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In a Heartbeat

By RaajmdTMP

Part 1

Miss Parker's House
May 15, 2001

Miss Parker had just come home from work. She got her mail and walked in her house. She booted her computer. She had been keeping in touch with Fiona through e-mail for the past few months. Fiona kept her updated in Jarod's search for her family.

While her computer hummed to life, Parker sifted through her mail. Water bill, electric bill and one with no return address. It was about the size of a greeting card and she would recognize the handwriting anywhere. She opened it up.

"Happy Mother's Day?" she read confused. The phone rang.

"What's the card supposed to mean?" she asked the caller annoyed.

"What card?" asked a very confused Broots.

'Wow! For once in his life, Jarod didn't have good timing,' Parker thought.

There was a knock on Parker's back door.

"Nothing, Broots. Um, I got to go. I'll call back later," Parker said and hung up the phone.

She walked over to the door and peeked outside.

'I guess he did.'

She opened the door.

"What are you doing here, Jarod?"

"I… We need to talk."

"It must be important. Otherwise you would just call me in the middle of the night."

"Miss Parker, please. This is serious."

It was then that she really looked at him. He was pale and a little shaky.

"Jarod, are you okay? You look like you've seen a ghost."

"You know, I wish I had," he said with a little laugh as he ran a shaky hand through his hair. He followed her into her living room.

"Have a seat."

"Thank you," Jarod said as he sank into the couch. Parker sat down next to him.

"What's wrong?"

"After all my years dealing with the Centre, I thought I had seen everything. I guess I was wrong."

"Jarod, what are you talking about?"

"I… I found Fiona's parents."

"You did? Where are they? They're alive, right?"

"Oh, yeah, they're alive all right."

"Well, what's the big deal?"

"It's not so much where they are, as who they are."

"Who are they?" she paused. "And why haven't you told Fiona yet?" she added suspiciously.

"I thought you should know first."

"How could it possibly be important for me to know before her?"

He didn't say anything. He just looked at her with a somewhat guilty expression. He couldn't bring himself to say it. He just hoped she'd understand.

She looked for the answer in his eyes. She suddenly understood the meaning of his card… and the feeling that something strange was going to happen from months before. This was something strange and completely unexpected. She was Fiona's mother. But that didn't explain why it affected Jarod so badly, unless of course he was…

"Jarod, how could they do that to us? My father…"

"Your father will do anything for money. Could you imagine him even having to think twice about making a super Pretender? I mean, the intelligence of a child of two Red Files could be beyond anything ever seen before."

Miss Parker was speechless. How dare they? The Centre had done some horrible things but Jarod was right. They had never done anything like this. A few months before she had been questioning herself why she stayed at the Centre. Now she couldn't bear to go back.

She reached out and took his hands in hers. She looked up with tears in her eyes only to find tears in his. She wanted to let all her emotions out, but she had to say this first.

"Jarod, the Centre has taken so much from us over the years, but this time they went too far. They've crossed a line and they can't go back. I can't go back."

"You mean…?

"I'm leaving the Centre."

"Parker, are you sure?"

"Come on, Jarod. All these years you have been trying to convince me to leave. Don't even pretend you want me to stay. I can't, not after this. They took our child."

"I'm not saying anything like that, Parker. I'm just surprised you decided so fast."

"Fast!? You've been trying to get me to leave for the past five years!"

"Yeah, well, ah, if you need help with this, I'm here."

"I wasn't planning on doing it alone, I told you that. We both have responsibility for Fiona's safety. It's something we've never had to handle alone and I don't think we could if we tried. We need to stick together if we're going to keep a family of runaway Red Files out of the Centre."

"So you're saying you need my help?"

"Go ahead, boy genius. Rub it in."

"Hey, don't blame me. It's not every day that the Ice Queen asks you for help."

"Oh, thanks a lot. I feel much better now."

Jarod smiled at the look on her face. She reluctantly smiled back.

"Jarod, you're a genius. Can you answer a question for me?"

"Sure."

"Can anyone possibly stay mad at you very long?"

"I don't know."

"Cute. Not funny, but cute," she said before she threw a pillow at his head.

"What was that for?"

"I don't know," she repeated his reply mockingly.

"Okay, now that we're even, we should start planning on getting you out of there."

"And how we'll tell Fiona. It's bound to be harder to explain it to her than to me. She may have spent all her life at the Centre but she might not know all they are capable of."

"We'll tell her tomorrow. It would be too much for us to deal with if we told her tonight."

"Jarod, the people at the Centre are going to think you had something to do with my leaving. What if they think that Syd, Broots, and I have been helping you all along? They won't be safe there."

"Don't worry, Parker. Sydney and Broots will be safe. We'll make sure they're gone before anyone, even Lyle, knows you've left." He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight.

The Centre
Blue Cove, DE
The next morning

Broots burst into Sydney's office carrying yet another file folder.

"Syd, you'll never guess what I found."

"What is it, Broots?"

"It's more information on the RFG2 project. There was only one known success: RFG2 number 16-791215-20."

"What does that mean?"

"I… I think I should tell Miss Parker first."

He started to leave.

"Wait! You don't know how she's going to react to this."

"I don't care how she reacts. She has a right to know what's been going on behind her back." He started for the door again but turned around. "If you've known about this, Sydney, I hope you had a good reason for keeping it a secret."

Broots left Sydney to think about what he said and jogged to Miss Parker's office.

"Miss Parker, I have something important to show you."

He looked around the empty office.

"Miss Parker?"

Broots made his way over to Parker's desk. There was nothing out of place except the screensaver on her computer was on. He didn't think much of it. He continued his observation of the room when a sound came from the computer.

"You have a video phone call."

Broots sat down trying to decide if he should answer it or not.

"What's the worst that could happen?" he said to himself when he clicked it.

"Hello, Mr. Broots."

"Jarod! Oh, I'm sorry. You want to talk to Miss Parker. I can't find…"

"Calm down, Broots. I wanted to talk to you."

"You did? Good, she won't kill me then. Wait a minute! If you want to talk to me, why did you send this to Miss Parker?"

"We knew you'd be there to get it."

"Whose 'we'?" Broots asked suspiciously.

"Just check Parker's e-mail."

Broots wanted to protest but Jarod ended the call. As he went into Parker's e-mail account, he couldn't shake the feeling that there was something familiar about the room Jarod was sitting in. The feeling disappeared when he clicked on Parker's only new mail. A picture of a girl loaded. It looked like Miss Powers but had very dark brown eyes. There was a link below the picture. A song started to play when he clicked it.

Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is gonna change
I close my eyes; begin to pray
And tears of joy stream down my face

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open

Well I don't know if I'm ready
To be the man I have to be
I'll take a breath, take her by my side
We stand in awe; we've created life

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open

If I had just one wish
Only one demand
I hope he's not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open…

"You have a video phone call."

The sound of those words made Broots nearly jump out of his skin.

He quickly clicked it.

"I got the mail- Miss Parker! I, ah, well…"

"I take it you got my e-mail."

"Yeah, but Jarod said… I thought it was from Jarod."

"It was from Jarod," Jarod said as he came to sit next to Parker at the desk his laptop was set on.

"Huh? What are you...? You're together and you're not trying to bring him in?"

"You don't know me very well, do you Broots?"

"Well, I… I thought I did," he answered confused.

"Why were you in my office, Broots?"

"I had to show you something important."

"Let me guess, something called RFG2?"

"You two know about RFG2?"

"How else would you explain why we are acting so civilized towards each other?"

"Who said we're acting civilized?" Parker asked as she playfully punched Jarod in the arm.

"That hurt!"

"It did not!"

"Excuse me, but I'm still here," Broots said noticing that Parker looked happier than he had seen her for a long time.

"Oh yeah, um, RFG2, right. We found out about it just yesterday."

"I'm sorry you didn't know sooner."

"Don't be sorry. There's nothing you could have done."

"No, I've known about the project since November. I just didn't know what the ramifications were. I'm sorry, I- I should have told you."

"It's okay. In a way, we've known just as long. We met Fiona in November when she was trying to locate her friend. He was kidnapped and we helped her find him. We didn't know she was our daughter, but we felt a connection with her. We knew she grew up at the Centre, so we thought that was the link. It made for an interesting vacation for me."

"That's what you were doing on your vacation? You were with Jarod that whole time?"

"Hard to believe that I came out of it alive, Broots?" Jarod teased.

"Yes-No, of course not!" he caught himself. "I was just surprised. Um, what are you going to do about it?" Broots asked.

"Well, we are planning on leaving as soon as possible. You should do the same."

"But I…"

"You have to. It's the only way you'll be safe."

"Take Debbie and go as far as you can."

"I will. Thank you."

"Broots, wait a minute. We want to thank you, too. For all the help you've given us. For everything."

"You're welcome. Jarod? Miss Parker?"

"Yeah?"

"Good luck with your family."

"You, too, Mr. Broots."

The screen went blank. Broots looked nervously around the room now. They were right. He had to leave now. He ran out the door in a daze. He couldn't believe what was happening. Nothing that happened in the past twenty minutes seemed real to him. He didn't even notice when he bumped into Mr. Lyle in the hall and dropped the file he was carrying. He mumbled 'sorry' and ran for Sydney's office.

Lyle bent down and picked up the folder. Being inquisitive, not to mention nosy, by nature, he skimmed through it. He hurried off to Mr. Parker's office.











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