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Author's Note: I added a disclaimer to chapter one, apparently I forgot to put one in there.

Too Close!

Two days later they still had not gotten any definitive answers. The only progress he had made so far was in obtaining Baby Parker's DNA. He did not know whom he should try to match it against. It was highly unlikely that Mr. Parker was the father, considering Miss Parker's paternity. Alex seemed to think that they didn't know whom either of the baby's parents were. But, if Brigitte gave birth… he would like to assume she was the mother, but the Centre is capable of many things. A wrong assumption now could be fatal. He would have to check everything.

He would start by determining the baby's blood type and go from there.

* * * *

"Hey, Lab Rat, you ok?" Parker asked as she sat down next to a dazed Jarod.

"What? Yes, yeah, fine. I'm fine." Jarod uncharacteristically ran his words over one another. Something was bothering him.

His hair was standing on end. Jarod looked exhausted and… distressed. In his life, she knows of only one thing that could be the cause of that… the Centre. Since he had answered her, he had fallen back into his daze. She looked around his 'work station' for the piece of information that had him in such a stupor. All he had out in front of him though, were a microscope and a printout. She could not make heads or tails out of the data that Jarod had recorded there.

She turned to her side to face him, but he was still string straight ahead. She snapped her fingers in front of his face. The first time did not work. She did it again. He blinked and swiveled in his chair looking bewildered.

"Miss Parker, when did you get here?" He asked nonchalantly, trying to cover up his surprise at having her sitting right beside him.

Looking down he saw the DNA results in her hands. 'Uh-oh' he thought.

"Wake up Jarod. If I had been a sweeper team, you would be back at the Centre by now, getting up-close and personal with Lyle's instruments of torture. Not only that, but I would be in a whole shit-load of trouble… if you were caught… here -- where it is plainly apparent that you've been staying. This kind of carelessness cannot happen again, Jarod. Jarod, hey are you even listening to me?" She followed his line of vision down to her hands. Jarod's hand that was previously inching its way closer to the papers was quickly withdrawn.

"What is this?" She holds the papers up after taking note of his actions, suspicion raging in full force.

"Nothing for you to worry about." He quickly grabs the papers from her. A sigh of relief escapes him, glad that she had not been able to decipher the genetic codes strewn across the pages. He quickly shuts them inside his Halliburton briefcase by his side.

"Oh no you don't. If that has something to do with the reason for our current, and temporary 'alliance' then I demand to know what it is." She reached around him for the briefcase. As soon as she had a grip on the handle, Jarod quickly reacted to flip the lock on the right side of the briefcase in place. Before he can flip the lock on the left down, she jumps out of the chair and swings the case away from him.

She was really pissed now. Here she is risking her life… possibly his life, which happens to be causing major emotional turmoil within her right now… and her sanity by working with him and he's withholding information. 'Damn it' she thought. 'He's always a pain in the ass, whether he's here or thousands of miles away on the phone.'

Parker took the case with her into the kitchen, and grabbed a screwdriver out of her 'utility' drawer. She set the case down on the counter and inserted the flat head into the unlocked side of the briefcase to try to pry it open. Unfortunately, she only succeeded in bending her previously touted unbreakable screwdriver. She tossed it back in the drawer angrily and stomped back over to Jarod's 'work station' where she left him.

He had only just gotten out of his chair when Parker returned to the room. He eyed her warily. There was no way she could open the Halliburton without the use of a blowtorch, even with one side being unlocked. His only concern right now was to pacify the furiously angry Parker… the dangerous woman that now stood in front of him.

"Parker, calm down…ufgh." She thrust the briefcase into his stomach.

"Open it." She demanded sharply. When he continued to stay slightly bent over from the force with which she shoved the briefcase into him, she added in a low growl, "Now."

He slowly straightened. He moved the case onto the table, one arm covering his abdomen in pain, the other repeatedly clenching and unclenching into a tight fist. He glared at her for a second and then looked away. Jarod continued to ignore her as he walked into the kitchen.

Parker saw that he was in pain, and felt sorry for her actions. Her remorse soon turned to disbelieving anger as he exited the room without a word. Her face fell into a bewildered pose.

"Get back in here Jarod, and open the damn case!" She was ready to explode.

Parker waited a full minute for him to return. When he didn't, she went to the kitchen. She found him there all right. Except he was bent over at the counter, clearly still in pain. The obscenity that she had been preparing to yell at him fell silent before it could pass her lips. She slowly walked towards him, and not wanting to seem too concerned, tried to use the same tone of voice she had been dishing her anger at him in, to ask if he was all right.

He knew it was a bad idea, but he needed to get her mind away from the contents contained inside the briefcase. It wasn’t completely an act. He was in pain. Just not as much as he was going to make her believe. He groaned again after he tried to take a deep breath. With his head resting on the counter, his hair had fallen over his forehead, but he could see out of the corner of his eye. He saw her wince at the 'pain' she had caused him. He heard her voice crack, almost imperceptibly if he hadn't been paying so close attention, when she roughly asked if he was all right.

He looked up at her then. The smile that he felt on his face at her concern would look like a grimace of pain to her. He would feel guilty for this performance later, he was sure of it.

That surety that he was feeling was solidified when she apologized. He probably wasn't supposed to have heard it, it was just above a whisper, and was most likely meant to ease her peace of mind, but he did hear it. Now with his back to her as he walked out of the kitchen, he did smile.

* * * *

"God damn-it!" She viciously whispered to herself. And again in a whisper, she added, "I always end up hurting him." Parker had been lying in bed for an hour now, her mind berating herself repeatedly for causing him pain. If the information he had were important, he would have given it to her. He's never lied to her before, why would he start now. She should not have lost control earlier. However, her options were limited. He would expect previously demonstrated behavioral tendencies from her. Given the fact that she was angered, her reaction was suitable.

Her emotions had been all over the place since he had been there, though. Actually, that’s not true. They weren't all over the place, just in a place that they had not been recently. Except with him, it was all day everyday.

She would see him in the morning…her stomach would tie itself in knots.

Her mind would wonder what Jarod was doing while she was at work… time, thankfully, flew by.

She would leave the Centre --slightly earlier than usual, but they had, uh, important things to work out. When she did get home though… her stomach would untie itself and do flip-flops.

When they sat down together the two previous nights to discuss uncovered information, she had been so close to him… her mind would go blank, only able to concentrate on Jarod, and the energy that emanated from him.

She would breathe in to shake herself of that reverie only to catch his scent… her stomach would tighten, and she would lean in closer.

The closeness would lead to inadvertent brushes of legs, arms, and hands… Parker would hold her breath, hoping to retain that feeling.

Seeing him after he was freshly showered only wearing his towel… her pulse skyrocketed.

The meals they shared, forgetting what their roles were, they had laughed as if they had never stopped being friends. Only his laugh was too infectious, and the grin that went along with it was heart stopping.

"Damn-it!" She whispered again. She had gotten too close.

Authors Note: I'll try to get the next part out in a more timely fashion, but I make no promises. Hope you enjoyed what there was of this installment. I always intend to make them longer, but I never do. I apologize again for writing so slowly. Opinions would be great, thanks.

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