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Title: First One Wins
Author: Nicky
Subject: TP 2001 Movie Fanfic Challenge
Disclaimer: The characters Miss Parker, Sydney, Jarod, Broots etc. and the fictional Centre, are all property of MTM, TNT and NBC Productions and used without permission.

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Miss Parker puts her key in the front door and enters the dark house, not even bothering to switch on a light. What was there to see? Nothing changed anyway. It all was the same. But little did she know that something was different that day. She had company. Someone with news that would shake her world.

As she makes her way through the living room, a light clinking sound stops her in her tracks. She reaches to the back of her waistband and pulls out her weapon, not sure where to point it in the darkness. Ducking behind the wall leading to the stairs, she finds the light switch and bathes the room in brightness, revealing the intruder.

"Jarod?" she gasps incredulously. "You scared me? What are you doing here?" She looks at the man sitting on her couch. This wasn't the Jarod she was used to seeing. The one with the ever-present cocky grin that could both annoy and arouse her. This man on her couch seemed shell-shocked. Broken, even. He just sat there, his eyes fixated on something in his hand. Miss Parker follows his glance and notices a half empty glass of scotch. The clinking sound she heard must have come from the ice.

"Jarod are you drunk?" she ask tenderly, replacing her gun in its holster. Now was not the time to threaten Jarod with taking him back to the Centre.

"No," he grunts hoarsely. "Not drunk enough, anyway."

"Jarod, you're scaring me. What's going on?" She sits next to him, gently easing the glass from his tense hand. Looking at the devastation on his face, she downs the rest of the liquid in one smooth gulp, somehow knowing that she would probably need it.

"Answers. Not always a good thing. When those answers are from the Centre, they always seem to lead to more questions," Jarod tells her cryptically.

"Jarod I don't understand. You found answers? About that picture with our mothers?"

"I found answers about the only thing that really matters," he sighs.

As if on cue, another sound rings through the silence. A little cry coming through a monitor on the table next to Jarod. A baby monitor. Before she can question him, Jarod has risen and gone down the hall to the guest room and emerged with a little boy toddling beside him, holding tightly to his fingers.

"That's my baby brother," Miss Parker comments. She rises from her seat and quickly goes to grab the little boy, kissing away his tears. "Hey TJ. How's my big boy?"

"TJ?" Jarod asks.

"Thomas Jeremy Parker," she remarks proudly. "Thomas was so formal for a baby and I couldn't call him Tommy because . . . I just couldn't. So I dubbed him TJ." She smiles again at the boy.

"Sissy," the little boy says in his garbled tongue and gives her a sloppy kiss on the cheek, eliciting a squealing giggle sound that Jarod's never heard from the woman.

"Why is my baby brother here and not at the Centre?" she asks suddenly.

"Not your brother, Miss Parker. Your son. Our son," he whispers, wanting desperately to turn away to avoid the hurt look on her face, but finding himself unable to unlock his gaze from her eyes.

She opens and closes her mouth a couple of times, trying to force out the words. But there weren't any words to say. With shaking arms, she sets TJ back on his feet and the little boy runs over to the bag of toys Jarod brought. Finding a truck, he happily set to driving it across the living room floor.

Just seconds later, Miss Parker's own legs give out and she sinks down to her knees. Jarod is instantly at her side, sitting next to her and tentatively lays a hand on her shoulder to test the waters. Without really thinking about it, she leans into his touch and he takes that as a sign to fully pull her into his embrace.

"What did they do?" she asks when she's finally able to use her voice again. "How? Why?"

"It goes back to that picture, Miss Parker. Our mother's were very extraordinary people," he explains to her. "Raines discovered that while writing a paper for a medical journal. He had access to both of their medical records when they were pregnant and discovered that they were the lone survivors of a special group of children, born with incredible talents. But back then, those talents were seen by society as something tantamount to witchcraft. So they were taught to supress and hide those gifts.

"But Raines wanted to expose those gifts. After I was born, Raines kept a close eye on my mother and I. After you were born and were old enough, he performed tests to discover you had the same talents as your mother. You were just a few years old. That's when I was taken and brought here with the hopes that one day, he'd be able to produce a child between the two of us. It would be the only way to get offspring with my mother and your mother's talents," Jarod finishes.

"He created TJ and implanted him in Brigitte?" Miss Parker asks.

"Not really. He created the child. But it was ultimately someone else who made the decision on implanting him in Brigitte. Someone else who knew how much power this child could bring him."

"My father," she says stoically as realization suddenly dawns on her. This news didn't even surprise her. But it still couldn't have hurt her anymore than if he had forced Jarod on her to make this baby the old fashioned way and then ripping him from her womb. That's essentially what happened anyway. But in a clinical, sterile environment. Medical rape.

"Mr. Parker got wind of Raines' plans and stole the embryo," he continues. He didn't want to marry Brigitte, but he had no choice. He needed a surrogate - and a plausible cover story. The newly married couple deciding to have a child. No one would question where the baby came from."

"I don't want to hear anymore," she cries, holding her hand up to tell him she had heard enough. "And you're sure he's ours?"

"I got the DNA results last week," Jarod replies.

"What do we do now? Because I know you have every intention of keeping him as far away from that place as you can. Does that mean you'll be keeping him from me as well?"

"If that's where you plan to be," he says as if he were about to offer an alternative option. But he changes his mind and starts in on a new subject. "It's funny how one so small can hold all the answers. What did I say about the first one to the answers? So why is it I don't feel much like the winner?" One of them would have to make a tough choice - a decision that might not make any of them happy.

"That's because we've been playing this game against each other, Jarod. And when we do that, there's no way either of us can win. And that's what they're counting on. But if it's us against them, then I don't see how we can lose," she realizes.

"He can't go back."

"I know. And if he doesn't, then I'm not either," she says, her decision made.

"They'll come after us. We'll have to go under completely. There won't be any more answers. The answers will stop with him," he says nodding towards the baby.

"Jarod you said it yourself. He's the only answer that matters. If I have to give everything up for him, then I will. But what about you? You have so much more to lose? You have a family out there that you'll have to . . . "

"My mother is dead. Raines killed caught her and killed her right after she and Emily were separated."

"Jarod, I'm so sorry."

"I still have my dad. My sister. My brothers. I know where they are. And they know I love them. They understand what I have to do for our son." He turns to look at her. "But you have a life here. You'll have to give it all up."

"Jarod, the only thing I'll have to give up is the very thing I can live without." She places her hand gently on his cheek and smiles at him. "I'll have to give up all the anger and all of the resentment. All of my reservations and what I was holding back. Because for a long time, I couldn't admit to myself what my heart has known all of my life. Under all of that baggage is a life of love meant only to be lived with you. Giving up all of that stuff means getting you back." She smiles again and leans towards him as their lips finally find each other again for the first time in many years.

"You didn't have to get me back. I never left. I was always so close because I couldn't get you out of here," he says, pulling her hand up to his heart.

There were no declarations of love yet. But what they didn't say in words, their eyes conveyed to each other until the time for the words came. They kiss again, this time with all the passion that had been stored up for the past 20 years. Coming close to losing themselves in that kiss, they're suddenly reminded of their audience with a little gurgling sound coming from the floor. Miss Parker pulls away and Jarod reluctantly lets her out of his embrace. She reaches down for the little boy and pulls him close to her.

"That's right, Baby Boy. Mommy and Daddy will be doing a lot more of that," she says, starting to laugh at the little boy's

"Mommy and Daddy," Jarod repeats. "I like the sound of that."

"Maybe one day when everything's safe, we'll hear more of it in the future. From more little voices" she says, throwing him a seductive glance while standing up. She shifts TJ to one hip and reaches a hand out to Jarod, which he eagerly accepts. "Let's go, Wonderboy. We've got a new life to get to."

"You don't need to get anything?" he asks.

"I was told once that you only need what you can hold in your hands. I have you. And I have our son. Nothing else is important." She smiles and watches him bend to pick up TJ's bag. They get out the front door and she turns and looks one last time at the place she called home. Feeling the supportive squeeze from Jarod's hand, she closes the door to that place forever, knowing she's found a new home with him.

The End.

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