Persistence of Memory
Written February 2002
Synopsis: Madeline develops amnesia, and Paul releases her until her condition improves. However, a new terrorist organization is determined to make her re-integration into Section as difficult as possible.
Disclaimer: The characters within are property of LFN Productions, Warner Bros., and USA Network. No infringement is intended.
The force of the leash snapping in half nearly made her fall over. She looked at it for a moment before scanning the park for her runaway dog. Oh no. Rufus was bounding toward a well-dressed man and barking excitedly. “Look out!”
The man didn’t hear her, but she continued her futile shouting in the hopes that he might turn around. Finally he did–just in time to be knocked to the ground by her escaped pet. She gave a small cry and ran over to them, discarding her half of the leash.
“Bad dog!” She pulled the animal back by his collar, forcing him into a sitting position that he did not enjoy. “Stay! Are you all right?” she asked the man, helping him to his feet with her other hand.
He stood and brushed off the pricey suit he was wearing. “Nothing a little dry cleaning won’t fix. That’s a very powerful dog you have there.”
“Did he bite you?” I’m going to have a lawsuit on my hands, she thought wildly. He’ll call the humane society, they’ll put Rufus to sleep–all because he can’t sit still for one minute while I tie my shoe! She couldn’t even look at the man, keeping her eyes focused on her dog. “He’s up to date on all his shots, I assure you.”
“No! No, he licked me, actually.”
“Licked you?” Well, that was all together unlike Rufus. He was wary of strangers, even people she was friends with, so for him to run off with such force that he broke the leash… Shaking her head, she reached in her pocket and pulled out a crisp white business card. “Here. If you have any problems, you can reach me at either number at any time, and we’ll discuss them.”
Her reaction seemed to amuse him, and he gazed at the card. “‘Doctor Madeline Wolfe, psychiatrist.’ Well, Doctor, I don’t foresee any problems, psychological or otherwise, but thank you for your concern.” He tucked the card safely into his wallet. “Good afternoon, Doctor. And to you, Rufus. Behave.”
She didn’t watch him leave, still staring at her happy bullmastiff. “If I only knew how your mind worked…” Hanging onto his collar–fortunately, his head was level with her hips, so she didn’t have to bend over too much–she headed for home.
Paul watched Madeline pull Rufus across the park and smiled. She was as beautiful as she had been ten months ago, maybe even more so. Her coffee-colored hair had grown longer, now flowing past her shoulders, and her brown eyes held a sparkle that he had never seen before. He couldn’t help himself; he had to see her, to talk to her again. Although he knew he had been hoping for too much, it still hurt when she didn’t recognize him and spoke to him so impersonally. He had missed her terribly; letting her go had been the hardest decision he’d ever made. Of course, it was better than the alternative…
She had been in a coma after the incident, and he called in the world’s most prominent neurosurgeon, despite the repercussions he would face if George found out. He couldn’t even remember the medical phrases that the doctor had used to describe Madeline’s condition. ‘Severe brain trauma’ was bad enough. Following the surgeon’s advice, he spent every night at her side, talking to her, trying to stimulate the parts of her brain that still functioned. He would bring in flowers, jazz music, anything to appeal to all of her senses. Once, she even smiled, and it had made him cry. Then slowly, she began to come out of it.
When she was fully conscious, she was so disoriented that she couldn’t determine where she was. She didn’t recognize Paul or the Medlab at Section One, and when the neurosurgeon asked her for her name, she couldn’t give a response. Once she was sedated, Paul’s fears were confirmed: Madeline had retrograde amnesia. And in accordance with Section policy, she should be cancelled.
He didn’t follow policy. He couldn’t; she meant everything to him, and there was no way he was going to give up on her that easily. Amnesia was always temporary, the neurosurgeon had assured him; Madeline would regain her memory in time. But Paul didn’t have time, and as much as he wanted to, he knew he wouldn’t be able to hide her in his quarters. So he broke the one policy he never thought he would break.
He set her free.
He gave her a drug to keep her unconscious and began to implement his plan. He moved Madeline to a hospital in the midwestern United States, where chances were slim that she would be discovered. He gave her a new life, based on Section’s database of her personal and medical histories. She had a birth certificate, a passport, a medical degree, and a last name. Wolfe. His last name. He even went so far as to buy her a one-and-a-half story home outside of the city and furnish it to her liking. Then he got her a dog, a powerful and loyal bullmastiff that he named Rufus, after a dog he had had as a child. He spent some time training him to trust Madeline’s scent, and Rufus was naturally wary of everyone else. Her new life was perfectly flawless; he had covered every angle and was certain no one would ever find out.
Taking care of things on Section’s end was more difficult. He ordered a trusted operative in Housekeeping to falsify her cancellation documents. Taking a ‘personal leave of absence,’ he assisted her transfer to the U.S. hospital. Back at Section, he named Michael as his second-in-command and went on with business as usual. At night, when everyone was gone and he was alone, he would watch Madeline in her new environment and take care of anything that was difficult for her. He even secured the loan on her office.
She was different now, he could tell. She was very reserved around people, men mostly. Paul did an extensive background check on her new neighbors, Cam and David Daly, to ensure that she would have friends. Her shyness prevented her from dating, but that was the least of Paul’s concerns. He still had hopes that they would be together again when she regained her memory.
Paul had even worked out her return to Section. Once she had fully recovered, he would bring her back and tell everyone that she had faked the amnesia to draw the attention of a terrorist organization. Of course, the group didn’t take the bait, so Madeline was returning to her position as chief strategist and second-in-command. No one would question it, except Oversight, but he would cross that bridge when he got there.
However, he began to worry as the months passed and she hadn’t recalled anything. What if she needed a triggering effect, someone or something from her past to draw the memories out of her subconscious? With the help of a friend at Oversight, he managed to secure another leave of absence from his duties at Section. Officially he would be doing field reconnaissance, but in truth he would be reuniting with Madeline.
So far, so good. The incident in the park proved that Rufus remembered him, making his introduction with Madeline much easier. He knew she would be meeting Cam at their favorite coffee shop on Tuesday. Maybe he would bump into her.
End of part one