After the Dragon by SireesAnwar
Summary: Kyle tells Jarod in Red Rock Jarod, he made his way to the road and caught a ride out after the van exploded. I thought it would be cool to write something small to fill in that time... just a little.

In this part Kyle meets a woman who is willing to help him.
Categories: Season 2 Characters: Kyle, Original Character, Other Non-Centre Related Character
Genres: Romance, Tragedy
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 5 Completed: Yes Word count: 11069 Read: 7451 Published: 19/04/05 Updated: 19/04/05

1. Chapter 1 by SireesAnwar

2. Chapter 2 by SireesAnwar

3. Chapter 3 by SireesAnwar

4. Chapter 4 by SireesAnwar

5. Chapter 5 by SireesAnwar

Chapter 1 by SireesAnwar
All Pretender characters belong to those who own The Pretender. Don't sue me.
Scenes from the Pretender belong to the owners and creators of the show.
This story spans a strange period of time. It is called After the Dragon because it starts right after the explosion at the end of Dragon House. It then skips through time until Jarod and Kyle see each other again when Kyle saves him from Lyle.
This story was previous put up on The Pretender Fan Fiction site under the pen name Mknzy. But that's me too. ;-)
Synopsis from my site (PHQ) was used.
Comments are appreciated as is criticism. Please be kind.

After the Dragon


He wiped the blood from his lips and scooted out on his butt from the flipped van grabbing a gun as he went and sticking it into the front of his pants. As he made his way through the broken windshield, his leg throbbed in agony. He bit back the scream that threatened to escape his lips. He had to make it out of the wreckage before the police came close enough to see he had survived. His older brother had risked his own life and freedom to save him; he had to keep himself from being caught.

He had finally pulled himself far enough away to where he could see the van, but not the police nor his fleeing brother. He pulled the gun from its ready make holster and pointed it towards the van’s gas tank. He listened for the sound of Corkus’ fire, then shot. One shot is all it took for the van to explode into a ball of flames. Over the roar of the explosion, he could hear voices, one of which he knew was his brother screaming, “Noooo!” He wanted to tell his brother he was still alive, but making himself known at this point would only bring the cops down on him and his brother.

He turned his attention to the next task he had to accomplish; he had to make his way to the highway without the police seeing him. He pulled at the grass and the dirt. He had a cut on his arm that was somewhat painful. As he scooted along the dirt, he wished his leg hadn’t gotten hurt in the crash because he needed to move faster. His mind kept drifting to his brother’s scream. His brother had only recently found him, and he wanted more than anything to be a good little brother.

He hadn’t realized how long he had been thinking about the past few days and their events until he felt the asphalt under his palms as he pulled himself up onto the shoulder of the highway. He had let his mind wonder and those thoughts helped him to keep his mind off his own pain. His big brother had helped him again. He would have to repay him. He looked down the highway and could see an old pick-up truck was head his way. He needed to get to his feet. He pushed himself up making, no, willing the pain to subside. He couldn’t think about the pain; he had to get up and get out of there. When he was on his feet, he could feel the pain shoot through his right leg and threatened to send him face down into the asphalt. He resisted the temptation to let his left knee buckle. He put all his weight on his good leg and stuck his thumb up for the motorist to see.

The truck came to a stop and a woman with long brown hair jumped out. “What happened to you?” she sounded worried. She ran to his side and wrapped his arm around her shoulders to let him lean on her. He silently thanked her as she helped him into the truck. She slammed the door, ran around to the driver’s side door, and hopped into the vehicle. “You didn’t answer my question?” She shifted the gears and headed down the highway.

“Huh? Oh… yeah….. well…. I was hitch hiking and these guys came down the highway like maniacs and I had to jump out of the way so they wouldn’t hit me. I fell down the embankment and I hurt my leg. I got a few other scraps on the way down.” He stared at her waiting for a reaction. She watched the highway occasionally glancing at him. He couldn’t tell if she believed him or not.

She looked out over the road that lay in front of her. Should she believe him? There was something about this guy. “Those crazy tourists. They come up here spend a little money and then think they can nearly kill people.”

He let out a sigh of relief. He didn’t need any other problems at this time. His hair had fallen down in his face. The mousse he had used to do his hair that morning was practically gone with everything that had happened. As his hair whipped down in his face from the wind coming through the trucks opened window, he felt a sting on his forehead and reached up to put his hand on his hairline. When he brought his hand down, there was blood on it. He was cut, not badly by the amount of blood on his hand, but enough to sting.

“So what is your name?” She glanced at him quickly, her blue eyes sparkling as the sunlight caught them.

“Kyle.” He watched her. The truck suddenly lurched as they hit a large bump in the road. Kyle gritted his teeth, but a small sound of pain past over his lips.

“Sorry about that, it couldn’t be avoided. Kyle, it is nice to meet you. My name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Beth.”

“Beth.” Kyle said taking in the information. He winced as he shifted in the seat of the truck.

“You seem to be in a lot of pain. I should take you to the hospital.”

“No! I can’t go there.” He bit down on his lip.

“Why not?” She looked suspicious.

“No insurance. It would cost too much.” He winced again.

“All right then, Kyle, out of the goodness of my heart, I will fix you up myself.”

Kyle stared at the road in front of them and abruptly they headed off of the highway onto a dirt road. “Where are we going?” Kyle winced because the dirt road was bumpy.

“My house.”

It was only a few moments more before the trees surrounding the road from both sides parted, to reveal a log cabin style home, which was rather large.

Beth got out of the truck and ran around to the other side. She pulled opened the door and helped Kyle down and into the house. But when they entered it wasn’t a house they entered, but a clinic, an animal clinic by the looks of the instruments.

“I thought you said we were going to your house?”

“This is my house. I work out of my home. This is just the business part of it.” She helped him onto the table in the middle of the room.

“So you’re a veterinarian?” Kyle stared at her as she lugged a heavy machine towards the table.

“Yep, but you have to be the most talkative patient I have ever had.” She smiled at him.

Kyle couldn’t help but smile back. “What is that thing?”

“X-ray machine. It is easier than taking the animal to the machine, believe me.”

She positioned the machine above his leg, placed the protective cover over him, and took the x-ray. She then disappeared for a while, but returned with the x-ray in hand. “Kyle, let’s see how bad it is.” She put the x-ray on the viewer and turned the light on. Both of them could clearly see his leg wasn’t broken. “Well it looks like…”

“A bad sprain to the knee.” Kyle put his hand to his cut forehead to wipe away the blood that was forming. He looked at his hand to check how much he was bleeding and next wiped his hand on his pants.

She turned and stared at Kyle. “Are you a doctor?” She noticed the blood on his forehead.

“Not at the moment.” He smiled to throw her off.

“Funny. I’ll get the stuff I need to wrap that up. I will be back.” She walked out of the room.

Kyle had to think of something. She would want to know about him. He couldn’t say, “Well, I was stolen from my parents at a very young age and taken to this place called the Centre, where this man named Raines turned me into a sociopath and then sent me to prison where I am still supposed to be.” He had to think of something better.

She walked back into the room and pulled her doctor stool toward the table where Kyle lay. “This part is going to hurt a bit.” She grabbed his leg and proceeded to wrap his knee in a brace that would help it heal.

Kyle jerked a bit and flinched. He clutched the bed on either side with his hands as he fought the urge to make noise.

“Usually my patients are more vocal when I fix them up. I’ve heard dogs whimper and howl, cats hiss and yeow, and other animals sound much worse. I have even heard men scream.”

“I have a high pain threshold.”

“To say the least.” She wrapped his knee and then stood. She looked at him. He just stared at her with a slight smile. Something made her want to take care of him. He just stared back at her as if he could see into her soul. Something about him was getting to her. She shook the thought off. “Your cuts. Let’s take care of them. I will get the bandages.” She went to the cabinets behind her and opened one. She got the antiseptic and bandages and headed back over to him. He pulled himself up to a sitting position. She opened the bottle of antiseptic and grabbed a sterile pad and doused it with the liquid. “This is going to sting.” She carefully placed the pad over the cut and Kyle sighed a bit with the pain. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay.” His eyes looked up at her. He was completely comfortable with her, something he had never felt with anyone except Jarod when they were young. He didn’t feel that way with Jarod recently. Jarod was good and honest. Kyle was dangerous and he knew it.

She took a cotton swab and rubbed the liquid on his cut lip. Then, she helped him remove his jacket, so she could bandage his arm. She looked down into his eyes and felt herself starting to get lost. She could see the pain on his face, but it didn’t seem to be about his injuries. It was a pain he had been carrying for a while. She refocused her thoughts, reached for a bandage, and placed it on his head. “All finished. I still have the crutches from when I hurt my ankle, so I can adjust them to you and so you can get around better.” She helped him down and took him into her house. She helped him onto the couch and went down the hall. She returned moments later with the crutches.

Kyle watched her as she sat on the other couch adjusting the height of the crutches. Her long hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail, which she had obviously just pulled back. She was almost as tall as he. She had a slender build and was obviously stronger than she looked. Her sparkling blue eyes focused on the crutches as she fought to adjust them. Small strands of hair had fallen down in her face and Kyle had the almost irresistible urge to brush them away.

“There! Got ‘em.” She stood and walked toward him. “I will leave these here next to the couch.” She placed the crutches up against the couch and started to walk past him.

He reached out and grabbed her hand gently. He wasn’t sure what he was feeling but he wanted to thank her. Her hand was soft, unlike his own. He glanced up at her, “Thank you.”

She smiled down at him. “You’re welcome.” She continued past him and her hand slipped out of his. He could hear her behind him. Her footsteps told him she was walking on tile. “Are you hungry? I could fix us something to eat.”

“I could eat.”

“Have any requests?”

“Whatever you have is good. If you have some Pez that would be nice.”

She was in the kitchen for a while, and Kyle could hear her opening the refrigerator and the cabinets. While he waited, he stared at the photos on her walls. It looked as though she had no siblings. He noticed the picture of who were possibly her parents.

She walked up behind him startling him slightly. She had a plate in each hand with a sandwich and chips, and pinned to her sides by her arms were cans which said Pepsi on them. “Sorry, I’m all out of Pez but I have sandwiches, Doritos, and Pepsi.”

“That is good.” He had discovered Doritos when he had escaped from prison, but he was use to drinking something called Coca Cola Classic. He took a plate and a Pepsi from her and set them on the coffee table in front of him.

She reached around to her other arm and saved the Pepsi as it started to slip to the floor. She sat on the couch across from him with her food on the table as well.

Kyle popped open the Pepsi and took a swig. “This is much better than that Coke stuff.”

“I have always thought so.” She stared at him for a moment. “You sound like you have never had a Pepsi before.”

“I haven’t.” He drank some more and then ate.

She stared at him with a bit of shock. She could barely believe one American in this country had never had a Pepsi. She picked up her sandwich and began to eat.

Kyle swallowed his bit of sandwich and then looked up at her wall. “Is that your parents?”

“Yes.” She stood and walked over to the wall. She pointed at the picture with four people on it. “This is my mother and father, and this is my dad’s brother and his wife. My mom was an only child as I am.” She looked at him. “Do you have any family?”

“Kind of.” He hung is head and started to eat more of his sandwich.

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know who my parents are, but I just found my brother. I still have as sister out there too.”

“Wow. Were you adopted?”

“Nope. Stolen.”

“What? You’re kidding! Why?”

“They thought I was special,” Kyle sighed, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

He reached for his soda and she noticed the scar on his hand. “What happened?” She crossed the space to the coffee table, reached down, and grabbed his hand.

He pulled his hand out of hers gently. “It was an accident. When we were little, my brother accidentally burned me.”

“I thought you said you just found your brother?” She folded her arms.

“I did. When we were little, both my brother and I were stolen and taken somewhere. When we were together again, we didn’t remember one another, so at the time this happened I didn’t know he was my brother. Just recently we saw each other again and now we know we are brothers.” Kyle leaned back on the couch.

“Where were you taken?” Beth sat on the couch with him.

“Look, I said I didn’t want to talk about it. It’s a lot of bad memories for me. Maybe some other time.” He had his head turned to her. His eyes were kind and sad.

She stared into his eyes and could see the pain behind them. “I’m sorry. Another time.”

“I am really tired.” Kyle closed his eyes.

“How about I put you up in the guest bedroom?”

“That sounds good.” He opened his eyes and sat up. He tried to get up but soon realized he wasn’t getting out of the couch by himself, at least not with his knee hurting.

“Let me help you.” She held out her hand and pulled him into a standing position, but she ended up sitting on the coffee table missing the plates and sodas by inches. Kyle, still holding on to her, hauled her up. She was now standing very close to him and he could feel his pulse racing. He looked into her eyes and she stared back with a slight smile on her face. Her face became serious and she backed up. Kyle reached for his crutches and hobbled out into the more spacious part of the living room. “Follow me,” she said as she walked down the hall. He followed down the hall and into one of the bedrooms. “You can use this room. If you need anything, just call.”

“I will.” Beth left the room and Kyle staggered over to the bed and laid down. He closed his eyes and within moments he was fast asleep.

TBC…
Chapter 2 by SireesAnwar
Beth was working in her office. She had a lot of files she had to fill out. She preferred to diagnose her patients and fill out all the paper work on them later. She hated paper work. She had hired Christine for that reason. Christine was the opposite of her. She did all the books, but alas today was Christine’s day off. Christine would come back to this office and find the paper work in a sad shape. Beth wanted to clean up her mess just a little. It was still early and she didn’t have any patients until 2 pm and so her assistant Bailey Reilly wasn’t expected until that time. Bailey was studying to be a veterinarian and she was giving him first hand experience.

Beth heard the door to the clinic open and a man's voice call out, “Doc? Are you here?”

Beth walked out into the examining room and through the doorway with the curtain to the waiting room. There in the waiting room stood Jake Mitchell. He had been trying to get her to go out with him for months. No matter what she said he wouldn’t back off. Sometimes she liked the persistent type, but he was more than obnoxious. “Jake, what is it you want?”

“Doc, my dog Toby…. he’s sick?” Jake did look worried.

“Where is he?” She asked.

“I left him in the back of my truck. Should I bring him in?”

“Yes, Jake, go get him.” Beth ran into the examining room, picked up anything that gave a clue she had a guest, and made sure she had clean instruments to examine Toby.

Jake came through the door with a yellow lab in his arms. “Put him on the table.” Beth looked up at the clock. Bailey would be here in about ten minutes. “How old is he and what are his symptoms?”

“He is two and he had excessive amounts of saliva for most of the day, and he’s also vomiting and he’s got diarrhea.”

Beth looked at the sick dog. She tried to comfort it with word as she checked its vitals. “Toby, you are all right. Good dog. Good dog.” She stroked him as he lay there patiently. Beth glanced up and saw Jake intently watching with worry. She had to give the man one thing; he cared about his dog.

Beth heard the door to the front office open and close. She knew it was Bailey. “Bailey, get in here, I have a sick dog.”

Bailey came running into the examining room. He was about six feet tall with sandy blonde hair and brown eyes. He was well built, but not in the way that told you he worked out a lot. Bailey ran up next to Beth. “What is wrong with him?”

Beth didn’t answer him; instead, she looked at Jake. “Could he have eaten something poisonous?”

“I guess. I wouldn’t know what.” Jake shrugged and moved closer to his dog.

Beth continued to check the dog. “Damn it, Toby. What’s wrong with you?” She said in a calm voice. She carefully checked his mouth for signs of some sort of unknown food. As she looked, she noticed white and brownish pieces of something. “Wait.”

Bailey and Jake both froze with anticipation as she looked in the dog’s mouth. “Bailey hand me some tweezers.”

Bailey sprinted to the counter, picked up the tweezers, and flew back to Beth’s side with them. Beth took the tweezers from him and gently used them to remove something from Toby’s mouth. She pulled it out and held it in front of Bailey. “Does this look familiar?” The day before, Bailey and Beth were in the front yard killing the very same mushrooms.

“Jake, do you have mushrooms in your yard?” asked Bailey.

“It’s possible.” Jake seemed unsure.

“Well, from the looks of this, I would say it is more than likely. I believe Toby ate some. I would suggest you go home and kill them. They could kill Toby next time. I am going to give him some activated charcoal and Apomorphine. The Apomorphine should make him vomit some of the remaining mushrooms out of his system and I think I should keep him over night for observation so I can give him the charcoal which will absorb anything that is left.”

“Okay. As long as he will be all right.”

“If you would like to stay with him while I give him the shot, be my guest.” Beth offered him.

“I will.” Jake walked up to Toby. “Buddy, the doc here is going to make everything better and you are going to stay here until tomorrow when I can come and get you.” Jake petted Toby lovingly.

Beth walked up with the syringe and looked at Bailey and Jake. “Hold him down so he doesn’t hurt himself.”

Jake and Bailey complied. Beth stuck the syringe in Toby’s hide and the poor dog let out a howl.

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He was in the Centre strapped down to a chair. Raines was standing over him with some hideous instrument. Kyle fought to get loose. “No!”

Raines stared down at him. “When I am finished with you, you won’t be able to leave again.”

“No! Stop!” With fear mounting inside him, Kyle struggled for freedom. He could nearly feel the instrument as it hung above his right eye.

Suddenly, there was a large bang and Kyle recognized it as the grating on the air vents crashing to the hard floor. “Back away from my brother.” Kyle immediately identified the voice as Jarod’s.

Raines backed away from the chair and Jarod’s face came into view. “I will get you out of here.” But unexpectedly, Jarod’s expression turned to fear as arms wrapped around him.

Kyle screamed. “Jarod? Are you okay? Jarod?”

Raines’ face came into view. “Now, your brother will meet the same fate as you.” Kyle could hear something that sounded like an instrument turning and then a blood-curdling wail pierced Kyle’s ears. Kyle was absolutely horrified and then the scream turned into a howl.

Kyle shot up in bed. He had never had such a terrifying dream before. But he had, also, never had a brother to lose before. Kyle heard the howl again only now it was definitely a dog. Kyle grabbed the crutches and made his way to the clinic.

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“Hold him tight. Don’t let him jump off the table. He could break a leg!” Beth yelled at the men.

The door to the clinic from Beth’s house opened and there stood Kyle. Jake and Bailey looked up at him, but only Bailey spoke, “You jumped off the table, huh?”

“My leg isn’t broken,” Kyle responded.

Beth couldn’t help but laugh. Kyle was confused and Beth knew it. “I will explain it later.”

By now, Toby had calmed down considerably. “All right, you can let go of him.” Beth told the men.

Jake did so not taking his eyes off Kyle. After Jake released the helpless dog, he walked towards Kyle. “Who are you?”

“Gandhi! What is it to you?” Kyle said mockingly.

“Look boy; don’t take that tone with me!” Jake yelled.

Kyle became more than a little serious. His dangerous side flashed bright and clear. “NO! You listen! It is no business of yours who I am and don’t call me boy.” Kyle’s last words seemed to be calmer, but that kind of calm that comes before a storm, the calm that had a lot of danger behind it.

Jake looked surprised. Jake was not a small man. He was six and a half feet tall and weighed approximately 280 pounds, which was all muscle. He never took threats and no one usually gave them. Jake was taking this as a threat and he seemed to be backing down, which was more than a little impressive to Beth. She had never seen anyone talk to Jake that way.

Jake turned to Beth. “Tell me this punk isn’t staying here with you.”

“Okay. He isn’t staying here with me.”

“Is that the truth?” Jake asked.

“Nope, but you said to tell you…”

“Beth, stop being childish.”

“You are not calling me childish are you?!” Beth turned to Jake. “This CHILD just saved your dogs life and you have the nerve to tell me I am being childish!”

“You don’t know this guy, he could be a killer.”

“No, I am a sociopath that is supposed to be in jail this very moment but I used a paper clip to get out and now I am here to get my leg fixed by a vet. Then, I am going after anyone who was involved in putting me in jail and keeping me away from my family. In that case, I will be a killer.” Kyle shook his head. The truth did seem ridiculous when said out loud.

Bailey found himself smiling wildly. Who ever this guy was, he was funny. He hoped.

Beth had her arms folded and she was trying hard not to burst out into uncontrollable laughter.

“Fine! Go ahead laugh. How do you know this guy isn’t telling you the truth?” Jake protested.

“Jake, stop it. You are being ridiculous.” Beth walked away from him. “You can leave. I will take care of Toby and you can pick him up tomorrow.”

“Beth?”

“Jake, go or I’ll neuter you!” Both Bailey and Kyle winced at the same time. And Jake turned like a defeated animal and left.

Beth turned at looked at Bailey. “Bailey, this is Kyle. He was hitchhiking when some tourists nearly killed him. He fell down the embankment back a ways, managed to get back up the embankment, and flag me down.”

“Whoa, man that is a story I was not expecting.” Bailey walked towards Kyle and extended his hand to him. Kyle was taken by surprise. So many people were being nice to him. He shook Bailey’s hand and he knew he had made another friend.

TBC…
Chapter 3 by SireesAnwar
Beth looked up at the clock. “Bailey, it looks like its closing time again. Do you want to stay for dinner? I think it might be nice if you got to know Kyle. I don’t know how long he will be around, but he is a nice guy.”

“Cool! What are we having?”

“Well, Mrs. Beasley brought me some steaks for helping her pet goat and it’s a nice night. Why don’t we break out the barbecue so Kyle and you can bond over the grill?” Beth smirked.

“Sounds like a plan.” Bailey smiled at Beth.

“I’ll go tell Kyle and get the steaks; you pull the grill around to the front of the house.” Beth headed into the house. As soon as she had entered the house, she called, “Kyle? Kyle, Bailey’s staying for dinner. We were planning on having a barbecue. Do you want to go out and help him with the grill?”

Kyle came swinging down the hall on his crutches. “I’ll help, but I have a question. What is a barbecue?”

Beth was removing the steaks from the frig when the question hit her. She turned on her heels and stared Kyle down. “You’re kidding right.”

“Afraid not. You could say I had a deprived childhood.”

“Yeah, you could say that.” Beth headed towards the door. “Follow me. I’ll show you what a barbecue is.”

Beth trotted out the door and towards Bailey. “Here.” She handed him the steaks. Kyle had followed her. “Kyle, stick with Bailey and you will soon learn what a barbecue is.”

“Beth? Who is the fourth steak for?” Bailey seemed confused what with there being only three of them.

“Well, I was going to call Christine and see if she would like to join us.” Beth’s assistant Christine has a special affection towards Bailey and Bailey returned it. They were Beth’s closest friends and she would do everything she possibly could to push their relationship along. Chris and Bailey had been going out for awhile and Beth knew it was serious.

Bailey just smiled and put the steaks on the grill.

A half an hour later, Beth was bringing her side dishes out to the picnic table where they were planning on eating. Beth had made baked potatoes, corn on the cob, guacamole, and lemonade all of which she was sure Kyle had never had.

Beth had called Christine about twenty minutes ago and Christine said she was on her way. She could be here at any minute. Beth looked up at the guys laughing and talking. Beth was sure Bailey was telling all his jokes and was also sure they would be new to Kyle.

Beth was headed back into the house when she heard Kyle yell, “You’re so funny.” Kyle screeched as his head went back to laugh. Beth smiled and turned back towards the house. She then heard a car and a little horn honk; she knew it was Chris in her old convertible Bug. Beth turned toward the sound and saw Chris jump out of the car and sprint towards Bailey and Kyle.

“Hello, you must be Kyle. It is nice to meet you. I’m Christine, but people call me Chris.” Chris extended her hand to Kyle.

Kyle shuffled his weight onto his good leg and shook her hand. “It is nice to meet you too, and yes, I’m Kyle.”

Beth headed towards them and heard Chris say, “Beth was right, you are a cutie.”

Beth stopped dead in her tracks. “Chris! You have a big mouth! Get in here.” Beth turned and ran into the house yelling, “I need help.”

Chris sheepishly followed.

When Chris got into the house, Beth was waiting. “What were you thinking? You told him I think he is cute?!” Beth threw her hands into the air.

“I’m sorry. It just kind of came out. I was trying to make conversation and I guess I spoke my mind. I agree with you though.”

“He is cute isn’t he?” Beth smiled and picked up some Pepsi’s off the counter. “Get the rest.” Chris complied.

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The police had cleaned up the mess that was created by the van explosion. They had never found a body in the van, but the flames were supposedly hot enough to burn the bones of a body. Special Agent Corkus didn’t believe John Doe was in the vehicle, but the PTB’s wouldn’t give him any more manpower or time to pursue John Doe. The Bureau had ordered him to Washington, and while he was going to go, he still felt John Doe was close and he was going to let him get away.

Corkus wanted to defy his superiors, but they made it perfectly clear if he didn’t leave today, he would have to hand over his badge. He couldn’t lose his job over that psychopath. He needed to keep his job so he could catch John Doe another day. However, he would be looking into Agent Ness. He had already sent someone to trace Ness’ career and tell him why he was helping John Doe.

“Sir, here is the information you requested,” a young agent came up behind Corkus.

“Thank you, son.” Corkus took the information and opened it ignoring the young agent completely. Inside the file of Agent Jarod Ness was nothing. His credentials were all falsified. He wasn’t an agent; he was pretending. Then Corkus noticed the blood sample on Jarod Ness. “Damn it.” Corkus ran over to his car and flung the door opened. He pulled out a file on the John Doe. He checked the blood sample taken of John Doe at the prison. “Same rare blood type. AB Negative. Damn it! They’re brothers!” Corkus looked up at his partner. “Have the bureau check Ness’ last know address. This guy is the brother of John Doe and I want him. NOW!”

“Got it.” Corkus’ partner radioed it in.

Corkus looked out over the embankment. If Ness had fled, it would be one more person that got away and there was nothing Corkus could do about it because he had a flight to catch especially if he wanted to keep his job. Corkus and his partner got in the car. Corkus backed up the car and headed down the highway towards the airport.

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“And then Bailey saw him and asked if he had jumped off the table.” Beth repeated the joke Bailey had made earlier in the day.

Kyle started laughing. He couldn’t help it. These people were hysterical. Once Kyle stopped laughing, everyone seemed far too quiet. “Soo… who is the guy who was here earlier? Jake was it?”

Beth and Christine let out a big sigh. “He is a pain.” Chris stated. “He has a thing for Beth, but she doesn’t give him the time of day.”

“He is just a little too persistent for my taste.” Beth stood and started clearing off the table. “Chris, could you help me?”

“Sure.” Chris started picking up things from the table and carrying them into the house.

Kyle watched as the girls disappeared into the house. “So how long have you and Chris been involved?”

“Oh, almost a year now.” Bailey smiled.

“Wow. That is along time. I couldn’t imagine being with someone that long. That might be because I have never been with someone.”

“Never!” Bailey was in shock. “You haven’t had one girlfriend?”

“Nope. I've been, kind of, away. They don’t have many girls where I was.”

“Where were you, the arctic?” Bailey asked.

“Something like that.” Kyle watched the girls coming out.

“I should get going.” Chris said.

“Yeah, so should I.” Bailey smiled.

“You two have fun.” Beth yelled as they both headed to Chris’ car.

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Corkus sat on the plane as it landed in Washington DC. He was ordered back, but he had no intention of letting go of this case. He knew John Doe was waiting, lurking in the corners, ready to strike again. Corkus grabbed the armrests as the plan landed. He had never gotten used to the take offs or the landings. He wasn’t fond of flying to begin with, but the hole hitting the ground, whether meant to or not, was not comforting. As soon and the plan landed, Corkus rose and headed towards the exit. He wanted off.

Corkus was walking out of the gate when a young agent he recognized from the DC office walked up to him, “Agent Corkus, I have been expecting you.”

“Do you have something for me or are you simply here to wave hello.” Corkus walked away from the gate with his hands in his pockets and his jacket looped through one of his arms.

The young agent tried keeping pace with him but it seemed Corkus had no intention of letting the young agent. “I have the file you requested. And it has been accessed within the last hour.”

Corkus stopped in the middle of the crowd and the young agent nearly ran into him. “What did you say your name was, kid?”

“Townsend.”

“Well, Townsend, wow me. Tell me what I need to know?”

Townsend looked at the older agent. ‘Here’s your chance,’ he thought to himself. “Well, you asked for someone to look into the file on Agent Ness and so…”

“First, let’s get something straight. He isn’t an agent, so call him Ness.”

“Okay. Ness’ file was flagged to be pulled, and when we went to pull it, someone had hacked into our computers and was reading the file.”

Corkus started to pace. “Who has an interest in this guy besides me?”

“Apparently someone from Delaware. That is as far as the person could be traced.”

Corkus began following Townsend to his car. “Could you take me to the office?”

“Sure.”

Townsend and Corkus got in the car and drove off.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Days Later:

Jarod -- dressed in a pale suit, standing outdoors -- called Sydney on his cell phone. When Sydney answered Jarod proceeded to tell him, even though he's tired, he's never going to give up looking for his family. Jarod asked Sydney to tell him where Kyle's body was buried. Sydney paused for a moment and then told Jarod the fire in the van burned so hot for so long it incinerated Kyle's remains. There was no body left to bury. Irritated that he is again left with "nothing", Jarod goes silent for a moment. In that silence, Sydney warns him the forces at The Centre are more determined now than ever to find him, and he asks Jarod if he knows what he's going to do next. Jarod answers, "I have a few ideas... Catch me if you can."

Jarod shuts off his cell phone, puts his sunglasses on, and smiles up into the sky at the launching of the space shuttle.

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Three Weeks Later:

Miss Parker walked through the airport. The Centre had caught wind of an agent that was still looking into Kyle’s death. The body had been incinerated in the fire, but apparently this agent didn’t believe it. Miss Parker felt it was a waste of time to go searching for a dead man but the Centre and her father had ordered her to do so. She didn’t want to waste time when she could be tracking Jarod, but she had no choice.

Miss Parker walked out from the airport. “Thank God.” She lit up instinctively.

Sydney was right behind her and he simply shook his head. He flagged down the car that was obviously sent by the rental agency to pick them up.

Miss Parker took one last puff before she dropped the cigarette and stepped on it. She went around and took the drivers seat. Sydney got into the passengers seat. “To the DC FBI’s office it is,” Miss Parker commented.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Jake Mitchell sat in front of his TV flipping through his 200 channels. “Nothing on.” His dog Toby was in good health and running free in the yard. Jake left the TV on an unknown channel, and got up from his recliner to grab a beer from the kitchen.

The program he had left it on returned from the ads. “The accident involving the John Doe escapee is suspected of being a police blunder. The local Police Department says they were informed that the FBI was taking over to find this man, when things got out of hand…”

Jake entered the room with his beer and noticed the picture of John Doe on the screen. “That’s that Kyle guy.” Jake muted the TV and picked up the phone.

“Hello, this is the FBI, how may I direct your call?”

TBC...
Chapter 4 by SireesAnwar
Miss Parker walked into the DC’s FBI office. She was following up loose ends about Kyle. She was told that she needed to make sure Jarod’s little brother had died in the van explosion.

Sydney walked up to the receptions desk and asked to see Agent Corkus. The receptionist told him Corkus was on the fifth floor and his office number was 526.

Miss Parker watched as Sydney returned to her side. “Fifth floor, number 526.”

Miss Parker headed off towards the elevator. Sydney and she rode the elevator in silence. When they had reached the fifth floor, the doors parted and they walked in on important business. Standing with a very young agent was a bald man yelling, “I don’t care if you can’t find Ness! I want him found! In three weeks, a man can’t completely be wiped off the face of the earth!” The agent hesitated which prompted the older agent to yell, “Now, before John Doe slips through our fingers!”

Miss Parker glanced at Sydney, then back at the older agent as he walked past them, towards an unknown location. Miss Parker took the opportunity to bring up their mutual pains. “So you’re searching for Jarod too?” Miss Parker stood with her arms folded.

The older agent stopped in his tracks, turned and directed himself towards her. “Who are you?”

“They call me Miss Parker and this is Sydney.” Miss Parker gestured towards Sydney.

“They?”

“The PTB’s. And you must be Agent Corkus.”

“Yes, I am. How do you know about our case?”

“I have my connections but that isn’t the point. The point is you and I have something in common. Jarod.” Miss Parker’s eyes flared.

“Jarod Ness?”

“Is that what he is calling himself? Hmm. We only know him as Jarod. We work for a corporation that is in the business of tracking criminals. Jarod has been one of the hardest to catch. He goes around pretending to be in different fields. Recently we discovered his brother also has been doing the same; however, his brother was in jail for quite some time, but that is a different matter altogether. We are just here to find Jarod and follow up on the reports the brother was killed.” Miss Parker weaved her tale.

Corkus stared at her and, like most, simply believed they were there to help. “Jarod disappeared after the crash and yes the brother was supposedly killed in the accident.”

“Supposedly?”

“Frankly, I don’t believe he was incinerated in the fire after the van crash. There has to be more to it than that. I saw the van crash, but he could have gotten out.” Corkus waved to them to follow him as he headed to his office.

They walked into his office and at once Corkus was more curious than he needed to be, “Where did you say you worked again?”

Miss Parker eyed him. “We didn’t.”

Sydney spoke up. “A corporation known as the Centre in Delaware.”

“Ahh. So, someone hired you to track Jarod?” Corkus pumped them for more information. Delaware? They must be the people who hacked into the FBI’s computers.

“Sure. Can we get to the point? We are here to find out if you have anything on Jarod and to make sure we don’t have to chase… John Doe was it?”

A knock on the door halted the conversation. “Come in.”

The young agent from before entered cautiously. “Sir, there has been a sighting of John Doe.”

Corkus leapt to his feet. “You wanted to know if John Doe was dead, here is your chance,” Corkus said to Miss Parker as he grabbed his jacket and left the office. Miss Parker and Sydney were behind him and joined him on his way back to upstate New York.

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Kyle was sleeping in the guest bedroom. He finally drifted off to sleep.

Jarod appeared and was trying to tell Kyle something and Kyle had no choice but to yell that he couldn’t understand. Kyle saw their mother and suddenly things go dark. Their mother falls to the ground and Jarod stared with fright. Raines came from nowhere and was holding a gun to Jarod. Kyle couldn’t watch it anymore. He raced forward but it was too late, Raines pulled the trigger and suddenly Kyle was standing between his mother and brother’s bodies. He needed his family. The scream started in is chest and passed over his lips like; he was an animal. He could hear nothing but the sound of his own screams.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Beth was trying to sleep in her room. She was a restless sleeper, but this was getting ridiculous. It was 3 am and she was still wide-awake. She had been trying to think of something other than the man in the other bedroom sleeping, but there was something about Kyle that made her smile. He had only been around a few weeks and she was feeling happy and excited he was around… Beth’s thoughts were interrupted by a blood-curdling scream. Instantly, she knew it was Kyle.

Beth grabbed her robe, ran out into the hall, and across into Kyle’s room. As she reached his bed, he sat up straight. He was sweating and breathing like he had been running from something. “Kyle? It’s all right.” She reached out to him and he wrapped his arms around her. She felt a tear stain her skin where her robe had shifted.

“Do you wanna talk about it?”

He shook his head no and she didn’t press him. She just sat on the edge of his bed with her arms around him and let him work through his fear. Something horrible happened in his dream and she wasn’t going to press him to tell her unless he wanted to.

Beth finally looked at the digital clock in the guest bedroom. 4:03 am. ‘Yikes.’ she thought. But suddenly Kyle shifted and pulled away from her. He leaned back on the headboard and watched her. She just sat there uncomfortably for a moment before asking him. “Are you okay?”

Kyle just stared at her. Why had she let him get so close to her? Everyone was afraid of him or what he might do. Kyle had even seen that look in Jarod’s eyes, but Beth was concerned, not afraid.

Beth hated the way he was staring. “Say something.”

“What is there to say? I had a bad dream.”

“It was nightmare. You can talk about it you know.”

Kyle jumped up. His knee still ached a bit, but it had been three weeks of living here and Beth and Kyle had grown close. He was nearly healed and he knew he would be leaving soon. “I don’t want to!” he yelled.

Beth had been feeling happy being around him but his voice now, it scared her. Beth jumped a little.

Kyle saw her jump. He didn’t want that. He turned to her and came closer. The fear crept into her face. NO! He screamed inside. He cared about Beth and he didn’t want her to look at him that way. He reached out to her and she pulled away. She got up and went to the living room. Kyle chased her. When he found her standing in the living room, he grabbed her arm gently and turned her towards him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to frighten you.”

She looked up at him. A tear crawled down her face. Kyle winced at the knowledge he had hurt her. “I – I didn’t mean to pry,” her voice quivered.

“You didn’t. You were just trying to help. I’m not used to that.” Kyle pulled her into an embrace. “I am sorry.” He held her there for a moment. “I will tell you.”

She pulled away. “Tell me? About your nightmare?”

“Yes.” He motioned for her to sit down. She sat on the couch and he sat on the coffee table in front of her. “I – I was in this place and I saw my mother and brother,” Kyle voice cracked, “but then this man came out and killed them in front of me. It hurt so bad!” He started to get angry, no tears only anger.

Beth grabbed his hands. “They mean a lot to you?”

Kyle nodded in response.

“Kyle, it was a dream. Nothing really happened.”

“You don’t understand.” Kyle stood.

“Then tell me.” Beth watched him. “These last few weeks, we have become close. Kyle, I care about you. You can tell me.”

Kyle went back to the coffee table and told her everything. He told her about being stolen as a child and what Raines had done to him. He told her about the burn Jarod had given him and about going to prison. He told her all about the people he hurt and about Harriet Tashman. He even told her about how he did break out of jail with a paperclip. And when he was finished, he became quiet.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Hours later, Beth was still on the couch listening to Kyle finish up. She didn’t know what to say. She wanted him to open up to her but she didn’t like what she was hearing. She stood and walked away. “How could you do those things to people?” she said in a panicked voice.

“I don’t know. That’s the way Raines made me.”

“That is not an excuse.” She went back to him and knelt down. “Kyle, people don’t burn others with cigarettes… they just don’t do the things you have done.”

Kyle was getting a little upset. He stood. “I am sorry. It just happens. That is the kind of person I am. That is the person you care about. If you don’t like it, then maybe I should leave!”

Beth stared at him. “Maybe it’s for the best.” Kyle suddenly looked wounded. He started down the hallway. “Kyle, wait. I – I don’t want you to go.”

But suddenly Kyle had no choice. An unmarked car pulled up and Kyle ran to the door to look out the window. “Miss Parker. The Centre.”

Beth looked at Kyle. “Go out the back.” Kyle looked back at her. She grabbed her purse off the counter and gave him the one hundred dollars she had, “Kyle, you have to go.”

Kyle shoved the money in his pocket and put his hands on her face. “I will be back as soon as I find Jarod.” He kissed her gently and ran out the back.

Beth put her fingertips on her lips and she became oblivious for a second. The pounding on the door broke her thoughts. She ran to the door where two men and a woman were pounding. Beth looked back and saw Kyle disappear into the brush behind her house. Beth flung the door opened. “What!”

“Excuse me,” Miss Parker replied defensively.

“What do you want? I am trying to get ready for work. I have patients I have to see.”

Miss Parker pulled out a picture of Jarod and one of Kyle. “Have you seen either of these men?” Miss Parker looked past her and into the house.

Beth stepped to the side a little to block her view. “Yep, this one.” She pointed to Kyle’s picture and Miss Parker’s eyebrow went up, “He was just on the news yesterday. Didn’t he die in an accident around here or something?”

“Yes, he did. So you don’t recognize the other one.” Miss Parker pressed. This woman was hiding something and Miss Parker was sure it was Jarod.

“Nope. Now if you don’t mind.” Beth slammed the door and ran off to the back to get ready for work. She planned to tell Bailey and Chris everything.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Miss Parker, Sydney, and Corkus all piled back into the car. “Dead end.” Corkus announced. He knew the moment they'd pulled up that this was pointless. Even if John Doe had been here he wasn't anymore.

“Yes, dead end.” Miss Parker said as they drove off.

They drove down the road. Corkus broke their defeated silence. “So do you hack into all the FBI files or just the ones that look good?”

Miss Parker looked over at him. “Why, Agent Corkus, I don’t know to what you are referring,” she said in her regular tone almost mocking a southern belle.

Corkus dropped the subject.
TBC…
Chapter 5 by SireesAnwar
Months Later:

In Dry River, Arizona, Jarod slipped in and out of consciousness, under the influence of the sedative Lyle gave him. He fought the medication and tried to stay awake, his speech was becoming slurred and his eyes felt heavy. Lyle wanted revenge for everything Jarod had put him through. What would be better revenge then taking the pretenders thumb?

Jarod groggily begs Lyle not to remove his thumb. Lyle ignores his pleas, and prepares to cut off Jarod's left thumb with one of the scalpels from his kit. This is for the loss of my thumb and every piece of hell you put me through.

In his drugged blur, Jarod watches Lyle’s face contort in front of him. Lyle suddenly jerks and collapses to the floor in a heap. Jarod’s vision is blurry but his mind registers the form in front of him. Jarod blinks through the fog, and Jarod looks up to see the image of his brother, Kyle come into focus. “I thought you’d never wake up.”

"They said you were dead," Jarod mutters before losing consciousness.

Kyle smiles at him and says, "Not hardly, big brother."

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Jarod awakens on a couch in a trailer. He feels groggy, but he is awake. He can feel his thumbs and is thankful the nightmare wasn’t real. Or was it? Jarod looks up and spots Kyle’s form moving towards him. Is this real? Jarod gets to his feet and hugs his brother. “I saw the van explode.”

Expressing a suddenly soft and vulnerable aspect, Kyle asks Jarod if he'd been able to find out anything else about their parent since the last time they saw each other. Jarod shows Kyle the GENE note Sydney's brother, Jacob, wrote before he died.

"Is that our father's name?" Kyle asks.

“I don’t know.”

Kyle's mood changes again, and he's detached and expressionless once more. In a few more seconds, Kyle's mood blackens considerably, and he talks to Jarod about wanting to kill everyone in the Centre who ever hurt them. "We'll start with Lyle," Kyle says, and then they'll go on from there. Although he completely understands Kyle's rage, Jarod is distressed about his brother's display and keeps himself quiet for a time. When Jarod's able to move around more effectively, he and Kyle go back to the warehouse in search of Lyle.

Jarod finds Mr. Lyle standing up against a wooden bracing pillar in the warehouse: his hands cuffed over his head and his ankles in shackles. Mr. Lyle's face has been battered, and Jarod asks Kyle what happened to him.

“He fell and bumped his head.” Kyle smiles slyly. Kyle then displays an enormous knife and threatens to kill Lyle with it, but Jarod intervenes saying they need Lyle alive so they can find out where the sheriff's wife is buried.

Jarod begs Kyle to keep a hold of his temper; to let Jarod teach him how wonderful it feels to save a life rather than taking one.

Kyle agrees to help Jarod find the sheriff's wife, but he still goes after Lyle with the knife . "Don't worry, big brother. This is what I do," Kyle says, and uses the knife to torture Lyle into telling the brothers what they need to know.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Jarod and Kyle arrive on three-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to the spot indicated to them by Mr. Lyle. They shut off the ATVs' engines and can hear the sound of a small gasoline generator sputtering as it starts to go dry and shut off.

The brothers run to the spot where the generator is sitting and follow the out-flow tube to the spot where Sheriff Delmont's wife is buried underground. Working feverishly together, Jarod and Kyle manage to dig up the canister in which Linda Delmont is being held.

Kyle uses his knife to break the seal on the canister, and the brothers force the lid off. Kyle reaches into the canister, and pulls out Mrs. Delmont and removes her gag.

Her arms, wrists and ankles are bound with duct tape, so she can't embrace him, but she falls against Kyle and weeps against his chest, thanking him for rescuing her. Kyle at first looks startled by the woman's reaction, but eventually he let’s her lean on him and tries to comfort her. Jarod smiles as he watches his younger brother soothe and gently caress the crying woman.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Jarod and Kyle return the sheriffs wife and then head back to the warehouse to deal with Lyle.

Jarod and Kyle arrive to discover that Mr. Lyle has somehow escaped from his shackles. They look around the warehouse and trailer, but can't find him. They walk out to the grounds surrounding the warehouse to search. Lyle appears out of the shadows, holding Miss Parker by the throat and threatening her with a gun.

"Shoot him, you moron!" Miss Parker shouts to Kyle. Kyle raises his shotgun and aims it at Mr. Lyle, but Mr. Lyle turns his gun toward Jarod and tells Kyle that if he doesn't put the shotgun down, Lyle will kill his brother.

Kyle keeps the shotgun poised, aimed directly at Lyle's chest. He tells Lyle that The Centre had stolen their lives and freedom from them, and that threats of death don't frighten them anymore.

Lyle insists he's going to shoot Jarod.

Kyle tells him to go ahead, "And then I'll shoot you."

For a moment, everyone is distracted by the arrival a small black Centre helicopter, which is carrying Broots, Sydney and a handful of Sweepers. The helicopter circles the compound, casting its lights on the scene below.

Kyle looks to Miss Parker, but says to Mr. Lyle, "How's your knife wound?"

Miss Parker picks up on the cue, and elbows Lyle in one of the spots where Kyle had tortured him with the knife earlier. Lyle screams and doubles over, and Miss Parker scrambles away from him.

As soon as Lyle is in the clear, Kyle shoots him in the shoulder with the shotgun. The force of the blast twirls Lyle around and he collapses to the ground. But then he forces himself up again briefly, and aims his pistol point-blank at Jarod. Lyle pulls the trigger -- and Kyle steps in front of Jarod and gets Lyle's bullet in his back.

Kyle stumbles forward against Jarod who, shocked and anguished, grabs his younger brother, holds him for a moment, then lowers him to the ground.

The Centre helicopter lands, and Broots, Sydney and the sweepers rush out of it, but Miss Parker waves them off, keeping them away from Jarod and Kyle for the moment.

On his knees, Jarod holds Kyle's hand and begs his brother to stay with him. He tells Kyle he'll get him to a hospital, and that they'll then be able to spend time together, learning new things and learning how to be happy.

Kyle tells Jarod it's too late for that; he's dying and won't be coming back this time. Jarod leans over Kyle and insists that Kyle hang on, but Kyle has no more strength. With his last breath he says, "I'm sorry, Jarod..."

Jarod asks, "For what?"

And Kyle responds, "For everything ." Kyle's hand then slips outs of Jarod's and he stops breathing.

Jarod looks up imploringly to Sydney, as though silently asking him to save his brother's life even though he knows Kyle is beyond saving.

Miss Parker says to him, "It's time to come home now, Jarod."

Jarod ignores her, gets to his feet, and says between his teeth, "Where's Lyle?"

Everyone looks around, but Mr. Lyle is nowhere to be seen.

Miss Parker and the sweepers start to move in on Jarod, but they're intercepted by Sheriff Delmont who says to Jarod, "I don't know who you are, but I figure I owe you at least one Get Out of Jail Free card." He levels a shotgun at Miss Parker, and tells her and the others to back off and leave Jarod alone.

Rather than fleeing, Jarod uses the opportunity to turn his attention back to Kyle. He lowers himself on his knees next to Kyle's body, picks up his brother's lifeless hand, leans over Kyle and starts to sob. When he's a bit more composed, he carries Kyle's body to the Centre helicopter and loads it on board.

Sydney asks where Jarod is taking Kyle, and Jarod answers that he's taking him someplace where he can do some good. Jarod climbs into the pilot's seat of the helicopter and flies off, leaving Sydney, Broots, Miss Parker and the others behind.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


A Week Later:

Jarod arrives back in town where Harriet Tashman and he once traveled to, and pulls his rental into the location he got directions from back in town. Jarod had been here before and he remembers the pain of this place. The first time his brother had “died” it was just up the road, but Jarod knew now he spent his time here, at least some of it. Kyle hadn’t told him much but he knew Kyle wanted him to meet Beth.

Jarod watched a women run down the steps to the cabin-like building and towards his car. “Are you Mr. Wilkinson?”

“Yes. And you are?”

“Chris.” She seemed a bit puzzled. “I thought you needed help with your dog?”

“No, I lied. I need to see,” Jarod looked down at the paper he had found in Kyle’s belongings, “Dr. Elizabeth Cramer.”

“What is this about?” Chris stared at him suspiciously.

Jarod didn’t want to do this. He could barely grasp the fact he had lost Kyle again, but now he was telling someone else they had lost Kyle too. Jarod’s face contorted in pain. He tried to mask it. He couldn’t cry again. “It’s about my brother… Kyle.”

Chris was shocked. “Come in. Come in.” Chris motioned for him to follow her. They entered the house and Chris had Jarod sit on the couch. “I will go get Beth.”

Chris ran into the clinic. “Beth! Bailey! Kyle’s brother, Jarod, is here!”

Beth and Bailey came running out of the office. “You’re kidding.” Bailey said.

Chris stopped them. “No, but he doesn’t seem happy.” Beth cocked her head to one side and then walked into the house with Bailey and Chris in tow.

They walked up behind Jarod, and Beth noticed him wringing his hands as he waited. “Jarod?”

Jarod turned to them. His eyes were getting teary. Beth didn’t know why he was in her living room. “Kyle isn’t here,” she whispered.

“I know.” A tear rolled down Jarod’s face. Jarod was trying to muster up the strength to tell her what happened. Jarod breathed in heavily.

“What’s wrong?” Chris asked

Beth could feel her tears burning hot on her eyes. “What?”

“I know Kyle promised he would return. We found each other, but…” Jarod paused as he felt the sharp pain in his heart.

Beth’s tears were running free, which prompted Chris’ and Bailey’s. She knew what Jarod was going to say, “But?”

“It’s my fault. Lyle was going to shoot me, but Kyle stepped in front of the bullet.” Jarod sobbed.

Beth walked over to him and hugged him. He wrapped his arms around her. “It wasn’t your fault Jarod.”

Chris and Bailey sobbed together.

Jarod sobbed with them. After a moment, he pulled away from Beth. “Could you all tell me about the Kyle you knew?” Jarod asked Beth.

She nodded. “Only if you tell me about the Kyle you knew.”

Jarod, Beth, Chris, and Bailey sat down on the couch and spent the rest of the day talking about Kyle, which made them all feel better. Jarod told them about the boy who got Kyle’s heart and about Kyle saying he really thought he had found something with Beth.

Once they finish, Jarod drove off promising to visit again.

THE END
This story archived at http://www.pretendercentre.com/missingpieces/viewstory.php?sid=60