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DISCLAIMER: I do not own the Pretender. NBC does. This is independent fan fic and not intended as infringement on anyone's copyright.

SPECIAL thanks to Danielle :-) for editing.

PLEASE note: Late summer and fall is fire season in California. And this year will be no exception. This story was inspire by the smell and taste of smoke coming from a fire in the foothills near my home.

by Ra-Chell

There's nothing left. Only the charred remains of what was once a part of my life. A few blacken timbers stand as lonely sentinels among the ashes. And in my emptiness.

I remember last night standing in the dark, watching the flames as they licked and burned their way into the structure. The glow of the fire on my's eerie dance across my body turning my clothes strange colours. The sounds of people and the roar of the flames. The ash that covered my face and hair. The cinders that threaten to burn my clothes. And when it was over everything was gone. Nothing could be saved.

"Sorry Miss" the fireman had said.

"I'm sorry Miss Parker. If you need someone to talk to..." Sidney's words and the squeeze of his strong hand on my shoulder.

"I'm sorry Miss Parker. Is there is anything I can do?" Broots' honest offer of help.

"Life goes on!" My father's words. Words that seem to tie everything up in a neat tidy package. "Life goes on."

Lyle's smug look as he walked by and said. "Sorry." One word is all he could offer. How could he understand? It never meant anything to him.

Now in the light of day the damage looks complete. There's nothing left, not one thing. Sifting through the ashes with my fingers I pull out a metal object, burnt and melted beyond recognition.

"Will you be alright?" A voice asks.

"I don't know." Is my answer.

"Do you know how it happened?" The voice questions.

Shaking my head 'no' I turn slowly to face him. "I was on my way home and saw the fire. I called but by the time the fire department arrived it was too late."

"I know how much this place meant to you." For once the voice is comforting and without thinking I move towards him.

"Thomas said we don't own processions, they own us. But..."

"But it was your home. It's where you grew up and it held a lot of good memories for you. Thomas...your mother...things you can't replace." For once he seems to feel my pain. And as my tears start to fall he puts his arm around my shoulders drawing me close. "It wasn't just a was a home Miss Parker."

Quietly he stands next to me as I mourn the loss of my home. Something he never had. And as he comforts me I start to laugh through the tears.

"This must be a sight. The hunted comforting the huntress. Why do you care Jarod?"

He looks at me like I should know. As if the answer is obvious. Then leaning forward in a soft whisper replies.

"Because I remember the little girl who gave me my first kiss."

Feedback please!! August 29, 1999

Post Script: No, the white bunny that Jarod gave Miss Parker in the Christmas episode of season 1 did not die in the fire. It is safe and well cared for by a certain fan fic writer named Danielle :-) .Please see Danielle :-) for further information re: the bunny.

Chapter End Notes:
Please read "Not Today" , the part in the Fire! series.

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