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By Wicked Witch of the West

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A small cabin in the wilderness is where we find them. It is tiny - only two rooms, and goes almost unseen among the many trees. A gravel pathway is the only entrance and exit to the wooden house that holds the huntress and her prey.

They lie in a tight embrace, still sleeping. The excitement of the night has tired them, but to anyone who knows them would say they have never looked more serene and peaceful. A bird sings in a nearby tree, waking the lighter sleeper of the two. He moves slightly and grins down at his still sleeping companion. She lies close up against him, warm under the light sheet; her features are relaxed, eyelashes gently caressing the skin as her eyes move beneath. She dreams.

Mindful not to awaken her he closes his eyes to join her. From the smile on her lips, the dream is pleasant and he hopes to unite with her there.

Outside the bird sings its song again, as though it too has had its deepest dream come true and wants to announce it to the world.

The smile disappears from the pretender's lips; he cannot announce this happiness to the world even in a whisper. The Centre's eyes and ears are everywhere and no doubt somehow word would reach them and they would both die.

Parker stirs beside him, moving in just the right way to remind him of last night. From within the dream she whispers his name and the happiness that comes with it is more musical to his ears than any other time she has uttered it.

The bird still sings, small twitters growing steadily louder. Jarod frowns again, as if this can stop the bird from threatening to wake the brunette beside him. When she wakes they will have to leave - possibly they have spent too much time already. But to have to return to the Centre and to the run is almost painful, and Jarod finds himself thinking just one more hour, and then I will go back.

It has been like this for two days, and now they really do have to get back.

'Parker,' he whispers in to her ear, 'wake up love. We have to go.'

She moves slightly, but does not awaken.

'Parker--.' He freezes.

The bird has abruptly stopped singing, and for a second he thought he heard a phft sound.

He listens again, straining against Parker's breathing and his own rapidly beating heart.

The snapping of a twig echoes through every part of his brain. His senses become super sensitive and now he can hear, from every direction, the sound of guns readying.

The mattress they lie on is old and thin and cannot save them. The walls are thick logs but even they will not stop bullets.

There is no escape.

He can hear the slight static of their radios, the click as they take off the safety; he imagines he can even hear their breathing.

There is no escape.

He can almost feel them aiming. Can see them moving with slow deliberate care as not to move too much. Jarod bends down and presses his lips to Parker's.

All his genius, his skills and his disappearing acts have failed them when they needed them the most.

There is no escape.

The kiss is feather-light and she does not awaken from her dream.

'I love you,' he whispers against her mouth, his tears dropping onto her flawless skin and thankfully, she does not awake.

Then with painful clarity, he hears the static change to a voice.


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