United States Of America
Boston; Massachusetts
April 29th, 2040

The gunshot reverberated through the range.

"Perfect," Hannah Ciel said, rolling back her shoulders with the shotgun still in her hand. Staring at the target with a fresh bullet hole through the center, she smiled. "Certainly better than the last time."

"Regardless, you work in intelligence," Regina Wimpleton rolled her eyes. "Forty-six years old, and you still act like a child over going to the range."

"That's ridiculous," Hannah replied. "Being gun-trained and in my position is a good thing. If you recall, I used to be a member of the NYPD. I don't think I'd know what to do if I didn't have the chance to exercise my aim."

Regina shrugged as Hannah turned back to the target and fired another shot, albeit missing by about an inch.

"Interesting." She mused, somewhat sarcastically.

"You're British," Hannah reminded her. "And you Brits view things differently than we do."

Regina groaned. "Oh, for God's sake, are you ever going to drop that?"


Hannah scowled at the target as she fired another shot.

"You should know that by now."

"Are you going after Gina again?" Blake Ciel smiled as he wrapped an arm around his wife, who immediately swatted his arm and set down her gun. "I thought you were beyond that."

Hannah smirked. "Do you not know me at all?"

Regina looked to Blake and sighed. "I'd be shocked if that was true on his end."

Annoyance flashed across Hannah's face as she attached her gun back to her side and, with Blake and Regina, started for the exit at the other end of the room.

"What is that supposed to mean?"

Regina bit her lip. "What is what supposed to mean?"

Hannah scoffed. "Do you really think I don't know my husband at all?"

"Of course you know me," Blake swore, kissing her cheek. "Han, we've been married for fifteen years, and have two great kids. You have nothing to worry about."

Hannah relaxed a bit as he gave her a squeeze and turned to Regina as they reached her Mercedes and the Ciels' Bentley.

"Sorry," She said half-heartedly. "I know things like this have never been easy for you after your daughter's father abandoned you."

Regina subtly scowled at Blake but nodded with pursed lips. "More than you know."

Hannah looked between them in slight confusion before slipping into the passenger side of the Bentley whilst her husband took the wheel. Regina stood and watched for about a minute that could have felt much longer before entering her own car. Taking off in different directions, Regina found herself trying to distract her thoughts from her daughter, a sixteen-year old by the name of Lila. Her hands tightening around the wheel, her knuckles turning white, she tried to not think of Blake yet to no avail. She thought of his smaller stature, his ability to charm, his passion, and his eyes no matter how many times she attempted to remind herself that he was not her husband but Hannah's. The tinge of lust in her that seeped through to her voice had been almost caught by the woman, she knew, and it was for that reason that Regina found herself vowing to be more careful. The last thing she wanted – or needed – was to be on the receiving end of the CIA head's wrath.

As Regina continued to drive further away from the city towards the small town of Dracut in which she lived with her daughter, the Ciels were driving further towards and into it. Despite his wife's position in the government, Blake had convinced her to remain in Massachusetts upon her promotion rather than, more conveniently, moving to Washington DC. Although she flew between Boston and the capital frequently as a result, she could not deny the fact that it was better than permanently moving to any of their viable options. So much as Blake's father all but demanded his presence in Seattle, the contentious relationship between Hannah and her elder sister would have put more strain on the family than would be worth it. Outside of their professional association, Hannah Ciel and Brittney Lanson much preferred to not speak. Hannah, out of spite; Brittney, out of vulnerability.

Shutting off her mobile phone and slipping into her purse as Blake continued to drive, Hannah turned towards her husband.

"Do you think Gina still has feelings for you?"

"Doesn't matter if she does," Blake said tightly, pushing aside the thought of Lila. "I don't have feelings for her."

Hannah sighed. "You know why I've been on edge more lately."

"And I fully understand," Blake said, still staring down the interstate which was becoming all the more congested. "Your mother has been making things even more difficult than usual since your promotion, and seems to be concerned, foolishly in my opinion, at the notion of you meeting whoever it is that becomes the new British PM for the purpose of collaboration with our nation's two intelligence agencies. It's not as if either of the possibilities are bad, per se, but Jacques Winchester does seem to have his wits about him more. Jonathan Harrison seems, in contrast, to be a bit too radical in terms of his reform plans."

Hannah snorted. "I don't see a reason to trust either of them or really any politician. If you think that President Morell doesn't have some desire for power, then you're wrong. She's better than most of them, but you need to have at least a slight case of egomania to be a politician. Just look at the people my mother props up."

Blake was silent for a long moment but then shook his head.

"Considering that my own mother was a spy for the Russian Federation during the early part of the century and the 20s, I believe that. She helped, for a variety of reasons, influence the people who acted directly in one of the most corrupt election bargains in United States history and was an advisor to Vladimir Putin at one point. I think we can both agree that neither of our mothers choose to be the agents of particularly strong moral figures."

"I don't know what her problem is. This is routine, and, if it wasn't before, the last head of my department made it a standard. For the sake of my own image and for the country, my personal views aside, I am obligated to do this."

Blake shook his head. "You'll never be satisfied."

The words reverberated in Hannah's head for not the first time. It felt as if they were beating against her skull – you'll never be satisfied, you always want more, you don't give a damn about anything except for your dynasty and the words history writes about your name. Chewing at the inside of her cheek, she stared down at her hands in her lap. Even upon them, her status was clear, the rewards of her wealth and class on just one finger. The large emerald surrounded by smaller diamonds that were clasped by gold around her left ring finger all but scowled accusingly at her. The hatred she felt towards herself for a brief moment could not have been overstated, but it left her as quickly as it came.

Feeling the faint twinge that indicated the beginning of a splitting headache, Hannah reached into her purse and pulled out a bottle of pills. OxyContin. Grabbing the half-drunk water in the cup holder beside her, she popped three pills into her mouth and, with the aid of the water, swallowed them. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see her husband looking at her in concern as they sat in the stalled traffic. Setting down the water and placing the pills back in her purse, she turned to him and he reached over, placing a hand affectionately over hers.

"I wish you'd fight the prescription," He said tiredly. "You know just as well as I do that they're basically heroin."

Hannah scowled. "Nothing else I've ever been on has taken away or even eased my chronic migraines."

"We have the money to get any damn medicine we want, there's got to be something less addictive!" Blake shook his head. "I don't want anything to happen to you, Han. And those times you've been high around the kids…"

She sighed, feeling herself starting to numb. "Well, right now, there's no other option."

He bit at his lip, silent for a long moment.

"I just don't want things to get worse. At least promise me that you'll try to get off it?"

She stared down at her hands once more. "If only it were that easy."