Category: JMPAR

Rating: PG-13 Spoilers: Up to IOTH Summary: Part five of the Labyrinth Series. Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters and am just playing around with them.


by Madame Estrella

Miss Parker sat on the bed in a Bellagio penthouse suite and gazed out the window at the Las Vegas Strip. This man she only knew as Jarod had brought her here the day after she awoke from what she could only call the world's worst nightmare.

A fidgety character named Argyle had met them, after a birthmark he'd insisted on showing her, and his companion a dog named Dog. She hadn't known what to make of either Jarod or Argyle and was equally perplexed as to how these men were going to help her.

Jarod had told her that her name was Miss Parker. She'd asked what her first name was, and he only said that she'd shoot him if he said it. A very strange person with an equally bizarre fetish for Pez.

The two of them had gone somewhere, leaving her to her own devices in this top floor suite of a casino hotel. She'd watched television for a while and was now getting nervous that neither of them had returned yet.

Jarod had told her that she could order whatever she desired from room service and now she was contemplating giving that a try. She knew that she was supposed to be resting, recovering from some severe injuries she hadn't remembered receiving.

She had amnesia. And she hated it. She could do almost anything except for remember who she was and anyone else she supposedly knew. Like Jarod. He'd said that they'd grown up together yet she had no recollection. She didn't know where she was from, what she did whom her friends and family was or anything else about herself. Jarod had told her that she know knew how he felt. That was reassuring, one amnesiac taking care of another.

Just before she picked up the phone to see how much trouble she could get into with Jarod's hospitality, he entered the room and smiled when he saw her.

"Hello Miss Parker. I'm glad to see you're up and about." He said cheerfully.

"A few more minutes and I would have been out the door." She grinned. Jarod's face fell.

"You shouldn't leave the suite, Miss Parker."

"Why on earth not?" She cried dismayed.

"Well, for one you only have the clothes on your back." Jarod said nodding to the effect that all she had in this world was the plain sundress and shoes she was wearing.

"Of course." She replied. "I assume that there are places out there when I can get more clothes if only I could leave this..." She gestured about the room "palace." She finished sarcastically. "Or prison."

"It's not a prison." Jarod replied walking over to the desk and pulling a red notebook out of his jacket and laying it on the desk. The red notebook he'd been studying for the last two days.

"What is that anyway?" She asked pointing at the notebook. Jarod shook his head.

"It's nothing."

"The hell it isn't! You've been reading that thing since I woke up. Does that have anything to do why I can't remember anything?"

"No, its something else altogether." He replied, pulling the notebook closer to him on the desk as if he were going to grab it if she went for it.

"So what am I supposed to do? Sit here until I die of boredom?" She wailed.

"No, you're supposed to stay here and get better." She rolled her eyes at his remark. There was something very annoying to her about his smugness.

"Get better." She sighed. "If there's something wrong with me then shouldn't I be in a hospital?"

"I couldn't take you there. They'd ask too many questions. It's complicated."

"Why? Did you kidnap me or something?"

"If I'd kidnapped you, would I leave you alone?"

"But if I can't remember anything maybe you wouldn't have to watch me."

"No, Miss Parker, I did not kidnap you. I just want to make sure you get better before I take you home."

"Couldn't my family do that?" She asked. Jarod's face fell.

"No." Jarod replied sadly. Miss Parker tilted her head and looked up at him.

"What's going on here?"

"You'll remember." He stated and then walked over to the wet bar taking the notebook with him.

"Bastard." She hissed. She walked into the ladies bathroom and dramatically slammed the door behind her.


Miss Parker soaked in the steaming water. She tried not to think of the argument that she'd had with Jarod. She wasn't his prisoner. She didn't have to follow his orders. He was just a guy who was putting her up in a hotel suite on the other side of the country from where she'd come from.

She hadn't remembered anything. She was beginning to get frustrated by this.

She held her breath and slid down into the water until she was submersed. Some water flowed into her nose and ears and her eyes opened wide.

Floating. She was floating in freezing water and she was naked. She gasped and water filled her lungs and she choked. She began to thrash about and tried to cry out from her smothered lungs.

She felt strong hands on her shoulders pulling her up. Jarod maneuvered himself to pull her out of the water as she choked for air. She coughed and gasped as Jarod sat her down on the chaise lounge. He sat down beside her and held her face in his hands.

"Miss Parker, are you all right?" He cried, his eyes searching her face. She regained a heavy breath and nodded. Then tears fell from her eyes and Jarod grabbed a large towel and wrapped her in it. He pulled her into his arms and rocked her gently.

He soon rose and handed her the robe hanging on the back of the door and left the room. She pulled the robe on and joined him in the lounge room where he handed her a glass of scotch. She sniffed it and looked at it puzzled, and then at him.

"Straight scotch?" She asked. Jarod shrugged.

"It's your favorite." He replied. She took a sip and made a sour face. Jarod laughed and took a seat. She scowled at him, he was clearly enjoying this and she hated not knowing why.

"I drink scotch straight and my name is Miss Parker. Other than that, you haven't told me anything else about myself."

"You don't remember anything?" He asked, raising his eyebrows. "What about in there?" He nodded to the bathroom. Miss Parker felt a shiver go down her spine and swallowed the remaining scotch to warm herself.

"I had a feeling." She said. "It was like I was floating in ice cold water and I was drowning. It doesn't make any sense except for being naked. I mean, the water was steaming hot."

"It makes perfect sense to me." Jarod sighed. He avoided her gaze. "I can not tell you outright, Sydney said it would be damaging to your psyche."

"Who is Sydney?" She asked. Jarod looked back at her.

"He's a friend of both of ours."

"And how, exactly, do I know you?"

"We grew up together. In a place called the Centre in Blue Cove, Delaware." He searched her face for recognition and found none. "We've known each other since we were very young."

"So what are we, related?"

"No. We're just ... friends." Jarod said once he'd found the word. This was going to be very difficult.

"What's your last name?"


"What's my first name?"

"I told you that already."

"No, you said that I would shoot you if you said it." She grinned and then saw the seriousness in his expression. "From the look on your face I suppose I'm some sort of stone cold bitch."

"Not always." Jarod grinned. She noticed a glint in his eyes and was somewhat comforted by it, enough that she even laughed at his remark.

She paced around the room and waved the empty glass in the air. "So, I'm Miss Parker, a stone cold bitch from the Centre in Blue Cove, Delaware and I have a friend named Sydney who is a friend of a man that I have known all my life named Jarod Russell who hesitantly calls me his friend." She looked at him. "And I still don't remember any of it."

"Sydney said that a trauma victim would block out painful memories to retain their sanity. You successfully blocked out all of yours."

"So what, my whole life has been traumatic?"

"I'd say."

"Hmmph, so that explains why I'm a stone cold bitch then."

"I said not always." Jarod replied defensively.

"Exactly what kind of 'friends' are we, Jarod?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Because I think it's important. Something about the way you look at me tells me so."

"And how do I look at you?"

"Like you're in love with me."

Jarod drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly as he rung his hands.

"Yes, I suppose that is fair. Yes, Miss Parker, I am in love with you, but I've already told you that. Rest assured nothing in our 'relationship' has progressed beyond my declaration of love for you." He said, looking away from her at the last.

"I shot you down." She said and then grinned at his nervous expression.

"Not exactly."

"Oh now what in the hell does that mean? We're not lovers."

"It's complicated. You'll understand when you get your memory back."

"So I shouldn't sleep with you?" She asked, Jarod looked surprised at the suggestion.

"I think that you'd regret it once you've regained your memory and that you'd be pissed off at me for a long time afterward for taking advantage of you."

"So not only are you my friend, you're also a decent human being."

"I try my best." He said. She walked over and took a seat beside him.

"Jarod, what happened to me?"

"I told you I couldn't say. I don't even want to remember it." He said looking away from her.

"It must have been terrible." She replied. He looked back at her and took her hand in his.

"It was probably the worst moment in our lives." He replied.

"Did you try to drown me?" She asked. He drew away from her in disgust.

"No! I would never dream of hurting you." He said standing up. They were interrupted by a knock at the door. Jarod checked the peephole and then let Argyle in.

Argyle was carrying a couple bags of Chinese takeout and a six-pack of soda. Jarod helped him with the food and they set it up on the table in the lounge room. Argyle kept looking at Miss Parker nervously.

"What's the matter, Argyle?"

"No-Nothing except I always thought that you were supposed to be chasing my buddy Ja-Rod here." He grinned nervously and then looked at his feet once he'd caught Jarod's menacing glance. Miss Parker raised her eyebrows and picked up a carton of fried rice and some shop sticks.

"Oh, and why am I always chasing him?" She pried further.

"Be-because he's real smart." Argyle said but didn't go on. Jarod grabbed another carton and stabbed at his food angrily with the chopsticks. Miss Parker chose not to pry any further but decided to keep in mind that Argyle had a loose tongue.


After Jarod had left, Miss Parker rose from her fake slumber. She carefully crept over to Jarod's belongings and went through them. The brown leather bag contained a Mr. Potato Head, Magic 8-ball, Pez dispensers of course, two framed photographs of a man and a woman, a Flying Cross Medal, and about two hundred ID cards and tags.

She thumbed through the ID's. Jarod the roach exterminator. Jarod the F.B.I. agent. Jarod the doctor. Jarod the nuclear physicist. Jarod the professor. Each one had a different last name but all had the same first name and similar photographs. Jarod the con man was what popped into her head.

She turned her attention to the silver case and pulled it open. Inside were a monitor, keyboard, and several hundred tiny discs. She instinctively dropped one into the slot and turned on the switch. How did she know how to do this?

The image that appeared on the screen was that of a young boy with electrodes on his head and chest. The bottom left side of the screen read a date and Jarod: for Centre use only. A man appeared and the boy addressed him as Sydney. Then a girl came forth and the boy placed his hand on the glass dividing them. The girl looked off to a figure cast in shadow that nodded and she placed her hand on the glass.

"You're a ... girl." The boy said hesitantly. The girl nodded.

"What's your name?" The boy asked. The figure instructed her not to answer and the two were parted. Later on the two met once more in a lab with rabbits. The boy let the girl hold one and it was revealed that she was Miss Parker.

"My God." Miss Parker sighed.

She watched the discs for hours. She was so deeply engrossed that she didn't even hear Jarod's return.

"What are you doing?" He asked, sounding very upset. She looked up at him from where she sat on the bed.

"Watching the sickest home movies ever." She stated flatly. "Jarod, I don't remember any of this, yet there I am." She said nodding toward the screen. "I think you were more insightful when you were eleven."

Jarod walked over and snapped the case closed and then stashed it in a closet. He turned back to her looking very upset.

"At first when I saw all the ID's I thought you were a con artist. Now, I don't know what you are." She said blankly. "Is that why Argyle said I was chasing you?"

Jarod nodded his head and sat down beside her.

"Did they do any of those, experiments, on me too?" She asked quietly.

"Simulations." Jarod replied. "Only the one where they introduced us, Miss Parker. And I think they regret that one to this day."

She smiled and he smiled back at her.

"I'm in quite a few of those discs." She said. "Including the one where a woman, my mother I suppose, was killed." She mused quietly. "I don't remember any of it."

"They've been telling you lies for years. I suppose it's a good thing that you finally saw the truth." Jarod replied.

"You mean I never saw those before?"

"Not those. You've seen others before, that's why you could operate it. DSA's, they record everything from the Centre surveillance system."

"The Centre's greatest hits on DSA." She smiled thinking of the television ads. Jarod smiled.

"I guess you could call it that."

"So if I'm chasing you, that means I work for the Centre now. And that means that you escaped." She said. Jarod nodded. "Why would I hunt down someone who I obviously cared for very strongly growing up?" She asked.

"I've been wondering that myself for years now." Jarod replied. "You used to go away for school; I suppose we just drifted apart."

"Or, I was made to sever my connection with you." She said. "It didn't appear that many people at the Centre were happy that we were friends. You said years, how long have I been chasing you?"

"Almost six years." He replied. She raised her eyebrows.

"That's a long time. And now you willingly take me to this place to help me recover from some trauma?"

"I've always helped you through difficult times." Jarod replied. She nodded her head.

"Yes, something inside me tells me you have."

Argyle entered the room and looked at them shyly.

"Ah, I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" He grinned. Miss Parker flashed him a cool glance that Jarod snickered at.

"No, Argyle. What did you find out?" Jarod replied.

"Ah, well, the pit bosses don't remember anything unusual, even after I greased their palms." Argyle replied. Jarod sighed. Miss Parker stood and walked between the two.

"Is either of you going to tell me what's going on here?" She asked impatiently. "You guys have been taking off for hours at a time and haven't told me anything." Jarod stood and waved a red notebook in his hand.

"I'm on a pretend. As you saw in the DSA's I did simulations for the Centre, out in the world I do pretends. I can become anyone I want to be and I use that ability to help people in bad situations."

"And you work with this guy?" She pointed at Argyle.

"Rarely." Jarod shot a glance at Argyle. "When my friend gets himself into scrapes he calls on me to help him, and I really wish he'd stop." Jarod said with annoyance in his tone.

"So what's this pretend?" She asked.

"You need to rest and try to remember ... anything." He replied. She stared at him coolly and took a step forward and poked him in the chest with her index finger.

"You need to stop telling me what to do and keeping me in this damn room." She hissed. "Don't you think it would help me to get out and interact with people?"

"Not if you don't know who you are." Jarod replied.

"I don't care Jarod. The minute you leave I'll walk right out that door and you can't stop me."

"I could ..." He began.

"What? Restrain me? Hold me captive? I'm sure that Freud would approve of that kind of therapy."

"Ja-Rod, maybe she'd right. I, I mean maybe we could take her out and show her a good time or I could." Argyle grinned at her. She rolled her eyes at him and leveled her gaze with Jarod's.

"At least let me go buy some clothes." She said. Jarod heaved a heavy sigh and looked at Argyle.

"I'll meet you down at the tables." He said and Argyle couldn't get out of the room fast enough. He returned his gaze to hers.

"You were in Vegas before; I suppose that may help jog a memory or two, but don't get angry with me when you do." He said.

"Why would I get angry with you?" She smirked.


Miss Parker combed her hair and turned to Jarod's voice in the hall.

"Are you coming?" He called. For a guy who hadn't wanted her to leave the suite, he wasn't very patient once he finally wanted her to go. She snickered a little at the thought and turned back to the mirror and gasped. Her brush clattered at it hit the floor.

It was her, but not her. She wore a suit jacket and a short skirt and was pointing a gun at herself through the mirror.

"Time to go home." The reflection snarled and then grinned malevolently. She took a step back from the mirror and shook her head, her mouth moving but no sound emerging. She felt hands on her shoulders as Jarod snapped her back into reality once again.

"Miss Parker." Jarod said softly. When she turned to him, tears stung her eyes.

"She can't be me." She whispered.

"Who can't be you?" Jarod asked, his reflection looking confused.

"Her." She replied weakly. "I saw her, wearing a suit and holding a gun. She was, hateful." She said as a tear fell from one eye. She turned to Jarod and he held her in his arms only imagining what she'd seen. A vision of her he'd seen many times before.

"It's okay." He replied. She leaned her head against his chest as he stroked her hair as something occurred to her. He loved that woman. He loved her even though she could see the cruelty in her eyes and she couldn't understand why.


Once she'd regained her composure she'd convinced Jarod that she was okay to leave the suite. He'd agreed again, reluctantly and given her a key card and some money. She'd agreed that she wouldn't leave the hotel, and since it was one of the big ones she was assured many stores she could buy something to wear in.

She walked by one of the chapels and paused as a wedding party emerged. She smiled at the people who were celebrating the occasion. She took a step forward and then froze as the bride turned and faced her.

It was her. She looked at herself in the bridal gown and saw a profound misery on the face of the woman up there.

The bride returned her gaze and then turned her back and tossed the bouquet over her head. It landed at Miss Parker's feet on the sidewalk. She breathlessly retrieved it and then looked up to meet the bride's smiling face. It wasn't her.

Am I married? She thought touching the flowers. She smelled them, gardenias, her favorite. She shook her head. Gardenias are her favorite flowers. She smiled, as she knew this to be true and waved at the happy couple as they headed off.

She went into a couple of the boutiques and purchased some clothes and returned to their suite. There she pulled on the black silk dress, some dark hose, and high heels. She let her hair fall around her shoulders and turned to leave the room again.

She spotted the Pez dispenser lying on the bar and another memory flooded her mind. She was sitting on the porch of a cabin in the woods with an old man.

"I let him go for a fucking Pez, all right?"

"At least he left you the dispenser."

"You tell no one, Syd."

"I've done far worse and have never received any Pez for my trouble."

She picked up the Pez dispenser and thumbed the head back and pulled out one of the candies with her teeth and then sucked on it, savoring the sweet flavor.

She placed it back on the bar and grabbed the handbag she'd purchased and stuffed it with cash before heading back downstairs.


Jarod sat at the table and tried to read the other player's faces. Particularly Don Ricardo's. He could tell that Don was nervous and he should be for what Jarod had in store for him.

Don Ricardo, high roller extraordinaire. He read the lines of a few articles focusing on the man of the hour. A stock broker and gambler. He supposed the two went hand in hand. He owned the biggest stock firm in Nevada.

He was also a loan shark which was what brought Argyle into the picture. Jarod had decided to be a little more creative this time and help collect the money Argyle needed directly out of Ricardo's pocket.

Don looked up at Jarod and smiled and twitched his eyebrows. Jarod frowned at him and nearly jumped when he felt the hands on his shoulders. He held his breath when he turned around and saw her. She was stunning. He glanced over her and smiled at her beaming expression. She laughed a little and he turned his attention back to the table and picked up his three new cards. He was still smiling as she placed her hands back on his shoulders.

He remembered the phrase, Luck be a Lady tonight, and suddenly realized what it had meant. She gently kneaded his shoulders as he laid down his Royal Flush and watched Don's face fall and flash with anger. To lose 400 G's on one hand, them's the breaks they say in High Stakes Poker.

He asked for another Dr. Pepper when the waitress returned and Miss Parker asked for a scotch. Jarod wanted to take her aside and see if she'd remembered anything, but knew it would be a while before he could walk away from the table.

He was happy she was there, though. He smiled a little at the thought as he picked up his next hand and looked at the cards, he knew sending false signals to the other players. It felt good to have her near him, when he knew she wasn't trying to drag him off to the Centre.

The Centre and the fairy tale ends. She would have to return. She would insist on it once she regained her memory. He tried to shake the thought away, but it still lingered in the back of his mind along with the rest of his unanswered questions.

They were together now, though. And things may be better between them in the future if he didn't mess up and do something stupid. "So I shouldn't sleep with you?" She'd asked. Exactly.

A few hours later, Jarod left the table after cleaning out many of the other players, particularly Don Ricardo. He held out his arm to Miss Parker, who had been more than a little affectionate with him during the games, and she accepted it, walking beside him.


Back in the suite, Miss Parker settled on the couch next to Jarod. She smiled at him seductively.

"I remembered some things." Miss Parker said slyly.

"What things?" Jarod asked, excitedly.

"I remembered a conversation with Sydney. And, Jarod was I married?" Miss Parker asked, holding his gaze with her own.

"No, you were nearly married, but you never made it to the altar." He replied.

"Nearly married?" She said. "What happened?"

"That's up to you to remember." Jarod said after a long pause. Miss Parker looked away. She considered this for a few minutes before she spoke again.

"Why can't you tell me?" She asked.

"Because, Sydney said it would be best for you to remember on your own. Also, I wasn't there. I have no idea what happened while you were..." He stopped talking and she regarded him curiously.

"Kidnapped." She said remembering his reaction to the word a day ago. "I was kidnapped on my wedding day and you found me somehow and that was when I woke up with this amnesia." She thought for a moment.

"I want to talk to Sydney." She said.

"I don't know how to reach him." He lied. She narrowed her eyes at him.

"You talk to him all the time, Jarod; I'm not stupid."

"No, you're not stupid and neither am I." Jarod replied. "If you call him..."

"Then they would find you." She finished his sentence.


Miss Parker walked into the restaurant with Argyle. They were seated and ordered their drinks. She smiled as she took in their surroundings. At least Jarod hadn't been keeping her in a seedy hotel somewhere. Then she decided it was time to pump Argyle for information.

"What are you and Jarod doing here, Argyle?" She smiled. He shifted about nervously.

"I, uh, got into a little financial trouble. Jarod's helping me out of it." He replied nervously.

"How did you and Jarod meet?" She asked sweetly.

"Well, I was at home and heard Dog barking outside. He sounded really upset, you know, for a dog so I came outside. When I got there I saw Jarod laying in an alley all busted up. I guess that someone hit him with a tire iron or something and he was out cold. So, I took him in my place and nursed him back to health."

She smiled at him and couldn't help but feel something familiar about the story.

"Then, I uh, kinda used Jarod's phone to call a guy named Sydney. As far as I knew Sydney was like his dad or something, from those movies Jarod has. And I got this woman named Bridgitt. She sounded sweet. I'm a man of opportunity and I knew Jarod was special, so I kind of made a deal with Bridgitt."

"Then what happened?" She asked.

"He tried to sell me to the Centre for 10 thousand dollars." Jarod said, sitting down and giving Argyle a dark look. Miss Parker raised her eyebrows.

"You mean he tried to sell you to the Centre and now you're helping him?" She asked. Jarod nodded and she burst out laughing. She noticed the looks people around were giving her and stopped and covered her mouth with her hand.

"Yes, and he's been nothing but trouble since." Jarod replied. The waiter returned and they ordered their meals.


Miss Parker changed into a silk nightgown. She checked her appearance in the mirror before walking into the bedroom. She could hear Jarod working on something in the lounge room.

She moved close to the door and cleared her throat.

"Jarod, could you come in here?" She asked. She heard him approach.

"Is something wrong?" Jarod asked walking into the room. She quickly closed the door and stood in front of it. He turned around and looked at her puzzled.

"Miss Parker?" He asked. She walked up to him and slid her hands p his chest and then her arms around his neck. She pulled him close and kissed him deeply.

His hands slid around her waist and after a few moments he gently pushed her away.

"What's wrong, Jarod?" She asked.

"I, we can't." He stammered. She smiled. She could really fluster this man.

"Why not, Jarod?" She said seductively and stepping forward and kissing him again.

He took two steps backward and wound up against the edge of the bed. She moved in quickly and shoved him backward and climbed on top of him, kissing him. He gently pushed her away again and tried to sit up.

"No." He said quietly. She looked in his eyes and then rolled onto her side. She watched him get up and leave the room and waited a few minutes before following him.

"A few days ago you seemed hurt that 'our relationship' hadn't progressed beyond your declaration of love to me and now you push me away when I finally act upon it?" She said hurt as she entered the lounge room. Jarod looked at her from the couch.

"You don't remember who you are." He said. "You don't even remember who I am."

"I'm still Miss Parker!" She cried. He shook his head.

"No, you're not." He replied. "Not in the way that counts."

Her mouth dropped open and she felt hot tears fall down her cheeks. Jarod stood and moved toward her and she stepped away.

"I thought you loved me." She sniffed.

"I do love you." He said. "But this isn't right."

She wiped her wet cheeks and glared at him.

"I don't understand how you could want that cruel, untrusting witch." She said. "I can't believe that with all that gone, you can't accept me for who I am now."

He walked up to her and pulled her into his arms. He stroked her hair. "When you remember, you'll thank me for this." He whispered.


Miss Parker flipped through the channels. She was mad as hell that Jarod wouldn't let her in on his pretend. She was even angrier that he continued to reject her.

She stopped on the Disney channel and watched the fairy tale play out. Her life had become a fairy tale, an evil twisted one. This was just one more twist in the story and she hated that she couldn't remember the rest.

Snow White was laid out in the glass coffin so the Dwarves could preserve her and her beauty. The fairest of all. Was she the fairest of all at the Centre? Would her prince come to her someday?

"Prince Charming." She scoffed.

Then all her memories flooded her mind. She gasped and cried out and then pulled herself in a fetal position on the bed as the flood of her life overwhelmed her. They left her disoriented and crying.

It was hours before Jarod returned. Hours that she spent curled up in the dry bathtub making sense of all the information. Making sense of it all, alone.

"Why should now be any different?" She said to no one.

When she heard someone at the door of the suite, she quickly took off her clothes and turned on the water to the shower.


Jarod heard the shower running when he entered the hotel suite. He smiled at the thought of her. He wanted to poke in the bathroom and talk to her. She'd been remembering more and more in the past few days, as well as become more difficult. She demanded him to let her be involved in his pretend and he knew he couldn't allow it.

She'd tried to seduce him. Many times. A part of him kicked himself every time he rejected her advances. He knew what the consequences would be after she regained her memory if he had accepted her. Her shooting him would be the very least of his worries.

He loved her. She was the most important part of his life and he couldn't risk losing her. He couldn't face his life without her in it. She was his obsession.

When the time came, if the time came, when she would love him, then he would do anything she asked of him. Now he only did what was right, his flaw as many had told him in the past couple of years.

He'd been with a couple other women before. That had made Miss Parker's temptation even harder to deny. But they hadn't been her. They had been Nia and Zoe and now neither of them were part of his life any longer. They had been hard to leave, but it was the right thing to do.

He looked at the bathroom door when he heard the water turn off and eagerly anticipated Miss Parker's entrance. He'd finally decided that he would help her regain her memories, despite what Sydney had said. He couldn't bear to watch her suffer any longer and didn't want her to face her memories alone.


Miss Parker dried herself and pulled on her clothes. Her hair was a mess, but she didn't care. The way she felt now she couldn't care less about such superficial nonsense.

She threw open the bathroom door and walked into the living room. She saw Jarod smile and stand and approach her. She met him half way and let him have it. He recoiled and touched his face where she'd hit him as she relaxed her fist.

"There's more where that came from Frankenboy." She hissed. The look on his face told her all she needed to know. He knew the Ice Queen had returned.


Miss Parker had stormed into the bedroom and slammed the door after she'd hit him. She looked at her fist and shook her head incredulously, not really believing that she had.

"God, I've wanted to do that for years." She said to herself. She'd then been flooded by mixed emotions as usual. She threw open the door and walked back out into the lounge room.

"How did you know about the kidnapping plot?" Miss Parker asked.

"Alex made sure I found out." Jarod replied, rubbing his face.

"Did you know it was him all along?"

"Not until we got the dress." His gaze drifted far away.

"You're not telling me everything." She said accusingly.

"It's too soon for that." He replied.

"Bullshit! You didn't live it!" Jarod gave her a sympathetic smile.

"He sent us videotapes." She shivered at the thought of them watching her as vulnerable as she had been.

"Is he dead?"


"I have to return to the Centre." She said. She saw the look on his face.

"Don't give me that look. Did you think I would suddenly become Emma Peel?" She snapped.

"Emma who?' Jarod asked.

"She was one of the Avengers. It was a television show."

"The Avengers. I'll have to research this." Jarod said thoughtfully. Miss Parker had the sudden image of the Sim Lab filled with umbrellas and boulder hats and began laughing. She then smiled thoughtfully of how Jarod's care was much more preferable to the Centre renewal wing.

"I knew you'd come for me." She said trying not to sound like the little girl with the crush who lived within her.

"Lyle held me up a little." He said, turning away from her expression.

It always came back to these moments between them. The ones that were slowly killing him inside. The ones that said they should be working together. Be together. He shook his head. Not until they had all the answers and she left the Centre which would never happen.

"How did you escape with me?" She asked, challenging him. He hadn't wanted to ever tell her.

"Lyle let me go." He said with no emotion and a straight face.

Her hand went to her face and her mouth dropped open. When the color returned to her face, it was red. The Centre and Lyle had been accusing her of helping Jarod for years and then Lyle just lets Jarod go?

"Lyle!" She hissed as she sat on the couch.

"He made a deal with me. If I got you back, he would let me go."

"And you believed him?" She scowled.

"Not until he did. Sam looked so confused when Lyle gave him the order." Jarod chuckled a little. You can laugh at the strangest things, later. "They probably told the Centre that I'm the one responsible for it all. They're going to be in enough trouble since they didn't bring Alex back."

"Or me. That's why I have to go back." She said deep in thought. "What keeps you from disappearing forever?" She asked. He turned and was caught with her penetrating blue eyes.

"As much as I would love to entertain the idea, Miss Parker, I never could."

"Why?" Her eyes burned into his. He knew the right answer, in her mind.

"The Centre owns me." She blinked and looked away. The wrong answer to her. She felt sick inside and pulled her legs up on the couch and turned away from him as she lay down.

"If you're going to give me a stupid answer, it should at least be a creative one." She replied.

He turned and looked out the window.

"Why are you always so distant when you're standing beside me? Why now? Why be so compassionate when you're on the phone and never in person?" She sighed.

"I was a few times and it never got me anywhere." He replied. He waited for her sobs. They would break his resolve. Why was he fighting her? Why fight something so natural? "I told you once that sometimes the destination wasn't as important as the journey to get there."

"You should write fortune cookies." She sighed. "So the destination of my awareness is more important than the change it has made in me?"

"The destination hasn't been reached yet." He replied. She sat up and faced him as he stared outside. "There is still a long way to go, Miss Parker, and I can't risk losing you on the way."

"Well, I'd hate to break the news, but you almost did." She replied smugly. "A couple of times."

"And I've helped you each time." He replied.

"How many psychiatrists does it take to screw in a light bulb?" She asked as she made her way to the bathroom and closed the door behind her. Jarod turned around when he heard the lock click.


"This is Sydney." The old man said as he answered the phone. He was sitting at his desk and sifting through some documents.

"How many psychiatrists does it take to screw in a light bulb, Sydney?" Sydney smiled.

"Jarod, I was beginning to worry about you. I guess you've spoken with Miss Parker?"

"What's the answer, Syd?" Sydney frowned, Jarod sounded desperate.

"Just one, but it's the light bulb that has to change. What is going on, Jarod."

Jarod was silent for a few moments and then chuckled.

"It's a joke." Jarod replied. Sydney frowned.

"Are you all right? Is Miss Parker all right?"

"We're fine, Syd. Miss Parker should be returning shortly. How is Debbie?"

"She is very quiet. I've talked with her a few times and I think she would benefit with Miss Parker's return." Sydney could only imagine what had been going on with Jarod and Miss Parker since the aquarium rescue mission he'd been ordered to sit out on.

"Promise me you'll take care of her, Syd." Sydney looked amused.

"We're not talking about Debbie, are we?"

"I'm concerned the Centre will harm her when she returns."

"As far as the Centre is concerned, you are currently holding her hostage and they are searching for you."

"But when she returns..."

"I won't let anything happen to her, Jarod." Sydney listened as Jarod sighed. "What is happening between you?"

"Nothing, Syd. Nothing can."

"I've always suspected that you are in love with her."

"That's what the Centre experiment was about when we were introduced."

"I can only advise, but I think you should take what time is left to talk to her. Not play games, just talk to her." Sydney heard the click and put his phone down.


Miss Parker pulled the covers about her more tightly. It had been seven hours since she'd heard the outer door slam and came out of the bathroom only to discover Jarod was gone. Not just out to the casino. Gone. He'd taken his things and vanished.

She'd found some money, enough to get her by until she returned to the Centre. She'd been frightened and then furious. He'd left without a single word. Some bodyguard. Then again, had she really expected that of him?

She's waited for the phone to ring and it never did. So she resolved herself to a nights rest and she would decide in the morning whether to stay another day or leave.

She wasn't going to sleep. She was going to lie awake the whole night, analyzing and reanalyzing every word, tone and gesture of their last exchange.

Another three hours passed before she heard someone at the door. She was suddenly very frightened. She didn't even have her gun. She pulled her body close, tight.

Her invader walked into the room and softly closed the door. She clamped her eyes shut and prayed they would just take the money and pills and leave.

She heard the person put down something and walk over to her. She felt them pull the covers down to expose her face and then she heard a voice.

"Miss Parker, you're a lousy actress." Her eyes flew open and she swung out and he caught her hand and then held her steady. She stared at him in fear and breathed heavily until she steadied herself. His expression changed to shock and sadness in the dim light and he let her go. She hit him anyway.

"You fucking bastard!" She cried. Jarod rubbed his cheek and looked at her hurt. "I thought you were someone breaking in here, you Son of a Bitch!"

"What did you want me to do? Throw the door open and cry, 'Lucy, I'm home!'" She smiled a little and punched him in the arm. He could take it; she'd seen him take worse. "I'm sorry." He said.

"You should be, taking off like that!"

"I came back!"

"Yes, but you still took off! You left me here without saying a God damned thing and then think it'll be all right if you come back in the middle of the night and scare the crap out of me!"

Jarod sighed heavily. "You're right."

"I know I am."

Jarod looked at his hands. "Do you love me?"


"Do you love me?"

"Is that why you came back?"

Jarod stood and walked over to the window again. She was really beginning to hate that.

"I do Jarod. I love you."

"And if the Centre finds out, they will use it against you. They know I love you, Miss Parker. They can never know you feel the same."

"But you wanted to know."

"I needed to know." He said. "Now it's time to run again." He sighed and then walked out of the room. She pulled the covers over her head when she heard the outer door close.


Miss Parker sat on her couch, three weeks after her return to the Centre. She'd flown back from Vegas. She'd been checked over by the Centre doctors in the renewal wing. Thoroughly checked over. She knew what they'd been looking for, and she knew they wouldn't find it. You had to wear your strictest poker face with an opponent like the Centre.

She'd lost Jarod, of course. Raines had been disappointed. All the brass had been. But what could she do? These were the people responsible for putting her in the dangerous situation that Jarod had rescued her from. They had this coming.

She poured another glass of scotch and set the bottle down just as her phone rang. She let it ring several times before she picked it up.

"Hello Jarod." She said quietly.

"How did you know?" Jarod's voice replied.

"No one else has ever called me at two thirty in the morning." She replied. She heard him laugh a little.

"Are you all right?" He asked.

"I'm fine." She replied. "Did you finish your business in Vegas?"

"Yes." He said and then was quiet for a long time. "I hope you understand." He said finally.

"Perfectly." She replied. "You have a fear of intimacy."

"Hey!" Jarod cried.

"Oh yeah." She said. "Only when it comes to me." And then she disconnected the line and put the phone down on the coffee table. She finished her drink and turned off the lights before heading to her bedroom.

She sat on her bed and opened the drawer of her nightstand. From it she pulled her Goofy Pez dispenser. She flipped the head back and pulled one out with her teeth and savored the candy.

"May I have one of those?" Jarod said, emerging from the shadows. She jumped and then put one of her hands on her chest.

"Bastard!" She hissed. He gave her a hurt look and then sat down on the bed beside her.

"You can have one, but you have to answer some questions." She said. He nodded his head and she handed him the dispenser.

"Why didn't you call me after we returned from Carthis? Or when I was ordered to marry Amaru? And why in the hell did you wait so long this time?" She said with a stern expression. He smiled.

"Did you miss me?" He asked.

"No." She said, looking at her feet.

"This." He said waving his hand. "Is not a normal relationship." He replied. She looked at him.

"Really?" She said sarcastically.

"Besides, you hurt me." He said.


"I run, you chase. That decision was made for us a long time ago. Does that ring a bell?" He said. She looked back at her feet. "A guy can only handle so much rejection before he stops even trying."

"Well, I suppose we could run off to Vegas and get married." She said. He looked at her.

"I tried that too." He said.

"Please, you fought me off with a stick!" She laughed. He frowned.

"I didn't use a stick." He said. "Besides, what would you have thought of me now?"

"Why are you here?" She asked.

"Because someone said I had a fear of intimacy."

"And you were hiding in my room when I said it!"

"Do you forgive me, Marion?" He asked. Her expression grew dark.

"Now I have to shoot you." She said, reaching under her pillow. Jarod stood and took a step away and she grinned.

"You put the idea in my head." She said pulling her empty hand out. She stood and walked over to him. She kissed him gently and then looked up at him.

"You had better get going before I call the sweeper team." She said. He kissed her again and pressed the Pez dispenser back into her hand before he walked away.

To Be Continued .

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