Unfinished Business,
The Third Twin

 

home / season six / episode eighteen / act II

   

Somewhere in Idaho

Jarod couldn't help continually glancing in the rearview mirror, but it wasn't to check that they weren't being followed. The look on his sister's face when Yuri had appeared in the room was the final proof Jarod needed to show him that the other man had been sincere. Somehow she had pierced the armor of non-emotion Yuri had built up in the Centre, and they would have to make sure that no-one connected with that place ever found out about the fact, or it could yet prove to be a fatal weakness for them.

Even as he thought this, however, his cell phone, lying on the passenger seat of the car, rang, causing all three occupants to jump. Keeping an eye on the road, Jarod activated the phone.

"Hello?"

"Dad, it's me."

Jarod straightened in his seat. "Jordan! Where are you, son? Are you okay?"

"I'm in Delaware," the boy on the other end admitted. "But I'm nearly at the state line."

The tone of his voice gave the man a clue of the boy's activities over the previous 24 hours, and Jarod couldn't help grinning. "You got Echo, didn't you?"

"I couldn't leave him there," Jordan protested vehemently.

"I know," Jarod assured him. "So it's a boy?"

"Uh huh." Jordan swallowed hard. "Dad, it… it's us."

Jarod suddenly pulled the car over to the side of the road, parking in a convenient space and staring blankly at the steering wheel. Yuri looked back over his shoulder, exclaiming in horror, before turning and begging the driver to keep going. Ignoring this, Jarod kept his attention on the phone.

"Jordan, are you sure?"

"Positive." The boy's voice trembled. "He looks just like you did in the photos that Da has in his wallet, and in the DSAs you showed me, so he has to look like me too." He paused for a second, swallowing painfully. "Dad, what do I do now?"

The older man smiled half-heartedly. "Take him back to where Dad's waiting, son. He's been worrying about you for hours. In fact, call him first and tell him you're safe."

"Would you do it for me?"

Jarod raised an eyebrow, despite knowing it would go unseen by his young counterpart. "You disobeyed a direct order, Jordan, and you've got to take the punishment that comes about as a result of it. Go back to Texas and we'll come down there as soon as we can. Okay?"

"Uh huh." Jordan's voice was hesitant.

"Oh, one more thing," Jarod put in quickly before the young man could hang up. "What should we call the boy, other than 'Echo'?"

"Cox sometimes called him Jacob," Jordan admitted. At the sound of a soft gasp on the other end of the line, he spoke again. "Dad, what's wrong?"

"Nothing," Jarod told him, his voice tight. "We'll see you in Texas."

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

The room was full of people, all gathered to try and come up with some way of making up for the missing children. All those present had a personal stake in the Seraphim, but, Cox thought, it could probably be said quite fairly that his was the highest. Or, as he caught sight of the Chairman's pale face and strained expression, one of the highest. He was, therefore, thankful for the other projects he had, of which most people had no idea.

At this juncture, his cell phone vibrated silently in his pocket, and, casting a wary look around the room, Cox slipped out of the door again, connecting the call once he was in the hall.

"Cox."

"Mr. Cox, this is Mr. Johns from Farnham Security. There's been an unusual activity regarding the security system at your house this morning and I just wanted to check that everything was all right."

The man raised an eyebrow. "Can you tell me - what kind of 'unusual activity?'"

"Not long after it was activated at your usual time, it was deactivated again, and then, an hour or so later, turned back on. I'll assume you forgot something," Mr. Johns laughed. "But you did say that I should check any strange behaviour with you…"

"Yes, thank you," Cox interrupted. "I'll take it from here. Everything should be back to normal in the morning."

"Of course, Mr. Cox." The man hung up and Cox returned the cell phone to his pocket, turning at once to the elevator.

The doors slid open to reveal two men. Cox was about to brush past them into the car when he saw the tense expression in their eyes and stopped.

"What happened?"

"Jarod," Lyle growled, not condescending to explain any further, as he headed for his father's office.

Valentine gave the doctor a brief overview of what had occurred, and Cox, as he got into the elevator, was at least relieved to know that, no matter what had happened at his house, the Pretender wasn't directly involved.

* * * * * * * * *

Maryland

Glancing into the back seat of the car as he pulled up at a red light, Jordan saw that the boy was still asleep. A gleaming sign ahead gave him a hint of what was coming, and he heard his stomach growling as if in reply. Pulling into the parking lot, he followed the signs around to the drive-thru, eyeing the menu warily for a moment.

The last thing he wanted to do to Jacob was make him sick, and although the boy's thin body made him want to feed him with everything that Jordan could lay his hands on, the young man knew that this would be unwise. The order he placed, therefore, was restrained, and he saw the child move uncomfortably at the sound of his voice.

"It's okay, Jacob," he soothed, seeing the child fidget nervously as he saw the high walls of the drive-thru. "I'm getting something to eat. Are you hungry?"

"I… I only get to eat after I work," the boy replied in a trembling voice.

"That was there," Jordan stated as he pulled up at the window. "Now, it's different."

Several minutes later, he accepted the warm bags and placed them on the passenger seat of the car, driving a short distance down the road and then turning into a quiet side street. With a wary glance around, he got out of the car and climbed into the back.

Jacob peered curiously at the item Jordan removed from the wrapper. "What is it?"

"It's a hamburger. They're very good," the older boy told him, breaking a piece off it and handing it over. "Try it."

The prompt order brought an equally prompt response as the boy immediately put the piece into his mouth, eyes widening at the new flavor. As Jordan ate the rest of the burger in large bites, he smiled at the child's eager face. He offered the fries with a warning.

"Just a few."

After several fries, he stopped Jacob, finishing the small bag himself, before turning eagerly to the dessert he hadn't been able to resist buying.

"Close your eyes," he directed with a grin, "and open your mouth."

Jacob eyed him warily for a second before doing as he was told. Jordan took the plastic cup out of the bag, removed the lid and scooped up a large serve of the ice cream, spooning it into Jacob's mouth. The child instinctively closed his mouth, clamping down on the plastic spoon, and stared at the older boy for a moment before giggling.

"It's cold," he gurgled, removing the spoon from his mouth as Jordan produced a second one from the bag.

"But it's good, isn't it?" Jordan suggested, helping himself to a generous serve.

"Uh huh."

The boy eagerly eyed the container, giggling again as he received a second mouthful, which had begun to melt and dripped onto his top. Like flicking a switch, the laughter vanished from his face and he began to tremble, looking around nervously.

"It's okay, Jacob," Jordan soothed, producing a napkin to wipe away the drip. "See? All gone."

He scooped some of the ice cream into the lid, offering it to the child.

"You can have this one, but hold it like this," Jordan demonstrated with the cup under his chin, "and it won't drip, okay?"

The boy nodded silently, anxiously accepting the lid, but the amusement never returned to his face and he ate the rest of the ice cream as if expecting to be punished at every mouthful.

* * * * * * * * *

Miss Parker's Office, The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

"I worked for Die Fakultät until 1993," Sam began, sitting down in a seat to which Miss Parker had directed him. "That was the year I came to the Centre. But I didn't have to go through the normal interview processes. My employment was organized by my boss at the time."

"Leiden?"

"Yes." Sam nodded slowly. "His intention was that I should secure a position where I would be able to gain easy access to anything classified and hand it on. As you might remember, 1993 was the year that I began working with you, Miss Parker."

The woman gave a short, confirmatory nod, waiting for him to continue.

"Leiden got me that position 'cause he thought it was a way for me to get close to Mr. Parker. Leiden always thought your father would become Director of the Centre one day. He thought it was possible he might even be Chairman of the Triumvirate. He figured that if I worked with you, I'd be able to get access to whatever information he wanted."

Sam hesitated, uncertain of whether he should continue, but the expression in his boss's eyes convinced him to do so.

"Leiden also knew about you and the position you'd hold as the head of SIS. He knew about Project Artemis too," the sweeper continued before Miss Parker could speak and the question she had been about to ask died on her tongue at the name of that project. "He told me that he and Mr. Parker talked about it often and he gave me a basic outline. One of his directives was that I was to push you in that direction if the opportunity ever arose."

Sighing heavily, Sam stared down at his hands for a moment while the woman sat in stunned silence, before the man continued.

"I was told to make sure that nobody suspected what I was doing, and that I had to send him whatever information I could. The more I sent, and the more useful it was, the better things would be."

"So what did you do, that they're threatening to have you taken care of?" Miss Parker queried, in a tone that was only just not a sneer. "Miss one of their deadlines?"

"Not exactly." A faint smile played around the edges of Sam's mouth. "For a while now, things have been different."

* * * * * * * * *

Broots' Office, SIS

Broots was listening, wide-eyed, to the conversation in Miss Parker's office, when the door to the office where he sat opened. Sydney looked surprised as he saw the recording equipment.

"What's going on?"

"Sam's been passing on top-secret information and Miss Parker's collared him, trying to find out why, and to whom," Broots told him bluntly.

Sydney lifted an eyebrow but otherwise didn't comment, settling himself comfortably in a chair on the other side of the desk, his walking stick hanging on the back of the seat. "And what are you doing, besides listening in, of course?"

The technician held up an alarm button. "If there's any problems, Miss Parker told me to press it and there ought to be sweepers in there to control Sam within seconds. But it doesn't sound like it's going to be necessary." He flicked a switch and immediately the conversation sounded clearly in the room. "Just listen for yourself."

After a few minutes, Broots looked up. "What did you want Miss Parker for? She said that, if anything really important came up, I could interrupt."

Sydney considered for a moment, the folder held firmly in his arms, but finally shook his head. "No, this isn't that vital. It's not a breach of security or anything else that would cause me to interrupt something like this. It's personal."

The younger man's eyes were full of curiosity as he looked up. "Like what?"

The psychiatrist shook his head. "As I said, Broots, this is personal. If Miss Parker wants you to know, after I tell her, then she can tell you herself."

Placing the folder on his lap, Sydney focused his attention on the voices that were audible in the next room and, after a moment, the technician did the same.

* * * * * * * * *

Dallas, Texas

Bringing the plane to a stop, Jordan looked out through the windshield, able the recognize the two men who stood next to the hangar, and a lump formed in the young man's throat, which he hurriedly swallowed. This was the part he hadn't considered -- the consequences of his actions. It was obvious from his grandfather's expression that there would be trouble for going off in the way he had, but Sebastian's face was also sterner that Jordan had ever seen it before, and it took all his courage to turn to Jacob and help him off with his seatbelt without revealing his feelings.

As soon as he was out of the seat, Jacob clutched at Jordan's hand, peering around at the other planes through the windshield, his face even whiter than usual with fear. After wiping his other hand along the leg of his pants to remove the nervous perspiration, Jordan picked up the bag and stepped out of the aircraft.

Sebastian remained where he was as Major Charles approached them.

"Jordan, for God's sake, where have you been?!"

He held the boy at arm's length for a second before briefly drawing him into his arms and then holding him away again.

"Well?"

"I… I'm sorry," the young man muttered. "I just… I couldn't leave him there."

Reminded of the reason for Jordan's disappearance, the Major peered at the boy, who was now hiding behind Jordan's legs, huddled in a violently trembling ball on the ground with his arm over his head, almost beside himself with terror at this new face, with the stern voice that reminded him of the man who had scared him for every moment of his short life. The Major couldn't help raising an eyebrow.

"What on earth…?"

"He doesn't seem to like other people," Jordan admitted. "I think Cox might have trained him in that. It took a long time before he'd trust me, but…"

Turning, Jordan bent down so that he was almost on eye level with the boy, slipping an arm around him and squeezing gently.

"It's okay, Jacob," Jordan soothed. "I'm here. It's all right."

With a muffled wail, Jacob threw himself into Jordan's arms, sobbing violently.

The man could barely restrain a gasp as he eyed the child's features, feeling a tugging at his heart as he examined the boy's face, forcibly reminded of his eldest son in the way that he least liked to remember him, from those last days before the abduction.

Sebastian stepped forward as the small boy's sobs became louder, verging on hysteria. His eyes widened slightly at the sight of the boy's face, shocked by both his obvious similarity to Jordan and Jarod, and also his extreme emaciation.

"Let's get back to Sanctuary," he directed. "We can take care of everything there."

Nodding, Jordan straightened up, feeling his grandfather's hand come to rest on his shoulder in an instinctively protective motion. In that instant, he was able to understand the depth of the man's feelings. The Major had been terrified at the thought that he had yet again lost his son, albeit in a different form. As they got into the company sedan, Jordan let Jacob slide into the corner of the seat, tucking the worn blanket from Cox's house around him, and watched as his grandfather sat beside him, Sebastian getting in beside the driver.

"I really am sorry," he stated softly. "When I went off, I… I didn't think about how you'd feel."

"I know you didn't," Major Charles responded evenly. "I've got just one thing to say about this whole affair, Jordan. Although I understand why you went, and I can't say that I wouldn't have done the same thing if I'd felt as strongly about it as you did, putting yourself in direct danger like that is a very different thing from what Jarod or Emily do."

"Jarod went back to the Centre to get Kyle," Jordan reminded him.

"Much as I hate to have to say this, Jarod can fight his way out of a situation, should the need arise," the man explained. "You can't; at least not yet. That's why it's more dangerous for you to put yourself in that sort of situation. Do you understand?"

"Yes." Jordan met Charles' gaze steadily, appreciating the fact that he was being treated like an adult and not as a disobedient child. "And maybe I should have told you why I felt that way about it. If I had, you even might have been willing to come and help me."

"That's certainly possible," the man agreed. Suddenly he smiled. "You know, I figured you'd be coming back."

Jordan raised an eyebrow as he removed his jacket, wrapping it around the boy's emaciated body as Jacob began to shiver, both from cold and emotion. "How come?"

Pulling a PEZ dispenser from his pocket, Charles held it out. "You left this behind."

Laughing, Jordan accepted the dispenser as it was offered. "Incredible. I never missed it."

The Major nodded, his eyes becoming serious. "I know Sebastian has a few things to say to you as well, but they can wait. Jarod's on his way here, and we need to take care of this child first."

Jordan looked down at Jacob, who was curled up almost under his arm, his thin body still shaking with sobs. Lifting the boy onto his lap, Jordan wrapped his arms around Jacob, feeling the child burrow as close to him as he could, his face buried in Jordan's stomach and hot tears soaking the young man's black t-shirt.

* * * * * * * * *

Prometheus Building
Dallas, Texas

Jarod and Yuri supported Emily between them as they entered the large building, her muscles still cramping painfully from the long hours sitting in one position. Jarod saw his father's eyes widen with panic as he hurried over, nudging Yuri aside as he put his arm around Emily's shoulders, exchanging concerned glances with his son. After helping her to a nearby chair, the older man then turned to the stranger, who tentatively offered his hand.

"Major, my name is…"

"Paul Jennings," Jarod interrupted smoothly. "He's a friend of Emily's, and, to a lesser extent, one of mine."

The older Pretender couldn't help seeing the relief that flashed in Yuri's eyes, hiding a smile as he turned to his sister.

"Em, you okay?"

"Uh huh."

She nodded slowly, closing her eyes briefly as she leaned against her father, who stroked her hair, his eyes demanding an answer from his son, but Jarod shook his head and mouthed the word 'later.' After a few minutes, she began to struggle to her feet, and Jarod slipped his arm around her back for support. Her father gave her a concerned look, exchanging glances with his son, as he moved to the woman's other side, leaving Yuri to follow behind. Major Charles suggested they go up to Jarod's room, where, he said, Jordan was waiting.

When the door opened, Jacob whimpered, cringing back against Jordan, who was sitting on the floor in the corner and reading to him. The older boy put his arms around him, unable to hide his relief at the sight of his genetic double entering the room. Jarod nodded to him, surreptitiously eyeing the child, but his primary concern was his sister and he helped her to a chair. As he began an examination, however, Emily shot him a sharp glance and moved out from under his hands.

"I'm okay," she insisted firmly. "I would have told you if there was anything wrong."

Jarod raised an eyebrow. "Sure?"

"Positive." She leaned in towards him, lowering her voice. "Not in front of Dad and Jordan."

"Okay, okay." Her brother got to his feet. "Maybe later."

"If I'll let you," she told him with a grin. "You'll have to catch me first."

Jarod responded with a grin of his own, giving her a nod, before turning his attention to where Jordan sat. His eyes traveled quickly over the boy, taking in the pale skin and sunken cheeks. The child was watching him, wide-eyed, his face almost hidden in Jordan's shoulder, peeping over the older boy's jacket collar. He whimpered again as Jarod came over to where the boys were sitting.

"How did it go?" Jarod queried, sitting down beside the boys and turning his gaze away from the terrified eyes of the child to a point in front of himself.

"Fine," Jordan responded, rubbing an encouraging hand on Jacob's back, staring forward also. "Did you think anything bad would happen?"

"I had no idea," the older man replied honestly, watching out of the corner of his eye as Yuri sat down beside Emily and she rested her head on his shoulder. "But, considering where you were and also how close you were to the Centre, it seemed like a reasonable question."

"True."

Jarod watched surreptitiously as Jacob began to relax his hold around Jordan's neck. Casting a quick glance at Jordan, the older man knew that they were thinking along similar lines, and he changed the subject to work Jordan had been doing since arriving at Sanctuary.

Jacob, his arms still around the one single person he felt he could trust, eyed the older man curiously. His faith in Jordan didn't just come from the older boy's sympathetic tone. His only good dreams contained the faces of the two people close to him. In his dreams, he had once seen them playing together in cold, white stuff that he had also seen out of the window of his room, before the man who always made him call him 'sir' had boarded it up. A feeling inside had told him that the man who had appeared in his room wouldn't hurt him, the way Sir did. Now this same feeling was extended to the new person who was sitting beside him. Jacob had no idea where the feeling came from, only that he trusted it.

Again peering over Jordan's coat collar, he found the dark eyes of the older man fixed on him. The child cringed back, but remained silent, watching warily as Jarod leaned forward.

"It's okay, Jacob," stated the older man softly, trying to overcome the emotions that that name caused in him. "I'm not going to hurt you." Jarod pushed the dirty, tangled hair out of the boy's eyes. "Do you believe me?"

The boy nodded very slightly, the terrified look slowly fading from his face. Suddenly shivering with cold and emotion, Jacob felt himself lifted out of Jordan's arms. Tensing momentarily, the child found his head pillowed by a leather-covered shoulder, closing his eyes as Jarod gently stroked his hair. Jordan got to his feet, exaggeratedly rubbing his legs and rolling his eyes, as Jarod tried not to laugh.

"Is your room tidy enough to get another bed put in it?" Jarod asked softly.

"Uh, I left sort of early yesterday morning," Jordan explained sheepishly, rubbing the toe of his shoe into the floor. "I didn't really get time…"

"Then what say you go and do it," Major Charles put in at this point from the small kitchenette, in which he was preparing something for the new arrivals to eat from food that Ramona had left there for that purpose.

"And make up one for Emily," Yuri put in, having watched the scene silently up to now. "I think she should have a rest too."

"Paul…"

"Emily, considering what kind of a day you've had…"

She put a hand over his mouth and glared at him. "Not now," Emily hissed between clenched teeth, casting a quick glance at her father. "Later."

Standing, she slowly walked over to where Jarod was sitting on the floor, Jacob curled up in his arms. As she approached, the boy instantly raised his head, the fear flowering in his eyes once more.

"It's okay, Jacob," Jarod stated softly, feeling him tense. "This is a friend, I promise."

Sliding to the floor, Jacob curled up under Jarod's arm, peeping over it at the woman who sat down on the sofa. Putting an arm around his shoulders, Jarod tried to draw the boy closer, but Jacob resisted the man's touch, warily watching the woman. When she bent down to him, the boy shrank back against the wall, but, after Emily had spoken soothingly for several moments, Jacob was at least willing to return to his seat on Jarod's lap. Any further than this, however, he refused to go and Jarod didn't force him, aware that it would take time to undo six years of Cox's brutal training.

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

"I… I have a brother," Sam admitted slowly, hoping he was doing the right thing. "He was one of the Pretoriat's subjects, then he was here in The Centre for a while, and after that he was taken to Berlin."

Miss Parker raised an eyebrow. "Why were all three branches so interested in him?"

"My brother's a psychic. I'm not," he added, preempting her question. "Otherwise they'd never have sent me over here. I went directly from South Africa to Germany. Then they sent me here when they thought I could be useful."

"So what are you?" she demanded impatiently. "What use did Die Fakultät find for you?"

"I'm pretty ordinary," the sweeper admitted with a half-shrug. "I'm better than the average man at martial arts, but that's about it. My position in Berlin was similar to what it is here -- a sweeper, although that's not what they call them."

Sighing deeply, Sam was about to continue when Miss Parker jumped in. "They -- specifically Leiden -- threatened your brother unless you sent them information, didn't he?"

"Yes," the man admitted, his voice strained. "He was all the family I had until my marriage, and he's still one of the most important people to me. Our parents were killed when we were taken from them. Nothing matters to me except that he's okay. If he was in danger, I'd do anything to protect him." Sam's large hands balled into fists, his voice trembling with anger. "I had to send them information for five years, from 1993 onwards. There was nothing else I could do. I know what Leiden's capable of. The thought of what he might have done to my brother terrified me."

"Why only five years?" the woman demanded. "What was different after 1998?"

"After that," he admitted, "things changed."

As Sam paused, Miss Parker eyed him curiously. "What changed?"

The sweeper's lips curled into a half-smile. "In 1998, my brother escaped."

* * * * * * * * *

Kennedy Avenue
Blue Cove, Delaware

Cox's fingers flew over the security pad and he pulled the door open, hurrying straight to the basement door. Flicking a light switch, he illuminated the underground room as he unlocked the door and pulled it open. From the top of the stairs, he glared down into the vacant room, seeing at once that it was free of occupation. Marching down the stairs, he seized the empty folder from the shelf and opened it, blankly staring at the tiny paper scraps which were all that remained of the careful notes he had taken. Dropping the cover back onto the shelf, he turned on his heel and stalked up the stairs.

In the living room, Cox glared around the spacious area, his eyes lighting on the rearranged animals that now decorated his home. His brow folded into a glare. The source of his change in decorations wasn't hard to find, remembering other changes that had occurred after the Pretender had been in his office or his house. But, when he thought more carefully, one thing flatly contradicted it.

"What happened?"

"Jarod."

There was nothing he could do now. No matter who had invaded his home, stolen his project, there was no way to change it. By now they would be long gone, and, because only one other person knew about Echo, Cox couldn't call in sweepers to make a search. All he could do now was to make sure that the boy wouldn't last long. If, as he suspected, one of the people associated with Jarod -- be it his father or someone else -- had come and taken the boy, they would soon discover his secret and try to work out some way to solve the dilemma that would be facing them.

Going back to the kitchen, Cox opened the refrigerator, extracting a box from which he took a number of medicine bottles and several vials. Pulling his cell phone from his pocket, Cox dialed a number before tucking the object between his shoulder and chin and, while waiting for his call to be answered, emptying the first bottle down the sink.

On to Act III

 
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