Inverse: Turning the Centre On Its Head by Haiza Tyri
Summary:

Instead of escaping the Centre, Jarod decides to use it for his own purposes. AU Scary Jarod.


Categories: Alternate Universe Characters: Debbie, Jarod, Lyle, Miss Parker, Mr Parker, Mr Raines, Other Centre Character, Other Non-Centre Related Character, Sam, Sydney, Willie
Genres: Angst, Drama, Tragedy
Warnings: Warning: Character Death
Challenges: None
Series: Father and Son, Sydney and Miss Parker
Chapters: 10 Completed: No Word count: 3746 Read: 39353 Published: 23/06/09 Updated: 23/06/09
Story Notes:

This is a rather perverse little story that started out as a single drabble. Then a couple more drabbles occurred, and then suddenly the end wrote itself, rather longer than a drabble. After the end, I thought of a completely different direction the story could take itself, so I wrote an alternate ending.

It's disjointed and peculiar, but I do plan to write it out completely into a full, multi-chapter story...sometime. Don't miss the two alternate endings.

1. Use them by Haiza Tyri

2. Threaten them by Haiza Tyri

3. Kill them by Haiza Tyri

4. Chase them by Haiza Tyri

5. Trap them by Haiza Tyri

6. Pretend them by Haiza Tyri

7. Mourn them by Haiza Tyri

8. Manipulate them by Haiza Tyri

9. Wipe the slate clean by Haiza Tyri

10. Begin the world again by Haiza Tyri

Use them by Haiza Tyri
Author's Notes:
The original drabble.

Use them

            Jarod learned to use them. Once he’d thought his only way out of the Centre was to escape. Now he knew better. His only way out was to become the Centre. His greatest Pretend. So he used them. Sydney’s affection—that was easy. Sydney would do anything for him. Mr. Raines’ anger and hatred—so easy to turn back on him. Most of all the simulations. He learned more through the simulations than they learned from him, and he used his knowledge. Blackmail. “Give me what I want, and I’ll give you your results.” He gained power. Until one day he was the Centre. And he didn’t want out.

End Notes:
Read on for further developments.
Threaten them by Haiza Tyri

Threaten them

            It was Miss Parker who saved Broots the heartache of the Centre.

            “Jarod doesn’t know about your little girl yet,” she said. “He hardly even knows you exist, Broots. You have the freedom to leave now. Once he finds out the kind of things you can do and the things you have done to help me bring in Kyle, you’ll be stuck here, like the rest of us. He’ll make it a point to find out everything about your background, and then he’ll use Debbie to force you to stay. You don’t want that, believe me. Leave!”

            So he left.

Kill them by Haiza Tyri

Kill them

            The day Jarod took over the Triumvirate was the day Raines died. (Not Mr. Raines anymore. Oh, no. Now Raines called him Mr. Jarod. Until he died, that is.)

            They found him in his bed, not sleeping peacefully as many wanted to go, but with his eyes wide open, his face a mask of abject terror. It was ruled massive heart failure. Maybe it was. No one at the Centre had to wonder at who could possibly put such a look on Raines’ face or make him die of sheer terror. Or had the intelligence to create a drug the coroner didn’t know how to look for. Jarod had been a busy man, becoming the Centre, moving into the Triumvirate, becoming the Triumvirate, murdering Raines. Everyone at the Centre had always lived with uneasiness. Now they lived with fear. Anyone could be Jarod’s next target. Anyone.

Chase them by Haiza Tyri

Chase them

            Once Miss Parker might have rejoiced that her old nemesis was dead. But, as nemeses went, she preferred Raines to Jarod. It was laughable, the thought that once she had actually worked for the Centre. Now she worked against it, against Jarod. He was the Centre, after all. For once I find myself on the side of the angels, she thought dryly. But the angels don’t run for their lives.

            It was Daddy’s death that had done it. No one could ever have proven Jarod had done it, but she had known—the way he smiled that dark smile at her at the funeral. That was the day she ran, the day she made it her goal to bring down the Centre—and Jarod. He was always after her, but he wouldn’t catch her.

Trap them by Haiza Tyri
Author's Notes:
Here's where it actually starts turning into a story instead of a series of drabbles.

Trap them

            “Were you followed?”

            “I don’t think so.”

            “If you were, we’ll know it in a moment by the gunshots. Sydney, you’ve got to help us.”

            “What can I do? I’m trapped.”

            “Trapped by what, Syd? By Jarod? Or by your own love for Jarod?”

            “Parker—”

            “Syd! You know what he is now! He’s not the sweet little boy you raised. He’s a psychopath. Admit it, Sydney! Everything the Centre has done to him has finally tipped him over the edge. Now he’s doing it back, and he doesn’t care what innocent people get in the way, any more than the Centre cared.”

            “He is the Centre. I can’t bear it, Parker! I can’t bear what we’ve done to him! What I’ve done to him.”

            “It’s not your fault, Syd.”

            “No? Then whose fault is it? I’m the one who raised him. I’m the one who taught him not to be human. Remember when you used to call me Doctor Frankenstein? Well, now Frankenstein’s Monster is loose. And I can’t bear to see him hurt again.”

            “And he knows that. And he uses it. He’s been using it for a long time. It was when he stopped needing you to love him that he realized you did, and then he started using you.”

            “And it’s my fault! If I had ever once shown him that I loved him, he might now be a different man. But no. I couldn’t allow emotion to sully my science, and now we’re all paying for it. Even Jarod. Especially Jarod. If I had helped your mother rescue him—better yet, if it had been me lying in the bed in the Mount Pleasant Home instead of Jacob—and Jacob here instead of me—he might have done what was right long ago.”

            “Sydney, help us do what is right now. Jarod has to be stopped. The time for pitying him has passed. He has made his own choices for a long time now. He’s not the child you knew. But there are others who are still innocent and who must be protected.”

            “You look like your mother when you say that.”

            “And I’m asking you to do what she asked Jacob to do. Help us.”

Pretend them by Haiza Tyri
Author's Notes:
Alternate ending #1, Part 1

Pretend them

            “So you’re really starting up the Pretender Project again, Jarod?” Sydney asked quietly.

            “It’s time, don’t you think?” Jarod smiled his dark smile. His smiles had been dark for a very long time now. “I need a successor, one who has been trained in every way like I was.”

            “Let me be involved, Jarod. I want to lead the project.”

            “Oh, you will be involved. Your training turned out so well with me that I want you to train my successor, too. You and I together, Sydney, just like the old days.”

            Sydney restrained his wince. “The old days were…a very long time ago.”

            “They’ll come back to you.”

            “They have been coming back to me. I’ve been thinking about them a good deal recently. One of the first things you ever said to me was, ‘Where are my mom and dad?’ Do you remember that?”

            “No.” But he did. Sydney could tell by the way his mouth flattened in the old, painful line.

            “You used to ask me constantly where they were, who they were, who you were. It used to torment you that you didn’t know who you were.”

            “Well, I know now.” His lips smiled, though his eyes didn’t. “I’m Jarod.” He leaned forward and smiled a glare into Sydney’s eyes. “That’s all I need to be. Jarod. Me.”

            “Once upon a time you couldn’t conceive of yourself outside of a family. Your family was your identity, and until you found your family, you had no identity. Do you remember how lonely that was?”

            For the first time in a long time there was something of the old Jarod in his voice. “What are you trying to do to me?”

            “I’m trying to help you remember old times, Jarod. The fear, the pain of being a little boy alone, with no one to love you. Do you remember, Jarod?”

            “No, Sydney, I don’t!” And there was fear in his voice now.

            “You do, Jarod. You remember it very well. Mom and Dad are gone, unable to help you, died in a plane crash. You’re alone. You have nightmares. No one loves you. No one cares.”

            “Sydney, what are you doing?” The child was there in his eyes, asking Where are my mom and dad?

            “Do you remember making this, Jarod?” He dropped the card on the desk. “A Father’s Day card. For me. Do you remember how I told you I was not your father, how I dropped it into the trash can? Do you remember how it felt to have your heart torn out?”

            Jarod’s fingers trembled as they touched the card. They picked it up…and they crushed it, slowly and surely, dropped it into the trash beside the desk. Dark eyes narrowed to dark slits gazed into Sydney’s. “I do remember, and I know what you’re doing, Sydney. Playing on my emotions, trying to get me to feel what my new little protégés will feel when they are brought here. Well, it won’t work, Sydney. You killed that part of me long ago. Am I going to have to kill you now?”

            “No,” Sydney said. “You won’t. I can do that very well on my own. But first—” He raised the gun he had in his hands, aimed it at Jarod’s chest. Smith and Weston, 9mm. Miss Parker’s gun. She had given it to him.

            Jarod gave a short, incredulous laugh. “You won’t shoot me, Syd.”

            “You’re wrong, Jarod.”

            His lips curved. “You don’t have it in you. You wouldn’t be able to live with yourself, Sydney.”

            “Oh, don’t worry, Jarod. I won’t live with myself. There are two bullets in this gun, one for you and one for me. Once upon a time, Jarod, I failed to protect you and the other children. I’ve lived with that for forty years. I won’t fail to protect the children this time.”

            “You’re really going to do it,” Jarod whispered.

            “Yes.” Sydney pulled back the hammer.

            Jarod leaned back in his chair, the years suddenly falling from him, suddenly the boy he had once been. “Did you ever really love me, Sydney?”

            “Yes, I did, Jarod,” Sydney said and shot him.

Mourn them by Haiza Tyri
Author's Notes:
Alternate Ending #1, Part 2

Mourn them

            Miss Parker pushed open the doors to the office that had once been her father’s and walked in. For a few moments she stood in the center of the room and looked around, as calm as if she were just examining the artwork. On the far side of the desk, Jarod sat in her father’s chair, one neat hole through his heart. He looked like he was sleeping. On the floor, on the near side of the desk, lay Sydney, her Smith and Weston in his hand, his temple shattered.

            “Oh, Sydney,” she said softly. “You didn’t have to do it.”

            Kneeling, she lifted him up off the floor so that his head rested against her shoulder, and she held his body and rocked back and forth. “I would have done it, Syd,” she said, suddenly sobbing. “It was my sort of job, not yours.”

            The doors opened again, and the head of the FBI team came in. He raised an eyebrow. “You shouldn’t disturb the bodies, Miss Parker.”

            Miss Parker gently lowered Sydney back to the floor and wiped her face. “Don’t worry,” she said in something like her old tone. “It was all recorded.”

            He nodded at the body in the chair. “Who was he?”

            Miss Parker went around the edge of the desk and put her hand on Jarod’s shoulder. “He never knew. But he was my friend…once. A very long time ago.”

            She played the recording for him. At the end he said, “What was the Pretender Project?”

            She nodded at Jarod’s body behind her father’s desk. “He was. I’ll tell you about it.”

            And she did.

End Notes:
Continue on for the second alternate ending.
Manipulate them by Haiza Tyri
Author's Notes:
Alternate Ending #2, Part 1

Manipulate them

            “Jarod,” Sydney said, “I want you to do something for me.”

            “Why, Syd, you know I would do nearly anything for you.” Jarod smiled easily. His smile rarely reached his eyes these days.

            Nearly, Sydney thought. “It’s nearly Christmas, Jarod. Do you remember the present I gave you once? The snow globe?”

            For a moment Jarod’s face lightened, grew younger, almost became the face of the young man Sydney had once known.

            “Yes, I do, Sydney. It had the Empire State Building in it.”

            “Do you remember the Christmas you asked me to take you out to see the snow?”

            His eyes darkened again. “I remember you refused, and when I found it on my own, you sent sweepers to drag me back inside.”

            “Yes, and you’ve never once been outside since then. You have never left the Centre, though you have had the authority to do so for a long time now. Why?”

            “I don’t need anything outside the Centre, Sydney. There is nothing out there I want…anymore.”

            “I want you to go to the Mount Pleasant Home with me this Christmas to see my brother.”

            “Jacob? Why do you want me to go see Jacob?”

            “The two of you are my family. All I have. Jacob doesn’t have long left to live, Jarod. A month at most. If you were there with me…”

            Sometimes he thought there really was some affection for him left in Jarod, unless he was Pretending, manipulating, as he did so well. Jarod leaned forward across Mr. Parker’s desk. “Alright, Sydney. I’ll go. On Christmas.”

Wipe the slate clean by Haiza Tyri
Author's Notes:
Alternate Ending #2, Part 2

Wipe the slate clean

            Snow was falling when Jarod left the Centre for the first time in thirty years. Willie the Sweeper held the car door open for him. Sam was driving. It had amused Jarod to keep his two old guards on as bodyguards. He hardly glanced around him as he strode toward the car in his long black jacket and got in the back with Sydney. Despite the coolness of his eyes and attitude, Sydney saw the way he angled his body slightly away from him, the way he watched intently out of the window as they drove through the snowy Delaware forests. Jarod had managed to suppress a great deal over the last ten years. His pain had converted to anger, his longing to a lust for power. He had repressed his desire to experience the world until he had ceased to feel it. And yet he gazed out of the window, his fingers laced tightly together.

            When had it started? When had he changed? It was unnecessary to ask. Sydney had first seen the change when he had come back to the Centre from the three-week trip the Tower had sent him on. Sydney found out only a long time later what they had done to Jarod in those weeks he wasn’t there to protect him, the drug experiments and the murder of his friend the janitor. Taken together, those experiences had broken the man Sydney had spent so long building Jarod up to be. It was subtle at first, something in Jarod’s eyes, something in his voice, the way steel had come in, humor had gone out, how he had ceased to be stubborn about doing simulations. In time Sydney realized that Jarod had stifled whatever it was inside him that cared about other people. They had betrayed him too many times, and he had to cease to care or kill himself in despair. The day came when Sydney wished it had been the latter. The Jarod who cared about the innocent had been one of the most incredible human beings Sydney had ever known. The Jarod who cared for nothing but his own survival was frightening and ruthless. His first victim was Lyle. That was when they learned that Lyle was a Parker. No one missed him. Jarod filled his role admirably. His second victim was Mr. Parker. The Triumvirate was about to come down hard on him until they discovered how able and willing he was, how ruthless. That was when Miss Parker fled, after trying and failing to kill him. His third victim was Mutumbo, the other members of the Triumvirate following closely after. Then Raines. Someday, Sydney knew, it would be him, and then there would be no one to hold him back from a complete despotic rule. What after that? The presidency of the United States? He could do it. Jarod could do anything he wanted. Sydney had raised him to believe that, because it was true.

            “What are you sighing about?” Jarod asked.

            Sydney hadn’t been aware that he was sighing. “I was thinking about death.”

            Jarod glanced at him. “Jacob?”

            “Just death in general, really. The death of dreams. The death of meaning. The death of character.” It’s the end of the world as we know it, he thought blankly, not bothering to wonder how he knew the song. “How do you like the snow, Jarod?”

            “It’s nothing but frozen water,” Jarod said indifferently, and he said nothing else until they arrived at the Mount Pleasant Home.

            “Sam, stay with the car. Willie, inside.”

            Jacob’s nurse met them with her gentle smile. Sydney knew her well enough to read the worry in her eyes. “Everything’s ready for you, Sydney,” she said.

            “Thank you.” He led Jarod down the familiar halls. How many times had he walked them? As many times in his mind has he had the Centre halls in reality. Outside Jacob’s room, he glanced at Willie trailing along behind. “He stays outside.”

            Jarod nodded, and Willie took up his position outside the door. Sydney led the way in and closed the door.

            “Where is he?” Jarod asked.

            Sydney looked at the bed that had held his twin brother for so long. “Jacob died three months ago, Jarod.”

            Jarod wheeled. “What?”

            Sydney’s hand flashed, plunging the syringe into Jarod’s neck. “You’ve underestimated me, Jarod. You thought you had complete control of me, but you don’t.”

            Jarod’s hand clutched his shoulder. “Sydney—” he said thickly.

            Sydney caught him, lowered him onto the bed that had been Jacob’s. “I’m sorry, Jarod. I failed you. Now I’m giving us both a second chance.”

            Jarod’s eyes flickered closed. Sydney went to work with the IVs. The door opened, and Miss Parker came in, Broots close behind her. “Sydney,” she said, her hand on his back, and he turned and hugged her.

            Broots, glancing at Jarod nervously, gave Sydney his hand. “Syd, it’s so good to see you again.”

            “And you, Broots. How’s Debbie?”

            “Graduating from high school this year, Sydney.”

            “Congratulations, Broots!”

            The conversation sounded so normal, but there was nothing normal about it. They had just kidnapped one of the most powerful and dangerous men in the world.

            “Willie and Sam, Parker?”

            “Both out of commission. I was very strongly tempted to kill them both.”

            “That wouldn’t have helped.”

            “I know. You know, I think there’s something seriously wrong with me, Syd. This man had my father killed, and my brother—no great loss there—and I should want to put a bullet in his skull right now. But I don’t. Why is that?”

            “Because this isn’t Jarod, Miss Parker. This is the Centre. And we all have the Centre’s crimes on our hands. We’re going to cut away the Centre and let Jarod out again, to be free for the first time.”

            “Is it really going to work?” Broots asked.

            “It worked on Jacob.”

            “But then he died!”

            “He was dying anyway, Broots. What we gave him didn’t alter his health, only his mind. I have you to thank for letting me finally communicate with my brother one last time.”

            It was Broots, out in the real world, who had uncovered the experimental drug that brought Jacob out of his decades-long coma, for a few final weeks with his twin brother. Sydney had thought they would have a thousand things to say to each other, but much of it had been quiet, sitting (lying, in Jacob’s case) hand-in-hand, communicating more by their eyes than their mouths. Jacob told him that he had heard most of the decades-worth of monologues Sydney had carried on at his bedside. He knew all about Jarod, all about Sydney’s failure. And it was Jacob who told him about the top-secret, also experimental drug hidden away in SL-25 (thank God Jarod had never heard about it), and Jacob who insisted they try it on him to be sure it worked properly. Sydney had wanted to resist, but he knew resisting was fruitless. Jacob was dying, and Sydney could not refuse him his dying wish to be allowed to help his twin brother give a second chance to the boy they had both cared for.

            The drug worked perfectly on Jacob. It wiped his memory clean, and yet it left him something of himself, so that though he knew nothing of his past, his love for his twin brother was as instinctual as ever, and when he died it was with his hand in Sydney’s and a smile on his face. It was better that way, Sydney decided. No memory of the Centre, no guilt in his final moments. Just a sensation of being loved by the man with his own face.

            Now here was Jarod lying in the same bed where Jacob had lain year after year, and Sydney could only pray that it would work the same way with him. Jacob’s nurse brought in the drug on a tray, and Miss Parker and Broots came close to watch as Sydney hooked up the IV to Jarod’s arm.

Begin the world again by Haiza Tyri
Author's Notes:
Alternate Ending #2, Part 3

Begin the world again

            The man slowly became aware of the world around him. He felt warmth on his face and wondered if it might be the sun, wondered at a feeling of deep delight at the idea of sunlight on his face. He seemed to be floating in a sea of nothingness inside his own head, and for the moment the nothingness seemed to be a great relief.

            “Jarod, can you hear me?”

            Jarod. That was a concept that belonged to him. He decided he would take possession of it, as the first thing to fill the nothingness. The one thing better than the nothingness would be to fill it with good, comfortable things, like Jarod and the sunlight.

            He opened his eyes and looked into a face. A man’s face, old, careworn, with eyes that were worried, concerned, kind, caring. A good face, bearing too many years of pain and guilt but also a deep capacity for love. Instinctively he slipped into the mind behind the face and knew this man loved him. That was good, another thing to fill the nothingness.

            “Jarod, my name is Sydney. I’ll be taking care of you for a while.”

End Notes:
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