Son of Adam by whashaza
Summary: Raines1.jpgCan one event change a life?
Categories: Indefinite Timeline Characters: All the characters
Genres: Angst, General
Warnings: Warning: Violence
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 15 Completed: Yes Word count: 54867 Read: 81107 Published: 26/02/06 Updated: 21/05/07

1. Origin by whashaza

2. Chapter 2 by whashaza

3. Chapter 3 by whashaza

4. Chapter 4 by whashaza

5. Chapter 5 by whashaza

6. Chapter 6 by whashaza

7. Chapter 7 by whashaza

8. Chapter 8 by whashaza

9. Chapter 9 by whashaza

10. Chapter 10 by whashaza

11. Chapter 11 by whashaza

12. Chapter 12 by whashaza

13. Chapter 13 by whashaza

14. Chapter 14 by whashaza

15. Chapter 15 by whashaza

Origin by whashaza
Disclaimer: All characters and events in this story are fictitious, and any similarity to a real person, living or dead is entirely coincidental and unintended by the author. "The Pretender" is a protected trademark.

Son of Adam

By

Whashaza


Origin


Venue – 2 November 1970

Autumn was present in the air. The sharp coldness of the first winter air allowed small puffs of white air to materialize from the warm breaths of the people that stood huddled outside the house. A brown Ford sedan drove up the driveway, the headlights shining briefly on the white faces before slashing past them. The engine cut out, and the driver brought the vehicle to a standstill next to the group of men. A door opened, the interior light flashing for a brief moment before a harsh command darkened it again. Inside, the fast, repetitive and painful breathing of the patient could be heard. Moving quickly, they secured her to the gurney, the straps wrapping around her wrists and feet. They didn't even bother to make her comfortable or provide a blanket against the chill. She lay on the gurney, clad only in a hospital gown while they brought her inside the house.

“Is she ready?”

His voice did not fill her with confidence and safety, instead it increased her fear. Through the painful contractions, she tried to focus on his face but failed.

He had promised...

The stoic faces around her watched her reach for her son, trying to see his face. All she could see was the back of the woman who held him. She could feel her life blood continue to find a way out of her and she knew with certainty that she would never be allowed to see her son grow up. As darkness closed in her last thought was one of regret and despair.

She will never know what it would have been like to hold him in her arms...


********

Michigan – Present


He glanced at the late afternoon sky, noting that the heavy mist that was lying over the lake had thickened with the approach of storm clouds from the northwest. The sun had disappeared completely, not even visible as the hazy ball it was earlier. Nightfall was approaching and it would be dark soon. His dark hair was ruffled by the wind that whipped across the lake, creating white crests on the surface. It was autumn and the first winter storm was fast approaching. Turning soulful eyes to the house behind him, he sighed.

The house next to the lake was a an old two story colonial building, white picket fenced and washing that flapped in the increasingly strengthening wind. This was offset by the big, old trees that surrounded it, mourning in song with the wind. This picturesque setting was in contrast to what was going on in the immediate surrounding area. The red and blue flashing lights of the police cars created a laser show on the whitewashed wall of the front porch. Blue uniformed men walked in and out the house, their flashlights increasing the sense of wrongness. Here and there the bright yellow of FBI on the backs of jackets identified the one group of law enforcement officers from others. His own jacket matched theirs, his badge identifying him as part of the elite group.

Steeling his emotions one more time, he breathed in the cold, arctic air. Allowing Sydney's voice to bring calmness and a sense of objectivity, he turned from his viewpoint and allowed his feet to carry him towards the front porch. Showing his badge to the police officer guarding the front door, he entered the hallway.

Everything was neat and tidy. Looking into the living room to his left, he saw the toys in baskets around the comfortable couches. He could sense the love that was still lingering in the room, bringing with it a sense of sadness. Ignoring the other ground floor rooms, he made his way up the stairs.

He caught his first glimpse of the body in the master bedroom. He had to swallow the bile that rose, turning his head so that others would not see his hurt.

Focus.

Taking a deep breath, he entered the carnage. His gaze followed the pattern of blood smears that marred the rooms walls and carpet. Red against beige, the contrast seemed to hold his attention for a full minute before he could focus back on the body of the man again.

His head was caved in, the skull crushed by the heavy stone ornament that lay next to him. He could see the congealed dark of the blood that matted the black hair. His eyes was staring into the distance, no one had closed the unseeing gaze. Crouching besides the body, he looked at the broken fingernails, the bruises that had barely time to form. Rising slowly, he turned towards the connected bathroom.

It was pink. That was his first observation. Who still had pink bathrooms?

Her red hair was spread angelically around her white face. Her lips had been painted red, a cherry color that nearly tore a sob from him. He remembered the last time he had seen her and he couldn't bring that image together with the one that was no splayed unnaturally on the cold bathroom tiles.

“I assume you're the agent they sent from headquarters.”

Turning, he saw a red-faced man enter the bathroom. He was within his fifties, a round belly straining against his shirt buttons, his nose showing the blue veins of a heavy drinker. His light blond hair was thinning and his blue eyes gazed at him with an indifferent air. He knew immediately that this man had already noted most things that he would need to make an accurate assessment of him and he wondered how much of what he allowed the other to see would be interpreted as just another overworked agent who had seen to much death. Holding out his hand, he introduced himself.

“I'm agent Kennett but you can call me Jarod. Do you have any further information regarding the double murder?”

“As far as we can see, this had been unplanned. He killed the husband before doing the wife. A neighbor called the local police and I guess he got scared and ran before he could take what he wanted. Thus far we haven't been able to determine if anything was stolen.”

Nodding his head, Jarod walked out the door. The other man followed him down the short hallway. Opening the door on the other side, he entered the child's room. Everything was in disarray. Clothes and toys were laying haphazardly around the room. His feet crunched on glass from a broken lamp that lay on its side. Looking around the room, he began a frantic search for the child.

“He's not here.”

Stunned into immobility, his heart plummeted to his stomach. His jaw tightened, his eyes closed.

No.


He knew the other was observing him, wondering about his relationship with the family. He had to swallow twice before he could get anything more than a croak out. Even then his usual deep voice cracked twice.

“What do you mean he's not here. Where is he?”

“Well, the neighbor said that the father usually picked him up from the connecting farm road when the school bus dropped him off. The father was killed before he could do that and when the neighbor went to fetch the kid, he only found his backpack.”

Following the detective down the stairs to one of the police vans parked outside, he noticed that the storm had come closer. Big, fat drops started to fall when the reached the doors, and they entered the dark interior, closing the door on the storm. The loud splatter of the raindrops on the metal roof made conversation almost impossible.

Taking the backpack from the detective, his fingers slipped over the rough material. It was blue, with yellow and white side stripes. A normal backpack bought everyday for thousands of children across America. Opening the flap, he took note of the books and pencil case inside. Taking out one of the books, he allowed his hand to linger over the carefully written words on the front. In blue pen was inscribed proudly the boy's name and parentage.

Not again.


********

The Centre


“No, daddy. I understand.”

Placing the phone back on its cradle, her other hand wiped tiredly across her face. Disappointment was evident in her body language, and she allowed a brief glimmer of it to show on her face. Rising, she went to the drinks cabinet and poured herself a good stiff finger of scotch. Downing it in one go, she bent slightly went the burning liquid hit her stomach. Just one more reminder of what the Centre is leaving her, a smoldering stomach ulcer that was laying in wait to pop and a yearly reminder of Thomas' death.

A knock on her door turned her head sideways. Another tentative one came and then she remembered her instructions to be left alone. Opening the door, she turned away as Broots entered.

“Miss Parker, s...sorry to interrupt b...but we might have a h...hit on Jarod.”

“I'm not in the mood, Broots. Do you or don't you. I am not running after his hide across the country for a might.”

Fidgeting, Broots took out a folder he had been holding.

“W...well, according to the new s...search programme I ran, h...he is in Michigan. An article was spotted t...that might” seeing the annoyed look, he cleared his throat, “s...sorry, uhm, could draw h...his attention.”

“Give me that.”

Grabbing it out of his hand, she scanned the offending item. Looking at the date and heading she made her decision. It wasn't as if she had anywhere to go or anything to attend.

“Get the jet out of the hanger and phone Sydney. We're leaving in an hour.”

“M...miss Parker, there's something else.”

Lifting an eyebrow, she snapped her fingers when he failed to comply, instead looking at his feet.

“Out with it, Broots.”

“Uhm, its Mr Lyle. He has already left and he took the plane.”

“When?”

Glancing at her angry eyes, he swallowed his answer, nearly cutting the word in two.

“Yesterday.”


********

Police station

“You can use Detective Mason's office. He is on leave for a few weeks.”

Entering the small office he gave it a good once over. This was better than he had expected, thanking the officer who had brought him here. Closing the door almost rudely in the police officer's face, he leaned against the door briefly, allowing his pent up emotions to show briefly. Stepping towards the desk, he put the DSA case on the floor next to the chair, trying to get his thoughts under control. He had never before allowed himself to be this personally involved and it was starting to get to him.

Restless, he stood up again and went back to the door. Locking it, he closed the blinders, knowing that it could be seen as distrustful and suspicious but he didn't care. Grabbing the DSA case, he put it on the desk. Opening the silver briefcase, his fingers trembled when he took the appropriate disc and inserted it into its slot. He almost didn't push the play button.

For Centre use only

The scene opened on a much younger Sydney, crouched in front of a ventilation shaft. The shaft was small, to small for an adult to enter it and seen from a closer angle was the white of someone's eyes staring silently back.

“Jarod, you have to come out of there. Come on, you can't stay there forever.”

The boy could be seen shaking his head, drawing his knees closer to his small body. Small tear tracks were barely visible in the dim light, and it was very obvious from the adult's body language that this had been going on for a while now. Sydney moved slightly, his focus on the camera as he spoke for the hidden audience behind it.

“Jarod had now been in the ventilation shaft for four hours. He is ignoring all commands to get out of there. I'm hoping that hunger and thirst might drive him out so that we can address the reason why he thought to hide there.”

Sydney could be seen focusing back on the small body determinedly wedged into the small space.

“Jarod, its time for your supper. Come on, I'm sure you're hungry.”

Again the boy shook his head, dropping it on his arms the surrounded his knees.

“Jarod.”

Sydney's voice admonished, bringing the head back up, the eyes widening slightly before the boy swallowed his fear. Ignoring the older man, he shifted his body around till his back was turned to the other. Only then did he allow the quiet sobs to come unaided. To Sydney it looked like the boy thought that if he couldn't see Sydney, then Sydney wouldn't exist. Jarod's unresponsiveness increased his worry.

Jarod stopped the DSA, leaning back in the sturdy office chair. He started to remember his reason for hiding, for wanting to find a place that was safe. It was one of the times that Sydney had gone of to visit his brother Jacob, leaving him in the hands of Raines. Raines had asked him to perform a harrowing kidnap ordeal, not withholding any physical abuse in the process. Sydney had returned earlier than expected and Raines had to let him go. He had been so immersed in the other's personality that he had ran the first chance he got. That's how he had ended up in the small shaft, too big for adults but big enough for his needs. Taking a deep breath, he leaned forward, and fast forwarded the scene to three hours later.

“I have decided to use external stimuli to see if I can't coax Jarod out of the shaft. I have brought a puppy, and will leave it at the entrance, hoping to get him close enough so that we can grab him.”

The scene unfolded to show Sydney leaving a small Labrador puppy at the entrance and then moving away to the side. The puppy sniffled and wined, drawing the young Jarod's attention. His eyes were drawn to the small warm body that lay in wait, tail wagging slightly as he sniffed his new surroundings. Lifting his eyes from the puppy, he looked around the small square area he could see. Everything was empty. Tentatively, he reached out but found that he was too far from the puppy. He had to move closer but with that brought fear and the memory of pain. Looking outside again, he couldn't see any of the adults. Quietly, he moved closer. Finally close enough to grab the small body, he was immediately pulled from his hiding hole. Screaming and kicking, he tried to get rid of the strong grip that had hold of him, hurting him. Only then did Sydney's voice register. Settling down, he was transferred from the sweeper's grip to Sydney's firm but gentle hold. Allowing the comfort of the others arms around him, he pulled his small arms around Sydney's neck, holding as tight as he could. Burrowing his face in his handler's neck, he allowed the tears to come again.


The knock on the door startled him. Grabbing the disc, he quickly closed the case. He pushed it under the desk before unlocking the door. The red faced Detective Murray were looking past him into the darkened office before focusing his gaze back on Jarod.

“Is everything all right, agent Kennett?”

“Yes, I just needed time to think. Have you received any preliminary results from the lab?”

Holding out a brown folder, he took a step back, watching the other take it. This man intrigued him, so full of compassion yet, he couldn't quite place his finger on it, there was something different, something not quite right.

“Anything else?”

Jarod looked at the detective, once again wondering just how intuitive the man was. The indifferent gaze settled on him again, before Murray responded negatively. Closing the door on the man, he took the folder to the desk. Opening it, he scanned the first page. Nothing that he could be of use to him, he turned to the others. All were along the same line, just the basic first steps that all specialists make in their initial assessments of crime scenes. It was the last page that hit him between the eyes. It was the missing persons report that is drawn up when the possibility of a kidnapping is strongly suggestive. Boldly, in black printed letters was the name of the boy he had thought he could protect.

Davey Brewster.


********



Let me know what you think...
Chapter 2 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

I NEED REVIEWS!!!


Chapter 2


Old housing district, Michigan


He was waiting for him when he came into the room at nightfall. The man's mind must have been on something else for he had not expected him. Surprise and frightened by his appearance, the man flinched and cried out when he detached himself from the shadows against the wall. Murmuring smooth words, he waited for the other to acknowledge who he was.

His gaze was fixed on the man in front of him. A man of no importance, a low life that he had been forced to use. Shifty-eyed, thin to the point of starvation with nervous habits he would have never allowed himself to show. Breathing shallowly, to avoid the stink of the other, he took another step closer. His voice was no more than a whisper, but it conveyed danger and menace if ignored.

“Where's the boy?”

The other stuttered his answer, never making eye contact once.

“I...I need m...more. T...there was c...compli...complications.”

Trailing to silence, he shifted from one foot to the other. He smiled coldly, watching the sweaty hand wiping at his left hand pocket. Probably a knife or other such item hidden there, and hoping it would bring comfort.

Idiot.

“How much?”

He could see the surprise on the other's face, not having expected the question. Drifting his stance into readiness, he smirked. It annoyed him that he had to negotiate with this creature, but for now it would do. What happened after he had the boy, well, that could be appeasement enough. His eyes, dark as the night, held the other's gaze fixed on him, waiting for the words in the jumbled mind to get to the mouth and be uttered in numbness.

“F...five,” he watched the other close his eyes, swallowing, before dragging courage from some pit and reassessing the boy's worth, “no, wait, ten thousand more.”

“Very well, you have it. Now, where is the boy?”

He followed the man, a cat-like grace to his walk. No sound left his feet as he placed them on the tile floor, his breathing steady. The hallway ended at a closed up room, the wooden planks long since knocked into place to keep undesirables out. The man bent down, scurrying through a hole made on the right hand side of the blocked up doorway. It was just big enough to crawl through. Deciding that the other had too much to loose by killing him, he bent down and crawled through quickly and efficiently. Allowing his eyes to adjust, he could see only dim outlines of discarded items. He could hear the other, moving a crate, opening another darker hole. Following, he allowed another brief smile to linger on his face.

The tunnel meandered for about two hundred meters before it came to an abrupt halt. Twisting at the wall, the other slid the concealed door open. When he stood up, he found himself in a square room, moonlight entering through slats built in the wall. Somehow, they had ended up in an old power house station. Huddled in the corner was the boy. Hands were tied cruelly behind his back, a black hood covering the face. Satisfied, he turned to the other, his hands emerging from his jacket. He watched the other's eyes widen in fear, before his silent scream started to echo around the room.

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

The Centre – Sydney's office

Taking his jacket from his stand by the door, Sydney turned off the light, getting ready to go home. Miss Parker had phoned earlier to say that they had a possible lead on Jarod and would leave tomorrow morning when Lyle and the Jet returned to Blue Cove. He was about to close the door when he heard the familiar ring of his phone. Frowning slightly, he dropped he jacket on the chair facing his desk. The ringing still persisted and he picked up the phone on the sixth ring.

"This is Sydney."

He could hear ragged breathing on the other side, like the person was on the verge of breaking down and trying valiantly not to. His frown deepened and a question mark hangs in his voice when he softly said.

"Jarod?"

He could hear the person draw a deep breath, and then another. Patiently, he waited for the other to compose him or herself although he was fairly sure now that it was his wayward prodigy.

"I remember."

Sydney's concern increased, wondering what Jarod was referring to. Walking around the desk, he slowly sat down in his leather chair. He waited for the other to elaborate.

"I remember what Raines did to me when I was eight. And you didn't stop him."

He could hear the accusation in the voice, while he tried to think back to Jarod's childhood and that particular time. His memory failed him, and he answered Jarod with another question.

"What do you remember, Jarod?"

He could here the other swallow, a brief pause before he whispered over the line.

"Raptus"

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

Jarod looked at the phone in his hand, his mind fogged by fatigue and his emotional turmoil. He wasn't entirely sure why he wanted to phone Sydney anymore. Dropping it back into his jacket pocket, he grabbed his case and prepared to leave. The office was closing in on him, he needed space to think and he knew exactly where to go do that. Taking one more look around, he turned and left.

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

His body stretched as he dove for the falling vial. His fingers couldn’t quite reach and he watched in disbelief as it shattered into pieces on the wooden floor, the golden liquid spreading outward in an ever widening pool. He felt helpless, defeated, knowing that there was nothing he could do for the boy. By the time he had made a new batch it would be too late, the new neural pathways would be set.

“What can we do?”

Slowly rising he answered Miss Parker's question.

“Nothing.” Looking at Davey, he finished, “Its over.”

“No, its not.”

Angelo's voice filled the silence with hope and also sadness. Looking at the empath, he knew it was a choice but one that he was almost reluctant to make.

“Angelo, that's your last treatment. Without it you...”

“He's a boy.”

Silence filled the room for a few seconds before Angelo continued.

“Let him be a boy.”

Jarod watched Angelo put the vial in his hand, closing his fingers over the serotonin. His eyes pleaded as he said, “Please.”


Jarod woke with his head on his arms, his feet hanging over the side of the bed. Wiping his eyes with his hands, his mind struggled to bring him back to the present. Sunlight filtered through the closed curtains, and he tried to figure out how long he had been asleep. He remembered vaguely leaving the park earlier this morning to get some rest, falling into bed at four am. Grabbing his watch from the bedside table, he blearily eyed the twitching second hand of his watch. It took him almost a full minute before he realized that he was still staring at the second hand. Pulling himself upright, he placed his feet on the cold floor, before moving towards the bathroom. Splashing the cold water on his face seemed to help a little, clearing the cobwebs from his brain. Staring into the mirror above the sink, he looked at the face that stared back at him. His eyes were bloodshot, his beard dark where the stubble had formed during the past few hours. He watched the water drip from his chin, and for a moment he thought he saw another face next to his. It was a black and white mirror image of him when he was eight. The boy's eyes were full of tears, fat drops making its way down his cheeks. It startled him enough that he looked behind him, before admitting to himself that he was alone. His gaze returned back to the mirror to find the normal reflection of the room staring back at him.

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

The Centre – early morning

Sydney knew that according to Centre policy he should tell Miss Parker about the call from Jarod. Making his way down the corridor, he tried to analyze the conversation he had had the previous night. Something was definitely wrong with the pretender; he could hear the fatigue and anguish in the other's voice. He was worried, wondering what nightmares Jarod was referring to and why it was relevant now. Entering the tech lab, he noticed Broots at his workstation. Making sure that Miss Parker wasn't around; he made his way over to where Broots sat, leaning over the balding technician.

"Uh, Sydney, morning."

Smiling, he placed a small piece of paper on his lap, before straightening.

"I need you to do a little research for me as a favor."

Broots looked at his lap, his fingers opening the small piece of paper. One word was written on it, and he frowned. He was about to comment when the loud staccato of Miss Parker's heels sounded through the doorway. Jumbling it into a ball, he pushed it frantically into the pocket of his pants. He ended up having to rise to push it in, his hand halfway out of his pocket when she entered his eyesight.

"There's no need to get excited, Broots."

"M…Miss Parker, I…uhm"

Stammering, he blushed while he tried to extricate his hand from his pocket. Finally succeeding, he tucked in his shirt that had loosened and escaped the confines of his pants. He watched her lift an eyebrow, her gaze moving from him towards Sydney.

"Anything I should know, Sydney?"

Shaking his head, Sydney said nothing while he pushed his hands into his pockets. He watched her eyes narrow as she took in Broots' guilty stance and his own nonchalant one. Meeting her gaze, he waited for her to state the reason she was there, hoping that she wouldn't delve further into his reason for being here so early. Turning on her heel, she spoke over her shoulder as she walked away.

"We leave in an hour." Stopping at the doorway, she turned and smiled at the two men who still stood by the desk, "With luck the lab rat will be back in his cage this time tomorrow and we can get back to our normal lives."

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

Lyle smiled as he proceeded down the hallway. Entering his office, he closed the door before making his way towards his desk. He was about to seat himself when he became aware of another presence in the room. Looking up in annoyance, he stiffened when he noticed who it was.

"We had an agreement."

"And it still stands." Stepping into the light, Cox allowed a cold smile to linger on his lips. Ignoring the other's anger, he continued to stroke the preserved squirrel he had in his hand. Looking into the glass eyes, his voice came soft and smooth.

"Things are proceeding as planned?"

"Yes, we should have results within the designated time line."

Lifting his gaze to Lyle, Cox warned quietly.

"Do not disappoint me, Lyle. It will not bode well for you."

Lyle watched Cox disappear as quietly as he appeared. Lifting his phone, he proceeded to dial an eight digit number. He waited for the other to answer, before giving one short command.

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

Police station, Blue water

Jarod put the phone back on its cradle before leaning his head into his hands. Things were not looking good. Nothing could be gleaned from the house and any tire tracks that could have been left had been washed away by the previous night's storm. He was helpless, having no idea where Davey could be, or why he had been taken. The inept murder had convinced him that whoever had been at the house had not been the Centre. They never left things that messy, rather specializing in taking children in the middle of the night under their parents noses. Flashes of his own abduction seeped through despite his attempts at trying to stay objective, once again bringing with it the fear he had experienced. Wiping his eyes with the palms of his hands, he spread the papers that lay strewn across his desk. Focusing on the words, they swam in front of his eyes in dark squiggly lines. He was relieved when a knock on his door interrupted his thoughts, bringing with it some distraction from the helplessness he felt.

"Come in."

Murray entered the office, walking over to the desk and seating in one of the chairs. It creaked slightly from his weight, reminding him again that his wife wanted him to loose a few pounds. He noticed the tired eyes of Jarod that stared back at him and he wondered about the agent. Who was he and why was he so interested in this particular case. It wasn't as if there weren't other abduction cases. Settling his hands on his stomach, he leaned gingerly back into the chair.

"Can I help you?"

Smiling, to take the sting out of his words, Jarod did not feel like having a chat with a lonely cop.

"I want to know what your relationship with the Brewster family is or was."

Jarod looked at the seemingly disinterested man that sat across him. He was on dangerous ground. This man was far too perceptive just to spin a story for. Sighing, he emulated the other, leaning back into his chair.

"Am I a suspect, then?"

"Are you saying you should be?"

He could feel the other's blue eyes gazing on him. Suddenly he felt self-conscious. For a brief moment he wondered why his emotions were taking such a roller coaster ride and then dismissed it again. Rising, he walked towards the metal file cabinet that stood against the wall. Closing the partially open top drawer, he turned towards the detective who still sat in the chair, his gaze still following his actions. Feeling more composed, he allowed his pretend to dictate his actions. Smiling, he answered the other's question.

"No, I'm sorry detective but I'm just a bit overworked. I just need to get some sleep and I should be more sociable."

The other imitated his smile, but still not budging from his seat. His voice was firm when he said.

"Agent Kennett, you still haven't answered my question? I want to know what your relationship was with the Brewster's."

Jarod gazed into the other's eyes, aware of the pounding in his heart. He knew that the Murray will not let it go till he was satisfied. Another flashback came viciously, and it shook him. Grabbing hold of the desk, he was dimly aware of the other's questioning voice before he felt his arms support him. He was lead to his chair in which he nearly collapsed like a rag doll. Riding the memories, he swallowed the water from the glass that was pushed against his lips. It took him another minute or so before he felt able to face the man that stood by his side.

"I'm fine. Thanks."

Murray watched the color return to Jarod's face, satisfied that the agent isn't about to collapse on him. Seating himself again in the chair, he waited for the other to compose himself. He watched Jarod smile ruefully before saying.

"Sorry, I haven't eaten yet. If you'll excuse me, I think I will get myself some breakfast."

Jarod rose a bit shakily, aware of the other's gaze on him. Grabbing his jacket, he felt the walls close in again. Swallowing, he made another excuse before leaving the detective in his office.


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

Private airport, Detroit, Michigan

Miss Parker stepped from the jet, ignoring the cold wind that was swirling around her. Wiping the hair from her face, she stared into the distance. She heard Sydney clear his throat, prompting her to turn.

"Miss Parker, is something wrong?"

Shaking her head, she waited for Sydney to join her on the tarmac, while the Centre issued town car drew up to the plane.

She seated herself in the back with the psychiatrist, Broots taking the front with Sam.

"Sam, how long will it take us to get there?"

"Three, maybe four hours, Miss Parker."

"Let's go. I want to catch Jarod napping for once, and I don't think he knows that were on to him."

Staring at Broots, she finished,

"That is if your information is correct, for once."

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

Freedom Park, Blue water

Laying his head onto the back seat of the bench, he allowed the warm feel of the sun to play across his face. There was crispness in the air, forcing him to keep his jacket on but he didn't mind. Not a lot of people were in the park this early, leaving him alone on the bench. Spreading his arms to rest on the top, he allowed his body to relax slightly. Listening to the chirp of the early morning birds and the sounds of the few people who walked pass he could almost believe that his nightmares never happened. There was a darker edge to his dreams of late, throwing his already diminished sleep patterns in disarray. That, coupled with his memories that were resurfacing regarding his time with Raines was keeping him off balance and emotionally spent. He badly needed to speak to someone, but when he had phoned Sydney he had found that he couldn't. His throat constricted, his muscles tightened, keeping all the words inside. He only hoped that Sydney would do a search on the project name he had found on one of his forays into the Centre archives.

Feeling slightly better, he shifted in his seat and took out the familiar red notebook he kept on all his Sims. Opening the first page, he read the captioned words of the heading, wondering again why Davey would be taken by anyone other than the Centre. The Brewster's were not rich; they had enough to provide a comfortable living to them and the boy but definitely not to ensure that they were noticed. He had been in the area for another sim that he had just completed, and he kept his identity he had created, using it to gain access to the crime scene. He knew that the Centre was on its way, but he couldn't leave Davey in the kidnapper's hands any more than he could stop himself from breathing. His ringing phone interrupted his thoughts. Taking his cell phone from his pocket, he answered it with a brief greeting.

"Agent Kennett, we might have a lead on the identity of the murderer. The neighbor had identified a possible suspect from one of the photo books we had him page through. Can you be at the old housing district in half a hour?"

Jarod eyed his watch, mentally calculating the time it would take him from the park to his destination.

"I should make it, where are we meeting?"

"Corner of St Peter's Place and Jameson. Do you know where it is?"

"Yes, and Murray, thanks."

Closing his connection, he rose and walked at a rapid pace to where he had parked his car. He could only hope that Davey was unharmed.

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

Old housing district


Jarod stood with detective Murray behind the squad car while the swat team stormed the building. Three minutes later the all clear sounded and they entered the broken-down house from the south side. He had read the file of the man they were hunting, a desperate thief on the lowest rung of the criminal ladder. He had enough information to sim his way into the other's persona and he could feel the anxiety that permeated the room like perfume. He understood that the murder had been unplanned. It had been done in the heat of the moment and a decision that had been taken without thought to the possible consequences. Looking around the room, he followed his instincts, his steps almost mimicking the thief's as he walked down the hallway to the closed up room. He was aware that Murray was following him, probably wondering what he was doing but he ignored the other's presence.

Stopping at the doorway, he looked down to notice the hole that was big enough for a man to crawl through. Asking for a flashlight, he studiously shifted his unease to the background while he crawled through the small space. The next room was dark except for where the light shone through the slats that closed off the door. Shining the flashlight around the room, he noticed the discarded furniture and boxes that littered the floor. A crate was pushed against one wall and it immediately made him suspicious. It seemed out of place with the rest of the stuff in the room. He heard the grunt from the men behind him as they tore the wood from the lintel, opening the doorway to others. Stepping closer to the crate, he waited for the detective and two uniformed policemen to join him. He took out his gun, before moving the crate aside with his foot. A dark hole stared back and he lifted his flashlight, allowing his gun-hand to rest on his arm as he shed light on the entrance. It was an old storm tunnel, built around the 1960s. Glancing at Murray, he entered at the nod from the other.

They ended at a dead end, the tunnel abruptly ending in a wall. Looking closely, Jarod noticed a small crack on one corner where the wall and the side of the tunnel met. Fingering the small sliver he could feel the stirring of cold air. Feeling around he finally managed to find the latch, sliding the door to the side. The two policemen entered first, their flashlights throwing shadows against the wall. The light was diffused that entered through slats in the wall, rendering the room in deep twilight. He heard one of the policemen gag, prompting him to look inside. He had to swallow hard to keep the bile from rising. Hanging from the ceiling was the man that they had sought, gutted like an animal, his entrails hanging from his stomach. He could see clearly the agony the other must have been in, the blood splattered around the small room. Holding his hand in front of his nose, he gave a quick look around the room. He almost missed it, but when his hands closed on the silky material, he could feel another flashback force its way forward. Ignoring his own feelings, he mini-pretended his way out of the strong emotions that were cascading through his body. Pushing the black hood into the pocket of his jacket, he made his way out of the room, back towards the outside.

The sunshine seemed to bring some small relief, and he waited for Murray to catch up. The other was white, drawing ragged breaths in the cool air.

"I have never seen anything like that in all my years on the force."

Looking into the eyes of the other, he nodded in agreement. He still didn't trust his voice, the silky feel of the cloth against his fingers increasing his anxiety and worry for the boy. He needed time to think and the more he thought about it the more he knew it was a luxury that he or the boy didn't have.

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

Reviews make me smile...;-) and write faster...no blackmail implied...
Chapter 3 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Thanks for the reviews, it makes my fingers type faster. ;-)

Chapter 3

Lakeview Apartments

"As usual, this is a dump."

Dropping the square piece of cloth back on the ground, Miss Parker made a full turn in the small, one room apartment. Despite the name and its implication it was far from being lakeside. Two other apartment buildings blocked of any kind of view that could have made the name valid. The wall were covered in some kind of wall paper, the faded flowers had long since lost any coloring that they might have had. Not that she was really interested. Dusty sheets hang in front of the window. One tuck and the frayed material would disintegrate. That's probably the reason he had never opened them, leaving the room dark and depressing. The bed in one corner was moth-eaten, lumpy affair and she could not imagine Jarod ever sleeping on it. She watched Sydney finger the paper left on the desk, shifting them slightly to get a better read.

"So Syd, why do you think rat boy left no welcome present?"

His gaze shifted from the paper to where Miss Parker stood regally in the middle of the room.

"I don't think Jarod planned to leave this soon. Something's wrong."

Walking over to where Sydney stood, she narrowed her gaze. She gave a cursory glance at the torn paper, before asking in a low voice.

"Explain?"

Sydney was staring into the distant, lost in his thoughts. Even if he had not had the conversation with Jarod, he would have known that something was not quite right. This place was too depersonalized even for his wayward Pretender. He had slipped a piece of paper into his pocket before Parker had noticed, hoping that it would lead to some more clues regarding Jarod's cryptic message. Aware of Parker waiting for an answer, he answered.

"Jarod takes great pride in letting the Centre know that he was still free and enjoying each discovery. This place has no new toys, no indication that he had lived here. Something must have happened to have prompted him to leave before he was ready."

"Great. So wonder boy is spooked."

She stared at Sydney, wondering if he knew more than he let on. She was about to comment on it when her phone interrupted her.

“What?”
“Is that any way to greet your brother, Sis?”
“What do you want, Lyle.”
“Dad wants an update on Jarod.”

Exasperated, she turned away from Sydney.

“Are you his new secretary, Lyle? I don't remember reading the memo.”

“Parker, I'm just relaying messages. Seeing that we're family, dad probably thought I could find out firsthand whether you have found Jarod.”

“No, as usual we are left traversing in the slum-houses that he chooses to live in. While you're relaying messages,” she demanded, allowing a set smile to flirt across her face, “send a cleanup crew to this address. We might get lucky. It looks like rat boy's departure might have been unplanned.”

She waited for Lyle to acknowledge her demands, before ending the call in a low growl, “Lyle, next time you want to have a family chat, forget my number.”

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

Lakeview Apartments

His lens focused on the brunette leaving the building. She was dressed in an almost-too-short skirt with a matching jacket. Focusing on her face, he took his first and second frame while she turned and spoke to a white haired distinguished looking man behind her. His third frame was of a balding technician, jabbering along on some line before an irate look from her closed his mouth. His fourth focused in on her face. His fifth was almost perfect. It was almost as if she had sensed his presence, her stare focusing on his hiding place. Her face had a determined look on it, her eyes calculating. She took a step into his direction before turning back to the older man. He took five final frames of the trio before they got into a Lincoln and drove off.

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

Police station, Blue water

Closing his door, he took a moment to reflect on his emotions and feelings. Taking out the silk, he allowed his fingers to taste the texture of the material. Bringing it to his face, he looked at the black hood that had become a symbol of his captured past with the Centre. Flashes of memory sprung in front of his eyes, the black surface seeming to shimmer with images in black and white of him when he was a boy.

The noise was loud enough to wake him. Curling further under the blankets, he felt fear paralyze him.

Closing his eyes, he dropped his hand to his side. He tried to shake of the feelings that were slowly eroding away his self.

The hand was big and rough that closed over his mouth and nose. He tried to kick, to fight, but he was helpless.

A loud knock sounded on the door, the vibration shaking through his body that was leaning against it. Drawing a shaky breath, he bundled the cloth back into his jacket. Wiping his face, he turned and opened the door. A young officer stood staring back, his baby face clean-shaven and fresh.

“Sir, detective Murray wants to see you in the evidence room.”

Thanking the officer, he wondered if he should put the cloth in his office before deciding against it. Making his way past the desks in the open office area, he took the time to sim his way out of the memories. Opening the door to the evidence room, he noticed Murray standing at a far desk, the clothes of the thief laid out on the table. He made his way over there, noticing the other's scrutiny. Shaking his feelings that something was wrong, he smiled slightly at Murray.

“Agent Kennett, sorry for the intrusion, but I thought you would want to see this.”

“No problem. What did you find?”

Using tweezers, the detective opened the back pocket of the bloody trousers. Extracting a small yellow piece of paper, he slowly put it on a steel gray plate. Turning his blue gaze on Jarod, he turned the plate so that Jarod could see what was written on it. What he saw he had not expected, and an involuntarily gasp escaped before he could contain it.

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

Mythos House, Michigan

He watched the boy eat the food he had prepared. It fascinated him, the idea that children would grow into adulthood. It also brought with it dark memories of his own time when he was a child. Ignoring the uncomfortable way it made him feel, he finished his current task he was busy with. He kept an eye on Davey, glancing at the monitor now and again while he allowed himself a brief rest.

The boy's hands loosened its grip on the plate. It slid out of his grasp to land on the floor. Opening the steel door, he gathered the remaining food back into the plate and cleaned the mess. Turning back to the sleeping form, he rearranged the body on the bed so that he lay comfortably. Pulling the blanket over the comatose boy he felt a strange warm feeling filling his chest. He wanted to dwell on it, to examine it and understand it but he remembered his first lesson. Shaking his head, his face impassive and his eyes hard, he left Davey in his bed and locked the door behind him.

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

Police station, Blue water

"Is there anything wrong, agent Kennett?"

Shaking his head, Jarod stared at the sign that stared back at him. It was written with a thick black marker pen, the dark lines swollen and purposefully drawn. A vague unease filled him while he tried to recall the significance of the sign. He knew he had seen it before; the problem was that he couldn’t remember where. It wasn't of a past sim he had done since he had been out and that meant memories left buried in his past at the Centre.

"Do you know what it means?"

"I have never seen this before. It reminded me of an old case but the markings are different. I apologize if you thought it might shed some light. If you'll excuse me, there are still a few things I want to check out before I want to discuss this with you."

He turned to leave when Murray called him back.

"Agent Kennett," Murray made sure he had Jarod's attention before continuing, "don't leave town."

He watched the other leave, turning his attention back to the piece of paper on the tray. He wondered why the markings had such an effect on the other, to him it meant nothing. He gave instructions to the officer to get the evidence to forensics. He had done his part, wanting confirmation that Jarod knew more than he let on. He now had enough doubt to validate a personal investigation of the mysterious agent.

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

Centre

"She's back."

Turning from his spot besides the window, Lyle faced his father.

"Good. I want to know what information she managed to get from Jarod's last lair."

Pushing his gloved hand into his pocket, Lyle said as respectfully as he could manage, "What about the phone call to Sydney. Are we going to act on it?"

Mr. Parker left the question hanging for a minute before answering his son.

"No, for the moment I want to see what Sydney is going to do. Intensify the surveillance on him. If he starts poking in the wrong place, I want him stopped. Till then let him be."

Lyle was about to respond when the double doors to the office swung open. He watched his sister enter the office confidently. Walking up to her father, she gave him a quick hug and a small peck on his cheek. Her gaze stared defiantly at Lyle, challenging him silently before she refocused on her father.

"Angel, it's nice to see you back," circling his desk, he seated himself as he asked, "Did you find any clues regarding Jarod's whereabouts?"

"No, daddy. It looks like Jarod left before he had time to set up his usual repertoire. The cleaner team is still busy analyzing everything they had found. We might get lucky this time."

Beaming at his daughter, Mr. Parker leaned back in his chair.

"You're a Parker. I know you'll catch him, Angel. I'm looking forward to reading your report first thing in the morning. Call me later and maybe we can reschedule our dinner meeting."

She sighed and nodded, "That would be nice, daddy. I'll talk to you later."

Lyle watched his sister leave, and turned towards his father.

"What if she finds out?"

"I won't allow it," Turning his angry gaze on his son, he continued, "She must never find out. Do you understand, Lyle?"

With a slight nod to his head, Lyle agreed with his father and made his way from the room. He still had a meeting with Cox to attend.

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

Jarod's apartment

He couldn't breathe. Stumbling, he made his way to the window. His actions were jerky, spasmodic as he struggled with the latch before managing to open it. The cold night air chased any vestiges of warmth from the room. Leaning out, he took deep gulps of air as the sweat dried on his body.
The cold crept in, creating goose bumps on his skin. Feeling better, he pushed the window halfway down. Ignoring his crumbled sheets, he used the outside flashing billboard to light his way towards a small desk that sat against the far wall. Grabbing the Halliburton case, he placed it on the flat surface. His whole life was inside this square case, detailing everything he had experienced except for the gaps when Raines had played his demented experiments. Anger arrived briefly and he wondered what had been done to him. He can only see small glimpses and they were bad enough. Opening the case, he inserted the disc.

For Centre use only

The scene showed a small room. A cot stood against one wall, a sink against the other. Nothing seemed out of place, his space undisturbed. Abruptly the door opened to reveal a much younger Sydney. He entered the room, his face lined with worry. He made straight for the cot. Kneeling, he looked underneath the mattress.

“Jarod.”

A faint snuffling could be heard over the speakers. Sydney looked briefly at the camera before refocusing on the space underneath the cot.

“Jarod, come on out of there.”

Sydney waited for the space of five seconds, the whispers of faint words unrecognizable.

“Who, Jarod.”

Another few seconds were spent with Sydney's bent form by the bed while the noises scratched from the disc again.

Jarod stopped the recording. Leaning closer, he increased the sound. Rewinding to the point just after Sydney came in; he tried to hear what his younger self had said. He couldn't make out the words. The line of sight and Sydney blocked the sounds.

Increasing the sound again, he leaned in even closer. Focusing only on the sounds, he held his breath and listened.

“He .... sa... ..e'll c...e ...me...”

Letting out his breath, he rewound again. Turning the sound to its highest setting, he closed his eyes. Simming his way back into himself, he heard his first sentence uttered to Sydney and with it came the release of memories.

He was frightened and couldn't sleep. The bogey man was coming and he could not hide from it. He tried to push his small body further into the corner under his bed. He heard Sydney's command and though he knew he had to obey he couldn't make his limbs work. Shaking his head, he whispered brokenly back.

“He said he'll come for me. He said that you will let him take me.”


He hugged his knees tightly, hoping to get any kind of warmth. The room was cold. The rough texture of the wall pressed into his back, creating small indentations in his skin. He wasn't aware that he had moved from his desk, that he had folded his body underneath it. Eyes still closed, he relived a part of his life he didn't want to. The DSA kept playing, the Sydney's question vibrating around the room, his lips forming the same words as the barely heard ones in the disc.

“The dark angel. He comes when I sleep.”

The light from the DSA intermingled with the billboard's to create a garish blue grayish glow. Jarod shivered, and curled into a fetal position under the table. His eyes focused on an image that formed in the playground of dancing light. His eyes widened in fear, his hand stretched outwards to ward of the specter that hung in air. It smiled slowly, the teeth colored a dark blue, the eyes sparkling in twin stars. Closing his vision against what he saw, he mumbled one word over and over as he tried to get a grip on his emotions.

Refuge.

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

Sydney's home

The ringing phone penetrated his slumber, wakening him from deep sleep. Stretching out a hand, he fumbled with the phone before bringing it to his ear.

“Sydney.”

“I...Sydney.”

Immediately awake, Sydney sat straight up when he heard the broken voice of his prodigy.

“Jarod, are you all right?”

He could hear ragged breathing and tears that were swallowed as the words were uttered.

“Refuge.”

“Jarod, tell me where you are.”

“Sydney, I,” drawing another deeper breath, “I see things.”

The last word was spoken so soft that Sydney almost didn't hear it. Pulling a hand through his tousled hair, his worry increased.

“What do mean, Jarod?”

“I played one of the DSA's when I was a child. I...the memory must have sparked something because...I...I saw something in my room.”

“What did you see?”

“A specter...a ghost. I don't know. Sydney, can a memory be as powerful as to bring it to life?”

Sydney felt a small sliver of relief. Jarod's voice was gaining in strength. Something must have happened that scared Jarod and he wanted to help badly. He needed to have Broots find the meaning of the word in context of the Centre. It might have been a project that Raines had worked on that Jarod was now remembering.

“Memories can be powerful, Jarod. It can move people and create wonders but it can also destroy.”

He own thoughts strayed to his and Jacob's experiences in the concentration camps. He sat with the phone pressed to his ear, hearing the other breathe. They listened to each other's thoughts, bringing comfort to each of their souls for that brief period before they hung up.

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

Let me know what you think. ;-)
Chapter 4 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

To those who left me their views, thanks. It makes me smile. ;-)

Chapter 4


Mythos House, Michigan

He watched the tall man enter the room, a towel in one hand. His light blue eyes looked up suspiciously at the other man, a frown settling between his eyes. The man had dark, wavy hair like his substitute teacher that had found him parents. Brown eyes stared back at him, a hand outstretched. He had not heard his voice yet, the man had given him food last night without a word. Taking the hand, he followed the man to a bathroom down the hall. He was left alone, a towel draped over his small body and a soap bar pushed into his other. Looking at the closed door behind him, he placed the bar in the shower. Slipping his t-shirt over his head, he dropped it next to the towel.

Everything was dull, the walls gray and dirty, not at all like back home and he missed his mom's teasing when she readied his bath for him. He missed his dad's tickling and bear hugs that was just special between them. Why was he with this quiet man who said nothing? Wiping his eyes, he stood there in the middle of the room, wondering what to do.

After a while, he reached up and opened the shower, testing the water like he remembered his mom do. It was cold and he had no idea how to make it warm. He tried to find the warm tap but there was only one. Turning, he moved hesitantly towards the door. Standing in front of it, he tried to open it but it was stuck, somehow locked. The water still ran behind him, and he screwed up his face as he thought about what to do. He knew he was smarter than his classmates. His parents had told him that he was special and they wanted to keep him safe from the bad man that breathed through tubes, so they played a game. He had to try to get good marks without getting good marks. So he would get some answers wrong, so that the teachers wouldn't know how smart he really was.

He took a step back when the door opened and the man came in. He watched him carefully, pressing his back against the wall. The man closed the shower, and turned towards him. He was scared but determined. Staring as the other man stared back; he saw the man nod at the shower.

"It's too cold."

He looked at the boy, impressed by the way he was handling the whole situation. He wondered about the statement, he had never had warm water to shower with and he couldn’t understand why the boy wanted it warmer. There was no warm water. Opening the tap again, he tested the water. It was the same temperature it had always been. Looking back at the small body, he left the room, closing the door behind him.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

"Sydney, had a good night out?"

He watched her enter his office unannounced, her dress immaculate as usual. She placed her mug of coffee on the table in front of him, giving him a quick once over.

"You look like death warmed over."

He made his decision, knowing that eventually she will find out.

"Jarod called."

"His umbilical cord is still intact, I see."

Turning, she watched her brother stride into the office, his thumbless hand pushed into his pocket.

"A bit early for you, Lyle. I would have thought you'd still be in bed."

He shrugged her comment off, instead turning his eyes to Sydney.

"So what did Jarod want?"

Parker fumed at Lyle's deliberate disregard for her words, interjecting before Sydney could answer.

"Why are you all of a sudden interested in Jarod's late night conversations with Sydney, Lyle?"

Lyle's eyes shifted from Sydney to his sister's. Taking his hand out, he proceeded to tuck the leather glove tighter.

"I am part of this team, Parker, whether you like it or not. And as such, I am privy to all information pertaining to Jarod's capture."

Smiling at her brother, she folded her arms in front of her.

"Then, if that is the case, why did you leave without us on Tuesday and then failed to come with us when we went to Michigan on Wednesday?"

"Not everything at the Centre is always about Jarod," he answered her in an equally even voice.

Lifting one eyebrow, she grinned at him.

"And here I thought it was always about you."

Keeping his sister's gaze, Lyle's eyes narrowed. The silence thickened until Lyle gave a smirk and turned away. Walking out the door, he turned briefly, throwing one last barb at his sister.

"Be careful, sis. You don't know what I know."

Ignoring her brother's words, she turned to Sydney. His face was impassive where he leaned back in his chair, his gaze centered on her.

"What did Jarod want?" she purposefully emulated her brother, daring Sydney silently not to answer.

"Nothing. We talked about his past and one of the things he relived when he was a child."

"Why do I have the feeling that there is more to it than just reminiscing about the past? What are you not telling me, Sydney?"

He smiled at her, his chin resting on his one hand.

"Parker, trust me. Please. This is something a little more personal and nothing was said that would help you in your search."

She narrowed her gaze at him, before turning and leaving Sydney in his office. She was purposefully being kept out of the loop and she planned to find out why.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan


Davey shivered, his hair still wet from the cold shower he had taken. He was dressed in new clothes, a dark blue color that reminded him of his dad's pajamas. He wore slippers on his feet; they made sloshing noises while he walked behind the tall man. They entered a big room, a table with some chairs sat in the middle. Taking the seat he was indicated, his feet hang from the chair. Looking around him, he noticed how empty the room was. Turning his attention to the tall man, he watched as blocks with numbers and symbols on them were emptied on the table. The man quickly moved them into position, and then pointed. Davey remembered the blocks. It was the same ones that the substitute teacher had given them to work out. Looking at them, he wondered where his parents were.

"Davey."

The man's voice was deep and stern. It sort of rumbled from his chest and it made him look at him. Looking at the blocks, he started to shift the blocks randomly around. A huge hand stopped his hands, placing them flat on the surface.

"Do it right."

Ignoring the voice, Davey looked at the strong hand that was placed over his small ones. Taking a breath, he shifted his gaze back towards the other man.

"Where's my mom and dad?"

"Dead."

After all, he was told the truth. Why should it be any different for the boy? Davey shook his head in denial, trying to jerk his hands from underneath his. Pressing down, he held the boy in place at the table. He watched as tears streamed down his face, his screams of denial just starting to form. His other hand rose and he gave the boy just a hard enough slap to have his focus back on him.

"You will do as I say, when I say. You will follow my commands without question. I am your family now. Do you understand?"

He watched the boy nod, hot tears still forming and dripping down his cheeks. Lifting his hand, he pointed at the equation.

"Do it right."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water

Jarod grabbed his doughnuts and coffee and in his haste, he didn't check where he was going. He bumped into a blond haired woman about half his size, his coffee splashing over his hand and burning it. He dropped the cup, and the coffee splattered across the floor and over their pants.

"I'm so sorry."

Grabbing serviettes from the counter, his only thought to clean the mess and he failed to notice that she had done the same. His head met hers halfway down. Dropping the doughnuts, he grabbed at the injured area and looked into her laughing brown eyes.

Holding on with one hand to the stricken part on his head, he stretched a serviette-filled hand towards her. When she looked down and started to laugh, he noticed his hand for the first time. Smiling in embarrassment, he dropped his hand to the side. One of the waitresses came over and started to clean the mess he had made. He apologized again, turning and wanting only to disappear out the door, while the woman’s laughter rang like music in his ears. He had taken one-step when she called out to him in a light voice, full of playful banter.

“Wait.”

Turning, he looked at her as she tried to contain the laughter; her eyes bright and full of life.

“At least let me buy you another cup of coffee.”

She reminded him of Zoe in once sense and he was intrigued, his embarrassment making way for interest. He agreed, following her back to the counter, his mess already cleaned by the smiling waitress.

“Hi, I’m Jessie.”

Taking her hand, he smiled. “Jarod.”

“Sorry about the coffee, Jarod.”

“No problem, I think I should have been more attentive about where I was going.”

She smiled a bright, toothy grin. He was fascinated. He had never met any one that easy going and trusting.

“Hey, brown eyes, you still with us.”

Looking down, he noticed the coffee she held out to him. He could feel the heat radiating from his face and suddenly felt like he had no words to say back. Coughing, he took the offered drink, hoping that he wouldn’t embarrass himself any further. He watched her go, standing there with the coffee in his hand, his knees weak and his body burning from where he had touched her fingers. The tingle of the door woke him from his reverie and he ran out the diner after her.

She was nowhere in sight.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre


Broots leaned into the screen after having a quick look around although he knew that he was alone in the room. Smiling, he typed away a short sentence before leaning back. Something tickled the back of his head and as he turned he came face to face with Miss Parker. He nearly fell of his chair in fright while he tried to frantically reach for the escape button.

"Leopard pants?"

He finally managed to hit the escape key, while trying to disappear into the chair he was sitting in.

"Uh, Miss Parker, it's not what it looks like…I…"

"Keep your pants dry, lover boy. There's something I want you to do for me."

He rolled his chair out of her heated gaze, his voice cracking slightly when he agreed. She gave a quick look around before lowering her voice.

"I want to know what project the Centre currently rates as more important than Jarod and I want to know what my demented brother's role in it is."

"I…I don't know if…" swallowing when she lifted an eyebrow and leaned in.

"I…I'll try my best."

Smiling, she straightened and left her last parting words.

"Broots, my eyes only."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police station, Blue water


Jarod entered his temporary office, still thinking about the girl he had met so briefly in the diner. He wanted to meet her again and this time have a conversation with her. Smiling at the remembrance of her liquid-filled laughter, he felt upbeat and optimistic for the first time in a while. Placing his coffee on the table, he opened the blinders, allowing the sun to enter the office. Lingering in the slight warmth, he closed his eyes and imagined Jessie again and their chance meeting. He heard his door open and turned away from the window to see Murray enter his office. The detective reminded him of the reason why he was here and he sighed before taking his seat. Murray dropped a brown manila folder on his desk and then seated himself on the chair across him. Glancing at the other, he slowly slid the folder closer and then opened it.

It was a forensics report of the powerhouse where they had found the murdered man. He frowned when he noticed an anomaly on the second page. Making a mental note, he continued to read the folder from cover to cover before he closed the report. Murray was watching him, his hands folded comfortably over his rounded tummy.

"Did you notice it?"

Nodding, he mimicked the other in posture. Murray's light blue gaze bore into his, assessing him and Jarod didn't like it. It reminded him of Raines although he knew that the detective was far removed from the reality of the Centre.

"I want to hear your thoughts on it."

Closing his eyes, he again focused on the anomaly he had read in the report. He examined and disregarded theories, trying to find a logical answer to the problem. Thinking back to when he had picked up the hood, he recalled his shoes crunching on glass. He wanted to test his theory but he needed to get rid of Murray first.

Feigning ignorance, he said, "It doesn't make sense. Why would the murderer forget something like that while his profile suggests that he is meticulous and intelligent?"

"I agree. But I want to know what you make of the evidence."

"The shards of glass are painted black. It could for any number of reasons."

He suddenly had a suspicion that Murray knew the meaning of the glass. Annoyed at the other's attitude he asked the question he knew the detective had been waiting for.

"What do you think it means?"

"Have you ever heard about black light?"

"I'm aware of its properties, yes."

"Then care to explain why he would use and dispose of one when there is no evidence left in the room that suggested that he needed it. The room is clean if you discard the blood and victim's body. Do you think it possible that some evidence might have gone missing?"

The other held his gaze, his face impassive as he asked the question. Jarod could feel his pulse increase. Leaning forward, he took a sip of his cooled coffee, never breaking eye contact.

"Anything is possible."

Murray nodded, rising slowly before leaning onto the table. Taking the folder with one hand, he spoke softly.

"I hope you know what you’re doing, agent Kennett."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre


Broots turned to find Sydney standing behind him. He gave a small shriek in fright and jumped back, his hand over his heart.

"Don’t do that."

"Broots, have you made any progress on my request."

Boy, am I popular today, he though. Shaking his head, he was surprised to find Sydney grabbing his arm.

"It's imperative that you find that information for me as soon as possible. Please."

"Is anything wrong, Sydney?"

Turning, Sydney watched Lyle approach them. Loosening his grasp on Broots' arm, he smiled at the younger man.

"Nothing we can't handle, Lyle."

"Are you certain there's nothing that I can do to help? After all, I'm sure you want Jarod back as soon as possible."

"Is this a private meeting or can anyone join in?"

Lyle turned and watched his sister enter the lab. Turning his gaze on the nervous tech, he asked in a smooth voice, "Do you have any new information on Jarod, Mr. Broots."

"Uh, n…no, Mr. Lyle."

Broots was aware of Miss Parker's hot gaze on him. He was aware of Sydney's gaze on him and then there was Mr. Lyle's. Stammering, he made an excuse and started to leave before he remembered that everyone was congregated in his lab. He blushed, standing halfway between his desk and the door, not sure what to do. He was saved when Miss Parker pushed a printout into his hands, directing him to his desk while directing her words at Lyle.

"Why don't you run to daddy and tell him that we don't have any current leads on Jarod."

Lyle fumed at being dismissed like a junior office clerk. He was about to reply when he thought about his present assignment. There would be time enough later for any thoughts of revenge.

She watched him storm out of the lab, before turning her gaze on Sydney and Broots. Pointing at the sheet clutched in the tech's hand, she said, "The cleaners had failed to come up with any significant leads. It's as usual up to us to find him. Have Broots analyzed that piece of paper yet that you took from the apartment, Syd?"

Sydney was surprised. He had thought that he had managed to take it without her noticing. Slipping it out of his pocket, he silently handed it over to the tech.

"You're more observant than I remember."

She smiled at him, "There's all kind of things I notice, Sydney. And right now I want to know why Jarod's call has your guts all twisted and do not throw the psychiatrist confidentiality line back at me. You know that I will find out eventually and it might not be pretty."

Sydney debated his options silently, wondering how far she would go to catch Jarod. Deciding that to give her some information was better than her snooping around, he relented.

"Jarod phoned me a few nights ago regarding a past sim that is starting to haunt him. The conversation isn't that important, but he gave me a word that might relate to his memories. It is raptus, which is Latin for ‘tearing off’. It's the same with last night's phone call. He is starting to recall things that Raines had done to him and it is leaving him vulnerable."

"Why am I not surprise that Raines is involved in Jarod's nightmares." Turning towards Broots, she continued, "See what you can find about this missing project and Broots…don’t get caught."

He watched her leave and then shortly after Sydney. He stood there with the paper and printout still clutched in his hands, the echo of their footsteps retreating. Looking down he suddenly wondered what he had just been volunteered for.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jarod's apartment

Closing the curtains, he made the room as dark as he could. It wasn't dark enough and he made his way to the small bathroom. He closed the door and smiled. This might work.

Grabbing the hood, he took the portable black light he had bought at the hardware store. Adjusting his eyes to the darkness, he felt the oppressiveness of the black around him. Shrugging his feelings off, he pushed the on button. The long UV light shone purple, throwing his white shirt into a glow. Taking the hood, he started to turn it in his hand.

Covering the once side of the hood was the same sign that had been drawn on the paper that had been found in the victims clothes. He dropped to his knees when the sight of the sign threw him back to the day before the DSA he had watched last night.

He watched Mr. Raines as he circled him. He was frightened but determined not to show his fear. He wanted Sydney but he had been told that if he didn't behave that he wouldn't be allowed to see him. Shifting, he tried to find a more comfortable position in the glass box he had been put in.

Then everything went dark.

The night that descended was so black that he strained his eyes trying to see. He was petrified, wondering what was happening. He heard something shift, a small snuffle that screamed out to him. Turning to the sound, he watched the glowing apparition appear against the backdrop of darkness. Harsh whispers filled his box, resounding against the glass.

"You're mine…you're mine…"

The arm reached for him and he shuffled back as far as he could until his back was pressed against the cold glass. A sign drifted on air, glowing bright yellow as white teeth smiled a Cheshire smile. He focused on the sign while he tried to protect himself against what he saw.

It was a crescent moon. On the top point was a circle with a straight line down the right hand side making it look like a lopsided d. On the bottom left hand turn of the crescent were two skew lines that made it look like an upside down v. He had no idea what it meant but he watched that sign grow larger and closer.

He started to scream, calling Sydney and Mr. Raines for help. Something hissed and he smelled sweet incense. He screams died down while his eyes closed.


Jarod woke to find that he was still in the dark bathroom. His breaths came quick and he scrambled to open the door. He ignored the cut that burned from his hand while he fumbled to open the curtains. In his haste, he jerked one of them from the railing, tearing the material. The late afternoon sun shone through, dispersing the nightmare images from his mind. He looked down to find that he still clutched the hood in his left hand.

What had been done to him and more importantly why?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

He tucked in the boy, making sure he was comfortable before locking the door on his way out. He made his way down the street towards the warehouse district. No one bothered him, the homeless and desperate that made their living here had learned quickly that he was not to be messed with.

The phone booth was tucked away in the alley, graffiti sprayed across the handset and inside of the booth. He dialed the number, waiting till he heard the wheezing on the other side.

"I did as you dictated. The boy is settling in and should be ready in a week. He wants to call me a name, what do I say he should call me by?"

He waited patiently, knowing that his mentor would give him what he needed. He had never been called a name and he felt no need for it. Still he waited with a small twinge of hope. It was answered when the other wheezed one sentence before hanging up.

"Tell …him your… name is… Cain."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reviews are appreciated. It is the real reason I write.
Chapter 5 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Chapter 5

Miss Parker's home


Mumbling in annoyance, she stretched out her hand.

"What!"

"Miss me?"

"Jarod….why am I not surprised, it's after all two a.m." she tiredly retorted as she eyed her blinking alarm clock.

"You're getting old, Miss Parker," he grinned, "Why, in your youth…"

"What do you want, Jarod." she interjected, not in the mood for his jest.

"Tell me, Miss Parker. How is dear old dad?"

"He wants you back home."

"Sorry, you know me, flew the hatch and all that." Moving from his vantage point, he slipped down an embankment.

"He's left your room as it is. I'm sure he wouldn't mind your return." She smiled.

"Have you figured it out yet?"

Her eyes narrowed and she gripped the phone tighter. "What?"

"Maybe you should ask Broots next time you see him. Night night, Miss Parker."

She was about to put the phone down when one last remark made her swear.

"Don't let the bed bugs bite…"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

Jarod slipped through the doorway, holding his breath. Two sweepers made their way down the hallway, occasionally testing doors. Slowly turning the key until it locked him in; he waited for them to move past. Satisfied that they were ignorant to his presence, he moved further into the depths of the office.

He broke into the file cabinet, quickly ruffling through the folders. Nothing. Moving from the file cabinet, he took a seat at the desk. Raines had his files password-protected. He took a disc out of his pocket, glancing at the closed door. It should be another forty minutes before the sweepers make another round. Running commands, he broke into the file system. Scanning the files, he chose a folder marked projects. He was three quarters down and running out of time when he noticed another protected file. Smiling slightly, he ran his decryption program. With five minutes left, he copied the folder and sent it to a protected e-mail account he had set up for this purpose. Even if the Centre managed to trace him that far, they will never be able to get any useful information from it. He deleted all traces that he had been there, careful to leave everything as he had found it. It took him another twenty minutes before he was outside, cautiously making his way towards where he had parked his car. He was impatient to get a look at the file, ignoring the feeling that somehow this had been too easy.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

The grainy black and white images focused on the pretender. Zooming in, it froze on Jarod's face when he glanced inadvertently at the camera that had been hidden in the corner.

"He took the bait?"

Cox's suave voice came through with a hint of gloating. Standing in front of the screen, he gave a cold smile that was answered in turn by Raines.

"Project…Genus is… underway."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre


Her stiletto heels clacked across the floor towards Broots' domain. Striding into the tech room, she glared at the balding man.

"M…Miss Parker," he stammered, "w…what's wrong?"

"Jarod, you moron. According to him you have some information that I want."

Clearing his throat, he pulled a printout from his desk and gave it to her.

"It's an analysis on the piece of paper that Sydney gave me. It is homemade and what's really cool is that Jarod had added his own watermark. If…if you hold it up to the light you can see it."

Holding the piece of paper against the light, she squinted as she tried to make out the watery lines that decorated the page.

"What is it, Broots," she snapped, glaring at the other man.

"Um, Miss Parker, It's a maze."

"Excuse me."

"You know, start at point A and then…"

"Broots, I don't want Merriam-Webster's, I want to know what it means to the Centre." She interjected angrily, jabbing the paper at the tech.

"Jarod has left us a puzzle he wants us to solve."

"And how does that help me catch him, Syd." Turning to the older man that had entered, she crossed her arms in front of her, as she waited for an answer.

"Parker, this might be important, otherwise he wouldn't have left it."

Miss Parker closed the space between them. She leaned into Sydney, her hand pushing the paper into his chest.

"So Jarod leads us down another garden path. All right, Sydney, I'll bite."

Leaving the older man clutching the paper, she commanded Broots to find the maze before stalking out of the room with an angry flourish.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jarod's apartment

Pushing the plate with the doughnut to one side, Jarod loaded the file he had sent to himself. His eyes were grainy from lack of sleep but he ignored the burning feeling. After his experience last night he knew that the Centre had a hand in Davey's abduction. The boy must have been taken to a temporary safe house till he was ready to be received at the Centre. Opening the folder, he pushed the fatigue to the background, focusing on the data that streamed past his eyes.

It took him a moment to realize that the pounding in his head came from the door. Lifting his head, he remembered shutting his eyes for a brief moment. He must have fallen asleep. Wiping his hands across his eyes, he tried to focus on what had woken him.

"Agent Kennet."

The light timber of Murray finally entered the haze that seemed to have settled over him. Rising, he opened the door on Murray, who had his hand raised for another knock. Mumbling for the other to enter, he made his way to the bathroom. He felt more refreshed after he had splashed some cold water on his face. With a towel wrapped around his neck, he re-entered the living room to see Murray at his small desk.

"Something I could help you with?"

The other turned from his casual glance at the laptop screen. Eying the small apartment and taking note of the covers on the bed.

"Had a long night?"

Jarod ignored the question. Rising to his full length, he spoke casually, "My private life is precisely that. Private."

Murray didn't even look apologetic. Crossing the room, he seated himself on Jarod's bed. Satisfied, he took out an envelope and dropped it on the bed next to him.

"Why is this investigation so personal to you?"

Jarod took the chair by his desk, turning it and seating himself on it. Leaning his arms on the backrest, he ignored his increasing heartbeat.

"What makes you think that?"

"Come now, Jarod. I wasn't born yesterday. All I want is the truth."

Running the scenarios through his head, he tried to find the best solution to the inquisitive detective. The use of his forename suggested that the other wanted to keep this casual, hoping to put him at ease. He decided to part with some truth, hopefully it will be enough.

"I knew the family. I know their son. They were friends."

"Do you have any enemies?"

Jarod frowned at the question, wondering what was going on. There was a reason that Murray had came, not just to question him on his relationship with the Brewster's.

"You should know by now that our line of work always leaves us with enemies."

Murray scrutinized him, holding his gaze. Nodding in answer to some internal question, he picked up the envelope and handed it to Jarod.

"This was addressed to you. Our scanners picked up some powder residue and we had to open it. I believe that whoever sent it knew that. He had placed talcum powder inside with a photo and a short memo. We have already dusted it and checked for fingerprints. It's clean."

A fist settled in his stomach. Gingerly opening the envelope, he took out the photo. Stuck to the back was a yellow post-it. In bold letters were scribed two words. Tick tock. He turned the photo over and frowned. It was a shadow of a man, taken against the backdrop of glass.

"This doesn’t make sense."

His confusion was genuine. Why would the Centre risk exposure to the authorities just to catch him. He had barely started on the folder he had downloaded before sleep overtook him.

"Have you received any phone calls regarding the boy?"

Shaking his head, he turned the photo over, looking at the two words. The words obviously related to time. Seconds ticking off until what?

"Jarod, I think it's best if you come in to the station. If the kidnapper calls we'll have a way of tracking him."

Jarod decided to follow the Murray's directive. He doubted that the other would call. The photo was sent for him to decipher and until then he would receive no further clues. That much he understood. Whoever this person was, he was intelligent and ruthless. A grim smile showed briefly when he remembered the thief they had found hanging from the ceiling. Definitely ruthless. The one question that continued to burn in his mind and had him confused was how the Centre fitted in all of this. Hopefully he'll have some time at the station to read through Raines' project and find an answer.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan


Davey sat at the kitchen table, his legs swinging on the chair. His eyes followed Cain as he prepared breakfast. He was hungry and couldn’t wait. He had asked for a smiley breakfast and he had to explain in great detail how to make one. He couldn’t believe that his new teacher had never heard of a smiley breakfast. The smell made his mouth water and his tummy rumble but he sat quietly. His only rebellion his swinging legs.

"Davey, do you remember what we are going to do after breakfast."

His light blue gaze met his teacher and he nodded.

"Tell me."

"We are going to do lessons till lunch time."

"What are you not allowed to do when we are busy with your lessons?"

More subdued, he looked at his swinging feet. He had learned that lesson yesterday, painfully.

"Play."

"Good, Davey. Now eat your breakfast."

His smile brightened when the plate was pushed in front of him. Staring back at him was a smiley sausage and two egg eyes with a piece of toast for the nose. Tears started to form when he remembered his mom making him his favorite breakfast on Saturdays. Glancing up quickly, he wiped the tears away before Cain could see it. He wished more than ever to see his parents again.

Maybe if he wished hard enough it will come true.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police station, Blue water

Jarod gazed at the white board that had been set up in his office. The crime photos of Mr. and Mrs. Brewster had been pasted in the top left hand corner. Next to their photos was a school photo of a smiling Davey. It was obvious from the photo that he was a happy. Underneath each one a brief summary had been written that described them. A blown-up photo of the one that had been sent to him was pasted on the right hand side with the words that had been put on the back. Questions had been added underneath during their brain storming session a little earlier. He was now left alone for the first time in two hours. He still hadn't had a chance to look at Raines' file. Wondering whether he should do it now, he eyed the photo and the questions underneath.

Where had the photo been taken, who took it, what it the meaning behind it? All of them empty, all non-answers to the question that was foremost in his mind. Why? Turning his chair, he opened his laptop, his mouse pointer hovering over the file that he had copied. Double clicking, the folder sprung open. The first page was a Centre memo, dated a few months ago. The only data on the memo was a start date of three days ago and Mr. Parker's signature that its Centre approved. The date intrigued him; it was the same date as when the Brewster's were killed. He flipped through the next few pages. It was a medical data on one particular individual. The patient's name was a five digit number, no indication of who it could be. Frowning, he wondered if there was another red file that he had not been aware of. He glanced at the blood type. It was empty; no information had been added to it. Mulling that tidbit over in his mind, he skipped the rest. The page after the medical record was another Centre memo dated for yesterday. Only four words were typed on it and again Mr. Parker's signature had signed it off.

It's progressing as planned.


Moving back to the medical file, he scrutinized it more fully. The medical file could be Davey's. He could learn nothing else from the file. Copying the patient id, he remembered Neo-Genesis. All cases had been identified by a coded number to protect the privacy of patients. Turning his pen around his fingers, he looked at the coded number. It would be dangerous but he could see no other option left open to him. He would have to pay a visit to the fertility clinic in the hope that he would find a name for the medical file. He had no other choice.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

"Angel, are you ready?"

Smiling, she walked up to her father, giving him a quick hug and kiss. "Always, daddy. Where are we going?"

Helping his daughter into her coat, he opened the door for her. "I thought Luigi's might be a nice change of scenery."

"That sounds good."

They started down the hallway when Broots came running towards them. Groaning inwardly, Miss Parker threw daggers at the other as he came to a halt in front of them. Turning to her father, she excused herself, grabbing the hapless tech and pushing him against the wall. Broots faltered under her gaze for a few seconds before clearing his throat.

"Uh, Miss Parker, we found Jarod."

Groaning, she inwardly swore. Why did Jarod always manage to spoil her day?

"Coming, Angel."

She closed her eyes for a brief moment before she turned to her father. "We have a hit on a possible location for Jarod, daddy."

"That's good news. We'll have to do this another time then. Jarod is after all your first priority."

Disappointment filled her briefly before her anger for Jarod burned it clear. Mumbling a 'yes daddy' she watched her father leave. Pulling Broots into her office, she made her way straight towards her drink cabinet.

"This better be worth it, Broots or so help me..."

"Sorry about your father, Miss Parker."

"Broots," she growled warningly, taking a sip of her scotch.

"Someone is running search parameters using a photo of Jarod and the name John Doe on the internet."

Grabbing the photo from his grip, she glanced at the black and white security image. Jarod was walking out of a building, a cell phone pressed against his ear. Down in the bottom right hand corner was yesterday's date and time.

"Where was this taken?"

"Blue water Courthouse."

Her anger radiated from her in almost visible waves. Jarod had been right under their noses all the time they had been there. She picked up her phone, dialed a number.

“Sam, we’re leaving. Meet me in the lobby.”

Broots opened the door and she stopped him with a harsh, “Where do you think you’re going?” He looked confused, eyeing the overnight bag she retrieved from her closet.

“To, uh, tell Sydney and get my things…”he trailed of, unsure of what to expect. He had seen Miss Parker angry and he was convinced that what he was seeing now was one of those few times.

“You have work to do, or have you forgotten.”

He understood the meaning, nodding his head. Still hesitant, he asked timidly, “What about Sydney?”

She smiled briefly, grabbing his arm and leaned in. “You can tell Sydney. Tomorrow,” She lifted an eyebrow, her gaze boring into his. She waited till Broots agreed before letting go. Slamming the door shut she made her way towards the lobby.

Jarod will not make a fool of her again.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reviews are greatly appreciated, leaving the writer drifting among clouds for days on end while thinking on plot points to dazzle all… ;-) (Ok, maybe a bit melodramatic but reviews are welcome, ALWAYS.)
Chapter 6 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Chapter 6

The Centre


Broots paced nervously in front of the racks of servers, an envelope clutched in his left hand. He thought about telling Sydney about Miss Parker’s abrupt departure but dismissed the idea as soon as it surfaced. There was no way he was going to incur Miss Parker’s wrath for disobeying the order. He had so far managed to avoid Sydney, making excuses that were starting to sound weak even in his own ears. He glanced at the envelope he held, half hoping that if he ignored it enough it would disappear. He had never felt more trapped in his entire life. Whatever he did from the point, someone would suffer. If he made the wrong choice, people he cared about could get hurt.

In the end the decision came easy, because of his respect for Miss Parker and his concern for her wellbeing. It had taken him two hours to decide, but he did it in the end. He went in search of Sydney.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water airport


Jarod brought the vehicle to a stop in front of the office that lead to the small airfield. He hired a small Cessna for his round trip to NuGenesis. He had to slip out of the police station to avoid a change meeting with Murray. He did not want the other to know about his out-of-state “business” trip he was undertaking. He entered the building and signed for the plane. If all went well, he should be back this time tomorrow and no-one will be any wiser. Or so he hoped.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre


“When did this arrive?” he asked looking at the tech.

“Just after she had left. I was going to leave it on her desk but it sort of slipped and the photos fell out and…” trailing of, he glanced at the black and white images of them. It had been taken when they had left the building where Jarod’s apartment had been.

“I think we should contact Miss Parker.”

Sydney reached for the phone, dialing her cell phone. He frowned when no one answered. He entered the number of the phone on the jet, and felt relieved when the normal, irritated greeting resounded in his ear.

“Miss Parker, it’s Sydney. There is something you should know. Someone has been taking photographs of us at Jarod’s old apartment.”

Sydney held the phone to his ear. Silence greeted his revelation, and he asked, “Parker?”

“I don’t have time for this, Sydney. Have them analyzed by Cousin Ed.”

“You might be in danger, Parker. We have no idea who took the photo’s or why.”

He could only sigh at her stubbornness, when she hung up, her last statement still hanging in the air.

“I’m a big girl, Syd. I can take care of myself.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

Lyle slid behind the wheel of his convertible with a grin. It had been a productive day and things are going well. As he threw the car in reverse his cell phone rang. He brought the car to a halt, glancing at the number. Deciding that he could not afford to ignore the call, he answered it.

"Where are you?"

"In the parking lot. I'm on my way home."

"No, you're not. Your sister has decided to go for another visit to Jarod's previous hometown."

Lyle swore, forgetting momentarily who he was talking to. Why did his sister always manage to interfere when she is least expected.

"Why did she go back?"

"All I know is that Broots interrupted us while we were on our way to lunch. I couldn’t very well stop her from going." His father snapped, "I want you there to make sure she doesn't interfere with the project. She is to have no contact with Jarod, am I clear?"

"Fine," he said, starting the engine, "I'll take care of it. I should catch up to her before she can do any damage."

He closed the connection, his anger simmering. He knew what the stakes were and he wasn't prepared to put his neck on the line because his sister suddenly had a vision of catching Jarod on her own.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre


Broots stared at Angelo when Sydney brought the empath into the lab. The photos were spread out on the table, waiting for the man-child to examine them.

"Angelo, I need you to empath these photo's for me. Tell me about the person who sent them."

Sydney's voice was soft, as he guided Angelo to the table. He stood back, giving the empath space to work. Angelo began sifting through the photo's, his hand lingering on one of the images that showed Miss Parker in profile, her gaze staring at the unknown person who had taken it. He hunched into a small ball by the table, clutching the photo to his chest. His eyes were closed, as he whispered, "Lost."

Sydney looked at Broots, stepping towards Angelo with a worried expression on his face.

"Angelo, who is lost," sitting down by Angelo, he asked, "Is it Miss Parker?"

Angelo shook his head, continuing his whispered word. He hugged himself, burying his head into his knees.

"Angelo, is it the person who took the photo's"

The empath nodded, and then turned towards Sydney. "Lost, no-one, Lost, anger, Lost…"

Sydney frowned, trying to make sense of the scrambled words. "Angelo, is Miss Parker in danger?"

The empath ignored him, continuing in his litany, lost in the feelings that flowed from the photos. Sydney rose, turning towards Broots. "Get us a flight to Detroit and a Centre helicopter to take us to Blue water."

He turned back towards the empath, consoling the man-child with a rub on his back, slowly taking the photo out of his grip.

"Sydney, uh, Lyle has already booked the Centre helicopter. We have to wait…" Broots stopped and picked up the ringing phone that had interrupted him.

"M…Mr. Raines," he listened for a few seconds before he replaced the handset. He swallowed when he gaze met Sydney's.

"A security breach has been reported and the Centre has initiated full lock-down protocol."

Sydney closed his eyes, his hands gripping the photo tightly. He realized that Raines wanted to prevent them from going after Parker, and this manufactured excuse was one way of making sure they couldn't leave Blue Cove.

"Broots, I want you to run a Centre search on all phone calls made to Lyle today." He commanded, helping Angelo to his feet, "If Miss Parker is walking into a trap, I want to know about it."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water Courthouse


Miss Parker entered the imposing building with a confident stride, making her way directly towards the security desk. A young guard sat behind the desk, and she smiled with confidence. Taking Jarod's photo from her breast pocket, she laid it in front of his goggling eyes. She leaned over the desk, and pointed at the photo, bringing his eyes towards the image.

"I wonder if you could help me. Jarod is a friend of mine and I haven't seen him in a while. He had told me to meet him here but my flight was late and …"

They guard swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing noticeably. He stammered when he looked at the picture, trying to concentrate on anything but the woman that was leaning over his desk.

"H…he is h…helping the police in a l…local kidnapping case.

She graced the guard with another provocative smile, "Can you tell me where I can find him?"

"O…oh, uhm, h…his got an office at the police station. You c…could try t…there."

She thanked him, taking the photo and made her way outside to where Sam was waiting by the car. "Police station. And step on it, Sam. I feel lucky today."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water Police station


She clipped the visitor's pass onto her jacket, following the officer through the crowed room towards Jarod's temporary office. The officer knocked and when no-one answered, opened the door tentatively, calling Jarod's name. The office was empty. She felt disappointment, but decided that Jarod might be somewhere else in the building. She turned to the officer, telling him that she'll wait for him.

Her gaze was drawn towards the whiteboard that had been set up. Stepping closer, she reached out and swore. Davey's photo was smiling back at her. She remembered Angelo's sacrifice and the last time she had seen the boy, Jarod running wildly for the Jet with the boy in his arms. From the brief notes she learned quickly that Davey had been kidnapped and his parents murdered. Pinching her nose, she made her way towards the desk.

Why can it never be easy?

She looked up when the door opened. It was the officer who had escorted her inside the building.

"Miss Parker, his not in the building. I'm sorry, but regulations don't allow me to leave you here. You need to come back another time."

She smiled, nodding her head. She made her way outside, returned the visitor's card before exiting. She was on her way towards the car when a hand grabbed her arm. Twisting around, she looked into the eyes of the last person she had expected to find in this town.

"Hello, Sis."

Her gaze narrowed and she angrily jerked her arm out of Lyle's grip. "What are you doing here?"

"Dad wanted to make sure you had some backup."

She sneered, "I have Sam. Go home, I don't need you."

"No can do, Parker," Lyle smirked, his hand's coming up in mock surrender, "Dad's orders."

Her eyes narrowed, "Fine, but stay out of my way," she turned and walked towards the car, "Jarod is here and I plan on taking him home." Lyle balled his hand into a fist, telling himself that this was for the greater good. Releasing the tension, he followed his sister.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NuGenesis, Georgia

Jarod shifted behind the shrub that concealed him. Last time had been so much easier to enter the building, but then he had had a security pass and was recognized as one of the employees. Now he was an intruder, one that was looking for a way in without being caught. Satisfied that he was unobserved, he rushed towards the back entrance used by the transport company to pick up the medical-waste bins.

He made his way cautiously down the empty hall towards the Records Lab. Checking one last time to make sure he's alone; he entered the small side room. He quickly gained access to the records, inputting the id he copied from the file. A small box appeared indicating that it was searching the records. Tapping his fingers against the desk, he waited impatiently for the information he had requested. Five minutes dragged out and he was getting worried. The longer he stayed, the greater the chance that he would get caught. He sighed with relieve when the box disappeared. Davey's name flashed back at him, confirming his suspicions. The Centre had a hand in the boy's disappearance. Copying the data to a disc, he placed it in his side pocket. He made his way hurriedly down the hall, aware that the time he had spent searching had been much longer than he had anticipated.

He entered the lobby, about to make his way towards the back exit when the subtle click of a gun being cocked sounded abominably loud in the surrounding stillness. He froze, his stomach clenching tightly. She stepped into view from the shadows next to the wall, the 9mm held expertly in her hand.

"We meet again, Jarod."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre


Still confined to the tech lab, Broots had managed to hack his way into the phone archives. Angelo was sitting quietly against the back wall, ignoring them. He opened Lyle's cell phone archive. Frowning, he went back and opened Lyle's office phone.

"Sydney, you should see this."

The older man moved from the table, to stand behind the tech. He leaned forward, gazing at the screen over the other man's shoulder.

"Are you sure you have the right folder?

Broots nodded, "It's all empty. Someone had deleted all the phone records of Mr. Parker's, Lyle's and Mr. Raines' logs. What do you think it means?"

Sydney looked at Broots, his hand underneath his chin. "That they don't want records kept that might be used against them by the Tower. Broots, run a search on Miss Parker and find out if any directive had been issued against her."

"Syd, you don't think that Mr. Parker would, you know…"

"No, but the photo's, Lyle's departure and Raines' phony security breach is too much of a coincidence for me to accept it as random chance. We need to find out why the Centre wants us out of the way."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NuGenesis, Georgia


He graced her with a smile, trying to ignore the fear starting to spread through his limbs.

"Dr deWitt, or should I call you Cynthia. Still in business, I see."

She smiled back, her eyes ice that appraised him. The gun never wavered as she took out a cell phone. She must have programmed the number for she hit the dial button without taking her eyes of him.

"He's here."

She listened briefly to whoever was on the other side, then closed the phone and slipped it back into her jacket pocket. Jarod didn't know what increased the hollow feeling in his stomach more, the fact that he had been expected or that the Centre knew where he was.

"Put this on." She said as she tossed him a set of handcuffs. He did as he was told without comment, the snap when the handcuff closed loud in the tense atmosphere.

"I'm a good shot; if you try to escape I will shoot." She held his gaze, waiting for him to nod. "Let's go."

She stepped to one side, her gun following him as he stepped very cautiously past her. She moved into his body, her gun jabbing against his ribs. He stepped outside, noticing that a slight drizzle had started while he had been inside. He followed her directions, making his way towards the car park. He noticed the all too familiar black town-car, despair starting to filter through. She increased her grip, her gun pressing harder, silently warning him not to run.

They stopped next to the car and she removed the gun from his ribs. He turned around slowly. Something flashed silver and he caught it just in time. It was car keys.

"Open it."

He entered the key into its slot, and wavered. He had to at least try although he knew it would probably be futile. She had long ago made her bed with the Centre. "Don't do this." He said, searching for any kind of compassion in her eyes, and finding none.

"Now," she said emotionlessly, gesturing with her gun. He turned the key, listening to the click of the lock as the tumblers opened. She waited for him to ease into the driver's seat before taking the back seat. Another set of keys landed in his lap. He was aware of the gun pointed at him, as she spoke over his shoulder. "Open your right bracelet, and attach it to the steering wheel." He complied, giving her back the keys when she asked for it. "Start the car."

With the motor running, he watched the drizzle run small rivulets down the front window. "Where are we going?"

"Head for the I-20."

He swallowed, shifted out of park and pulled away from the parking spot. He glanced at her in the rear view mirror. "Are we going anywhere specific?" She shifted against the backseat, the shadows playing across her face, her eyes glinting white in the darkness. He knew the gun was there, part of the darker shadows.

"You don't need to know, for now. Just drive."

Very few cars were on the road, their brake lights appearing like red eyes in the shimmering haze that spread with the rain. He scanned the road ahead, hoping for a wandering patrol car. He spotted one turning off at the traffic lights up ahead, plans starting to take form. He heard her move behind him and then her arm encircled his neck and the 9mm pressed against his temple. "Don't even think about it."

He didn't dare nod, not with her that close. He watched the lights turn green and the patrol car turn right, unaware of the situation behind them. She eased up and retreated into the backseat and he could breathe again. The sign for the interstate appeared like a ghostly apparition in the glow of the car lights and he took the on-ramp. He pressed his foot down on the gas, easing the needle on the speedometer higher.

“Slow down.”

The gun was back, pressed against the side of his neck. She waited till the needle dropped to normal speed before returning to her seat. He glanced in the rearview mirror again and this time her eyes met his. They were cold and without emotion. Swallowing, he shifted his gaze back to the road, concentrating on the steady movement of the wipers and the beat of the rain on the rooftop. All Jarod could think about was that he was in trouble. Big trouble.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

Cain put the sleepy boy in the bed, tucking the bedding around him. He stopped when Davey spoke in a tired voice, "Are you alone?"

He frowned, wondering at the question. He met Davey's gaze, "What do you mean?" Davey snuggled further under the warm covers, and then asked softly, "Where's your family?"

Cain thought about it. He never had a family. He had a mentor, but even with the knowledge he had he knew it was not the same. What he had been told it that his family had died and he had been lucky to have been taken in.

"My family died a long time ago."

"Then you are alone."

Cain stared at the wall, trying to decipher his thoughts and emotions that were conjured by the statement the boy had made. If having no family meant you were alone, did it matter? An incessant tugging on his shirt drew his attention back to Davey.

"You can be my friend, then you won't be alone anymore."

He looked at Davey, considering the option. The boy's gaze was serious, waiting for an answer. He nodded, hoping that it would satisfy the boy enough to sleep. Davey smiled, and then wriggled into a sitting position. He held out a small hand after spitting on it, and said, "Then we make an oath, friends forever." He looked at the hand, thinking about it. Maybe having a friend could be a good thing. He never been told he wasn't allowed to have one. Spitting on his hand, he took the little one in his and shook on friendship. This was something that his mentor didn't need to know. He will not tell unless specifically asked. He tugged Davey in again, waiting till the boy was asleep before he left to report.

Everything except friendship.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Go left.” The words were spoken softly, the command inherent. His nightmare was getting worse. He was now certain about where they going.
“Angel Manor?” Jarod asked, turning onto the off-ramp.

“You are a smart boy.”

He ignored her, trying to think of solutions to his current predicament. The car sped towards the manor, closer to the Centre and a place he definitely did not want to be. The house appeared ghostly in the falling rain, coming into view when he entered the driveway. He slowed down, the wheels crunching on the gravel. He came to a stop besides the angel statue, shutting down the engine. He closed his eyes, leaning his head against the headrest, hoping that it was one long nightmare.

“What happens now?” he asked, hearing her move behind him. A sharp prick made him jerk forward, his hand reaching for his neck. He turned, frowning at her in confusion. He noticed the syringe, and realization dawned on him. He tried to focus, ignore the numbing of muscles. His vision darkened, the edges graying until all he could see was her smile while she brought a phone to her ear. The words came through distorted, just barely distinguishable.

“He’s ready.”

Then nothing at all.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TBC

So what did you think?
Chapter 7 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Thanks for all the reviews.

Chapter 7


Angel Manor


His dream was a disjointed nightmare of images that came and went with regular intervals. Voices floated just outside the scope of his understanding, the words intangible in the rushing blood that cascaded around his head. He floated upside down, nothing made sense anymore. He was aware of shrieks, ghosts and sickly feral grins that floated on dark air. The living signatures fed on his fear and panic, taking delight in his voiceless screams. His heart drummed to the beat outside, a rising crescendo that seemed unable to keep up. Panting, he tried to draw in oxygen, to keep the rising panic at bay. The whispers were menacing, stalking him, and encircling his trembling body slick with sweat. He hated their caress, the oily touch of the syllables tracing their way around him.

"You're mine….mine…"

He was not Jarod anymore; he was only a mere existence trying to survive the terrors of his mind.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knight’s Inn, Blue water


“Come on, Sis. Be reasonable. It’s a police station and Jarod is not above using his position to ensure his escape. What the Centre doesn’t need at this stage is an external investigation into why a multi-national corporation wants to retrieve one of their agents.”

Miss Parker turned, her arms crossed in front of her chest. Lyle was unfazed by her glare, trying to reason with her.

“Why are you suddenly concerned about the image of the Centre, Lyle? I would have thought that the opportunity to catch Jarod will be foremost in your mind.”

He had to be careful, he was not about to underestimate his sister. She was hammering to close to the truth. Lyle tried another approach, inwardly cursing Parker for her stubbornness.

“It is, but not at the expense of possibly losing him due to impatience or getting arrested.”

“What do you suggest? Letting him go?”

Lyle started to relax. At least Parker was willing to listen. “No, but find out the reason why he has stayed. Then use that against him.”

Miss Parker turned her back on Lyle. She knew why Jarod had stayed but she was not yet prepared to divulge that information. She closed her eyes, the photo of Davey dancing in front of her eyes. Why did it have to be him, why not some unknown kid? She knew that even if Jarod’s capture was her priority, she was not about to let Angelo’s sacrifice become another statistic. Lyle was giving her a chance to dig some more, to find reasons not to catch Jarod until Davey was safe.

Dammit, why couldn’t things, for once, go her way?

“Fine.”

That one word was enough. Satisfied, Lyle smiled. He left her to her thoughts, making his way to his room. Things are going his way for once.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Old warehouse district


His knife slit in, carving upwards. He took no pleasure from the killing. The screams had died down, the light fading behind the eyes of his victim.

“Phase two is ready.”


He arranged the body, displaying it for the men who are going to find it. He was meticulous; no thought was allowed to enter his mind.

“I will meet with the boy on Monday. Have him ready.”


He gathered the black bag, dropping his blood soaked gloves inside. He made one more round before pinning a card to the man’s chest.

“Tell me the first rule?”


Taking one last look around, he switched of the light, locking the door behind him.

“Emotions make you weak.”



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knight’s Inn, Blue water


Lyle answered his phone, twisting the curtain to look outside.

"You should be safe for tomorrow. He will be returned on Monday."

"Parker has agreed to wait but I don't know how long I'll be able to keep her away from him. This isn't exactly the biggest town in the state."

"I don't care how you do it, Lyle. Just get her out of there without arousing further suspicion." His father snapped.

Lyle closed the phone, slamming his hand against the wall. He didn’t like the way this project was being handled. He knew that if any of them underestimated his sister or Jarod, there will be hell to pay and he will be the first one in their firing line. Maybe he should make sure that didn’t happen, just in case something went wrong. It was better to be prepared.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Angel Manor

Jarod stirred, turning his head restlessly. A hand was wiping at the beads of sweat that was trickling down the side of his face and neck. A soft voice was telling him that everything was all right. He tried to listen, to understand but the terror of his nightmares was still lingering in the depths of his mind. He wanted it all to go away.

“Jarod, what do you feel.”

“L…lost, afraid.” He turned in the glass box, watching Mr. Raines walk towards him. He didn’t like this sim. It was really scary, and he really didn’t like it when the lights were turned of.

“Concentrate, Jarod. Remember, we are trying to help a family get their little boy back.”

“I…it’s hard, Mr. Raines. I want Sydney.” Jarod shrank back against the glass wall when the menacing figure of Raines loomed angrily over him.

“Sydney is not here, you will do as you are told, Jarod.”

He nodded, turning his attention back to the sim. It was hard, and it made him lose himself. Each time it was a bit harder to come back to who he was in his inner self.


“Come on, Jarod. It’s time to wake up.”

He shifted against the hand, keeping his eyes closed. Tears were flowing down his cheeks, and he shook his head in denial. He started to drift away again.

“Please, Mr. Raines, stop. I…I can’t anymore, p…please…” his small voice faded, sobs racking his body. He was curled tight, his back pressed against the cold glass of the box. He hugged himself in an effort to get some warmth, drawing his knees closer to his upper body. He could hear Raines' footsteps coming closer, and a small whimper escaped. He burrowed further into the other personality, hoping that if he pretended well enough he wouldn't be punished.


"Jarod."

The hard command made him flinch. He was still stuck in his nightmare, still unable to wake. A hand slapped him through the face, hard. He remembers the same method used by Raines to get him to focus. He remembers his head whipping to the side as his hand came up to touch the burning left by the hand imprint.

Tears flowed freely down his cheeks, his small hand rubbing against the hurt. He nodded in agreement, preparing once again to do the sim.


Again the hard slap. This time he took note. He wasn’t eight anymore. He wasn't busy doing a sim. Slowly opening his eyes, he tried to bring his hand up to stop the descending hand he saw. He barely managed to turn his head, riding with the blow and then only understood why he couldn't touch his face or stop the blow from landing. His hands were strapped to a chair, an IV line snaking its way inside his body. He was dressed in a thin T-Shirt and shorts and it did nothing to trap his body heat. He shivered as the cold of the chair pressed into his flesh.

"Well, look who's awake."

His eyes met the cold blue gaze of Cox. He struggled against the straps that held his arms, aware of Cox watching him with interest.

"What are you giving me?"

Cox cast a quick sinister smile at Jarod. "Nothing that concerns you, Jarod."

Jarod tugged at the restraints on his wrists. They were angry and red from the abrasive material and his efforts to free himself. His body tingled from the fluids that were flowing freely into his body. The room seemed to be getting warmer and he suspected that it must be because of the drugs they were giving him.

"I'll never work for you." He growled, staring at Cox.

"That's where you are mistaken, Jarod. We will get exactly what we want from you."

"No." Jarod tugged again at the restraints, knowing it was futile. Cox motioned to someone outside his field of vision. Jarod was unprepared for the fear that slammed into him. Total, completely overwhelming fear. Being held by a sweeper next to Cox was his mother.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

Broots was about to turn away from his workstation when the search program he had been running, pinged. He had forgotten about it in the excitement of the last few hours. He opened the window, waiting for the parameters to load.

"Sydney, I found something on the maze."

Sydney turned from Angelo, making his way towards where the tech was seated. "What is it?"

"It's a schematic of one of the Centre levels. It looks like," Broots leaned forward, reading the small text down on the left hand side, "SL-23. Isn't that floor unused?"

"If my memory serves me correct, it is decommissioned as a storage area for files."

Broots held the piece of paper to the light, tracing the light lines burned into the paper. "Sydney, look. There's a line tracing a path through the maze."

Sydney took the paper and squinted at the watermark. Barely readable was the thin line with arrows marking a path. "Broots, print out that schematic." Sydney waited impatiently, grabbing the paper and then pulling his pen from his pocket. Squinting at the paper and then drawing the line he followed Jarod's directions. It was unbelievable. The path ended in what was marked as an old simulation room. He slowly rose, and then glanced at Broots. "Let's find out why this room holds significance for Jarod."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Angel Manor


Jarod stared wide-eyed at Cox and his mother. He had envisioned in his mind what he would do when he met his mother; none of it came close to the current scenario. The drugs made it difficult for him to concentrate on a single thought for too long. He couldn't think of a way out of this.

"I think you two have some things to discuss." Cox pushed his mother towards him, and then left. He heard the door close and then her soft hands were on his face. She wiped the sweat from his brow, and then gave him a kiss of his forehead. He leaned into it, not wanting to believe that the Centre had his mother in their hands.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

"They haven't hurt me."

He forced a smile, lifting his head to look her in her eyes. He glanced at the sweeper that had been left and then back into her eyes. "How did they find you?" he questioned.

"I don't know. They must have been tracking me for a while before they caught up with me."

"This is all my fault. I'm sorry." Jarod said, tears starting to form. She wiped it away, and then held him so that he was forced to make eye contact.

"It's the Centre that’s responsible, not you. Be strong, Jarod."

He nodded. A warm flush was starting to spread throughout his body. Suddenly afraid that he didn't have long, he whispered, "Mom," she smiled with tears in her eyes, her hand sliding down his face, "I love you."

He felt his muscles relax, and he hyperventilated in an effort to stay awake. He fought as long as he could but in the end he succumbed to the sedative that entered his system. Cox entered the room, smiling at Jarod's mother. Taking out a penlight, he lifted one eyelid and checked the pretender's vitals.

"He's out."

"Good," Cynthia said as she slid the mask of her face, "It was getting damn uncomfortable in this getup." She studied the lax features of Jarod, noting the worry lines that had somehow formed in the past twenty minutes. "Do you think he'll do it?"

Cox smiled, stroking her cheek the same way she had Jarod's not five minutes ago. "Jarod will do anything for his mother."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan


Cain watched the black bag burn with all the evidence. He felt nothing inside for the man he had killed. It was just another minor player in the crime world, a nobody that would not be missed. He smirked, wondering why Raines was playing this game. He had never asked questions or reasons behind his mentor's actions, he had only obeyed. The boy asked questions. Constantly. And it was making him question. Turning away from the furnace, he took the steps towards the first floor and opened the door that lead to Davey's room. He watched the boy sleep, marveling at the innocence on his face. He knew what Raines was capable of, hell, he had lived through it. He thought about the warm feeling he was starting to develop for the boy. He didn't want to give Davey to Raines. He debated his rebellious thoughts, extorting the pros and cons of obeying and disobeying his mentor. Undecided, he closed the door gently on the sleeping boy and went to where the work room had been set up.

He still had a whole day to make a final decision.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

Broots shined the flashlight around the old cabinets that lined the walls. "Don't you think we should have stayed at the tech room? What if Raines called."

"I don't think Raines is too worried about us, Broots." Their flashlights found the door to the simlab, "He wanted to prevent us from leaving and as long as we don't try and do that, we'll be fine."

Sydney tried the door and wasn't surprised to find that it failed to open. "It looks like it was sealed shut." Broots commented, his flashlight following the lines along the edges. Sydney nodded and then looked around for a way to gain entry. "Help me, maybe if we push hard enough our weight can open it."

Leaning into the door, Sydney pushed down on the handle, and with a loud creak the door swung open. Dust settled slowly around them, making Broots gag and sneeze. They entered the old room.

It looked like it had not changed since the last sim had been performed there. Situated in the centre of the room was a glass box. The lid was shoved off, resting against the side of the box. A canvas was spread over one wall; the kind normally used to project an image against, except this one was black. Sydney eyed the projector that hangs from the wall. He wondered what had happened here, why the room had not been used.

“Sydney,” Broots whispered loudly from where he stood against the back wall. Sydney made his way to where Broots was. “I found an old recorder.”

“How soon before we can see what’s on it?”

“I don’t know, I have to convert it first before I can see if any data survived. It could be twenty four hours.”

“Do it. I’ll be in my office.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knight’s Inn, Blue water


Lyle was barely dressed in his pants when his sister barged into his room. Ignoring his state of undress, she flung her phone at him. He caught it just in time.

"Explain to me why the hell I can't get through to the Centre?"

Lyle cleared his throat, and placed the cell phone on the side table. "And a good morning to you too, Parker."

Miss Parker narrowed her gaze, glaring at her brother. "Lyle…" she growled, waiting for an answer.

"Apparently there was some sort of data leak or something and Raines had the Centre initiate a lockdown."

"What," stepping closer to Lyle, she leaned into his personal space, "Why wasn't I informed."

Lyle took a step back, meeting her gaze unflinchingly. "I was only informed myself this morning." He grabbed his shirt, and started to slip a hand through one of the sleeves, "Dad phoned me to ask about our progress and he told me about it in the course of our conversation."

"Why don't I believe you?"

"Fine," he threw her phone at her, "Phone him yourself." Tucking the rest of his shirt in his pants, he eyed himself in the mirror, watching Miss Parker's reflection. She growled in frustration and then dropped the phone in her pocket. Inwardly satisfied at the handling of his sister, he turned and walked towards the door. "Let's have some breakfast, maybe then you won't be so irritable."

Following her brother, she slammed his door shut, muttering under her breath, "Don't bet on it."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Angel Manor


A bucket of water brought him back to consciousness. Gasping in the wake of the cold water, he shook his head. The water dripped from his body, pooling at his feet. He was still seated in the chair, the IV line still attached to his arm. Cox was standing to one side with the same sinister smile on his face.

“Where’s my mother?” he growled, ignoring the headache that rested just behind his eyes.

“Safe, I assure you.” The suave voice rolled.

“Don’t hurt her, or so help me, Cox, I’ll...”

“You’ll what, Jarod? Kill me. Are you telling me you are willing to kill for the safety of your mother?”

Even thought his mind was hazy from the drugs Jarod could still see where this was going. He was helpless to protect his mother, to protect even himself. Cox can do what he wants and there will not be one thing he can do to stop it. He dropped his head in defeat and whispered, “What do you want me to do?”

Cox motioned to a sweeper that placed a tray on Jarod’s lap. He then released one of Jarod’s arms. “You do understand that your mother will suffer the consequences if you remove your IV line.” Jarod nodded at Cox’s warning, flexing his hand to get some of the blood-flow back. A folder was placed on the tray.

“Read it, and then we’ll talk.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

“I’m finished.”

Davey smiled a big toothy grin. His eyes shone with delight at the empire state building he had drawn. Running towards where Cain sat by the table, he showed it with enthusiasm to the older man.

“Good Davey.”

Taking the picture, he put it to one side on the table. Picking up the boy, he placed him in the chair next to him.

“Davey, do you remember Mr. Raines?”

The boy nodded, his demeanor more subdued. Turning his light blue gaze from Cain, he looked at his hanging feet. “He hurt me last time.”

“He is coming tomorrow and I want you to be on your best behavior.”

Davey’s eyes grew bigger. He jumped from the chair, ignoring Cain’s look of surprise. “No, you’re my friend. I don’t want to see Mr. Raines.”

Cain watched in surprise as Davey ran off. He had not expected that reaction. He had thought that Davey would obey without question. He rose and went after the boy, finding him in his room, crying.

“Davey.” He purposefully kept his voice stern. “You will behave.”

He watched the boy shake his head, burrowing it further into his pillow. Not knowing what to do, he stepped closer until he stood by the bed. He sat down next to the sobbing body, his own eyes dark and distant.

He remembers crying once.


“Davey?” He spoke softly. The boy turned, his eyelashes wet from the tears he had shed. “I promise that I will not let him hurt you. If you behave, he will not hurt you.” The boy nodded, climbing into his lap and leaning against him. He wasn’t sure what to do, so he held him, ignoring the small voice inside him asking him whether he would really stop his mentor from doing anything to the child.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Angel Manor

“You’re insane.” Jarod said as he closed the file. “How do you expect to get away with this?”

The sweeper took the file and reattached Jarod’s hand to the chair.

“We already have.”

Jarod knew he had no choice. “When?”

Cox leaned back in his chair. “A week. Is it doable?”

Jarod calculated, his mind sharp after what he had just read despite the continuing flow of the drugs.

“Maybe. I don’t know. There are too many variables.”

“For your mother’s sake, I hope you succeed.”

Jarod closed his eyes, not wanting to see Cox’s triumphant grin. “What happens next?”

“You’ll be returned to your apartment. Continue your search for the boy. Someone will contact you with the details in the near future. The password is Genus.” Cox said, rising. “Be warned Jarod. You are watched constantly. If you try in any way to find out where we are keeping your mother or try in any way to orchestrate a rescue she will be killed and I will make sure that her head is delivered to you.”

Jarod nodded, swallowing the bile that was starting to rise. Cox stepped closer, a syringe in his hand. Jarod’s world went black as the sedative flowed into his bloodstream.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reviews make me write faster…
Chapter 8 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Thanks so much for all the reviews. Writing is fun, but getting reviews just mellows it that much more. Once again, thanks. Just a note of warning: This chapter contains graphic violence that might affect sensitive readers…well, what I consider graphic violence. So, be warned.

Chapter 8


Shoreview apartments


Jessie was staring into the darkness, the last rays of the setting sun illuminating the water in an oily dark blue color filtered with reddish tints. She sighed happily, and turned briefly when to door opened. Seeing her friend, she turned back to her spot, her eyes staring dreamily over the water.

“What man did you meet this time?” Her friend teased a smile evident in her voice. She was used to Jessie’s moods. Her friend fell in and out of love more times than she could count. Jessie never took it further, drawing a line but she knew that for the next few days she will stare dreamy eyed at the lake before moving towards her studio and start her painting.

“Talk, dark and handsome if you want to believe that.”

Her friend laughed, matching Jessie’s as she threw a pillow at her. “And where did this impromptu stranger appear.”

“The diner, of all places. I was walking along minding my own business, and wham, fate intervened.”

“Oh, you mean you literally bumped into the poor guy, probably spilling his coffee in the process.”

“Come on, it doesn’t generally happen that way.”

“Only most times. Jessie, I swear, you stake them out and then do that on purpose.”

Jessie pouted, her eyes twinkling in mischief.

“So, did you do your disappearing act, too?”

Jessie threw the pillow back and got up from the window seat. She made her way towards the kitchen, smiling at her friend.

“Gotta keep the mystery.”

Her friend followed her, leaning on the counter and watched as she prepared two mugs for coffee.

“What’s the stud’s name, or did you run away before he managed to utter one word.”

“He said his name is Jarod.”

Her back was to her friend’s while she started the kettle and she missed the sudden change in emotions.

“Say that again.” She turned, frowning, wondering why Emily was suddenly so pale.

“He said his name is Jarod. Why, do you know him?”

“He’s my brother.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knight’s Inn, Blue water


Parker leaned against the headboard, the files spread over the bed. She had done some research, trying to find any connection that Davey had with the Centre. She was cut off from her usual research team and it frustrated her. She had been informed a little earlier by Lyle that she would only be able to contact Sydney or Broots by Tuesday at the earliest. There was nothing she could do about it, so she had decided to do some prelim work. What she had managed to find out was that Davey and the Brewster’s had been living in the Blue water area for the past year. The boy did well at school, but didn’t particularly stand out in the class. The teachers suspected the boy of holding back but the parents didn’t want any pressure put on Davey to do better. His parents were brutally murdered five days ago and the assailant who had done it was dead himself. According to the one police officer she had spoken to, the attacker had been tortured to death. He said that he had never seen a sight like that and when she saw the haunted look in his eyes she believed him. She thanked him, making her excuses before returning to the hotel room.

Her ringing phone interrupted her thoughts, and she answered it, irritated at the interruption.

“Sorry daddy, it’s been a long day.”

“Angel, why don’t you let Lyle handle that end and you come home for a bit.”

She frowned, wondering why her father was suddenly so concerned. “Jarod is here, daddy. I just need some time, but…”

“I understand, but I need you. I’ll let the pilot know, and you can fly back first thing tomorrow morning.”

Parker closed her eyes, her suspicion confirmed. Did they really think she was that stupid?

“Then let Lyle go home and let me stay here. I’m the one who is supposed to bring Jarod in. It’s my job.”

She heard the anger in her father’s voice when he replied. “I cannot protect you if you disobey me. Just do what I ask. Let Lyle handle that side and you come home.” His voice lowered, almost pleading, “Please Angel, do this one thing for me. I need you here.”

“I’m sorry, daddy but I’m staying.”

She closed the phone, tired of playing the Centre’s game and her father’s guilt trips. She’s staying, no matter what her father said. She had made her choice, and for now, finding Davey was more important.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan


The boy was finally asleep. Cain closed the door, locking it. He didn’t want to take chances and have Davey disappear before tomorrow. He still had this little nagging voice inside him, asking questions he didn’t want to answer.

He was tired. The past few nights had been long and he was looking forward to some sleep. Maybe that’s why Davey’s questions were affecting him so much. He knew that sleep was your friend, it protected you, helped you make clear and effective decisions. Go to long without it and the human body begins to shut down in the little things and it can, in the end, cost you your life.

He checked the perimeter, locking the house down until he was satisfied that all was secure. Only then did he take a shower before making his way to his bedroom. The stillness was suddenly broken by screams coming from Davey’s room. Cain stood there, in the hallway and contemplated leaving the boy to his nightmares.

He should start to live with it, he reasoned even as his feet were moving his body towards the boy’s room.

I had to learn to live with them.


He watched his hand open the door, while he debated going another night without proper sleep. Davey was crying, his small body huddled under the covers against the wall. He stepped closer, and then the speed of movement took him by surprise when Davey launched himself from under the covers, running the few steps and grabbing his hand and leg. Cain looked down at the tugging hand. Understanding dawned and he picked up the boy, holding him close. He could feel Davey’s heart beating against his own, fast and unsure next to his slow and steady drum.

“It’s ok.” He whispered, while trying to remember a time when he had been consoled.

His shirt where Davey’s head lay was wet with tears. He patted the boy on the back while taking a step towards the bed. The arms around him fastened even more and Davey whimpered.

“Please don’t let the bad man come.”

He took the boy out of the room towards his own. He knew that his mentor would be upset about it but he reasoned that it was more important that the boy was awake and ready tomorrow than sleepy and unresponsive. He put Davey in his own bed, tucking him tight. Davey kept hold of him, his hand scrunched into the boy’s chest. He watched the eyes close, the breathing deepen. Long past the time the boy had let his hand go; he kept it there, telling himself that it kept the nightmares away.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shoreview apartments

They were sitting in the dark, staring at the half moon that had risen. Emily had explained to Jessie that she and Jarod had been separated when she was small, that she had been searching for him for the past few years. She left everything out regarding the Centre and the real reason for Jarod’s disappearance. She didn’t want to put her friend’s life in danger.

“Why don’t we go to the diner tomorrow and see if he pitches up.”

Emily smiled at her friend’s naiveté. “With Jarod, it’s never that easy. He is probably long gone.”

“Naw, I don’t think so. It looked like he was pretty much settled in; the waitress recognized him when I bought him another cup.”

A drop of hope edged its way in. “Ok, why don’t you speak to your friend at the diner, see if he has any kind of schedule. Then we’ll see.”

“Deal.”

After that, they both stared out the window at the dark water that stretched out before them, sipping the warm coffee. And hoped.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

“Don’t, Mr. Raines. I promise I’ll be good.”

The hand descended without remorse, slamming him sideways into the bed. He swallowed his tears, knowing that any signs of emotion will end up with more pain and more punishment. He stood up slowly, his small body riddled with bruises. His hand wiped at the blood that was dripping down his lip, leaving crimson streaks on his hand. Mr. Raines was watching him like a hawk, scrutinizing each action. He showed no fear, making his way to stand in front of his mentor.

“Tell me again why I shouldn’t let you starve to death.

He contemplated the question, mulling it over in his mind. His instinct to survive took over, providing the answer he had been looking for.

“I’m your left hand, your special project that will bring you power.”

Even at ten he had learned the correct answers to placate his volatile mentor. He held Raines’ gaze, not backing down. Raines smiled an evil smile, before ruffling his hair. “Good boy, you’re learning quickly.” He stood stoically, enduring the hand in his hair until the hand grabbed him and pushed his head back. Tears sprung in his eyes from the pain and he bit his lip in his effort not to cry out.

“You will obey without question, boy. Do you understand me?”

He managed to mumble an affirmative, his hands clenching next to his side. His body stood stiffly, waiting for Raines to let him go. His mentor pushed him away and he stumbled backwards before regaining his balance.

“Take the knife.”

His gaze went to the stainless steel table set by the door, the dull glitter of the knife shining back at him. He stepped forward, taking the knife into his small hand. It almost engulfed his hand, the handle to long for his child fingers. Raines gestured to the camera and the door slid open revealing a teenager hanging spread eagled from the ceiling. He was dirty, disheveled, his body shrunk from the drugs he had been pumping into his own body, his craving slowly killing him. The teenager’s eyes were desperate with need and fear, the sweat rolling down his body betraying his craving. He was gagged, the noises coming from him muted and intangible.

“Do it.”

He looked at Raines, his eyes locking briefly. No remorse shown from them, as Raines nodded towards where the other hangs.

“Do not let me repeat myself. You will be severely punished”

He pushed his emotions down further, telling himself that the teenager in front of him was dead anyways. He had studied what drugs do to the body; his mentor had made sure he understood how you could use it to subvert another, to get them to do what you wanted.

He stepped closer, his gaze on the torso area. He didn’t want to look in his eyes. His sweat sleeked fingers slipped on the knife and he changed hands to wipe it on his pants. He could hear the ever increasing pants from the body in front of him. He ignored it, ignored the fact that this was a living human being.

Raines had saved him; without Raines he would be the boy hanging before him.

He swallowed, glanced back once more before closing his eyes and stabbing forward. The warm gush of the other’s blood spilled over his hand, making the knife handle slick. He almost lost his grip as the stench from the other’s bowels hit him. He ignored the terror filled screams that was dulled by the gag, instead slicing upwards like Raines had shown him. The blood spurted over him, staining everything around him red.

Everything was red.

Red.

Red…


He gasped, his eyes staring into the darkness. His first kill. He rolled onto his side, his arms enfolding his torso to bring some comfort as he hugged himself. He didn’t want to remember. He tried to go back to his safe place, to place all his emotions back in the little box he had built for it. Tears was silently making their way down his face, dripping from his nose as gravity pulled it downwards. No sound escaped his sorrow. He tried to understand why he was feeling that way.

It was Davey’s fault.

He slowly sat up, still hugging his body. He had been fine until the boy arrived. His logic told him that his defenses were breaking down because he had allowed himself to become too personally involved. His tears were drying, his shivering finally bowing under his self control.

Raines will be coming in the afternoon. He would prep Davey for his meeting, and depending on what Raines decided will influence his own decision in the end. He didn’t want Davey to go through what he had managed to survive. Despite everything, he liked the warm fuzzy feeling the boy brought forward inside him. His emotions now fully under control, he lay back down. A small smile played on his lips for the first time in thirty years as he drifted back into sleep.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jarod’s apartment


He woke to softness underneath him. He kept his eyes closed, testing the surrounding area with his other senses. He was aware that he was shivering, that he was cold. He was colder than he had ever been in his life, from the inside out. He curled tight, hoping for some warmth. The movement was enough to remind him of the queasiness that had been there all along. It was all too much as the nausea made its way upwards and he stumbled from his bed to the toilet just in time. It forced its way past his throat into his mouth and he had to let it out or choke. He held onto the porcelain rim, retching long past the time there should have been anything to bring up. When it was finally over, he laid his head on the rim, shivering and feeling absolutely wretched.

What had Cox been pumping into his body?

He found some strength somewhere and made it to the basin. Rinsing his mouth, he gazed at his reflection in the mirror.

The Centre had his mother.

His stomach clenched again and he took quick deep breaths to try and stave off going back to the toilet again. Opening the cold water tap, he let the water flow over his head. It helped a little. He was still shivering, still cold but he could understand the reason behind it with a weird sense of detachment. He was in shock, trying to cope with what had been done to him.

We will get exactly what we want from you.


He wondered what he was capable of in order to protect his mother. If he was honest, he knew he would do anything to make sure she was safe. It didn’t matter that they had let him go, that he could leave this town, leave Davey to his kidnapper, escape and run. The Centre knew that no matter where he went, he will always return to them, return so that he can see his mother, even if it meant walking through the front doors of the Centre willingly. He swallowed the bitter taste of defeat. Maybe he can find a way of rescuing her, of finding his father to help him.

You will be watched constantly.

He closed the tap, only now aware of how long it had been running. He was still shivering, but he ignored his own comfort. Instead he started in the bathroom, methodically searching until he found the intrusion. The small camera had been so well camouflaged that if he had not specifically looked for it, he would never have found it. The queasiness returned.

You will be returned to your apartment.


How long have they been watching him, biding their time? Suddenly he understood the easiness of his break-inn at the Centre. The way he had been kept in the town because of Davey. The smirk of Cynthia when she stepped from the shadows at NuGenesis.

His ringing phone startled him. He made his way to his bedroom, grabbing his cell phone and answering it with a terse, "What."

"Remember that we are watching you, Jarod."

His anger flared, anger at being duped and anger that he had not even predicted the way the Centre had been steering him towards this point.

"How long have you been planning this?"

“That doesn’t matter.”

“It does to me.”

"This is a game, Jarod. And you're just a pawn. A vital one at that, but nothing more. Timelines do not concern you, only your part in the project."

Jarod slowly sank onto his bed, his hand supporting his head. "Why?"

“Why what, Jarod?”

“Why are you doing this?”

"Because we can."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre


Broots knocked before entering the dimly lit office. He found Sydney slumped over the desk, his head resting on his arms. He called the psychiatrist’s name and was rewarded when Sydney stretched and then blinked at him.

“Do you have it?”

“Part of it, but, uhm, Sydney…”

Sydney leaned back, watching the apologetic look on Broots. He stretched out his hand, wordlessly taking the DSA. He placed it in the case, hoping the reason why Broots was looking any where but at him was due to the stress of the lock-down and not what had been recorded.

He pressed the start button.

For Centre use only

Dr William Raines Private File

The grainy snow flake gradually disappeared to focus on a young boy huddled against a corner in the glass box. Raines stepped closer, ignoring the look of fear that spread as the boy begged not to repeat the sim. His hand rose, connecting solidly with Jarod’s face, swinging it to the side. Jarod sprawled into a messy tumble. A small hand came up, wiping at the hurt. He slowly sat up, his back defensively against the clear glass of the corner.

“Start again.” The raspy voice of Raines filled the room, echoing in the corners. Jarod shivered, his tears not even dry yet. The fear was palpable, in the way he scrunched into himself, making his body as small as possible. The glass top was replaced, incasing the small boy in the box. Then the lights went dark…

And the screen faded into blackness.

“That’s all I could get from the first segment. There’s two more but it’s going to take longer. I’m sorry Sydney, I…” Broots trailed of, unsure of what to say next. Sydney just stared at the screen, his hands gripped in tight fists. He waited till Broots left before playing the scene again, and again trying to remember back to when Jarod was small and afraid.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jarod’s apartment


Jarod took a long, hot shower. He wanted to wash the Centre’s stench from his body. He wanted to get rid of Cox’s words, his helplessness and the knowledge of what they wanted him to do. The salty taste of his tears flowed with the water that cascaded over his head, rinsing away his hope. He didn’t know what to do. Simulations ran through his head, discarded as soon as they arrived. His body continued to shiver, the cold had settled in his core. He thought he would never be warm again. His body was pink from the heat but still he decreased the cold water tap, ignoring the sting of the warm water.

What the hell had Cox given him?

When the water’s temperature decreased to lukewarm, he closed the tap. He draped a towel around his middle, making for his bedroom. What he needed first was an uncompromised phone. From there he can decide how he is going to proceed. Small steps, he thought, all solutions start with small steps.

Finally having made a decision, he dressed quickly; ignoring the cameras that he knew was there. He pushed the DSA case under his bed, wondering why Cox had left it. His laptop was gone but he had expected that. It didn’t matter. He didn’t need it. Locking his apartment behind him, he left for the station. The walk will do him good and he might in the process acquire a phone. Just one break, that’s all he needed. One break.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knight’s Inn, Blue water


She swore when the now familiar tin voice sounded in her ear, explaining that due to technical difficulties, the Centre would be off line until further notice. It was too much to hope for, to be able to use Broots’ skills in tracking any murders that had the same MO than the thief she might have a hope in finding a breadcrumb to where Davey might be held. Now she is going to have to do this the hard way. She checked her gun, making sure she had an extra clip in her side pocket.

It was time to shake up the lesser known areas of Blue water. She jammed a full clip in, determination edged into her face. It was time to find the truth.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water


Jarod saw his chance. He swerved to his left and bumped into the unsuspected man. His hand emerged from the other’s pocket as he apologized, palming the man’s cell phone. Sliding it into his own pocket, he again apologized before continuing down the road. All he needed to find now was a private spot so that he could make his phone call.

He was walking past an alley, when hands grabbed him from behind and maneuvered him into the small side passage. He started to resist when the now familiar hard muzzle of a gun punished him in the ribs. He was pushed further in, until they were screened from the street by the big garbage bins. He had no chance at even glancing at the face of the person who held him. He was pushed face first against the wall and held there by the other’s body weight, the gun reminding him not to move. A second person joined them, he could here the footsteps and then his world went dark as the hood slipped over his face. He struggled, not wanting the disadvantage that came with the darkness. He cried out when a hard jab to his kidneys brought with it numbness and agony all at once. He stopped struggling, just trying to ride the wave of pain.

He was turned, his back now against the wall. An arm pressed against his neck, cutting of his oxygen. He brought his hands up, clawing at the arm to bring some release. His hands were grabbed by the second person and held down at his side. He knew he had run out of air when his lungs started burning painfully. It was then that the arm shifted and the man leaned into his body.

“That was not a smart move.”

The cell phone he had palmed not a minute ago slid from his pocket. Jarod was still struggling to get much needed oxygen into his lungs. “You were warned that we would be watching you.”

His fear for his mother doubled. “P…please…I….”

A phone rang, and was answered by a gruff voice. Jarod stood still when the phone was pressed against his ear and the smooth voice of Cox rolled out. “I thought you were a genius, Jarod.”

He swallowed, ignoring the burning tears of frustration that was forming behind his closed lids.

“I can send you’re mother’s thumb if that will convince you of the seriousness of the situation. Will that be necessary, Jarod?”

“No.” he managed to choke out, his throat raw.

“Go to the station, search for Davey. Do everything that you normally do until you are let known otherwise. This will be your first and only allowed mistake. Any more and pieces of your mother will be arriving via FedEx. Am I clear?”

“Yes.”

“Let me speak to the person holding the phone.”

Jarod managed to whisper the command and felt the phone removed from his ear. He waited, hearing the terse answers that gruff voice was giving. He was then told to count to fifty before he was allowed to remove the hood. The man, who had held him, let him go and he slowly sank down the wall until he was seated, his knees drawn close to his body, his head resting on them. He heard their footsteps receding and because for the first time in his life he had no answer, he did as he was told and counted to fifty.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reviews are most welcome. Always.
Chapter 9 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Thanks so much for all the reviews. It really helps to build the muse and send forth ideas. Sorry this took so long.

Chapter 9

Police station, Blue water

“Jarod, where were you yesterday, someone was looking for you?”

Jarod seated himself by his desk, his mind still reeling from his assault and warning. “Who?”

“A Miss Parker.”

Jarod sank into the chair, hope flaring. Cox could not fault him if Parker appeared. There might just be a way out of this. “Thanks Johnson.” He dismissed the officer, waiting for the door to close. His desk phone rang and he answered it, expecting Murray or another fellow officer.

“Don’t think about it, check your office.”

It was the same gruff voice from the alley. Replacing the headset, he scrutinized the walls. He detected four cameras placed around the room, giving him no privacy. Despair settled as he finally admitted how screwed he was. Cox had thought of everything. Grabbing his jacket, he made his way out of the office. Coffee definitely sounded like a good idea. At least he’ll be able to think in the general quiet of the diner and he could not be punished for doing something he had been doing for the past week. He needed the time to think.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

Davey watched warily as Mr. Raines walked towards the table where he sat as close to Cain as the seating would allow. He fidgeted and then felt the reassuring hand of Cain. He took courage from it, glancing upwards at his friend’s impassive face. A small squeeze was all that was given, all that could be given.

He remembered what the bad man did to him. He remembered how he had hidden away within himself. He could see everything from a distance, as though it was far far away. But he knew that if Jarod had not brought him back he would have stayed there, lost and afraid. He didn’t want that to happen again.

“I see that… the boy is behaving… appropriately.” Raines said, looking at the subdued child.

“He listens.” Cain replied, his tone carefully kept neutral. His was trying to understand the tide of emotions that seemed to ebb and flow inside him. Nothing of it showed, but he couldn’t for the life of him remember when he had felt this way. He felt very protective of the boy, even though he knew that Davey was not his to begin with.

“I’m pleased… with his…test results. He shows…promise, although…Jarod is still… the best.”

Cain nodded, knowing that would be the only praise he would receive. He knew about the prodigal pretender and the income he had generated for the Centre.

“I…need him…to do some…more tests. There are…some issues…that need…to be clarified.” Raines’ blue gaze settled on Cain, his eyes boring into the others. “Did you…set up the…second room…to my specifications?”

“Yes, Mr. Raines.” Cain answered tonelessly.

“Good. Prepare…the boy.”

“Mr. Raines,” Cain began when his mentor turned away to talk to one of the sweepers. He had wanted to spare Davey but as his mentor turned back and he saw the look on Raines’ face he knew that there was nothing that he could say that would change the other’s mind.

“What is it…Cain?”

He could feel the small boy’s shoulder underneath his hand and as if from nowhere an idea materialized. It had taken no longer than the few seconds when Raines had turned and asked the question for the idea to form. Keeping his face carefully neutral, he lied for the first time in his life to his mentor.

“The boy still needs another day to be fully prepped.”

Raines scrutinized Cain with more interest. “I understood…that the…boy would…ready.”

Cain kept Raines gaze, willing the other to believe him. “Yes, but the initial timeline was a week to prepare the boy. When you had phoned on Saturday, I had to cram five days into two. That still leaves two days of preparation that need to be done. I can do it tomorrow. Then you can begin the tests that you need.”

Raines narrowed his eyes, trying to determine if Cain was lying. He had never lied to him before but there was a first time for everything. “When last…we spoke…you never mentioned….any problems.”

Cain carefully dropped his eyes, mentally trying to project an air of apology. “I…I know. I thought that I would be able to prepare him adequately.”

He heard the squeak of the oxygen tank as Raines stepped closer until his hand came up and lifted his chin. He once again made contact with the blue gaze of Raines.

“You…do understand…the price of failure.”

His only visible outlet was his right hand that formed into a fist next to his side. His other hand was almost protective around the boy now with the closeness of his mentor. He didn’t answer the rhetorical question. He had experienced that price more than once in his life.

Raines turned his head, watching Davey and Cain’s hand on the boy. With a swiftness that belied his age, he backhanded the boy, watching Davey fall back against the headrest of the chair. Davey’s eyes expanded with fear and he tried to shrink further into the chair, the tears already forming in his eyes. Cain stood rooted, his face not showing any emotion as a powerful surge of anger battered against his defenses. He knew that the only reason that Raines had done it was to determine his feelings for the boy. If he showed any, he or the boy would be separated and he did not want that to happen.

Another minute followed in silence except for the sniffle that came from the boy. Then abruptly Raines turned, walking away from the two. “Agreed,” was hissed and Cain understood the hidden warning.

Fail again, and Davey will be taken away.

He waited until Raines had left and then turned to Davey. The boy’s eyes kept floating past him, watching the now open door warily. “It’s ok. He can’t hurt you now,” Cain said softly. He reached out slowly and put a hand on Davey’s shoulder. The boy jumped and pulled back. Cain dropped the hand to his side and waited until the boy’s attention came back to him. He could see the overload of emotion in the boy’s eyes.

“He’s gone, Davey.” He tried to reason logically, “It’s ok now.”

“You promised.” The boy accused. The pain in the boy’s voice cut like knife blades through Cain and he couldn’t understand why it hurt so much. Cain had no idea what to say, and was speechless as the boy continued to stare at him.

“He hurt me.”

That statement cut even more deeply. “I’m sorry,” was all Cain could manage. Davey stared at him and thought for a while. Slowly he extended a hand and waited for Cain to take it. With serious eyes that held the remembrance of tears he said solemnly, “Friends are supposed to protect each other. From everything.”

Cain knelt next to Davey, his big hand engulfing the smaller one next to him. The same one that he had spit on a few days ago. “I will remember that,” he said, his own gaze serious. Davey leaned into him, wrapping his arms around Cain’s neck.

“Promise?”

Holding the boy’s gaze, Cain replied, “I promise.” He put his hand on Davey’s blond hair, hugging him close and wondered how he was going to manage to keep the promise with Raines around without getting both of them killed. When the boy returned the hug, he promised himself that he would give everything to keep his word.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knight’s Inn, Blue water

“Shit.”

Lyle stood in the centre of Parker’s room and fumed. His quick search of her room had left him frustrated. His sister was gone and he had no idea where. He made another slower turn before moving to the closet. Nothing but clothes greeted his eyes. Frustrated, he slammed the door shut. He was about to turn away to leave when he spotted a corner of a manila folder sticking out from under the bed.

Pulling it from its hiding place, he opened the folder and spread the papers over the duvet. What he saw made him swear again. Why couldn’t his sister keep her nose where it belonged? He took out his phone, his fingers dialing the familiar number automatically.

“It’s me.”

“What is it, Lyle. I’m busy,” his father’s voice came brusquely.

“She knows about the boy. She must have found out at the police station.”

“Dammit, Lyle. The reason I send you was to prevent her from discovering anything related to the project. You need to fix this.” Mr. Parker barked, “I want her back at the Centre before any damage can be done.”

“That might be a problem. She’s gone.”

“What do mean she’s gone, Lyle? You were supposed to keep an eye on her.”

Lyle gripped the phone harder, ignoring the little voice inside that was telling him that if Parker found the boy that he was as good as dead.

“I can’t very well sleep in the same room. She told me that she had a headache and that she needed some rest.”

“And you believed her,” came the angry reply, “I want her found and brought back here. Do you understand me?”

Lyle disconnected the phone and slid it back into his pocket. He glanced at the papers, trying to find a search point that Parker had used. He ignored the data on the boy and his parents, instead focusing on the information about the murders. A name sprang up and a thin grin emerged on his face.

Gotcha.

At least he knew where to start his search. Hopefully he will arrive the moment Parker understood that she had underestimated her quarry, and then he can decide how to tell his father about his sister’s unfortunate demise as he raced to the “rescue”. Things might just work out the way he wanted and with it his way will be open to the chairmanship.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Diner, Blue water

“Jarod?” The small voice made him turn. He went white when he saw who had called his name. His sister Emily was staring up at him, a grin of wonder starting to form. He grabbed her, pushing her towards the back of the diner, his eyes roving over the faces of the people who sat and stood around them.

“Emily, you have to leave.”

Her smile has changed, worry creasing her eyes. “Why, what’s wrong. I thought…”

He was unaware how tight he was holding on to her, his anxiety increasing with each second. “Please, it’s not safe. You have to leave. Now.”

She winched, and he finally understood his bruising grip. Slowly releasing his hands, he saw her stroke her arms where he had held her.

“I don’t understand.”

He had no way of making her understand. She was one more person that Cox could hurt if they found her. Another pawn to be held so that he would do what they wanted.

“Please, Emily.”

All the things she had wanted to say stuck in her throat. He left her standing there, making his way out of the diner. She watched him leave, and as he disappeared out the door she noticed two men who followed him. Aware of his warning, she made her way towards the bathroom, escaping through the window. She didn’t know how, but she was sure that if she had gone out the front door, she would have been intercepted. She had lived her life on the run for the past sixteen years. These things come naturally, the eluding of the Centre goons.

As she made her way down the alley, she determined that she was going to find out what had her brother so scared. Maybe if she phoned her mom, they could come up with a plan together. Making sure she’s not followed, she made her way towards her apartment.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water

Lyle was making his way down Madison Avenue when he noticed someone slip from an alley into the road just in front of him. He ducked inside a doorway when the person cautiously looked around before moving away from him. He checked his watch before looking at the retreating back of the woman he had spotted and smiled.

There was time.

Taking another look he started following her, making sure that sufficient distance was between them. He took extra precautions to make sure he was not seen as he followed her down the street towards the apartment blocks that had been built by the lakeside. He took note of the building that she disappeared into before turning and making his way back.

Things were definitely looking brighter. This time he will have a bargaining chip if Jarod somehow figured a way out of his predicament. All he had to figure out now was how not to rescue his sister.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ware house district, Blue water

The dimly lit room was hazy from the smoke of the dozen or so patrons that was scattered around it. Eyes had swiveled towards the unwelcome light that had entered briefly when the door had slammed open. One man that stood at the back gave the woman and man a once over before disappearing through the door he had been guarding. The rest looked with hungry eyes at Miss Parker when she made her way towards the bar with Sam.

She dismissed them; her hand concealed in her coat and with it her gun. One glance to a particular bold starer and he turned his eyes away while he gulped the last dregs of his drink. He mumbled an apology before shuffling his way outside and away from Miss Parker’s icy gaze. The barman had moved closer to her, trying to clean a glass with a filthy rag.

“Are you lost, cause your kind usually don’t come here.”

Miss Parker smiled dangerously before leaning over the counter and putting her hand with a hundred dollar bill in front of the bar man’s eyes. He started to drift one hand downwards to where the green corner stuck out. Miss Parker held his gaze and slowly shook her head. With Sam watching her back she wasn’t really worried about the other people in the bar. All her focus was on the man in front of her.

“I’ll keep my hands where I can see them, just in case you don’t want to lose those.”

The bar man followed her other hand that had emerged from her jacket and to where the gun was pointed. He swallowed and made sure that his hands didn’t stray down to the twelve-gauge he kept hidden by the register.

Keeping her voice low, she continued, “I was told that you have information on where I can find a certain Mr. Deeves.”

His gaze strayed down to where the hundred dollar bill waited and then to where the gun was still unerringly pointed. He made his decision and later he would convince himself that it had been for the money and not for the glint that he had caught in her eye.

“Backroom.”

Miss Parker smiled, silently warning him to move back. He did without any hesitation, watching as she and the man with her left for the door next to the bathrooms. Miss Parker held her gun in front of her before looking at Sam. He nodded and they slammed the door open on a surprised guard and a smallish man that was trying to wriggle through the window. Sam motioned the guard sideways as Miss Parker stormed her way forward.

The man was about half way out, and his wriggling has increased ten fold as the panic hit him and he tried to get out before she made her way towards him. She was just in time to slam the window pane down on the small of his back, effectively pinning him halfway out the window. He screamed in pain before swearing loudly a string of words.

“Mr. Deeves I presume.”

“What do you want, bitch?”

Miss Parker jammed her gun into his backside before replying in an even voice. “Information.”

Deeves grunted when the hard barrel pushed again before replying, “Ok, wait. Can I at least get back inside?”

“Make one move further out the window and you get a second hole.”

Deeves nodded vigorously before sliding carefully back into the room. He stared accusingly at the guard before tucking his clothes back into a semblance of normality. Taking one hand he smoothed his hair and then sauntered his way towards the desk.

“That’s far enough, buster.”

He stopped at the words from Miss Parker. “What kind of information are ya looking for, cause it’s gonna cost yer.”

Miss Parker slowly lifted an eyebrow and smiled. “What is your life worth?”

“Uh, that’s ok. This one I’ll do for free. Special cause you’re a new customer and all.”

“That’s mighty kind of you,” Miss Parker replied, her gaze direct. “I want information on the dark angel.”

Deeves went white, and stuttered. Miss Parker had never seen anyone that terrified before. He was slowly moving backwards, his hands pleadingly out in front of him. He jumped when his back hit the wall.

“N…No, please, I can’t. He’ll kill me.”

“And if you don’t tell me, then I’ll make you’re life a living hell. Make you’re choice.” Miss Parker warned. The man looked around him for any help but he found none. Miss Parker took a step closer and he cringed. Wetting his lips, his roaming eyes now settled on her gun he pleaded.

“You have no idea, he is not like others. He…he tortures…”

“I have seen what he can do but you have never seen what I’m capable of.”

Deeves visibly swallowed and wiped the sweat that had formed on his forehead. He was between the proverbial rock and a hard place and he had no idea how to get out of it with his skin still intact. He thought about the money he had put away and then about the current threat that was more real than the distant one. He could disappear. Move to the south. His mind was reeling with half baked plans while he convinced his trembling body to obey.

“Speak to Vince at the Baker’s club. He will know.”

“If you lie…”

Suddenly tired, Deeves nodded as he said, “I know. I’m not.” When Miss Parker turned to leave he cleaned his throat, “Uh, this I give for free, for you know, not killing me. Vince, he’s a real bad guy, just watch your back, ok.”

“He has never met me,” Miss Parker said before making her way out the door.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

Sydney was staring at the stilled image of Jarod as he cowered against the glass corner. His eyes were strained from focusing on the monitor but he couldn’t get himself to look away. He was finally remembering how Raines had managed to get his hands on Jarod. He had been sent on a symposium to Belgium on twins that had taken him away from the Centre for two weeks.

He remembered.

Jarod was unusually subdued. He didn’t make any eye contact with Sydney where he sat in the seat.

“Jarod, why did you hide away in the ventilation shaft?”

Jarod shifted but didn’t answer. Sydney made his way closer, finally kneeling next to the boy and pulling his chin up so that the dark, tear filled eyes could look into his.

“Jarod?”

“Please don’t make me go back.”

“Where?”

“The glass box.” Came so softly that for a minute Sydney thought that Jarod had not spoken at all.

“What happens in the glass box, Jarod?”

“I lose who I am.”

Sydney frowned at the sentence, trying to decipher the hidden meaning behind it. It didn’t make sense. Jarod was a pretender. He wasn’t supposed to have a sense of self. He was about to question further when Jarod went rigid with fear.

“Sydney, Mr. Parker wants to see you.”

Sydney rose slowly, turning and watched as Dr William Raines took a drag of his cigarette. The doctor’s gaze shifted from the boy back to him.

“Jarod, I’ll be back soon then we’ll discuss this further.”

Jarod nodded but his terrified gaze never wavered from the body of Dr Raines.

He remembers now how he had been ordered not to delve any further into Jarod’s fear. He had been told that the boy will forget about it and that what had been done under Dr Raines had been necessary to ascertain the viability of another project. He had kept his mouth shut and had never spoken about it to Jarod. Except for the nightmares that the boy seemed to develop soon after, Jarod never spoke about it either.

Suddenly feeling old, Sydney rose and left for the tech lab. Angelo was still seated against one wall, sleeping on a blanket that they had found. Broots was busy by one of the tables, the old recorder opened and stripped.

“Broots, we need to go back to the SL-23. There is something I need to find.”

“Uh, ok. I can’t do anything with this information until the conversion has been done.” Broots said as he indicated the recorder. He grabbed a flashlight and made his way to where Sydney was waiting. “What are you looking for?”

“The reason for Jarod’s nightmares.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police station, Blue water

Jarod was met by detective Murray as he entered the police station.

“Another body has been discovered in the ware house district. We’re leaving now.”

Jarod followed Murray back down the steps towards where one of the squad cars had been waiting. Jarod was quiet in the car, staring blindly out the window. He felt time slipping away from him and he could only hope that his sister was safe.

“Agent Kennett, are you alright?” Murray asked.

Jarod smiled and nodded, replying that he had had a long day and was tired. The other nodded but Jarod could see that the detective didn’t believe him. There was nothing he could do about it. All he could focus on for the moment was the safety of his family and keeping his mother alive.

The car came to a halt in front an old decrepit building. The flashing lights of the car bounced over the walls as clouds started to gather in the air above. Jarod knew from experience that the rain would soon make its appearance. Pulling his jacket around his ears, he followed Murray into the darkness of the old warehouse.

Boxed into an unused crate was the hanging body of another man. The MO was exactly the same as the thief’s. Jarod heard thunder and then the rain’s pattern sounded on the roof. He could see a rookie retching in a corner but his eyes moved back to the photo stuck to the dead man’s chest. It was the back of a photo. Printed in bold black letters was the wording, Time is running.

Murray had pulled gloves and was removing the photo. He turned it around and frowned. Jarod pulled on his own gloves before taking the photo from the detective. His heart sank. The photo was so familiar he would have recognized it even without the black shadow that covered more than three quarters of it. It was the picture he usually kept with him. A bout of shivering hit him and he pulled his jacket tight. He was unaware that he was staring at the photo, unaware of the way that Murray was looking at him.

All he saw was the smiling face of his mother.

“Jarod.” He turned towards Murray with the photo still stuck in his hand. “Does that photo mean anything to you?”

Jarod still saw his mother in front of his mind’s eyes. He was shell shocked, trying to decipher the overload of information. “Jarod?” That question seemed to wake him and he shook his head before finally focusing on the worried detective in front him.

“Sorry. I think I’m coming down with flu. You were saying.”

“Does the photo mean anything to you?”

Jarod shook his head as he bagged it. “No.” He turned away from Murray, making his way outside.

“Jarod, we need to talk.”

He heard the command behind the words and he understood Murray’s suspicions. Once he was outside, he turned his face into the rain, feeling the cold drops as they splashed on his skin.

“I’ll find a way of saving you.”
He promised silently as his tears dissolved with the wetness of the rain.

I’ll find a way.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you like, press the button and review, otherwise press the button and review. ;-)
Chapter 10 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Thank you for the reviews. It gives me incentive to write.


Chapter 10


Shoreview apartments


“Emily, what are you going to do,” Jessie asked her friend. Emily was pacing up and down. She turned to Jessie and finally seated herself next to her.

“I’m not sure yet but Jarod needs my help. I need to do something.”

“What about your mom. Can’t you phone her?”

“Not until tomorrow. This is so frustrating,” she groaned.

“Wait, I have an idea. Why don’t I contact Jarod? Those guys don’t know me or that I know you. That way I can find out what is going on with your brother without him thinking that he is putting your life in danger.”

“Jessie, I don’t know. It’s dangerous. You could get hurt.”

“Not if I’m careful. After all, I’m very good with bumping into guys and then disappearing.”

Emily could only smile at that statement. “Ok, hopefully Jarod will go back to the diner. We’ll work things out tonight and tomorrow you meet him while I’ll contact my mother.”

They spent the rest of the evening and well into the night making and discarding plans on contacting Jarod and how to help him.

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

The Centre


“Sydney, what are we looking for,” Broots asked nervously as he eyed the cabinets that had been pushed against the wall.

“Search for any records that relate to 1966 and Raptus,” Sydney replied, already opening a drawer that held the Centre folders relating to projects.

Broots chose a cabinet randomly and opened the top drawer. He sneezed when the dust rose before settling again.

“If Raines catches us we are so dead,” he murmured. A squeak drew his attention and thinking that it belonged to the ailing man, he turned to apologize. His flashlight caught the tail of the rat as it disappeared behind one of the cabinets.

His shriek bought Sydney’s attention. “What is it, Broots?”

“There are rats here. Big ones.”

“If you leave them alone, they’ll do the same.”

Broots nodded before returning to the folders in front of him while keeping an eye out for any rats who dared to show their whiskers.

Sydney rifled through the folders, frustrated at his lack of success. It had taken them two hours and they were no closer to finding any information than earlier. Broots had had a near miss but it had turned out to be useless. Ignoring the cabinets closest to him, he walked deeper into the room, away from where the sim lab is situated. The flashlight caught the corner of a box and it looked familiar. Sydney stepped closer, his heart rate increasing with each step.

He wasn’t making a mistake. The three boxes that stood in front of him were the same ones that he and Parker had found on SL-27 so long ago.

“Broots, I found something.”

He flipped through the folders quickly, until he found the one he wanted. Bold and in red stood the project designation.

Raptus.

He had found Raptus. Elated, he turned to speak to Broots when he noticed the other standing motionless. It was only then that he noticed the other flashlights that were held in the sweepers’ hands. He pushed the folder behind one of the cabinets before rising. Stepping from behind the sweepers till he stood in front of Sydney was the chairman of the Centre.

“What have you found, Sydney?”

“A missing file on Jarod. I thought that it might be useful reading material while we waited for the lockdown to lift,” his eyes met Broots briefly, silently warning the other to be quiet.

“Give it to me.”

Sydney obliged. It was one of the other folders he had taken from the box. The information in them was well known and not of great value. Mr. Parker flipped through the pages before giving it back.

“Very well, continue.”

Sydney sighed inwardly.

“Oh, Sydney. You haven’t heard from my daughter since the lockdown?”

“No.”

Mr. Parker nodded. “I’ll leave you to your work. These sweepers will stay for your protection.”

Sydney watched as the chairman left. He dropped the file, and with the sweepers’ attention on Broots and the paper he slipped the other folder beneath the one that he had given to Parker. Taking his prize, he and Broots made their way back towards the tech lab and the sweepers only left when they entered the room. Sydney made his way over to the table. He placed the folder and opened it.

For Centre use only

Subject: Jarod
Coordinator: Dr William Raines

Purpose: It had been noted that the subject at current development may result in rebellion and disobedience. It had long been understood that the subconscious play a major role in the active conscience of a human being. Control the subconscious and it could be surmised that in essence the conscience would be controlled.


Sydney stopped reading. What the Centre and Raines had tried had obviously failed, but had they really. The periods in his life that Jarod had forget and were now starting to remember showed him that Raines had on one level managed to suppress some of Jarod’s experiences while adding to his nightmares. What Raines had underestimated was Jarod’s will to be free and make his own choices. His eyes strayed lower to where the termination date should be entered.

No wonder Broots couldn’t find anything related to Raptus in the archives. The project was still current, still active.

“I lose who I am.”


Sydney closed his eyes. The statement made sense. Even though he had tried to be impartial, objective he knew that Jarod still had an essences of himself. He was never allowed to be contaminated by the world outside but his self came from his contact with others. Raines wanted to take that away, make Jarod a robot that would obey blindly without question. But what Raines had never understood is that Jarod’s compassion was something to be used to do the simulations and Sydney, as Jarod’s mentor had used it to prod and guide Jarod in doing the Centre’s will.

Sydney suddenly felt ashamed for his part in manipulating Jarod. Then determination set in. He wanted to do things right and if giving Jarod a good night’s sleep was one way, then he will find a way to do that.

He started to read.

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

Baker’s Club, Blue water


Miss Parker ignored the stares. Although the Baker’s club was a lot more up market than the bar where she had found her informant, it didn’t mean it was any less dangerous. She and Sam seated themselves at one of the tables. One of the waiters made his way over and she ordered a scotch for herself and whiskey for Sam.

“What do you see, Sam.”

“Two guys at the back look like they played defense for the New York Giants. The three sitting at a table to the right of them is body guards. Otherwise the club looks clean.”

Paying the waiter, Miss Parker took her drink.

“We need to get into that room and our tactics we used at the bar wouldn’t work here.”

“What about a back window or door, Miss Parker?”

“It’s worth a try. Drink and let’s go.”

Five minutes later they stepped out the club and made their way towards the back. Miss Parker had her gun out and leading as she stepped towards a window. There was no way in, the window had bars welded on the inside. She motioned to the door. Sam knocked and she was ready when the door was opened. She had a gun in the guy’s face before he had a chance to see who had knocked and she was pushing him in, using his body as a shield for any other eyes. Sam followed, closing the door behind him.

“Where is Vince?”

He was still a teenager, barely old enough to work. He stuttered before managing to show her a door to the left. Warning the boy to be silent she slammed her way inside. She was aware of Sam following her before a blinding light ended her thoughts.

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

Police station, Blue water


Jarod pressed his head into his hands before staring at the white board again. His body shivered again but he had by now gotten so used to it, he ignored it. Although it seemed like he was concentrating on the kidnapping and murders his mind was far from it. He was trying to find a solution to his own situation. He knew that Cox wouldn’t have his mother tucked to far away. It had to be a safe house the Centre had somewhere close by. The smiling photo of Davey drew his attention. He was reminded of the last time the Centre had kidnapped the boy. They had taken the boy to a safe house before his transverse was to take place to the Centre. What if they’ve done that again, he thought. If he found Davey, the chances may be good that he’ll find his mother. His only problem he saw was first in locating the place and secondly in getting rid of his personal guard that tailed him everywhere.

He eyed the cameras before looking at the time. He had spent the whole afternoon trying to figure out ways out of his situation. It still looked bleak but he had more hope. He knew that Cox was trying to keep him off-balance. His phone rang and answered it.

“Go home.”

The harsh voice again. He looked at the camera again before grabbing his jacket. He made his way out of the station and was intercepted by Murray.

“Jarod, we need to talk about this afternoon.”

“Can we do this tomorrow?”

He was aware of Murray’s thoughtful gaze on him. He waited, aware of time that was slowly drifting away.

“Nine tomorrow.”

He nodded before making his way out of the building. Fifteen minutes later he inserted his key into his apartment. Her perfume lingered in the air and when he turned he wasn’t surprised when Cynthia stepped from the corner where she had been hiding.

“What do you want?” he growled, his anger flaring.

“Be careful, Jarod.” She warned, stepping closer until she stood in front of him. She pursed her lips, looking him up and down thoughtfully.

“Take off you shirt.”

Jarod couldn’t believe his ears. He took a step backwards and she emulated him. She traced a hand onto his chest and he grabbed it, pushing it downwards.

“Jarod, you do want to see your mother again?”

Jarod’s lips pressed so tightly together that all that was visible was a thin line of anger. His hand released hers and slowly started to unbutton the shirt. Cynthia stepped away from him and moved towards the table. He shrugged the shirt off, turning and watching as the woman opened the bag. Another bout of shivering hit him and he hugged himself to try and get some warmth.

“Sit on the bed.”

A small tick started in the corner of his jaw. He stared at her, wondering what she had in store for him. His concern for his mother won out and he obeyed. He slowly seated himself and watched when she stepped towards him with a cylinder and a syringe.

“What do you think you are going to do with that,” he asked, rising. She placed the two instruments onto the bed and then pushed him back down.

“We don’t want you dead, Jarod,” Cynthia assured him as she stroked Jarod’s cheek suggestively. “We just need some genetic material from you.”

“To what end?” Jarod snarled, pulling his face from her hand.

“That doesn’t concern you.”

He remembered Cox’s smirk when he said the exact same words.

“No.”

“Jarod, you have no choice.” She grabbed his arm, pulling him towards her.

“I said no.” He jerked his arm out of her grip, glaring at her.

“Your mother…”

“Yes, my mother. I want to speak to her before I become your medical experiment again. I want to know that she is safe.”

Cynthia’s expression hardened but Jarod didn’t budge. She finally relented, turning her back on Jarod and dialed a number he couldn’t see. She spoke briefly before handing the phone to him.
“Mom,” he queried, the concern evident in his voice.

“I’m fine. Jarod, are you all right?”

“Mom, I promise you that we’ll be together soon, ok. There is just something I need to do first.”

“I know. Just be strong, Jarod. I…I have to go.”

He barely had time to say goodbye before her voice was replaced by Cox.

“Happy?”

Jarod didn’t answer.

“I hope that you will cooperate with Miss DeWitt, Jarod. I would hate for anything to happen to your mother while she is under her care.”

“You touch one hair on her head, Cox and I will kill you.”

“Your mother is safe as long as you behave, Jarod. Just remember that you control her comfort level.”

Jarod stood with the phone in his hand, the warning still ringing in his ear. Unable to really resist, he allowed Cynthia to clean his arm and then grimaced when she pushed the needle into a vein. He watched his blood flow into the cylinder. She removed the needle, labeled the cylinder before returning with another syringe.

He looked out the window while she injected Jarod with a clear liquid.

A gentle warmth was slowly spreading through his limbs. The now familiar feeling of heaviness was pushing his eyelids down. He tried to fight it but the last thing he saw was her smile when she stepped towards him.

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

Baker’s club, Blue water

Miss Parker woke to find that she had been stretched out on a leather couch. A soft glow emanated from the fire place to her left. She slowly pushed herself into a sitting position, taking in her surroundings. The room was spacious, besides the couch she had been lying on, there was two other comfort chairs. Towards the back of the room a big desk stood. She raised a hand to touch the area behind her head where she had been hit and grimaced when she made contact.

Great, she thought, at least she wasn’t bleeding. She rose a bit unsteadily from the couch and was about to inspect the desk from closer when the door behind her opened. She turned, her hand reaching for her gun before she remembered that it had been in her hand when she had entered the room.

“Miss Parker, I hope you are feeling better.”

“Except for a blinding headache, just peachy.” She replied, scrutinizing the man before her. He was almost as tall as Jarod but that is where the similarities ended. He had brownish hair that was slowly turning grey. His dark eyes shown lifeless and his face had the bleached look that came from spending most of your time indoors. He would have been handsome but for the scar that stretched from his right eyebrow down his face, ending at the jaw line.

“Drink this; it will make you feel better.”

He held a glass out to her, in his other hand was two white pills. She shook her head and regretted it immediately. “No thanks, I’d rather keep my senses.”

He smiled and sat the glass and pills on the side table by the couch. “Suit yourself, but if I had wanted to keep you,” with this he gave a smirk, “senseless than I would not have allowed you to wake up.”

Miss Parker glared. She understood the logic and her pounding head wasn’t really helping her in figuring a way out of this. Taking the glass and pills, she swallowed them quickly.

“Please, sit.”

She could here the veiled command behind the words. One of the big guys from the club stood by the door and she knew there was no choice.

“Where is Sam?”

“Resting comfortably.”

She nodded, watching as the man took a bag and spread her belongings on the table. He perched himself on the edge of the table and rummaged amongst the effects before taking her driver’s license. Tapping it against his fingers, he openly stared at her.

“Why are you looking for me?”

“I don’t even know who you are, buster, so I suggest you let me go or I’ll give you a matching scar on the other side of your face.” With this she smiled, giving silent promises.

Vince didn’t even blink except smiling back at her. His hand rose and traced the scar, “This is a reminder to be careful around woman,” He continued smoothly, “I wonder, Miss Parker. How do you think you’ll get close enough to do that with Bugsy guarding me?”

“Bugsy? You have to be kidding me? Did I somehow step into a forties mob movie.”

“No, but you did arrive at a rather unfortunate time. I will only ask this once more before Bugsy will show you rather interesting ways of getting woman to talk. Why are you looking for me?”

Miss Parker had no doubt the man in front of her will do exactly what he said. She decided to go for the truth. “I’m looking for a boy that has been kidnapped and I was told that you might know where he is being held.”

Vince dropped her license back on the table. “Ah, I see. That is rather a dilemma, is it not, Miss Parker. I wonder if you are aware of the kind of person that you are looking for. Even in my business he is not crossed but I think the same argument would count for you.”

“I understand, but I can make it worth your while.”

“And how is that, Miss Parker. You do not have what I don’t already own.”

Miss Parker ignored the veiled insult. Instead she continued to bargain for her and Sam’s life. She knew that if unsuccessful that Vince would get rid of her without any fanfare or elaborate planning.

“But this man you do not own. I can get rid of him in the process of saving the boy.”
Vince looked at her with new respect. He had known the woman in front of him was dangerous but he was slowly beginning to realize that he had underestimated how dangerous. Watching her out the corner of his eye, he picked up her gun from the table.
“You any good with this gun, Miss Parker?”
“Give it back and I’ll demonstrate,” she said calmly.
“No, I don’t think so. I think that you have to very good with this gun to…sort out my little problem. I’ll have to think about this.”
Bugsy came forward and she understood that she had been dismissed. His thick fingers curled around her arm and she allowed him to lead her away. At the door, she turned and left with her final words, hoping that it would be enough.
“If I’ll fail, I’ll be dead anyways. But if I succeed, you will never see me again or you’re…little problem.”

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

Baker’s club, Blue water


“Thank you for the head’s up. An interesting creature, your sister. And dangerous,” Vince smiled, looking at his guest.

“Have you made a decision yet,” Lyle asked before sipping the whiskey that the other had offered him. They were both seated on the comfort chairs, each sizing up the man before him.

“She had made a very intriguing proposal. It would be entertaining to see whether she would succeed in the venture.”

Lyle grunted, masking his irritation by taking another sip. This is not how he had envisioned his plan. His sister had yet again managed to foul up his carefully laid out tactics.

“Why do you want her removed? Are you not related,” Vince asked slyly, his gaze never leaving the blond man’s.

Lyle smirked, “Let’s just say that with her out of the way, my inheritance increases dramatically.”

“Ah, I understand. Never the less, I think I would give Miss Parker the chance to prove that she will do what she said. We can always arrange for an accident to happen afterwards.”

Lyle smiled and raised his glass in toast. That sounded like a definite plan.

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

Jarod’s apartment


The nightmare was real. It was personified, the fingers tracing the pathways of his fear. He wanted to escape, to run but he was stuck in the box. He couldn’t escape and the claustrophobia dragged the air from his lungs.

He couldn’t breathe anymore.

Sydney turned the page.

Session six: The subject is now responding involuntarily to the fear stimuli. As soon as the image appears the subject curls up into a defensive position. With the threat of physical violence added, the subject had started to be more attentive in the simulation.

“No, don’t, please.”

Jarod was barely aware of the words he had uttered. He was shivering, his knees drawn up to his chest. His head swung from side to side and he continued to whimper as he tried to hide from the nightmare.

Session ten: Although older, the subject is responding well to treatment. It had been noted that his nightmares increases with each thought or act of disobedience. It is hoped that the subject will eventually, through learned behavior, be trained that obedience will bring peace. It is however unfortunate that the subject can not be subjected to the stimuli more often. It is my belief that with more exposure the subject will be less rebellious and questioning.

He was in the box again only this time he was tied to a gurney. It was getting colder and colder. His screams were hoarse, till it finally died down.

He died.

Session Fifty: One of the Triumvirate members had come to observe. The subject’s heart had stopped and was successfully revived. The memories are still intact and the subject will not recall what he had experienced. It is hoped that with these corrective measures the subject will be more obedient and submissive.

“No.”

Jarod spoke that one word so softly that it escaped before it could be fully formed. He watched it dance away on the wind. He heard a woman cry, a man and then a multitude. When he turned they stood in front of him, a crowd of people all crying and lamenting till eyes turned his way. He saw the anger in them and then the first words were slung his way.

“Murderer…”

“Killer…”

“You destroyed us all…”

He had no defense.

Session Sixty-two: We had decided to add to the subject’s repertoire. It is hoped that with the added emotion of guilt he will understand that only through his obedience and cooperation will the feeling abate.

Session Sixty-three: The subject had managed to escape. It is now recognized that the feelings of guilt had in fact facilitated the subject’s tearing away. When the subject is retrieved it will be endeavored to remove these feelings as soon as possible. Other means will be sought to bring the subject to full control of the Centre.

He is, after all, the key.

Sydney closed the folder and leaned back in his chair, stunned. He had never in his wildest dreams envisioned the depths to which the Centre would go in order to control Jarod. They had made one big mistake. Because of Jarod’s compassion he did not ignore the guilt but added to it. It was because of that guilt that Jarod had taken the steps to escape and to work tirelessly to help others.

Sydney’s only wish now was to do the same for Jarod. Raines and the Centre had tried to steal Jarod’s soul and had failed. All Sydney needed to do now was to help Jarod make it whole.

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

Police station, Blue water

When Jarod had waked this morning, he was alone. Cynthia must have left sometime during the night. The nausea had returned full force and he been forced again to spent time in the bathroom before he had sufficient strength to take a shower and dress. He was late for his meeting with Murray but at this stage just didn’t care.

He opened his door, surreptitiously glancing at the cameras. He was aware of the detective that was waiting by his desk. He took his time, taking of his jacket and hanging it beside the door before making his way over to his chair.

“You wanted to see me,” he began by way of introduction. He was definitely not in the mood for the detective’s suspicions or questions.

“Who are you?”

Jarod felt a pit settle somewhere in his stomach. He glanced at the camera and then focused his attention on Murray. “Excuse me?”

Murray threw a folder on his desk. He opened it slowly. It was articles of past pretends that he had done.

“What exactly are you, Jarod? I phoned the bureau and they have no record of you ever working for them.”

Jarod swallowed. He had always known that he would be found out one day. Now was the worst possible time that it could have happened. He was about to answer, hoping to bluff his way out of it when his phone rang.

He knew who it would be.

He took a deep breath and answered.

“Get rid of him.”

Jarod looked at Murray. He shook his head slightly for the camera.

“Open your bottom drawer.” Jarod did as he was told. The gun stared back. “Take it out.” Murray was slowly rising, his suspicions heightened by Jarod’s behavior.

Jarod put the phone down and rose. The gun was in his hand and hung next to his side.

“What do you think you are going to do, Jarod? You are in a police station.”

“I’m really sorry but I have no choice,” Jarod glanced at the camera and Murray followed his gaze. He saw the black lens of the glass and he finally understood his mistake.

“You walk out of here with that gun and the trouble you are in will magnify. We can work something out.”

Jarod smiled sadly, his gaze bloodshot. “I’m afraid that there is nothing that you can do that will help me. I need to find out who else you had told.”

“No one, not yet. I wanted to find your side of the story first.”

Jarod nodded. “My story is too complicated and will only get you killed,” Jarod stepped around the desk, careful to keep the gun out of view of the police-officers that worked outside his office.
He closed the blinds before locking the door. He indicated Murray to move towards the closet that sat against the wall.

“Take of your jacket.”

Murray did as he was told before turning and cuffing himself. Jarod searched him and made sure that the manacles were tight. He opened the closet and then helped the detective to enter it. He apologized when he gagged Murray before knocking the detective unconscious. His phone rang and he answered.

“Very good, Jarod. There is a silencer in the same drawer. I want you to kill him.”

“No. He can do no harm where he is now.”

“He cannot be kept there indefinitely. He will attract attention. Kill him.”

Jarod could only stare at the gun. “I will do your damn project, Cox but I will not kill an innocent man that is only doing his job. You can go to hell.” He hung up, his hands sweaty and prayed that he had not just killed his mother.

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

The Centre


Broots had fallen asleep and it was the ting from the computer to indicate that the conversion had been completed that had waked him. He stared blearily at the screen before the flashing box reminded him that the next part of the conversion was done. He woke Sydney that had been sleeping on his arms by the table before going off to fetch some coffee.

Sydney thanked Broots for the drink before turning the DSA case and inserting the disc. He wondered if what he was going to see was one of the sessions he had read about. He looked at Broots to make sure the other was ready and pressed the button.

For Centre use only
Subject 701102004

A boy was curled on a bed. He had his head pressed into the pillow, muffling the sounds but from the motion of his chest it was evident that he was crying. The boy’s body went rigid with fear when a door clanked open.

Raines stood by the bed, looking down at the boy. He took a drag of his cigarette before pushing the burning end into the boy’s neck.

“You were told that crying makes you weak. Is that not true?”

The boy shuddered but no sound came from his lips as the cigarette burned a hole into his skin. When Raines removed the cooling butt from the boy’s neck, the boy sat up and stared at Raines.

“You may answer.”

“Yes sir.”

“Do you like pain,” Raines asked, again taking a drag from his cigarette.

“I like nothing, sir. I only do what you tell me to.”

“If that is the case, boy, then you will never cry again. Am I clear?”

The big brown eyes stared without emotion up at the man with the cigarette and agreed to the command. Raines nodded and left, leaving the boy staring blindly at the camera before curling tight in the corner of his bed.


The DSA came to an end. Sydney could only stare. He had not been aware of another project and he had never seen that boy before. It seems that Raines had had his fingers in more than one clandestine pie that he didn’t know off.

“Who was that,” Broots asked, looking at the psychiatrist.

“I don’t know but I get this funny feeling that he might hold the answers to our current situation.”

Sydney turned when Angelo leaned in over his shoulder and traced the outline of the boy’s body.

“Angelo, what do you feel,” Sydney asked, watching as the man-child continued to trace with his fingers across the screen.

“Scared, lonely, afraid. Scared, Sydney. Boy scared.”

“Angelo, do you know this boy?”

“Bad man, he hurt boy. Boy scared of bad man. Bad man make boy dead inside.”

Sydney was about to ask another question when Angelo turned away and ran out the door. He knew better than to ran after Angelo, instead turned his gaze to Broots while Angelo’s revelation ran around his head. Then he remembered where he had heard the first part of Angelo’s words.
The photos. The person who had taken the photos must be the same person as the boy. His concern for Parker increased. If what Angelo had said is true, she might be in more danger than any of them at ever imagined. He grabbed his cell phone and dialed her number. The tone sounded in his ear and frustrated he pounded the table. They were still cut off from the outside.

How long will it take before we’ll be able to watch the last segment,” he asked Broots as he made his way towards the door.

“It should be ready by this afternoon.”

“Good. I’m going to see Mr. Parker. I need to find out if he knew about this project.”

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

Mythos House, Michigan

Cain made the hardest decision he had ever made in his life. While he worked with Davey he decided to leave with the boy. He didn’t want Davey to grow up under Raines’ tutelage. He wanted the boy to have a chance at a life that he never had.
All he had to do now if figure out how to make his escape without arousing the suspicions of his mentor and the sweepers.

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

Undisclosed vicinity, Blue water

Cox watched Jarod stare at the gun before retuning it to the drawer. He was angry but he understood that if he pushed now that he could jeopardize the project, and that was not what he wanted. Promising the pretender that he would pay for his disobedience, he reached out and answered his ringing phone.

“We have a problem,” his informant said, “The schedule has been changed.”

Cox swore before asking when.

“Wednesday evening.”

He swore again. He had thought that they would have more time. He thanked his informant before closing the phone. Keeping an eye on Jarod, he dialed an eight digit number.

“The project is being escalated…I know.”

He stared at the pretender, wondering if there would be enough time.

“He’ll be ready.”

He listened briefly, before replying, “Don’t worry. Jarod will terminate the Triumvirate. After all, he wants to see his mother again.”

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

So, what do you think? Hope it was worth the wait. ;-)
Chapter 11 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

This is for Julia. Thanks for your reviews. ;-) Oh, and Very Belated Fourth of July.

Chapter 11


The Centre

“Cox, you cannot make a mistake on this,” Mr. Parker warned. He was about to answer to another question Cox had asked when Sydney barged through his door, his secretary right behind the psychiatrist.

“I’ll phone you back,” he said before closing his cell phone and placing it on the desk.

“Sydney, ignoring protocol I see. Is there something I can help you with,” he asked, indicating to his secretary that she could leave. Sydney placed a DSA player in front of him, turning the case so that he had full view of the screen. The Chairman watched the scene play out between the boy and Raines. His gaze lifted from the case towards where the Sydney was waiting.

“Who is this,” he asked with indignation.

“I was hoping you could tell me. This boy was under Raines care. How could you not know about him,” Sydney asked, leaning over the desk and pointing at the screen.

“I’ve never seen him before and I sure as hell did not approve this,” he snarled, rising and meeting Sydney’s glare.

“If you didn’t then it means that Raines was doing this either under his own direction or under the Triumvirate’s. How many lives did you allow him to destroy? Catherine would…”

“Catherine is dead, Sydney,” Mr. Parker interrupted, “You might have been her psychiatrist and as such privy to information that she shared but she was my wife. This boy is now an adult.”

“An adult that has taken photos of your daughter,” Sydney said, throwing the photographs that Broots had received on the table between them. “And if this boy is still under Raines’ influence, I can only imagine what he plans for her.”

Mr. Parker grimaced, shuffling through the photos. His daughter was in Blue water, the same place that Raines had gone too, the same place that his current project is destined to take place. He knew that if Raines perceived her as a threat that he will make sure that she is removed.

“How do you know it’s the boy that took the photos,” he asked, knowing that he was trying to put off the inevitable. Sydney would never have come to him if he didn’t think his daughter might be in trouble.

“Angelo,” he answered, “We need to contact Miss Parker as soon as possible.”

Mr. Parker turned, staring out the window. He watched the psychiatrist in the reflection, debating his choices. His daughter was not listening to him. He needed her back at the Centre and as far away from Blue water as possible. Maybe, he reasoned, she would listen to Sydney. He turned back to his table and lifted his receiver, dialing an internal number.

“The lockdown is lifted,” he said before replacing the receiver on the cradle, “Sydney, get my daughter back to the Centre. Now, if you don’t mind,” he said as he took his seat behind his desk, “I have work to do.”

Sydney nodded and left. There wasn’t much time left.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shoreview apartments

Emily waited impatiently for the clock to sound the hour. She had been pacing up and down her apartment, trying to work out the conversation she would have with her mom in her head. It was almost an anticlimax when she was finally able to dial the number that would connect her to her parent.

“Mom, hi it’s me,” she said by way of greeting.

“No, I’m all right,” she answered her mother’s question. She wondered again if she was doing the right thing to tell her mom about Jarod.

“Emily, I can hear it in your voice. What’s wrong?”

Emily sighed and then calm settled. Jarod needed them. “Mom, I found Jarod,” she said, “and he’s in trouble.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The diner, blue water

Jessie finally noticed the waitress that had helped her and Jarod the last time she had been here. She greeted Maggie, asking about her family and how things were going at home. Finally done with the greeting she could ask the question she had been burning to, since she had entered the diner.

“Have you seen Jarod today?”

“No, honey. But if it is really urgent you can always try the police station. He’s a cop.”

She thanked Maggie, making her way out of the diner. She was determined to help her friend. Besides, she mused, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth; it’s not as if the guy who was in trouble was without appeal.

She made her way towards the police station, daydreaming about the dark and smoldering eyes of Emily’s brother. She was a block away when the object of her dreams made his way out of the station. She watched as he made his way down the stairs and entered a Lincoln town car. Taking note of the car’s registration number, she turned and made her way towards their apartment block. She had no idea why but she had this funny idea that Emily would want to know the information.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shoreview apartments

“I met him yesterday at a diner. He was scared, telling me that I had to leave,” she started, continuing to explain when and how the whole meeting had gone about.

“Did Jarod explain anything to you,” Margaret asked, already mentally making a list of things she needed to do to be with her daughter.

“No, I have no idea why but I think it has to do with the Centre,” she said, hoping her assumption was right.

“Have you seen any sweepers?”

Emily thought back to the scene in the diner. She had seen the two men who had followed her brother but they had not been dressed as typical Centre sweepers. She had only noticed them because of Jarod’s heightened fear and the fact that as soon as Jarod had made his way out the door, they had moved from their table and followed him out.

“I don’t think so. There were men following him but they didn’t look like sweepers,” she said.

Margaret looked at her watch. Her laptop finally allowed her access to a local airline. Clicking on the link that lead her to flight times she quickly calculated how long it would take her to get to Blue water. “Did anyone follow you?”

“No, I was careful,” Emily answered, looking up when she heard the key rattle in the front door. “Mom, hold on. Someone is here,” she said, making her way to stand behind the door. She was not expecting Jessie to be back so soon. Her one hand curled around an umbrella, holding it close to her body as the door swung open. She sighed in relief when the blond hair of Jessie walked past her.

“Jessie, what happened? Did you see Jarod,” she asked as her worry increased. She heard her mom calling over the phone but her attention was on her friend.

“Em, he’s fine, or I think he is. I spoke to one of the waitresses and she told me that he was a cop. So I went to the station and I saw him get into the back of a car. I took the registration number down for you,” she explained.

“What type of car was it,” Emily asked breathlessly, aware that her mom was listening in to their conversation.

“A black Lincoln, not my choice of car but …” she trailed of when she noticed the blood drained from Emily’s face. “Em, are you ok. Why don’t you sit down,” she said, moving towards where her friend stood. She helped Emily to sit on the couch and then went to the kitchen to pour some water in a glass. “Here, drink this,” she said gently.

“I…I’m fine,” Emily stated, still clutching the phone in one hand. She brought it to her ear, not wanting to believe that the Centre was again standing between them as a family.

“Mom,” she managed to croak, “did you hear?”

“Emily, I’m on my way,” Margaret said, closing the phone and selecting the booking link. Her family needed her and nothing will stand in her way. She wanted to hold her son and she will not allow the Centre to stand in her way again.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

“No answer,” Broots said, turning to Sydney, “Sam also isn’t answering his phone. What are we going to do?”

“Keep trying, Broots.”

Broots nodded, turning to his computer. He typed a few commands and then turned back to the older man.

“S…Sydney, uhm, you need to see this.”

Sydney moved towards the screen. “What is it?”

“Well, remember how there was no record of the conversations of Mr. Parker, Mr. Lyle and Mr. Raines. I sat up trace to pick up any of their numbers as soon as they made a phone call. See, that way we could pick up on anything they said. This was made to Mr. Parker’s phone a few minutes ago,” Broots explained, moving away so that Sydney could sit and read the transcript.

“The project is being escalated.”

“How did this happen. We had not planned for this.”

“I know.”

“Is there enough time for the pretender to be ready?”

“He’ll be ready.”

“Cox, how certain are you this will work. We had problems with Jarod before in doing similar simulations.”

“Don’t worry. Jarod will terminate the Triumvirate. After all, he wants to see his mother again.”

“Cox, you cannot make a mistake on this.”

“I know what is at stake, Mr. Parker. Do you?”

“I’ll phone you back.”


“They can’t be serious, can they Sydney,” Broots asked nervously, glancing around the tech room. “I mean, Jarod will never do that.”

“If Jarod believes the Centre has his mother he will do anything to make sure she is safe,” Sydney replied. He knew that they had to be careful. With a project of this scale they would be quietly disposed of it they were ever deemed a threat. Now was not the time for confrontation. He needed to speak to Miss Parker and until then, their hands where tied. He was sure that even if they were able to contact the Triumvirate confidentially that they would never get a chance to explain why.

“What are we going to do,” Broots asked, watching as Sydney moved towards the door.

“Find Miss Parker. Until then, pray.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baker’s club, Blue water

“What about Sam,” she asked, staring at the man who smiled down at her. She had been brought back to the study by Bugsy almost three hours after she had left her last departing remark.

“He will stay here as collateral. If you are successful, I will release him, otherwise…” Vince said smoothly, “but I guess you’re intelligent enough to figure out the rest.”

“Fine. How do I get to the house,” she asked, knowing that Vince had no intention of letting either her or Sam go.

“I’ll let my man take you. Less hassle that way.”

“How mighty kind of you. Remind me to give him a tip,” she replied sarcastically, “Do I get my gun back.”

“Why of course, Miss Parker. I wouldn’t dream of sending you into the enemy’s den without one. Bugsy will give it to you when you get to your destination.”

Miss Parker sighed inwardly. So much for that idea. Vince nodded to Bugsy and she knew she was being dismissed. Somewhere between her destination and her goal she needed to figure a way out for both her and Sam. She had no doubt that she will find a solution. Her life depended on it.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water

The car turned into the docks area, slowing down to make the turn into a small alleyway. Jarod, who was sitting between two men, watched as a door was opened when the car honked twice. They entered the gloom and came to a standstill a little further into the warehouse. Cox was waiting, a predatory smile on his face. The man on his left got out and grabbed him by the biceps, pulling him from the car. He allowed them to escort him towards the other man.

“There were no problems” Cox asked the man on his right. The same raspy voice he knew from earlier experiences answered a negative. Jarod did not like the gleam in Cox’s eye when he nodded. They followed him further into the warehouse where a table had been set up. It was a mock-up of the whole docks area.

“Jarod, we seem to have reached a dilemma,” Cox began, turning to look at the pretender, “the schedule has been moved to tomorrow.”

Jarod stared. He had run out of time. A shiver ran through his body and the hands around his biceps tightened in reflex. Cox continued, ignoring the look from his captive.

“I know that you usually need more time to prepare but unfortunately that luxury is being denied. You have fifteen hours to set up suitable scenarios that can be played out with maximum success in mind. Your friends will stay and make sure that you have all that you need.”

“What about my mother. If the project is…successful,” Jarod managed to say the word, wondering how he would ever justify the murder, even if they were part of the people that had formulated his whole life, “what will happen to her.”

“She will be kept comfortable, Jarod. As long as you obey and follow our commands.”

Jarod stared with hatred at the suave man that stood by the table. “What if I refuse to do the project until you let her go,” he asked, knowing the uselessness of the question.

“You’re smarter than that, Jarod. Why ask a question you all ready know the answer too.”

Jarod dropped his gaze. “Please, just let her go.”

“You have fourteen hours and fifty eight minutes, Jarod. I suggest you start working.”

Jarod heard the footsteps of the other man recede and the two men beside him pushed him towards the table. I have no choice, he thought as he eyed the almost perfectly scaled buildings through tears. I have no choice…


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

Cain tucked in Davey’s shirt, making sure that the boy was warm enough. Winter was quickly showing its colors and he didn’t want the boy to get sick or cold.

“Davey, do you remember what we talked about,” he asked as he took the jacket and helped the boy into it. Davey nodded, his thoughtful gaze on the man in front of him.

“Tell me,” Cain commanded.

“We have to be real quiet so that the bad man doesn’t hear us,” he said, concentrating on the exact words his friend had uttered earlier, “I have to do what you tell me, no matter what.”

Cain smiled, his eyes shining with life. His heart was thudding in his breast but not with fear. He was defying his mentor but for the first time in his life he felt free. His plans were set and once they were completely out of Raines’s grasp, he will set up a place for them to stay.

Pulling the boy into his arms, he made his way out of Davey’s room. He knew that the sweepers were with Mr. Raines in an office down the hall. He quietly closed the door before making his way towards the stairs. He could feel the boy’s heartbeat thudding against his chest and his breath stirring against his skin. He held on tighter as he descended towards the lower part of the house. They had made it, he thought, smiling as he stepped towards the cupboard door that lead to one of the tunnels he had built long ago. What he had not expected was a long legged brunette to step from behind a door and point a gun at him.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

“Sydney, I’ve finished the last piece of the recording. I’m still trying to contact Miss Parker but she’s not answering her phone. I have it on auto dial, so it will just keep ringing until she answers.”

Sydney thanked the tech. He pushed the files he had been reading out of the way, and taking the DSA, he inserted it into its slot. He watched as a black and white Jarod entered the sim lab. He was being escorted by two sweepers. He recognized them as Raines’ personal guard he had fifteen years ago.

“Jarod, I have a project I need you to do,” Raines said before dragging on a cigarette.

Jarod’s voice came clear over the speakers. The deeper voice of near adulthood.

“What can I do to help, Mr. Raines?”

Raines indicated to the sweepers and the turned and left. Raines stepped closer, taking the pretender by the arm. Jarod frowned but allowed the doctor to lead him further into the room.

“There is someone I want you to meet.”

A door at the far end opened. The same boy from the previous DSA stepped through. He was much younger than Jarod but his eyes made him seem so much older.

“Who is this,” Jarod questioned, looking with wonder at the other boy.

“That is not relevant to the project,” Raines replied warningly.

“Why not? How am I supposed to interact if I don’t know his name,” Jarod replied stubbornly. The other boy was watching the interaction with interest. Raines backhanded the pretender before pulling him closer, digging his fingers into Jarod’s arm.

“You will obey and not question, Jarod. Am I clear?” Jarod nodded, his glare full of anger before it shifted back to the boy. He was lead towards a table where folders was already set out. He glanced at Raines before taking his seat. He was fascinated by the boy that sat across from him.

“The project we need information on will need a combination of both your skills. What I want from you Jarod is to simulate solutions and then using the boy to determine the practical application for it.”

Jarod nodded, his attention still focused on the brown eyes in front of him. He opened the folder, to indicate to Raines that he was starting his research. He waited long enough for the door to close behind him before he leaned closer.

“What’s your name,” he whispered softly, “Mine’s Jarod.”

“I don’t have a name,” the boy whispered back. “We have to work or Mr. Raines will be upset.”

Jarod could see the fear that the other boy was suppressing. He knew that fear for it was his own. He read a page, not really concentrating on the words or the meaning.

“How come you don’t have a name? Everyone has a name,” he said softly, careful to keep his eyes on the page.

“Mr. Raines says I don’t need one. He says that a name gives identity and I don’t have one.”

Jarod turned a page, mulling over what the other had said. “What do you want me to call you,” he asks, his gaze now on the equally dark eyes across him. The boy was smiling before it turned to fear and then went blank. Jarod didn’t need to turn to know that Raines was standing behind him.

“Jarod, I was under the impression that I gave you clear directions. Maybe we should visit the box again.”

Jarod’s own eyes reflected fear. “No, please Mr. Raines. I’ll behave. I promise.”

Silence followed his pleading. Jarod waited with bated breath. “Finish the simulation.” Jarod’s shoulders visible relaxed.

The DSA ended abruptly. Because of the Raptus files, he understood Jarod’s fear. Sydney thought back, trying to remember a time when Jarod had mentioned working with another boy. It eluded him and he assumed that Raines had also erased that part of Jarod’s memory. He could only hope that the boy had survived Raines as a mentor because everyone else he knew about had died.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

"Let him go."

Cain ignored the directive, pulling the boy closer to his chest. His mind was running scenarios, hoping to find a solution. He wondered if she could kill him. He looked at her determined gaze and came to the conclusion that she would have no compunction in pulling the trigger if he gave her no choice.

"I said, Let. Him. Go." She emphasized her command by lifting her gun and aiming at his forehead. He shook his head, holding tighter to the boy. A door swung open to her left and fear for the boy settled in his stomach. It had been so long since he had feared anything that it took a moment for him to settle and not run in panic. His mind tried to process his thoughts as he watched his mentor enter with a mouth that was suddenly without moisture. Raines’ eyes slid menacingly from him and the boy towards the brunette.

"Miss Parker….what…are you….doing here?"

"I should have known you were the one behind this, Raines. It has your dirty little paw prints all over it."

She stepped sideways so that she could keep an eye on Davey and Raines. Willie and another sweeper had entered with Raines their guns pointed at her and the kidnapper. She frowned, wondering what the hell was going on.

"Well, this is what I would call a Centre standoff. What are you going to do Raines? Shoot me?"

Raines smiled and stepped to the side. "You made…your…bed when….you failed…to follow….your father’s directive."

He nodded, and then chaos reigned.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police station, Blue water

“Sir, are you all right,” the officer asked Murray as he helped him from the cupboard. Murray grunted, looking towards the desk.

“Where is Agent Kennett,” he asked urgently, grabbing the arm of the officer who had helped him.

“H…he left.”

“When?”

“Uh, I’m not sure. I guess around three or four hours ago.”

Murray’s gaze was drawn to the photo of the boy and then to the mystery photo’s. He remembered the despair and hopelessness he had seen in Jarod’s eyes. He had seen that look only once before and it had turned out very nasty and not in favor of the guy. Jarod was being coerced into doing something that he would by choice never do.

“Bring my all the tapes that cover the front view of the station from between the estimated time that Agent Kennett booked out. Phone Bobby and tell him that I want to see him urgently. Then bring me aspirin and a cup of coffee.”

All he could hope was that they had time.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

Cain rolled his body around Davey’s, protecting him as much as he could. He breathed the coppery tang of blood. It slowly started its overflow and he could feel it drip from the corner of his mouth down his chin. Davey looked at him with big, teary eyes. The boy understood the seriousness of his wound and Cain whispered "It's okay." Davey face faded in and out. He could barely see the tears that now flowed silently down the boy's face. It took a lot of effort to lift his hand but he managed it, wiping away the wetness. He had kept his promise. He had kept Davey safe.

He whispered one more time, "Its okay." Then he faded away.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you’re nice and leave reviews, I’ll upload the next chap the end of the week ;-).
Chapter 12 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Wow, Thank you so much for the reviews. Definitly worth a quick update. ;-)


Chapter 12


Mythos House, Michigan

Miss Parker stood slowly, her arm hanging uselessly next to her side. She could feel the blood starting to drip down her arm from the wound in her shoulder. Somehow in the chaos of the fire fight she had been hit by a stray bullet, her own having found Willie where he had been hiding behind an overturned table. The sweeper groaned and moved slightly. She stepped towards the table and took the gun that lay next to an unresponsive hand. She checked the chamber and satisfied that there were enough bullets, she dropped it in her coat pocket. The other sweeper was crumbled in the middle of the floor, his staring eyes indicating that he will never hold another weapon again. She ignored Raines for the moment while she made her way over to where the boy was holding on to the man that had held him. From the relaxed way he laid she knew that he could only dead. The boy was pleading in a broken voice, shaking the body before laying his head on the man’s chest. A low moan of sorrow tore from somewhere deep inside Davey. She felt if her soul was being torn away. The image of her mother’s body in the elevator was so strong that tears were forming in her eyes. Remembering where she was, she drew on her inner strength, steeling her emotions till she was the ice queen once again. She knelt, careful to keep her wounded shoulder away from him.

“Davey, honey, look at me,” she coaxed, taking him by gently by his shoulder.

“No,” Davey cried, twisting out of her grip and increasing his own grip on Cain’s bloody shirt. “He promised.”

Aware of how powerless she felt, she tried to figure out a way in helping the boy. She awkwardly rubbed his back, wondering what Jarod would have done in the same situation. Practicality won out. She needed to stop her own bleeding and she hoped that in giving the boy something to do that it would help to avert his focus from the dead man.

“Davey, I need you to help me,” she said, rubbing Davey’s hair until he nodded against the dark material of Cain’s shirt, “I’ve been hurt and I need to stop the bleeding. Do you think you can find me a towel?”

Davey’s grieved eyes slid from Cain’s body towards her shoulder where the blood had already started to seep through her shirt. His small hands were already reddened from Cain’s blood as they slowly unwound around the shirt he had been clutching. He seemed to draw strength from somewhere.

“Ok,” he muttered brokenly

He sniffled, wiping his nose. He lay his head back down on Cain’s breast and for one brief moment Miss Parker wondered if the boy had understood her. She waited for a few moments, not wanting to intrude but aware of time constraints and her own problems. She was about to intervene when the boy abruptly rose and left without another word.

Miss Parker held her arm next to her as she stepped closer to Raines. The man was lying on his side, groping for the oxygen tank that had somehow managed to elude his grasp. She could hear the wheezing gasps as he tried to draw in oxygen. She lined her gun towards his face, her own impassive.

“You…don’t…want to…do…that…Miss Parker,” Raines managed to utter through lips that was slowly turning blue.

“Why not,” she asked, her gun hand steady, “You had never brought life in this world, only death.”

“I know….where Jarod…is,” he gasped, his beady black eyes boring into hers. She frowned, wondering what Raines meant. It wasn’t as if she had no idea. Jarod was safe, or as safe as he could be, searching for Davey with Lyle in town.

“So do I,” she replied, starting to tighten her finger.

“You…don’t understand…We…have Jarod…”

Miss Parker raised an eyebrow. Seeing the state that Raines was in, prompted her to help the ailing man re-attach his oxygen. She had no pity at all for the ghoul, the only reason she had done it was to get more information out of him. She waited till he had drawn in a few lungful of breaths before she cocked her gun.

“Explain,” she demanded, ignoring the ache that was now pounding with regular intervals from her torn shoulder muscle.

“Let me…live…and I’ll…tell you…where Jarod…can be found,” Raines said, his gaze never leaving hers.

“What makes you so sure I won’t find him on my own, Raines? After all, if my father knew about your extra curricular activities, I’m sure he will gladly sign for your re-education,” She took a step closer, her eyes and gun never leaving Raines, “That is the correct term, isn’t it.”

“Your father….knows…about this project,” Raines drew in a deep wheezing breath, “You…really have…no idea…what you…are dealing with…”

“Why don’t you enlighten me?”

Raines smiled evilly, pushing himself into a seated position. “When we…succeed, the …Centre…will be…ours.”

Miss Parker raised an eyebrow. Her next question was interrupted when the boy returned with a towel held proudly in his hand. He had stopped in the doorway, his eyes filled with fear when they looked at Raines huddled by her feet. She moved away from the former doctor, drawing Davey’s grief stricken gaze towards her. She took the towel from and pressed it against her wound, closing her eyes briefly as the pain flared against the pressure.

“Does it hurt?”

She opened her eyes, glancing quickly towards where Raines was huddled against the wall. He was watching their interaction with interest. Placing herself between Davey and Raines, but in such a way that she could still see the man, she smiled painfully. “Yes, it does.”

Davey nodded, before wiping a silent tear that was making a renewed attempt to run down his cheek.

“Do you think he…,” Davey swallowed before trailing of. His hand wiped again at his eyes as he stood silent in front of her. She didn’t want to answer him. It wasn’t good to dwell on such things. She knew. Her own experience with her mother had taught her that. To wonder what pain she had felt when the bullet had struck her.

“Davey, I need you to do something else for me, ok,” she said, kneeling for the benefit of the boy. He nodded, his glance once again straying to where the body of the man who had held him lay. She gently took his chin in her hand, bringing his gaze back to her.

“I need you to go wait in your room for me. When I’m finished here,” she said, glancing at Raines meaningfully, “I’ll come get you.”

“What about Cain,” he whispered brokenly.

Miss Parker closed her eyes briefly. The boy’s tears reminded her too much of the time when she had come across her own mother’s body in the elevator.

“I promise we’ll come back for him later when it’s safe,” she whispered. Davey agreed, his gaze serious, far too serious for someone his age. “Go now, I’ll be there soon,” she assured him.

“He was my friend,” Davey whispered tearfully, before turning and walking out the room. Miss Parker nodded, trying to understand how the boy’s kidnapper could have influenced the boy so deeply. But then again, when she though about how convoluted Jarod and Sydney’s relationship was, she could bring herself to understand his words. She turned back to where Raines still sat, his color slowly returning back to his normal pasty shade.

“We are not finished. I want to know what you and my father have planned and I want to know now,” she growled, her voice low and menacing.

“You….need to…speak to him…I…cannot…say anything…further without… jeopardizing …all…our… lives.”

Miss Parker gave a short bark of laughter. Her finger tightened on the trigger as she aligned the gun on his foot.

“You had never cared about anyone else’s life but your own, Raines. This concern over my welfare or anyone else’s for that matter means nothing.”

“Wait…Phone your…father before…you do… anything you….might regret…later,” Raines stated, shifting his foot out of her gun sights.

Miss Parker knew that she would get nothing further out of the ghoul. His eyes widened when she pushed her gun against his forehead. He said nothing as she leaned in and smiled before riffling through his pockets until she found a cell phone. Ignoring the look of hatred he threw her way, she dialed her father’s number, making sure in the process that she kept an eye on him.

“Daddy, it’s me,” she said by way of greeting.

“Angel, where are you,” came her father’s almost frantic question.

“What is going on? What have you done with Jarod?”

Her father’s voice came more cautiously. “Where are you?”

She replied tiredly, the pain now edged into her voice, “I know about the boy. I have Raines begging me not to kill him and telling me that you have Jarod. What is going on?”

“You need to come home, Angel. You cannot get involved in this project. It is too dangerous.”

“I have a right to know. If it is about my objective in bringing Jarod back, I need to know, Daddy.”

“I’m sorry Angel but if you don’t return home I cannot protect you.”

Her father hung up, leaving her confused and angry. She adjusted the towel against her wound, grimacing as her shoulder protested. She was on some level aware of the bright red stain that was spreading on the white threads of the material, her mind reeling with the implications of what her father and Raines could have planned. She heard Willie groan again, reminding her that time was not on her side. Bugsy was waiting outside and she still needed to find a way of eluding him. She rifled through the dead sweeper’s pockets until she found what she was looking for. Grabbing the handcuffs, she made her way towards Willie before lifting her gun and pointing it at Raines.

“Move towards Willie,” she said, making sure Raines understood that her threat was serious. The older man nodded. He rose shakily, before making his way over to where Willie was still unconscious. She threw him the handcuffs and he closed the bracelet around his arm before encircling the other cuff around the sweeper’s foot. Satisfied that Raines won’t escape easily she turned, leaving him in the room of death as she made her way upstairs towards where the living quarters are situated. She found Davey on his bed, his face pressed into the pillow. He was crying; his sobs muffled.

“Davey,” she questioned, knowing that they had to leave and soon. He sat up, wiping his eyes. “It’s time to go.” She held out her hand and Davey rose, making his way over to her. He took her proffered hand, holding on tightly. Miss Parker wanted to ignore feelings of protection that were welling up inside her, but she couldn’t. It was as if she could feel her mother’s emotions and with sudden clarity she understood why her mother had risked all to save the Centre children. And she was very prepared to do the same for Davey.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police station, Blue water

Murray stared at the screen, showing Jarod climbing into a black Lincoln. Another man climbed in after the agent, closing the door on the cameras. The car pulled away from the curb, exposing the number plate. He stopped the video and wrote the number down. Giving the piece of paper to his assistant, he asked him to run the number against the DMV.

Wiping his head, he stared at the screen and hoped that Jarod wasn’t fish food all ready.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water

“No, dad. I’ll sort it out.”

Lyle turned to Vince. “In case you haven’t heard, my sister was successful. I expect you to follow through on your end of the bargain.”

Vince smiled, “Of course. When can I expect my payment?”

Lyle returned the smile, “When my sister has been taken care of.”

“Very well, Mr. Lyle, but if you cross me you will miss more than your thumb.”

Lyle agreed. He had no intention of honoring his part in the deal. It was time for him to end his relationship with Vince on a more permanent basis. The anticipation of the coming kill was almost overpowering. Almost.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

Miss Parker made her way cautiously towards the back door. Her gun was back in her hand, Davey behind her. Lifting the curtain, she eyed the backyard. It seemed quiet but she wasn’t convinced. Letting the curtain drop, she turned to Davey and whispered to him to stay in the corner. The boy nodded, huddling down and she turned back towards the door. She opened it slowly, eyeing the porch before stepping outside. She heard the boom of the gun and felt the wind as the bullet rushed past her face and smacked into the wood next to where she stood. Splinters from the impact ricochet away, one cutting a neat line just above her eyebrow. Ignoring the blood flowing from the gash, she dove towards her right, slamming the door close behind her in the process. Taking refuge behind a pile of chopped firewood, she waited.

“You have nowhere to go!”

Bugsy’s voice sounded somewhere in front of her. Sliding her head an inch outside her protection, she glanced quickly in that direction. Her eyes were met by brush and trees, shadows playing amongst the greenery, making any identification more difficult.

“Why don’t you give up? Make it easier on yourself.”

His voice had moved slightly towards the left. He was trying to flank her, to force her into the open where he could get a better shot. Miss Parker smiled. She loved it when her enemies underestimated her. She slowly stretched herself out on the ground, her pistol lining up on an angle she knew he had to move in if he wanted to get at her.

A shadow moved against the darker void within the greenery. It was enough. Miss Parker felt the gun buck against her hand when she pulled the trigger. She watched the shadow fall, crashing against the underbrush. She rose and sprinted forward, her gun leading the way. It was unnecessary. Vince’s henchman was lying in his back. His hand still held the gun, but his fingers were loose and without any strength. She could see where her bullet had entered his torso. His eyes drifted towards her.

“Next time, talk less.”

He closed his eyes in acceptance and she left him, knowing that there was nothing more she could do. She had her own problems to sort out and the first one was how to make sure Davey was safe and away from Raines’ clutches. Then she needed to find the truth regarding what her father and Raines had cooked up for Jarod.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water Airport

Emily watched as the small Cessna landed and rolled to a stop close by the building. A few minutes later the door opened and she watched her mother exit the plane. She waited patiently until her mother came through the doors. They hugged and Emily relaxed as she felt her parent’s arms around her.

“I missed you,” Emily whispered, before pulling away. Margaret smiled, turning to Jessie, “And you must be the wonderful artist my daughter had been staying with.” Jessie blushed as Margaret embraced her. The woman made their way in silence towards the car park. Jessie was driving, leaving mother and daughter free to converse as they made their way into town.

“We have to find Jarod,” Margaret said, “before the Centre has a chance to move him.”

“How do we know he is still here,” Emily sighed, pushing her face into her hands, “I’m sorry, mom. It’s just…”

“Emily, I understand but we can’t allow our fears to push us down a path with no hope. We have to believe that he is still here. What we need to do now is to find the Centre’s safe house.”

“How do we do that without putting Jarod’s life in danger?

“I know a few people that I can phone. We have to move fast to catch the Centre unawares.” Margaret turned to the front, watching as they drove past the docks. She thought back to the last time she had seen him, three years ago. Then she and Emily had to leave him behind. She would not let it happen again.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

She was seated in the car they had taken to the house. After she had cleaned the blood from her gash, she and Davey had made their way towards where Bugsy had parked the car. Davey was now seated next to her, his seatbelt secure around his small body. Her mind was in turmoil as she turned the ignition, starting the car. She had never really thought about what she would do when she found the boy. She had no idea where to take him or who to give him to. She was pulled from her reverie by the vibration of the phone she had taken from Raines. She thought it would be her father, phoning to apologize and to beg her to come back to him.

It wasn’t.

It was Sydney.

“Miss Parker, we’ve been trying to find you. Your father gave me this number…”

She laughed, aware of how close to hysteria it sounded.

“Miss Parker, is everything all right?” Sydney asked with concern, his voice soft and father-like. So unlike her own father.

“Just peachy. What do you want,” she asked.

Sydney’s voice dropped. He whispered urgently, “It’s about Jarod, Parker.”

“Isn’t it always,” she replied sarcastically.

“No, you don’t understand,” Sydney’s voice dropped further, she could barely hear him over the phone. “Cox, your father, Lyle and Raines is planning on using Jarod to get rid of the Triumvirate.”

Miss Parker couldn’t believe her ears. So that is the reason her father had been so scared, the reason that Raines had not said one word, for she can only imagine what the Triumvirate would do if they found any trace of the planned rebellion.

“Sydney, where are you calling from?”

“Broots gave me a safe phone. This line is encrypted,” Sydney answered.

At least she could be thankful for small things. “Jarod will never help the Centre, not even to get rid of the Triumvirate. How precisely do they think will they get rat boy to cooperate.” She glanced at Davey but he had drifted to sleep, his head leaning against the window.

“From what we could piece together from the project directive was that they would use the fear that Jarod had for the Centre’s involvement in his family to convince him that they had his mother.”

“They’re insane. Do they have any idea what Jarod would do to them if he found out the truth?”

“I think that Cox is convinced that Jarod would never find out. We found something else that might shed some further light on why Cox thought so,” Sydney went on, “To make a long story short, Raines had been playing with Jarod’s mind. He had tried to develop a method to control him subconsciously. Jarod’s nightmares are the result.”

“Why am I not surprised. That sack of skin Raines had always tried to control wonder boy,” she grimaced, waiting for the pain in her shoulder to subside.

“Miss Parker, are you sure you are all right?”

She could hear the concern in his voice, wondering why he couldn’t have been her father. “I’m just tired, Sydney.”

Sydney answered her and she could hear from his tone of voice that he didn’t believe her. She ignored his question, instead asked him if Broots was there. She smiled when the tech’s tentative voice sounded over the line.

“Broots, I want you to do a search for me in the Blue water area for any recent purchases of property by the Center. When you have an answer call me on this number.”

She terminated the call, leaning her head against the backrest of her seat. An idea was slowly starting to take form. She could only hope that it was good enough to get both her and Jarod out alive.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I get reviews, you get the rest. ;-)
Chapter 13 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Thank you so much for the reviews. Sorry about the wait, but I started a new job and my time is sadly not my own anymore. I’ll upload as quickly as I can. :-)

Chapter 13

The Centre

“Broots, I want you to book me a seat on the next available flight to Denver.”

“I’m sorry Sydney, but you are not going anywhere.”

Sydney turned to see Mr. Parker and two sweepers enter the tech room. He had not expected the chairman, especially seeing that he had given him a phone number to contact Miss Parker by.

“Miss Parker wants us to join her at Blue water.” The lie came easy.

“She is on her own.”

Sydney stared incredulously at the chairman. The words had been said calmly and without any emotion.

“She is your only daughter.”

“And there you have the crux of it, Sydney. She is my daughter and my responsibility.”

Mr. Parker left, leaving the two sweepers taking up posts by the door.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue water

Miss Parker spent most of the drive considering her options. She needed to rescue Sam from Vince. He could then look after Davey while she tried to figure out where Jarod was being kept. What she didn’t know was what to do with the Pretender once she had taken him out of the Centre’s clutches. It was confusing, to say the least. Her whole life for the past three years had been based around bringing him back to the Centre and now that they had him, she was planning on rescuing him. Grimacing, she glanced at the boy. So many things had changed with Davey.

“Let him be a boy…”

Angelo’s words echoed in her head. She remembered his fingers slowing on the keys of the piano, the song that he played broken as the neural pathways in his brain shut down. She wondered briefly what choice she would have made had Gar and the sweepers not have made their entrance. Would she still have taken Jarod back?

Her thoughts were interrupted when Davey’s eyes slowly opened and he asked, “Where am I?”

She smiled, glancing his way. “You’re safe.”

Davey gave her a sad smile before turning his attention to their surrounding area. He turned back to her after a period of silence. His voice was soft and tentative as he said, “I’m thirsty.”

“Then we should do something about it,” Miss Parker answered, “what would you like?”

“Can I get a happy meal?”

“I thought you were thirsty?” Miss Parker asked, smiling when she saw the golden arches down the road they were traveling. Davey’s face fell and he seemed to shrink into his seat. He apologized softly, not making eye contact. Miss Parker sighed inwardly. She had to remind herself that the boy had been in the Centre’s hands for the past few weeks. She turned into the drive thru. She was aware of Davey’s small smile when she ordered a happy meal for him. When she drove towards the pay point, he frowned.

“Are you not hungry?”

“Not right now. I’ll get something to eat later.”

“Oh. Cain didn’t know about smiley breakfasts. Do you know what a smiley breakfast is?”

Miss Parker nodded. She kept silent as thoughts of her mother making breakfast intruded. She paid the attendant, before giving the package to the boy.

“Are you sad?”

She had not expected the question. It was her time to smile sorrowfully. She slowly pulled away before she answered, “A little.”

Davey took a bite out of his burger. Through a full mouth, he questioned. “Why?”

Miss Parker stared at the road, not really seeing the gray highway stretched out before her. Her actions were automatic as she steered around a bend. “My mother died when I was a little older than you,” she admitted softly. Davey’s eyes filmed with unshed tears and he put the rest of the burger on his lap. His gaze turned to her as he whispered, “Cain said that my parents are dead too. Now he is…,” he choked before wiping his eyes quickly. She didn’t reply, having nothing to say that will make him feel any better.

They drove in silence while Davey finished his meal and she contemplated the future. Davey broke the silence again and this time he said it softly and with so much loneliness that it tuck at her heart.

“Who is going to take care of me now?”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Centre

"What do we do now, Sydney?” Broots asked, glancing at the two imposing figures guarding the door.

“Can you do that search from a station here?”

“Yes, but what do we do once we have it.”

“Do what Miss Parker told us. Tell her.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baker’s club, Blue water

She parked a short distance from the club, making sure that the area was fairly safe and secure. She has no choice but to leave Davey in the car. He watched with big eyes as she checked her clip and the second gun she had taken from Willie.

“Please don’t leave me.”

Miss Parker turned to Davey. When she saw his gaze directed at her, she reached out and loosened the safety belt.

“Please.”

She didn’t know what to say. She closed her eyes and leaned back in her seat. Like so many things in the past few hours, she was on virgin ground. Her interaction with children started and ended with Debbie. She had to save Sam and she couldn’t do that worrying about Davey behind her. Her mother intruded briefly in her thoughts.

Her voice is inside you.

The card that Jarod had left her at her mother’s grave seemed to give her strength. She smiled and turned, gently taking one of Davey’s hands and enfolding it in her own.

“I’m not leaving you, Davey. I need to help a friend and it’s safer for you to stay here then go with me.”

“But you might forget about me.”

Squeezing his hand, she leaned closer. “I won’t, I promise.”

“Cross your heart?”

She promised solemnly. The boy nodded seriously, holding her gaze. Telling him to stay in the car and not to open the doors for anyone but her, she left, knowing that she could keep Davey’s promise. No matter what.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The docks, Blue water

Jarod rubbed both temples, the heels of his hands covering his eyes. His voice cracked slightly as he continued to dictate to one of the men guarding him. His headache had gotten progressively worse as the time ticked down. His eyes were bloodshot and burned from lack of sleep. The shivers that up until three hours ago had been intermittent were now a constant. So much so, that he couldn’t hold a pen steady anymore. He had given the writing materials to one of the men in disgust, which now ended up with him dictating while the other wrote his words down. He heard a door open and footsteps coming towards the back of the room where the setup was. He didn’t look up; instead he increased the pressure of his hands on his eyes. An involuntary gasp left him when a sharp stab of pain hit him behind his eyes. He hunched down on the chair while his nausea increased dramatically. He was dimly aware of Cox’s voice but he couldn’t register what the other man was saying. Instead he slid from the chair onto the concrete floor where he curled in a tight ball of misery. Flashes of memory he had no idea he had experienced looped through his mind’s eye. Parts of them were vaguely familiar and he knew that he had seen them in his nightmares before. The rest were images that he had no recollection of ever experiencing.

“If you ever tell Sydney about our sessions, he will die and it will be your fault.”

“Do the sim Jarod…”

“You are responsible for failing to find him in time…”

“You will never be free. The Centre owns you, Jarod. We are your parents..”

He was aware of something cold coming in contact with the bend in his arm. A moment later a needle slid into his vein. After a few minutes the pain subsided slightly. Still curled in a tight ball, he could feel thick fingers on his wrist. Cox’s voice invaded his conscience and he shook his head, not wanting any more memories added to the ones still racing through his mind. His head was turned and an eyelid lifted as a light invaded his pupil. He tried to jerk his head away from the invasion but all he managed was a weak movement.

“Jarod?”

“Dammit, his going into shock. We need to move him to the bed.”

The voice sounded miles away. It came through watery and heavy and he ignored it as his reality shifted. In his mind he was seventeen again.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baker’s club, Blue water

She crossed the street quickly before making her way down the side of the building. She surveyed the area around the back door. Satisfied that no-one was keeping watch, she made her way towards the door. Keeping low, she passed the window next to it before slowly testing the latch. To her surprise it opened and not questioning she stepped into the darkness.

She closed the door quietly while giving her pounding heart time to slow down. Sliding down the wall towards the study door, her ears were straining for any sound that might indicate that she had been found. She stopped just short of the door when she heard the familiar phut of a silencer. Keeping her gun ready, she watched the door open. The figure of a man was just emerging from behind it when she slammed into him. Taken by surprise, she held her arm across his throat while her gun pushed into his ribs. The whole scene had not taken more than two seconds and it was only by the fifth that the surprised face in front of her registered.

Lyle.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shoreview apartments, Blue water

“Thank you, Jason. You have no idea what this means to me.”

“Mom?”

Margaret turned to her daughter and smiled. “I know where they are keeping Jarod.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baker’s club, Blue water

Closing the door behind her, Miss Parker watched as Lyle calmly finished unscrewing his silencer and putting it in his pocket. She took in the slack figure of Vince where he lay sprawled over his desk.

“Been busy?”

“I’ve been looking for you,” Lyle said calmly, meeting her eyes with his own. Her own gun was still out and still aimed in his general direction. Ignoring her gun, he took his phone from his pocket.

“Why?”

“Well, let see, Parker. You disappear from your hotel room without leaving any messages, you ignore dad’s phone calls and I finally hear that you had been kicking around in the least savory parts of this quaint little town. As your brother I was worried, Sis.”

“Tell me something I’ll believe, Lyle.”

“Dad is worried about you, Parker. And he should be by the looks of your arm. What happened?”

“I had a run in with a large rat.”

Lyle narrowed his eyes. “Funny, Parker. Tell me, is Dad right?”

“About what?”

“That you have developed feelings for wonder boy?”

She was quiet, meeting his bored expression with one of her own. This was the game they had always played and she knew it well.

“My duty is to bring him back, Lyle. That’s not the best foundation for any relationship.”

“True, but you were friends once.”

“And what exactly did you do to your best friend?”

“Touché.” Lyle grinned at her. Turning, he threw a piece of log on the dying fire. Watching the sparks fly, he casually asked, “What are you planning on doing with the boy, Parker?”

“What boy?”

Lyle turned and faced her. “The one you…ah…appropriated from the Centre safe-house a few hours ago?”

They stared each other down. Miss Parker was deeply aware of how her actions could be perceived but at this stage of the game she didn’t give a damn. She still had her gun in her hand and knew that Lyle wouldn’t try anything until he was sure of what the outcome will be.

“That boy is Centre property, Sis.”

“And now he is missing. That is a shame but I’m sure that Raines will get over it, after all, he does have a tendency to underestimate his projects.”

Placing his hands in his pockets, he again turned away from her. He could hear her shift behind him, but he kept his stance casual. He softened his tone when he said, “Do you realize this puts you in more danger with the Centre?”

“Worried about your own skin, Lyle?”

He turned, his blue eyes smoldering. “That is uncalled for, Parker. The only one in danger is you and all dad and I want is for you to be safe.”

“That’s funny, Lyle. Since when?”

Lyle took a step closer, his tone angry. Only when she lifted the gun did he stop. “You have no idea what you are dealing with.”

“You know, that is the second time I had heard that phrase in twenty-four hours. Care to elaborate?”

Lyle stayed silent, staring with open aggression at her. Miss Parker was only to well aware of what her brother was capable off and she tightened her grip on her gun. Lyle didn’t ignore it either, and he relaxed his muscles openly.

“If only you had followed orders like you were suppose to, Parker.”

“Yeah well, sorry to disappoint you Lyle but I had never been very good at doing that. Now turn around.”

“No.”

“You don’t want me angry, Lyle. The best thing for you now is to follow the commands from the person holding the gun.”

Lyle slowly turned. He heard her move behind him and he warned, “You don’t want to do this, Sis.”

With a soft sigh he folded down to the floor.

“You have no idea what I want,” she growled, looking down at the unconscious form of her brother. “No idea at all.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The docks, Blue water

He followed Angelo through the vents. They were taking a circuitous route through the sublevel while trying to circumvent the security that had been set up. They finally reached their destination and Jarod smiled at Angelo, thanking him. He looked through the holes in the cover into a small room. Bedding was shifted against one wall. On it sat Jarod’s goal. The mystery boy he had been working a few times with every time Sydney went away. He knocked softly and watched the boy look up.

“What are you doing here?”

Jarod heard the fear in the whisper but in his excitement of finding the boy, he ignored it.

“I was looking for you.”

The boy glanced towards the one corner before slowly rising. Jarod tried to see if someone else was in the room but with the angle the vent was situated he couldn’t see. He questioned with a look and the boy shook his head. Jarod relaxed slightly. The boy moved closer and then whispered, “Why?”

For a moment Jarod had to recall his previous words. Smiling at the confused dark eyes before him, he said, “Why not?”

“That’s not logical.”

Jarod grinned. He had heard that phrase from Miss Parker more than once and he remember his frustration those words had brought up the first few times until he learned that not every action need to be answered logically.

“It’s ok. I just wanted to see you without Mr. Raines present.”

The boy glanced fearfully at the door before returning his attention back to Jarod. “Why?”

Jarod sighed. This was going to be a long conversation. “Do you have a camera in your room?”

“Yes.”

“There’s a cable in the back. Tuck it out and the red light should go out. That means they will not be able to see.”

“Why?”

Patience. Jarod closed his eyes briefly before whispering, “So that I can come into your room. I don’t want to talk through the grate.”

The boy contemplated Jarod’s words before moving out of Jarod’s view. A few moments later he came back in view and indicated that he had done as Jarod asked. Jarod glanced at Angelo before pushing the grate into the room. Smiling, he jumped down.

“That’s Angelo. His also stays here at the Centre.”

Dark eyes moved towards Angelo. “He looks funny.”

Jarod frowned. “What do you mean?”

The boy shrugged. Jarod was about to question again when Angelo motioned for him. “Have to go. Now.”

Jarod was halfway in the vent when the door creaked open. His heart thudded in his chest as he tried to scramble the rest of the way in. Before he could get a foothold, an arm wrapped around him and pulled him out. His panic increased in the grip of the sweeper when he saw the second person who entered the room.

“Mr…Raines.”

“Jarod, what are you doing here?”

Jarod swallowed. He could only stare at the menacing man in front of him. The boy stood against the far wall, his frightened gaze staring straight at the doctor.

“I…I…uh…”

Raines took a drag of his cigarette and stepped closer to the stammering teenager. Jarod watched the tip glow red, aware of the bruising grip of the sweeper behind him. He knew what was coming next and wasn’t disappointed when Raines pushed the burning end onto his skin. He bit his lip, feeling the blood well up in his mouth when the pain receptors in his arm flared white hot. Raines took the cooling stump away, again dragging on it. His pitiless gaze never let him and Jarod felt his courage shrink.

“Answer me.”

Jarod kept stubbornly quiet. He watched the man pull the tip red again and closed his eyes, waiting for the pain. When it didn’t come, he looked up in surprise to see Raines push the end onto the sensitive inner flesh of the other boy’s hand where the thumb and first finger intersected. The boy let out a whimper of pain. Unable to escape the hold the sweeper had on him, Jarod screamed at Raines.

“Stop it! He didn’t do anything wrong!”

“But you did Jarod. Now answer my question.”

Slumping his shoulders, Jarod admitted defeat. He hung his head, and muttered, “I just wanted to see him.”

Raines stepped closer and his hand lifted Jarod’s head. His gaze now curious, he glanced from the still whimpering boy to Jarod. “Why?”

“I wanted to know who he is.”

Raines nodded to himself. He indicated the sweeper to let Jarod go and then to leave them. Jarod was confused and suspicious. Raines was never known for having a forgiving personality and he didn’t know how to handle the current situation. When Raines told him to move to the other boy, he obeyed without question.

“Who do you think he is, Jarod?”

Jarod had taken the hand, to take a look at the weeping wound. The question caught him unawares. He didn’t know what to say.

“Jarod?”

Aware of the note of impatience that had crept into Raines’ voice, he answered as best as he could.

“He is special, like me. But his skills are different and compliment mine.”

“Good Jarod. But you didn’t answer my question.”

Angry, Jarod turned from looking at the wound, to face Raines. “How am I supposed to know who he is beside what you had told me? He doesn’t even have a name.”

Raines glared at the younger man until Jarod shifted his eyes back to the boy next to him. Suddenly defiant, he placed an arm around the boy’s shoulders, daring Raines to say something. Raines only grinned evilly.

“Do you want that information, Jarod?”

A pit settled in the centre of his stomach. He wasn’t so sure anymore. Reflectively his hand tightened around the boy. His eyes were wide as he nodded. Sydney had always told him that he needed all the information to make the best choices.

Dropping the cigarette, Raines grounded the butt. Jarod tensed when the man stepped closer until a hand cupped his chin. He was almost as tall as Raines, but it didn’t stop the man from intimidating him.

“Are you sure?”

Jarod swallowed his answer before finding strength to give a more confidant one.

“Very well, Jarod,” Raines sneered, looking at the silent boy before turning his gaze back to the pretender.

“He’s your brother.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police station, Blue water

Murray looked up as Bobby entered his office. “Find anything?”

“No. His apartment had been cleaned out. It looks like nobody had lived there in a while.”

“I had expected as much. Anything on the car?”

“It’s registered to a company out of Blue Cove. A place called The Centre.”

“What do we know of them?”

“According to the Companies list it is a think tank of some sort. They provide solutions to current scientific and economic problems.”

Murray snorted. “Why don’t I believe what you just told me?”

“Well, maybe it’s because they had been under investigation before. Every time it was conveniently pushed under the rug and the investigator quietly disappeared.”

“Imagine what would happen if we looked under the rug.”

Bobby returned Murray’s knowing grin. “Imagine indeed.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baker’s club, Blue water

She had found Sam tucked away in the basement. While they made their way to where she had parked the car, she explained to him what she wanted. She answered her phone, getting the information from Broots. By his whispered directions she could only imagine that her father had intervened, keeping them at the Centre. Putting her phone away, she sighed. Her father was determined to get her to understand that she was on her own.

What he didn’t know was that was how she worked best.

Davey greeted her with a relieved smile when she opened the door. She introduced Sam to the boy. She watched them interact, again amazed at Sam’s affinity for children. The boy took to him immediately, and as she pulled away from the curve, Davey had settled comfortably against Sam’s chest.

“You know what to do?”

Sam nodded. Satisfied she dropped them off at the train station half an hour later before making her way towards the docks. It was time to end this.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reviews…please. ;-)
Chapter 14 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

Thank you so much for the reviews. Almost done. ;-p

Chapter 14

The docks, Blue water

For perhaps ten shocked, incredulous seconds Jarod let the words sank in as he slowly dropped his arm from the boy’s shoulders. His mouth opened and closed before he managed to croak a question, “My brother?”

“As far as I know you’re not deaf, Jarod.”

Jarod shifted, looking into the equally uncomprehending eyes of the boy standing next to him. He wiped his hands on his pants, before turning back on the doctor.

“You’re lying.”

Raines stood over them with a strange expressionless gaze that was more disturbing than any display of animosity could ever have been. “What reason would I have for lying?”

Jarod didn’t reply. The question to him was rhetoric. He had been under the man’s hands enough times to know that Raines never gave any information without reason. Whether that information was true or not, there was always an ulterior motive behind it.

“You wanted a family, didn’t you, Jarod?” Raines indicated the boy, “Well; now you have one.”

“I…don’t understand.”

“What is there to understand, Jarod? He shares your DNA. That is enough, isn’t it?”

Still reeling from the information he had received, he missed the shift in Raines’ eyes. He looked up surprised when he felt a prick on his arm to see the doctor return a syringe to his pocket.

“No…”

As his eyes glazed over he wondered if Sydney knew and how he was going to broach the subject without getting into any more trouble.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police station, Blue water

There was no more space on the table. Murray had his nose deep into one of the folders when Bobby entered the room with another pile of files. He plopped them down by a table leg and sneezed when a cloud of dust was dislodged from the pile.

“Got anything?”

“So far all I read is too circumstantial. Nothing concrete that could possibly survive a good lawyer.”

They both turned when the door to the room opened and a fresh faced kid entered. He handed Murray a piece of paper before closing the door behind him. As Murray read, his interest rose. Not able to contain his curiosity any longer, Bobby walked over and stood behind the older man and read the information from behind him.

When Murray was finished, he looked up and smiled.

“I think it’s time we went for a ride.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Center

Sydney and Broots were seated by the tech’s table on the opposite side of the door where the two sweepers stood silently guard. Sydney had once moved over to the door, only to have one shift purposefully in front of it with a warning glance at the psychiatrist. Sydney had received the warning loud and clear. Don’t try and escape or else…

A soft knock drew his attention towards the air vent that was tucked away in the corner, out of sight of the sweepers. His gaze met the blue ones of Angelo and he smiled. He nudged Broots and indicated to the tech where the man-child was. Broots glanced worriedly at the two sweepers who returned his stare stoically. Sydney rose slowly and stretched before he stepped towards the door. One of the sweepers shifted his stance before clearing his throat.

“You are not allowed to leave.”

“I know. But we would like some privacy.”

The sweeper looked at his mate before deciding that there was nowhere for the old man or tech to go. “Ok, but if you try and leave, I will use force.”

Sydney nodded and watched the door close on the back of the sweepers before he moved quickly to the grate. Dropping on his haunches, he helped Angelo to remove the grate. “What is it, Angelo?”

“Jarod trouble. Have to help Jarod.”

Concerned, Sydney leaned closer. “What do you mean, Angelo? Is Jarod in danger?”

The empath nodded before handing Sydney a DSA. “Watch.”

“What is on this disc, Angelo?”

Angelo climbed into the room and took Sydney by his hand. Leading him to where Broots stood by the table, he indicated the DSA player and repeated, “Watch. Then we leave.”

Deciding that he wouldn’t get the information any other way, Sydney gave the disc to Broots and indicated to him to play it.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The docks, Blue water

He woke in stages. When he finally managed to clear the fog that seemed to pervade his mind, he opened his eyes. Jarod blinked several times before his eyes focused up at a definite non-Center like ceiling. He painfully moved his head to look around and found himself in a small bedroom, alone with an IV line that snaked into his arm. Still slightly groggy, he felt relieve to find that he was alone and then apprehension because he had no idea where he was or how he had arrived at his unknown whereabouts. Then he remembered Mr. Raines and the boy and his stomach churned.

He has a brother.

Footsteps echoed outside the door and he heard the key in the door rattle. He didn’t know what to expect, so he shifted closer to the wall. A man entered the room and when Jarod saw him he swallowed. Although he had never met him, he knew that if this man was in any way associated with Mr. Raines that he was in big trouble. The blue eyes gazed at him with interest and Jarod felt like a specimen in a jar.

“Who…,” clearing his throat, he managed to make his voice sound a little better, “Who are you?”

The man smiled and seated himself next to Jarod. Taken Jarod’s wrist in his hand, he looked at his watch as he took his pulse. Apparently satisfied, a cold smile settled on his lips the same time as fear settled on Jarod.

“What is the last thing you remember, Jarod?”

Jarod didn’t know if this was a trick. Was he supposed to tell about the boy and Mr. Raines’ revelation or was he supposed to keep quiet. Confused, he stammered, having no idea what was expected.

“Jarod, you do not want me to repeat myself? Answer me.”

That convinced the Pretender. Whoever this man was, he knew Mr. Raines because it was only with the doctor that he had ever received threats like that. Softly he told the man his last memory, sure that Mr. Raines was watching and waiting for him to make a mistake so that he could be punished. When he was finished, he looked down at the dull pattern of the faded blanket he lay on. He flinched when cold fingers lifted his chin so that his eyes made contact. The smile had turned triumphant and Jarod couldn’t help himself. He had to know.

“Where’s Sydney?”

“Still at the Centre.”

Still?

Gaining a little confidence, Jarod decided to continue with his questions. He adjusted his position so that he now leaned against the headboard and more importantly, a bit further away from the man that sat on his bed.

“What happened to me?”

“You managed to develop a fever and you were very sick for a while. Sydney will be relieved to hear that you are feeling better.”

“Where am I?”

“You’re offsite for the moment till you have finished a simulation that we could not complete at the Centre. You will be returned as soon as we are done here. Then you’ll be able to see your brother.”

Jarod looked at the man suspiciously. As far as he remembered, he had never been taken out of the Centre.

“Why is Sydney not here, then? I never do simulations without him.”

“You’re lying, Jarod and you know it. You have done simulations without Sydney before.”

Jarod frowned. He couldn’t remember. Why couldn’t he remember? Frustrated, he sighed and nodded before apologizing. It was better not to antagonize the man. Aware that he had asked the question before, he decided that the risk of knowing was better than not.

“Who are you?”

The man rose, looking down at the pretender. His voice sent shivers down the pretender’s back when he answered his question.

“My name is Mr. Cox and I will be taking care of you for a while.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Center

Sydney’s mind was still reeling with what he had seen while they followed Angelo through the vents. The DSA had been a private conversation taken between Raines and Cox a few months back. It seems that Raines had managed to develop a drug that could at will suppress and allow different memories to surface. They wanted to use it on Jarod as soon as the Pretender was returned to the Centre as a way of controlling him. That treatment coupled with Project Raptus could bring success in finally being able to bring Jarod under submission. Sydney pressed his lips together as anger coursed through his body, pushing him faster after the empath. He would not let Raines destroy Jarod’s soul.

Even if it costs him his life.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mythos House, Michigan

Murray readjusted the earpiece he wore while he lifted the binoculars and surveyed the house. Everything appeared deserted. The front door was open, as if beckoning them in and that more than anything else increased his wariness.

“Murray?” The radio in his ear crackled with Bobby’s voice.

“I’m listening,” he said, never taking his eyes of the building in front of them, wondering what they would find.

“We found a body in the shrubs behind the house. It looks like he had been dead about five or six hours.

“Ok,” Murray quickly ran through his options. “Leave him there. We’re going in front. You take your team in the back.”

“Affirmative. See ya in five.”

Murray looked at the team he had assembled. All of them good men and good cops. Men you would want next to your side.

“Let’s go.”

They entered the building quickly and with ease. No one stopped them, no-one threatened them or fired on them. He could hear the shouts of the men as the rooms was declared clear one after the other. Frustrated, he was about to admit defeat when Bobby’s surprised shout came from downstairs.

He entered the dimly lit room to find two more bodies lying on the floor. Another man was alive, barely. An old man had been cuffed to the injured one.

“Get me…out of…these,” the man demanded, his beady eyes glaring at the cops that had surrounded him.

Murray smiled, remembering the photo he had seen in one of the files. Crouching in front of the man, he said, “Mr. Raines, I presume.”

Indicating to one of the men to un-cuff the man, he ignored the glare of the other man. Slowly he took out a piece of paper. He knew the words on it by heart but he wanted to man to experience the full psychological aspect of what he was about to do. Unfolding the paper, he cleared his throat when Raines was helped to his feet.

“You have the right to remain silent…”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The docks, Blue water

“I…I don’t understand.” Jarod looked at the paper he held in his hand. Most of the notes were in his handwriting. What he was proposing was something he had didn’t want to think about.

“There’s nothing to understand, Jarod. Now complete the sim.”

Jarod turned from the table. He was still a bit unsteady on his feet and the headache was still throbbing quietly away behind his eyes. “No.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said no. This will kill people. Not help them.”

“Very well, Jarod. Then you will not see your mother.”

Jarod grabbed the table. Two images of Cox were staring equally menacing back at him while he tried to get ride the wave of dizziness.

“My mother?” he managed to utter in disbelief. His parents were dead, weren’t they? The hand that gripped the table increased while other memories intruded. Images of his mother’s lips forming the words - I love you – while he looked on and watched her turn and enter a car to leave him once again. His breathing increased as he tried to get air into his lungs that suddenly seemed empty. Black spots were dancing in front of his eyes and he stumbled before landing on his hands and feet.

Cox seemed to have realized his mistake. Forcing the pretender to sit upright, he coaxed him to relax his breathing. A few minutes passed before Jarod was sufficiently calmed. The time it had taken him to stop Jarod from hyperventilating had given him enough time to concoct a believable version for the pretender to swallow.

“You’re mother survived the crash. She had amnesia and had been taken to a convalescent home to recuperate. We only recently found out that the body we buried with your father was in fact a friend that had traveled with them. She is weak and your visits cheer her up immensely. If you complete the sim, you can see her.”

“My mother’s alive?”

Jarod was pale, dark circles underscoring his bloodshot eyes but it didn’t stop hope from flirting across his face. Cox smiled, knowing that he had the pretender exactly where he wanted him. “Yes.”

Jarod looked at the papers he still had clutched in his hands and then back at Cox. He really wanted to see his parent and he would do anything for that to happen. Anything.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The docks, Blue water

Miss Parker eyed the deserted area in front of the warehouse through her binoculars. The windows had been boarded up and thrash littered the area in front of the building. The whole area looked as if it had not needed useful commerce in a while. She grunted. It reminded her too much of all the hide-outs Jarod had chosen to live. For the Centre to do the same thing was a bit of a mystery.

Aware that time was ticking away, she put the binoculars down. Closing the door, she crouched before running quickly across the open space. She had not detected any sweepers patrolling outside and if any of them was watching from inside she was screwed, no matter what she did. Keeping her gun ready, she made the wall intact. She was about to turn the corner when she noticed two people in front of her, eyeing the same corner from behind shipping containers.

She swore silently. Why could things never be easy? Then another thought entered her mind and she smiled. This might just work.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blue Cove Airport

Sydney had managed to bluff his way onto the Centre jet. He and Broots had buckled in, watching as the runway beneath them increased in speed before he felt his body push back against the seat as the lifted off. He was praying, hoping that they would be able to stop Raines before he managed to inject Jarod with the drug.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baker’s club, Blue water

Lyle groaned. Touching the tender area behind his head, he thought of ways to make his sister pay. If she somehow managed to intervene in their plans, he would be the one that would be sacrificed and he was really not prepared to be the Judas goat. Entering a number from memory, he waited for the phone to be answered.

“Do it.”

He had no regret about the order he had given. None at all.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The docks, Blue water

Both Jarod and Cox turned with surprise when the entrance door to the warehouse slammed open. The glare from the sun made everything hazy and Jarod couldn’t focus on the two persons who entered. He dropped his eyes, wiping at them tiredly. His psyche was bruised from all he had experienced in the last few hours. His body was worn out and he had no idea how long he’ll be able to keep going. The thought of seeing his mother was the only thing that kept him going.

He heard stiletto heels echo on the cement floor. It seemed familiar. He started to lift his head to take a closer look when he was abruptly grabbed from behind by one of the sweepers and removed from the room. He tried to resist but was too weak and in the end he allowed the sweeper to help him back to the bedroom he had woken up in. He barely made it to the bed before darkness descended, cutting of all thought as if a light switch had been thrown.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The docks, Blue water

Miss Parker had her gun in Margaret’s side while she watched as Jarod was dragged from sight. The pretender did not look good. Her concern for him flared briefly before she reminded herself what she had came to do.

“Miss Parker, what are you doing here?”

“Doesn’t anybody have a vocabulary anymore? Or maybe you received your education from the same school as Raines.”

The cold blue eyes flashed with anger and frustration, the lines around his mouth sharply edged. He looked at the woman that Miss Parker had in her hands.

“What is the meaning of this?”

“I needed to make an entrance and I thought that bringing Jarod’s mother would attract attention.”

Cox was not unaware that Miss Parker’s gun was pointing at him. Looking towards where the sweeper was stepping closer, he shook his head. Miss Parker smiled but it never reached her eyes.

“I’m glad that you’re an intelligent man, Mr. Cox.”

“I’m extremely busy, Miss Parker. What is it you want and why would you bring Jarod’s mother here?”

“Let’s say I heard a little bird sing about ways of getting wonder boy to do your dirty work for you.”

“Go on.”

“I’m sure you don’t want me to spell it out for you, Cox. Unlike you, what I’m holding in my hands at this moment is not a fake. I’m sure that the Triumvirate will be extremely interested in what you are planning.”

“You’re on very dangerous ground, Miss Parker. If I were you, I’d be careful.”

“Reality check, Cox. You are right now in probably the biggest load of crap you had ever been in your life. If I were you, I’d play nice.”

Cox went rigid with anger, his eyes glaring daggers at Miss Parker. Unperturbed, she returned his stare, not backing down one inch. Margaret was now next to Miss Parker and the gun was now openly pointed at him.

“You won’t get away with this.”

“I already have. Tell your monkey over there to slide his gun over to us and then to cuff himself to the railing by the door.”

“What about the other sweeper,” Margaret interrupted Miss Parker.

“Don’t worry. I’m sure he’ll be here shortly.”

They waited in silence and it wasn’t long before the second sweeper entered the main room. Two minutes later he was cuffed next to the other sweeper. Miss Parker made sure that she took all the handcuff keys before prodding Cox to lead the way deeper into the warehouse.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The docks, Blue water

Murray eyed an open door for the second time that day. He looked at the girl that stood next to him. They had found her hiding behind a shipping container. From what he could gather her mother, a Miss Parker and Jarod was inside. She had no idea how many sweepers and other Centre personnel would be inside.

“Bobby, your team ready?”

The crackle of his radio sounded as the affirmative came through. Indicating to Emily to stay behind with one of the officers, they made their way towards the door. It felt like déjà vu, it was almost the exact same scenario as earlier except this time it wasn’t a house but a warehouse.

When they were inside the building, his eyes quickly dilated as they adjusted to the interior light. Two sweepers stared back at them, unable to do anything. Murray indicated to two men to stay with them as they made their way deeper into the building.

The silence was unsettling. Except for the occasional quark as someone declared a room clear, there was no other noise. So when the scream of intense sorrow tore through the hallways, Murray jerked in fright. He ran after the sound into a room set in the back. A dark haired man with blue eyes was pushed against one wall by a very determined woman, her gun under his chin. Holding tight to Jarod where he was lying limply on the bed was an older woman. Her eyes were wide with grief when she looked at Murray. He would never forget that look for as long as he lived. It tore into his soul, as he stepped closer. She looked at Jarod again and then back at him.

“We need a medic, you moron. Jarod’s not breathing.”

Turning from the older woman, he finally managed to snap out of it when angry blue eyes stared back at him. Acknowledging her advice, he frantically called for a medic. Two EMT’s entered the room, one silently coaxing Jarod’s mother from his side while the other started to check the pretender’s vitals. Their quiet words were somehow reassuring as they started to work on the man. Miss Parker watched with numbness as the positioned Jarod’s head and started CPR.

She was counting the compressions in her head, watching as the second man breathed in into Jarod’s lifeless body. Again the compressions and then the breaths. Over and over. And in her mind the litany that counted with each artificial heartbeat that was compressed.

Live.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you’re nice and leave reviews, I’ll decide who lives or dies. ;-)
Chapter 15 by whashaza
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1

To Julia, Thank you. ;-)

Chapter 15


The docks, Blue water

Miss Parker stood next to Margaret, unaware that her hand was clutching the older woman’s. They stood helpless, unable to do anything as the medics fought to bring Jarod back to life. Seconds stretched into minutes and one of the medics ripped Jarod’s shirt open, exposing his chest. Wiping lubricant, he grabbed the paddles and shocked the pretender. Jarod’s body arched on the bed and then again. Miss Parker had her eye on the green line that stayed obstinately flat.

“Come on, Jarod. Now is not a time to be stubborn,” she muttered, watching as the medic placed the paddles on his chest again. She had no idea if Jarod had heard her, but the straight line jumped slightly. A few seconds later it jumped again and then a steady rhythm began to pace across the screen. She let her breath go, only now aware that she had been holding it. Margaret turned and then Miss Parker’s body was crushed by a hug as Jarod’s mother enveloped her. She was aware that her smile was just as relieved as Margaret while the medics worked on getting Jarod on a gurney.

Jarod stirred slightly, his eyes opening. His confused gaze settled on Miss Parker for a brief second before they slid shut and he was unconscious once again. She turned away from Jarod’s mother, her attention now on the man that was held by one of the cops.

“If Jarod dies, so will you.”

Cox grinned at her, his eyes showing no emotion. She followed the cop as the man was led from the room towards the outside. A hand on her arm stopped her and she turned angrily.

“Who are you?”

It was the policeman that had entered the room first. “A friend.”

“Really? Why have I never met you before?”

Miss Parker crossed her arms in front of her body. “Jarod’s a very private individual and right now my only concern is following him to the hospital and making sure that he survives. If there is anything else…”

Murray nodded, watching as the medics moved past them, with Jarod strapped safely on the gurney. The oxygen mask was misting from each breath he took, his head bobbing slightly when the gurney hit an uneven spot on the floor.

“Very well, Miss…”

She smiled, “Parker.”

“Please don’t leave the county. I still have some questions I need to ask.”

She was about to answer when a shot echoed through the building. Miss Parker and Murray dropped. She had her gun out, her eyes staring towards the open door through which Jarod had gone a few seconds ago. They could hear shouting and as she made her way carefully to the opening, she remembers a time when the Centre had tried to shoot Fenigor.

Please, don’t let it be Jarod. She thought. She glanced out the door and her body relaxed. Jarod was safely behind the ambulance parked in front of the warehouse. Cox’s body lay sprawled on the pavement, blood pooling around his head. From experience she knew that he had been shot through the head, once. She stood up and moved out, ignoring Murray’s shout that it wasn’t safe.

“The mark’s dead. The sniper is long gone.”

“How do you know this?”

Tiredly, she stood over the dead man’s body. “Because that’s they way these people operate.”

“Who?”

“You’re a detective, right?”

Irritated, Murray watched as Miss Parker walked away. She entered a dark town car and drove calmly after the ambulance, with Jarod’s mother and sister as her passengers.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two weeks later, St Mary’s County Hospital

Sydney looked up to see Miss Parker enter. He smiled a greeting to her before returning his attention to the book he had been reading from. Miss Parker seated herself by the bed, holding on to Jarod’s hand while Sydney read from Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo.

Except for that brief moment in the warehouse, Jarod had not waked again. He had suffered from a bout of pneumonia and for a time she had thought that they were going to lose him again. Jarod had survived the fever and infection, he had survived Cox but she had no idea what was going on his mind.

His father and the clone had pitched up a week ago. They had read about Jarod in a newspaper and had made their way here directly. The reunion between Jarod’s parents had been emotional. She and Mark, the name the boy had chosen to call himself, had greeted awkwardly before he had closed the distance and had given her a hug. His quiet thank you had nearly brought tears. She had nodded, not trusting her voice as she retuned his hug.

Raines had been indicted with the kidnapping of Davey and Jarod. The ghoul had kept stubbornly quiet and the judge had not been lenient. She knew that even if Raines managed to walk away in the end, he will never be welcomed back at the Centre. He had cost the company too much publicity and with the internal investigation of the Triumvirate around the rumors of a possible attack on them, Raines would be wise to stay away. Lyle had disappeared once again. She had no idea where her brother was and she didn’t care. She had a strong suspicion that he had been the one that had orchestrated Cox’s death but she kept that information to herself. It could be useful someday. Her father had tried to coax her to come back when she had handed her resignation in. She had ignored his pleas as she turned her back on him and walked out of his office for the last time.

Sydney’s voice droned on and she was only half listening as her hand caressed Jarod’s. She heard the door open again and smiled at Davey when he walked over to her. She was still coming to terms with the fact that another smaller person had joined her household of one. Davey was slowly changing, becoming more confidant as their relationship grew. She had held him as he cried besides Cain’s grave and it was then that she had decided that she wanted to hold on to the boy. Each of them had been hurt and needed someone to help heal the scars. Between themselves that had made a promise to be there for each other and to look towards the future. She had told her father in no uncertain terms that if he ever came after the boy that she would expose the Centre for what they were. He had agreed to leave them alone, including Jarod and his family.

“Is he still sleeping?”

Looking towards the Pretender’s slack face, she answered in the affirmative. They had been keeping vigil at his bed, hoping that Jarod would open his eyes.

“When will he wake up?”

She was surprised when Sydney answered Davey. She knew that the psychiatrist blamed himself for the drugs that Cox and Raines had injected into Jarod. Bending down, she hugged the boy, while Sydney’s voice continued with the story and his answer to Davey stayed in her mind.

When he’s ready…


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jarod floated in the comfortable haze of non-existence he found himself in. At the moment he was feeling no pain, feeling nothing in fact and he was very reluctant to leave. He didn’t want to face the pain or Mr. Cox that he knew would be there when he woke.

“Jarod, when you’re ready, you can come back. Know that I’ll be there for you, if you want.”

A familiar voice interrupted his thoughts. He knew who it belonged to but he didn’t want to face the person just yet. He was comfortable where he was now and all he wanted to do was rest and not think.

“Hi Son, why don’t I just continue where Sydney left off.”

The voice was deep and had a quality to it that reminded him of a time with his father. Father? As far as he knew he died in a plane crash. They voice droned on and Jarod decided that thinking only brought sad memories. He decided to burrow further into the comfort of the non-place.

“Hi, it’s me. I finally got custody of Davey. He’s ecstatic and we had decided to bring you some ice cream to celebrate. When you’re ready to wake up, you can have some.”

It was a woman’s voice this time. He liked it. It was husky and sensuous, bringing thoughts to his mind of a more physical aspect. In his non-existence, he smiled. He liked this place.

“Son, you need to wake up. Your father and I have planned to take a nice long holiday with you and your sister and Mark, but we can’t leave until you’re better.”

They wanted to leave him again. Wait, no. She had said they wanted to take him with. Memories intruded, memories he didn’t want to face. He tried to protect himself but was unable as more and more memories rushed into his non-existence.

He remembered Cox and he remembered his mother and …

He opened his eyes.

He stirred slightly, feeling the soft, clean sheets and the weight of a blanket providing warmth. It felt good to be warm and he remembers how cold he had been the last time he had been awake. Slowly he turned his head to look at the dimly lit hallway through the open doorway. His room was dark and from the soft whispers that reached his ears, he could only surmise that he was in hospital room. His thoughts turned to the Centre and then his eyes slid closed as he fell asleep in mid thought.

Dimly, he heard voices. They intruded and he wanted it to go away. They stilled and only then was he aware that he must have told them to shut up. Someone touched him on the shoulder and he turned his head, still keeping his eyes closed.

“Son?”

It stirred such emotion that Jarod opened his eyes. The person standing before him was still hazy, but as his features materialized in front of him, he could finally see his father. On the other side of the bed, his mother stood and by his feet were his sister and the boy. He smiled, wondering why his father was crying.

“Dad?”

His voice croaked and he frowned. Swallowing, he tried to speak again. His father reached for something beside the bed. He sipped on the straw, enjoying the cool feel of water on his throat. When next he spoke, his voice sounded a little less scratchy in his ears.

“Can…can I come home?”

His father smiled, looking at his mother and then pulling Jarod up and in to a firm embrace he whispered, “Yes... yes you can.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hope you enjoyed this adventure with me. I did. Thanks for all the reviews and support. Hope you had fun and also shed a tear. Once again, thanks.
This story archived at http://www.pretendercentre.com/missingpieces/viewstory.php?sid=4569