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Broots Outlived Them All

A/N: This is a response to Blademistress’ ficathon. So blame her!

Broots looked up at the clear blue autumn sky, thinking that it should have been raining. It somehow seemed wrong for it to be such a beautiful day. He had expected to cry, but he thought that perhaps there were no tears left to cry. He looked down at the freshly chiselled headstone and ran his fingers lovingly over it.

Here rests Debbie Broots, beloved daughter.

It was not right for a parent to bury a child and he was not sure how he was meant to survive this. He had buried them all over the years, and now, after laying his only child to rest, he was the only one left, he had outlived them all. The next funeral he attended would be his own.

It had been a small service, a few colleagues from work had attended, and left as soon as they politely could. He had looked for Debbie’s mother, hoping that she would have the decency to turn up. She had not shown her face during her daughter’s illness and Broots should have known better, but he was bitterly disappointed. He wished desperately that Sydney were here, he missed having him to talk to. He was alone now, alone with his grief, feeling as if he had lived well beyond his used by date. He was only in his early forties, but he felt he had lived far longer than he should have, buried too many of his friends. He knew that he was too young to feel this old, but the burden of sorrow that he carried around was too much for him to bear.

It had only been a few years ago that he had stood not very far from here, his heart breaking, clutching his daughter’s hand as they had buried Miss Parker. He had secretly loved her for years. Debbie had known of course, and had teased him gently about it, but Broots had always known it would never come to anything, but he had always been loyal to her. He did not think that Miss Parker would ever get over the loss of Thomas, and even if she had, he was realistic enough to know that she would never look at him that way. But that had never mattered to him.

When Miss Parker had died, it had almost destroyed him. It had been about three years after her ‘father’ had disappeared from the plane, never to be heard from again. Sydney had believed that working under Raines, and the constant pressure to catch Jarod, the fighting with her brother had finally became too much and her ulcer had perforated again, and there had been nothing any of them could do. But Broots believed that it was probably the diagnosis of Debbie’s cancer that had been the thing that had finally pushed her over the edge.

He and Sydney had watched helplessly while she had bled to death, dying in Sydney's arms. It had almost devastated Sydney, but what had followed in the aftermath was even worse.

Broots sat heavily on the ground, resting his head against the cool granite as the memories he had locked away were unleashed again.

He had hardly believed it when Debbie got sick. He had brushed it off as a bad flu at first, but she had not gotten any better and it was soon apparent that she was not going to. Parker had taken it very hard, but had been a tower of strength for the two of them. She had been there for both of them and had turned a blind eye more than once when Jarod had arrived to try and help.

Despite the best medical treatments, and Jarod's ceaseless efforts, nothing could be done. Jarod had managed to buy her a few more years, and Broots would forever be grateful for that. She had lived much longer than the doctors had believed possible. Broots owed Jarod for everything that he had done for him. He never would have won the custody if not for Jarod, and he knew that the extra three years that Debbie had been given were entirely because of Jarod, and it had been so difficult to accept the fact that he had failed Jarod at the end.

That sent a fresh wave of grief through him, as he thought of Jarod. When Parker had died, Sydney had told Jarod, knowing that he would want to come to the funeral, and had begged him to stay away. But Mr Lyle had other plans. He was certain that Jarod would not be able to stay away from Parker's funeral and had laid a trap. Despite Jarod's genius, he had been outsmarted on the day and had been caught.

Broots did not know what hit Sydney the hardest, Miss Parker’s death, or the way that her brother had callously used her funeral to ensnare Jarod. Sydney had pleaded with him not to come to the funeral, knowing how risky it was for him, knowing that they were expecting him to be there and would be ready for him. Throughout the entire service, the tension could be felt. He knew that half the people that were there were sweepers, hoping to catch a glimpse of the missing pretender. It saddened him and disgusted Sydney. Broots hated that she could find no peace, even in death.

When they had all left, Jarod had come to pay his last respects. Broots had not been there, but the story had became legendary throughout the Centre’s halls. But Broots could almost imagine exactly what happened. In his mind’s eyes, he saw Jarod hovering and waiting until he thought the coast was clear. Jarod must have known that they would be waiting for him, but he was probably too distraught to care.

Most of the mourners had gone back to the Centre for the gathering where he found, much to his dismay, that stories were told about her legendry coldness and just how short those skirts could possibly get. He and Sydney had left early and went down to Sydney’s office to grieve in private, away from the gossips.

Later that afternoon, they had learnt of the gunfight at the gravesite that he resulted in the death of Mr Lyle, a number of sweepers and the capture of Jarod. Broots had not attended Mr Lyle's funeral, and as far as he knew, only Raines turned up, and the sweepers that were ordered to be there. They had laid him next to his sister, and Broots imagined that there would never be any rest for her now. Sydney had argued that she be buried next to Thomas, but nobody had listened to him.

Broots had stood by Sydney's side and watched him as his heart had given out at the news of Jarod's capture. The heart attack had not been that bad, but Sydney had not really ever recovered from it and Broots knew that Sydney had simply lost the will to live. The death of Miss Parker and the capture and subsequent treatment of Jarod by Raines had been too much for him to cope with.

Broots had seen the security tapes as Jarod had screamed and begged to be allowed to see his mentor, to be allowed to help, but Raines would not allow it, knowing how much it was killing Jarod. He had taken enormous pleasure informing Jarod when Sydney had died, a few months later. Jarod had gone crazy, and killed Raines in sheer rage and heartbreak. Broots had watched the DSA in shock and horror, knowing there was no way for him to get down there, there was nobody to tell now. The sweepers went to work on him, beating him into a coma. As the months went by, and Jarod showed no signs of recovery, he was eventually disconnected from the life support equipment and his body shipped off to Africa. Broots had no idea what would be done with him there, but he shuddered to think about it.

They had found Angelo, later that week, curled up in the vents that led to Jarod's cell. No cause of death was ever determined, but Broots did not need Sydney to tell him what had happened. They didn’t even bother with a funeral for Angelo, just disposing of him in the incinerator, as if he was nothing more than some trash to be put out.

He had tried in vain to find any member’s of Jarod's family, to inform them of their son’s death, hoping to give him back to his family, even in death. But after years of searching, Broots finally gave up, admitting defeat, and after burying his daughter today, he had nothing left for anything. He walked around the gravesites, visiting all of the people he knew, all of his friends were here now, everybody who had ever meant anything to him in his life.

Standing up from the grave, he slowly made his way home. He would be in at work tomorrow, like always. After Sydney had died and Broots could no longer hold out any hope for a miracle cure for Debbie, he had come to a decision. He had not much chance to work on it, every waking hour devoted to his daughter, but now there was nothing stopping him.

The Parker reign had come to a close and Africa had sent a replacement to take over the Chairmanship and the running of the Centre. Broots had fit in well under the new regime, keeping his head down and his mouth closed. He slowly worked his way through the ranks, and exactly one month after the funeral of his daughter, looking at the photo of his daughter and Miss Parker, he hit the enter button on his terminal for the last time.

He got up and walked out of the Centre for the very last time. He knew he had just signed his own death warrant but he no longer cared. He got in his little car and started to drive home, where he would wait for them to come for him. The virus he created would eat through the entire organization, bringing it to it's knees. Simultaneously, records of everything the Centre had ever done was being sent to every law enforcement and media agency in the country.

He knew it was all too late now, would not bring back the people he loved, but that did not matter to him anymore. He sat in his lounge, sipping the twelve year old scotch he had developed a taste for and waited for the end to come.

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