By Ke'Anna

After grabbing Tea and gagging her with a white strip of cloth tied around her mouth, Todd forced her into her car and drove them bothto the garden shed behind Llanfair. He pushed her roughly inside and latched the door behind them. When Todd had walked a good distance away from the door, Téa ran for it, but Todd caught up with her before she could get it open. He pulled her away and latched it again. He asked her if she wanted to take the gag off. She nodded and he gently removed it.

"I'd never hurt you," he told her.

"Now what?" Téa asked when her mouth was free.

"I don't know what," Todd replied, "I'm thinking."

"There's no way out!" she cried

"There's a way out!" he insisted. His hands flew to his face in frustration. "There's a way out. I gotta figure out a way out."
"No, you blew it Todd!"

"Shut up!"

    Téa shook her head in disbelief. The whole thing seemed absurd, most of all, his attitude. "That make-believe place you told Starr about," she began, "Second Chance. You had a visa to that place and you threw it out! Sam and I wanted to help you and what did you do? You ran! You held 14 people hostage in a terrorist situation. You don't want a second chance, and you sure as hell don't deserve one."

"Hey, I said shut up!" Todd cried, visibly upset now.

"Or what? What are you going to do, huh? You drag me through the woods. You gag me. You kidnap me in my own car..."

"This is not my fault!" He pointed an accusing finger at her, "This is all your fault."

"Of course! Of course it's all my fault! What are you going to do? Find a garden tool to supplement your beloved knife?"

"I wouldn't do that Téa," Todd replied, his tone reproachful, "You know that. I wouldn't hurt you. I love you."

Téa laughed incredulously. "Oh god, you've been to that well once too much. You don't love me. You use me. Todd, you abuse me!"

"I don't abuse you."

"Yes, you do Todd. Over and over."

Todd stepped toward her menacingly. Téa's eyes fill with momentary fear, then become mocking, her tone challenging. "Go ahead. Go ahead Todd. Isn't that the only thing left, huh? Throw me down! Why don't--why don't you just rape me, huh? Rape me like you did Marty. Just go ahead and rape me!"

Todd, his face filled with pain, disbelief and rage, punched her. She dropped to the floor unconscious. His face changed immediately to horror and regret.

He picked her up and carried her to a lawn chair in the corner of the room. He laid her down on it, his face deeply pained. His hand hovered over her face for a second before it settled on her hair, stroking it softly. Deeply remorseful, Todd screamed out his anguish over what he'd done. He pounding his fist against the chair.

When She Wakes Up...

Todd tied Téa's arms behind the back of the chair and applied a wet rag gingerly to Téa's bruise. Tea began to regain consciousness. Seeing Todd sitting over her on the garden chair, she turned from him.

"Go away, go away," she moaned.

Quietly, Todd began, "I'm just trying to make you more..."

"What?" Téa interrupted, "Make me feel better? Untie these ropes. That'll do wonders for me!" She kicked her legs out angrily.

"No." Todd applied the rag to her wound again.

Téa laughed sarcastically. "Oh right, I should have known. You can be kind and tender when I'm tied up like a chicken on a rotisserie!" She struggled and turned her face from his.
Todd, looking shamefaced explained, "You started talking about rape, and I just lost it."
"Oh, so it was my fault, Todd?"

"No. t-that is not what I'm saying."

"Then what are you saying?" She laughed. "Gee, you've got this awfully well planned for someone who's lost it. You do this much?"

Bothered, Todd rose from the chair. "See that's the problem. That's the problem with letting people get close to you. They know exactly what to say to hurt you the most. Love is nothing but the other person a better weapon." Todd looked down at his hands, then up at the ceiling.

Téa kicked her legs out, struggling in the chair. "Love is not knocking someone out and then tying them up. What do you know about love anyway, huh Todd? All you know is control and domination."

"Don't start," Todd replied.

"Oh shut up!" Téa screamed, "This time if you want me to shut up, you're going to have to kill me."

"I didn't kill Georgie, all right?" Todd said, tossing the rag aside. "Rachel did. You heard it with your own ears."

"Then why am I tied up like this?"

"Because you just won't listen!" Téa rolled her eyes. "Rachel killed that wacko and the Buchanans would be more than happy to set me up for it. If Rachel hadn't said that in front of witnesses, I'd be on a bus right now, in shackles, on my way to Statesville."

"Well, I'm halfway there," Téa sighed.

"And Kevin, he points a gun at me and--and who are the cops looking for? Me."

"Kevin pointed a gun at you because you held his family hostage. You threatened to blow them up, remember?"

"The dynamite wasn't real."

"Yes, but the fear it generated *was* real."

"There was no real threat!" Todd insisted.

"Yes, there was a threat because we believed you!"

"So now you're defending Kevin, is that it?"

Téa sighed, " I do understand why he did what he did."
"But you don't understand why I did what I did? You never bothered to defend me."

"You I have always defended. I have always defended you and God knows you have not made it easy."

"Don't turn this into something I did, alright? You're the one that called for the cops yelling and screaming, you lying little two-faced..." He stopped himself.

"Go on. Finish the thought. Two-faced what? Whore? Rat? Traitor?!"

"That wasn't the word I was looking for," Todd answered, almost dismissively. Ah, look what you did? You made me forget what I was talking about."

"Because you don't know me at all," Téa continued. "And you know what? I am sick and tired of bending over backwards trying to show you. All you understand are your own so-called *needs*. Your own instincts. Your own wants. You're a selfish, violent, damaged individual. No, you're a monster! That's what you are, a monster!

His face clouded with hurt and anger, Todd without a word walked out of the shed.

Téa, terrified that he would leave her there, screamed after him not to go. The door shut on a last beseeching, "Todd!"

The Strawberry Kiss       

Todd came back to the shed with a flower pot full of strawberries.

Téa angrily cried, "What kind of mind game was that, huh, making me think you left me here forever?"
Todd sat down on the edge of the lawn chair, sucking on the strawberries. "I thought you might be hungry," he replied. He licked his fingers and tossed pieces over his shoulder. He offered her a strawberry. "Curtesy of Llanfair farms."

"I'm not hungry," said Téa.

"Fine, more for me," he answered, before stuffing it into his own mouth. Téa eyed the strawberries hungrily. Todd offered her one. When she bent her head to bite it, he teasingly pulled it away, grinning. He offered it to her again and she took it into her mouth...then spit it back out at him.

"You're cranky," Todd said, tossing the strawberry aside.

"You know, I'm through being scared of you Todd," Téa told him, "So don't waste your time," She thrust out at him, and tried to kick at him, before settling back down.

Todd put the flower pot down, gave his fingers another lick and bent down over her. "I'm not trying to scare you," he assured her. He looked into her eyes and she looked into his. He bent down toward her and planted a tender kiss on her lips.

They broke apart. "Is that the only way you're comfortable kissing a woman?" Téa asked smoothly, "When she's hog-tied?" Disturbed, Todd pulled away. Téa smiled, reassuringly. "You know it doesn't have to be this way. Hey, I'm sorry about the strawberries. I was angry. I don't know how we got to this point. No actually, I do know how we got to this point, and that's what makes me angry."

Todd put another strawberry in his mouth. "I've been angry my whole life," he muttered.
"Yeah, Todd it's just so frustrating. I know how much you've changed and I've seen how hard you worked at it. I was wrong to defend Kevin. He's the one that made you... do... what you did. Listen, we'll go to Viki, you and me, okay? We'll go to Viki and ask her to help."

"I can't go to Viki. I held a knife to her throat. Captive audience and all that. I kind of crossed the line with Viki. "

"Viki's your sister. She loves you no matter what. She'll want to help you."

"You're confusing me." He got up and started pacing, ate strawberries, tossed the pieces around. "I don't know what to do. I gotta figure out what to do."

"Well, we can figure it out together," said Téa, "We can. Todd just--just let me go."
"I don't know, let you loose. I just don't know."
"Look, I was wrong, screaming while we were in the woods. I let the cops know where you were and I shouldn't have done that. I--I just wasn't thinking, Todd, okay? I know you're in a lot trouble and I want to help you. But you gotta untie me first, I can't even think all tied up like this." Todd hesitated, not sure whether or not to believe her. "What do you think I'm going to do, brain you with that shovel and then turn you in?" She nodded toward a garden shovel against the wall. "Have you ever--have you ever seen me hurt anyone before? Have you? I'm on your side, Todd. I'm your wife. Im the woman you say you that you love. Now let me go. Untie me. Now."

She gave him a reproachful look, and Todd, wanting desperately to trust her and believe in her, put the pot down and went to untie her. Téa, relieved, leaned back against the chair while he took the ropes off, staring at the garden shovel.

The ropes off, she got up. "Thank you Todd, for trusting me. I know it was a hard thing to do," she said as she slowly backed toward the shovel, not taking her eyes off her husband. His back was to her. She grabbed the shovel. Todd sat down on the lawn chair, gathering the rope. "There's something I forgot to tell you though."

"What. What is it you forget to tell me?" He was completely unaware of what Tea was doing, and unconcerned. He trusted her. Téa raised the shove above her head.

"You don't know me at all." Todd turned around in time to see the shovel come crashing down on his. He fell to the ground with a thump, unconscious.   

Playing With Fire

Téa ran to his side, feeling for a pulse. She templed her hands under her chin, worry written all over her face. "Ay dio mio," she whispered.

She started to tie up his hands and feet. Todd began to stir just as she was checking the ropes to make sure they were still tight.

"What did you hit me with? " he moaned, "A shovel? Tie me up, that's great. Nice job. Now what?"

Téa looked down at him. "Looks like this time, you're the one being held hostage."
Todd struggled to get up, falling back against the shed wall. Tea stood up and started to pace back and forth nervously. She chewed on her fingernails.

"Women," Todd spit out, "You know, you're all the same, all that garbage about love and trust and..." he struggled against the ropes, trying to find a way to wiggle out of them, but they were too tight. "You double-crossed me! Just like you did at Niagara Falls. You say you want to run away with me and then you call Sam, pretending to have some gall bladder thing. We're in the woods, you know. Y-y-you say to me, I move my hand, you're not going to scream. What do I do, I move my hand, you scream you're fool head off! I never should have trusted you." Tired from struggling against the ropes, he tried to catch his breath. "You know, we're even now. You should have killed me with that shovel."

Téa couldn't take his ranting anymore. "Shut up!" she screamed.

"You shut up."

"Just shut up, okay?" She grabbed the shovel and walked toward him. "I am sick and tired of hearing about how the world has wronged Todd Manning!"

"The world *has* wronged Todd Manning."

"No, listen to me. I said shut up." She dropped the shovel at his feet, making Todd flinch. "A year ago we made a deal. We made a deal Todd. I marry you and help you win custody of Starr, you pay me five-million dollars. Easy money. Big money and you know what, who cares what anyone else thinks? So what if he's cold and a little distant. Hey, It's only for a year, right? And anyone who loves his daughter the way he does can't be all bad. Besides, I kind of like the guy. So uh, so I--I give it a try. I give it a try and I really try hard. I really, really try hard..." Todd ceases his struggling. He continues to listen, but the look on his face is feigned disinterest. It was a mask to hide his true feelings.

"But then things start happening," Téa continues, "Let's see, I get pistol whipped. I get pushed out of a window. I get thrown out of my own house, naked, and in a snow storm. And I get held up, hostage, with dynamite. But all the time I keep telling myself, he's learning. He's changing. I'm making a difference with this guy. And by now, I kind of love the guy. So just hang in there a little longer, just hang in there a little bit longer. You know what I realized? You never learn. You haven't changed. I have. I have! I've changed! I went on a mission to rescue Todd Manning and I wound up missing in action. But hey, I still got the five million dollars right? And I learned something, even if you didn't." She sat down on a bucket in front of him. "I earned every penny of it."

She got up and picked up a box of matches off the table.

"What are you doing?" Todd asked.

"You love that old cigarette lighter. I grew up lower rent. We had matches. *Fuego*." She took a match out of the box and lit it."

Todd laughed. Things were getting more and more ludicrous. "What are you going to do, burn me at the stake?"

Téa joined him, watching the flame dance around the match.

"I used to play with these as a little girl," she mused. "One flick of these and all my problems would just..." she blew the match out, "go up in smoke." The match dropped from her hands and Todd watched it fall.

"I knew you weren't going to do it," he said.

"You don't know anything." She lit another match and held it to his face.

"What's gotten into you?"

"Are you afraid Todd?" She smiled, seeming to enjoy herself.

"I'm not afraid, I just think you're crazy."

"Oh, I feel crazy. I thought you liked the whole torture someone and, uh, hold them hostage thing. Sure beats Money Hungry by a mile doesn't it?"

"Okay, I get your point."

"I haven't even started."

Todd blew the match out. Tea dropped it and moved closer to him. She caressed his face tenderly, lovingly. "Is this what people do when they're alone, huh? Is it? Or was that Dry Sac, huh? Or jigsaw puzzles?" She nuzzled his nose with her own, then tightened her grip on his head so that he couldn't turn away. "I can't remember, because the rules keep...changing," she whispered this last in his ear.

"Okay, I won't change the rules anymore," Todd avoided looking at her.

"Oh yeah, you got that right. Because this ends tonight." She picked up the box again and lit another match. "And I can only think of one way to insure that!"

"You don't have the guts," Todd said defiantly. But there was fear in his eyes.

"Like I said," she laughed, "you don't know me at all." Téa dropped the match. She ran her hands gently over her husband's long brown hair. "And I'm sure it won't be quite as dramatic as the dynamite would've been but it'll do the trick." Their faces were inches apart...close enough to kiss.

Todd turned his face away. "You're not going to burn me," he said, his fear coming to the surface. Téa laughed and he tried to nudge her away with his shoulder. "You're not going to burn me!" he repeated, more conviction in his voice.

"Oh, why not, huh?"

"Because he did that."

The mocking smile dropped from Téa's face. "Who?"
Todd turned away again. His face was filled with pain of past memories, he replied, "My father. Who else?"
Feeling empathy for her husband's pain, Téa rested her head on top of his.

The Betrayal?

Todd seemed to zone out, the pain of his memories too much to bear. His eyes were fixed, staring into space. "I'm sorry about you're father, okay?," Téa said, quietly. Todd didn't seem to be listening. She pushed his face toward hers so that he was looking at her, bringing him out of his "trance". "It's not an excuse!" she continued. "If anything, it makes what you did even worse." Todd pulled away from her dismissed this with an angry wave of his head.

"You knew what it was like. You knew what it was like to be afraid before this. You knew what it was like to believe in your heart that someone might hurt you, maybe even kill you!"

Frustrated at having to repeat this bit of information again, Todd replied, "Is there something wrong with you're hearing Delgado? For the last time, the dynamite was fake!"

Téa would not be deterred. "For the last time, we weren't pretending to be scared. We were truly terrified!"

"I didn't hurt anybody."

"Oh no? What about Asa?"

"Asa's an old man. He had a heart attack. It wasn't my fault."

"You locked him in a 90 degree room with no air and a whole lot of stress. Yes Todd, newsflash, it was you're fault." Todd didn't answer, his expressionless was carefully blank. "Listen, Rachel had the guts to admit what she'd done, regardless of the consequences. Can you say the same?"

"I don't have any guts," he shrugged, " I never had any guts. I never said I had guts. I had my guts torn out, along with the part of me that can love. Then you...and then *you*. You made me think...that time..."

Téa threw the basket on the ground, startling him, "There's no time left!"

"What do you want me to do? I am not turning myself in and I am not going back to jail! Téa, if you meant any of that garbage about love and trust, if you meant anything it at all when you said you care about me, then you will help me." He turned his eyes up to her, pleading.
Téa nodded. "Okay. I will." She went outside.

Minutes later, she returned. She ran her hands nervously through her hair.     "Where've you been?" Todd asked.

"Out to the car. I made a phone call."

Relieved that she came back, he asked, "Did you order a pizza? I'm starving?"
"No Todd, I didn't order a pizza."

"Cheese steak?" he glanced up at her hopefully. Téa just looked at him.

They heard a noise and footsteps outside and turned toward them. Commissioner Sykes and Officer Drew Buchanan came into the shed. "Games over Manning." He turned to Drew. "Arrest him."

"You liar," Todd moaned, "Oh Téa..." Tea watched them sorrowfully.

Drew started to read him his rights. "You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Do you understand?"

"Yes," Todd answered, his voice small, pained, and devoid of all hope.

"Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?"
As Drew continued, Sykes turned his attention to Téa. "You did the right thing," he assured her.
She nodded. "I know." Todd never took his eyes off his wife. He was arrested... but TNT were far from over.