In The Name of Lynch

-Chapter 13: Adjusting to Fatherhood-

Waiting at the airport terminal window for the flight to Hobart International Airport, Bryce watched the other flights take off and land.

His young mind had been very busy with many things over the past twenty five or so years, assisting the Network 23 mainframe. And he had learned many things that he had never been privy to before regarding the Network.

But none of that had prepared him for the reality of what he was facing now.

He was a father.

As his and Jenny's plane landed, he let that fact sink in. His mind had been a part of the discussions regarding the use of his DNA for just such a purpose. But at the time, it had been a part of the Cat9 program. And the most that had been expected of him at the time was a few medical records if they became necessary.

Now events had forced him to come out of stasis. And in his current state, he could no longer simply sit back and not take an interest in his children. Even if they were someone else's now from a legal standpoint, he felt a sense of protectiveness toward them. The same, in a way, that he'd felt toward Max when Grossberg had demanded that Max be erased. And yet, it wasn't the same. It seemed stronger.

He closed his eyes for a moment, and tried to remember his parents. He wondered if they'd been just as protective of him. He supposed they had. His mother had wanted him to call her once a week when he'd been away at school. But he made his schedule so tight with the things he'd thought were important to his grades and studies that he had never put aside time for it. He regretted that now. He wondered if his mother might still be alive or where she might be located. His father was a different matter altogether. Bryce respected the man, but in all honesty it could be suggested that he picked up his workaholic habits from him. So the two hadn't spoken much in Bryce's entire lifetime. Though Bryce would guess that if his father did take enough time away from work to say two words about him they'd be "I'm proud".

Bryce wondered how proud his father would be of him today. He was a teen father. That was something his parents had frowned upon when he was growing up. They'd never directly approached him on the subject of biological responsibility, of course. He had merely heard them making disparaging remarks about teen parents while watching a TV show that had been focused on the subject just before dinner one night.

Of course, Bryce had been in cryostasis for over two decades, so he was really somewhere in his late forties or early fifties. But that was only on a chronological level. The truth was that even his own mind refused to see himself as anything other than just seventeen.

He wondered if he would have to recalibrate his birthday now that he thought of it. The day he'd gone under had been the last day of his sixteenth year. His body had been biologically scheduled to become seventeen the following day. If that was true, was today now his birthday since his biological clock had been stopped while he was frozen and was restarted when he'd been thawed.

A tug on his coat pulled him from his thoughts.

"Plane's ready," Jenny told him.

"Okay," he replied, following her down the ramp and into the coach section of the plane.

"You seemed distracted," Jenny said as she adjusted her seatbelt.

"Just thinking about how different my life has suddenly become," Bryce told her. "I am a teen father. I have four children, two of whom haven't been found yet."

"There's still one thing that's the same about you," Jenny reassured him.

Bryce raised an eyebrow.

Jenny smiled. "You're still unique." she told him.

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