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Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I don't own anything I-man related, I didn't steal anything, only thing that I have any claim to would be Amanda and Richie, but that's rather obvious

Archive: All Amanda Fawkes fanfics are archived at

http://amandafawkes.cjb.net/

Stop by and visit, and check out the other AF fics, as well as the really cool message board :)

Comments: This is the next installment of the Amanda Fawkes fanfic series and was beta read by Snowtiger. Thanks so much once again, and I can't think of any new and original way to thank you this time.

Further Comment: This Fic is a companion piece to "Children Protecting a Child"

 

The Other Side

 

 

Down here in the atmosphere, garbage and city lights, gotta save your tired soul, you gotta save our lives...I'm waiting for the sky to fall, I'm waiting for a sign, all we are is all so far

-Our lady Peace, Somewhere out there.

"Ethan, come with me," the doctor said looking down at his clipboard, barely acknowledging Ethan's presence in the room until his last comment.

Ethan looked up, quickly stood, and followed the man. At this moment, he was willing to do just about anything for this treatment to be over. This was his second treatment in a series of 24 different treatments, and they tended to be painful.

He followed down the hallway looking into rooms as he passed, rubbing a hand on the back of his neck. They past a room where a woman was screaming frantically to be let out while the guards were strapping her down to a bed, and Ethan stopped, looking at her through the small window. She wavered and looked at him, fear in her eyes.

"Ethan, come here!" the doctor snapped. Ethan didn't move, still starting at the woman, until a guard walked over and took him by the arm pulling him down the hallway and through the large doors at the end.

"We need to get your treatment over with, understand, Ethan?" The doctor asked him. Ethan just nodded.

"Good, now please lie down," the doctor said motioning to the table in the middle of the room.

----------------

Stark stood looking out his office window at the San Diego skyline. He didn't want to have this meeting, but with the troubles they had been having, now was not the time to fight with the hierarchy of Chrysalis. Even if he didn't like this man, he couldn't afford a fight.

He turned around and walked over to sit in the chair behind his desk, and then sent a message to the secretary to send the man in.

"Stark, how good of you to see me," Corlin said as he walked into the office.

"Just tell me what you want, so we can get this over with," Stark said, his somewhat calm demeanor never changing.

"Well, it is your son I'm here to talk about. Sharon isn't too happy that you let this happen, and you didn't even find the spy in our ranks responsible for it. Not good Stark," he said as he sat down in a chair and crossed his ankle over his other knee in a very causal fashion. "You're lucky to still be here."

"Just tell me what you have to say and go," Stark replied.

"Oh, unfortunately I'm not going anywhere, I'm here to stay, Jared," Corlin said with a smirk. "And I've already started an investigation into what happened to your child. Someone inside Chrysalis had to give that baby to her."

"I'm aware of that," Stark said, his anger flaring, but he managed to keep it in check. He didn't plan to give Corlin any chance to get at him.

"Well, unlike you I don't intend this to go by that easily," Corlin replied, quickly getting frustrated in his lack of success to get a more violent reaction out of Stark.

--------------------

Ethan sat in the chair across from the receptionist's desk, tapping a foot impatiently. He really didn't want to be here. They were putting him on his first 'real' assignment. Ethan had worked on a few things in the past, but never an actually assignment.

"Nervous, you shouldn't let them see that," a female voice said. Ethan's head snapped up to look at the woman standing in front of him. She was quite beautiful from what he could see, He hadn’t seen her before. She was Asian, with long hair that fell just about her waist. She had on minimal make up, but it was just enough to make it look like she wasn't wearing any at all. Her clothes consisted of white turtle neck with black dress pants. Her face showed hardly any emotion when she talked. To Ethan she looked to be someone who fit into Chrysalis well.

"Do I know you?" he asked. The woman looked familiar, but he couldn't be sure, because he couldn’t remember any place he would have seen her before, or what her name could possibly be.

"No. We've never meet, Ethan," the woman said sitting down next to him, with almost perfect posture as she crossed her legs and looked over at him.

"How did you...."

"I read your file before I arrived here. We'll both be working on the investigation," she replied. "I'm Kali Philippa."

"I'd introduce myself, but it looks like you already know me. Seems like everyone I meet already knows me, it can be a little unnerving at times," he said, his foot starting to tap again. Kali reached out grabbing his knee and prevented him from tapping his foot again.

"Did I also mention……that's irritating?" she asked. Ethan just looked at her for a minute, trying to judge how much pain she would be willing to inflict should he do it again. Before he could decide the secretary interrupted them.

"You're wanted inside," she told the two. Ethan stood up and walked over to the door while Kali followed, then stopped to hold the door open for her. She walked through without a word, and Ethan looked a little upset that she hadn't even thought to say 'Thank you'.

"Kali, glad to see you're here on time," Corlin said, stand up and walking over to take the files she had been holding away from her.

"I've never been late, why would you expect it now?" she asked as she handed them over.

"I.....never mind. I believe you already know Kali, Jared. But this, is Ethan Asnee," he introduced as Ethan walked further into the room, trying not to look nervous as Kali had advised.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ethan, I've heard a lot about you," Stark said as he extended a hand over his desk to the man. Ethan walked over and took his hand shaking it.

"It seems everyone's heard of me," he said after letting go.

"You're one of Chrysalis' prized projects, of course they have," he replied. "You can all sit down now if you wish."

Kali took a chair, and crossed her legs again. Ethan took the chair on the right or side of Corlin's empty chair. Corlin however, remained standing.

"Do you either of you know why you're here?" Corlin asked, setting the files he had down on the desk and folding his arms behind his back.

"We're here regarding the Chrysalis double agent," Kali said.

"The one who took the baby?" Ethan said looking over at Kali, then glancing sheepishly back at Corlin when Kali looked at him as if he was an idiot.

"Yes, that would be the one. Apparently the rumors are already out, Mr. Asnee?" he asked, looking at Ethan.

"I just heard a few things from a nurse... she said that someone had stolen a Chrysalis baby and given it to some woman," he reported, occasionally glancing at his feet while he talked.

"Yes, Amanda Fawkes," Stark added, and everyone turned to look at him. "She works for the Agency, which I'm sure you've heard of. They managed to fake her death and the child's for over 48 hours, before it was discovered. And now the child is beyond our reach," he said.

Ethan noticed the man's jaw tighten as he spoke, and he suspected Stark had more of a connection to this case that he was letting on. Most of those in Chrysalis wouldn't care about the child, beyond how it had been taken without anyone knowing before it was too late.

"And what are we supposed to do about it?" Ethan asked.

"*We*, obviously are to investigate and find out who abducted the child, and then handed him over to Ms. Fawkes," Kali said with a roll of her eyes before looking back at Ethan.

"You didn't have to be rude about it," he replied as he sank down in his chair somewhat.

"I wasn't being rude. I was being honest," she told him.

"You were being rude," he said again.

"I'm not going to argue about it with you. Move on," she commanded him.

"Children, let's not argue, you both need to work on this case *together*, and we don't need you picking at each other," Corlin said as he picked up the files and handed one to each of them.

"This is a list of everyone who had access to the child in the few hours before we discovered that it had been taken," he told the two as they looked over their respective folders.

"The child was in a lab?" Kali asked looking up.

"He was receiving inoculations at the time, so he was being kept in the children's ward. You should be familiar with the area, Ethan . It's the same lab where your treatments are preformed," Corlin responded as he leaned back against Stark's desk.

"Yeah, I've visited the children's lab before...," he said trailing up as everyone looked at him. "I like kids."

"What a....shock," Kali said looking back at her folder. Ethan looked over at her with a less than happy look.

"You two should get over there, start your investigation," Corlin said. "We want some kind of lead in three days."

"Three Days? Only three days?" Ethan said in a panicked voice before Kali cut him off as she stood up.

"Yes, Sir," she said, and)then exited the office. Ethan had stared after her for a few seconds before he realized he should be with her. He stood up , and walked quickly out of the office.

"What do you mean "Yes, sir"? You think we can have someone for them in three days?" Ethan asked as he caught up with her.

"It's a simple task, they only want someone to blame, the ongoing investigation will more than likely take a few months, but they need someone to blame for now, and they said they only wanted a lead," she said as she continued to walk. "And please, no more questions or arguments, unless they are actually relevant."

------------------------

"Hello, Ethan, I thought you weren't due for another treatment for another few months," the nurse at the front desk said when they walked in.

"I'm not Mary, I've got an assignment," he told her as he leaned on the desk.

"Oh, I knew they'd start to use you soon, you're a very smart boy," the old woman told him as she smiled.

"Yeah, you keep telling me that," he said as Kali walked up behind him.

"We’re on assignment, stop socializing," she said simply. The old woman narrowed her eyes at Kali, then gave Ethan one last smile. He sighed and stood up, leading Kali down the hallway.

"You don't have many friends, do you?" he asked.

"I don't have a need of friends," she replied.

"But do you want them?" he countered.

"Why would I want friends?" she asked him, seemingly genuinely confused. He just shook his head and led her down a side corridor to a pair of large swinging doors that opened into the children's ward.

"ETHAN!!!"

A small child ran forward into the man almost knocking him over. He had to put a hand on Kali's shoulder to steady himself, she pushed it off with a disgusted look.

"Hey, Cherry," he said as he picked the small child up.

"I thought you said you wouldn't be back till next July," she told him folding her arms.

"I'm not here for a treatment," he explained. She still eyed him as if she wasn't sure, and after a moment nodded her head.

"I believe you. Doctor Jack is in his office," she told him. "I can take you to him."

Ethan set the small girl down and she took his hand to lead him. Kali followed with a skeptical look.

"Who is 'Doctor Jack?'" she asked as they walked.

"He runs the ward, all the kids call him Doctor Jack, he's in your files as Doctor Garlod," he told her as they reached a door and the girl knocked furiously on it. The door was opened by a man with a frown, which instantly changed when he saw the three outside the door.

"Ethan, I thought you weren't going to be back until July," the man said.

"I'm actually not supposed to be, but I got assigned to the Brandon case," he told him.

"They sent you with her?" He said when he acknowledged Kali's presence. "Not exactly a perfect match is it?"

"No. Can we please just get this finished? The sooner we start, the sooner we can leave," Kali said almost angrily. Ethan looked over at her slightly confused for what from Kali could almost qualify as an outburst.

"Cherry, could you please come back later?" Jack asked the little girl. She nodded, let got of Ethan's hand and proceeded to skip down the hallway.

"Why is her name Cherry?" Kali asked, turning to look back at the two men after watching the girl skip out of sight down the hallway.

"Because it's the name she chose. She's been in this ward since she was born," the doctor replied.

"Why?" Kali asked.

"Because she won't live past the age of 10. Her system had an adverse reaction to Chrysalis tampering with her fetus," Ethan replied. "She's already seven."

"Well that explains it," Kali said. Ethan just frowned at her lack of emotional response. He had decided he really didn't like her now.

"You'll have to talk to her later about all this," Jack told her.

"Why?" Kali asked him.

"Because, she's your only witness, and she won't talk," he told her. "All we know is that she was in the room when it happened."

"That little girl?" she asked. "Why hasn't she told anyone what she saw?"

"She says it's a secret, and she can't tell, none of us have been able to get her to say anything about it," he explained. "Maybe you should try Ethan."

"Me? I…… I guess I can try," he told him. "I don't think I'll be any help though."

"Could you just try?"

Ethan nodded, and started walking down the hallway the way the little girl had gone. Kali watched until he was out of sight, then turned back to the doctor.

"How well do you know Ethan?" she asked him.

"I'd like to think rather well," Jack said.

"How often does he visit the children?" she asked him.

"Whenever he's in for a treatment, he's in the children's ward unless he's actually having any of the treatment preformed at the moment. He really is helpful, and all the children like him," he told her.

"Do you know his views on the chrysalis babies, specifically the ones taken from their birth mothers?" she asked.

"Well, I don't think there are very many of us who do like that....and Ethan wasn't born Chrysalis. why do you ask?"

"A theory I'm working on. How well does Cherry know Ethan?"

"Very, he spends extra time with her. She thinks of him as her best friend. Not many people are return visitors here, and she doesn't have any friends in the children's ward who stay for more than a few days," he explained.

"Thank you, that's all I need," she told him, then walked away before he could say anything else.

---------------

"So basically we have nothing then?" Ethan said as he sat hunched down in the passenger seat of Kali's car.

"We have something, but I need to do some independent research tomorrow," she told him as she sped through downtown San Diego, barely missing the other cars. Ethan had been terrified for his life at first, but at this point he wasn't really worried about that anymore.

"Independent research?" he asked her.

"You're getting in my way, I'll tell them you went with me. Sleep in or do whatever else you think would be the best use of your free time," she told him as she pulled to a screeching halt in front of his apartment building, almost hitting a car parked out front that a blonde woman was getting out of.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" she yelled at the car as Ethan got out.

"I'm sorry, she's not going to be doing it again," Ethan said as he glanced with a glare at Kali. She just took off as soon as he was out of the car, glancing in her rear view mirror to see the woman talking to Ethan.

---------------

Ethan actually stayed up all night watching TV, the same thing he always did when he couldn’t sleep. He was worried over what Kali had thought she had found. He didn't want anyone innocent getting caught up in this witch hunt. He knew the whole thing had nothing to do with actually finding out who had done it, just finding someone to blame for it at the moment. Whoever had really done it would be taken care of in secret.

He’d taken a shower around seven am, then just put on some boxers and gone back to his room to sleep, which was where he had been for the last eleven hours, when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

He almost jumped out of the bed as he fell over the edge. Then keeping the blanket that fell with him wrapped around himself, peaked over the bed edge to see Kali standing there, with her usual expressionless look.

"What is wrong with you? How did you get in here? And why are you in my bedroom?" he asked, glancing over at his clock.

"I finished my investigation," she told him.

"What?" he asked standing up, making sure to keep the sheet wrapped around his shoulders like a robe.

"But I've decided to give them the report that implicates Nurse Calloway, not you," she told him.

"What do you mean me?" he asked nervously.

"I mean, * you *, because you're the one who took the baby and left it at Amanda Fawkes apartment," she replied. He just stood, staring at her for a long time, unsure of what to say.

"How did you find out?" he finally asked.

"First, your relationship with Cherry, and the fact that you like children. Second and you're not at Chrysalis through your own free will," she started then sat down on the edge of the bed.

"I also talked to Cherry, told her you were in trouble and I was your friend. She told me that you had taken the baby. I checked the dates, and you were in for a treatment at the time. You also knew how to get around security, and who would be where, when. So you could easily get past them. What was the major tip off, was seeing you talking to Ms. Fawkes last night, and checking the records for your building. She lives two floors below you. Chrysalis let you move in the building when you promised to keep some minimal surveillance on her," she finished.

"Why aren't you going to turn me in?" he asked.

"Because it does not server the over all good of Chrysalis. I believe this to be an isolated incident, and having you killed along with your family would help no one," she said as she stood back up. "I'm going to go give the report to Corlin. I'm telling him it was the nurse on duty that night. I'll leave a copy for you to read so you may get the details memorized."

"You were at the lab too," he suddenly said after she had turned to walk out of the room.

"What?" she asked turning back around.

"You were the woman they were strapping down to the bed. Why were you there?" he asked.

"One does not come by mental capabilities such as mine on there own," she replied before walking out.

--------------------

"Interesting, ... too bad it's all a lie," Corlin said before throwing the file back down on his desk.

"Sir?" Kali asked him.

"We both know Mr. Asnee was the one who did this. I made sure you were assigned to this because I knew you'd figure it out. It's what we made you to do," he told her.

"I don't understand, sir," she replied.

"Don't worry Kali, you did what I thought you would. This was a test, to see if what was done to you affected your loyalties, obviously it hasn't. You're still loyal completely to Chrysalis's higher ideals, not it’s people. I'm very proud of you, though I'm sad for Mr. Asnee. I doubt he'll be around much longer unless his behavior changes it's course," he told her.

"Sir, I believe this to be an isolated incident. He had the opportunity, and in an attempt to make up for what happened to Cherry, 'saved' the baby as it were. Unless he's given a similar opportunity, I doubt it will reoccur," she told him.

"While, I trust your judgment Kali, I'll still be keeping an eye on him. I'll give this report to Stark in the morning, no need for him to know all this. You're dismissed," he told her. She nodded and walked out of her office, got into her car and drove to her apartment. She walked calmly up the steps and into her apartment, before she almost collapsed on the floor in bottled up emotions.

Kali had lied to a superior, to his face, no less. And he had bought it, and that very thing saved her. She had never lied to a superior of Chrysalis before in her entire life, despite what they had done to her. That, and she had protected a man she had only met two days before.

She had broken more rules that one day than she had in her entire life. Kali had even made up evidence, faked witness testimony, and then brought it to her superior. She would have thought he would have shot her on the spot, or worse. But instead, he'd let her go and said she'd done what he wanted her to do, but there was something he didn't know. The reason she had done it.

She believed she was falling for Ethan Asnee.

 

I'm praying that you don't burn out, or fade away... You're falling out of reach, defying gravity, I know you're out there, somewhere out there....Well I know, I know, you're falling out of reach.

-Our lady Peace, Somewhere out there.