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Author's Chapter Notes:
This was co-written by Jaccione and Onisius.
Jarod Is Back

Three months. A whole three months. Lyle couldn’t quite believe it. Three months this very day since they finally caught Jarod and brought him back, and the rat still hadn’t escaped yet. Lyle still didn’t know if the capture was Jarod’s own stupidity or that they had finally managed to outsmart the bastard. They had put in a lot of extra security, so if he managed to get out, he wouldn’t get far. Lyle had had such fun playing with him earlier to soften him up, until his dear old sister decided enough was enough. He still got to play with him, just he had to share him some now with the old goat. Lyle had not been at all happy when Parker had overruled him and said he was being taken out of the cell and moved into this room. Lyle liked the cell because Jarod hated it. Jarod hated remembering all the things done to him those three weeks Lyle had had total control over him. Opening the door, using his code and his finger print, Lyle walked into the small room.

Sydney was standing over Jarod at the desk, just big enough for Jarod to sit at though it wasn’t really at all that comfortable for the tall man, talking softly, looking like Jarod had just finished a simulation. The rat wasn’t doing the ones they wanted done, still fighting them. But he was working, if it was a simulation he knew couldn’t be twisted about. Some money, some work, was better than none at all. They would just have to work their way up to the normal simulations. Lyle looked around the small room, thinking it was better than putting genius back in his old apartment like the old goat had wanted. It had a cot just big enough for Jarod to lie on, though not able to fully stretch out, a thin mattress and some old blankets and pillows. The walls were a drab grey, he didn't even have the usual holographic setup like most rooms like this had. The floors were cold concrete, there was a metal basin welded to the wall with cold water, and the desk. Nothing else, nothing personal, nothing useful, nothing colourful.

Jarod stiffened slightly as he heard the door open, knowing it was Lyle without having to look up. He ignored him for the moment, talking with Sydney. That was the only single compensation he had being back here, was that he got to talk with Sydney. He knew that his old mentor was working very hard to try and ease his situation here for him and was responsible for any privileges that he currently had, not to mention the choice of the SIM's. It had not been easy on him, and he had the scars to prove it, but at least now Lyle had let up and he seemed to be out of the most imminent physical danger. He had vigilantly watched for an opportunity to escape and as yet had come up empty. The last time he had been here he had suffered for just over three weeks before an opportunity had presented itself. This time though, they were being careful and he was impressed, despite himself, by the improvements in the security. He knew he had to be patient, let them relax, let them think they had defeated him. Then he would make his move.

Sydney knew Jarod was ignoring Lyle and didn't blame him at all. “What do you want Lyle?” He snapped impatiently. "Can you not see that we are busy?" It had been very hard on him watching as Lyle tried to systematically destroy Jarod. He knew he had to be cautious though or they both would tire of his nagging and remove him from Jarod completely, and that was unacceptable. He did what little he could to try and ease Jarod's time here, although he knew it wasn’t enough.

“If it is a real simulation, it is to be done in the lab. This," Lyle looked at the pair, “Is just idle chit chat. Now if you don't mind, I need Jarod for a while." Lyle smiled at the pair, not responding to Sydney's snapping.

"Not all SIM's need to be done in the lab." Sydney told him steadily, knowing how Jarod hated being in the lab, with Sweepers positioned so that they were practically in his face. At least there was some small measure of privacy for him here, except of course for the cameras. Jarod had not said anything about them, but Sydney knew how he felt. "The SIM is done, there is no reason you need to be here Lyle."

"All SIM’s WILL be done in the lab. That is what is for. Be a good boy Sydney and follow the rules."

Jarod listened to the two of them and knew Lyle would get what he wanted. Sydney tried to stand up to him, but in the end, just didn't have the authority. He was worried about them deciding that Sydney had outlived his usefulness, which is why he had determined not to do any SIM's without Sydney being there. If he could work Sydney into the equation, it would help to ensure his safety. It was a fine line for Jarod to walk though, keeping them just happy enough to avoid any kind of drastic measures. He knew he had to be healthy and able when the chance for escape finally came.

"Out, take his notes and go. It’s my time to 'work' with the lab-rat." Lyle growled, growing tired of this already.

"You don't control that Lyle." Sydney told him. He had been assured full control of this project. "And you don't order me around."

Jarod stood up, “It's alright Sydney,” He said softly, not wanting any trouble for him. Sydney did foolish things sometimes and Lyle was not known for his restraint. He wanted to add that Lyle didn’t control him either, he kept his mouth shut though, knowing it would only provoke Lyle. It was hard not to provoke him.

“It is NOT alright." Sydney argued, shaking his head. Nothing about this was alright at all.

“I don't care if you have full control. I am co-chairperson. YOU work for ME. And I will order you around all I like. Now this is the last time I am saying this, out, or It gets in trouble for your disobedience." Lyle threatened darkly.

"Just go Sydney," Jarod urged him. The last thing he needed right now was to be worrying about Sydney as well.

Sydney looked from Jarod to Lyle. “I am talking to Parker about this. It is unacceptable.” He knew though he was walking a very thin line and could be yanked from this project at any time and it was vital his access to Jarod was not suspended.

"Parker is too damn stubborn and hates the rat as much as I do to care." Lyle folded his arms and waited for Sydney to leave, growing impatient.

Jarod was afraid Lyle was right. Parker had not shown any interest in him since she had brought him back, aside from his progress, or lack thereof.

“He has a name." Sydney informed him before leaving the cell for Parker's office. She may not be overly fond of Jarod, but she wasn't unnecessarily cruel. "This is not over Lyle.” He warned him as he brushed past.

Lyle just smiled at him as the old goat walked out. Shutting the door, seeing he had left the notes, Lyle picked them up and read it, “What a waste." Lyle shook his head, dumping the notebook down before turning to face Jarod.

"You are getting your money, don't be such a sook Lyle." Jarod drawled. He knew it wasn't wise to aggravate him, he had just promised himself that he wouldn’t, he just couldn't help himself though, and for a short period it was simply so satisfying.

"Me a sook? Come on rat, you're the one who complained endlessly to that old coot to get you out of your cosy little room I had you in."

“I think you are confused Lyle, so it must be status quo. What do you want?” He hadn't brought his goons so Jarod assumed he was here only for a little chat. He wondered if that wasn't more painful than a beating though. Listening to Lyle was its own special form of torture.

“I want revenge Jarod, what else." Lyle whispered, his eyes gleaming dangerously. He couldn’t hurt Jarod enough to pay him back for taking his thumb, and humiliating him more then a few times. Every scream, every mark, every drop of blood made up for a tiny bit of what Jarod had done to him. It would never be enough though.

Jarod sighed and sat down. "Then run along and ask your big sister if you can play.” He taunted him. It didn't take a genius to see how much Lyle hated not being in complete control. "Oh and then there are the Africans to worry about as well, aren’t there?" Poor Lyle, all he wanted was everything, it must just be awful for him to have to answer to so many, his dreams and ambitions so hindered.

Lyle backhanded him viciously, with all of his strength, sending Jarod into the corner of his desk. “If I was you, I would mind my manners." Lyle growled.

Staggering against the desk, getting his footing Jarod threw himself at Lyle, having had just about enough of this. "You bastard.” He growled as he rammed his shoulder straight into him, not caring about the consequences right now. He was screwed either way and it looked like that he was going to be here for a little while, having found no holes in their security yet. He would though, sooner or later. It was getting harder and harder to control his temper now and he was so frustrated that he found any excuse would do to vent some of it. Lyle was such a smug bastard and that smile was enough to drive Jarod crazy.

Grunting as Jarod collided against him, sending them into the door, Lyle struggled with Jarod, calling out for the sweepers. Landing one or two punches in, the door opened and the sweepers moved in quickly to haul Jarod off of Lyle.

Jarod grinned in satisfaction as he saw Lyle panting and didn't even bother struggling against the sweepers, knowing that was wasted energy. It was worth it though, just to wipe that smug smile off his face. Lyle was, and always would be, a coward. "Screw you," Jarod spat at him, “How's that for manners?"

Wiping the back of his hand across his lip, his eyes darkening at the sight of blood. "Get him down to his cell." Lyle ordered, moving out of the room. Jarod would pay for this.

"Going to upset budget projections." Jarod called out as he was pulled past him. Taunting Lyle was the only pleasure he had in life right now, and he knew every time he did something like this, it threw their SIM schedule out of whack. And that was just fine by him. It would also sow discord between Lyle and Parker, and that would work in his favour as well.

"You will make it up." Lyle promised him, following the sweepers as they dragged Jarod down to his old cell.

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