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„This is Sydney.“
„Jarod! It’s good to hear from you again,“ Sydney leaned back in his office chair.
Jarod smiled softly at Sydney’s greeting. It was good to hear Sydney’s voice and it was even better to be told the same thing from his old mentor. “Yeah, it’s good to hear your voice, too,” he huffed.
“Is everything ok?” Sydney asked, concern creeping into his voice.
Jarod chuckled silently. “Yes, I’m ok, Sydney. Say, what are you doing on father’s day tomorrow? It’s a long weekend because of that day,” Jarod said.
“Yes, it is a long weekend,” Sydney replied.
“You took the day off then, I take it?” Jarod asked.
Sydney nodded, even if Jarod couldn’t see it. “I did.”
“Good,” Jarod stated and then ended the call.
Sydney blinked at the dial tone that rang in his ear. He frowned at the sudden termination of the call. It wasn’t unusual for Jarod to end a conversation that way but this time it had been very short and he just had wonder what this was about.
He couldn’t think about that any further because Miss Parker chose that moment to stalk into his office.
“Broots still hasn’t got a lead on wonder-boy,” she grumbled. “Did you get any further with the things we collected in his last lair?”
“No, not really. There is nothing more than I already told you,” Sydney shook his head.
Rolling her eyes, Parker turned around and left the office.
Sydney chuckled lightly and went back to work.
He breathed when he entered his home. It would be a long weekend; a long weekend away from the Centre. He didn’t have any plans but just being able not to go to work for four days was good.
Sydney put his briefcase down next to the door and went into the kitchen to start coffee. Heading upstairs to change into some more comfortable clothes, he then came down again to make himself something to eat.
He went into the living room with his plate and sat down on the couch.
It was then, that he saw the card on the couch table.
Shaking his head and chuckling softly, he put his plate away and took the card. He opened it and read the short message that was scribbled there in Jarod’s neat handwriting:
Four days without having to go to the Centre. Thought you might be interested in spending them even farther away from that place than you would by staying at home. Maybe we could go fishing like we once talked about.
Sydney’s features softened and he smiled.
The phone rang and Sydney answered it without taking his eyes away from the note.
“This is Sydney.”
“And?” Jarod’s questioning voice came over the line.
Sydney’s smile grew. He had anticipated that it would be Jarod. “Jarod.”
“Yes, it’s me. And, what do you say?” he asked impatiently.
“Jarod, I mean…,” Sydney broke off. “And the Centre?”
“What with them?” Jarod asked back. “They won’t know about that,” he chuckled. “I mean, it’s not like I would tell them.”
Sydney grinned and then made up his mind. “I would love to come.”
Just outside Sydney’s house, Jarod closed his eyes and relaxed. He had silently prepared himself for another rejection. “That’s great. Pack some things and we can go tomorrow. It’s a bit too late to start the drive today.”
“Ok. Where shall I meet you?” Sydney asked.
“I will come and pick you up,” Jarod responded.
Sydney’s eyes grew wide. “You think that’s a good idea?”
Jarod shrugged. “Why not?”
“Because of the Centre?!” Sydney suggested.
“They won’t be near your house,” Jarod said.
“No, but my car is still here and if they are coming by sometime during the weekend, they might start wondering where I am without my car,” Sydney stated.
“Ok, you have a point there. In that case meet me in front of the “Raven’s Restaurant” at nine,” Jarod replied after thinking for some seconds.
“Will do. I see you tomorrow then,” Sydney smiled.
“Yes. See you tomorrow,” Jarod answered back and then disconnected. Smiling into the darkness, he left to prepare everything for tomorrow.
He would go fishing with his dad.
They sat contently side by side.
The little footbridge was swaying slightly for it wasn’t imbedded into the ground by wood poles but swimming on the water surface.
Sydney and Jarod had been talking quietly for some time.
When they had started fishing around noon, they had both slipped back into something close to their old roles; Sydney being teacher and Jarod looking up to him and learning.
Jarod hadn’t prepared himself how to fish. He had wanted Sydney to teach him.
It hadn’t been under the purpose of wanting to slip into their old roles but merely to learn it the way every boy should; taught by his father.
Sydney had realized Jarod’s motives and he silently thanked him for it. He had always though of Jarod as his son.
The relationship he had with Nicolas didn’t even come anywhere close to the one he had with Jarod. Though very complex and extremely complicated he had always had silent feelings for Jarod. He had always though of Jarod as his son and he was very proud of him.
Jarod had endured so much in his life and he had yet grown into an extraordinary person with compassion and feelings.
“Sydney,” Jarod spoke up.
“Hmm,” Sydney murmured back.
“I’m glad that you are here. I mean that we are both here… together,” Jarod said, stumbling over the words.
Sydney smiled. “I am, too.”
“Really?” Jarod asked. His voice had dropped to a soft and uncertain whisper that made Sydney look up.
“What made you think otherwise?” Sydney asked and tripped his head to his side.
Jarod fumbled with his fishing tackle. “I don’t know. I mean…,” he paused.
Sydney turned slightly, so that he was facing Jarod properly, showing the younger man that he had his full attention. “What made you think that I might not be that happy to be here, together with you?” he asked.
“Well”, Jarod still evaded his mentor’s gaze. “I thought, maybe you would rather like to be with your son than with me,” he said in a small voice.
Sydney closed his eyes and decided to throw the caution, which always held him captive inside of the Centre’s walls, over board. Inwardly he sighed with relief that he got the chance to finally clear his relationship with Jarod. Sydney knew that he had always had more feelings than he had led on but up to now, he had never been in a position to show it to Jarod.
Taking his heart in his hand, throwing it over the dark wall and jumping behind, Sydney finally answered. “But I am, Jarod.”
Jarod looked up at his former mentor uncertainly.
“I am with my son, Jarod,” Sydney paused to let the words sink in. “I am far closer to you than I will ever be to Nicolas. I might not be your father by blood but I feel like a father to you in all ways that matter.”
Jarod swallowed with difficulty, the meaning behind Sydney’s words slowly registering in his mind but he still wasn’t sure.
“I’m so very proud of you, my son,” Sydney said.
Jarod choked up and threw himself into Sydney’s arms when his old mentor opened them, welcoming him in a deep embrace.
The two of them sat like that for a while, their fishing tackles forgotten. Both men were silently weeping with happiness and relief; relief that they had finally gotten the opportunity to confess their feelings towards each other.
“Thank you, Jarod,” Sydney said, making Jarod look up at him. “Thank you for giving me the chance to finally tell you how I feel about you; how I’ve always felt about you.”
Jarod sighed deeply. “No, Sydney. Thank you for coming here and saying the words that I always longed to hear from you.”
Sydney smiled sadly. “I’m sorry that I didn’t say them earlier.”
Jarod nodded. “You couldn’t have. The Centre would never have permitted such a thing. They would have killed you.”
“Most likely. And they still would,” Sydney shrugged.
Jarod grinned boyishly. “I already told you on the phone yesterday that they will never get to know about it. I won’t tell them,” he said, making Sydney chuckle.
Jarod sobered and then looked at his mentor, solemnly.
“Happy father’s day, Sydney,” he said earnestly.
Sydney’s face lit up with a bright smile. “Thank you,… my son,” he replied.