I could never have fine China in my house, I picked up the stalagmite and weighed in the palms of my hand, mentally noting that I had torn my standard-issue cargo pants. I had learn how to stitch them up a long time ago after I was told to stop tossing them after I had torn them.

"Guess this is as close to a weapon as I'm getting." I said, sliding it through the stretchy holster on my back that once held my dual swords.

Finally, after my night vision had fully returned and the world was shades of red to me, I started running through the cave, heading down the first tunnel I heard noise coming from.

I gradually picked up speed as I ran, vaulting over rocks and rolling under low-hanging rock faces, before I reached the source of the noise.

Peering over the edge of the chasm I stood on the lip of, I looked down at the river of lava that ran far below.

"What the blizzard did I get myself into?" I asked myself.

Backing up, I decided to take no chances.

Turning back, I realized that I had made a huge, and critical, error: I had assumed the cave was empty.

It wasn't.

The Present…

Sapphire sighed as she sent out her last email to her "acquaintances". "Done… Please?" She asked her computer as it contemplated canceling the email and trying something stupid.

"Hey," Kris stuck his head in the doorway of the backroom of the future bar, dragging Sapphire's attention away. "You contacted them?"

Sapphire looked at the screen and sighed. "Yep," she said as she pulled the screen down and closed up the laptop, shoving it back in its carrying case. "God knows when they'll get back to me, since none of them are even on a continent right now." She said with a sigh.

Kris grinned as he stepped into the room. "Then may I present to you, our new security guard," Kris said as a dark figure floated into the room.

Sapphire's eyes grew wide as she held her breath. If she were in a movie, dramatic music would be playing.

Then her shocked expression cracked and she snickered, ruining the somber moment.

"Oh, Sapphire." The floating garden gnome chided as it flew in orbit around her. "You've ruined my record for flawless entrances. I was up to seven. Now I'm going to have to figure out a better one. Hmm, maybe I should add a mask to my getup." The gnome, Raoul, said.

Sapphire met Kris's cheerful eyes and laughed. "Isis is calling you home?" She asked him.

Kris shook his head. "No, I asked if we could borrow some of the gnomes for a time while we get the bar's front closed up and set up a security system."

Sapphire smiled as she pat Raoul's ceramic hat. "Well, I'm certainly happy you decided to join us, Raoul." She said.

Raoul sighed. "I didn't "join you"; rather, I am babysitting you as per Isis's wishes. Silly mortals." Raoul said, landing on Sapphire's head.

The two humans exchanged amused looks before Sapphire gently took Raoul down.

"All right, Raoul. Make sure this place stays locked up tight then," Kris said as they gathered their things.

"Tsch, how could I? There's only a sheet of plastic over the door. We'll be chasing bats out all night." Raoul said condescendingly.

"Then I'm sure you'll be great at that," Sapphire said as she left the bar.

The two friends walked out to the ancient truck that had belonged to Kris's grandfather and tossed their things in the back before climbing in, a sigh escaping Sapphire as she pulled her seatbelt on.

"What's wrong?" Kris asked her as he started the truck.

"That headache of mine is back again." She groaned, rubbing her forehead as Kris could hear a fight between the guard gnomes start. There'd be laser damage in the morning to deal with, but he had a feeling the gnomes would deal with the worst of it.

Kris raised his eyebrow at her comment, but chose to say nothing as he backed down the alleyway that would serve as the driveway leading to the back of the bar.

"What?" Sapphire asked him.

"I didn't say anything." Kris defended himself with, though they were both sure they knew what the other one was thinking.

"You were thinking about my headaches." Sapphire said, crossing her arms over her chest. She then sighed. "And that I need to see a doctor," she said, turning away from him.

Kris shook his head as he turned down a street. "That's not what I-"

"Kris," Sapphire cut him off. "Just tell me the truth for a change."

The two sat in silence for several minutes before he finally responded. "Okay, Sapphire. You were right; I do want you to see a doctor." He said with a sigh.

Sapphire was quiet, a stiff, still quiet.

Kris sighed. "Just think about it, please. We all can see you're in pain; even complete strangers. Even lie to me about going; just tell me you'll consider it."

She was still quiet, causing him to sigh.

"Okay," she said, startling him. "I'll contact some people- again. Maybe it's a family thing, something from my long-lost mother's side." She said with another sigh.

Kris nodded, making a turn onto the block where he lived. "Okay. Thank you." He told her.

"Mm, don't thank me yet." Sapphire said cryptically, but when she chose not to elaborate, he didn't ask.

There were some secrets even he didn't want to know.

And no, that last email never went through.

"It's her," Genesis said as he removed his coat, tossing it onto a hook on the wall as his employer's minions finished installing a large computer in a corner of his apartment.

He wasn't sure why he would need a computer like that, but he wasn't about to whine to his employer about it. There were some nice bonuses about his job, and that was one of them.

His employer, Jonas Teere, sat on a barstool in the breakfast nook and chuckled. "Well good. What do you want me to do about it?"

Genesis gave him a wry look as he reached his fridge. "Give me a hint as to how to handle her. I can't go in there unprepared, expecting the woman to trust me. I need to know who she is; what's her training?" He asked as he leaned into the fridge, grabbed a long-neck beer, and straightened.

The cap went soaring into the sink as he swigged from the bottle, Jonas scowling at him, but waiting. When Genesis was done drinking, he quirked his eyebrow at his Jonas's impatient look.


Jonas sighed and removed a flash drive from his suit coat. "All you need to know," he said as he put the flash drive on the countertop, "is on this drive."

Genesis raised one eyebrow, but took the drive anyway and shoved it in a pocket of his jeans. "That's it? No, "good luck; no one's defeated her"?"

Jonas snorted as he stood from the stool. "Why would you need luck? Right now all you've got to do is avoid waking the beast and you're golden."

Genesis blinked as Jonas stalked to the door of the apartment, his minions stalking after him. "Wait, what beast? I thought she was just a woman, not a werewolf!" He shouted after Jonas, knowing from previous encounters with Jonas that following him would cause bodily harm.

A laugh started his answer. "Just don't, okay?"

Genesis cleared his throat, suddenly a little nervous what he might be facing. "Got it," he said as the door was slammed shut.

Running a hand through his hair, he removed the flash drive from his pocket and looked down at it. "So, you hold some of the answers to my questions about Miss Darkner, then." He said, curious as to what Jonas would not tell him.

I just hope she's not some demon sent to take over the world. That would not be an easy job. Genesis thought with a sigh as he transferred the flash drive to his gloved fingers and studied it some more.

Sighing, he turned to the newly-installed computer and smiled. "Well, there are some perks to having an obnoxious employer." He said.

He finished his beer in one long swig, tossing it over his shoulder and into the bin for recycling where it shattered, as he crossed the room to the computer.

Though surprised that it was on and ready, Genesis suspected that he was going to include the computer as part of his contract when he renegotiated with Jonas later in the month.

After thirty minutes of reading over the data, though, he realized, though, that there was a slight problem with the job.

Especially when he encountered a much, much older picture of the woman.

She look nothing like the young, pale woman in the bar earlier. With snake bite pierces, a tattoo, and a tan that was natural, the woman in the picture was obviously a soldier of sorts, not a bartender.

"Well, color me stunned," he muttered, stroking his chin as he read the caption that accompanied the picture.

Subject: Rouge. Location: The Tale-Ikia Desert. Subject proved our theory involving the Lifestream. Will conduct further tests at a later date.

One look at the devilish gleam in the woman's eye, and he knew.

"Great," Genesis said with a sigh, leaning back in his chair as he propped his booted feet up on his desk. "I am following a legend."

"Sir! We've got a sighting of the woman." Reno announced, bursting into Rufus' office as Rude followed behind him, red-faced from embarrassment.

Rufus slowly looked up from the book he was reading, both curious and annoyed. "Go on," he said.

Reno and Rude looked at each before Reno stepped further into the dimly-lit room. "She was spotted in Wutai recently, near a building under construction." He informed his boss, suddenly feeling a little nervous. He rubbed the back of his neck when he realized that he had rudely barged into Rufus' office without knocking.

Rufus nodded slowly. "Do you have a name for this woman yet?" He asked, his hope rising just a smidgen.

Reno shook his head as Rude touched his earpiece. "Sir, we've got confirmation on her identity... And it's not what we expected." He informed them as more information came through.

Rufus, though, was confused, along with Reno.

"What?" Reno spoke for them.

Rude sighed. "The identity attached to her belongs to a woman who disappeared 300 years ago. She's a con-artist, Sir."

Rufus raised one eyebrow. "Really? What's her name?" He asked.

Rude looked at Reno and then crossed the room, leaning down to whisper the name to Rufus.

"Interesting." Rufus said as Rude stepped back. He tapped his index fingers against his lips for several minutes, considering his options, as Reno talked at Rude, the other man just grunting.

"Reno," Rufus finally said, dragging the redhead's attention back with much force, "I need you to make a call..."

o.O We're just heading straight into a big adventure storm here, aren't we? XD

Review, add to favorites or alerts, tell you e-friends... ^_^ Or just continue reading the story as I post new chapters. Thanks for reading this chapter! :)