AN: I've always wanted to write a good romance with Miss Parker and Broots, who in my story is unmarried and has no children. I own nothing; I've borrowed a few lines from the episode Donoterase. Enjoy.
"You got anything to drink? Preferably something that burns?" Broots said to me, walking into my miniscule office. What I wouldn't give to have my father's position… and no Raines or Brigitte. I went over to the bottom drawer of my file cabinet and got out my stash of tequila. I'm surprised Broots thought he could handle it. He coughed, which was a better reaction than I expected of him.
Broots started telling about what he found out about Gemini… he also mentioned how the Centre fertilized almost 300 eggs before making young Jarod. I brought Broots a fresh glass of tequila then, after which I heard about Raines being the opposite of a humanitarian by exploiting surrogate mothers.
If that weren't enough to taint my mother's legacy, Broots then said that after everything the surrogates had endured, they just… he paused.
"Disappeared?" I said, knowing it was probably true because of what Raines had become.
Sighing, Broots admitted, "Without a trace." He raised the glass to his lips and I took it away from him, my ring clinking on the glass as I drank it fast.
After a minute of explaining how my mother did and absolutely would disapprove of this project, I asked Broots sincerely, "What should I do?"
I realized then that he was the only person I could trust at the Centre anymore, nerdy as he was. Sydney had chosen a path that I vehemently disagreed with; to treat young Jarod as if he were the original. It's pathetic and still disgusts me.
Broots answered me indirectly, "Whatever it is, you better decide pretty quickly," and informed me they were moving young Jarod at dawn to Africa.
I went over to my desk and picked up a picture of my mother holding me when I was a baby, and thought about what she would do. Definitely protect the children, at any cost, I thought, sitting down in my slightly uncomfortable desk chair. I must have had a strained look on my face, because Broots began to turn toward the exit of my office.
"Don't you go anywhere," I said, grabbing his arm. I started tearing up. "I need you to help me."
He glanced down at my hand on his arm, his eyes widening. "How?" he asked. I thought to myself how long it must have been since he'd had contact with a woman rather than a computer. Pity.
"Let's go," I said, getting up from my chair and taking him toward where they stuck young Jarod. "We're going to get him out of here. It's only eleven and they won't try anything until dawn." I was looking at him with such intensity I knew he wouldn't dare say no to me.
The door to where Jarod was kept happened to be unlocked, which seemed irresponsible at this late hour. I entered, asking Broots to wait outside the door in case Raines were to bring himself and his squeaky oxygen tank to the holding place and stop us.
I couldn't see Jarod. Was I too late? Then a small voice said, "I'm over here," and Jarod emerged slowly. He wanted to know what I wanted of him; as if I wanted him to perform a simulation. They were ruining his mind already. I had to act fast.
"I don't want you to do anything but come with Broots and I and experience what it's like to just be a normal kid." I myself didn't know exactly how I was going to pull this off, but we had to find a way, if Project Gemini were to ever be stopped and my mother's legacy preserved.
"Okay," he agreed hesitantly, "but what will Mr. Raines think?"
"Come with us," I said, almost pleading.
I introduced myself quickly on the way to my car; Broots struggling to keep up as I held Jarod's hand and walked swiftly. The door to my black sedan closed and locked; I fastened my seat belt and took a breath. I decided to have young Jarod sit in the back with Broots.
"This is what Jarod must feel like," I said, starting the ignition; he must feel scared and hurried all the time. It's a wonder he hasn't had a heart attack, or ulcer problems like I have.
"What I feel like when what?" young Jarod asked.
I looked over my shoulder as I was backing up, and said, "You remember that man in the leather jacket you saw when you were with Raines?" I said gently.
"Yes, that was strange. Who is he? He reminds me of someone very familiar..."
I put my eyes back on the road, not only because I had to pay attention, but also because I started crying. I'd known the original Jarod since we were very young, and he was always like a brother to me. Too bad my real brother was Mr. Lyle, who was nothing like me. Psychotic killer I am not.
"He's you," Broots tried explaining. "Raines is a bad man, and he did some very bad things in order to have you be here."
"So that's why we're running away? Mr. Raines told me I could trust him; he's my teacher."
That made me furious, that Raines would brainwash a little ten-year-old boy; then again, it wasn't unusual for him to do so.
I got on the freeway and headed north, I was sure Sam and the other sweepers would think we'd go south. I decided on Manhattan soon after. That way at least we'd be near a big airport so Raines and his goons couldn't find us as easily. There would be enough people milling around; and airport security would be watching them because of all their guns. I smiled to myself; I was almost beginning to think like the original Jarod.
Broots started talking to me softly when young Jarod was asleep.
"Miss Parker, where will we stay? Do you know what you're doing?" He had a familiar anxious tinge to his voice.
My attitude shifted from thinking like Jarod to thinking like my father's daughter. "You think I've ever dared run away from Daddy and the Centre?" I said sharply. "Broots, I know we have to protect this boy, so I am going to have us stay in Manhattan, where really no one will suspect us. Problem?"
"No, Miss Parker." Broots fell silent.
I did also; remembering that I had to make this as easy on Broots as I could. I hadn't meant to be condescending to him all this time, but I was involved in finding Jarod, angry with Raines for exploiting children, and increasingly distraught over my mother's death. Truth is, I was grateful to Jarod for dragging me down to Dover those few months ago because that way I got to see letters from my mother and also have precious time with Mr. Fenegor, who taught me more about my mother and actually some of where Jarod came from. I would never admit that to Jarod; I'm stubborn and too proud. Plus, I now had Broots and the boy to think of. I knew Jarod would have gotten his hands on the boy first chance he got... but I didn't feel like Jarod could really keep the boy updated on where sweepers were headed next, for instance.
My thoughts turned to Sydney as we crossed out of Delaware. He'd wanted to be project coordinator ever since he'd heard about Gemini. I shook my head. Daddy was right; Sydney did know more about Jarod than anybody else. At least with Broots and I, young Jarod wouldn't be subject to performing simulations. He'd get to explore New York City; which I knew would be a treat for any kid; huge signs in Times Square. I imagined Broots, young Jarod, and I catching a Broadway play... such a bizarre thought.