A/N: Sean sends his thanks for not letting me kill him off. Jasmine is grateful that you want her to find love. Thanks for the input. I'm sooo sorry this chapter has taken so long. College started and I've had the worst writers block. I'll try to get back to posting at least once a week. Thank you for your patience, and hope you like this chapter. Thank you for the nice reviews, and adding this story to your Favorites and Alerts lists.

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As Jasmine and Sean sparred, he managed to press her up against the wall, using his height and weight to pin her.

Just as he was about to declare victory, Jasmine captured his lips in a kiss. His hands moved from pinning her to the wall, to holding her close. She spun them so that she was no longer against the wall, and then stepped back. "I win," she smirked.

"You cheated," he accused, his time amused rather than condemning.

"All's fair in love and sparring," she said, before turning and sashaying away, knowing he was watching her closely.

She heard his deep chuckle.

"Game on," he whispered, once he was sure she couldn't hear him.

They took separate showers, but both thought about the kiss they'd shared.

Jasmine decided she'd have to tell Chloe about the tactic, since it would do her cocky cousin good to be put in his place for once.

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As Sean, Jasmine, Alek, and Chloe walked through the dark park on the way home from training, several Order assassins appeared in front of them.

"Alek?" Sean asked as he fell into a fighting stance; deferring to Alek's status as the Protector.

"Buy us a little head start, then follow," Alek said, softly – so softly that only someone with Mai hearing could hear him.

"We can't leave them," Chloe said in a harsh whisper.

"Yes, we can," Alek said.

Chloe suddenly realized that at least some of the Order would probably follow her and Alek, leaving less for Jasmine and Sean to fight. She reluctantly nodded, and followed Alek.

Jasmine and Sean had moved forward, and began fighting. "Let's go," Sean yelled a moment later.

They took off running, keeping pace with each other, just as Alek and Chloe had.

"We make a good team," Sean said a while later, as they rode up the elevator to the condo.

"Yes, we do," Jasmine agreed, giving him a small smile.

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The next day, Sean was waiting when Jasmine got home from school. "Since Alek has to go have dinner with Chloe and her mom Friday night, I'd like to take you out to dinner?"

Jasmine gave a slow smile. "I'd like that."

Later that evening, he asked Alek about Jasmine's favorite restaurant, and called to make the reservations.

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Alek arrived right on time, and Meredith opened the door.

"For you," he said, handing her a bouquet of mixed flowers.

"Thank you," she replied, taking them. They smelled wonderful, and were beautiful.

Seconds later Chloe appeared. He handed her a single red rose. "Thank you, Alek," she said, leaning up to kiss his cheek.

Alek behaved himself during dinner, and Meredith found herself understanding why Chloe would be attracted to the boy. And she liked that he so obviously adored Chloe.

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Sean gave Jasmine a slow and appreciative once over as she walked into the main area, wearing a red dress.

"Glad you like it," she said. "And you look very handsome yourself," she admitted.

He handed her a dozen roses. The center of the petals were right, but the edges were red. She liked them, much more interesting than the traditional red rose.

"Thank you. They're beautiful."

"You go eat, I'll put them in water for you," Valentina said. Jasmine nodded, and handed her mother the flowers.

A short time later the couple was seated at a table fore two beside the huge picture window, looking out over the water.

Jasmine found herself relaxing, and enjoying herself, rather than the constant care of being Valentina's daughter. She felt safe and comfortable with Sean, in a way she didn't with anyone else – even Alek. Each glimpse of the 'real' Jasmine only entranced Sean further.

Later they walked along the waterfront board walk.

As they stood watching the water, Sean turned to Jasmine. "There's something I think we should talk about, and get out of the way."

Sean wasn't surprised to see the softness in her eyes and expression harden to a look he'd expect to see on Valentina. In this case, that was exactly what he wanted.

"I like you, and I think you like me. But I've got to think about my Pride, and you have to think about yours. We can't just pretend this relationship wouldn't have political impact if it becomes serious."

She gave a slow nod.

"My parents would be happy if I made a good political match, would have made it clear they want me to find a mate I care about… preferably love. I'm guessing Valentina might be a bit more… hard line. If she wants you to make a political match… at least with us, we like each other. I'm not saying we decide anything right now… I just want to get all this in the open, and out of the way."

"Fair enough. And this in one area my mom really surprised me. She and dad really loved each other. She changed so much when she lost him… She wants me to have what she and my father had. Yes, she'd like a politically helpful match, but like you say, our relationship qualifies."

"So we say that the political advantages are a benefit of our relationship, but not a reason for it?"

The softness returned to Jasmine's eyes and expression as she smiled. "Yeah," she whispered against his lips. It was good to have someone who understood the political implications and who she could talk openly with about them.

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Nikki, having flown under a false name, stepped off the plane into the San Fransisco airport. The Uniter was never going to know what hit her.

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As he was kissing Chloe good night at the front door, he suddenly pulled back. He turned and made sure his body was between Chloe and any possible danger as he scanned the area.

"Alek?" Chloe asked.

"Something… A feeling. I'm not sure how to describe it… but something is wrong," he said softly. "I'll be in your room in a few minutes. Please go inside and stay away from the windows. They used a sniper to get Nicolas…"

"Be careful," she whispered before slipping back inside. She hated hiding inside when a sniper might be targeting Alek, but knew if she argued she'd only distract him and put him in more danger.

Alek was surprised, but pleased, by easy acceptance.

Several minutes later he slipped into her room, and found her waiting. By then, he was feeling more at ease. The tension and unease that had gripped him had faded slightly.

They sat on the bed facing each other. "Valentina showed me a Prophecy. It says that the Protector will know when the Uniter is in danger, even if the Uniter doesn't know about the danger. I think that's what this is. It's part of the reason I had to go through the competition and ceremony – to earn this power."

She nodded. At least she was in danger, not Alek. She much rather the danger was to her, since she had 7 lives left and Alek only had one.

"I'm going to have someone else guard you tonight. I need to talk with Valentina," he said.

Chloe nodded, glad that Alek would be safe in the protected condo.

They shared a last kiss, then he slipped out the window.

Once his replacement arrived, he returned to the condo where Valentina was waiting.

"Tell me what happened," she instructed, pouring tea for them.

He accepted the tea, and took a sip.

"We'd had dinner, and I was kissing her good night. Then I got this feeling I've never had before. I tensed up and felt… on edge. Uneasy. I think it's what the Prophecy was talking about – me being able to sense when Chloe is in danger."

"The Order said they were going to go after the Mai around Chloe, not after Chloe herself," Valentina mused aloud. "Maybe that was just a ruse, and they are still targeting her…"

"The Prophecy also said the greatest danger will be from within," Alek reminded her.

Just then Jasmine and Sean came in. They immediately sense the tension.

"What happened?"

"I need you to find out where Nikki is, and what the Sao Paulo Pride has been up to," Alek told her – knowing there was no love lost between Jasmine and Nikki.

Jasmine nodded. "Of course. I'll start right now," she said, all Velentina's daughter – the happy girl falling in love having disappeared.

"I have some contacts. I'll see if they now anything," Sean offered, his tone all business, and his face serious. The perfect image of a future leader of a Pride, not a young man falling in love with a beautiful girl.

Valentina smiled at the couple, extremely pleased with what she saw.