Show: Pretender and Orignial Characters
Part: 2 of 3
Setting/Season: After IOTH
Rating: PG13... a little R
Spoilers: None really.
Warnings: Violence, Language, Torture
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Pretender characters so don’t sue me. The PHQ characters belong to me.
Summary: Jarod helps other pretenders find one of their own when a friend goes missing after investigating a new Centre Project called Resurrection.
A/N: These original characters were created long ago on NBC's Centre Exchange Board. They've kind of gotten into a roll playing group and now have a small world all their own... Thought I'd share it with you. Hope you like. Also this story kind of goes along with my story More Than You Think which you should read first; however, there is a great deal of time between the two.
Jaidyn slammed into Connor. “I’m… sorry.”
Connor nodded. “It’s fine.” He normally wasn’t so calm with someone slamming into him. He usually lost his temper but with his children he couldn’t imagine doing so. He wanted, the only daughter he had left, to love him.
“But you’re not, are you?” Jaidyn could see he was upset. It was strange to think of this man as her father. She didn’t have the dark brown hair he did but she could see the similarity in the eyes. Both McKenzie and she had his intensely blue eyes and lighter brown hair which was in the family but wasn’t similar to either of her parents. “Were you talking to my mother?” The contempt in her voice was obvious and she couldn’t keep it from her father who until recently had felt the same way.
“Yes,” Connor sighed, “You need to get over your anger towards her. She searched for you your entire life…”
“She let them take me.” Jaidyn growled the anger inside of her was partially due to her trouble dealing with McKenzie’s death. She’d gone toe to toe with her sister and the moment she knew the truth she’d regretted it. And then the dreams. They were vivid and always left her feeling like they’d given up too soon on McKenzie. They had a DNA match on the remains and yet she didn’t believe it. She wouldn’t. Michael had almost killed her when he pinned her against the hallway wall. He let go, her survival was proof of that. She’d resigned herself to the idea McKenzie was gone, but she still wanted to know her.
Connor shook his head. “No, I did. I turned on your mother for, what I know now was, no reason. I almost killed her and you.” Connor paused for a moment. “She’s worried about Michael.”
“Michael! That crazy freak nearly killed me.” Jaidyn scoffed as she folded her arms across her.
Connor stepped forward, putting his hand on Jaidyn’s arm. “Michael loved McKenzie, maybe even more than he would have even admitted. He was only beginning to deal with her death when you started spouting hopes to him. He doesn’t deal in hope. He deals in evidence and death. Michael can not go back to that moment when she died. It would kill him. If you had evidence; I do not doubt his reaction would have been greatly altered.”
Jaidyn had to admit her father was correct. Teren had tried explaining something along those lines. She remembered Teren resigning himself to the idea McKenzie was gone. The two of them had bonded which had annoyed her. It had taken weeks longer than the others for Teren to come to terms, insisting he sensed her. Natasha had reply that it only felt that way. “Why is she worried about Michael? I thought he could get in and out of anyplace without detection. I’m sure he’s fine.”
Connor smiled at Jaidyn knowing she was also burying feelings about the death of a sister; she had been fighting with, not knowing it was her sister. “Michael didn’t check in. That is an alarming fact. Apparently in all the years they’ve known each other, Michael has never failed to check in with Natasha.”
“How long have they known each other?” Jaidyn had suspected a few years but she wasn’t prepared for the answer.
“Approximately, twenty years.”
Jarod had done his best to track Michael, in the past, and had discovered just how hard it was to do so. The man had always covered his tracks well. But Jarod knew him, like he knew himself. Michael was a genius when it came to covert operations but this had been a scouting operation and Jarod knew exactly where Michael had been. He knew Natasha had called him in to find out if Michael had simply taken off. Natasha was worried he’d been reckless and gotten caught but it was clear she was also worried that he’d gone off. Apparently, Michael wasn’t dealing with McKenzie’s death very well, which was understandable to him.
Jarod pulled up across the street from the New York front company called Spyler Incorporated. It looked normal but only to the eye that was ignorant of the Centre. Jarod had seen nearly a dozen sweepers enter and exit the building and he’d only been watching the building for about thirty minutes. He had no doubt that Spyler Inc. was involved with the Centre in some manner. The question now, ‘Where is Michael?’
Jarod tossed the binoculars on the seat next to him and then got out of the car. He quickly crossed the street and headed to a side maintenance door. He pulled something out of his pocket and put it to the electronic door. Instantly, the door popped opened and Jarod silently thanked Michael for his ingenious device.
Once inside, Jarod made his way along the corridors slowly, staying out of sight of the cameras. The last thing he needed was to be captured. It took some time but Jarod managed to find an access computer terminal and quickly went to work. It was only moments later that Jarod read that not only had a man been captured in the building but was already transported to the Centre. The location I.D. flashed “SL-27”. “Damn.” Jarod exclaimed. “What is their fascination with SL-27?” He shook his head and turned to leave only to be faced with a gun in his face. On the other end of the gun was a sweeper he didn’t recognize.
“You are Jarod.” The sweeper smiled at him broadly. “Mr. Raines, will be so pleased.” The sweepers face contorted strangely.
A woman’s voice answered the sweeper as the man crumpled to the floor. “Actually, he’ll be quit upset you lost him.”
Jarod smiled at Jaidyn. “Nem send you?” Jaidyn was Natasha Hoffman’s daughter and McKenzie’s sister, and the resemblance to McKenzie was striking. Jaidyn had come to live at the San Francisco House, after the downfall of a Centre offshoot, called The Sect, had been destroyed by Jarod and Michael.
Jaidyn nodded. “She wanted to make sure you were all right. She said you were the only one who could track Michael, though it doesn’t seem to be a hard thing to do this time.”
“Because I gave Michael the destination, she was only concerned that maybe he went off on his own. Part of me thought I would find him hold up somewhere…”
“Grieving?” Jaidyn shook her head. “He won’t grieve. Michael grieves by killing and attacking others. Did you finding anything?” She jutted her head towards the exit and the two made their way out.
“It isn’t good.” As soon as they hit the street, Jarod grabbed Jaidyn’s arm. “Michael’s at the Centre. They have him in SL-27.”
Jaidyn’s face dropped. “We have to tell Nem and we have to go after him.”
Natasha’s face dropped. She had been waiting for word from Jarod and now that she had it her worst suspicions had been confirmed. Michael had been captured. Jarod had also mentioned Jaidyn had saved him from being captured, himself. Natasha had asked her to ask someone in New York to keep one eye opened for Jarod. Jaidyn had done one better and had gone there herself. “Tell her I said thank you.”
Jarod nodded and severed the connection.
Elena walked into the cell with Lyle behind her. “My boss seems to think he has something you want.” She knew what would happen but she was willing to act surprised.
Lyle pulled out a knife and grabbed Elena putting it to her throat. “I know you are one of the house members. Tell us what we want to know or I’ll kill her.”
Elena feigned a struggle but the hold Lyle had on her was tight and a bit too convincing. “What the hell are you doing, Lyle?” Her mind instantly wondered if Lyle’s reaction was a bit over the top.
“Shut up!” Lyle tightened his grip. “I know you believe this is McKenzie and you’re right. If you don’t want her to really die then I suggest you give me what I want.”
Elena’s mind was in overdrive. She didn’t remember agreeing to so much force but if Lyle was successful then they’d have their information. But what would he do if this mystery man said no?
Michael stared at Lyle blankly. “Even if I believed you were going to kill her; I still wouldn’t tell you anything. McKenzie wouldn’t want me to. She’d rather die.”
Elena realized quickly their plan was faulty. “I told you it wouldn’t break him.” She tried to get away from Lyle but he twisted her arms painfully.
“You know what I will do to her right? I will cut her and she will bleed to death slowly. Of course, there are many other ways I can hurt her.” Lyle sneered at the silent man in the middle of the room. “She showed you many of them.”
Elena was beginning to feel the panic inside of her. Lyle was taking this rather far. They both knew their mystery man wasn’t going to break and yet he persisted in threatening her.
Michael smiled at Lyle. “For every instance of pain or fear you instill upon her, I will return it to you ten fold.”
Not the response Lyle had suspected, nor did he expect the smile that passed over the man’s lips. Lyle pushed Elena towards Michael and turned, exiting the room.
Michael’s form bent as low as he could manage. “Are you all right?”
Elena was baffled. The man she’d been torturing not only scared Lyle off but was willing to kill to protect her or avenge her. And Lyle… he’d been more than convincing. She actually believed he’d do as he said. “I’m fine. The entire thing was a ploy which didn’t pan out.”
Michael nodded. “Of course, which is why you were scared.”
Elena was on her feet and she approached the man slowly. She stood over him and then grabbed his hair pulling his head back. “Don’t think this changes our schedule. I will be back here very soon for the pins and nails game. You’ll like that.”
Elena walked into the observation room. “What the hell was that? We played him and he called our bluff. What other pain were you talking about exactly? What were you going to do torture me in front of him?”
“The thought crossed my mind. He seems to have some emotional tie to you?” Lyle turned and left her to think about that.
Elena swallowed hard. Who was she really dealing with? She turned to face the one way glass. The man sitting in the middle of the room had sparked something inside of her. He was willing to let her die and yet if she had she knew he’d destroy Lyle and the Centre. Even Lyle knew he was serious about his threat. She put her hand on the glass. ‘Something about him.’ Her thoughts tried to push the strange feeling she was having away, but her mind went their anyway.
I’ll always be here for you. Even if you don’t want me to be.
Elena stepped away from the glass startled. She knew the man she’d been torturing had been the one who’d told her that, but when had he? She didn’t remember him.
She watched “The Tormentor’s”, as Lyle called them, enter her mystery man’s cell and open the case of pins. Her mind gasped. If he really was someone to her then she had to stop this. He knew things about her she only dreamt about. The constant feeling like so much was missing. She’d always believed it was her lack of family, of course, they were all supposed to be dead, but this man knew something else. Why didn’t she remember him?
Jarod and Jaidyn had little trouble getting into the Centre. “You think Parker is still here?”
Jarod nodded to Jaidyn. It had been a disappointing turn of events. Parker returned to the Centre and to chasing him, of course, she’d been slightly laidback about that duty. She completely shut down on him after they’d almost k… “Angelo, will know where Michael is.”
Jaidyn nodded as they moved through the vents slowly. Jarod led the way seeing as he’d been the one who came and went often. The only other person to do that was Michael and he was the one they were after.
Broots scurried into Miss Parker’s office. “Miss Parker, you’re not going to believe what I found.”
Miss Parker rolled her eyes. “Just tell me, Broots.”
Broots moved closer to her desk and whispered. “Lyle has captured this guy. I don’t recognize him and neither does anyone else. He won’t give his name, but his interrogator… her name is Elena.”
Miss Parker looked up at Broots with a stunned look on her face. She knew all about McKenzie’s mother. She had something of a run in with Jarod’s friends and had longed to stay with them and Jarod, not that she would have ever admitted it. “The woman’s dead, Broots.”
“My thoughts exactly, so I did a little digging.” Broots rounded her desk and put a folder in front of Parker. “Project Resurrection. Apparently they turned someone into Elena, a way of resurrecting her. The man Lyle’s been meeting with is a shrink who specializes in psychological warfare. He can convince people of things. The Centre’s been using him in re-education.”
“Why would they do that?” Parker looked at Broots questioningly. She couldn’t fathom why they’d train someone to be like McKenzie’s mother.
“Good question.” Jarod’s voice broke through her thoughts and she rose from her chair.
“Jarod?” She started to cross the room but a woman stepped out from behind him welding a gun. Parker stopped in her tracks. “Why would I think you came here alone?”
“I can’t answer that, but I’m hoping you could tell me where Michael is?” Jarod’s voice was soft, hoping Parker would be able to help.
Parker face reflected the surprise she was feeling. “Michael? Michael is the man their holding? How can that be? I’ve met the man. He’s like a ghost. Few have ever seen him and no one has been able to catch him. In fact, he stood in this very office years ago and had me convinced he was Lyle.”
Jarod nodded with a slight smile. “Yep, that’s Michael.”
Jaidyn was sick of beating around the bush. “Do you know where he is or not?”
“Not.” Broots felt he knew the answer to the question and felt the need to answer it for them. He looked to Parker apologetically.
Parker wasn’t sorry; however, and looked to Jaidyn. “Angelo might.”
“My thoughts exactly.” Jarod turned but then turned back to Parker. “Would you know where Angelo is?”
Angelo sat in the vent looking down on the man tied to the chair. He understood well enough the man was being tortured into giving up his friends. Angelo instantly liked the man. He looked towards the mirror and knew no one was on the other side. He opened the grating and jumped out.
Michael’s head shot up at the sound of the grating on the vent. He was in a lot of pain and he’d even given into it by sucking air through his teeth as “The Tormentors” stuck pins under his fingernails. He could feel the blood on his hands and body. His injuries were clouding his mind but he focused on the face in front of him.
“Ghost.” Angelo smiled at him.
Michael nodded. “Boo.” He whispered.
Angelo smiled broadly. “Ghost. Ghost can’t remember who he is. Ghost sad.”
Michael stared at Angelo. “Angelo…”
“Your friend. Not your friend. Mother… Daughter… Resurrection confused.” Angelo crossed the room and put his hand on the mirror.
Michael pulled his head up. “Angelo, I need your help.”
Angelo scurried back to the man’s side and put his hand on Michael but pulled it away quickly. “Too much pain.” He looked towards the door and then scurried back to the vent closing the grating as he left.
Michael hung his head as the door to his cell opened. He could hear Elena’s shoes clicking on the floor. He’d given up thinking she was McKenzie. No, there was nothing left of his friend. She was Elena now and she was going to make him suffer.
“Are you suffering?” Elena knelt down in front of him.
Michael’s eyes rolled up to look at her. He didn’t say anything. He simply stared.
“I brought you something.” She went to his left arm and stuck him with a needle.
“What is that?” Michael asked thinking she’d given him something to torture him further.
“It will dull the pain and help you heal.” Elena came back around and knelt down in front of him.
Michael had resigned himself to thinking his McKenzie was gone but what he saw before him had the spark of the woman he knew. “Why?”
“I’ll always be here for you. Even if you don’t want me to be.” She looked up at him. “Did you tell me that?”
Michael sighed slightly. “You remembered me?” A tear rolled down Michael’s face and dropped from his chin.
Elena hadn’t expected the reaction she’d gotten from him. She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. “It happened?”
The man tried to move closer to her but his bonds were too tight. His frustration lasted only a moment before he accepted his inability to move by leaning back in the chair. “You are McKenzie. I don’t know what they did to you, but you are my friend.”
Elena looked around the room quickly. “I don’t know what to believe. I can see you telling me you’ll be there for me but I can’t remember why you said it. I remember being myself but am I now remembering being your friend?”
Michael’s arm flexed as though he wanted to reach out to her. “You are remembering your real life.”
“Tell me your name?” Elena put her hand on his knee.
Michael shook his head. “I thought you were telling me the truth. You’re lying.”
Elena knew what she’d done wrong. She’d repeated her earlier interrogation of him. “I’m not lying!” She got to her feet and started to circle the room. “I remember you. I feel connected to you. I feel something. I don’t want this to go any further. I want all of it to stop. I want to let you go.” Elena stopped behind him a few feet.
Michael turned his head towards the mirror and looked at Elena using it. “Then do so.”
“I don’t know that I can trust you.” Elena stared at him.
Angelo had scurried back to his work space. “Confused.” He rocked back and forth in the middle of the room.
Miss Parker, Broots, Jarod and Jaidyn all entered the room slowly making sure they weren’t being watched. Miss Parker crossed the room to Angelo. “Angelo, we need you’re help.”
Jarod looked up at the cameras. “Are you sure they aren’t watching?”
Broots nodded. “Positive. I set the feeds to replay yesterday’s footage.” He smirked rather proud of himself.
Jaidyn came up behind him and slapped him on the back. “Apparently you’re not the only genius, Jarod.” Broots jumped but smiled.
Angelo continued to rock and repeat himself. Angelo’s confusion was evident and Miss Parker looked worried about the man she once thought and hoped was her brother.
Jarod knelt down next to his old friend. “Angelo, what are you confused about?”
Angelo looked at him for a moment before it registered. “Jarod. She’s confused. Like me. Two people. One body.”
Jarod shook his head. “Angelo, we need to find Michael. Have you seen him?”
“Ghost.” Angelo nodded. “She’s confused.”
“Angelo, I need you to focus.” Jarod hadn’t seen Angelo in a while and feared his friend was slipping further away.
Angelo grabbed onto Jarod’s leather jacket. “Resurrection has Ghost!” Angelo yelled.
Miss Parker grabbed onto Angelo. “Angelo, show us where they are.”
Angelo looked at her for a moment before a smile spread across his face. “Daughter follow. Follow. Follow.” He ran from the room and through the halls. They all scurried after him thankful Broots had rigged the system. When Angelo stopped abruptly they all looked around while Angelo pointed to a door. “She’s missing.”
Read Part 3...