How pathetic is this? I have a really &%$^ day at work, so I log into chat and wrote this. I was told that I should get mad more often. Ha, not if I can avoid it. But, my pain is your gain. Enjoy the story.

Disclaimer: I don't own Jim, Blair, Simon, Daryl or Joan. They are the intellectual property of Petfly. The Sweatshirt, on the other hand is the product of my insane mind.

Chapter 6: Understandings


Simon carried the laundry basket into the living room. He had originally planned to spend his day off working out in the yard, but it had started to rain so he had decided that for once he was going to get all of his laundry done. This was his final load. All he had to do was fold it, then put everything away. He was about to set the basket down on the coffee table when the doorbell rang. He growled to himself. If it wasn't one thing it was another. Sometimes he thought that the world plotted against him so that he would never finish his laundry. He set the basket of clothes down and went to answer the door.

Simon opened the door to find his son, Daryl, standing there looking like a drowned rat.

"Daryl! What are you doing here? Good lord, son, you're soaked! Get in here."

As Simon ushered his son inside, he saw a patrol car across the street flash it's lights and drive off. The captain waved and then followed his son inside. He instructed Daryl to remove his wet clothes and grabbed one of the freshly folded towels only to have his son take it and begin drying himself off. "Okay, Daryl, what happened? Why did a patrol car drop you off?"

The younger man sighed, trying to stall while he figured out what to say. He finally decided on the truth. He was much too cold and tired to think of anything else. "Mom and I had a fight."

Simon paused in his efforts to dry off his son and gave him a good hard look.

Daryl stood up a bit straighter and began to explain. "We got into another argument about me going to the police academy. I got so mad that I just stormed out of the house."

Simon listened quietly as his son dried off and told his story.

"I'm not sure how long I was walking, but by the time I turned around to head home, the rain hit. Officer Sheffield saw me and I guess he recognized me from the station. So he picked me up and said it was either call you from the station or get dropped off."

Seeing that his son was now dry, Simon grabbed the still warm sweatshirt off the top of the laundry basket and pulled it over his son's head. Then he began digging around for more warm clothes.

Daryl looked at his father, trying to judge the older man's mood. "I guess you're mad at me, huh?"

Simon was quiet as he thought. Exploding in anger wouldn't help the situation. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, handed Daryl the pair of sweatpants he'd found, and headed for the kitchen. He needed coffee and Daryl could use some hot cocoa.

"I'd be lying if I said that I was happy with the situation," he said, finally. Now that his hands were busy with the task of making the hot cocoa, he could trust himself to speak. "But mad? No. You shouldn't have run out on your mother like that. She's going to be worried that you haven't come home, yet." He grabbed the phone and handed it to Daryl. "Call her and let her know that you're all right."

As Daryl assured his mother that he was fine and at his father's house, Simon finished making the hot cocoa, having decided on the chocolate beverage for himself, too. They then went and sat in the living room for a long father-son talk.

Simon tried to quietly and logically explain why he and Joan wanted their son to go to college. He explained how he himself hadn't had the option to go to college. When he had graduated high school, his only options were to either join the Army or the police. It was right after Vietnam and he didn't think that the Army was the better of the two.

The police captain told several stories of what he had faced as a young minority rookie amongst a mostly white force. He went into detail about how one veteran cop took him under his wing and encouraged him to go to night school and get his degree. It was his college degree that helped him become a detective and then later a captain.

Simon told his son how his mother had been with him through it all. How they had to do without and make sacrifices in the hope that they would be able to provide their son with more choices and a better life than what they had grown up with.

Daryl listened intently. His father rarely talked about when he was young and hardly ever with such intensity.

Hours passed and the sun had set before Simon finally asked, "So can you understand why your mother and I hate to see you throw away the opportunities that you have?"

Daryl was quiet as he processed what his father had told him. "Yeah, Dad, I guess I can. I never thought of it that way. I just... I just don't know if college is right for me." Now it was the son's turn to speak.

Simon patiently listened to his son's words, paying attention to the details and hidden meanings.

Daryl tried to express his thoughts and fears. He told his father about the stories he had heard about college life. He reminded his father of all the times the police get called to campus for various reasons. He talked about how hard he saw Blair work and that he didn't think that he could do the same thing.

"I don't want to be one of those kids who you deal with at work and I don't want to get in over my head with all the work that college requires. I see you doing cop things and I think to myself, 'yeah, I can do that'. I'm familiar with it and it's something that I think I'd like to do. Is that wrong?"

Simon couldn't help but smile, "No, that's not wrong. But Daryl, those stories you hear about college are just that, stories. Yes there are those who party too much and drink too much, but there are also a lot of other kids who go through their entire college careers without causing any trouble."

The father couldn't help the small chuckle that escaped, "As for Blair. He's a graduate student. He teaches classes, he takes classes, and he helps out at the station. When he started at Rainier, he wasn't doing all that. He was just taking classes. I'm not saying that you wouldn't have to work, just that you won't have to work as hard as Blair."

The older man still saw a bit of uncertainty in the younger man's eyes. "I'm sure Blair would be happy to tell you all about college and answer any of your questions."

Daryl nodded as he yawned and his eyes drooped.

"I'm glad we had this talk, son. But I think you need to head to bed. Your mother won't mind if you stay the night."

"Thanks Dad. I'm glad we talked too."

Simon watched his son head off towards the spare bedroom that he always used when he stayed over. He smiled at the new understanding that both he and his son had gained tonight. When Daryl turned around to wave goodnight, he noticed that Daryl was wearing the Army Sweatshirt that Jim had loaned him. The captain's smile grew wider as he realized that he now understood the long story behind why Jim and Blair seemed to be sharing that sweatshirt.

Chapter 7

Chapter 5


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