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Story Notes:

After part 2 here, the story veers off into two versions.  Version 1, Cooking with Madeline, follows the series, while Version 2, The Empty Cottage by the Lake" goes on the theory that Miss Parker didn't survive the gunshot wound she received at the end of season 3.

Author's Chapter Notes:

Author’s Note 7/20/13: Reworking this part a little- no major changes, really, just some small stuff, like the weird tense thing I had going on at the beginning (and, after 15 years, ‘aspirin’ is finally spelled correctly). :)

Part 1 of the Madeline Series
By Danielle : - )

Author's Note: This story jumps back a while-- to January of the first season, not too long after Jarod gave Miss Parker the white rabbit, who, since he hasn't been mentioned since (tsk, tsk), I've named Bunny. It might take awhile for you to get the connection between the beginning of the fic and The Pretender but I promise there is one!

Author’s Note 7/20/13: Reworking this part a little- no major changes, really, just some small stuff, like the weird tense thing I had going on at the beginning (and, after 15 years, ‘aspirin’ is finally spelled correctly).  Plus I can't in good conscience keep her stepfather's name Steve, since our PTB Steve is the coolest guy to ever live. :)

Disclaimer: Miss Parker, Jarod, Sydney, Raines, Angelo, Broots, and the Centre belong to NBC, CVS, and SLM.. Everyone else belongs to me.


"Oh!" Madeline moaned softly in pain. She couldn't have told you an exact location of the pain- her whole body was liberally covered with bruises. If she’d had the strength or desire to look, she would’ve been hard pressed to find an area of her body that wasn’t cut, bruised, or caked with drying blood.

Madeline looked up at the person responsible for the majority of the most recent pain- her stepfather, Anthony.

"Is that enough? You ready to do it yet?" he asked, looking at Jack, who'd hit her more than his fair share as well before taking them for a ride.

"No matter how much you hurt me, I'm not going to kill anyone," proceeded a gasp as Anthony kicked her in the stomach.

"Look, you little whore, if you don't agree with my plan to kill the governor, we're going to kill you." Jack went to the small kitchen of their rundown apartment for another beer.

"Just kill me already!" the teenager meant it, too, but knew Anthony wouldn't want to get rid of all the money she brought in. Madeline wanted them, or anyone, to put her out of this misery she’d been in for two years. Her stepfather used all the money he got pimping her out to buy drugs. Madeline couldn't remember how many times she’s held a knife to her wrist, wanting to slash it; or a gun to her temple, wishing she could pull the trigger. Something always stopped her from ending her life, though, a miniscule part of her head that told her the pain and degradation wouldn’t last forever.

"Come on," Anthony pulled her to her feet and dragged her to the door, afraid she’d cry out loud enough for a neighbor to call the police (as if that would happen in their neighborhood). Jack got behind the wheel of his brand-new convertible. Anthony shoved Madeline in the back and then got in as Jack sped away.

Madeline knew he'd really let her have it now that no witnesses were around. It would take all her willpower not to cry out as his fists rained down on her already battered body.

Anthony continued to hit her while Jack drove around aimlessly. After a while, her stepfather stopped to catch his breath. Madeline gingerly lifted her head to take the opportunity to see where they were. Jack had taken them to the lake outside of town. Since it was the middle of January, all the summer cottages were dark. Madeline wondered if they were going to leave her there to die.

They slowed down and Jack turned around and slapped Madeline as hard as he could. When she still wouldn't agree to their plan, he told Anthony to push her out of the car and let her walk home. He did just that, pushing her out into the snow without a jacket. They sped off amid a squeal of tires. Even at such a low speed, she hit the ground hard enough to have the wind knocked out of her and add a few more bruises. Madeline didn‘t have the desire or the energy to get up from where she had landed.


Miss Parker was sitting in front of the tv, which was on, but wasn't holding her attention. She was thinking about the past, something her father would have disapproved of, had he known. She was interrupted by the slam of a car door and the sound of someone hurrying away.

She reached for her gun- it was never far from reach- and headed to the front door of the cottage she had turned into her year-round residence.

"Probably some trick of Jarod's," she muttered as she neared the door. She had learnt early in her search for Jarod to expect anything and everything from him.

With the gun expertly aimed in front of her, she descended the steps leading to the front door. At first she saw nothing of interest on the snow covered landscape but then noticed a dark form near the side of the road.

"Great!" she said, wondering what it could be this time. What new thing had Jarod decided to torture her with now? Possibly another animal, she thought, remembering the bunny he gave her only a few weeks ago. Miss Parker made a mental note to feed him and clean his cage after she cleared this up. Could be a DSA containing yet another clue to her past...

Miss Parker crept toward what she was now sure to be courtesy of Jarod. She had the gun ready to shoot if it turned out to be Jarod himself. Whatever it was, it wasn't moving. Now standing directly over it, Miss Parker could see that it was a woman.

"Hey." Miss Parker said to get her attention. She hadn't loosened her grip on the gun.

The woman slowly rose to a sitting position to see who had addressed her. Miss Parker quickly hid her surprise when she saw the girl's bruised, bloody face. And it was a girl, hardly more than a teenager.

"Who are you?" Miss Parker growled.


"Madeline what?"


"Did Jarod send you here?"

A pause and then, "I don't think I know anyone named Jarod."


Madeline had just made up her mind to stay where she was and hopefully die when a harsh voice made her look up. She painfully got into a sitting position to see a tall, brown haired woman holding a gun aimed directly at her. Behind her a house was lit up.

"I don't think I know anyone named Jarod." Madeline said after trying to remember if she knew a Jarod.

Miss Parker, who was getting cold, decided they should continue the interrogation in the house, "Well, I don't know who you are but come inside so I can find out."

Madeline slowly, every movement hurting, got up and headed into the house ahead of her. Miss Parker ushered her into the room where the tv was still on.

"Who are you?" Miss Parker asked again.

"Madeline Stanley. Who are you?"

"Now, about Jarod." Miss Parker didn't answer the question, "Why did he send you here?”

Miss Parker was surprised that the girl wasn’t the least bit scared of her, or the gun still pointed her way. Even without a gun, she was used to people quaking in their boots around her.

"I don't think I know any guys named Jarod and if I do, he didn't send me here." Madeline's voice was flat.

"Then who did? Did they do that to you?" Miss Parker didn't like looking at this girl's bruised face and haunted eyes. It entered her mind that Raines could have sent this girl, a little warning not to get too nosy. But she dismissed the thought almost as soon as it entered her mind, knowing Mr. Raines wasn't the kind of person to play games. If he had any idea what she, Sydney, and Broots have been doing lately, they'd all be pushing up daisies.

"Anthony and Jack did most of it and dumped me out here. He wants me to walk home but I'm not going to this time. I'd rather lay out there and die."

Miss Parker blinked at the statement, spoken so matter-of-factly. She relaxed her grip on the gun, sure by now the girl was harmless but not willing to let down her guard completely just yet.

"Who are Anthony and Jack and why would they want to hurt you?"

"Anthony's my stepfather and Jack sells him most of his crack. The governor likes young prostitutes and they wanted me to kill him. When I said no, they thought if they beat me up a little I might change my mind. I didn't, so they dumped me."

"You're a prostitute?" Miss Parker had a hard time believing it. Minus the bruises, the girl was the poster child for the all-American, popular teenager with the perfect life.

"Yeah. But Anthony didn't ask first- he just took the money and left." Miss Parker detected bitterness and betrayal in her voice now.

"And your mother lets him do this?" Miss Parker regretted it the second she saw the effect it had on the girl. Madeline looked hurt as a tear rolled down her left cheek and made a trail through the blood from her nose and split lip.

"Mom died two years ago."

"Your father doesn't care?" a picture of her own father came to mind but she resolutely pushed it away.

"He died in a car accident when I was ten."

"I should probably take you to the hospital, huh?"

"No, I'll be okay." seeing the skeptical look on the woman's face caused her to add, "Nothing‘s broken. Just, do you have any aspirin?"

Miss Parker left to get it. She took the gun even though at this point she was sure the girl was harmless. Old habits die hard. Returning with the aspirin and a glass of water, she found Madeline hadn't moved from her spot on the couch. After Madeline had swallowed the pills, she looked at Miss Parker with panic in her eyes.

"You're not going to make me go back, are you?" she reminded Miss Parker of Bunny when he got scared, eyes wide and darting, ready to bolt.

"No." Miss Parker paused for a moment, then continued, "You can stay in the guest room for the night and I'll figure out what to do with you tomorrow."

She led Madeline upstairs to the room that used to be hers, pointing out the bathroom at one end. She headed back downstairs to find one of her old nightgowns for the girl. When she met Madeline back in the bedroom, the blood was gone from her face, making the bruises even more visible than before. Miss Parker handed her the nightgown and examined Madeline's face more closely. Both eyes were bruised, the right one nearly swollen shut. Her cheeks were both huge bruises and her lips were split and swollen. Her neck was also bruised, as if someone had tried to strangle her.

"The gun's on the nightstand by my bed. Don't try anything." the girl was obviously harmless and Miss Parker wondered what her mother would think of her if she knew how she was treating the poor girl.

"Who are you afraid I'm gonna shoot? You, or me?"

Miss Parker softened her tone to add, ‘If you want to take a shower, everything you need should be in there.”

“Thank you,” Madeline gave her a grateful look before heading towards the bathroom.

Miss Parker went back downstairs and put the gun next to the phone in her own room. Remembering her promise to Bunny, she went to his cage in the corner of the living room. Taking the white rabbit out, she cuddled him under her chin. She sat for a few minutes with no real thoughts going through her head. Finally, she got up and gave him more food.

"I'll do the rest tomorrow after I figure out what to do with Madeline," she said as she put him back in his cage and went to bed.

She could hear the shower going above her for a long time as she tossed and turned. Madeline fell into a deep sleep almost as soon as she laid down. Miss Parker wasn’t so lucky. Every time she fell asleep, she'd wake up minutes later after having a nightmare, the same one over and over. Sometimes it was her mother getting beat up by a shadowy figure and sometimes Madeline was getting beat up by a different man with no face.

One nightmare around 4 am had Mr Raines beating Madeline up. Her mother tried to stop him from hurting the girl, saying she was innocent and hadn't done anything to deserve it. He stopped, but then turned on her mother. Miss Parker could see her father standing motionless in the shadows.

She knew she'd never fall back asleep after that one so with shaking hands she grabbed and managed to light a cigarette.

In the room above her, Madeline awoke with a start. For a moment, she tried to figure out where she was. She relaxed when she remembered that she was safe for the time being. Then she thought of Miss Parker, who never did introduce herself. Madeline wondered if the demons chasing her were similar to the ones she hoped to now be able to put behind her. People don't keep guns within reach at all times without a good reason.

Wondering what the future held in store for her and knowing for the first time in years that she really had a future, Madeline drifted back to sleep.

Two hours later, Miss Parker decided to get up. She took a shower to try to shake off the bad feelings her nightmares had left. Then she dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. The Centre would have to live without her for the next few hours. The gun was unmoved on the nightstand and Miss Parker decided to leave it that way. On the way to the kitchen, she checked on Madeline and found her still asleep.

In the kitchen, Miss Parker searched for something to make for breakfast. There wasn't much. They would have to settle for Corn Flakes. Checking to see if she had milk, she found some bacon but it had expired a month ago.

Miss Parker closed her eyes and remembered standing in this kitchen on an already hot summer morning watching her mother cook bacon and eggs, or better yet, pancakes from scratch. No one made pancakes like Mama did.

"Hi." Miss Parker turned around to see Madeline standing in the doorway as if afraid or unsure about entering. She had obviously washed her clothes in the sink or shower the night before, as they were considerably cleaner. Her face looked a little better after a good night’s sleep, but Parker still found herself uncomfortable looking the girl in the face.

"Corn flakes is all there is," she said without apology.

Madeline sat at the table. After Miss Parker poured two bowls full of cereal and added milk, she brought them to the table and turned around to get them glasses of orange juice- which expired a few days ago, but how bad can orange juice go? When she turned to put them on the table, Madeline's bowl was almost empty.

"Could I have some more, please?"

Once seated again, Miss Parker asked, "When was the last time you ate?"

"What day is it?"


"Tuesday I had some fries." Madeline told her matter-of-factly.

"All you've eaten in two days is some French fries?"

"Yeah, Anthony's crack is more important than my dinner. I just have to hope someone gives me a little more money than he expects so I can stop by McDonald's or something." A good night's rest had helped bring some expression back to Madeline's face and voice. Now on her third bowl of cereal, Madeline still hadn't slowed down.

Miss Parker watched the girl eat and still didn't know what she was going to do with her. She wasn't about to keep her, that's for sure. Maybe Sydney would know what to do.

"What am I going to do with you?" hoping the girl would have a suggestion.

Madeline shrugged and continued eating.

"Do you have any other family?"

"No. All my grandparents are dead and mom and dad were both only kids."

Noticing the empty bowl, Miss Parker asked if she wanted any more.

"No thanks. You know, you never told me your name last night." Madeline pointed out.

Again, Miss Parker had a hard time believing this polite, obviously well-mannered girl was a prostitute.

"Miss Parker.”

Madeline raised her eyebrow slightly at the formality of the answer as she finished her juice, but wasn’t about to question the woman who had literally saved her life the night before.

“Okay," Miss Parker said in her usual clipped manner, "let's go."

"Where?" Madeline immediately got nervous, still afraid she'd be returned to her stepfather.

"To see a friend of mine who will help me figure out what to do with you." Miss Parker knew Sydney would have more ideas than her. Besides, the kid could probably use a shrink.

"Who and where?" Madeline was still somewhat wary, not completely trusting the woman standing in front of her puffing on a cigarette. The past few years had made her very untrusting.

"My friend Sydney is a psychiatrist and we work together." Miss Parker was about to leave when she remembered Madeline didn't have a coat. She got two, an old one for the girl and her regular, long, black leather one.

They drove in silence for maybe ten minutes, each thinking about all they'd lost in their lives. When they pulled into view of the Centre, Madeline gasped in shock at the immense stone building.

"Is this where you work?"

"Yeah," Miss Parker remembered when she was younger and her mother was still alive, how she had had the same reaction every time she saw the Centre. Now she just hated it.

"What's it called?" sometimes curiosity is a stronger emotion than pain.

"The Centre."

"I've never heard of it, what does it do?"

"Stuff." Miss Parker answered, not about to tell the girl the truth- that it steals children and locks them away for years and probably tortures them, too.

Madeline was silent as they parked close to the entrance- Daddy had seen that she got a prime parking spot. They headed inside to the elevator and Miss Parker tried not to think about the significance this elevator had in her life. Once in, she pushed a button and they started going down.

"What's SL mean?" Madeline asked, having noticed most of the floor buttons said SL and then a number.

"Sub Level.” She pulled out a cigarette and noticed Madeline watching her, "Do you have a problem with cigarettes?" Not that the answer mattered- no one could stop her from smoking, not Sydney's warnings about cancer, not Broots' constant coughing when she was around, and certainly nothing this girl could say.

"Not really." Madeline knew she didn't sound convincing, "Regular cigarettes are better than what Anthony smokes, I guess. But my grandmother died of lung cancer."

In answer, Miss Parker pulled out her lighter. They reached their floor and Miss Parker led the way to Sydney's office. It was empty but she knew Sydney. He was around somewhere and Broots would know where. She picked up the phone and called his cubicle.

"Broots." as always, he sounded nervous.

"Do you know where Sydney is?"

From the tone of her voice, Madeline figured whoever she had called was someone she didn't like very much. She hadn't been around long enough to know Parker always sounded like that. She was silent as the person on the other end of the line answered.

"Miss Parker, um, yeah, he, uh, just left my office."

"Jarod?" Miss Parker sounded more interested, alert, making Madeline wonder if this was last night's Jarod, and who he was.

"Yeah. He left Sydney an e-mail and we were trying to figure it out."

"Was he going back to his office?"

"I think so." he expected her to say something more but all he got was the dial tone. With a sigh, he turned back to the computer and Jarod's puzzling message.

"He's coming." Miss Parker told Madeline, "Let's just hope he doesn't make any detours."

If Syd decided to stop by the sim lab or something, she knew it could be hours before he showed, "How old are you?" She asked, since Sydney would probably want to know.


Before either woman could say more, Sydney walked in.

"Miss Parker." he greeted as his gaze went from her to the injured girl standing next to her. Madeline couldn’t believe he didn’t seem shocked by her appearance. Then he settled his questioning gaze back on Parker. She walked over to where he still stood in the doorway.

"Her name's Madeline, her bastard of a stepfather dumped her in front of my place last night. He's been prostituting her. I figured you'd know what to do with her more than I would."

"Hello, Madeline. You can sit down." he had assumed that quiet, reassuring voice Miss Parker knew he used with children performing simulations.

The girl sat down, never taking her eyes off of him, as if afraid he was going to attack her. Miss Parker leaned against the filing cabinet by his desk.

"What were you doing by the lake last night?"

"My stepfather left me there."

Realizing she had already heard this, Miss Parker decided not to waste the whole day and go see about Jarod's e-mail, "I'm going down to see the e-mail, Syd."

As soon as Madeline realized she was leaving, she rose from her chair in alarm. Miss Parker walked over to her and displayed a rarely seen kindness.

"Don't worry, he's harmless. I'll be back in ten minutes."

Madeline barely knew this Miss Parker, but somehow she was able to see beyond the woman’s tough exterior and knew she could trust her, and thereby Sydney; so she settled back in her seat.

"Why did your stepfather leave you there?" Sydney continued once they were alone.

"Because I wouldn't kill the governor for him and Jack."

Even Sydney, the psychiatrist who'd heard it all, couldn't hid his surprise, "Excuse me?"

"For some reason- probably a really stupid one- Jack hates the governor. The governor has a thing for young prostitutes so they wanted to send me to him and then have me kill him. I refused 'cause I'm not about to add murder to my list of sins and they thought if they hit me around a little I'd change my mind. I guess they were afraid I'd make a lot of noise so they took me for a ride and got fed up with me refusing so Anthony dumped me in front of her house."

"Did he expect you to go back?"

"Yeah. I've always gone back before because no one else ever helped me, not even the police."

"You've gone to the police and they didn't do anything?" he didn't find that as hard to believe as one might expect. Sydney didn't believe for a second that the Blue Cove PD could be completely oblivious to all the illegal happenings at the Centre.

"Yup. Once after I got beat up really bad, I went and they didn't believe me. They just laughed in my face. And all those times I had to go to the emergency room, no one did anything."

"Is there no one you can go to?"

"If I did, do you think I'd be here right now?" she snapped.

"There has to be someone."

"Nope. Right before it started, Steve moved us down here from Boston, and didn’t enroll me in school, so I don’t know anyone around here. I looked for Mom's address book to call her best friends, but it was gone."

Before Sydney could answer, the phone rang. He listened, said ,"I'll be right there," and hung up.

"I have to see to something. I'll be back as soon as I can."

"Okay." Madeline said with a tired sigh.

Miss Parker headed back to Sydney's office after her daily torture of Broots. She was upset about Jarod's seemingly impossible e-mail. Upon entering the office, she saw Madeline staring off into space and the chair behind Sydney's desk empty.

"Where's Sydney?"

"He got a phone call, an emergency or something, I guess."

With a sigh Miss Parker leaned up against the wall and pulled out another cigarette, "With Syd, we could be waiting here for hours."

As if to prove her wrong, Sydney walked in and sat down without an explanation.

"So what's the verdict?" Miss Parker wanted to know.

"None has yet been reached, Parker."

"Well, I don't have all day!" she snapped.

"We could bring you," he spoke to Madeline and ignored his foul tempered colleague, "to Dover. They'd probably put you in a foster home until you turn 18. How old are you?"

"Sixteen since October."

"But, I believe foster care should only be used as a last resort."

"Why?" Madeline and Miss Parker asked simultaneously.

"As a psychiatrist, I've heard horror stories about abused children being put into foster homes where they only receive more abuse."

"I don't even think that should be used as a last resort." Madeline told him firmly, "I'm not escaping Steve only to have someone else take his place."

"Of course not. We'll forget that one," after a thoughtful pause he continued, "If only we could find a family member or friend! What about godparents?"

"Mom's best friends all through school. He moved to Russia or someplace after she died. I told you, I have no one!"

Sydney guessed why she was snappish and wanted to calm her fears, "No matter what, we are not going to send you back to Steve. We could also find someone who'd be willing to take you in and become your legal guardian. You would have to got court to legalize it and probably again to try Anthony because they'll ask why you want your guardian changed."

"So they'd arrest him and we‘d go to court?" Madeline was beginning to get upset again.

"Yes, you would be the prosecution's key witness."

"No! He knows too many people, he'd send someone to kill me."

"Madeline, we'd get you protection. We--"

"NO!! You don't get it, he knows drug dealers, hit men, mobsters! They'd find and kill me!"

"Okay, I'm sure we can get around that." seeing how agitated she was, he continued against his better judgment, "We could not even take it to court, once we found the person, we could forge the legal guardianship papers."

Miss Parker almost dropped her cigarette, she was so shocked at the words coming out of the mouth of someone she thought she knew so well. She managed to get out a, "We could?"

"Broots could probably do it. If not, Jarod might once I tell him why it's needed."

"Jarod!" Miss Parker scoffed.

"Yes, Miss Parker, Jarod." Sydney repeated calmly.

"But who's going to want me? What if Steve sends someone to bring me back? Most of them would kill their own twin for a gram of crack. Who'd want to take a risk like that?"

Madeline looked so dejected that without even thinking, Miss Parker said, "I would."

Sydney looked ready to have a heart attack from the shock. Miss Parker couldn't believe she'd said it but had some idea when she saw the look on Madeline's face.

"Really?" Madeline couldn't believe the woman who'd held a gun on her last night and had seemed so eager to be rid of her this morning would be willing to do this.

"Well, until other arrangements can be made." She said quickly. God, what had she done? What would her father say? Madeline was smiling at her in such a way that gave Miss Parker the uncomfortable feeling the girl could see right through her.

"Come on, let's go home." Miss Parker breezed out of the room without so much as a good-bye to Sydney, who sat smiling behind his desk. Madeline gave him a grateful smile before following.

The End

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