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The Hot Potato Series

by Danielle : - )

But first, my little ole Disclaimer: You all know by now who belongs to NBC and who belongs to me so... Now that that's over with- here is the last part of Hot Potato... ( I can only hope people have enjoyed it, since *no one* is e-mailing me about it. : - (***).

Author's Note/Dedication: I'd like to dedicate this fic to my wonderful Siberian Husky Little Lady (February 2, 1989- October 24, 1998). I love you and I'll miss you forever. - and if anyone thinks this is mushy and doesn't belong here- I don't care and all I have to say is: TOUGH!!!

(There is never a wrong place to keep up the memory of a beloved family member ~~~~The Archivist)


Saturday Night

March 21, 1998

Madeline had to wake Torey up from a deep sleep once she pulled into the Centre's parking lot.

After some extensive searching and question asking, Madeline found out that everyone she knew was in a "private meeting" and could not be disturbed. Unbeknownst to Madeline, a note was sent to Mr. Parker telling of their arrival. Within minutes they were told to wait in Mr. Parker's office. Torey fell asleep in a chair, while Madeline worried about this so-called private meeting. She didn't like the sound of it, or the fact that everyone was in it, so she sent a few prayers up to Heaven to keep the people she had grown to love safe. She prayed for Brigitte as well, but only because she didn't want Torey to be left alone again.

The teenager who had been rejoicing an hour ago was now worried sick. She took some deep breaths to try and calm her churning stomach. If Brigitte left, for whatever reason- getting herself killed or otherwise, Madeline didn't even want to think about what would happen to Torey. It seemed she had run out of places to go.

'But no' Madeline thought, looking at Torey, 'I'll make them give her to me. I won't let Mr. Raines have her!' That train of thought only caused her to send up another quick, earnest prayer for the helpless little girl snoring softly a few feet away.


After what seemed like forever, Mr. Parker's secretary came in and told them where to go.

They entered a room with a T-shaped table in the center. 'T-board' popped into Madeline's mind but she wasn't sure where she had heard it or what it was. But she knew in her heart that it was bad.

Miss Parker, her father, and Sydney were in the room. Broots was, too... in a bathrobe. They all looked exhausted.

'Had they been taken from their beds?' Before Madeline could voice her many questions, Mr. Parker said,

"I need Victoria to come with me."

Madeline looked at Miss Parker, silently asking, "Brigitte's gone, isn't she?" Miss Parker knew what she was asking and nodded wearily.

"I'll come with you." Madeline told him firmly.

Seeing her jaw clenched in determination, he nodded, "Mr. Broots, you are to come as well."

Poor Broots, already put through so much, turned pale and, if it was possible, looked even more miserable than when Madeline had first seen him. He swallowed hard before nodding.

Madeline caught his eye and smiled to try and reassure him that he was not alone.

"Go home and get some rest, Angel. Madeline will follow shortly."

"Angel" nodded before leaving. Sydney gave the remaining group a worried glance before following.

Mr. Parker led the little caravan up to Mr. Raines office. Madeline glared first at him and then at Mr. Parker, knowing what was coming. Torey was so tired she had just followed Madeline without much interest in where they were going and why.

Now Madeline shook her a little to get her attention. She glanced at Mr. Raines and began to speak to Torey,

^Brigitte's gone, honey. She isn't coming back. I'm sorry.^ Madeline's face was filled with compassion. She hid her rage well, knowing she'd have time for that later.

^Why's everyone always leave me?^ Torey asked. Before Madeline could use her hands to try and comfort her, she was holding the sobbing child. Madeline took the opportunity to let her rage show.

"Now what?" She made herself ask. She held her breath as Mr. Parker and Mr. Raines exchanged a look.

"Mr. Lyle and Brigitte both made fatal mistakes." Mr. Raines said in his halting manner.

"We decided to put her with someone we know will not make that same mistake." Mr. Parker continued.

Madeline relaxed a little at this- since so far no one had mentioned the Centre. But she wasn't sure who they were talking about.

"Since you have a daughter of your own, Mr. Broots, she will permanently stay with you." Mr. Parker said.

"You are not planning on doing anything stupid, are you?" Mr. Raines asked him.

"No. No, sir! I'm not!" Broots stuttered.

"Good. You can get her things in the morning then." Mr. Parker said by way of a dismissal. Broots, Madeline, and Torey left. In the elevator, Madeline told Torey that she'd be living with Debbie and her father. Broots said he had to pick his daughter up and Madeline agreed to meet them at his house. She wanted to get Torey's stuff that night.


Broots must have told his daughter why Torey was going to live with them because as soon as the door opened, Debbie gave Torey a big hug. Madeline stayed until Torey fell asleep and then went downstairs to talk to Broots.

"You must have passed their test." She commented.

"I- I guess so." He replied in confusion- still in his pajamas. "I'm not going to work tomorrow."

"Good. I can come by after church if you want."


"Go to bed, you look exhausted. And Torey might be waking you up later."

"Debbie woke up crying for a while when she first came to live with me. But I think Torey'll be alright."

"Yeah, I know that." Madeline smiled, "She just needs time and stability, and love. Good night Broots."


Despite their early mornings, Miss Parker and Madeline spent a few hours talking before getting some much needed sleep.

Parker held Bunny and explained about the T-board and how Brigitte "left" the Centre. Madeline finally got to tell her guardian about her competition, ending the tale with "but it really doesn't seem as important anymore". Then she told Miss Parker what had happened after everyone else left. They agreed that it was good for Torey to be living with the Broots'. Bunny went back in his cage and the lights went out. Only then did the dark figure in the woods leave, knowing the occupants of the dark house would be safe for at least a little while longer.


Torey entered Sydney's office a month later and happily told him ^Broots really wants me. So does Debbie. They are happy that I'm there.^ If she could have spoken the words, her voice would have been full of amazement. ^It's like we're a little family.^

Sydney smiled and let her leave right then and there, even though she had just walked through the door. He knew she would grow up to be a lovely, happy young woman.

~The End. : - )

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