Tarzan: Freedom

Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The whole ordeal had taken a huge emotional toll on Jane Porter, the woman right in the center of all the action. It wasn't supposed to happen. In fact, if it didn't, she probably would be preparing for her wedding right now. She didn't regret everything happening to her, but she did wish some things hadn't happened. Like his death. Michael Foster. Jane became choked up every time she even thought about his name. He had asked her to marry him, but he had fallen 10 stories off the roof of a building before Jane could even give him an answer. The sight of his body hitting the ground was still so vivid, even though it was months ago.

As Jane prepared for her day at work, she started thinking about him. Not Michael. The other him. His tan skin and long blonde hair filled her mind.

John Clayton. "Tarzan."

Just a few months ago, John has unexpectedly been thrown right into the middle of her life and soon became a huge part of it. Jane knew she had feelings for him. And she hated it. She felt like she was disgracing Michael.

And yet, Tarzan had opened her eyes up to the world around her and the beauty of it. He was so innocent and child-like.

Jane sighed and ran her fingers through her vibrant red hair. She was wearing a deep blue sweater and her work pants. She had not yet changed into her shirt and jacket for her job as a NYPD cop. Jane turned and looked at the picture of Michael resting on her dresser.

"Hey," she whispered. Jane thought she was crazy. After all, she was talking to a picture. Nicki was in class, so luckily, Jane was the only one in the apartment. She hoped that she would help herself by talking out loud and even more so by looking at his face. She picked up Michael's picture softly. "I loved you. You know that. But I think I have to move on." Tears formed in her eyes. "You didn't know John long enough." Her mind went back to the accident as a tear made its way down her cheek. "He'll take care of me. He always has. You wouldn't have wanted me to be alone forever." Jane leaned against the wall and sank down against it. "You'll always have a special place in my heart, Michael."

She hugged the picture to her chest and began to cry. She missed him so much.

Her surroundings were a blurry picture as Kimberly ran and ran. She had to get away. She had to keep running. She paused for just a second to catch her breath. It was a second too long. He grabbed her and restrained her arms so she couldn't fight back.

"Sshh," he whispered into her ear. "You're a pretty girl, Kimberly. You can't blame me for trying to get to know you."

"You threatened me," she whimpered.

He pulled out a knife that glistened even in the low light. He held it closely to her throat. "Hey, now," he whispered again. "You're the one who ran."

Kimberly felt the cold steel touch her skin. He moved it over and prepared to slice. Suddenly Kimberly felt him loosen his grip and the knife leave her throat. Then he was no longer holding her at all. She fell to the ground before she turned around and saw a barefoot man with long hair fighting with him. She watched in horror, frozen in fear, as punches flew and he was beaten viciously. He managed to run off before he was killed. The barefoot man crawled over to her using his hands as well as his feet to move. His eyes looked kind, but Kimberly got up and ran off, afraid of what the man would do. The barefoot man watched her as she ran, with curiosity in his eyes.

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It was two days after the hearing. Tarzan had been put on trial accused of murdering Michael. Everyone thought this was true except Jane, her partner Sam, and the witness Donald Ingram. Tarzan had been released of all charges, much to his uncle's anger. Richard Clayton had tried everything to keep Tarzan in his care because as long as John was in his custody, Richard controlled his inheritance. After Tarzan was free, he chose to live with his aunt, Kathleen Clayton.

This was Jane's first day back since the whole roller coaster started. It has been at least two weeks since she had been able to work, and she was glad she was able to finally do what she loved best.

"Hey, welcome back stranger!" Sam greeted with a smile. Sam was one of her closest friends and they went far back.

The two of them hugged and walked to their desks. It didn't take Jane long to notice what was happening as they walked past all of the other workers.

"Sam, everyone's staring at me," she said quietly.

"They're glad to see you're back."

"No, they're mad at me for defending Mike's alleged killer."

They arrived at Jane's desk, which was stacked with paperwork that was sure to take forever.

"Look, Jane," Sam said. "Forget about them. They don't know the whole story. You just do your job and don't worry about what they think. I need you focused. You gotta keep me alive!"

Jane smiled and sat down to start her paperwork.

"Hey, Porter!"

Jane looked up and saw one of her co-workers, Trent, walking up.

"We had an assault last night. Lieutenant wants you and Sullivan to talk to the vic."

"Alright, thanks Trent." She walked over to Sam's desk. "Hey, we gotta go to an interview."

Sam sighed. "Never ends, does it?"

"Hey," Jane said as she entered the interrogation room. She and Sam sat down at the table with Kimberly. It was evident she had been crying.

"Alright. Let's start from the beginning. Can you describe the person who attacked you?"

Kimberly sniffed. "Um, he had dark brown hair and he was kind of tan. He's really strong. I could barely breathe when he was holding me."

"Okay, did he say anything to you?"

"He said that I couldn't blame him for wanting to get to know me. Before he attacked me, he said he wanted to feel my blood on his hands. He said it'd be pretty, like me."

Kimberly's eyes watered.

"Hey," Jane said, taking Kimberly's hand. "We're going to find this guy. I promise. What else do you remember?"

"There was another man. He was barefoot and had blonde hair."

Immediately, Jane knew she was talking about Tarzan. She fought the urge to smile. Tarzan was always there to help someone in need, especially Jane.

"I'm not ungrateful that he saved me, and I don't think I'll ever forget those eyes. They had such kindness in them. But he was so violent. He didn't know when to stop hurting that man. I wanted to get away from him."

"Kimberly, don't worry. You're in good hands. We're going to have a cop outside your house until we catch this guy to make sure you're safe."

Kimberly nodded. "Thank you."

"So obviously, your boy John Clayton was there," Sam said as they left the room.

Jane laughed. "Does that surprise you?"

"Well, at least now it's legal to ask him questions and we can use him as a witness."

Jane stopped walking. "Sam, we can't do that."

"Why on earth would you not want to do that?"

"Everyone's still angry about Michael's death. Imagine bringing him in here for questioning. They will go ballistic. Not only that, but John is…well, different. It's not as simple as questioning him like any other witness."

"Fine. We'll do this the hard way. But it's going to take twice as long without his help."

He was right, of course. Tarzan knew everything about this assault and would possibly be the only one who would help them catch the guy.

A woman with beach blonde hair was led to Jane's desk a few hours after they had talked to Kimberly. All afternoon, she and Sam had been running through facial recognitions and tried to find someone who matched the description they had been given.

"How can I help you?" Jane asked as she lifted her head up to look at the woman.

"I…I witnessed something this morning."

"Okay, what did you see?" Jane hoped it was the attack on Kimberly. She couldn't afford to deal with two cases right now. Not with everything going on.

"I didn't want to say anything earlier. I was freaked. But I know if I don't say anything, that freak is still out there."

"Let's talk, okay?" Jane led her to the interrogation room. Sam watched on the other side of the room. "Well, first of all, what's your name?"

"Eve. Eve Torres."

"Okay. Now tell me everything about what you witnessed." She took her pencil out from behind her ear and poised to write it all down.

"I saw this girl running, and a guy was running after her. She looked freaked, but he was laughing. Not in an insane way, but like he was having fun. Like in a boyfriend/girlfriend way. I didn't think much of it at first, but for some reason, I couldn't get the girl's face out of my mind. She was terrified. So I followed them. They stopped in an alley away from pretty much all signs of life. Soon I realized there was a reason for that. I stayed out of sight, but the man grabbed the woman and held a knife to her throat. I couldn't tell what they were saying, but another blonde man came and attacked the first man."

Eve paused. Tears started to form in her eyes.

"Um," she continued. "It was then that I recognized the first man. He had done the same thing to me before. Except he had succeeded in hurting me. He deeply sliced my arm and my legs. I lost a lot of blood and nearly died. I didn't say much about him at the time because I was so scared he would come after me again. But after seeing that he was still hurting other women, I knew I had to come forward."

A tear slipped down her cheek leaving behind a wet streak.

"I appreciate you telling me this," Jane said softly. "You're going to help us stop this."

Eve held her head in her hands. "That experience scarred me both physically and emotionally." She held up her arm revealing a deep pale line that stretched from her wrist to just above her elbow. "I've been living in so much fear. That monster deserves to die for what he's done."

"I understand why you feel that way. We're going to catch him."

"There's one more thing. Right before he cut me, he whispered his name in my ear. I don't think he expected me to live. It was just his first name. David."

"Thank you very much for your time, Eve. Frasier will take you home."

"I hope I've helped."

"You have. I'm sure it took a lot of guts for you to tell me all of this."

Eve nodded and left the room with Trent.

Sam waited for Jane outside the room. "Why didn't she come clean sooner?"

"This David guy freaked her out so much, she was too scared."

"But we could've gotten him so much faster. And he wouldn't have hurt Kimberly."

"Sam, give her a break. She must've been only 19 at the time of the attack. She was young. Don't you remember what it was like to be 19?"

"Thankfully, I don't."

Jane walked in through her door later that night, mentally exhausted.

"Nicki?" she called.

Her little sister walked into the room, her bright blonde hair bouncing behind her along her tiny figure. "Hey, I was just about to go out with James and Anne."

"Alright, but don't stay out too late. You've still got classes tomorrow."

Nicki smiled and nodded. She paused before going out the door. "How are you holding up?"

"It's just been one of those days," Jane replied.

"Have you seen John lately?"

Jane gave her the best big-sister look that said I-can't-believe-you-just-said-that.

Nicki laughed. "You know, the only reason I'm going out tonight is to give you two privacy." She closed the door behind her before Jane could protest.

Jane smiled and rolled her eyes. She popped some food into the microwave and sat on the couch to watch TV while it heated up. Suddenly, she heard a small clatter in her bedroom.

"John, is that you?" she called out.

Tarzan walked into the living room. Jane sighed.

"You know, maybe you should start announcing yourself when you're here."

Tarzan looked at her with that same fondness in his eyes as when they first met. "You're upset."

"What?" Jane asked.

"I can see it in your eyes. You're troubled."

"Actually I did want to talk to you." She smiled. "You had an eventful morning, didn't you?"

"I stopped a man. He had a knife."

"I know. Technically, we can use you as a witness in the case, but I told Sam I didn't think it was a good idea."

"Why?"

"Well, some people are still unhappy about what happened to Michael. And you're more reserved. I don't want to put you on the spot so soon."

"I want to help."

"So you'll help like you did before. We've always made it work and we'll continue to do it that way until everything else dies down." She paused. "So what exactly did this man look like?"

"He was bad. And strong. Very strong. He had skin like mine and brown hair."

"Okay."

"You should sleep."

"John, thank you, but I want to relax now with dinner in front of the TV."

"I will stay with you."

"That's sweet, but you don't have to."

"I want to."

Jane smiled and went to get her food out of the microwave. Tarzan sat on the couch next to her and Jane turned on her favorite show. Soon, after her food was gone and the show was getting more intense, Jane found it hard to stay awake. She rested her head on Tarzan's shoulder and he started to rub her soft hair. Before long, she fell asleep in his arms. Tarzan picked her up and carried her to bed and lifted the blankets over her. He rubbed her cheek and gave her a small kiss on the forehead before slipping out the window to return home.

Jane walked into the office the next morning. She had been surprised to find she had woken up in bed instead of on the couch. Immediately, she had smiled as she remembered the events of last night.

"Lieutenant," she called as he passed by her desk. "Where's Sam?"

"He's in the line-up room. Looks like you guys got some suspects for the assault case."

"Ok, thanks."

Jane headed towards the line-up room.

"Detective Porter!"

Jane turned at the sound of her name. It was Kimberly.

"I was told to come here. They said you think you've found him?"

"Well, that's what we're about to find out."

Jane led Kimberly to the line-up room. Sam was there waiting there for both of them.

"Hey, guys," he said.

"Hey, Sam. What have we got?"

"Alright, Kimberly, we're going to have you try to identify the guy that attacked you. Remember, you can see them, but they cannot see you. So don't be afraid to talk to us or determine if one of them is the guy."

"Okay, I understand."

Sam turned the light on and nine young men stood in a line, holding numbers, looking miserable. "You recognize any of these guys?" he asked.

Kimberly looked at all of them. Her eyes watered as looking at them made her recall the accident. "Um, I think Number 2 or maybe Number 6 or Number 7. I'm positive it's not the others."

"Number 2 step forward please," Sam said over the intercom.

The man holding a 2 stepped forward. Kimberly looked at him again. "No, it's not him."

"Number 6 step forward please."

The man holding a 6 stepped forward and Kimberly's breathing quickened. "That's him. I know it is."

"We need two police officers to escort someone please," Jane said over her walkie. Soon, a couple of large men in blue uniforms came into the room. "Take Number 6 to the holding cell please." The two men went in and took the man with the 6 away in handcuffs. He didn't put up much of a struggle at all which surprised all of them. He looked up at the mirror on his side. Knowing Kimberly was watching, he smiled sadistically up at her. She looked back with fear and disgust in her eyes.

"It's okay. We've got him now," Jane said, touching her shoulder. "You can go home."

"Thank you. I feel safe now."

"That's what we're here for."

Tarzan walked slowly into the living room where his aunt, Kathleen Clayton, sat working at her computer, no doubt trying to publish another issue of her magazine. He looked at her. He had been so scared to first meet her, afraid she would lock him up, like his uncle did. But she was the complete opposite of him. She was sweet and understanding, and always took care of him the right way.

"Hello, John," she said, not looking away from the computer. She finished typing her paragraph and then turned to look at him. "I'm getting pretty good at sensing when you're in the room."

He gave her a small smile.

"What's wrong?"

He looked away and didn't give her an answer.

"It has something to do with Jane Porter, doesn't it?"

"I feel something towards her. But she does not feel the same way."

"You don't know that, John. I think Jane has some feelings for you, but she's having a hard time dealing with them."

"Why?"

"Well, she's the only person you've ever felt this attraction for. Jane has spent her entire life here, and has felt those attractions for other people, including Detective Foster. You need to understand that these feelings are not as simple to everyone as they are for you. Give her time, and she'll realize how much you mean to her."

Tarzan sat on the rooftop of a tall building, one foot hanging over the edge, the other resting on the ledge, his arm wrapped around it. He was away from his home, from his uncle's, and even from Jane. He found that the rooftops were a great place to think. He was deep in thought about Jane and their relationship when he paused. Living in the jungle for years and years had given him an amazing sense of hearing. He could hear things from miles away, which had been helpful in the city. He listened and heard helicopters and heavy breathing. He looked around him and soon ropes were everywhere with men in dark suits sliding down them.

Richard's men.

Unfortunately for him, they had many more tools that could easily lead him to capture. But he was finally free. He had Jane and Kathleen and no reason to hide anymore. A fury against Richard rose in him, propelling him to fight with the men. There must've been at least fifteen of them. He took a stance and prepared for the fight. After assuring himself that none of their special guns were in hand, he began the battle. He took down one man after the other. Some got back up and attacked again, while others stayed down, not daring to pick a fight with a man like Tarzan. Eventually, it was evident to Tarzan that it was impossible for even him to fight them all off.

The second he caught a break, he hopped off the roof, practically flying along the rooftops to make it back home. No, not home. He knew exactly where he needed to go now.

Richard Clayton deep down was a monster. He found Tarzan in the jungle and took him back with him against his will. The only reason he did so was to gain Tarzan's father's trust, which was billions of dollars. Tarzan was the winning playing card. He sat at his old desk in his mansion working on old paperwork. He was furious he had lost at Tarzan's hearing. The only reason he had lost was because Jane had found someone to testify against his witness's accusations. Of course, they had been wrong anyway and Richard had helped with that. He should've won. He deserved that trust. He was the oldest after John and felt that he was the best person to run Greystoke. There might still be a way. If he could just find a way to put Tarzan under his care, he would win. In fact, he hoped he might have already done so…

Richard's thoughts were interrupted by a thump on his windows. He looked up and saw Tarzan standing on the small deck outside of the window. He gave him a small smile.

"Hello, John."

Tarzan just looked at him.

"Anything I can do for you?"

"You sent people after me."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Yes, you do. I know you sent them to get me."

"Now why would I do that?" Richard asked.

Tarzan leaned over his desk and got close to his face. "You do not understand when you have lost. It's over. You are only hurting other people now, just like before."

Richard looked at him with pure hate in his eyes. Tarzan saw that immediately.

"Give up," Tarzan said quietly before hopping out the window.

Richard knew that he would never get Tarzan back. He truly had been beaten.

"Hey, Sam," Jane said later that same day. "Let's go see David in the holding cell and ask him some questions."

"Alright, Jane, but you and I both know he probably won't open up very much."

"I know, but it's worth a shot."

The two walked down to the holding cell as Jane ran some questions through in her mind to prepare. What they found shocked them to the core. David was gone!

"Code red!" Sam shouted. "We have a break-out! Search everywhere! Find him!" Everyone in the office immediately responded to Sam's call and started fanning out to find David. But they didn't know that he was already gone, searching for his next victim.

"Sam!" Jane called. "I know how to find him!"

"Let me guess…"

"Remember the case we worked with the missing little boy a while back? John found him in a matter of hours. All he needs is his scent and he can find David for us."

"Fine. But I'm not too happy about using him. What will people say if they find out? We can't do our job?"

"That's just something we'll have to risk. There's too much at stake right now."

Jane ran out of the building with Sam trailing close behind. She walked to the nearby alley and called his name, hoping he was up there.

"John! John, we need you! If you're here, please help us!" She waited. "John!"

She waited a little longer. Tarzan soon appeared out of nowhere as usual. "Hello."

"John, we need you to track someone. He's the man you fought before. We had him in custody and he's escaped. You have to help us find him before he hurts someone else."

It didn't take David long to find another girl to catch. He held her tight as he rubbed her soft brown curly hair, letting it twist through his fingers.

"Please, don't," the girl whimpered.

"Shut up," he said harshly. She began to sob, terrified for her life. David took out his special knife and held it close to her. "You're a pretty girl, Emma. I'd like to get to know you more. Let's me see what's inside you."

He took the knife and made a deep slice in her right leg. The cut was long and deep. David covered her mouth as she screamed from the utter pain. Tears streamed down her cheeks as her leg burned. She couldn't stand anymore and sank down. David kept her upright, forbidding her from lying down, forcing her to still use her bad leg. The pain intensified with each passing second.

"So that's what's inside you. I want to see more."

"No, please," she cried.

David prepared to slice her left arm next, but was stopped again by Tarzan, who had used his extraordinary tracking skills to find him.

"You again!" David screamed. Tarzan fought the knife out of his hand and then used his fighting skills to take him down. As much as David tried to retaliate, it was useless against someone as skilled as Tarzan.

Jane ran over to Emma. "Hey, hey, it's okay. I'm a cop. I'm going to help you." She looked at Sam. "Quick, give me your tie." Sam took it off his neck and Jane tied it above the cut to slow the bleeding. Red blood was everywhere. Jane covered the cut with both of her hands, getting more blood all over her. Emma screamed from the pain that was so sharp, she could barely breathe. Jane looked over and saw David on the ground. Tarzan continued to punch him.

"John!" she yelled. "That's enough!" She looked back at Emma as Tarzan crawled over to them. "Sam, there's no way we can wait for an ambulance. Not at the rate she's losing blood."

"I will take her," Tarzan said. "I'm faster."

Jane looked at Emma again. "Okay. Be very careful with her."

Tarzan slipped an arm around her waist and the other under her knees. The small touch caused Emma to scream again and it was even worse when Tarzan picked her up and began to run to the hospital. Emma kept screaming. Tarzan felt awful, but knew she had to get the hospital before she lost anymore blood.

Emma was covered in sweat. Her vision started to go blurry from the lack of blood in her body. Her head fell against Tarzan's shoulder.

"Stay awake!" he said to her.

Emma tried, but it was becoming harder and harder. Soon, Tarzan arrived at the Emergency Room and put Emma down on a stretcher as doctors and nurses wheeled her into an operating room to heal her leg. Tarzan looked after her, hoping with everything he was that she would be alright.

"Jane!" Nicki called when she stepped into the door and let it slam behind her.

"Hey, we have neighbors," Jane laughed. She stopped when she noticed that Nicki was crying. "What's wrong, hon?"

"It was James. You know he's been dating me for a while, and we really liked each other. But I went to the library to study for exams, and I saw him kissing Kerry."

"Oh, sweetie," Jane whispered. Nicki wrapped her arms around her and hugged her hard, sobbing into her chest. Jane took her to the couch. They talked about the whole situation for at least an hour before Nicki heard a thump in Jane's room. The both of them were becoming used to it and stopped thinking it was a criminal. Nicki let out a small laugh. Tarzan walked into the room and looked at Nicki. Her cheeks were wet, a sight that was not new to him.

"What's wrong?"

Nicki got up and walked over to him. "This guy I really liked decided he didn't like me anymore. He went to another girl."

Tarzan couldn't imagine loving someone other than Jane. But he knew she had liked him while she was with Michael. He could relate.

"It gets better," he said. He hugged Nicki as she began to sob again. He rubbed the back of her head. Nicki released her tight grip and wiped tears from her cheeks.

"Thank you, John," she whispered. She looked back at Jane and smiled before going to her room.

"How is the girl?" Tarzan asked Jane.

"Emma? She's great, thanks to you," she answered.

"He hurt her."

"I know, but we finally got him and he's going to prison for a very long time." She smiled at him. "I talked to her after she got out of the operating room. She said she wanted to see you."

"Me?"

"Yeah, but you weren't around. You can see her tomorrow. I'm sure she'd be happy for the company."

The next morning, Emma was sitting in her hospital bed, flipping through TV channels after requesting more Ibuprofen for the pain in her leg. It had required 19 stitches to close the wound. He leg was bandaged up and the nurses told her she needed to walk around to get her leg working again. They didn't want it to atrophy. There was a tap on the window. Emma gasped when she saw Tarzan. She looked around to make sure no one knew he was there.

"Close the door," she whispered as he crawled in.

Tarzan went to shut the door. Emma attempted to get out of bed, even though it hurt her leg. Tarzan went over to help her. He took her hands, and she used him for support to help herself up. Once she was up, she held onto his arms to keep from falling.

"I wanted to thank you so much for everything you did for me. I don't know what would've happened if you hadn't come."

"You're welcome."

"Um, I'm sorry, but what's your name?"

"I am Tarzan."

"Tarzan. Really?" Emma smiled. "Okay, Tarzan. Thank you." She lightly reached up and kissed him on the cheek. Tarzan smiled at her, not knowing what to do at this sign of affection.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. "Emma?" a nurse called. "I've got your medicine."

"Just a second!" Emma looked at Tarzan. "Quick, help me get back in bed!"

Tarzan took her hands as she slowly lifted her legs up to put them back in the bed. "Okay," Emma whispered. "You've gotta get out of here!"

Tarzan hopped up on the window. He looked back at her.

"Thank you!" she whispered.

"Jane."

Jane smiled, immediately recognizing the voice. "Hey."

"I saw Emma."

"How is she?"

"She's good. She has pain in her eyes."

"The cut was really deep. It probably hurts her a lot."

"She kissed me on the cheek."

Jane paused. "Did she?"

Tarzan looked at her. "But I see something in your eyes too."

"What do you see?"

"Confusion. Happiness. Love."

Jane looked at him. He was right, as always. She had feelings for him of course. She had known that for weeks. But she didn't know what to make of those feelings. Were they bad to have so soon after Michael died? But he made her feel so happy all the time.

Tarzan began to stroke her face, and rubbed her red hair. She touched his face. She leaned close to him and let her lips touch his.

"I love you, John Clayton."