"Come in," Travis called and Nahla entered. "Who's with her?" Travis asked.

Nahla sighed. "She's awake. Jace is trying to keep her there, but she wants out - now. And she's not taking 'no' for an answer." Michael and Travis got up and followed Nahla to Medlab. Michael took advantage of the commotion to replace the bottle of pills. Then he followed the others.

"I'm not staying, Jace. I've slept like you wanted, now let me go." Jace was doing his best to stall her and was relieved when reinforcements showed up.

"What's this? The tag team? One of you grabs my arms, the other one grabs my legs and Jace straps me down? That's not really fair, you know. Three against one. But if you want to try, go for it. I think I can do a fair amount of damage before you get me restrained," she challenged.

Sherry noticed Nahla's worried expression and laughed. "Don't worry, honey. I won't break anything important on your boyfriend."

"I want you to come to my office," Travis said, hoping to give Michael a chance to search her quarters before she went home.

"No thanks, Doc. I have other plans. I'm headin' out. If you want to talk, you know where I'll be." She walked up to Travis, kissed him, and then walked over to Michael. She studied his face a moment and smiled. "Can't have you feeling left out," and kissed him as well. Then she walked out and headed for her quarters.

They watched her walk away and then Travis turned to Nahla. "Did you find out anything else while she was sleeping?"

Nahla was reluctant to answer. She looked down to the floor, over to Jace, and then to Michael and Travis. Finally Jace spoke. "Sweetie, tell them. It's the only way we can help her."

Nahla resigned herself to that fact and nodded. "She was talking to you Travis, apologizing. I didn't catch everything, but the gist of it was that, because of her, you got pulled into Section."

Jace and Nahla exchanged glances and braced for the coming storm. Everyone had been tense the last week or so; not only in reaction to Sherry's attitude, but because they were waiting for one of two things to happen: either she would lose it completely or the hammer would drop from upstairs. Michael and Travis had taken on the bulk of the responsibility in helping her and the waiting and not knowing was making an already bad situation worse.

"I knew bringing you here would be nothing but trouble," Michael growled. "She had enough to deal with before you showed up."

"You mean like you?" Travis threw back at him. "And as for my 'showing up,' in case you've forgotten, Michael, that wasn't my choice. You people contacted me and said she had relapsed. I came to help her, not to become part of your insane cloak-and-dagger world. Unlike you, I don't live for the twisted little games you all play."

Jace tried to intervene. "Come on guys, now is not the time for your personal feud. You need to work together if you're going to help her. I assume you still want to help her?" he chided. Michael didn't even spare him a glance. Travis nodded in acknowledgment of the statement, but that was as far as it went.

Nahla knew things were getting out of hand. While Jace tried to reason with Michael and Travis, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed.


"Roarke, you'd better get down here to Medlab. Michael and Travis are about to get into it. Jace is trying to stop them, but they aren't listening to him." The phone clicked in her ear practically before she got the last word out. It didn't take long for Roarke to show up. He stood behind Nahla, neither man having seen his arrival.

Travis stepped closer to Michael, got in his face. "I think the real problem here is that you're worried. Afraid of a little competition, Michael? There's someone here now that's willing to commit to her. For some reason you can't, or won't, so you'd like nothing better than to blame me for everything that happens. That way you think you can get me out of her life. There's only one problem with your little plan, Michael. She knows better."

Michael held his ground and glared at Travis. "Does she? Her life hasn't exactly been a bed of roses since your arrival."

Travis had never wanted to hit anyone so badly in his life. "Oh and of course that's all my fault. If you ask me, you've done more than your fair share," he finished as the level of his voice began to rise.

Michael ignored the taunt. "Let me assure you, 'Doc'" he said as he mocked Sherry's nickname for Travis, "you aren't the first to try take her from me and you won't be the last."

"Oh, that's right, I forgot. You give her everything she needs, right? Total honesty, total security, total commitment. How could I have forgotten?" Travis shot back.

Roarke knew it was time to step in. "Let it go, Travis. Michael, back off." Roarke stepped between them. "This is getting you nowhere and it's definitely not helping Sherry. Now both of you take a step back and get yourselves under control." Both men held their ground for another minute and finally stepped back.

Roarke nodded. "Now, let's try doing something useful, shall we. What were you doing before you decided to act like a couple of jealous idiots?"

Jace quickly brought Roarke up to speed, giving the other two a little more time to cool down. He didn't think Roarke's choice of words was particularly helpful at the moment, but they seemed to be having the desired effect. He told Roarke about the dreams, ending with Travis' part in them.

Travis nodded. "I really thought she had gotten past that. She knows I don't blame her. She needs to forgive herself, although she really has nothing to forgive. None of these things are her fault."

Michael spoke up. "No, but she believes they are. Sophie died saving her. You helped her after the brainwashing, therefore putting you within Section's reach. She was used to lure you in. Being at the center of these things would make it difficult for anyone to believe they weren't responsible. And she's a sensitive person, more so than most."

Travis turned to Michael. "Well, I'm glad that you at least know that much about her." Roarke sighed, wondering if Travis had an unconscious death wish. Travis shook his head and continued. "It's no wonder she's having nightmares. It's a wonder she hasn't already snapped. I'll never understand why you people do these things to each other. But at least now I have somewhere to start."


Part 5

The next two days played out in much the same fashion as the day before. Sherry was ordered to spend the morning with Travis; however, she refused to allow him to sedate her again. She had work to do, and sleeping away the day in Medlab was not part of her plans. She spent the mornings evading Travis' questions and aggravating him to no end; the afternoons locked away in her office; and the moment five o'clock hit, she was out the door.

She had decided to walk to the bar this evening, hoping the fresh air and exercise might tire her enough to allow for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. She hadn't gone far when she realized she was being followed. Trying to appear nonchalant, she stopped and glanced around as if checking her directions. She knew most of the tricks Section and Michael used, so she knew what to look for, but she didn't recognize anyone. Continuing on, she could still feel their presence. She popped into a local drug store for a few minutes to try and lose them. The last thing she needed now was to be grabbed off the street.

Five minutes later she emerged from the store with a purchase and proceeded toward the bar. She hadn't gone more than ten steps when she felt it again - they were still following her. She looked around and saw two men she remembered spotting the first time she had looked. One was big and burly, obviously the muscle. He kind of reminded her of Davenport, only bigger. The other one was smaller in build, but in no way any less formidable. He had a powerful build and moved with agility. She concluded that they had some sort of intelligence training from their reactions.

She also knew that she should feel threatened but, strangely, she didn't. Her pursuers seemed to be there simply to keep tabs on her rather than to do her any physical harm. She wondered who they worked for. Could Michael have sent them? Did Mr. Jones or Operations have her under surveillance? She was familiar with almost everyone at Section and she definitely would have remembered this pair.

Deciding to ignore them for the moment, she continued on and entered the bar, sitting at her usual table in the corner. She sat facing the door, as all operatives were wont to do. Never turn your back on a door; it was one of the first lessons they taught you. She hadn't been seated for more than two minutes when the duo following her walked in. They stood at the entrance and glanced around, searching for her. When the smaller of the two locked eyes with her, she smiled and waved. He smiled back, nodded, and the two men proceeded to sit at a table not far from her.

Sherry ordered a drink and watched them. While she watched, the smaller one, who was obviously the senior agent, pulled out his cell phone and placed a call. She was pretty sure it was about her since the big guy never took his eyes off of her. She was beginning to get a little uncomfortable now. Just what were they up to?

She didn't have long to wait, however, before the Section contingent began showing up, which eased her mind. Kenny and Mentz arrived and sat at a table near the entrance. DeLeah and Nahla came in a few minutes later and sat near the bar. 'Wow,' Sherry thought to herself. 'They must think I'm gonna lose it big time tonight.' Nursing yet another drink, she nodded when Michael walked in the door. She knew it most likely wouldn't be long before Travis came as well.

She glanced at the two men who had followed her, and saw them sizing up the people entering the bar. Yes, there was definitely something going on here. If she didn't know better, she would think those two were here to ... protect her. But from whom or what?

Michael noticed the two men immediately and realized that they were trained agents. His immediate concern was who they worked for and what they were doing here. He would have to keep an eye on them. Once he did a quick perusal of the bar and its occupants, he walked over to Sherry's table and sat down.

"I don't recall inviting you to join me," Sherry said in a voice that held little or no emotion. She was almost too tired to care at this point. She was just glad her instincts were still reliable, or at least she hoped they were.

Michael motioned in the direction of the two men sitting at the nearby table. "Who are your friends?"

Sherry studied his face for a minute, glanced at them, and then back to Michael. "I figured they were yours."

"No." The conversation died at that point. After watching her sip her drink for a bit, Michael finally spoke.

"Why are you avoiding me, shutting me out?" he asked quietly. "Why are you turning to this instead?" he asked as he pointed to her glass.

Sherry shrugged. "I think I've burdened you enough for one lifetime. I'd think you would welcome the break." What Michael or none of the others realized was that she was no longer drinking alcohol. Her drink might look the same, but tonight it was simply soda, nothing added. She knew that the alcohol was doing her no good. It wasn't helping her sleep, and it simply impaired her judgment at a time when she needed to try and keep her head together, as difficult as that was right now.

Michael stared at her. "Tell me about Sophie."

Sherry looked at him, suspicion in her eyes. She paused for a moment and then nodded. "So much for patient confidentiality. I see you and Doc have been sharing."

"Talk to me. I thought we had dealt with Sophie's death a long time ago, that you had accepted it. What brought it back?" he asked, even though he had found the answer when he searched her quarters. He was just waiting to see if she would tell him.

"Accepted it?" she said a bit too loudly. "How do you accept something like that Michael? I learned to live with it, but I will never accept it." He nodded and she sighed. "Let it go Michael. You can't help. Sophie's dead, you can't bring her back. End of story. There's no bad guy to take down. You already did that. He's dead." Sherry picked up her glass, drained it, and then motioned to the waitress for another one.