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Story Notes:

This hurled itself at me sometime during the early AM hours last night/this morning (when I was supposed to be asleep) like most all of my fics. *shakes head* And if the muse wasn't already in trouble for disrupting my sleep, the story is once again a (you guessed it) Parker/Jarod fic.

Going to smut this one up real well, I think, and let them have some sex and get back to the status quo. I'm appeasing the muse here and I don't expect this to go beyond three chapters. 

I swear, I'm writing twincest next- I am. With or without the muse! Seriously. Apologies in advance to those that hate twincest.

Again and as always, I'm unbetaed (my first mistake). I know, I know. My fics hardly seem worthy of a beta's time and efforts.



Author's Chapter Notes:

A chance encounter with a vague acquaintance sets off a string of unfortunate events and ultimately leads to yet another chance encounter.

 

 


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Happenstance?
Perhaps.

There were sometimes variables that the Pretender simply didn't factor in as he moved from city to city.

Destiny. Doom. Coincidence. The roll of the dice. A sleight of hand in a game of chance. Or perhaps it was something much bigger: The pull of the moon, the turn of tide, the entire universe conspiring against him. A fate written in the stars. Or even a higher power up there, out there- somewhere. He didn't know. And it didn't matter.

Not now.

Jarod rolled it over again and again in his head as he paced the 10 X 10 cell. Finally, he sat down and leaned back on the cot in the dimly lit room.

He'd been investigating corruption in a small town sheriff's department and the pretend had been simple enough but Jarod had to admit that he'd been slipping as of late. The simple truth was: He wasn't nearly as adept at bullshitting his way through life as he had once been.

It's a small world.


Jarod had heard the phrase before but he had no idea just how small the world was until he heard those words spoken by an INS agent he had met years earlier. Agent Berger had been suspicious of him even then. And now...

A small world indeed. And getting tinier with each revolution.

"Uh, I'm afraid you have me confused with someone else." Jarod smiled but those chocolate eyes held the same expression as that of a deer staring into oncoming headlights.

"No." She smiled. "Agent Ellis. I never forget a face." She said. "Or a name." Agent Berger looked over his deputy uniform. "So what brings you to these parts, Agent Ellis?"


"Agent Ellis?" Sheriff Watts asked upon over-hearing. "No, ma'am. This here is Bradley, Deputy Jarod Bradley. He's no Agent, ma'am, I assure you. But maybe one day, huh, Jarod?"

"No. I never forget a face." Berger was adamant, her suspicion mounting. She stared into Jarod's eyes accusingly. "You disappeared with a blind woman." Agent Berger looked at the sheriff. "Jarod said he'd been sent down." She explained.

The sheriff let out a guttural laugh, and naturally, Jarod played along, laughing as well.

Suddenly, the sheriff was serious, his face hard.

"He told me the same thing- said he'd been sent down from-" The sheriff searched his short term memory.

"Washington." Berger and Watts said simultaneously.



Jarod attempted to dazzle them both with some very tall tales.

When all of those attempts proved to be futile, he did what any man in his shoes would do. He ran. Like hell. The desperate move had been anticipated by both Berger and Watts, who easily over-powered the wily pretender.

For three days, the small, under-manned police department had been waiting for 'someone to be "sent down" to haul Jarod to a federal prison. But the various badges were all in a pissing contest. Jurisdiction. Everyone wanted a piece of him.

The A.T.F., F.B.I,. G.B.I., C.B.I, N.S.A., C.I.A., I.N.S., D.O.J., D.O.E., and various small town P.D.'s across the U.S.

In addition, he was also wanted by the R.C.M.P., Scotland Yard, and every branch of the United States military... with the exception of the United States Marine Corps.

Jarod realized that the Centre would no doubt, be vying for custody as well.

His gaze darted from the flies circling the single bare light bulb hanging from the center of the ceiling to the approaching footsteps of the deputy on duty. Hicks. The man easily weighed four hundred pounds. Jarod recalled the day he'd first met Hicks. "You're quite a large fellow." Jarod had said.

"And I'm still growing." Hicks had lazily drawled with a stupid, toothless grin, languidly stroking his swollen belly as he spoke.

"Bradley! Or who ever the hell you are: you're outta here." Hicks bellowed as he pulled a set of keys from his pockets. "And if you're curious, the F.B.I. won the coin toss."

Jarod was escorted to the front desk in shackles.

"Alright Agent Jenkins. Here's your perp."

The woman in the black skirt and white long sleeve shirt turned around.

Jarod was instantly gripped with fear.

"She's not F.B.I.!" Jarod exclaimed.
"Funny, isn't he?" Hicks commented with a laugh then turned to Jarod. "Can it, wise ass! You're not F.B.I. Not everyone goes around pretending to be someone they aren't." The large man handed Parker a clip board, a pen and a key to the shackles. "Just sign the top page and initial the second."


Parker took the offered items.


"Just verify her employment. Please!" Jarod pleaded.

"You have to excuse him, Agent. I think he's a hair delusional. He actually told me that a secret organization was after him. 'Course, first he told us that he was sent down from a special division of I.C.E. in Washington. After Berger came in though, the tales grew taller. He was working for some oversight committee, and other, ya' know, divisions. My favorite is the story he concocted last night when he said that the President himself had sent him here. Can you believe it? The President of the U-" The large man heavily emphasized the 'U', stretching out the sound for nearly twenty seconds. "-nited states of America!" He exclaimed.

Parker smiled.


"A secret organization, you say?" She asked as she returned the clipboard and pen.
"Oh, yes ma'am. A secret organization that abducts children and you know, uh, abuses 'em and such." The deputy shook his head then chuckled as he leaned back a bit, forcing the wooden desk to support a great deal of his vast poundage. "Next thing ya know, he'll be claiming that the aliens are coming back for him."


"Probably." Parker agreed, and then, she smiled at Jarod. "But don't you worry, Jarod. If there's a probe in there-" She winked. "We'll snatch it out for ya."

The deputy exploded into a roaring convulsion of laughter.

"No. Please!" Jarod began.

"You want me to shoot 'im with my taser?" The morbidly obese cop reached for said taser.
"That won't be necessary, deputy." Parker grabbed Jarod's arm and pulled her gun. "I'll take it from here."

She led Jarod out of the door and into the relentless heat.
It was over. She had finally captured him.

And so began the usual captive/captor rigmarole: Jarod's incessant pleas, Parker's increasing impatience.

"Your mother died trying to free me-"
"Shut up!" She demanded.
"I never thought you'd really take me back there. She died because she tried to rescue me, Miss Parker! She died for me. For us."

Parker opened the left rear door and waited but Jarod, defiant as ever, wasn't going to simply play along nicely.
"Get in the damn car." Parker gave him a hard shove and Jarod lost his balance and then tumbled helplessly into the back seat.

"Your front left tire is a little slack. I think it would be a good idea-"
"Won't work this time, Jarod." Parker said as she slammed the key into the ignition.
"Please, Miss Parker-”
"Do you really want to piss me off?"
"No, but -"
"Then do as the crème filled cop suggested and "can it, wise ass!" She gritted out through clenched teeth.

"How could you do this to me after everything we've been through? What have I ever done to you?" Jarod chimed in again about thirty minutes into the drive.

She focused on the road, blocked him out completely.

"Don't I at least deserve an answer?"

She offered no excuses.

"You may not know who your real father is or who you are but, Miss Parker, I know who you are. I've always known."

"You were getting sloppy, Jarod. Be glad that I was close enough to hear about your arrest on the local news. You should be relieved that Lyle didn't get to you first."
"I'm not. I'd rather face his abuses than witness you sell your soul to the Centre."
"I sold my soul a long time ago, Jarod."
"No." He whispered. "No, you didn't. It's not too late. You may be lost, but not so lost that you can't be found.”


"It already is too late for me."

“No it isn’t. You can leave behind a legacy that will make your children proud, you can stop this before it happens. Or you can continue the cycle, create a future of continued despair, the next generation of assassins who will some day hate you ...the same way you hate your father and grandfather for passing this legacy to you. Eventually, it has to end. Either you'll do the hard work now, or you’ll leave it for your children, or for your little brother. Don't you care at all-"


"Jarod!

"Will he be the one to rise to the occasion or will he become a part of same legacy that pulls children from their beds and forces unspeakable abuses upon them?"

"That won't happen to him, I-"
"What? You won't let it? If you return me to the Centre, you'll be signing your death warrant and your little brother's."
"I'm leaving."
"They won't allow you to leave."
"I'm taking him away, Jarod. Far away."
"They will find you, they will hunt-"
"Then we'll run."
"They can force me to do simulations, Miss Parker. They could even drug me to make me work for them to track you and your baby brother, to even kill you, kill both of you!"
"Just stop-"

"And what about our brother, Miss Parker? When Ethan learns that I've been captured, he will come for me. He probably already knows that you've done this and he's going to risk everything to get me out of there. You'll be putting our family- our brother in grave danger."


"I-” The car began to shudder suddenly. "What the hell-" Parker tightened her grip on the wheel.


"Oh yes-" Jarod said calmly. "That would be tire I warned you about."

The car swerved and left the deserted road. Parker turned into the spin and struggled to regain control and they finally slid to a stop precisely two inches from a tree.

Parker breathed heavily, trying to regain her composure.
"Nice job."
"Yeah." She flipped open her cell phone. "Damn it."
"No towers out here." Jarod whispered. "What are you going to do, Miss Parker?"
"Before or after I kill you?"

"Look, I can help you with the tire but you have to take the shackles off first."

"I'm in hell." Parker stepped out of the car and went around to the trunk.
"Son of a bitch!" She yelled.
"No spare, huh?" He called out.
Parker climbed back into the car.
"I guess Sam will be looking for you soon.” Jarod mused. “Unfortunately, so will various law enforcement officials when they discover that you were impersonating an federal agent.” He added. “They really seem to frown down on that sort of thing, uh, in case you haven't noticed." Jarod explained blithely.

"Do you never shut up?"
"Frankly, I'm concerned. It's only eleven o'clock in the morning and already it's like an oven out here and the temperatures are going to continue to rise-" He paused meaningfully. "at least until sunset when the temperatures are forecast to drop near freezing. We have no food, no means of communication. I'm curious to know what your plan is seeing as how it directly affects my well being. How long do you think we have before Sam catches up with you?"

"Sam isn't coming."
"What?"
"No one knows I'm here. My flight made an emergency landing in Nashville and I tired of waiting for another flight "
"Because patience still isn't one of your virtues."

"Neither is temperance, so if you don't want a cap in your ass, you'll-"

Jarod smirked. God, he loved slithering under her skin.
"So you rented a car and hopped onto I-24. Let me guess: You're on the way to Missouri to catch another flight as opposed to waiting in a crowded airport in Nashville?" Jarod interrupted.
"If I say yes, will you shut up?"
"Probably not." He replied. "Business or pleasure, Miss Parker."
"It's personal."
"If it was business, you would have taken a Centre jet, so it must be-"
"Personal!" She repeated. "Now, shut it!"
"O-okay."

Parker adjusted the rear view mirror, taking a glance at Jarod, who was stretching out in the back seat.
"What are you doing?"
"We're going to die from heat exposure, Miss Parker. You might as well get comfortable." He said blithely. "There's room for two back here, if you want to join me."
Parker closed her eyes and shook her head in frustration. Room for two? He's out of his fucking mind. And if I get out of this alive, I'm going to kill him.

"So what do you suggest, genius?"
"I suggest we gather anything useful from the car and head north. There will be hotels, malls. You are going to need a new pair of shoes."

"And there will be a phone." Parker whispered.

"Yes."

"Too easy." Parker stated as blood red fingernails tapped the steering wheel.

"What?"

"You're lying."

"Why would I do that, Miss Parker?"

"Why would you want me to find a phone? You wouldn't. I'm not going to fall into another of your traps. We're going south."

"But civilization is north. Water, Air conditioning."

"No. I've learned a lot by chasing your ass around the country. We're going south!"

"Okay, if that's what you want to do." He said with a shrug. "We'd make much better time without these." He rattled the shackles.

Parker shook her head defiantly.

"Try anything- anything at all, Jarod- and I'll-"

"You’ll shoot me in the knee. Got it." He winked.

"I'll remove the shackles from your feet but the cuffs stay on your wrists."
He shrugged innocently, and then grinned as Parker’s eyes narrowed.

Too easy.

Three hours later, they were still walking, receiving minimal protection from the sun courtesy of the canopy of trees and overgrown brush. It wasn't too long after that they happened upon an abandoned mobile home.


"You're limping, Miss Parker. Maybe we should go inside." Jarod suggested. "Rest a bit?"

"No. There has to be something ahead. We've been walking for hours."

"I bet the pain in your feet and ankles is unbearable. It's probably spreading into your upper back by now."

"It's the pain in my ass that I find unbearable! Just shut the hell up!"

"Why should I?"

"Because a single bullet is the cure for pains in the ass."

"Alright, but-" Jarod staggered a bit, then stumbled.

"Are you alright?" She reached out to attempt to steady him.

"I need-" Jarod stammered. "to sit... i-it's too hot." He gasped for air. Parker could feel his pulse racing as she tried to keep him from falling.

Great! Boy wonder is having a damn heat stroke!

Parker eyed the place warily and decided that there’d at least might be running water. "Sit here on the steps and I'll try to get the door open. After initial efforts proved futile, she realized they’d been unnecessary. The door was unlocked.

Inside, she helped Jarod to the sofa and rushed to the air conditioner, surprised yet thankful, that it worked. Parker then whirled around. “I’ll get you some-” She stopped abruptly when she saw Jarod standing before her, alive and well and holding the 9mm in his hand.

"How did you get the cuffs off?"
Jarod held up a hair pin. "It was on the sofa. I left it under the pillow. For emergencies."
"You've been living here?"
"It’s one of my many hide-outs in the area."
"I should have known." She sighed, observed as the cuffs landed at her feet.
"Put them on."
"No. No way in hell."


"Shall I use the same kind of force you're so fond of using with me or-"
"I'll go. You stay."
"Tempting. But no."
"Okay, you go. I'll stay.”
Parker pivoted, but quickly found herself face to face with her Smith & Wesson.

Another lovely display of false bravado. Jarod didn't take life.
"Yes, you will stay, Miss Parker."
"And I suppose you're going to keep me here?" She hissed condescendingly.
"Yes, I am."
Hands on her hips, Parker arched a brow, then laughed smugly.


"You don't have the brass to pull the trigger, Frankenboy." She hissed. 

He held the gun and yet, here she was, gloating at his inability to take life. She thrived on emasculating him, and he couldn't stop the anger from boiling over.

"I could take a non fatal shot. A bullet in the knee or the foot."
"Then do it."

Jarod chambered a round, poker face firmly in place.
"You people think you can do anything you want, and without any repercussions!" He yelled. "I am tired of running, tired! Now, put the damn cuffs on."


"Jarod-"

"Shut up!" He yelled. "Put them on!"

Parker gulped back the fear and knelt to pick up the cuffs but she remained defiant. "I will not put them on."
The anger boiled over inside of him. Jarod bridged the distance in two large strides, capturing her firmly between his body and the wall.

"You have lost your mind!" She screamed.

"And you're going to lose a lot more if you don't cooperate." He snarled the threat as he cuffed one wrist. Jarod then haphazardly hoisted her body over his shoulder, even as she kicked and screamed obscenities. In the bedroom, Jarod shoved her onto the bed and then, leaning over her body menacingly, he snapped the other cuff around the nickel plated bed post.

"Oh, you son of a bitch!" She hissed. "You have lost your mind! What is this?” She screamed, rattling the cuffs angrily. “What's the grand plan now?"


"You’ll find out soon enough." Came his ominous reply.

 

 

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Chapter End Notes:

Fire at will.








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