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Briar Road
Blue Cove, Delaware

The ringing of his cell phone woke the man, who reached out for the device, connecting the call as he sat up.

"Hello?"

"Ethan?"

"Julia!" He exhaled sharply, running a hand through his hair. "Are you all right? What did he do to you?"

"You know my name!" she exclaimed in tones that suggested she was smiling. "Did you find out about our son, too?"

"Some," he admitted. "I'm going to see what my brother can tell me in the morning."

"Jarod," she stated. "Say hello for me. Tell him it was nice to see him when he was in Berlin a few months ago."

"You know…?"

"I have to go," she interrupted, and the dial tone sounded in his ear a second later.

Disconnecting the call, Ethan dropped the phone on the bed, sitting beside it and seizing his bag, pulling out the photos. Checking his watch, Ethan saw that it was still too early to call his brother, concentrating instead on beginning to memorize all the information his sister had managed to find about his son.

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

"No problems?"

"Of course not," Valentine replied calmly, keeping his voice low despite the relative security of the elevator. "And I've got a little present for you."

"Ah!" Cox accepted the small, wrapped package with a delighted smile. "Another birthday present I assume?"

"You're two weeks early," the sweeper chuckled.

"Well, I figured that you wouldn't have anyone else of that importance lined up for the actual day." Cox placed the videotape carefully in his briefcase. "So this will have to do."

The doors opened and Valentine stepped forward, glancing back over his shoulder with a laugh. "Happy Birthday, buddy."

* * * * * * * * *

Prometheus Building
Dallas, Texas

Cam caught up with Jordan as the young man was about to go into the dining hall, seeing Jarod with a small boy in his arms several people ahead in the queue.

"Slacker," he greeted his friend. "I didn't see you in class yesterday."

"Yeah, I was forcing myself to eat ice cream and play with the kids," Jordan retorted with a grin. "It was tough, but I managed somehow."

"I'm sure you did," Cam agreed in mock-sympathy. "So will Your Highness deign to grace us with your presence today?"

"Not yet." Jordan nodded at Jacob. "When he's more used to the place and all the people, then I will, but for now I want to wait, and Dad agreed."

Collecting his tray, Cam took the plate offered by the woman behind the counter and, after getting a drink, turned to follow his friend to a table. His eye was caught by a gleam of golden hair from the other side of the room and he nudged Jordan.

"Hey, who's that?"

Looking the same way, Jordan recognized the girl and, without answering, led the way over to the table, taking one of the empty seats opposite beside Jacob and his father, and feeling his friend sit down beside him.

"Hey, Andromeda, this is Cam. Cam, this is the daughter of one of Dad's friends. She's come to live here, too."

Cam's mouth worked for a second without sound as he gazed at the young woman opposite, and Jordan tried to not laugh at the look in his friend's eyes as he began to eat his breakfast.

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Miss Parker stared down at the three envelopes on her desk before looking at the two men sitting opposite her.

"Any idea what these are?"

"None." Sydney reached forward. "But perhaps if we open them, we'll find out."

He picked up the envelope bearing his name and took the letter opener that Miss Parker offered, slitting the top. There was a moment of silence in the office as the psychiatrist flipped through the eight photos that the envelope contained. Finally an impatient voice broke the silence.

"Well?"

Sydney looked up, his face void of expression. "Eve is dead."

Broots' eyes widened as Miss Parker's narrowed.

"And you know this how?" she demanded.

"Let's just say I wouldn't need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure it out," the psychiatrist retorted dryly, dropping the pictures on the desk.

Miss Parker picked up the first photo and stared at it before slowly lowering the square piece of photographic paper back to the surface of the desk, her lips in a straight line. Suddenly reaching out, she snatched up the envelope with her name on it, slitting the top in one smooth motion and letting the photos slide out onto the desk. When they proved to be identical to those Sydney had received, she nudged Broots' envelope over to him, but he simply shot it a revolted look and tried to ignore it.

"So who did it?"

"More to the point, as head of SIS, shouldn't you know about it already?" Sydney replied quietly, and the woman eyed him. "After all, this is a direct hit on Centre staff."

"And on a person very close to Mr. Parker," Broots added, trying to avoid looking at the pictures showing the woman's blood-soaked clothing. "Do you think it's a message?"

"If it is then that narrows the field considerably." Morgan sat back in the chair with a groan. "I got a call about an hour ago from the Chairman, requesting me to assemble a cleaner team and send them to a warehouse a couple of blocks from here. When I asked for more details, I was told that I could read the report when it came in."

"I think we all know what that will contain," Sydney responded. "And I also don't think we'll have to look too far for a culprit."

The office was suddenly filled with a long and uncomfortable silence.

* * * * * * * * *

Prometheus Building
Dallas, Texas

"Who's that?" Jarod asked, pointing to a face in a photo he held, and his son looked up at him with a beaming smile.

"Mommy," Gabriel responded happily, before turning back to the computer-generated photo Jarod had given Morgan for Christmas and patting the picture of himself, at the same time pressing the tip of the index finger on his other hand at his chest. "Gabwiel."

"That's right," Jarod agreed. "And this," he told the boy impressively, pointing at the other woman, "is Grandma. She's your Mommy's mommy."

The little boy examined the woman's face, his finger ending up in his mouth as he gazed at the picture. "Mine has Mommy?"

"Everyone has a Mommy, honey," his father responded, smiling sadly. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his wallet and produced the photo of his mother. "That's my Mommy."

Gabriel's chubby little fingertips gently stroked the woman's face before he snuggled closer to his father, detecting his emotional distress. Blinking rapidly several times, Jarod returned the photo to his wallet, which he tossed onto the table, before placing the other photo beside it.

"Jarod?"

The man looked around to see Merritt in the doorway and waved her into the room, putting his son down on the floor and standing up to give her a hug.

"I'm sorry I haven't come to see you since I got back," he apologized, waving her over to the sofa. "But I've been a little busy."

"That's okay." She sat down and smiled. "Actually, I wanted to ask something." The girl studied the floor for a moment before looking up at him, a pleading expression in her eyes. "The fact is, I've been a little restless over the past few days."

"Since Jacob was brought here?"

"Not just that," she admitted. "I like it here, and I want to come back, but I was wondering if I could go and see Aunt Harriet, just for a few days. Maybe take Jordan."

The Pretender ran a hand thoughtfully through his hair before smiling. "I have no problem with you going, if you want, although I don't want you traveling up there on your own. We can assign some bodyguards to go with you, though. But I don't think Jordan should go. Aside from everything else, I wouldn't let Jacob fly, in case anything happened to him, and I don't think Jordan will leave him. Not yet, anyway."

Merritt nodded. "I thought he might not come, and I will come back. I just want a break."

"A bit of country air too," he joked. "Okay, I'll call Harriet and see whether she's ready for you to go back. If she is, I'll arrange an escort for you."

"Thanks, Jarod." She stood up and hugged him. "I was kind of worried you wouldn't understand. I mean, you set everything up here for me really well, and I've got a great room and all, but I guess I'm a little restless."

He grinned. "I can't say that's any surprise, Merritt. I think it's probably genetic."

She was about to leave when she looked down at the little boy playing with a toy truck on the floor and then back at his father. "I don't believe we've been introduced."

"You haven't?" Jarod shot her a startled look as he picked up Gabriel, placing the boy on his knee and nodding at Merritt. "Gabriel, this is…"

"Gamma!" the boy exclaimed, holding his hands out to the girl, while Jarod and Merritt stared at each other in confusion.

* * * * * * * * *

Ramona was checking through a folder when a knock on the door made her look up.

"Jarod! Hi! Come on in."

"Thanks." He walked into the office and shut the door, sitting down as she waved him to a seat. "I know you're Sebastian's provider of all things official, so I thought I'd see if you could help me get someone to escort Merritt up to New York State. She's going to visit a friend of hers up there for a few days."

The woman glanced at her desk calendar. "Actually, I was flying up to check on something at Saltier Labs in the morning, but I could go today instead and we can organize the return trip when she decides she's ready to come back."

Jarod's face broke into a broad smile. "That's perfect. She's feeling a little hemmed in and wants to take a break."

"Most of the young people feel a little like that when they first arrive," Ramona admitted. "When Jordan took off, that was my initial reaction, as well as Sebastian's. It wasn't until we talked to your Dad that we knew the real reason."

The Pretender couldn't help chuckling. "Well, you two squashed him flat when you told him what you thought of his behaviour. He won't be pulling a stunt like that one again."

"No, I'll bet." The woman laughed. "He's had a hard time meeting my eye since then, and he was a very confident young man before that. I hope he isn't taking it too seriously."

"Oh, he'll bounce back," Jarod assured her. "He's got the responsibility of setting a good example for Jacob now, and that's going to help him mature more than anything else."

Ramona's expression became serious, almost sad, but she refrained from comment as she took up a pile of papers, flipped through them and slid them into her bag before looking at him again. "Tell Merritt I'll be ready to take her up there in an hour."

"Thanks, Ramona." With a grateful smile, Jarod left the office to go and find Merritt.

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Morgan's eyes traveled from the report about Uriel on her desk to the photo of her son that stood beside that of her mother, and suddenly made sense of a thought that had been nagging at her since discovering the truth about her father. Picking up the phone, she found herself hoping that Jarod was at Sanctuary and she would also be able to talk with her son as she made her way out of her office and left the Centre, walking along to the shoreline and looking out over the water as she punched in the number.

"Hello?"

"Jarod, it's Morgan."

"Hey, good timing." He sounded genuinely pleased to hear from her, then his voice was suddenly further away. "Gabriel, come here, quick. It's Mommy."

There was the sound of footsteps clumping across a floor and then the familiar sound of Gabriel's breathing in her ear, a noise that made her eyes fill. "Hi, baby."

"Hi, Mommy. I miss you."

"I miss you too, Gabriel," she whispered. "Are you having fun there with Daddy and your friends?"

"Uh huh." Morgan could imagine him nodding vigorously in confirmation of the fact, and her view of the waves was suddenly misty. "Mine come see me?"

"Soon, baby," she promised, blotting the tears from her cheeks with her sleeve. "As soon as I can. Then you can show me all your new toys, okay?"

"Yup."

The woman suddenly remembered the reason for her call. "Can I talk to Daddy again?"

There was a rustle as the phone was handed back and then Jarod's voice, full of curiosity. "Was there something else?"

"Just one thing." Morgan smoothed the hair that was being blown about in the wind. "I need to talk to Merritt. Do you know where she is?"

"Darn it." There was a sound as if Jarod's hand had slapped against timber. "She just left here an hour ago, to visit Harriet Tashman. She was here before that. You could have seen Gabriel too."

Morgan swallowed a lump that disappointment caused to rise in her throat and then looked at the situation logically. "Actually, maybe it's best. Things are buzzing a bit here and I can't really afford to be out of the Centre for more than 24 hours at a stretch, even chasing you."

He chuckled. "One day, you might have to tell the Chairman you're too busy with everything else to look for me. I'd love to see his face when you do."

She smiled half-heartedly. "So Merritt's in New York State?"

"I'll send you the address."

"Don't bother," she told him. "I know it."

"You've been there?"

"Once, yes," she admitted. "Don't worry about it, Jarod. I'll come up with a reason to get to Dallas as soon as I can, if I have to lay a false trail there myself."

"Let me know what you want," he promised softly. "I'll have red notebooks scattered along every stretch of road between here and Blue Cove."

"Thanks." She blinked several times to clear her vision, turning resolutely back to the building that loomed behind her. "Give Gabriel a hug for me."

"I will."

There was a second of silence, then the dial tone in her ear. Disconnecting the call, she slipped the phone back into her pocket before entering the Centre to head down to her office.

* * * * * * * * *

Prometheus Building
Dallas, Texas

Tempest eagerly followed her big sister into the older girl's room, running over to a beanbag in the corner and squirming into it.

"Comfy," she told the young woman with a beaming smile, and Andromeda laughed.

"It sure is," she agreed, reaching into the bag she had carried and pulling out a pack of balloons, tearing them open and beginning to blow up the first one as Rebecca and Alastair appeared in the doorway.

"She looks just like you," he told her softly.

"Which one?"

"Well, both," the man admitted. "But I was talking about Tempest."

He wrapped his left arm around her shoulders, resting his chin gently on the top of her head, as they both watched the girls play, using their telekinetic abilities to keep the balloons in the air. Rebecca entwined the fingers of her right hand with Alastair's, leaning against him and feeling as he kissed her hair.

"Excuse me," interrupted a voice from the doorway, and the two adults turned to find Cam behind them, holding a ball, at the sight of which Tempest yelped and struggled to her feet, running over to claim it. "Helen asked me to bring this up."

Rebecca's eyes danced as she saw the reluctance with which Cam handed it over. "Would you like to stay?" she offered. "I'm sure they'd love to have you."

Alastair choked quietly as he saw the eager look in Andromeda's eyes, which fell as soon as Cam approached her. He gently pulled Rebecca out of the room, nodding to Trevor, who was passing, and then to Elizabeth as she came out of her room.

The Australian woman's attention was caught by the expectant look on Trevor's face and stopped beside him.

"What's going on?"

The man chuckled, keeping his voice low. "Just setting a train in motion."

"Oh, really?" She raised an eyebrow. "Which one?"

The psychic gazed thoughtfully at the floor for a moment before silently reaching past her to open the door. Cam now sat on the floor, playing with Tempest, while her sister finished blowing up the last balloon. Elizabeth watched as the young man shot cautious glances at Andromeda, his eye sometimes catching hers, at which point his face would flush red and he would show dramatically increased interest in whatever the toddler was doing.

"So," Trevor whispered in her ear, his breath warm against her neck, "what do you think?"

Elizabeth giggled softly, turning her head so she could look up into his face. "I think Cupid's been a very busy boy in the past few days, hasn't he?"

* * * * * * * * *

SIS, The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

Morgan packed the notes about her brother's son into a folder with the information about the five Berlin subjects before heading for the room in which she expected to find Broots. He was sitting at a computer station in the security theatre, running one of the frequent scans of the system, and looked up as she came into view.

"Can I do something for you, Miss Parker?"

She pulled up a chair close beside him so that she could be heard in a room that was constantly noisy.

"I'm going up to New York to check on a lead, and I'm taking Sydney with me. We might stay overnight, so I won't take you along this time. Keep tabs on the investigation into Eve's murder for me and send me reports on whatever comes up." She smiled. "Wish Debbie good luck on her ballet recital from me."

He grinned proudly. "Sure thing."

"I'm leaving my office in Lockdown," she told him as she stood up. "It's your responsibility to make sure it stays that way."

The technician's expression became serious. "I understand, Miss Parker."

"Oh, and Broots," she remarked loudly from the doorway, her eyes twinkling, catching Sam's eye as she turned. "Don't forget that you have a gym session later this afternoon."

There was a groan as the technician sank his head into his hands and his boss left the room with a grin.

* * * * * * * * *

Centre Infirmary

She hesitated in the doorway of the room where Sydney bent over a blond-haired youth lying in the bed. The psychiatrist asked a soft question and received an almost inaudible reply, before turning to the nurse who waited beside him and giving several directions. The boy offered his hand in a gesture that spoke volumes for the trust that he had in his handler, and Sydney covered it with his own, squeezing gently before letting go, adding to his directions.

As the woman moved to obey, Sydney turned and saw his daughter in the doorway. Walking over to her, his face was as professionally expressionless as ever, but she could read the warmth in his eyes and was forced to suppress her answering smile.

"Did you want something, Miss Parker?"

"I'm going to New York. I'd like you to accompany me."

He hesitated briefly before nodding. "Overnight?"

"Possibly."

"Fine. Should I meet you at the car?"

Morgan glanced at her watch. "Twenty minutes."

Without waiting for a reply, she left the room. He watched her go before leaving to find the nurse and give further instructions for Alexander's care.

* * * * * * * * *

Prometheus Building
Dallas, Texas

Jarod was involved in an energetic game of tag with Alastair, Gabriel and Tempest when the cell phone clipped to his belt rang. Fending his giggling son off with one hand, Jarod unclipped it and connected the call.

"Hello?"

"Jarod? It's Ethan."

"Hi!" The man sank into a nearby chair while Alastair enticed the children away with the promise of a water-fight with Sebastian and his son. Ignoring all this, Jarod concentrated on the call. "It's great to hear your voice, little brother. What's happening?"

"I have to ask, Jarod -- do you know where Uriel is?"

The man's eyes traveled to where the small boy sat, drawing at a table with Angelique, seeing the bright blue eyes swing around to him, as if the child had guessed that he was the subject of the conversation, and Jarod raised an eyebrow.

"How do you know about him?"

"He…" Ethan's voice broke and he had to swallow hard before he could continue. "He's my son. At least, that's what all the tests and everything that my sister found said."

"Are you sure?"

"If all the tests that the Centre did are right, then yes, I am sure."

Jarod's brow furrowed as he studied the small boy's features, forced to accept the fact that this child probably was his brother's son -- and his nephew, although he had suspected that there would be a connection of some sort since first reading the DNA test results. Ethan's voice broke into his thoughts.

"Where is he, Jarod? Do you know?"

"Yes, Ethan," he admitted slowly. "In fact, I'm in the same room with him right now. Come down to Texas and I'll give you the chance to meet him, if that's what you want."

On to Act II

 
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