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Another commentary for [ profile] sunshine_queen. This was a challenge fic for her, once upon a time.

"Underneath it all, your father loves you." [...] Now I think it was more complicated than that. It may have been a warning. It may also have been a burden. Even if love was underneath it all, there was a great deal piled on top, and what would you find when you dug down? Not a simple gift, pure gold and shining; instead, something ancient and possibly baneful, like an iron charm rusting among old bones. A talisman of sorts, this love, but a heavy one; a heavy thing for me to carry around with me, slung on its iron chain around my neck. " - The Blind Assassin

Bah. I am so bad at writing from quotes, and I didn't realise that until I got this fic prompt. Mostly because I'd never tried it before. But conforming at all to the spirit of the quote was difficult and I can't get over people who write to quotes all the time. :-p I still don't really think I got it, though. Because Jack's love isn't going to destroy Sydney the way that Sydney's love destroys people. :-p


I thought that was the weirdest divider ever, and then I realised that I meant Syd at age eight. Duh.

“Underneath it all, your father loves you.”

My nanny has been telling me this ever since Mom and Daddy left. I have no idea why it's Mom and not Mommy. She says Mom’s in heaven now, because of the car crash. It wasn't really a crash, since she fell off a bridge. Bah. I don’t like cars, they take people away. Mom’s watching over me. Her love isn’t underneath anything, it just is. If only she knew, hm? She didn’t mean to go away, not like Daddy. Syd's Daddy!bitterness started young.

Daddy left in a car, too, but he’s not in heaven. Nah, he was in prison.  He was gone for so long that I thought maybe he was, but then he came home. Right now he’s off at work again. He makes airplanes. For some reason, that one line really amuses me. Like, Syd has no sweet clue what he actually does at the airplane parts thing.  He doesn't even actually import/export airplane parts, but you know what I mean. Whenever he comes home, he brings me presents. I want to tell him that I’d rather see him than get another doll, but that would just make him sad. Poor Jack. His attempts at soothing his guilt with presents isn't really working.

I don’t like the presents very much anymore. I didn’t see Daddy on Christmas this year, just presents. My nanny said he had to leave before I woke up. Things were different before Mom left. LOL, why did I say "left" and not "died"? Then we always had Christmas together. Mom made breakfast and sang carols with me, and Daddy smiled. This is such a mental image. He never smiles now.

I think his love is still underneath all the water where the car fell in.


“Underneath it all, your father loves you.”

Francie’s mom tells me that all the time. She actually told me that tonight, my graduation day. I spent all evening worrying over whether or not he would come and see me give the valedictory speech. Syd is a valid victorian. He promised me that he would, but I’ve learned over the years not to trust his promises. He’s missed most of my ballet recitals, awards dinners, even my birthdays since Mom died. Saving the world and avoiding his emotional pain, woohoo.

Mrs. Calfo never says what she means by “underneath it all,” but I know. After the accident, Dad was never really the same. Grief over Mom probably makes it hard to be around me. Well, that and the whole terrorist thing. People who knew her tell me that I look more like her every day  ... she could probably also tell that from the photographs that she has of her - though she tends to look like 8 different people, so maybe seeing me makes him miss her too much.

I should be keeping my mind on what I’m going to say, since I have to speak soon. But I almost don’t want to give my speech anymore, because as much as I wrote it for my graduating class, I also wrote it for him, my dad, and there’s no point if he’s not going to care enough to hear it. Holy run-on sentence, Batman! He isn’t here. I’ve scanned the crowd almost a thousand times since the ceremony started, and I don’t see him. Aww, Syd still looks for him, despite claiming not to trust him.

The principal is reading out my name. I blink back the childish sting of tears – I should have known he wouldn’t come – and step up to the podium. I can hear Francie cheering really loudly for me, which is kind of embarrassing. She totally would, too. Like, everything would be all silent, and Francie would be all, WHOOOOOOO GOOO SYDNEY! and Syd would turn all red and want to sink into the floor. I clear my throat – speaking in front of crowds has always made me kind of nervous  heh – and begin my speech.

“We’re gathered here today on our last day as high school students, before venturing out into the – to be honest, rather frightening – world of adulthood. As we go into the future, we should not forget to acknowledge those who have helped us to find our path.” I hate this speech, and I'm glad I didn't have to write more of it. Gah.

As I speak, I look out at all my classmates’ faces, feeling their excitement, and then up to the crowd again. That’s when I see it. A man in a suit goes through one of the auditorium doors, and then stands next to it to watch. I can tell just by his stance that he’s my dad. No other dad stands like some kind of soldier in the doorway. This is like, my favourite mental image of the entire fic. Jack like, creeps in and stands all imposing in the doorway with no facial expression.

I can feel a smile spreading across my face, and I continue the speech with much more confidence. My dad is here. He loves me. And if he understands what I’m trying to say tonight, he’ll know I love him, too. Maybe it’s not too late.


“Underneath it all, your father loves you.”

And that’s what will kill him, in the end. This was actually the first sentence I thought of when I was trying to figure out what to do with this fic. Even though my captors, the Covenant, now believe that I really am Julia Thorne, I can’t see him. I just slaughtered an entire family of commas. I can’t tell him that I’m all right, or he could be put in so much danger. But from what my contacts Julia has legions of evil fans, obviously have been telling me, his life might be in peril anyway.

My father, whose I hate this word. I can never figure out if I used it right. whole life has always been the Agency, has quit his job to look for me.

I haven’t been able to find out much about what he’s doing, which is good, really, because it means he’s keeping it from the Covenant, too. Crazy Julia is in love with commas!  But I’m so worried. I don’t want him to die because of me. I want him to be at peace, to move on, like Vaughn . . . like everyone else. I’ve never really let myself believe that my father loves me. And now, faced with the undeniable truth, that he loves me more than anyone else in my life, Heh, Syd is so bitter about Lauren. I’m not allowed to acknowledge it at all.

I’m pretty much damned either way, I guess. If I don’t tell him I’m alive, he’ll run himself into the ground looking for me Or he'll end up in solitary confinement and get a crazy beard; and if I do tell him, the Covenant will kill us both. I don’t know what to do . . .

Maybe, if I can leave him a message somehow, to show him that I’m alive but irredeemable – to make him think I really am Julia Thorne – he would give up. I kind of like this, too - I seem to be a lot fonder of my fic ideas than of their actual executions - the idea of Syd leaking the video to him to get him to stop following her. Of course, it has the opposite effect, since now he knows that she's alive.  He would be heartbroken, I know, but he’d be alive. I’m sure it won’t be too hard to release a copy of the surveillance footage from my charade with Lazarey to a place where he would find it.

He’ll find it. He’s my father. And he loves her. Aww.
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