Special Treatment

 

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Columbus, Ohio

Once they reached the car, Miss Parker opened the trunk and then threw the keys to Sydney.

"You're driving."

He caught the keys instinctively before eyeing her somewhat warily as she packed the bags into the trunk. "To the airport?"

"To the Centre,' she told him, getting into the passenger seat. "I sent the jet back already."

The psychiatrist was unable to help raising an eyebrow. "Could I ask why?"

"I have to talk to you," she stated firmly. "And this is probably the best chance I'll get."

Sydney barely repressed a sigh. This was the last thing he wanted to do right then, but he knew there was no point in arguing, so he slid the key into the ignition and started the engine.

Ten minutes later, they were driving through the outskirts of the city, but Morgan still sat silent in the passenger seat. Just as Sydney was about to say something, however, she spoke.

"Do you think he'll be okay?"

"Who, Jarod?" He shot a surreptitious glance at her. "I hope so. Why?"

She resettled herself in her seat and sighed deeply, her eyes fixed on a point at the far distant horizon. He could tell that she was thinking and wouldn't want to be disturbed by questions, so he remained silent. However a quick glance revealed to him the same expression of concern that he had seen on her face while she had been watching the psychotherapy session hours earlier, and Sydney couldn't help wondering why she seemed to be so concerned about Jarod.

"Do you care about him?" she demanded suddenly.

The man almost jumped at the ferocity of her tones, but he considered the question seriously for a moment before responding honestly.

"Yes, I do."

"Do you love him?"

There was a moment of silence, with the word Sydney was trying to say stuck in his throat as he fervently wished that he could admit it to the man himself, but knowing that his own reserve made that impossible.

"Yes," he finally confessed in a voice that was only just audible.

She turned to look at him, forcing down a sudden wave of emotion that caused unexpected tears to form in her eyes.

"Do you love me, Sydney?"

He shot another look at her, feeling something melt inside at the loneliness in her voice. She was looking down now, studiously examining her hands, which were fiddling with a loose thread on her jacket. He reflected briefly that it was the first time in her adult life he had seen her looking so uncertain. Something made him remember the scene in his office, when he had been trying to comfort her after Catherine's funeral, and he reached out, covering her hands with one of his own as he turned his eyes back to the road.

"I always have."

Morgan looked up sharply, watching as his lips began to frame a name that he hadn't called her for years, but stopping himself just in time.

"Then why don't you trust me?"

Sydney raised an eyebrow, glancing at her. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, come on," she protested. "All the things you never told me -- the name of the Yellow Files being changed, your brother, even the truth about my mother's death. Didn't you think I'd want to know?"

"What good would it have done if I had told you?" he asked patiently. "I doubt that you would have believed me as a child -- particularly considering what you saw and heard in that hallway. By the time you might have been old enough to believe me, Catherine was long dead. I knew that. She told me that she would contact me. When she didn't, I knew she couldn't. That she wasn't coming back."

"Did you know about Ethan?"

"No. Catherine never told me why she was going to fake her death," he replied. "I knew nothing of your brother until you found out about it." He exhaled slowly before a thought struck him. "While we're on the subject, what about the things you haven't trusted me enough to tell me about?"

"Such as?"

He gave her a small smile. "Your 'brother,' for one. I might be getting older, but I'm neither deaf nor blind. What relation is Gabriel to you?"

The word choked in her throat, emotion as much as caution preventing her from saying it. But her silence seemed to confirm something to the psychiatrist, who nodded.

"Does Mr. Parker know that you know he's your son?"

"If he did," she returned abruptly, "do you think I'd be head of SIS?"

He smiled understandingly before altering the subject somewhat. "Was that another reason your attitude toward Jarod changed?"

She arched an eyebrow, folding her arms. "What made you think it has, beyond Eclipse?"

Sydney glanced at his watch, unable to help laughing. "Because we just spent more than twelve hours in the same room with him, and you didn't call the sweepers."

Morgan conceded with a half-smile, remembering the look of pain in Jarod's eyes when he had first told her about their son. "Yes," she admitted quietly. "That's part of it."

Several long minutes of silence followed this, both people immersed in their own thoughts, but the silence was comfortable when, at last, Sydney spoke.

"If you want something from me," he stated, "then you can always ask, rather than sending Broots to rifle through my office."

"You didn't tell me about Rebecca when I asked you," she reminded him.

"Yes, that's true," he agreed. "But, as I told you some time ago, I also can't betray the trust that a person puts in me as a psychiatrist. That's why I never told you some things about your mother."

"What about Kim?" she suddenly demanded, surprising herself as much as him with the question.

He cast a suddenly wary look in her direction. "What about her?"

Morgan leaned back in the seat and crossed her arms over her chest as she raised an eyebrow. "I know there's some connection between the two of you, and I'm sure she didn't ask you to keep quiet about it. Who is she, Sydney?"

Exhaling slowly, the man kept his eyes on the road as he replied. "Kim is the daughter of Jacob and Alexis. She's my niece."

The woman's eyes were wide. "And you're letting her work at the Centre? Sydney, that's as close to suicide for Kim as it gets!"

"You think I don't know that?" he snapped angrily. "I never asked her to come. It was her decision to apply for a job there!" He stopped abruptly before continuing. "I'm sorry. I'm not angry with you, and I have no right to take out my concern about Kim on you like that."

Morgan dismissed the apology with a wave of her hand. "But why didn't you tell me?" she asked. "If I'd known, I'd have…"

"You'd have done what?" he interrupted. "There's nothing you could have done. Nor anything that I could. Once she was in, that was it. That's why I asked for her to be working with me. I wanted to try to keep her safe."

"For Jacob."

"And for myself," he admitted softly. "You don't know how much I value the fact that Kim's there at times."

"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked gently.

He sighed heavily. "After everything that happened with Jarod being brought back to the Centre, I just couldn't be sure of you anymore. I thought I knew you until then, but when I couldn't come up with any reason for what you did, I had to question my belief in you. And when you don't trust someone, the last thing you do is entrust them with a secret that could result in the death of at least one person."

She nodded understandingly before a half-smile appeared on her face. "I guess there wouldn't be a lot of point in asking you what else you haven't told me?"

Sydney smiled, grateful to have had the subject changed. "In future, Parker, ask me. If I can tell you something, I will. If I can't, then I'll tell you why I can't tell you about it, okay?"

His use of the name grated, as it did when anyone said it to her now. Almost without thinking, she turned once more to face him.

"Please, Sydney, don't call me that."

His eyebrows rose immediately, his eyes revealing his astonishment as he shot a quick glance at her before looking back at the road. She waited for the obvious question: why? It never came.

"What do you want me to call you then?"

"The name you almost used before," she responded with a half-smile. "At least when we're not in any danger of being overheard."

"Are you sure, Morgan?"

Nodding, she turned to look out of the window, wondering how best to phrase her next statement.

"I want to trust you," she explained after a moment. "There aren't many people that I trust in that place, and I want you to be one of them."

"If you didn't trust me," he queried, "would we be having this conversation?"

"Not like that," she clarified impatiently. "I already know that, if I tell you something, you won't run around bleating it to everybody at the Centre who happens to have their ears open. But I need people that I can discuss things with -- like Exodus, or the Seraphim, or any of the big projects that other people don't want me to know about."

"You've always done that."

"No," she contradicted flatly. "Not always. Sometimes. If I thought you might know."

His eyes twinkled. "I probably know more than you think I do."

"That's why I want to be able to ask you, if questions arise," Morgan stated. "And I want to be able to trust that I'll know everything you do."

"Unless it's confidential, due to the constraints of my profession," he added. "Otherwise, from now on, I promise that you will."

* * * * * * * * *

Rebecca looked down at the girl, giving her hair one last gentle touch before withdrawing her arm from around her shoulders. Shooting a glance at the man who was still reading the information he had uncovered, she lowered her voice to a faint murmur.

"Baby, will you go pack Jarod's things and take them down to his car?"

Understanding, Andromeda nodded, giving her mother another hug before letting go and leaving the room. When she was gone, Rebecca stood up and walked over to the table, sitting down on the other chair.

"Jarod, this isn't the end of it."

"I know," he muttered, never moving his eyes from the pages.

"What are you going to do now?"

He shrugged noncommittally, turning away so that she wouldn't see the pain in his eyes.

"You have to face this," she told him.

"Ecksley?"

"You know what I'm talking about," she reprimanded gently. "Not just Ecksley but all of it. You're so close to being able to shake it all off, Jarod, and you can't let this one thing get you down now. If you don't, other nightmares, ones you've buried even deeper than this, will come back too. And Sydney might not be in the neighboring room next time."

A memory of the concern in the psychiatrist's eyes flashed in Jarod's mind but he pushed it away and turned to her, a pleading expression in his own.

"Would you be?"

She smiled. "'Would I be' what, Jarod?"

"I know why you came," he told her impatiently, pushing the chair back from the table and rising to his feet. Rapid pacing carried him to the window and he stared out at the teeming rain for a moment before turning to look at her. "Next time -- if there was a next time…"

Rebecca looked up at him candidly, although it was an effort to prevent her lips twitching. "I think there's a much closer friend than me, who would be a far better comfort than anything I could provide." She allowed herself to smile as she also stood. "We have to leave, Jarod. If they send a team, we need to be gone."

Nodding, he gathered the papers before turning with a pleading expression on his face. "Come with me?"

"I can't." She looked at the doorway, where Andromeda was waiting. "I have something else to do now."

"Yeah, I guess you do."

He followed the women down to the carpark, noting without surprise that his bags lay on the back seat of his car and that Rebecca's car was parked next to his. After saying goodbye, he watched them drive away before getting into his own car and leaving the underground parking lot. Turning onto the freeway at the first entrance he saw, Jarod settled back in the seat, picking up his cell phone.

"Sebastian? It's Jarod. You know that little favor you asked? Well, I need one in return. There's a hospital in Ohio that's doing some dirty deals and I was wondering if you could get a legal team to look into it…"

End of Episode
Special Treatement

Special Guests:

William Shockley

as Luther Ecksley
Meg Ryan

as Leah
Jeffrey Donovan

as Kyle
Katie Mitchell

as Dr. Christine Brandt
Richard Marcus

as Mr. Raines
Keene Curtis

as Mr. Fenigor
 
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