Father Figure

By Archangel

Adam yawned and stretched out on the couch, flipping idly through the channels without real care as to what was on. Jay, meanwhile, was lying on his back on the floor, trying to work a kink out of his shoulders. They were both surprised when there was a knock on the hotel room door. Adam glanced down at him in question, but Jay was already getting up to answer it. He turned his attention back to the TV until Jay returned and handed him a box wrapped in brown paper.

"Delivery."

"For me?" he asked.

"No, you're imaginary friend."

"Oh. Well, I'll open it for him since his imaginary hands tend to pass through real things."

Adam glanced at the return address, but didn't recognize it. He assumed it was something from a fan. He tore open the brown wrapping and then the box itself, setting the accompanying letter aside to grab the gift first. He pulled the tissue paper off of it carefully, seeing it was a fragile picture frame. He turned it over in his hands to see what the picture was off. He frowned and sat up, drawing Jay's attention unintentionally.

"What is it?"

"It's me when I was a baby I think. It looks like me anyway, but I don't recognize the guy holding me." His frown deepened all the more, a worried look pairing with the confusion. "He has hair like mine."

Jay reached out and pulled the picture gently away, handing him the letter instead. "Read and find out maybe?"

Adam took the paper while Jay studied the picture, now joining him on the couch. Adam scanned over the words quickly, seeing a few choices sentences that somehow he had expected to see. He took a deep breath and began to recite.

"Dear Adam. I know that this is the last thing you ever expected. It just may be the last thing you ever wanted either. I've waited for many years to be able to contact you. I had to wait until you were eighteen at first in order to keep this contact legal, then it was nearly impossible to locate you while you were traveling and beginning your wrestling career. I hope this letter and gift doesn't reach you too late.

"My name is James Strobe. I live in Arkansas, am nearing the age of 43, and work as a machine designer for a small manufacturing company. I'm still single and there was a time I would tell people that I had no children. I hope that soon I can say otherwise. Adam, I'm your father."

Jay gasped and nearly dropped the picture frame, fumbling slightly before grabbing it again and looking at Adam's profile. His best friend had a stricken look, pale and shocked with an almost empty gaze. He continued reading.

"I wish that I had good reasons to give you for why you grew up without a father. I really wish I had better reasons because then maybe I would be able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning. Unfortunately, all I can tell you is that your mother and I were only lovers and when I heard the word 'pregnant' I ran like a coward. In some lights it's a good thing. Your mother and I would've never been more than friends, maybe not even that much with the strain of having a child. In the harsh light of reality, though, I know that I made the biggest mistake of my life and of yours, too.

"I abandoned you. I won't try to deny it or wrap it up with gentler words. I left you behind without looking back. It was not without regret, though, and I did return for one single moment. I was there when you were born, Adam. I was allowed to hold you not long after your birth. I wish that I could say that sweet moment had been profound enough to change my mind, but as you probably have already decided, I'm a horrible person. I didn't want any part of the responsibility of taking care of you. So I held you, cuddled you, fed you just once, and gave you your first name. Then I left without saying goodbye.

"Just to let you know, you're named after your great-grandfather Adam Strobius, who was a watch maker in Switzerland most of his life before coming to America. The name was shortened to Strobe at that point because someone couldn't spell in the records office. I'm sure you can see from the picture where you got your blond hair, since your mother isn't a natural blond. From what I've seen of you it's the only trait you inherited from me. You look so much like her. So beautiful and strong.

"I don't know if I should bother apologizing. I'm sure no amount of apologies can ever be enough to soothe the pain I've caused you. I do feel sorry, Adam. I hope someday that you and I can meet, even if it's just so you can spit in my face personally. At least then we could both gain some form of closure." Adam dropped the letter to the floor. "Sincerely yours... Dad."

Before Jay could say anything Adam snatched the small frame away once again. It was plain white porcelain with a faded blue design of a ribbon around it. The picture was yellowed slightly with age, but still clear. The man with the long blond waves was smiling broadly, which proved he had lied about Adam not inheriting any other traits, and held a tiny blue bundle up for the camera to see. That blue blanketed infant was Adam. That stranger who looked so much like what he saw every day in the mirror was his father.

"My father," Adam whispered.

"Adam? Are you gonna be okay?"

And with those few words all of the same old pains came rushing back to the surface. Years of childhood worries and fears that had been blocked, many moments of self-doubt and wonders of self-worth, all of the things that Adam had hoped to never feel again came right back to him as if they had never gone away. How many times had he cried because of this man? How many times had Jay asked him if he would be okay?

Adam hurled the frame at the nearest wall with a roar of anger, shattering it to bits with the force behind it.

"How dare he! What the fuck does he think gives him the right to speak to me after what he's done!" He leapt to his feet, starting to pace as he always did when he was riled. "He has no idea what I've been through! I had to go through therapy for years! It took my whole life to understand it was his fault and not mine! I couldn't even stay in the damn Boy Scouts because every time there was a father-son activity I had to face the brutal reality that I'm a bastard!"

Jay watched with tears standing in his eyes. He had hoped that this day would never come. He had actually hoped that Adam's father would never show his face in any way. He had hoped because he knew that this would be the result. Years and years of hard work had finally paid off and Adam had finally gotten over not having a father. It seemed as though it had only been yesterday that he had held Adam as he sobbed over not being able to go to the Father-Son Cookout in junior high. Or what about the many times Jay had told Adam he couldn't play because it was Father's Day? How many fishing trips had Jay started out on only to see Adam peering from his bedroom window in utter misery because he couldn't have the same life?

He looked up when he realized Adam was standing right in front of him. The familiar green eyes of his lifetime best friend were full of questioning, especially when Jay blinked and the tears trailed down his cheeks.

"Jay... Why are you crying?" he asked.

"I'm sorry. Adam, I'm just so sorry." He stood and rushed into his arms, sobbing. "I'm so sorry that he left you and hurt you so much. Everyday I wish that I could go back in time and stop him from ever leaving. I suffered with you all of these years. I saw for myself the torment you've been through. It's not fair of him to suddenly stab that knife into your heart again."

Adam slowly put his arms around him, not sure what to think of Jay's emotional reaction. "Jay, I..."

"It's not fair, Adam! It's not fucking fair! You're one of the most loving and sensitive and wonderful people in the entire world! You don't deserve this! You deserve to have a real family!" Jay clung to him even tighter, bawling while Adam stood silent. "You should've been able to do all those childhood father-son things. You should've been taught to play baseball and football. You should've learned how to work on cars. You should've gotten caught stealing his Playboys. You should've tasted your first beer under his watchful eye. You should've gotten punched in the face the first time you tried to prove you were better than him. All those moments... All those denied feelings. You don't deserve to be robbed of that."

Adam cuddled him a little tighter, marveling at how the roles had reversed this time. For so long he had been the one crying while Jay had stood in silence unable to comfort him. The more he thought about it, though, the more he began to realize that Jay had comforted him. In fact, he had tried his damnedest to give Adam the family he never really had.

"Ya know what, Jay? I had a father all along." Jay sniffled and looked up at him in confusion, especially when Adam smiled lovingly. "I had you."

Jay snorted. "I'm a little young to be your father."

"True, but think about it. You taught me how to throw a football and pull off a slap shot. You and I learned about cars together with your dad. My first glimpse of a naked woman was in a magazine you'd stolen for me. My first beer was handed to me by you. And there have been plenty of times that you've punched me in the face!" Jay was staring at him in complete disbelief by this time. "You held me when I cried. You listened when I was upset. You stood back and let me rage when I was angry. You even kept me out of trouble sometimes. For all purposes, you were my dad!"

Jay smirked a little. "That makes both of us kinda pathetic, don't ya think?"

"No. I think that makes me love you all the more."

Adam pulled him back to his chest and embraced him with all of his strength, smiling despite the slight ache he felt in his heart. Jay hugged him back without hesitation. The two clung to each other as they had done ever since they had first met, bonded together in ways no one could possibly understand.

"I love you, too, Adam."

The End

Legalities: Jay Reso is copyright to TNA Wrestling. Adam Copeland is property of World Wrestling Entertainment. I claim no knowledge of each of the characters' sexual preferences or personal lives. This is a story of fiction, none of these events are real. I received absolutely no profit from this story.