**Aaron is more mature man, in his mid forties.
Their liberators had them march through a densely forested area, hiking for almost five miles before they broke out into the open along a desolate, unlit highway. Sydney walked just behind Nigel, taking deep, laborious breaths that she could see in the moonlight. She was so tired again. He had long since relieved her of her backpack, and had given her his jacket to keep her warm. She looked ahead at him trundling along like a trouper. They had lost all of their maps and research to Omarís fire pit, and were now running blind with only faith to guide them. Syd wasnít all that sure they still had enough faith between all three of them to get the job done this time, and began to have second thoughts about a lot of things.
"Weíll meet up with our ride soon Sydney." Aaron offered her a sip from his canteen, but she waived it away. They stood together off to the back of the group, Nigel was up ahead resting on the side of the road and talking to one of the gun toting sheep herders. "You need to keep yourself hydrated Sydney, didnít they teach you anything in relic hunter school?" Pausing, he took a chance. "Especially seeing as you have an extra passenger hitching a ride on this one."
She glared at him. "A what?"
"My wife tells me, and she usually isnít wrong, that you and your assistant are expecting." He laid one of his dirty little Aaron grins on the obviously startled woman and took another swig before going on. Jackpot..."I gotta say, Bailey has some mighty fine employee perks there Syd..."
"How is it possible for you to know that?" Sydney asked, knowing there was no point in arguing the fact with him, her expression had already given away her hand. "For God sakes, Aaron, no one knows! I want to keep it that way!"
He raised his brows at her, completely amused, entertained, even. "Youíve said nothing to the babyís father...Sydney, thatís just not right."
"Donít you dare pass judgement on me Aaron Deleany!" She warned him, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. The last thing she needed was for Nigel to notice the fracas. Looking over her should to make sure he was otherwise occupied, she turned her attention back to Aaron. "I canít tell him... at least not yet."
"You arenít thinking about abortion, are you?" He had to ask. A woman like Sydney Fox was such a free spirit, and he really didnít know how she would take to being tied down with such an awesome responsibility. The hurt on her face immediately dispelled that notion. Her eyes fluttered and her mouth was now agape. "Iím sorry, I didnít mean to offend you Sydney." He placed an apologetic hand on her arm and squeezed. "Itís just that you arenít obviously that far along, and itís odd you wouldnít have shared it with Nigel yet."
She felt like a first class jerk. "I couldnít, not until after this hunt. Do you honestly think I would have gotten out of the States to come here without a hell of a fight if I had? Then where would you be Aaron?"
"Iíd be forced to find another relic hunter Sydney. Itís as simple as that."
"But Iím the very best, and you know it. Iím the only one that can help you locate the Ark." She guaranteed completely, without missing a beat.
Aaron didnít like where this was going. "Sydney, you place too much faith in your self, and not enough in the hands of God or the ones you claim to love. You arenít indispensable. No human being is. Donít let that be your undoing, old friend." Aaron bent down and hugged her, turning his head to her ear, he softly whispered. "That spunky British kid loves you more than his own life, and I believe heís proved it many times Sydney. He was going to run back into that firestorm to bring you out. How could you treat him like this? He deserves the truth from you."
Go to Part Nineteen.