Blue Cove, Delaware
Sydney's visit to Angelo, immediately upon his return to the Centre,
had been routine. There was little need to fear being overheard or watched
down here, their activities being of interest to few, if anyone, but the
psychiatrist had no way of knowing how much of the changed situation within
the Centre the empath understood, so he had maintained a program in an
attempt to bring a sense of continuity into the younger man's life.
Standing, he turned to the door. Angelo had been increasingly agitated
during their session and the older man had decided to omit several activities
that he had intended to try. Before he could leave the room, however,
the empath stopped his impatient pacing and snatched up an envelope from
a shelf, scampering over to push it gently into Sydney's hand.
Accepting the buff-colored envelope, the psychiatrist raised an eyebrow.
"What is this, Angelo?"
"Timmy," the empath murmured in mournful tones, trying to conceal
himself in the darkest corner of the room.
Intrigued, but also concerned by both the attitude of the younger man
and the name he had said, Sydney returned to his chair, dropping his folder
on the table and easing open the envelope. In it was a thick sheet of
paper, which he unfolded. It was, as he saw at once, a birth certificate
in the name of Timothy. No last name was given. But what immediately caught
Sydney's eye was that the certificate bore two pictures -- faces that
had been cut out of photos. The man's gaze traveled longingly over Catherine
Parker's features, feeling a lump in his throat. The events of the past
few days had increased his pain at what he had lost so many years ago,
and he could only hope the things he had gained would make up for that.
Thus far, the significance of the action hadn't completely sunk in, but,
turning his eyes to the other picture and seeing an image of himself,
Sydney suddenly realized what it meant. He looked up sharply, meeting
the bright blue eyes that seemed to stand out from the shadows. Getting
to his feet, he slowly approached the corner, carrying the certificate
with him. Bending down, he met his son's eye, holding out the sheet.
"Angelo, did you do this?"
Raising his head, Angelo steadily met the older man's gaze, giving a
firm nod. Putting out a hand to make sure he remained balanced, Sydney
pointed at the two faces.
"Do you know who these people are?"
Angelo gave him a small smile, first pointing at the word 'mother' and
then the photo of Catherine Parker. His index finger indicated the word
'father' and hovered over the picture of Sydney's face, taken from a recent
DSA, before moving to rest gently on Sydney's chest.
The psychiatrist felt his breath catch in his throat, straightening in
an effort to prevent himself from falling. With what he understood of
Angelo's mental abilities, a combination of Raines' notes and his own
observations, there was no way the empath could have made the connection
himself. He took a closer look at the pictures, seeing, from various marks
and handprints, that they had been attached to the birth certificate some
time earlier, meaning that Angelo must have known the truth before either
himself or the empath's sister. Although this flew directly in the face
of everything he believed about Angelo's abilities, it did support several
other instances, such as when Angelo had told Sydney about the Seraphim.
Thoughtfully, Sydney watched as Angelo pulled himself up onto the desk,
the older man sitting in a chair so that they were on eye-level. His son
met his gaze steadily, as if knowing how important this moment was and
determined not to slip away mentally during it. Replacing the birth certificate
in the envelope, Sydney put it in front of the younger man before looking
"Angelo, how long have you known this?"
For several seconds, Angelo gazed at him before snatching up the file
about the experiment that Raines had performed and opening it, pointing
at the date it had been done.
"How did you know?" Sydney prompted gently. "Did Raines
There was a smile on Angelo's face as he emphatically shook his head,
patting his chest with an open hand.
"Momma," he mewled softly.
Understanding dawned and Sydney closed the booklet, pushing it aside.
"She told you," he clarified. "You hear her too, just
like your sister and brother do."
With another emphatic nod, Angelo curled himself up into a ball on the
desk, rocking slightly, as he had been just after the experiment Raines
had performed, when Catherine had rushed into the room to find him.
"That was when you first heard her," the psychiatrist murmured,
half to himself. "When there was nothing else you could hear, that
was when she first reached you."
The empath's eyes were clear as he looked up, recognizing the pain in
the older man's heart and the guilt that was also rising rapidly, pushing
aside even the anger he felt. But, as had happened so often before, there
was no way for Angelo to express his understanding. The older man's eyes
reflected his emotions as he stared blankly at the folder, but he looked
up as Angelo straightened from his curled position, slipping off the desk
and ambling over to the corner.
Sydney watched him go with a regretful sigh, believing that the moment
of clarity was gone. But his son turned, holding another folder, which
he put down on the desk before pulling a picture out of his pocket and
placing that on top. Looking at it, Sydney was unable to restrain a gasp.
It was a copy of the picture he had at the bottom of the box of the letters
from Catherine. Startled, the man looked up to meet Angelo's knowing gaze
as the empath again retreated to the corner.
Sydney wondered why, if she knew her son had survived and what Raines
had done to him, she would have sought shelter in the home of the man
who had done such a terrible thing to her child. The only explanation
he could come up with was that she obviously feared her husband more,
and considering what he knew of what she had suffered at Mr. Parker's
hands, he didn't find that fact particularly surprising. Morgan had told
him more about the night when she had seen her mother beaten, and Raines
had acted as mediator. Perhaps that, too, had convinced Catherine she
would be safe with him. He remembered the DSA and the words Raines had
uttered, that he was only acting under orders, and not for the first time
he wondered whose.
His eyes traveled over the photo and he remembered when it had been taken.
He had arrived at Harriet's farm on the Saturday morning, and Catherine
had appeared that afternoon, once the business at the office was completed.
They had spent the afternoon together picnicking in a grove of trees near
the house, and Catherine had asked Harriet to take the photo. It had been
Sydney's great standby for years, and it had obviously meant just as much
to Catherine, if she had given it to Angelo, which seemed likely.
"Your mother gave you this," the older man stated, suddenly
understanding. "She gave it to you just before she went into the
elevator. You followed her and that's how you were there to see it."
Nodding, Angelo's head sank down and Sydney had a suspicion that his
blue eyes glistened with tears. Standing and scorning the use of his cane,
Sydney walked over to the corner, kneeling in front of the young man and
placing a hand on his shoulder. Angelo lifted his head as the tears streamed
down his face, meeting the older man's gaze, before Sydney put his arms
around his son's shoulders, holding him while the younger man sobbed.
* * * * * * * * *
Trevor slipped into the dark room, pausing in the doorway before making
his way over to the bed. She lay on her side, head on one arm, her lips
slightly parted as she slept. He brushed a strand of hair away from her
face, trying to put a name to the emotions inside, but feeling that something
was missing when she wasn't looking at him out of those laughing brown
eyes. Several seconds passed in silence before he suddenly bent down,
brushing her cheek with his lips.
Elizabeth awoke to feel warm breath on her cheek and rolled onto her
back, opening her eyes to find herself staring straight into a pair of
equally dark ones. She jumped as he straightened and took a hurried step
"What on earth are you doing?" the woman demanded.
nothing," Trevor muttered, heading for the door.
"I never said you had to leave," she remarked quietly, sitting
up. "I only wanted to know what you were trying to do."
Trevor hesitated, indecisive, somewhere between the bed and the door,
examining the floor with interest. Elizabeth watched him for a moment,
finally getting out of bed and slipping on her silk bathrobe, making her
way over and standing in front of him.
"Do me a favour," she proposed.
"What is it?" he muttered awkwardly.
"Show me what you did." She smiled. "I want to know if
that was a dream or not."
He hesitated for a moment before giving her a hurried peck on the cheek
and then lunging for the door, but Elizabeth caught his wrist, freezing
the movement in an instant.
"That's not how I dreamt it," she told him. "It was more
Reaching up, she slowly brought her lips towards his cheek, her breath
warm on his skin, causing goose-flesh to rise on his arms, before her
lips brushed against his face, feather-light, so much so that he wondered
for several seconds whether she'd even done it. Withdrawing only a few
inches, her whisper tickled his ear.
"I think that's what it was like, but I can't be really sure unless
you show me again."
After a further hesitation, he leaned forward again, but, as his lips
were about to touch her cheek, Elizabeth reached up and cradled his right
cheek in the palm of her hand, turning her head so his lips made contact
with hers. Trevor found himself unable to pull away as his arm slid around
her waist of its own accord, drawing her gently towards him. Elizabeth's
hand released its hold on his wrist and slipped around his shoulders as
she leaned against him, eyes closed. He tangled the fingers of his free
hand in her hair, fingers tightening around the loose curls. The rush
of air from between her lips as the kiss finished was almost a regretful
"Was that how you dreamt it?" Trevor murmured, aware that he
had finished the kiss before it got to the point he had dreamed about.
A twinkle in her eyes suggested that she was aware of what he was thinking
as she briefly considered.
"You know, I'm just not sure."
A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he ran the backs of his
fingers down her cheek. "Do you think, if I did it again
"I hope so," she urged playfully. "Because otherwise it
might drive me crazy, not knowing."
He leaned forward again, feeling her arms slide around behind his head.
Trevor drew her closer, the kiss becoming somewhat more urgent, and both
were slightly breathless when it ended.
"That must have been one heck of a pick-up line I used when I first
saw you," the man grinned. "I only wish I could remember it
so that I could sell it to all my friends."
"Most of your friends seem to be doing quite nicely on their own,"
Elizabeth remarked, her lips just inches from his. "How about you
let them do things their way and you do them yours?"
Trevor framed her face in his hands, gazing down into her eyes. "Cupid
certainly has been a very busy boy over the past few days."
"Hasn't he, though?" she murmured as his lips approached hers
again. "The poor little thing must have had no sleep at all."
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
"So what else did you find about Eve's murder, Broots?"
The technician opened a folder onto the desk before sinking in the chair
opposite, glancing at his boss.
"But I didn't exactly find it, Miss Parker."
She looked up at him suspiciously. "What do you mean by that?"
"It was left on my desk."
Raising an eyebrow, she looked down at the information before eyeing
him again. "So who put it there?"
"I can't be sure
"Of course you can't," she muttered before looking at him with
an apologetic half-smile. "It's been a long morning. What were you
going to say?"
"Well, I thought at first it was Angelo, but something made me think
it wasn't. Then I found this."
He pulled a photo from his pocket and tossed it over the desk to her.
Miss Parker picked it up and looked down to see Debbie asleep in bed.
The time and date on the bottom of the photo revealed that it had been
taken the night before. She looked up and for the first time saw the furious
glint in the technician's eye.
"Who was it, Broots?" she prompted gently.
"I'm willing to bet it was Valentine," he told her, trying
to swallow the anger building up inside him. "He's showing us that
he's keeping an eye on all of us, that he can touch us any time he wants
to. But if he so much as lays a finger on her
Nodding as the man choked and fell silent, she looked down at the information
again. After a few minutes of silence, she spoke without looking up.
"So Cox and Valentine go back quite a way."
"And there's the suggestion that they were quite close for some
of that time," another voice stated from the doorway as Sydney entered.
He pushed a sheet of paper across the desk and then sat down beside the
technician. "It's a memo. Cox sent it to Africa, to tell Valentine
how his work here in Blue Cove was going. Angelo seems to have intercepted
it, because there's no record of it on the system."
"This is dated only three weeks after Cox appeared in Delaware,"
Miss Parker murmured as she looked at the page. Nodding, she slid the
sheets into the folder Broots had given her and shut it, pushing it to
one side. Picking up another folder, she offered it to Sydney.
"This is the report from the site of Eve's murder. All tests suggest
that Yuri's the one who carried it out."
"You're skeptical?" Sydney suggested, recognizing her tone
as he accepted the report.
"Considering he supposedly scattered hair all over the room, yes,
I am. Yuri, like Jarod, isn't that stupid. But those who know about him
may consider Yuri to be a convenient scapegoat. My only question is where
somebody could get the material so that it could be used for that purpose."
She looked at Sydney. "My job deals with the Centre only and the
records I looked at suggested that no genetic samples are kept here. I
know they keep sperm and ova at Pakor, but would they keep hair, too?"
"Possibly," the psychiatrist commented thoughtfully. "Samples
of hair and other genetic tissues are taken from all the subjects, ostensibly
to ensure that if anything happened and they were required to identify
'projects' here at the Centre, they could do so using DNA testing. They
may also have had plans one day to use Yuri as a potential donor for one
of the Seraphim and taken the necessary biological material from him for
Miss Parker nodded slowly, wondering privately if any of the children
did belong to the wayward, sociopathic Pretender. "And how could
someone get access to that sort of thing?"
"If a person had worked there, they would easily be able to slip
in and out. No one would consider it strange." Sydney arched an eyebrow,
waiting for her to understand his meaning. "And there's a person
who would fit in that category very nicely."
"Fenigor," the woman agreed, nodding slowly. "And Fenigor
and Cox work very closely together these days."
"And Cox and Valentine have a history," Broots finished somewhat
bitterly. "So we've got a nice little trio who will all back each
other up in case Mr. Parker gets suspicious of that," he tapped the
report on which Miss Parker's hand was still resting, "and asks for
The head of SIS looked over at the two men. "We need to find some
way of anticipating his next move. We're all potentially in danger - that
much is obvious."
She eyed the three envelopes containing pictures of Eve's murder and
then looked over at a filing cabinet in which was stored the newspaper
article about Michael Steinberg's murder several months earlier at, she
was almost positive, Valentine's hands.
It seemed he was quite an expert.
And not just at physical torment. She glanced at Broots' face, still
red with fury, and then turned to the photos that still lay on the desk.
It suggested an intimacy with the technician's house, and she was suddenly
reminded of the time when, supposedly under her orders, Broots had gone
to Hogan's Alley and been confronted with an image of his daughter being
held by Damon. The similarities suggested that Valentine had been responsible
for both events.
"How do we anticipate someone like that?" Broots pondered,
his eyes firmly fixed on the photo of his daughter and his usual nervousness
replaced by a white-hot fury at the audacity of the man to take such an
intimate photo of Debbie.
"First, we have to understand him and his motives." Miss Parker
looked at Sydney. "I'd like you to make me a psychiatric profile.
When we understand the way he thinks, we'll have a much better chance
of being able to second-guess him. And maybe see if one of the pretenders
can work out something."
Sydney nodded. "I'll see what I can do."
"Do you want me to see what I else I can find about him?" the
"Do it later, Broots," she told him gently. "Go home now
and make sure Debbie's okay."
* * * * * * * * *
The man shut the car door, slipping a hand into his pocket to check that
he had all that he would need. The page rustled in his pocket and he patted
it as he opened the door of the apartment building and lightly ran up
the first flight of stairs.
Tapping on the door, he heard the footsteps cautiously approach.
"Just a ghostly visitor," he assured her, hearing the chain
released and the bolt unlocked.
The door opened and he stretched his face into his best smile, seeing
the relief in the woman's eyes.
"Valentine!" she exclaimed. "You could have given me warning."
"I would have, Boss," he assured her, running a gentle finger
down her cheek as she opened the door wider. "But you vanished on
us without a trace, and it's taken me a while to find you. I thought it
was just better to come, in case you up and vanished again."
She smiled as he chuckled, letting him in and then bolting the door behind
him. "That would have depended on whether I thought they were on
to you or not."
"Not unless I want them to be. You know how I am about keeping secrets."
He pulled the sheet out of his pocket and tossed it onto the bed. "A
report for you. I'm sure you'll find it interesting."
Clearly intrigued, she picked it up and, in so doing, turned her back
on him. Valentine had the rope out of his pocket in the second it took
her to realize that the page was a signed sanction with her name on it,
and as she gasped the rope slid around her neck, tightening almost immediately.
He pulled firmly enough that she was unable to get her fingers under it
to tug it away, twisting it so that it would cut off her air as quickly
as possible. When he saw that her hands had lost some of their strength
and her eyes were rolling, suggesting light-headedness, he loosened the
cord slightly. He wasn't read to kill her quite yet.
The semi-conscious woman slumped back against him and he lowered his
mouth to the level of her ear.
"This is quite a shock for you, isn't it, Madame Director,"
he hissed mockingly. "And you thought the DSAs you entrusted to me,
to give to the Chairman if anything happened to you, would be sooo safe.
You really believed that I would come to your rescue if the situation
required it. But I get a bigger bonus by sticking with my current boss
than I ever could have with you, so I'm switching allegiances."
He tightened the rope a little more, hearing a faint gurgle from the
woman, before loosening it yet again, allowing her to draw in another
"You see, the current head of SIS came up with a very effective
scheme for the part you played in the disappearance of the children, and
that sanction was very easy to come by." Valentine had to chuckle
again as he remembered the body of the sweeper in the alley several blocks
away, where he had been ambushed. Valentine wasn't going to let anyone
else do the job that had always rightfully belonged to him, particularly
when such things gave him so much pleasure.
Putting his hand into his pocket he held up the first of the DSAs he
had stored there, turning the object so that it glistened in the light,
and then snapping it between his thumb and middle finger. A second followed,
and then a third.
"One more left," he reminded the woman, whose tongue lolled
out of her mouth, rapidly turning blue. "And I'll do that one just
before I leave. Only, you won't be around to see it."
He tightened the rope one last time, pulling her up so that her feet
left the floor, and feeling as her body slowly went limp. The process,
as it always did, took several minutes, and he listened to the last of
the air rattling in her lungs before there was silence.
When at last the woman's body lay on the floor, he stood over it and
extracted the final DSA from the pocket of his jacket, holding it up in
"You know," he told the corpse, eyeing the silver disk. "Maybe
you had a point. This could come in very handy one day. I might keep it
among all my other souvenirs, just in case the time should arrive when
it has a use."
Chuckling, he slipped it back into his pocket, straightened his jacket
and left the room, the door closing behind him with an almost soundless
* * * * * * * * *
Miss Parker's Office, The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware
Morgan noticed the envelope as soon as she entered the office. Placing
the folders she carried on the desk, she sat down and picked it up, slitting
the top. Pulling out the first sheet of paper, she unfolded it, her eye
caught by a notation on the top of the page.
Her brow furrowing, she sat back in the chair, trying to work out how
they could have provided the test results when she had sent the samples
-- identified only by code numbers -- to the Centre's lab, in spite of
her own misgivings. As she gazed blankly at the opposite wall, a knock
on her door made her jump and she slid the page and envelope into a drawer
Sam stepped into the office and carefully closed the door behind him
before walking over to the desk.
"Did you find it?" he queried in muted tones.
The woman narrowed her eyes and pulled the page out of the drawer. "Should
I presume that you were the reason the Centre labs didn't provide me with
"Yes, Miss Parker," he agreed at once. "My brother called
me as I was taking them down for you and told me that he suspected someone
knew what they were. Instead, he suggested I get them sent up to Saltier
Labs in New York."
She raised an eyebrow. "Do you know what they are?"
"No, ma'am," he replied promptly. "Alastair didn't tell
me -- in fact, I don't think he knows. Just that it was very important
to you, and the results would be accurate if they went to Saltier, instead
of using the Centre's facilities."
Morgan nodded thoughtfully before looking up at him again. "And
why not tell me?"
"You were in a meeting and I didn't want to disturb that,"
came the prompt reply.
She looked down at the page again and Sam took this for a dismissal,
leaving the office. When he was gone, she pulled the second page out of
the envelope. The three samples -- Merritt's, Sydney's and her own --
had been provided without identification, but Morgan had worried that
the Centre labs might recognize the patterns of the DNA and alert the
Chairman. Sam's actions had prevented that, and she was grateful.
The first page contained the details of the process completed, including
the time taken and the name of the person who had carried out the tests.
The interesting part of the test came on the next page.
Heading the sheet was a diagram of the three samples, numbered according
to the information she had provided, and revealing the categories that
had been tested. Beneath that was a single sentence summarizing the results,
and Morgan's eyes glowed as she read it.
The test proves, with an accuracy of 99.9%, that sample (3) is the
offspring of samples (1) and (2).
Morgan felt tears filling her eyes as she let the page fall back onto
the desk. The relief of finally having an answer, and for it to be someone
as dear to her as Sydney had become, meant that she was momentarily unable
to cope with the magnitude of it. Feeling one of the tears escape from
her eye and begin to slide down her cheek, she rose and quickly walked
into the bathroom that adjoined her office, locking the door after her.
For several minutes, she let the tears of relief flow, pacing in a contained
circle in the small room, with no other way of expressing her emotions.
After a while, Morgan regained her self-control and began to splash water
on her face to remove her slightly less than perfect makeup. As she turned
off the tap, however, a sound from the office startled her.
Morgan's breath caught in her throat as she stared at her reflection,
eyes wide. Casting a frantic look around the bathroom, she saw at once
that the sheet with the results wasn't in the room with her, realizing
at the same instant that she had left it on the desk. Taking a soundless
step across the room, she flicked off the light switch and pressed her
back against the door, trying to hear if the man was still in the room,
a task made more difficult as her heart pounded loudly in her ears. To
her boundless relief, she heard his familiar footsteps walking to the
door, the slight creak as the door opened and the dull thud as it shut
Her heart pounding in her ears, Morgan sank against the door in relief,
waiting for another couple of seconds before leaving the bathroom and
entering her office. A pile of folders now sat on her desk, and the woman
frantically pushed them aside, her eyes immediately lighting on the page,
which she snatched up in relief. Pulling the envelope out of the drawer,
she rammed the sheets into it and thrust it into her bag, flinging the
straps over her shoulder and selecting at random a folder as a pretext
for her discussion with Sydney before leaving the office to find her father.
* * * * * * * * *
The Chairman's Office
"You killed me, Parker."
He was almost used to the one voice that haunted him at odd moments but
this was a chorus, three voices that spoke as one, and he looked up as
he entered his office to see three female figures appear from shadows
in the corners of his office.
Catherine's face was streaked with sweat as she had been on the DSA he
had watched, her face still glowing with the combined effort of giving
birth and the delight of the small form that she had held in her arms
for such a short time. But her eyes held the terror he had seen as she
had faced death in the guise of the gun that Raines had pointed at her
Eve's face looked as he had last seen it as she sat over the desk from
him. But her body was not the same. It was no longer the curvaceous figure
that he had last seen leave his office several days before. Through the
gaping holes in her torso, Parker could see the office walls behind her.
And here was the third. Brigitte, her face also streaked with sweat,
stood between the others, her eyes burning into him and still wearing
the same blood-soaked maternity dress he had seen her dead body clad in
before he walked carelessly out of the cabin and let Cox blow it up, as
they had always planned.
His eyes traveled from one face to another, gradually backing away as
all three began to come closer, closing in on him, hands outstretched
as if reaching for his throat. Taking a step away, he watched them approach,
feeling the coldness of the fingertips as the first hand was able to brush
against his skin. There was a loud crash as he bumped into a table near
his desk and a pile of books slid to the floor. He cast a frantic look
at them before turning back to the three faces close to his.
"Mr. Chairman? Is there something wrong, sir?"
The door of his office was open and his secretary stood there, a quizzical
look on her face. Parker cast a hunted look around the room, seeing that
the three women had seemingly disappeared back into the shadows from whence
they had come. He pulled his jacket straight, trying to regain his dignity,
and took a step away from the window, against which he was pressed.
"Everything's fine," he assured her crisply, sitting down at
his desk. "Nothing wrong at all."
"Well," she stated slowly, sending a concerned look in his
direction, "all right, if you're sure."
When the door was closed, Parker leaned back in his chair, wiping a hand
down his face to get rid of the perspiration that beaded it. It took several
seconds for his heart rate to return to normal, and he had just picked
up his pen when a female laugh rang in his ear and, although to his eyes
the room looked empty, a cold hand slid along the back of his neck.