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Author's Chapter Notes:

Ah, the story continues. Thanks for wonderful reviews, it is very much appreciated.  


Each character is written by a different author (well almost, some writers add on a second later in the story), so to help you readers keep it all straight, each character has a different color.

Writer / Character

Jacci - Mr Cox

KatieQ - Miss Parker

Manoline - Broots, Emily

Tinanaz - Jarod, Sam

TLM - Sydney

Whashaza - Lyle, Alex

A new chapter will be posted approximately twice a week, check end notes for when the next is scheduled to arrive

Jarod took a deep breath as he watched Sam accept the handcuffs Parker held out. He knew that Sydney's life was still in danger from Lyle, but he truly didn't know if he could handle going back to the Centre. With what Lyle and Alex had already put him through, he knew that escape or even just survival there would be almost impossible. But what would his life be like if he let both Sydney and Broots die because of him? Would he be able to handle the guilt associated with that? He didn't know. But he had just over thirty minutes to find out.

"Wait," he told Sam. "I need to use the bathroom first."

He saw the look that Parker shot at him and couldn't help his grimace.

"Come on. During the last twelve hours, I've been drugged, had Lyle and Alex messing with my head, vomited even though that wasn't too bad considering it landed on Lyle, and been chained to this stupid and uncomfortable chair for the last half hour. Surely a trip to the bathroom isn't an unreasonable request, especially since this room is on the third floor and the bathroom doesn't even have a window."

Even Parker wouldn't be that cruel, he thought to himself. One last bit of freedom, maybe a chance to dunk his head under the sink, hopefully clear his brain so he could figure a way to save both himself and his friends caught in the Centre.


Waking slowly and painfully, Emily began opening her eyes. Everything was foggy and the single bulb in the, rather large, concreate room - basement - didn't really do much to illuminate the room. Though somehow she had still managed to be blinded by it.

'It's just not your day today, is it?' She thought, while avoiding the true gravity behind her words.

She closed her eyes to releave some of the pain as she began arranging herself into a seating position on the warn down leather sofa. One step at a time, all separated by a much needed deep breath, she eventually managed to sit up. Pushing back a wave of nausea she began straightening her hair and clothes in an attempt to undo some of the damage caused by the drugs. Though the only 'damage' she could really undo was the visable, she still felt like complete crap. But it was a pride thing; If they couldn't tell she was ill, it would be one less triumph on their part. And though she doubted very much she could make herself look healthy, she could at least look a little less found-in-a-ditch-like.

Satisfied that her hair wasn't going to get any better without a brush, she made a second attempt at opening her eyes. Letting the anger of her current situation fill her once again.

"And I repeat:" She said sternly to the person she knew must be listening. Pausing between every word she continued, rage underlining her every word "What do you want from me?"


Jarod barely waited for Sam to unchain his ankles from the chair before bolting for the bathroom. He heard Miss Parker's chuckle at his haste, but she didn't realize then that it wasn't nature's call he was answering so quickly. He slammed the door shut and then smirked. The door had a lock, which he very quietly turned. Surveying the room proved to be disappointing, but he knew he had to make something work. He measured off the distance between the door and the sink and then the length of the shower door.

'Perfect', he thought. 'Just enough room.'

Jarod took some of the bath towels, rolled them into tight tubes and shoved them against the bottom of the bathroom door. This would help muffle any of the sounds he was making and make it harder for Sam to open the door from the outside. He absently answered Miss Parker's demand that he hurry up in there and a couple of seconds later both flushed the unused toilet and started running the water in the sink, which further masked the sounds of the shower door being removed. He braced the shower door between the bathroom door and the sink, turned off the water, grabbed a seat on the toilet cover, and waited for the explosions to begin.


Sydney threw open the door to his home office. He had been unable to locate Broots and was hoping his friend had been released as well. Broots was a smart man. He would know he could find Sydney here if he needed him. The only problem was that everyone else knew that, too. The Centre was a dangerous place to be right now, whether Sydney knew why or not. In one respect, he wanted to retreat to somewhere safer. However in another, he realized that if Jarod and Miss Parker did indeed need his help, he would be the most useful to them if he remained on the inside.

With a deep breath, Sydney shuffled some papers around on his desk and sunk into his leather chair. How many nights had he spent in this chair worrying about Jarod or Miss Parker? He didn't even want to know the number of hours dedicated to his fretting. It wasn't healthy and it wasn't doing anyone any good, yet here he was doing it again. Only this time, he wasn't going to run and hide, protect himself when the boy he raised- well, the man- was out baring the brunt of Sydney's own mistakes. No, this time he would be ready to do whatever it took to protect the ones he cared about, regardless of the consequences.

Picking up his phone, Sydney dialed a very familiar number. After a moment of listening to unrequited ringing, he hung up. Miss Parker was busy. Probably accomplishing a lot more than he was right now. At least that's what he liked to assume. To think that she wasn't answering her phone because something had gone wrong and perhaps she was being held captive somewhere else in the Centre made Sydney ill. No, Parker could take care of herself. She needed a little help sometimes, but he was always willing to give her that. He only hoped that she would ask for it when the time came.

Sydney pulled open his drawer and opened a metal box within it, taking out the faded father's day card he'd received from another man's son. He really hoped Jarod was okay. His hands were itching to pull out the phone and call his young pupil up, but this psychiatrist wasn't one to be trusted so Jarod had never given him his telephone number. He probably never would.

Where were they? Returning the card and the metal box to their places, Sydney opened another drawer, extracting a smaller wooden box this time. Opening it hesitantly, he gazed upon the lone object within the foam mold. The metal was glistening, and though he'd only used it once, he was well aware how detrimental its effects had been, especially for Raines. Sydney hoped he wouldn't have to use it again. Still, he had the feeling it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep it ready for the protection of those few who did deserve it.

After all, it was just precautionary.


Broots let the car come to a full stop at the red light. Taking a few deep breaths he leaned back in the worn down seat of his previously owned Chevrolet and let the events of the last few hours of freedom play in his head.

As soon as he was released from the Centre he headed for home. Not really feeling like trusting the Centre to having kept their fingers off his cellphone, he had stopped at a phone-booth and called Debbie. Luckily for him, he had arranged to have her stay with distant relatives before he went to check out Jarod's oh-so-empty lair.

He knew he was getting a taste of the luck he desperately needed, and deserved after that awful T-Board, when the first thing his daughter asked him wasn't where he'd been for the past few days, but if she could stay a few more weeks. He agreed immediately, after all it wasn't safe to have her anywhere near the Centre.

But as he was sitting in the dark, waiting for the light to turn, he was beginning to wonder exactly why she wanted to stay longer. Had he not been a good enough father perhaps? Or maybe she'd meat a boy and figured it would be easier to get away with if she was away from him. Or maybe she was embarrassed about her father meeting him. Or maybe---

Before he could complete his next 'maybe' he was rudely ripped from his thoughts by horn-honking and foul words directed at him and his beloved Chevy. Apparently the light had turned green while he was thinking.

He made a left at the intersection and pulled up at a small cottage-looking house. He took a second glance at the suitcases in the backseat, just to make sure they were there, before he stepped out of the car and slowly walked on down the pavement leading up to the house.

He rung the bell once...then twice, and waited.
"Sydney, are you in there?!"


"OK, rat, time to come out."

Sam knocked on the bathroom door. Jarod had practically run into the room almost 10 minutes ago and that is more than enough time for anyone, even a mental case like Jarod. When there was no answer to his demand, he reached out and grabbed the doorknob. Locked. Sam gritted his teeth in frustration, why did the labrat always have to make things so difficult. Didn't he realize how he was making the situation worse?

Sam looked over at Miss Parker when the rat's "I'm not coming out" answer sounded throught the door. He was already moving he heard her order him to break down the down. He rammed the door with his shoulder and felt it give slightly. A couple more serious thumps and he felt the lock give way. He grinned over at Miss Parker and gave a final run at the door. He hoped the rat was out of the way cause he was coming in.

Sam looked up at Miss Parker then down at the floor. He was sitting on the floor. How did he get there? He looked back at the door and heard an almost muffled snickering coming from behind the shattered threshold. The door was open, but less than an inch. Not even enough to get his fingers through to remove whatever was blocking the door. As soon as his head stopped spinning, he jumped to his feet and grabbed his gun. No escaped lab experiment was gonna make him look like a fool in front of Miss Parker.

Parker turned away from her toppled sweeper, biting her tongue to avoid lashing out at him and the arrogant genius still barricaded in the bathroom. The verbal whipping would come later, but for now she needed a plan.

Jarod was a moron, and his childish pranks were making what was a terrible evening into a total nightmare.

Parker glanced at her cell which had rung several moments earlier in the peak of Jarod’s theatrics. Her watch indicated they still had ten minutes to make the twenty minute drive back to meet Lyle, had he called just to confirm their prized possession was still enroute as planned?

Apparently something in this god damn awful night was finally going right as she reached down and grabbed her cell, recognizing Sydney’s private line at the Centre as her missed caller.

She didn’t hesitate to return to the call, praying Sydney would answer. The safety of Broots and the psychiatrist was the only clout Lyle had in ensuring Jarod’s prompt return into his psychotic hands.

As long as Sydney answered, things would be looking up.

She glanced at the bathroom door, her temper flaring.

When she was done with him, Jarod would be wishing he was back in Lyle’s hands.

Jarod pressed his hand tighter against his mouth, barely muffling the laughter. He had heard the double thud of Sam first hitting the door and then, he imagined, the floor. His ever active imagination pictured the burly sweeper sitting on the floor with cartoon stars and birdies circling his head and, even though it could mean some serious trouble for him in the future, his giggles threatened to escape again. Even the sound of Parker's cell phone had done little to stop his amusement. The little voice in the back of his head, the one that sounded remarkably like Sydney, was urging him to get control of himself before his control was snatched away from him again. He decided to listen to the voice for now.

"Parker, is that Sydney? Did the cleaner's get him and Mr Broots released ok? Ask him to come here, OK? We can stop Lyle and save my sister from Alex from here if Sydney and Mr Broots join us here. Parker, are you there? Parker? Hey, Sam did Miss Parker hit the door instead of you?"

The thought of Miss Parker and Sam sitting on the floor with the cartoon characters caused Jarod to lose what little control over his emotions and once again he was giggling almost hysterically. The little Sydney voice was faintly heard through his amusement wondering if the drugs he had been repeatedly injected with recently was responsible for his lose of control.

Chapter End Notes:
Next chapter: Sunday-ish

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