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Disclaimer: The characters Miss Parker, Sydney, Jarod, Broots etc. and the fictional Centre, are all property of MTM and NBC Productions and used without permission. I'm not making any money out of this and no infringement is intended.

1) Paper Snowflakes (the original, isn't a sequel)
2) To Dance In An English Garden
3) A Night To Remember
4) The Trick Is To Keep Breathing
5) Life In A Heartbeart
6) With Me (the last in the series)


With Me
1/8
By Orania Lemke


I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. Where
ever I go you go and
whatever is done by only me is also your doing, my darling...
~ee cummings



Complete silence. Neither man dared to speak, they only sat, staring expectantly at the door. On the other side, inside the kitchen, was like a scene from Dr. Frankenstein's lab, only this was no work of fiction. Jarod stood near a counter covered in bunsen burners, vials, tubes and flasks. From some openings, steam and smoke of a few shades of yellow were appearing, while others only hissed and bubbled. He glanced down at his watch, and exactly when the second hand hit 12, he poured the contents of one vial into a boiling flask. There was a crackling sound as the two met, then slowly the entire mixture darkened to a deep orange.

Broots glanced at his watch, and began to fidget. Eight minutes, according to Jarod's calculations. Eight minutes, and a cure that had seemed impossible only hours ago would be completed, and ready to be injected into Parker.

At the thought of her, Broots dared a look through another doorway, to the cot in the middle of the bedroom, and felt his heart skip a beat. She was as still as ever. It was as if nothing had happened, yet he knew that if he listened closely to the beeps of the heart monitor, there would be the tell-tale sign of her seizure earlier. The event had weakened her heart, it didn't pulse nearly as strongly now, and it had gone without saying that if Jarod's CPR hadn't worked, she would've been gone in a few more seconds.

Feeling his nerves tighten at the idea, Broots turned his eyes to Sydney, and shook his head uncertainly. This had to work, he thought to himself. It had to. Her body was growing weak, tired of struggling under the pressure of the induced coma and LS49. If what Jarod was creating wasn't the cure, there would be no second chance. Their bought time was at an end.

Sydney shifted in his seat, catching his attention. He wasn't doing well, Broots noted with concern. The dark circles under his eyes were nearly as dark as Jarod's, and the lines around his eyes seemed deeper, almost chiseled into his face. He wasn't handling this well. None of them were, really, but it was different for Syd. Jarod and Parker were like his children, he'd watched them grow up. Every time she was shot or he was caught, there was a helpless anger that would reflect in his eyes.

"How you holdin' up, Syd?"

Sydney woke from his reverie, and attempted to give a comforting smile, but quickly failed. He rubbed his forehead wearily before replying, "As well as can be expected, I suppose. It's been a long week."

A thought hit Broots as he nodded. "It has been a while, actually, since we last spoke to Lyle. Do you think he suspects anything?"

"Mr. Lyle can burn in hell for all I care," Sydney replied sharply.

~~~~~~~~~

For a split-second, all Jarod could do was stare at the tiny vial in its metal stand, completely awestruck. The cure. Parker's cure...

Snapping to, he took a sterile syringe from the counter, and began to fill it with the greatest of precision. Then, wrapping the syringe in a towel for protection, Jarod slowly backed to the swinging door, pushing it open with his back. At the sight, Broots and Sydney jumped to their feet, but were careful not to crowd him. Walking slowly into the bedroom, he stopped at Parker's bedside, and unwrapped the syringe. The other two were just as awestruck, somehow unable to tear their eyes from it. Such a little amount, Sydney thought, looking at the thick yellow fluid. How could it possibly fight the strong poison pulsing through Parker's body?

In the moment that Jarod injected her, it was if every ounce of air in the room had vanished. No one breathed, no one tore their eyes from the woman on the bed, and the tiny needle entering her arm.

Then, it was over, as quickly as it had begun. Jarod gently rubbed the skin on the inside of her elbow, on the spot where he'd broken the skin, with a finger, then finally put down the needle. The two looked at each other, not completely sure what to do.

"What now?" Broots asked.

"We wait," Jarod replied simply, sitting down in the chair next to her. "All there's left to do, is wait."

"How long?" Syd managed from the foot of the bed.

"Awhile. Another few hours, and she would've waken up from the coma. But it takes time, for the mixture to work its way through her system, and to begin fighting the poison, and as long as there's LS49 in her body, the cure's designed to keep her unconscious. Cuts down on the pain, if only a little."

"When she wakes up, how will we know if it's...worked?"

He gestured towards the heart monitor. "Symptom of the poison, after the comatose state is relieved, is an irregular, stressed heart beat. If it's slow and steady when she wakes up, it's worked. If not..."

Jarod turned his attention back to Parker, brushing her forehead and cheek gently, while Sydney and Broots quietly walked back, collected their chairs, and drew them near to her bedside. They sat, watching silently. Jarod held her hand, continued to brush her skin, and whispered stories of their times together into her ear.

~~~~~~~~~

Thirteen hours is a long time to wait. It seems even longer, when you're going on little or no sleep, and the objection of your attention is the eternal beeping of a heart monitor, and a woman just clinging to life. You soon absorb every detail. And the first motion, no matter how slight, grabs your attention immediately.

Such was the case with the three men holding their vigil over Parker. Slowly, painstakingly slowly, her delicate fingers began to bend and move. All Sydney and Broots could do was stare in disbelief. Jarod, looking at the hand he held in his own, used every bit of restraint he had not to shout with joy then and there.

Then came the first sound, a slight moan just barely escaping her lips. To the men, it was like the singing of angels. Sydney and Broots got up from their chairs and moved nearer to her, while Jarod leaned even closer to her ear.

"Parker?" he whispered. "Parker, can you hear me?" No reply, but more movements. Her hands and legs, but best of all her head, slowly turning to face him. "That's it," he encouraged, taking just a second to look at the monitor before looking back to her, "time to wake up." The heart monitor showed a strong and steady beat, no signs of irregularities. Jarod gestured to the bedroom light switch. "Turn the lights off. We don't need her eyes to be shocked by the brightness." Broots did so, then quickly headed back. They were bathed in the soft, dim light of a lamp from the living room, just enough for their faces to be visible to each other.

Her eyelids began to gradually separate. The dark eyelashes were the last to move, finally parting to reveal twin blue seas. Her brow bunched, and rapidly blinking, her eyes finally focused on the concerned face and chocolate eyes of Jarod.

"Hi," he smiled.

"Hi," she whispered.

He brushed a strand of wavy dark hair from her face, and worried, asked, "How do you feel?"

"Soar," she replied, somewhat hoarsely. Between the screaming before, and five days of no speaking at all, her voice had been through a harsh work-out. "And tired."

He nodded understandingly. "I bet. We'll talk later. Right now, I want you to rest."

"Stay with me?"

"Of course." Her eyes slid shut again.

Broots collapsed back in his chair with a huff of relief. "It's over," he grinned to Syd, "it's really over."

"I'm going to keep her hooked up to the monitor a bit longer, just in case. But barring any new surprises, she should be fine." Jarod looked to the others, really seeing them for the first time in a long while. "You both look like hell. Go upstairs, get some sleep."

"You need rest too," Syd pointed out.

Jarod shook his head. "She asked me to stay."

Broots looked to Sydney for confirmation, and said, "Then we're staying too."

Jarod looked to the floor uncomfortably for a moment, then gave them an uncertain glance. "Actually, I was hoping...I know you don't want to leave either, but..."

Sydney finally understood. "You'd like to be alone with her."

"If you don't mind."

"Of course not, we understand." Clearly Broots didn't, but he followed suit anyhow, trailing Syd out the door and out of the apartment.

Jarod didn't move from Parker's side. He was exhausted, though, and it wasn't long before he fell asleep holding her again, just as Syd had found him before.











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