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Disclaimer: Don’t own any of the characters of the Pretender, they belong to the creators etc...

Authors Note: Hey there. After this site was put up it inspired me to pick up a fic again I started ages ago. I haven't added much to it since, and it’s not finished yet - but hopefully I’ll get it there one day...enjoy.



Footprints
By Carol



Freedom. Life.

“Freedom.”…Something that kept him constantly looking over his shoulder.

“Life.”…What a thing to call his existence.

These words had plagued Jarod’s mind for over 30 years while at the Centre, that place…those people – they had both condemned him from ever being able to experience the true meanings of those words.

The memories of a stolen childhood haunted him everyday – he revisited that dark emptiness every time he dared to dream, knowing that his nightmares were a reality he once lived. A reality he still lived.

And for all the good he had done since he had escaped those Centre walls may have eased his conscious, and he found relief in using his skills to help others…but he knew his soul would forever be tormented from what had happened to him, from what he had helped the Centre to do through the use of his simulations... whether he was physically inside those Centre walls or not…

He would always be its prisoner.



******************************


Angelo ran along a vent in the depths of the Centre – “Angelo’s got it…they must see it! Angelo give to Jarod!”


******************************


Jarod was alone in the small, rundown apartment in Baltimore. Earlier that night it had become his newest lair after just finishing his latest pretend in North Dakota. A bed, small table and worn out lounge being the only furniture in the little hellhole. He lay in his bed tossing and turning in fear as he relived his Centre torment through the nightmares that invaded his mind.

“Stop!…Please!” He cried out.

“No!” He screamed aloud, waking himself up with a start. He was shaking, a cold sweat covering his body.

“Someone help me…” He breathed intensely, his consciousness still lost somewhere between his nightmare and reality.

He sighed deeply as he became fully aware – “Will it ever end?” He questioned, speaking out in to the emptiness around him, knowing that his words were just that - empty. He knew no one would ever be able to completely understand the torment that screamed within him, he knew it would never end - this was the ongoing price the Centre made him pay for his intelligence.

He hugged his legs to his chest as he stared across at what Angelo had sent him - the truth.


*******************************


It was nearing 11:30pm and the infamous trio of Jarod chasers had been hard at it all day trying to find information about his possible whereabouts. At 1pm they had located one of his last known lairs in Minnesota which the landlord said Jarod had vacated over two weeks ago. They’re timing was way off, but they still paid close attention to a book on the psychology of sporting performance and a gridiron football Jarod had left behind.

They had spent the past two hours in Sydney’s office.

“Anything yet?” Miss Parker questioned tiredly.

“Nothing.” Broots replied with a sigh.

“Well keep on searching.”

“Don’t I always?!”

Broots received a fiery glare and a light slap across the head for his remark. He bit his lip and slumped down lower into his chair cowardly.

“I’m, I’m sorry Miss Parker. It’s just been a long, bad day.”

“Everyday is a long, bad day in the pursuit of our labrat, do you hear me complaining?!”

“…Umm…Actually…”

“Shut up!” Parker snapped as she took another swig of the vodka that filled her glass.

Broots huffed deeply and stared blankly at the computer screen until something finally grabbed his attention.

“Hey wait a sec, I might have something!” He enthused as he tapped away at his keyboard.

“Well what is it?” Parker queried, leaning over his shoulder and staring at the screen.

Sydney walked over to them both, he had been engrossed in reading till then - “Have you located Jarod?” He questioned, his interest now gained.

“Err…maybe. Look here.” Broots said pointing at the screen – “From the book and ball Jarod left behind for us I figured whatever he was up to is sports related…”

“Duh!” Parker interrupted sarcastically.

Sydney turned to her rolling his eyes, shaking his head at her rudeness.

Parker sighed heavily knowing it had been unnecessary, “Ugh…continue.” She said rubbing her forehead.

Broots stared at her for a moment, looking a little offended before proceeding on - “…And…and so I guessed Jarod’s pretend would have something to do with being like a sports motivator, and most specifically for football. So I started searching through recent NFL scores across the country. The reason it’s taken so long was because he hasn’t been helping out in the NFL, the scores are all unusually even this year. So I decided to start looking at high school and college football… which makes more sense when you think about it. With all the exposure the NFL gets he could easily have blown his cover. Anyhow, I looked at the teams which have had losing streaks, and, well, after a lot of eliminations I think we have a winner… or should I say looser!” Broots chuckled. Syd smirked at his joke, but only received a raised eyebrow from Miss Parker.

“…Umm, anyway…” He continued, seeing the less than impressed look on her face – “I found this in the sports section of a newspaper printed yesterday in North Dakota.”

Miss Parker and Sydney read the tittle of the article Broots had pulled up on the screen:

“Losing streak for the Bears coming to an end?”

“Broots how do you know this has anything to do with Jarod?” Parker questioned flatly.

“Well if you read on, I think you’ll get your answer.”

Sydney cut in and started reading aloud from the article – “Leigh Riley the star quarter back and captain for the infamous Bears of North Dakota University has led the team to victory for three successive years, but lately has lacked the ability to been seen as much of a player let alone captain. The Bears coach, Dean Porter, has enlisted the help of new team psychologist and motivator Jarod Symmons to lift the team’s spirits. Symmons believes that Riley has the capability and will power to bring home the championship again this year, and was proven to be on the right track when yesterday the Bears won their first game after four consecutive losses.”

“And there’s more!” Broots said as he scrolled down the screen to reveal a picture of Jarod standing alongside three team members of the Bears.

“Touch down!” Miss Parker roared with obvious excitement in her tone. She stood up from her crouched position over the computer – “How quickly can we get there Broots?”

“First thing in the morning if we can get the Centre jet.”

“Great! Get it organised.” Parker replied – “…Sydney go home and get some sleep, we’ll meet back here at 6am…Tomorrow…” She purred with a toothy smile – “…We bring Jarod home.”


*********************************


Jarod had sat at that window for a little over half an hour, staring out into the moonlit night. He had finished what he had to do – the room was so quiet, so still. He had contemplated what he had seen and how things would be different from now on, hopefully.

He could hear the sound of his watch ticking, the sound of himself breathing - the sound of her breathing…

He gazed across the darkened room and watched her figure sleeping peacefully. He’d only planned on being 5 minutes at the most. He knew his huntress slept with that gun of hers underneath her pillow and if she woke up she wouldn’t be interested in hearing anything he had to say - his days of freedom would be in jeopardy. But there was something in that moment he couldn’t escape from. It had taken him a great deal of hesitation before he silently rose to his feet and lifted up the windowsill.

He froze immediately and let out a small scream in fright as the barrel of Miss Parker’s gun dug deeply into the middle of his back – he hadn’t heard her sneak up behind him.

“What the hell are you doing here?” She mumbled slowly, still half asleep.

“I couldn’t sleep.” Jarod replied lowly, turning to face Parker with a sly smile as he raised his hands in surrender and clasped them together behind his head.

“…And so you decided you’d come watch me.” Miss Parker yawned - rubbing her eyes with her free hand, finally beginning to wake up properly.

Jarod shrugged his shoulders – “ I had nothing else better to do…”

“…Than to get yourself caught?!” Parker finished for him with a wicked grin.

“Well, no…you waking up wasn’t part of the plan.”

“And what plan was that? Hey anyway, aren’t you suppose to be in North Dakota playing cheerleader?!” She questioned him, her free hand now gripping Jarod’s shoulder and leading him away from the window and across to the other side of the room.

“Sports psychologist.” He retorted bluntly.

“Pfft! Sports psychologist, cheerleader…same difference, they both motivate the team, though some in more ways than one!”

Jarod clenched his jaw, less than impressed with her analogy but chose to ignore it – “I left you something…a present.”

“Great, another Pez dispenser is all I need! Where is it?” She asked, looking around the room briefly as she pressed down firmly on Jarod’s shoulder forcing him to sit on the end of her bed.

“…And which cartoon character is it this time? Road Runner? - Because you know you already gave me that one.” She spat out sarcastically.

Jarod was loosing his patients – “It’s not a Pez dispenser!” He snapped.

“Oh, well FYI, I’m still missing Batman, Pluto and Bugs Bunny!…”

Jarod rolled his eyes at her.

“…So where and what’s this present then?” She continued.

“Table.” Came his short reply as he nodded over to her dresser and cautiously began to lower his hands without Parker’s permission.

“Ah! Hands where I can see them!” She roared, standing in front of him with her gun now steadily aimed at his chest.

Jarod sighed and slowly lifted his hands back to his head.

“Miss Parker…” He began firmly.

“Shut up!” She demanded – cutting Jarod off instantly as she walked backwards over to her dressing table, her gun still trained at him. She then quickly picked up the small, and carefully wrapped box that he had left for her.

“Open it.” He encouraged, starting to feel a little anxious.

Miss Parker stared at him awhile, not sure weather what was inside would be one of his practical jokes. But by the way he had cast his eyes down to the floor with that serious, unsettled expression on his face she assumed there was more to it than just another one of his little games.

She finally lifted the lid off.

Silence filled the room for an eternity. Jarod rose to his feet - Miss Parker didn’t stop him. He slowly made his way over to her. His gaze met hers as they stared over what laid inside the box, he was glad he had lingered that extra half an hour.

She exhaled nervously – “…This is it, isn’t it?”

A warm smile touched his lips.

And for the first time since they were children they embraced each other.


*********************************


“Enter.” Was Lyle’s reply to the loud knock on his office door.

“Syd – What’s the problem?” He questioned flatly from behind his desk, returning his stare back down to the paper work in front of him as soon as he glanced up to see who it was.

Sydney walked over to him and leaned over his desk, both arms stretching out across the table – a stern expression upon his face.

Lyle looked up, surprised by Sydney’s intimating stance – he reclined back into his chair, raised an eyebrow and folded his arms across his chest.

“Can I help you old man?” He inquired smoothly with a slight smirk. Sydney wasn’t intimating anybody.

“Have you seen or heard from Miss Parker today?”

“Pfft! No!” Lyle replied with a laugh as he looked at his watch – “Sydney its only seven thirty in the morning!…Why?”

“Because Broots, Miss Parker and myself had planned to meet here a six this morning we have a…a…um…” Sydney paused mid sentence, remembering that since their return from the Isle of Carthis Raines had pitted Miss Parker and Lyle against each other in the hunt for Jarod - “…Ah, work to do. I tried calling her but there’s no response.” He said trying to take the topic in a different direction.

“And?” Lyle sighed, already getting bored by the conversation.

“And?!” Sydney exclaimed.

Lyle knew he shouldn’t have gone there.

“…And so she is your sister Lyle! Your own flesh and blood! Have you no concern for her whereabouts?!”

Hey you listen to me!” Lyle shouted as he pushed his chair out from under him and rose to the same menacing pose as Sydney – “Parker’s whereabouts is the least of my concerns at the moment! What?! – She hasn’t even been ‘missing’ for one and a half hours! She probably just slept in – I know I would need all the peace I could get if I were her. I don’t blame Miss Parker with the way you and Broots seem to smother her. And why do you suspect she’d get in contact with me anyway? If you’ve missed the past few years of sibling rivalry between us, we don’t exactly get along too well!…You think if I went missing she’d give a damn?!” Lyle growled, raising an eyebrow again in emphasis of his question.

“…Besides, she’ll turn up…she always does…” He trailed off – “…Close the door behind you.” He added as he turned his back on Sydney and sat down again in his chair.


********************************


A young Jarod and Miss Parker sat alone together in a simulation lab of the Centre. It was the first anniversary of Catherine Parker’s supposed death inside that Centre elevator.

“Miss Parker…”

“Yes Jarod.”

“…Do you miss your mum?”

Miss Parker went quiet awhile as memories of her mother flooded her mind – “Of course I miss her.” She finally replied, her eyes beginning to well with tears.

“I miss my mother too, do you think she misses me?”

“I think she’d be missing you.” Parker said through her sobs, now freely letting her emotions surface.

Jarod put an arm around the young girl and offered her his handkerchief – “It’s ok Miss Parker, your mum is still here with us…you may not be able to physically see her, but she’s near, watching out for you…trust me.”

Miss Parker seemed to stop crying at the thought of Jarod’s words. She paused, looking to the ground before casting her gaze up to him – “Jarod…do you trust me?”

“Umm…trust you Miss Parker?” The confusion on his face evident – “I, I don’t know…why do you ask?”

“No reason.”

“Do you trust me?” He questioned her.

“I don’t know either.” Came her reply.



********************************


Jarod had left Parker alone while she examined what he had left for her. He’d decided to sit on the stairs of her front veranda and wait. Less than half hour later she joined him.

Since then they had sat there for close to two hours - still feeling a little overwhelmed, silence prevailing for the most part except for the occasional chit-chat. Jarod didn’t want to force the topic of conversation he knew Miss Parker was avoiding.

Finally she spoke up – “Jarod, I don’t know what to do…or who to trust.” She admitted honestly.

“Please Miss Parker, think about it, what it would mean. I know it will be hard, but don’t you think we finally deserve to know all those answers to the secrets and lies we’ve already spent a lifetime trying to find and understand…please…” Jarod said gently – “…Take this step with me Miss Parker. I can’t do this alone, I need your help.”

At that moment they heard and then saw a black town car heading towards Miss Parker’s place from the road. Jarod panicked and looked at her angrily – “I can’t believe it! I thought I’d be able to trust you!” He roared at her. But before she had the time to defend herself he jumped up and ran into her house.

Miss Parker quickly followed him, grabbing her gun that was lying on her coffee table as she made her way over to the pretender who was now frantically trying to pack up his gear.

“Jarod stop!” She yelled, shoving her gun into his side and grabbing his arm – “Calm down! I didn’t call the Centre!”

“Sure!” He snapped as he fought against the gun that was jammed into his side.

“It’s the truth!” Miss Parker retorted as she guided him over to the window where she trapped him between herself and the wall. They both peered outside to see the car pull up in the driveway. Jarod was tensing, his natural instincts were telling him to run for it, and so again made an attempt to wrench himself from Parker’s grasp however only managed to receive a sharp stab in the ribs for his efforts.

“Shut up and stay still!” Parker demanded.

“Miss Parker Please…” He begged, his breath heavy from nervous exhaustion – “…Please, I came to you for help!”

“I said shut the hell up!” She whispered heatedly in his ear, giving him another slight shove as the two figures began to immerge from the car…

“Broots?” Miss Parker questioned.

“Sydney?” Jarod echoed in the same uncertain tone.

“Damn it!” Miss Parker breathed, letting go of Jarod and flipping the safety trigger of her gun on – she’d completely forgotten that she was suppose to meet Sydney and Broots at the Centre earlier that morning. She walked over to her front door to let them in as Jarod breathed a sigh of relief - thankful it wasn’t Lyle and his team of goons.

Broots was the first one to walk into the room. The look of disbelief on his face unable to be masked – “J-Jarod!” He screamed, obvious shock in his tone - “What’s going on Miss Parker?!” He questioned.

“Hello Sydney.” Jarod interrupted as he smiled at his mentor.

“Jarod.” Sydney replied with a grin, equally pleased to see his protégé - “What are you doing here?”

Miss Parker and Jarod exchanged glances, causing the ‘out of loop’ Sydney and Broots to do the same.

“Are we missing something?” Syd asked after neither Jarod or Miss Parker had responded.

“Umm…” Parker started – “…There’s something we have that I think you would like to see.”

“What is it?” Broots inquired.

“It’s over here.” Jarod replied as he walked over to Miss Parker’s dinning table where he had set up his computer. He pushed the small silver disk into it as Syd, Broots and Parker crowded around. The computer screen came to life, showing a pregnant Catherine Parker sitting down on a lounge. By the look of things she was getting ready to speak into the video camera that was taping her.

Immediately Broots gasped – “This is…this is her DSA isn’t it?!…The one about her plan?!”

Miss Parker slightly nodded her head with a small smile. All of a sudden Sydney took a slight step away from the computer.

“You alright Sydney?” Jarod questioned, concern instantly spread across his face.

“Yes, just a little shocked.” He replied softly, avoiding eye contact.

“Ok, she’s about ready to start.” Parker instructed.

The four of them watched the screen as Catherine began to talk…

“I’ve waited far too long already…this should have been done years ago, before the Centre ever had the chance to become so powerful. They should have never been able to have taken Jarod, Timmy and the others away from their parents and do what they have done to them – they were just innocent children until the Centre tore them away from their families and corrupted their minds…”

Jarod closed his eyes and sighed deeply. For the second time in less than 12 hours the truth of Catherine’s words had inflicted unwanted memories of his kidnapping and life at the Centre.

“…And my daughter, you mean everything to me…if you ever get to see this I hope one day you understand why I had to fake my own death. I’m sorry to have caused you so much pain. I did what I had to do because I love you and could think of no other way to keep you safe…forgive me…”

Miss Parker listened to her mother sadly. Sydney, who was standing next to her, placed a comforting arm around her shoulder. He knew how upsetting hearing her mother say those words must be. Miss Parker turned to him, placed her hand on top of his and smiled slightly – “thank you” gleaming through the tears in her eyes as they listened on…

“I pray that you also know of your half brother Ethan who is also Jarod’s brother.”- Catherine said, placing a gentle hand on her abdomen – “He is special and has a gift I like to call an ‘Inner Sense’ that you also poses, though not as strong as his. He will help you discover the secrets of your past…the secrets of Jarod’s past…the secrets and lies the Centre never wants you to know…”

“What secrets?!” Broots questioned impatiently.

“Shhhh!” The other three replied in unison.

“…It is with a lot of caution I make this recording, but I trust the hands in which I’m leaving it too…three of the most loyal friends that I believe in with all my heart…so on that note I will begin the telling of my plan…
For years I kept my knowledge of Centre goings on a secret. My husband, Mr. Raines and the triumvirate have no idea that for the past 6 years since the introduction of the Pretender program that I have been working against them, researching the Centre’s history and planning the destruction of the evils that lurk within it once and for all. Obviously I would not have been able to get away with any of this without the help of those three friends that I trust the most. Together we have worked tirelessly, our highest priority being to try and free Jarod and the other children involved with the Centre – but not before being able to ensure their safety…unfortunately though this has proven to be a barrier that we’ve yet to overcome.
As for the lies the triumvirate is content on believing surrounding the so called ancient scrolls of Vesspasian, has proved beneficial and to my use. So long as they believe the scrolls and the prophecy’s foreseen in them are real, I am able to use it as leverage in my pursuit to bring the Centre down…But the truth is the scrolls and the prophecy’s the contain are nothing more than fiction…they never really existed…”


Jarod paused the DSA.

“I don’t believe it!” Broots exclaimed.

“Believe it Broots, it’s true. My mother had no reason to lie about this.” Parker replied.

“Any hopes of finding our answers through the scrolls have been lost.” Jarod commented – “But at least we know that now…I had a feeling they couldn’t be real.”

“So then who came up with the idea of the scrolls in the first place?” Broots questioned.

“Keep listening and you’ll find out.” Parker said as she pressed ‘play’ again on the DSA.

“…While researching the Centre’s history I found that my husbands great grandfather was the one behind the initiation of the scrolls. His own father was a good man, a genius with a passion for the study of the human mind and behaviour – his thinking was ahead of his time. For years he kept journals of his theories and studies. He also wrote of his plans to leave the Isle of Carthis to create a research facility dedicated to his love of the human mind and how it works…but the supposed ‘scrolls’ and the skeleton that guards them are actually his remains and writings…”

“I don’t get it. What happened?” Broots cut in.

“Listen.” Jarod replied.

“…You see, he was misunderstood by the people of Carthis. Many thought he was crazy and that it was wrong to delve into the mysteries of the human mind. His community led simple lifestyles and did not appreciate the scope of his intelligence and what he had spent his lifetime studying. So he kept much of his research a secret until one day in his elderly years he was caught studying samples of neural tissue from several bodies that had been laid to rest. He was a disgrace to the Parker family, especially to his only child, a son, who had distanced himself from his father at a young age. He had grown up to be a very well respected member of his community, and the crypt keeper of Carthis. After his father was caught his son called him senile and evil…views that the community also echoed, so his father was sentenced to death and his remains and research buried in the only church on the island.
But the crypt keeper wasn’t without his own intelligence. He conjured up the story of the scrolls and how they possessed evils, telling everyone on the island that his father had uncovered the scrolls while digging through the cemetery and had stirred Vesspasian, guardian of the prophecy’s and warned that harm would come to those who dare disturb the ancient. Though this was just a lie, a decoy, so no one would find out what his real intentions were – to use his father’s studies and plans of building a research facility for all the wrong reasons, control and exploitation of the human mind being high on his agenda. His thirst for power was passed on to his own son who followed in his father’s footsteps as a crypt keeper. It wasn’t until 20 years later when he fell violently ill with pneumonia did he share with his son the unfinished details of his plans to build the research centre and use it for all the wrongs he had intended it for. He insisted that his son continue his ‘legacy’ and then died two weeks later.
In the following month his son – who became my husbands grandfather – murdered his own wife and children in a deliberate house fire that he set had alight in their cottage then fled to the United States to carry out his father’s wish and founded ‘The Centre’…”


“And there you have my family tree!” Miss Parker announced – “Quite a sick story huh?! Though it doesn’t surprise me with relations like Lyle and now…Raines…” She rolled her eyes – “…It seems to fit right in with my bloodline… why did I have to be born a Parker?”

“So you could stop the madness.” Jarod said softly, his distant gaze lowered to the floor before looking up at her.

“Easier said than done Jarod.” She responded.

Jarod sighed heavily. She was right, for starters it would mean they would have to get along with one another and set aside their whole ‘cat and mouse’ game which he knew had Miss Parker pressured since Raines and Lyle had upped the pursuit to be the first one to capture him.

Jarod drew his attention once again to Catherine’s DSA along with Sydney, Broots and Miss Parker…

“…As for my own plan…well it has everything to do with Jarod and my daughter. The inner sense voices have told me it is their courage that will be responsible for Centre’s demise. And although I need no inner sense to see it, the voices have also told me both have good souls…” Catherine then seemed to smile at the thought of her next sentence – “…And will care for each other in the future more than I’m sure they know…”

Jarod couldn’t help but cast a gentle gaze over to Parker who deliberately avoided eye contact with him and continued to stare at the computer screen. She shuffled her feet uncomfortably and crossed her arms across her chest while quietly clearing her throat - Sydney smiled at the sudden uneasiness that her body language had projected.

“…I can only hope that my daughters stubbornness doesn’t get the best of her…”

All three men that surrounded Parker couldn’t help but release a snigger of laughter at Catherine’s words.

“ …That aside, I need to explain the finer details of my plan… my plan to turn the Centre into what it was originally intended for.” - Catherine was now staring intensely down the lens of the camera - “…There is an archive within the Centre that is hidden from the eyes of my husband and Mr. Raines till this day. I pray it remains that way…”


*******************************


A 2 minute phone call to Ethan was all it took before he was on his way. Once they had finished watching Catherine’s DSA again Parker and Jarod had both agreed their mutual half brother should know what they had found.

4 hours later Ethan and Miss Parker - with the help of Angelo - had located Catherine’s archive concealed within one of the dank lower sub levels of the Centre. The siblings had found all the research their mother had spoke of in her DSA, as well as a box full of scrolls dated every 2 months from the time of Jarod’s kidnapping as a child to the time he escaped. Once everything they needed was gathered they returned back to Parker’s place where a frustrated Jarod had been talked in to staying put to remain out of Raines’ reach. As much as Parker’s ego would have loved to of hauled him back to the Centre just for the fun of shoving it in Lyle’s face - the past 8 hours had dredged up to many questions. Questions she could need Jarod’s help to answer.


********************************


It didn’t take long for Jarod to recognise the handwriting on the scrolls as his mother’s. He had seen it in letters and other documents he had found over the past 5 years while in search for her. To him it made sense that she must have been one of the three friends Catherine had mentioned in her DSA.

Yet again another ‘missing piece’ had been found...

“…So that’s one of the reasons Margaret was on the Isle of Carthis.” Parker voiced - “She had planted new scrolls. The one’s we found - that’s how Daddy was fooled into believing the prophecy’s were real…Because they were accounts of what has really happened, but they weren’t foreseen by ancients, they had just been documented by Jarod’s mother over the years. What I don’t get though is how she gained the knowledge to write enough information to make my father believe the scrolls were real. She would have had to of had pretty good access to the Centre, or…” She said pausing, her mind ticking over as she looked over to Sydney who had seemed somewhat distant since watching the DSA – “…Or a contact on the inside helping her… Sydney.”

Another piece.

Sydney sighed heavily. He knew it wouldn’t take long for one of them to figure it out.

Jarod immediately looked over at his mentor – “Sydney, so you knew about the scrolls?… You knew about Catherine’s plan? You were one of the three helping her?… How could you keep this from us?” He questioned in a soft, saddened tone – the hurt spread across his face easily seen.

“Jarod I’m sorry but so long as I could help it I didn’t want any of you getting involved in something we let happen, something we felt responsible for, something that could of put you all in danger!”

“So we don’t get a say in our future!” Miss Parker yelled angrily.

“No, that’s not it! That’s not it at all!” Sydney shot back.

“Well it sure sounds like it to me!” Parker growled.

Jarod began to tune out as soon as the arguing had begun to erupt, a look of total confusion on his face as he sat down slowly on Miss Parker’s lounge. His thoughts had wondered from the direct topic of conversation – Sydney had been in contact with my mother all along? – He tried to focus, to think it through, but couldn’t understand why…why Sydney had never… …

He suddenly spoke aloud, not really looking like he was addressing anyone in particular – “You were in contact with my mother the whole time I was at the Centre and you never even…” Jarod stumbled over his words, the feeling of betrayal and disappointment being too much – “…You never even thought to…you could have…” He paused as his teary eyes fell heavily upon his mentor – “…You should have told me Sydney…Y-You should have told me.” He repeated barely above a whisper – his voice shaky and weak, too full of hurt to sound angry.

In that moment Sydney’s heart sank. Sometimes he forgot how vulnerable and emotionally fragile his pretender could be. He had wanted so many times to tell Jarod of his connection to his mother. He knew Jarod not only saw him as a mentor, but also as a father figure… a friend, someone he could trust whole-heartedly. Sydney knew that keeping his secret from Jarod was for his own protection and safety, but making his protégé see that from his point of view would be difficult. Even if Jarod was a genius, his years of Centre imprisonment and lack of emotional attachment could never be justified in his mind by any kind of logic that Sydney tried to impose upon him.

He walked over to Jarod and sat down quietly next to him. For the longest time he didn’t utter a word, just sat with his eyes closed letting his chin drop to his chest.

Miss Parker walked over to Broots and tapped him on the shoulder, tilting her head toward the kitchen. Broots nodded and silently followed behind her leaving the two men alone.

Moments later Sydney spoke up - “Jarod I’m sorry, but when it came to your mother you have to believe me that your ignorance was bliss.”

Jarod sighed softly - “For who Sydney? …Because there was not one part of my life at the Centre I would have ever considered bliss.” He sniffed, his words still barley murmurs.

“Jarod can you imagine the kind of danger knowing your mother and I were in contact could have put you both in. It would have been a distraction that if you let get the better of you, could have ruined your focus and we didn’t need that. We needed the PTB’s to suspect nothing, especially Raines and Mr. Parker.”

“And so in the 30 years I was at the Centre did you come anywhere near being successful to securing my freedom? Did you come anywhere near being able to help any of us? Look what happened to Angelo, Kyle, Alex, Ethan, the boy….even Lyle. Not to mention Miss Parker. At what point were you going to put Catherine’s plan to action Sydney? It’s not just about my mother, if you’d told me somewhere down the line I could have helped…”

“I told you I couldn’t risk it." Sydney interupted - "If you’d been found out they would of sent you off to the renewal wing or worse! And I promised Jarod…I promised your mother no matter what I’d take care of you. When Raines took Catherine to his lodge we never heard from her again. We didn’t know what to do. And so as much as it killed your mother, it was her idea to keep you at the Centre.”


************************************


Well that’s all I’ve got so far. I know how I want to end it but finding the creativity to get it there is a different story…Anyways, thanks for reading! ;)











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