Disclaimer: see part one.

Author's Note: So, yeah, I finally managed to finish this up. Originally I had planned on a sequel but as I said in the last chapter, I wasn't quite happy with this going any longer and because of that I will not make a sequel. Sorry. I hope this is an ok ending for the story anyway. Enjoy!

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The Past Always Catches Up Part 15

Freedom lies beneath reality

It had taken a long time for Jay to work through the worst of what had happened. He wasn't the same person he'd been before his ordeal – and Jarod guessed he would never be again. What had happened had left scars too deep to fade.

There was still a shadow in the young man's eyes – a shimmer of something Jarod knew was to be found in his eyes as well. A dark corner hidden from most people, from those who didn't look close enough. Only those who knew what had happened or those who had endured similar things in their lives would know where to look for that shadow and how to recognize it.

Jarod watched from the cabin as Jay stood close to the waterline of the lake, hands buried in his trouser pockets, his gaze seemingly lost on an indeterminable point of the water's surface.

His gaze was drawn away from Jay and towards the mountains, scarlet red overcastting the usually blunt grey rocks. Jarod smiled at the sight of the sun just starting its journey. He pushed away from the railing and slowly walked down the small path to where Jay stood.

Jay tensed and turned around, relaxing when his eyes came to rest on Jarod and finding a reassuring smile lingering on the older man's features.

"Hey," Jarod greeted.

Jay nodded. "Hey," he murmured back.

"You're up early. You didn't plan on going without me, did you?" Jarod asked, amusement in his voice.

Laughing softly, Jay shook his head. "No, I'd have troubles securing myself." There was a brief pause while they stood silently side by side, watching the sun crawling up and casting a long red stripe on the water, soft waves giving the color shadows and shapes. "Couldn't sleep," Jay admitted softly without turning to Jarod.

Jarod gave a small nod, not reacting otherwise. There was nothing more to say – they'd turned the words over and over in countless conversations. It sometimes made it easier but generally at the light of day, shadows were smaller than they were at night when silence settled and thoughts took over; what had been pushed to the very edge of consciousness during the day, distraction of life being used as a shield, couldn't be avoided at night.

"It would probably always be that way – sleepless nights alternating with nights filled with a tentative, blissful silence when their minds finally relented."

Jarod clapped the other man on the shoulder and drew him slightly closer in a brief gesture of reassurance before releasing him again afterwards. "Come on, we should use the day as we planned."

His eyes still on the water, Jay smiled and nodded, then slowly turned around, meeting Jarod's eyes for a moment. "Let's go then. Let's see if you're still able to catch up with me on the wall."

Jarod laughed, falling in step next to Jay. "Ha, you think you can beat me already? Hate to break it to you, youngster, but you'll have to practise more for that."

Jay smirked. "We'll see about that. Grab your gear and we'll definitely see about that."

Chuckling, Jarod let Jay walk in front of him on the small path, watching the shadows around them slowly fade back as the sun drew higher and light touched on the shapes around them, forcing darkness back for the day.

The End