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Written for 14 valentines challenge, theme "Athletics"

The Secret Service was one of those groups where nearly everyone who was part of it had always known he was going to be. Gina had heard a million different stories--saw it on tv, in a movie, had a parent talk about it, learned about it in civics--but they all amounted to one thing: most of the people in the Secret Service had wanted to be in it from the time they weren't tall enough to ride a rollercoaster.

For Gina, it was kind of a whim.


Gina had gone straight from undergrad to law school, because it was what her father had done and his father before him and she was an only child, so that was the way things were. It didn't bother her. She hadn't any better plans, and she liked her classmates, found the subjects interesting enough.

Her passion had always been outside the classroom, at the local dojos, where she trained her body to flow into ancient forms, was able to let free the energy and frustration that built up outside, in the world of books and people and grades.

In her third year of law school, one of the professors she had studied under the year before joined her dojo. Gina acted pleasantly surprised, despite feeling a bit like her freespace, her space away had been infiltrated. The woman didn't bother her though, just let her go about her workout.

Two days later, Gina received an email from her, asking to meet for coffee. Gina wasn't the type to burn bridges. Besides, she liked caffeine as much as the next law student.


Her Professor said, "Call me Amy," when they sat down, and the two talked about what forms of martial arts they were partial to, and the fact that this coffeehouse was much better than the other indie house two blocks over, when Amy asked, "You have plans for after graduation?"

"Job waiting at Sidley. I interned there last summer."

Amy said, "Good for you," but it was casual, not with the abundant approval in her father's voice when he'd learned, or the knowing nod of several of her current professors.

Gina smiled. "Not a fan of the big firms, I take it."

Amy shrugged. "I practiced with one for ten years. Lots of money, sometimes interesting cases. It's just not for everyone."

Gina sipped at her coffee. "And you think it's not for me."

"I think you looked a hell of a lot happier at that dojo than I've ever once seen you looking in class."

"Maybe I can buy one with all my blood money," Gina suggested dryly.

Amy laughed. "Sure, maybe. On the other hand, what do you think of the presidency?"

Gina choked on her coffee. "Politics?"

"No, I was speaking theoretically: the office of it. The ideal that it represents within American government."

Gina frowned but said, "I'm hardly a communist, if that's where we're going with this. Not much into dictatorships or oligarchies, either."

"Smart ass." Amy didn't seem too bothered by this. "Have you ever thought about the Secret Service?"

"Um," Gina said, feeling particularly articulate. Then, "No."

"Why not?"

"Because--" Gina started. She thought about it for a second. "I don't know. Because who does, really?"

"Well, clearly somebody."

"Right. Evidently I've always thought the government just raised people in laboratories for that sort of thing."

Amy laughed. "No, usually people who have the right sort of educational background and are in good physical shape apply. Like a job."

"I already have a job," Gina repeated.

"Sure." Amy nodded her head. "Just something to think about."


Less than a month into her time at Sidley, Gina went online and filled out an application. What the hell, right? It wasn't as though she had anything to lose.


The process of getting hired was long and involved a lot of waiting time and Gina never really mentioned anything to anyone, so when she was accepted it caught her a little off-guard and she wasn't entirely sure how to tell anyone. She did anyway, starting with her father, who had always been the first person she went to for an opinion of any sort. He looked at her in shock for a bit before he asked, "The Secret Service? As in, the President of America's Secret Service?"

"Well, not all of the Service directly protects the President, but yes, essentially."

Her father seem flummoxed by the thought. "You'd prefer that to-- Well, I mean, your job right now is perfectly, ah, safe."

Something ached in her chest. Her father had never liked coming to her belting ceremonies, although he had, had attended every single one. Afterwards he had always said, "A father doesn't like to see his daughter getting kicked. Repeatedly."

And she generally replied with something like, "Yeah, but you liked the part where I kicked back repeatedly, right?"

She said, "I know, daddy, but I'm-- I have skills that a lot of people don't have. A combination of skills that are unusual." Particularly in a woman. In fact, she had yet to meet anyone else in the service who was a woman and for some reason she couldn't explain (but that definitely had something to do with the way the First Lady was never letting the press get away with forgetting that she was a doctor and a philanthropist, not just a wife) the thought was thrilling.

"Of course you do," he said. "But it's my right as a father to only want to see you using them to kiss ass and take names metaphorically, dear."

She smiled tightly.

He said, "On the other hand, none of my friends can say their daughter protects the President of the United States."

"Technically, at the moment, neither can you."

He waved his hand. "Details."

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile