Angel of Mercy Caffre Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fandoms: The Pretender/ Touched By An Angel Summery: In his darkest hour, Jarod is given hope again. Rating: PG Notes: Ever since I saw the end of Ghosts Of The Past, I couldn't help but think of Touched By An Angel. I'm pretty sure a lot of people did. This is where this story comes from. Thanks to the pretenderfic list over on Yahoo for the positive feedback they gave me and to Jennifer Swaisgood who asked me very nicely about crossovers :) Spoilers for the above mentioned show. Disclaimer: Well...if I have too. They aren't mine. They're someone else's. Happy now? Angel of Mercy By Caffre Jarod turned over in his cot to look at the wall of his cell, unable to sleep. The sleeping tablet they had been giving him for his insomnia every night was hid with all the others in the hollow tube of his bed frame. He was going to make sure they couldn't revive him. They had caught him more than a month ago. Before his escape, all he'd had where dreams, vague recollections of what it was like to be held in the arms of a woman he thought of as his mother. Brief flashes of images he associated with family, of home. Ideas of what life on the outside world must be like. Now that he knew what the world had to offer, the world that had only ever existed in simulation after simulation for him, he knew he just couldn't continue to exist like this. Not when he knew how intense the night sky could look in the middle of an empty desert; how deeply satisfying the taste of ice cream could make him feel; the sense of utter peace he had experienced while sitting watching the ocean. In short, the way the people of this world got to live their lives. If he couldn't have that any more, couldn't have the freedom he had found and fought for, he could at least find freedom another way. It wasn't that he wanted to die. Not at all. He loved life. But he loved it out there, in the real world. Every single damn second of it. In here, in the depths of the Centre, he was nothing more than a prisoner on death row who would never have that last minute reprieve, yet have to wait for years of his life to pass before the sentence was carried out. They'd just continue to use him up until he was an old man, then, when he died, they'd dissect his brain just how it worked. He closed his eyes, trying to imagine what death must be like. He had died before; knew there was a certain peace to be found in it. He had also faced violent death a few times in his past, had more than once thought that his time on earth was up. But, he would have died free and if it meant that some wrong was righted, then it was always worth it in his opinion. Now though, they had implanted him with a tracking device, somewhere he couldn't get at to disable it. Hell, he didn't even know where it was inside his own body. All he knew was that if he tried to escape again, it would set off an alarm in the building. They had two guards watching his location around the clock on their screens in another building adjoined to the Centre. He wasn't going anywhere ever again. He thought about all that he would be leaving behind. His mom and dad, and any chance he ever had of finding them. Of exposing the lies and pain buried deep within the Centre. Of Miss Parker, Sydney and even Broots. He had been going to take the pills tonight, except for that tie he'd never been able to completely sever; no matter the pain and anguish it had sometimes caused him. He wanted to say a final goodbye to Sydney. The psychiatrist had been called away all day and wouldn't be back until tomorrow. Tomorrow. He tried not to feel the fear that swept through him at the thought of what he was going to do. He couldn't stay here. Soon enough they where going to run real simulations again, instead of just the usual barrage of tests they'd been putting him though to see how far the 'contamination' he'd been exposed to in the real world had affected him. To let them use his skills after all he had learnt about the Centre in the real world would be the biggest mistake of his life. He wasn't going to let them use him like that ever again. He wouldn't be responsible for anymore harm the Centre caused. At least in his death, he would maybe see his brother again. He prayed to God that he would. It was all he had in this bleakest of times. He sighed, squeezing his eyes shut in a vain attempt to get a little rest, trying to block out the thousand and one things that where running through his mind. * * * * * Monica looked at the man on the bed, took note of the dull grey windowless room he was in and frowned. "Your not going to tell me this man has committed a crime are you Tess? I don't feel any malice in him at all." Tess didn't respond immediately, instead walking over to the bed and gently brushing a lock of hair out of the Jarod's face. "You sleep Jarod." The tense look in his face eased up almost instantly, to be replaced by a much more relaxed expression. Tess turned to look back at her friend. "Angel, this boy here hasn't done a thing. He's not in no prison cell. He's been kidnapped and held here against his will. He's got himself a dark side, true, but most people have. You can't have so much good with out the dark inside to tell you if something's bad or not." Monica sat down on the bed, looking around the room. "Am I here to help him Tess?" "Yes baby you are." The Angel looked down at her friend, smiling. "This man has a need inside him to help people. You don't even need to look inside his heart to see it. He has it written all over his face. And he thinks his death is going to do that and he's wrong. He's needed so much and it's not his time yet." Tess took her friends hand and they both looked down at the sleeping form on the bed. "God has a plan for you Jarod. And taking your own life isn't part of it." * * * * * "Where's your i.d.?" The very large man outside Jarod's cell looked very menacing to a lot of people. In fact, behind his back and at a very great distance, when they where sure he couldn't overhear them, many called him Frankenstein's Monster. To an Angel however, he wasn't any threat at all. "Here it is. I'm his new Doctor. Doctor Monica." She held out her hand, smiling. "It's very nice to meet you..." She peered at his badge. "Frank." Frank grunted at her once, but shook her hand and opened the door to Jarod's cell. "Thanks Frank." Stepping inside she found Jarod just where she'd seen him last night. Tess had told her all about this horrible place. How they'd kept him locked up in here for nearly all of his life and of his escape into the real world. Apparently, his potential and basic need to help people was earning him consideration as an angel himself someday. But not yet. Jarod had more than a few lessons that still needed to be learnt in this life before he could be considered for such a position as that. "Jarod? Come on. Wakey wakey, rise and shine." He rolled over onto his back, dark, tired eyes looking up at her. "Wakey wakey, rise and shine?" She ignored the sarcasm in his voice, instead going right into the introduction. "I'm Doctor Monica, Jarod. And how are you feeling today?" He closed his eyes, and it didn't take an Angel to hear the despair in his voice as he replied. "As well as can be expected. How can I help you Doctor?" Monica turned to look at the door, still open and with Frank looking in. She couldn't help him here; she had to get him alone so she could tell him the truth about herself, about why she was here. "I'm taking you for another physical. I hope you don't mind, it's just, I'm new on staff and..." he cut her off for the first time since she had come in to the small room, a spark of passion for life, even if it wasn't his own, showing. "If you're new then leave! Get out of here while you can. The Centre will only drag you down and eat you alive Doctor." He turned to look briefly at the camera in the room, the one fitted with a motion detector that never seemed to leave him alone. "If you've ever wondered what hell could be like...Welcome to mine." That gave her more than enough cause for concern. Still, she couldn't help him in here. She had to get him away so she could persuade him not to give up, that God loved him and was watching over him. "Come on Jarod. The exam shouldn't take very long." He never said another word, instead following her as she led him to the Renewal wing. * * * * * Monica watched as Jarod's heart rate kept at a steady pace, despite the hard workout she had just put him through. "Are you feeling alright Jarod?" "I'm fine, thank you." He'd been very well behaved. Only trouble was, he had hardly spoken a word and she'd had company the entire time in the form of Frank. It was like Jarod had already given up on life and was only going through the motions. Tess hadn't told her what would be the best way of handling this, so she was just winging it, as it where. She couldn't stand to see him so defeated any longer. "Jarod, I..." She'd been about to offer her help to him, when he suddenly seemed to grow nervous, looking expectantly at the door. It was only a moment or two later that she saw the man with the oxygen tank come in through the door. Mr. Raines, she thought to herself, had a very black aura about him. She glared at him disapprovingly. "Can I help you at all?" He didn't bother to look at her; instead he addressed Jarod, who wouldn't look into his eyes. "Make sure he's fit enough. He's running his first simulation this afternoon and he'll need all his strength." He turned, the squeaking noise following him out of the room. "What a rude man." That actually caused Jarod to laugh a little. "Rude or not, he owns you now and I wouldn't let him hear you talking about him like that." Monica watched as the last little bit of hope Jarod had in him seemed to die. "I'd...I'd like to go back to my space now. I...need to rest for later." Monica looked at his chart. There wasn't any more she really needed to do and if she wanted to talk properly to Jarod it was going to have to be in his cell. She was going to help him escape. * * * * * Jarod very carefully poured some water from the cold tap in his room into a glass, turning his back on the camera as he slipped the pills he'd been saving into the water. Then, he sat down on the bed, looking at the glass in his hands. He didn't want to die, but what choice did he have? Raines would be taking over this afternoon and he already knew how much that man hated him. He would delight in using Jarod's skills to further some malignant purpose of his own. Jarod cursed quietly to himself. Raines, with this unplanned sim, had more than likely taken away the very last chance he had to say good-bye to Sydney. He raised the glass reluctantly to his lips. "Oh Jarod. Death isn't the answer." Jarod had been facing the back wall of his room, and he was therefore surprised to see his new Doctor standing just inside the door. He stood up to face her, still holding on to the glass, not noticing that the door behind her wasn't open. "What are you talking about?" Monica stepped over to him, gently taking the glass out of his hand. "I know you've been saving the tablets Sydney prescribed for your insomnia Jarod. How do you think he'll feel when he finds out what you wanted them for?" "I..." Jarod looked at her, wondering how she had known. "I don't have a choice. You haven't been working here long enough to know exactly what the Centre is capable of. I can't let them use me like that again." Monica smiled at him, giving Jarod slight cause for concern about her mental health. "I know what the Centre is capable of. Just as God knows what you're capable of Jarod. And He doesn't want you to die." "God?" Jarod almost laughed, except his respect for all things made him keep it back. "What does God care about me? I've been trapped in this place for most of my life, and never once did God show any interest in me." He knew he sounded bitter, angry with God at the way his life had turned out, but he couldn't help it. Right now it was how he felt. Monica took another step forward, coming a little closer to him. "Ah but Jarod He has always cared about you. He was there when the Centre took you, no matter how alone you thought you where. He was in your heart that night on the roof when He made it snow, just so you would know what it felt like. He's watched out for you for so long now Jarod. Just as He does for everyone He loves." Jarod backed away slightly, wondering what kind of trick the Centre was playing on him now. "Who are you?" "I am an Angel, sent by God. He loves you so very much Jarod, and He doesn't want you to throw your life away like this. You've still so much to do in this world yet, so much despair to vanquish and so much hope and love to share with others. Life is precious Jarod. Please don't waste it like this?" Still, she knew it wasn't up to her to make him change this path he had chosen for himself, and she handed him the glass back. He had to be persuaded to make the right decision; she couldn't make it for him. "This isn't real...this is some trick of the Centre." He turned to the room at large, shouting at some unseen person. "It won't work! I won't let you make me hurt anybody else ever again!" Jarod raised the glass to his lips, not really wanting to, but ready to end his life for the sake of others when all of a sudden, a beautiful golden glow surrounded Monica. He was in such amazement of it, that he didn't notice as he lowered the glass to waist level and it slipped through his fingers to spill on the ground. "This isn't any trick Jarod. God doesn't believe in them. He wants you to live." Jarod couldn't help the way he was staring at her in amazement, the tears that fell down his face going unnoticed as he spoke. "But how can I? They'll use me to hurt others, and I won't...I won't let them do that to me or anyone else again. I can't escape because of the tracking device they've placed inside me and if I live, they'll only find some way of making me do what they want. It's wrong. Surely God knows that?" Monica nodded. "God knows and He loves you for your selflessness Jarod. But that's why I've been sent to you. God wants you to live Jarod." Taking that final step, Monica placed her hand over Jarod's heart. A warmth that he could only liken to a Mothers love spread out from her touch, filling him completely. He couldn't help the smile that crossed his tear stained face as he felt it flood through him. This was what it was like then, to know your mom and dad. To have someone love you enough without any question of wanting anything in return. To be able to call out in the dead of night and have someone come to you out of love. It was the most wonderful thing he'd ever felt in his life. Monica's hand finally left him, and while the feeling faded a little, it was still there. Just as it had always been, he'd just never realised it before. "What...what was that?" Monica smiled at him. "That was all the love your mother and father has for you Jarod. You've always carried that love around inside you, I just had to remind you a little of what it felt like." "I...I don't know how to thank you Monica." The Angel looked at the door to Jarod's prison and it gently swung open. "You can thank me by getting out of here. You can walk out the main entrance if you like. God will be walking beside you, covering you with His love for you. Just as He always has done and always will do." Jarod took a step towards the door, and then stopped. "The tracking device, its still inside me. They'll find me no matter where I go." "No. It's gone Jarod. They had it placed very close to your heart. They never reckoned on the love inside you, the love your family has for you and that you have for them is much stronger than anything the Centre could ever devise." He looked back at the door, before turning to Monica one last time. "Will I ever see my family again?" The Angel looked a little sad when he asked her, and he was sure the news was going to be bad. "I can't tell you what God has planned for either you or them Jarod. All I know is that no matter what the Centre, or anyone else ever does to you, you will meet up with them one day in His Glorious Kingdom. Your brother Kyle is there and He is so very proud of you. God loves you so much Jarod! If you just hang on to that it will see you through anything that this life can throw at you." Both the Angel and the Pretender where silent for a moment. It was Jarod who spoke first. "Thank you Monica. Thank you so much." "Go on with you Jarod. You have work to do out in the real world again." This time the smile on his face was contagious and she couldn't help but smile in return as he walked out the door, looking both left and right before disappearing from her view. * * * * * 2 Months Later Jarod sat on the roof of the Church, watching as Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots got back into their car and left. He had hoped that they would stay for the service, allowing him in some small way to share something special with them. But still, he was happy. It had been a difficult assignment he'd given himself, and he had been sure he was about to die when he'd been dragged out into the forest at the business end of a shotgun. He had managed to stop the racist attacks on the Unity meeting as well as the deaths of the Pastor's little girls. But still, it had been close this time. And right now, the music that was coming out of the Church was infectious and he couldn't help his enjoyment of it. It reminded him he was alive and free and that somewhere out in this world that he was a part of again, his family loved him. "You look very nice all dressed in white Jarod. It suits you." Jarod turned to see a familiar face sitting beside him. "Monica! I never thought I'd see you again!" He was pleased to see her and he couldn't help the hug he surrounded her in. "You don't get rid of her that easy Jarod." The Pretender turned to the other side of him to see an older black woman, just like Monica all dressed in white, moving in time to the music, clapping her hands just as he had been. "Jarod, this is Tess." Jarod reached out a hand, very much aware that he was now sitting on the roof of the church with two Angels. Tess however, expected no less than a hug from him as well, and Jarod cheerfully gave it to her. Somehow, deep inside him, he knew he had this Angel to thank as well. "Very nice to meet you Tess." "Are you enjoying yourself Jarod?" He nodded, seeing the car carrying some of his more extended family further and further away down the road. "How could I not?" He replied. "Great music and now, great friends to share it with." The two angels could only nod their agreement, and if anyone had cared to look up at the roof that night, they would have been surprised to see three figures all in white, all looking like they where having the time of their lives. And as they sang along to the final hymn, a pure white dove flew out of the doors of the church, circled the three people on the roof before disappearing off into a star-studded night. The End.