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"Miss Parker!" Broots burst into her office and startled Miss Parker out of her deep thoughts. She rose and looked as though she was about to shoot Broots in the head. He ignored the look or was too excited to see it because he rushed right on. "Miss Parker, we found her! Or rather Angelo did."
"Where?" Miss Parker said previous thoughts dissipating to nothingness. She followed Broots past Sydney's office to Sydney's work area and rushed over to where Angelo was sitting at a small play table, much like the one the girl had been sitting at. Sydney held up a hand to stop her from asking questions and held his finger to his lips. She listened and soon heard Angelo muttering under his breath.
"Littlest Angel so sad. Poor Catherine. Poor Catie." He repeated this over and over until finally Miss Parker couldn't take anymore.
"Angelo, please, where is she?" Miss Parker kneeled next to him and looked into his face.
Angelo tilted his head and studied her. "Miss Parker...is...Miss Parker is..." Angelo paused for a brief moment and then grinned. "Miss Parker is Mama! Catie's mama!"
"Please, Angelo." Miss Parker pleaded gently. "Take us to her. Take us to Catie." Angelo nodded and rose from the table. He took Miss Parker's hand and pulled her to the door. They wove in and out of hallways and doors that Miss Parker, Broots, and even Sydney had never known existed. Suddenly Angelo stopped at the end of a hallway and no coaxing could move him. He pointed to the door in front of them and then hid behind Sydney.
"Bad men." he whispered. Sydney moved to go forward, but Angelo stood rooted to the spot and shook his head violently. "No, Sydney, bad men!"
"What does he mean?" Broots asked puzzled.
Miss Parker looked from Angelo to the door and then back again. Her face took on a look of sudden understanding and she glared at the metal door.
"He means that Raines is in there." Miss Parker said un-holstering her gun and cocking it.
"Miss Parker? What do you intend to do?" Broots whispered worriedly, eyes wide.
Miss Parker glanced at Sydney who gazed back at her and then nodded slightly.
"Get her out of there by any means necessary." she answered Broots and yanked open the door.
The scene that greeted her was almost exactly as the one on the DSA. The girl was huddled by the cot, face buried in the teddy bear, but instead of Raines advancing towards her it was Willie.
"I wouldn't move another step, if I were you." Miss Parker said and raised her gun so that it was level to his head.
"What are you doing here?" Raines wheezed out eyes bulging.
"I will deal with you later but for now I suggest you get yourself and your goon out of here, before I put another hole in that tank of yours." The gleam in Miss Parker's eye must have made her point because Raines motioned for Willie to go and then practically ran out of the room himself, but not before Miss Parker caught his arm. Leaning towards him she whispered in his ear "This is far from over!" Then she released his arm and watched him slither after his covert in crime. Miss Parker reholstered her gun and looked over at the small child crouched by the bed. She bent down and balanced her self on her heels and just watched her for any movement.
Finally the girl lifted her head and her tiny face appeared over the top of the teddy bear. Her blue eyes connected with Miss Parker's and she let out a small-strangled cry. Rising to her feet, the child dropped the bear and ran to Miss Parker, one word escaping her lips "Mama."
Miss Parker felt Catie's arms encircle her neck and the little girl clutched her with an amazing bout of strength. Miss Parker had never had a hug from such a small child, not even Broot's daughter Debbie was this tiny. Catie buried her face in Miss Parker's neck and she could feel the child's hot tears run down her neck and into her blouse. A wave of protectiveness hit Miss Parker full force sand wrapping her arms around the child, she lifted her up to settle her on her right hip. Holding Catie tight to her body, Miss Parker motioned for Sydney and Broots to go and she followed them out of the cold room.
Once back in Miss Parker's office she realized Catie had fallen asleep on her shoulder and gently pried the girl off of her body. Laying her down on the small couch in her office, Miss Parker went to a small cabinet nearby and pulled out a sofa throw. She draped it across the tiny body and ran her hand over the girl's dark head. Catie smiled lightly in her sleep and snuggled deeper into the couch.
Miss Parker felt Sydney and Broots come up behind her and heard Broot's voice in her ear. "She's beautiful, Miss Parker."
Sydney echoed Broots' comment with "She looks like a tiny angel."
Miss Parker felt a surprising bout of pride swell in her chest, even though she had the girl for only a mere ten minutes.
"What are you going to do to Raines?" Broots said quietly not really wanting to hear the answer.
"I don't think the Triumvirate knows about his little experiment with her yet, and I don't think they would appreciate it." Miss Parker said hatred for the wheezing doctor evident in her voice.
"Miss Parker, they'll kill him for something like that." Sydney said gently.
"I know." She answered and walked over to stand in front of the sleeping girl again. "Better them than me."
A few silent moments went before anyone spoke then Sydney asked, "Do you want me to do a blood test, Parker?" At her nod, he left the office and returned a short while later with a small kit.
"I'll do you first, then we'll wake Catie up and take her sample." Sydney said as he swiped a vein with rubbing alcohol and stuck the needle in. After Syd was done he motioned for Miss Parker to wake Catie for her sample.
Gently shaking the child Miss Parker whispered "Time to wake up, Catie." The girl woke quickly and a mask of fear came over her face and she sat straight up on the couch. She looked next to her and noticed Miss Parker sitting there. Smiling shyly, Catie relaxed the death grip she had on the sofa throw and leaned back against the couch.
"Catie, we need to take a little bit of blood from your arm to make sure you are healthy and Mr. Raines didn't do anything bad, okay?" The girl's small smile disappeared, but she nodded. The child rolled up her sleeve and took the strip of rubber that Sydney was holding. She tied the rubber just above her elbow and then expertly tapped the crook of her arm a few times. As soon as the vein became prominent, she stopped tapping and held out her arm towards Sydney, expectantly. The adults' faces displayed shock and more than a touch of anger. The child had obviously given blood before, but for what no one wanted to know that answer. Sydney stuck the needle into Catie's arm and she placed her other thumb into her mouth. Not being able to help herself, Miss Parker ran her hand over Catie's dark head and smiled at the girl when she looked up. Catie smiled back and Miss Parker took Catie's hand into her own. She knew that holding Catie's hand wouldn't disturb Sydney's process and that it may even help the girl feel more relaxed. Miss Parker looked down at their entwined hands. Catie's tiny child hand was nearly invisible in Miss Parker's slender fingered adult grip, but it looked like it belonged there.
Catie looked up at Miss Parker, seeming to ignore what Sydney was doing to her arm, and smiled shyly. "Are you really my mama?" Catie asked tentatively mouth moving around her tiny thumb instead of her taking it out of her mouth.
"I think I am, but I am not sure. That's what Sydney is going to find out. " Miss Parker said honestly.
"I know you are 'cause I can feel it here." Catie thumb slid out of her mouth and with her finger pointed to her chest over her heart.
Miss Parker just smiled and nodded when Sydney motioned that he was running down to the lab. She then focused on the man standing awkwardly by. "Broots, you don't need to stay. I know you have to pick up Debbie from play practice in about a half hour."
"You remembered that?" Broots asked, astonished. "I didn't think you were really listening when I told you about Debbie getting a part in the play."
"Shows what you know. And I still think that eight thirty at night is way too late to end a rehearsal. Especially for a fourth grader." Miss Parker said still smiling.
"Yeah, but you have to remember that my Debbie is has a lead part in Les Miserable and that it is a high school production. Out of all the students they chose her to play Cosette." Broots said pride echoing in his voice.
"Whose Debbie?" Catie piped up innocently, looking over at Broots curiously.
"Debbie is my little girl. She is older than you, but I think she would love it if you came over to play sometimes." Broots said crouching down to Catie's eye level.
"You really think so? I never had a friend to play with before. Could I, Mama, please?" Catie turned her pleading eyes on Miss Parker and the woman had to laugh at the sad look. It looked like a puppy pleading with its owner.
"It's okay with me, but it will have to wait for a while, okay? Just until you get settled." Miss Parker told her gently.
"Oh, thank you!" Catie cried and hugged Miss Parker quickly and then reached over to hug Broots as well. Broots was surprised, but glad. He felt very protective of this little girl. Since Miss Parker felt like his sister it was only natural that he felt as though Catie was his niece; therefore when she smiled it pulled his heart almost as if it were his own Debbie. Catie's blue eyes sparkled with her happiness and Broots found himself staring at the similarities between the two females. Their hair was dark and both were fair skinned, although Catie was considerably paler because of the lack of sunlight. Broots wasn't worried though because he knew that would change fast once she began her life with Miss Parker. They both had cat shaped eyes that Broots knew they had inherited from Miss Parker's mother. Their eyes were both blue, but unlike her mother's piercing crystal blue gaze the little girl's eye color was darker and deeper in emotion. She had little dimples when she smiled and Broots wondered if she got them from her father's side of the family. With that thought Broots rose to a standing position abruptly. So abruptly, in fact, that Miss Parker was startled.
"Broots! What is the matter? You look as though you've seen a ghost." Miss Parker told him with a small look of concern mixing with one of annoyance.
"Um, I need to catch Sydney, and then go get Debbie so...uh...I guess I'll see you two later." Broots waved and practically ran out the door to catch up to Sydney in lab.
Broots found him sitting at a DNA machine staring at it intently while it calculated its findings. Broots cleared his throat and Sydney looked over his shoulder at him. "Yes, Broots?" Sydney said titling his head and turning the chair around to look at him.
Broots looked around the lab to make sure no one was about and pulled up a chair next to Sydney. "Syd, I know this is gonna sound weird, but hear me out, okay?" When Sydney nodded and placed his face in his hand to listen. "We both know that Catherine is Miss Parker's daughter without the results of that machine. Now I was just thinking, we know the mother, but who is the father?"
"Broots..." Sydney began to say in a condescending tone, but found himself without an answer and stopped.
"Yeah, well, there was something else too." Broots said hurriedly dismissing Sydney's try at an explanation. "Syd, her eyes seemed to be reading my mind or seeing into my soul." Sydney looked amused, but Broots kept going knowing what he was about to say would wipe any smile off of his friend's face.
"Sydney, I have only felt that gaze a few times before and each time the eyes staring at me belonged to...Jarod." Broots finished waiting for Sydney's reaction.
He didn't have to wait long, for Sydney's face grew hard and Broots almost could see the wheels turning in his head. Sydney began to nod slowly and then started to voice his thoughts. "They would need a sperm donor and to make a perfect pretender why not use the finest the Centre ever had to offer."
"Syd, do know what this means? When Jarod finds out, and you know he'll find out, he will try and get Catie out of here as fast as he can." Broots said looking at Sydney with a frightened facade.
"Broots, we can't tell Miss Parker or anyone for that matter. It would devastate her if Jarod took Catie away, especially when Miss Parker has just found her. And Lyle and the Triumvirate would know that holding Jarod's child would be the perfect bait for a trap for Jarod. It would be the one thing that could actually work to capture Jarod and I will avoid that at all costs."
So Broots and Sydney promised not to revel the identity of Catherine's father unless it was absolutely necessary. Sydney gathered up the results of the DNA test and followed Broots out of the lab, the heads of both men full of thoughts and their heart very heavy.