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The Centre
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 up.

"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 tell you?"

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.

* * * * * * * * *

Prometheus Building
Dallas, Texas

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 away.

"What on earth are you doing?" the woman demanded.

"I… 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 like this."

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 sigh.

"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."

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

"So what else did you find about Eve's murder, Broots?"

"This."

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 that."

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 answers."

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 technician proposed.

"Do it later, Broots," she told him gently. "Go home now and make sure Debbie's okay."

* * * * * * * * *

Michigan

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.

"Who's there?"

"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 breath.

"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 the light.

"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 click.

* * * * * * * * *

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.

Saltier Labs.

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 before speaking.

"Come in."

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 these results?"

"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.

"All right."

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.

"Angel?"

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 behind him.

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 head.

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.

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