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Disclaimer is that I don't own them, just got inspired by the past episode. I want to thank Niceole for reading the rough draft and offering suggestions that were so desperately needed to make the story better. . .I suppose that I will rate this PG-13 some minor language. Enjoy and feedback is welcome after all I'm only 13 3/4
Oh Niceole if you read it again I made a few minor adjustments but nothing totally major and to the question you asked YES!!!!!!!



Fraying Fabric
1/?
by Shannon





He sat there on the cold concrete floor, in shackles, his arms heavy from being chained, but his legs were stretched out so that he could at least lean against the wall as he tried to relax the muscles of his neck, shoulders and back. He couldn't open his eyes, the beating from his captors left them swollen shut. His lips were cut and bruised, his tongue was swollen, he must have bitten it, yet his jaw worked when he moved his tongue slowly to moisten his lips. He was weak and under his ribs there was a hollowness, something akin to hunger only harsher, an ache that throbbed from the inside out.

The woman made her way through the maze, stopping, once she located the cell door. Feeling for the lock, she worked the lockpick in to it, casting furitive glances down the corridor as she heard the spring click back. Pushing the heavy metal door open slowly, her eyes adjusting to the darkness, she had twenty minutes, no more. Shaken and sick, the mustiness of the place almost made her retch, there wasn't a window or a cot just dampness, and the cold hard concrete. She scanned the room, and found him huddled in the corner in an upright position.

"Son-of-a-bitch," she muttered.

She tried to wake him, yet he would not respond. Her hands found one broken rib-no two-and when she unbuttoned his shirt, almost every inch of his torso was bruised- ugly purplish-black welts. There was dried blood in the corner of his mouth, which could only mean that one of his ribs had bruised his lung, for if it had been punctured, he'd be dead already. His heartbeat was steady under her hand, but she could hear a wheezing in his breathing. Labored and raspy.

"Jarod, wake up," she said into his ear,"You have to help me by waking up."

He moved, tried to reach out.

"Parker?" he croaked, a hoarseness to his voice, for he had dreamed that he had heard her voice all night.

She placed her lips on his forehead, very tenderly, barely touching him. Feverish. Damn, she thought. He'd been down here too long.

"We need to get you out of here."

"We?"

"Syd, Broots, Angelo, and me."

"Leave me, please. He wants to catch you here. To show the triumverate that you're the leak. I should never have given you that information, I should have taken care of it myself."

"I needed that information and you know it. You're wasting time."

"I can't see, so just leave."

"You can't see because your eyes are swollen shut. I'll lead. Come on," she extracted the lockpick from her jacket pocket and unlocked the shackles from around his wrists.

"No, Parker. Go home, stay safe, work from the inside, find all the answers for both of us. I'll manage, always have."

"Safe? There is no such thing as safe around here. You won't live much longer down here, not in your condition. He means to see you dead. Angelo warned me."

"So be it!" he mumbled.

"Damn it, Jarod!" her tone angry," I've had enough dead bodies to last a lifetime. I need your help. I need you alive. So get your ass up and let me get you out of here."

Helping him to his feet, she took the brunt of his weight against her body, stumbling slightly, then she gripped him tightly around the waist. As they made their way toward the door, Jarod tried to break away from her grip, tripping over his own two feet causing him to crash into the metal door.

Stopping a few feet from the cell, she adjusted Jarod's body weight as he tried to help her by letting her lead. She could see a shadow of a man at the intersection of the corridor. Hopefully it was Syd, for Jarod was heavier than she had expected but than again he was battered and bruised and manuevering on his own was out of the question, they'd get caught with all the noise he would make.

"Let me walk on my own, Parker," his voice quiet as he tried to feel his way down the corridor, faltering as he went.

"Want to get caught, there's no time," Sydney's arm caught him and Parker continued to support him from the other side, down the corridor to the vent that stood open at the end of it, moving quicker now that Sydney was there to offer assistance. Jarod heard Angelo's soft voice as he was lead into the duct, god the risk they ran to get him out of here. Suddenly he could feel cold, sweet air caress his body and it made him shiver.

"This is were I say good-by," Sydney said, in hushed tones," for now. Broots can only account for the both of us missing for so long."

"Later, Syd," Parker held out her hand to the man, grabbing hold of his, tightly then released it. She watched as he made his way back into the air shaft and disappeared in the darkness.

Surveying the surroundings, she breathed a sigh of relief, at least they had made it outside, yet she dare not risk the open for fear of the sweeper teams that patroled the area. The safest route was to stay close to the edge of the building and get him into her car and then she would return to the Centre and exit from the main door. He only had to stay alone for a matter of minutes, hopefully. As luck would have it, Mother nature was on their side, for the moment the parking area came into sight the clouds that had hung in the night sky suddenly scudded over the moon making it even darker. They took their time, the clouds continuing to darken the night sky and it began to rain, a little.

However, Jarod could feel himself begin to drift again, as he had in the cell, the pain in his ribs a dull grinding and his bruised face sending a bolt through him with every movement. He had not tasted the blood in his mouth for some hours, but now it was there again, jarred loose by the motion of walking. He felt weaker, and his hand tightened its gripped around Parker's waist in order to stay upright. It was a sudden flash of light that caused Parker to pull them into a narrow alcove, their bodies pressed against each other. Parker hoped that the darkness would conceal them from the sweepers making their rounds. She had timed this to the last minute, the sweepers would move on to the other side of the building in the next eight minutes, she had to get him to the car in that timeframe or everything else would be all for naught.

"Parker," he whispered, in her ear, his hot breath sending shivers down her spine, something she had not expected, but the proximity of their bodies didn't help the situation.

"Quiet, do you want us to get caught?" she placed her fingertips to his lips, gently so as not to aggravate them, yet signalling him to listen to her," They sweep this side and then go on to the other side, we have six minutes to make it to my car. It'll be rough going. Can you handle it?"

"Parker?" his lips moved against her finger, it felt like the wind had caressed her skin," Better make it quick, Parker, I'm dizzy as well as nauseous. I really don't want to pass out on you. I really don't have a choice, do I?"

"No, it's my help or back to the cell," she smiled, then realized that he could not see it anyway due to his swollen lids. The light had moved on, Parker cast a glance around the edge of the brick building, watching the sweeper team fade out of sight.

"Ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be, Parker."

"In the back you go, Jarod. I'll be back in a few minutes, just lay still and wait," she whispered as she carefully draped the dark blanket over him. He curled into a tight fetal position, the movement causing his ribs to ache and drawing a small cough from him. Parker reached out a hand to touch his face and found blood on his lips.

*****

Parker headed toward her office, she needed to gather her belongings, then get the hell out of here before anyone discovered that Jarod was missing. She had to get off Centre grounds before the discovery. Hopefully, Syd had made it back to his office and that Broots had covered from them long enough. Sometimes his nervousness made her nervous. Reaching for the doorknob to her office, she heard voices coming from inside. Damn. Her father, Cox and Lyle. Plastering on a phony smile, she breezed in to the room, waiting for the other musketeer to join the fray.

"Angel," her father said, as he turned along with Mr. Cox to watch her enter the room.

"Daddy," she looked from her father to her brother," Do what do I owe the pleasure of this gathering?"

"Oh, Parker. I'm hurt," Lyle feigned sadness in his features.

"Right," she sneered, then turned toward her father " How's the baby?"

"The baby, oh, ask the nurse? I've been to busy. . .what with Mutumbo's death. We need some one to fill the seat left vacant. Someone loyal, like Lyle, here."

She nearly blanched. Lyle-loyal. God damn it, after everything she had done to protect him and he still continued to lie to her. Well, that was the final straw, her loyalty was elsewhere, now. The door opened and the resident redeemer, Raines, entered the office, followed by Sydney and Broots.

"Oh, goody the gang's all here," Parker cooed sarcasm dripping, as she accepted the file from Broots hand, scanning the contents.

"Miss Parker?" Mr. Cox said with that thin grin that looked like a pleat, only horizontal.

"A lead," Sydney replied to his question, as Miss Parker left the room, followed by himself and Broots.

****

She pulled the quilts and blankets down from the bed and then lowered Jarod's body onto it carefully. She undressed him, by the soft light that came from the nightstand, cursing the man responsible for this. Then she began to wash him, the warm water touching him, the nerves of his bruised skin coming alive, making his muscles twitch and jump.

His hands were cold, so she held them to her lips and breathed her warm breath on them, rubbing them gently. There were marks on his wrists from the cuffs, threadlike cuts that would leave scars. Parker began to search him with her fingers, feeling for the spot where his ribs were broke. Placing her head to his chest, she listened. A little wheezing, a briused lung that would heal with plenty of rest. She laid a towel filled with ice across his eyes, than packed plastic bags of ice around his bruised chest covering them with a blanket to keep them in place.

Another Parker, in another world, would have left him in the cell and walked away but the business that he had started wasn't completed and the revelations that had come at his expense, made her realize that she couldn't leave him down there. There would be no victory today for her father, she thought as she walked into the kitchen and brewed some herbal tea. Returning with the cup in hand, she tested it with her finger, hot, then placed it on the night table to let it cool. Settling herself against the headboard of the bed, she placed his head in her lap then raised it slightly and let him sip the tea. He coughed, but little blood came up, the cold compresses doing the work that she had intended them to do.

After an hour, he was able to sip more from the cup-though he did not seem awake when she held it to his lips. She changed the compresses and placed oinment to his cuts that marked his wrists. Then she felt him cross over in to a deep slumber, the herbal tea doing what she had brewed it for. Laying next to him, at arm's length, her fingers barely touching his arm, she too slept, for when she woke, streaks of golden daylight came through the window. She sat up to tend to her patient, only to find him awake, as well.

"I've died, right," he mumbled.

"Grim reaper doesn't want you yet, Jarod," she chuckled softly, the sound of it surprising him as well as herself," Open your eyes."

He reached up and removed the wet towel from his eyes, yet his swollen lids remained closed.

"Can't," he said.

"Come on try."

His eyes opened and he looked at her, he did not smile.

"I see you," he whispered, " I know what this cost you, Parker."

She stared at him, wanting to turn away but couldn't, she forgot how he could read her, and see the pain and sadness in her eyes.

"Jarod. . I . .. I had to. . ."

"There's some unfinished business to take care of," he said softly.



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