The following Sunday, Toby received a call.
He was still in his bed, half-asleep with Memis laying on his chest.
“Mhh…” His hands wandered through the sheets, trying to find his phone. He answered the call as he got it in his hands. “Mmhello?”
“Hi Toby! Sorry to bother you on your day off~” It was Foxor speaking to him. As Frederic’s assistant they were always just as busy as him, so they barely had time to talk to Toby a lot, despite their former connections.
“Ah… Foxor…” Toby sat up, pushing Memis to the side. “It’s fine… Why are you calling?”
“Well, I wanted to ask you something! You see, Mr. Fox from the London Morpho Defenders arrives in the states tomorrow, and Frederic told me he’d like to introduce his nephew to him. So I thought, why not just ask you? Would you come join him for an hour tomorrow?”
“...” Toby wiped his sleepy eyes. “I dunno… I have classes tomorrow… Did… uncle really say he wanted me to be with him?”
“I can excuse you from class for the time. And yes, he did~ He speaks a lot about you, as a matter of fact.”
Toby was torn. After all, their last personal encounter was rather awkward, with the mood being so uneasy that Toby almost fled from the limousine they were sharing. Nevertheless, he was his uncle. And, even though he barely really knew him, he really felt like family. Like a family member who was hiding his own misery.
Despite everything that had happened with him, and despite what might have happened between Mr. Williams and Roy, Toby couldn’t help but feel like deep down, he wasn’t a bad guy.
If anything, he was a complex person.
“... Sure… I’ll come over.”
“That’s great! Please be at his office at 10 AM~ I’ll inform Mr. Franklin about your absence. Have a nice day!”
Foxor hung up and Toby set his phone aside again.
“Mhhh…” He yawned, shortly after Memis did as well. “Well… If I’m up I might as well clean the flat now…” He slowly got up, made his bed and went on to do the chores.
On Monday morning, Toby arrived with Memis at his uncle’s office, knocking at the door.
The one opening the door was not him though, it was the gray Fox Morpho. “Toby!!” Foxor smiled. “Right on time, Frederic will arrive shortly! Come in!” They held the door open for him.
“Thanks-” Toby entered the office. “He’s not here yet?” “Yeah, I haven’t told him you’d come, I wanted to surprise him~” “Oh, okay-”
“Foxor, I need you to-”
Mr. Williams had entered the office, but stopped in his movements as he saw Toby before him. “Ah- Toby-”
“Hey uncle…” Toby smiled weakly. Foxor grinned. “Surprise~ I invited him over. You wanted to introduce him to Mr. Edward Fox, right?”
“Ah… Yes…” Mr. Williams cleared his throat. “I suppose his lift will arrive here in a few minutes. I wanted to ask you to escort him to conference room B. We will be there.”
“I’m on my way!!” Foxor left the office, leaving Toby behind with his uncle.
“So.” Mr. Williams closed the door. “Foxor invited you over after I told them I’d like to have you around… that’s very kind of them. Of both of you, actually.”
“Ah…” Toby straightened his back. “I…”
“... Sit with me, Toby.” Mr. Williams sat down on the couch in his office, inviting Toby to do the same.
Without saying a word, Toby sat down on the couch next to him, but still keeping some distance.
“... You’re nervous.” Mr. Williams crossed his arms.
“Mhh..” Toby looked before him.
“You don’t have to be nervous. I’m not just your boss… I’m your uncle.”
“... I know I hadn’t been too nice to you during our last encounter. And for that, I’d like to apologize.”
Toby turned to look at him.
“... Toby…” Mr. Williams sighed. “The last time I’d seen you… before you joined the Defenders… you were three years old. And… on that day-” His head sank. “I … did not only lose my brother… I also lost you… my beloved nephew. Who I visited almost daily… who always wanted me to read him his bedtime stories three times… Who always had trouble pronouncing my name, calling me ‘Uncle Fedewick’.” He chuckled, but still had a melancholic expression on. “And now… you’re almost an adult. And I feel like… I’ve missed so much… Where did the time go…”
Toby felt a lump growing in his throat. He started to understand why Mr. Williams behaved the way he did… and to empathize with him.
“I am proud of you, Toby… I really am. All those years I wondered what you were up to. Which is why… I’m glad to have you back. And to finally introduce you to everyone I know.”
“Uncle…” Toby fiddled with his fingers. “I… I don’t know what to say…”
“Well.” Mr. Williams stood up. “We should go to the conference room. It would be very rude to let Mr. Fox wait for us. Right?”
“... Right.” Toby stood up as well.
“... Let’s stay in close contact,” Mr. Williams suggested. “I know I’m always busy but… I will make room for you. You’re my nephew. Time with you is worth more than money.”
“Ah- Yes-” Toby nodded. “Let’s do that.”
“Good. Now follow me to the conference room…”