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a/n: originally written for the 'never gone' challenge but grew. And grew. Somehow ended up ... this. Warnings for Miss Parker/Lyle, sex scenes, general fucked-up-ness and the abuse of the word 'survival'.

A Game of Dice and Guns


Nobody likes to see weakness in themselves, to realise what can happen to persons when they’re put under stress… to think of themselves as doing anything to stay alive. They think they’d say, “Kill me first”.
-- Patty Hearst



You promised you wouldn’t leave.

I never left you, Parker. I was never gone.

You did; you left. You left me.





And one day he’s simply gone.

There are still small clips in newspapers across the country. Good Samaritan Saves Man/Woman/Family/Dog, but they’re found long after the fact. The people he leaves behind glare when they show his picture and refuse to answer with anything but ‘he’s not here now’.

Raines blames her; she blames Lyle; Lyle blames Sydney. Sydney just looks despondent without his pet, occasionally staring sadly at his phone or model of the Empire State Building.

Sometimes Miss Parker wakes up at 3 am out of long ingrained habit. For a moment the ring of the phone will almost sound in her ears before she realises it’s just her imagination. He’s not calling – he’ll probably never call again.

(He said he’d never leave you; you said you’d never leave. What did you expect?


Him to stay.)


Every time she hates him just a little bit more.

They blamed me for your disappearance.

I… you hurt me, Parker. I left to get some clarity. To figure out what to do.

I hurt you? It’s been 2 years.

I didn’t know what else to do.

You could have stayed.




After three months of nothing they summon her to a meeting. The look on Raines’ face tells her that he would have preferred her and Lyle on the wrong end of a T board. She smiles sweetly and wishes she had it in her to sneer ‘daddy’ at him.

“This isn’t good enough, Miss Parker. Our agreement doesn’t stand for this,” Raines hisses.

“Find him or we’ll have to figure out something else to do with both of you.”

Lyle stares at her and she stares back, unperturbed. The look he gives her says would you like to kill him or shall I?

She’s almost amused. To her survival has always been a game of dice and guns where the only limits are your morals and ammo. Neither of which has ever been a bother to them – they’ve always been willing to do anything to survive.

You were just gone.

I’m… I’m sorry. I didn’t know about … Raines.

You left me with them.




“A truce,” he says.

She laughs, cold and bitter. “The last time you offered me an agreement you faked your own death.”

He ignores her. “You can’t afford not to, Parker. He’ll have you killed.”

“He’ll have you killed too,” she sneers.

Lyle smiles. “No, he and I go way back. Besides, I’m his darling son.”

“His protégé, I’d say.”

Lyle smiles again, but there is impatience there. She always managed to goad him, to get him to react in ways others couldn’t. Cold is her strength and his weakness. “You have a chance here. I can help you; you can survive."

Survive.

What would you do to survive?


“Of course,” he continues, stepping closer and invading her personal space, “you could always run. I’d like to see that. Maybe they’d even let me chase you,” he says in a low voice.

Miss Parker sighs. There has been no contact with Jarod for 89 days and counting. If she wants to be saved (survive) she’ll have to do it on her own.

She’s signed deals with devils many times before. This pact hurts no more or less.

“What do you have in mind?”

I never had any doubt that you’d be all right. I was always with you in spirit.

Spirit didn’t stop me from having to…

I’m… I’m sorry you had to go through that.

I did what I had to survive.




She thinks in hindsight that maybe she should have said something profound. Maybe ‘this is for my mother, asshole’, or perhaps something more like an action movie: ‘eat lead, daddy.’

But she doesn’t. She stares at her twin standing slightly offside him, silently daring her to do it. Peer pressure on a whole new level.

(It’s like Game Of Life only warped and twisted. Land on this square and take a card.

“Kill your biological father. Yes/No.
Yes – gain chairmanship / lose soul / your mother spins in her grave.
[she’s not in her grave. Is that a bonus point?]
No – die / keep soul - what little is left.”)


“Have you made any progress?” Raines asks, the upward curve of his lips says that he already knows the answer.

“No,” she replies.

Lyle smiles, mouths ‘so long’. Bastard. She keeps her gaze fixed on his…

Her holster is unclipped, the silencer in place. Raines gets out “that’s unfortunate for you--” before she shoots him right between the eyes without breaking eye contact with Lyle.

She’s always been a good shot – a natural they said during training. She imagines where the bullet should go and then she puts it there.

Lyle doesn’t flinch as Raines jerks up suddenly for a second before slumping onto his desk. A small pool of blood oozes from the wound and onto his papers. One of which is probably her death warrant.

“Survival,” she says, like it’s justification, like it will make the good feeling evaporate from her veins.

I can’t believe you would--

What was I meant to do?

Not run the place!

I had a choice. I chose to live. Judge me all you want.

I could never judge you; I love you.

You loved me enough to leave me.


Yes.




She wakes up every day knowing that whatever her mother might have wanted for her in life, it definitely wasn’t this.

The thought is pushed away each and every morning. It’s pushed away again at lunch when she downs a little food and a lot of coffee. Again back in her office when Lyle runs his fingers up her arms. Again when he whispers in her ear “we’re Parkers. We can do anything – no one can tell us what’s right and wrong.”

Again when his hand slip between her legs, the tips of his fingernails scratching slightly against the skin. Again when he pushes away her panties and she nearly lets out a whimper (of hate, disgust, lust), and he cups her breast with his other hand.

Again when she gasps and comes.

(Again when she realise she didn’t think of Jarod, didn’t even try to say his name.)

After all, this way she does wake up.

I’m… back now.

Why?

Because I need you.

For what?

I just need you.

To survive?


Yes.




And one day he’s back.

A package arrives with her name on it. An identical one in her twin’s office. She knows this before he comes in with it and dark eyes. She knows before he throws it on her desk and pushes her against the wall and his mouth against hers.

“Going to leave me for him?” he hisses against her skin. “Going to run off into the sunset? Live the American Dream?”

She clings to his neck as he fucks her and doesn’t reply. His body is tense and taunt against her – his entire body language saying why did he have to come back?

He comes with a low growl in the back of his throat. He does up his trousers and makes no move to touch her, instead leaving her on edge and close. “Bastard,” she says.

For a second she thinks he’ll just leave, but then he’s pressing her against the wall again. He shoves her wrinkled skirt out of the way again and flicks his finger against her clit roughly.

He watches her as he touches her. When she shudders and comes against him a little while later he smiles and whispers “I’ll still chase you,” in her ear.

You survived without me. I survived without you.

Did you? I’m not sure you did. Do you really think this is life, Parker?


Yes.




The box is empty but for a single piece of paper sitting loosely in the centre. Remember me? it says.

It is a metaphor, a symbol, a hidden message but all she wants to do is burn it.

Broots and Sydney come to her office unsummoned. She wonders if Angelo told them or if they just heard from the grapevine. Either way they’re there and acting as if the last two years never happened.

“What are we going to do,” Broots asks nervously. “Are we going to try again?”

Somewhere on her desk is the exact cost of the previous hunt. It reached six figures. In another pile she has the request for another clone for Africa and the cost of production. One is significantly higher than the other is, but one is a long term investment.

She took finances in college.

“No,” she says. “Jarod is no longer most important thing in the world.”

Broots stutters until she snaps at him. Sydney just watches her with knowing eyes and glances at the other box on her desk in silent accusation.

Eventually Broots scurries away leaving her and Sydney. They say nothing as her phone rings. They both know who it is. It rings 15 times but she doesn’t pick up.

She can change the rules too.

“Survival,” she says to him and the world in general. It is justification. He of all people should understand that.

When he leaves she turns down the picture of her mother.

I wouldn’t have gone with you, even if you asked.

Why?

Because he would have chased us.

And it’s better this way?


Yes.














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