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Disclaimer: We all know who owns 'em, and it certainly isn't me. Also, I have to apologize to KB and Danielle :-) for this - I just couldn't resist. I'm coming down off a stress high (flute recital today...), so I'm in a bit of a strange mood....

Pretender Payback
by Rebeckah

It had been a peaceful few weeks, Miss Parker thought serenely, soaking up the sunshine on the deserted tropical beach where she currently lounged. No Jarod, no strange meetings in featureless black rooms with strange, and, she admitted privately to herself, terrifying, people who called themselves writers. Just peace and quiet and sunshine. Why, she almost felt cheerful, a scary thought in and of itself!

"So, enjoying yourself?" A woman materialized beside her in a high backed wicker chair.

Miss Parker started violently. "Who are you and how the hell did you do that!" She demanded, her serenity shattered in an instant.

The woman smiled comfortingly. "I'm Rebeckah, remember?"

"No!" Miss Parker shut her eyes, trying to will the other away. "I thought you people were gone! I thought----"

"Sorry, we're a part of your lives for as long as the show lasts---and our interest in the show, of course."

"Okay, so what's up this time?" Parker sighed. "And why are we in such a nice setting? And, of course, where are the others?"

"Well, the other writers are watching, the other characters are going about their business, and the setting is kind of an apology for the fact that you got shot at the end of last season."

"But you're going to be okay." A voice floated down from somewhere above. Rebeckah looked up in annoyance.

"Hey! This is MY time here!" She protested.

"Sorry." The voice faded slowly away.

"Writers!" Rebeckah huffed, much to Parker's amusement.

"Yes, they can get on one's nerves." She agreed blandly. Rebeckah's eyes narrowed ominously.

"Watch it, ice queen!" She warned the character menacingly. "I've always been really nice to you. No Jarod romances, no attacks by your brother, and most of all, no children! That could change in an instant, you know."

"Sorry." Miss Parker tried to look abashed, but amusement still radiated from her. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to disguise emotions in the world of the printed page, unless, of course, you can convince the author it's in the best interests of the story.

"To business." Rebeckah changed the subject briskly, having pity on the woman that she'd always rather liked.

"I would like to know, first of all, just what the heck ARE your feelings for Jarod? You know I've always been in the pretty much brother/sister relationship bunch, don't you?"

"You know---" Miss Parker mused thoughtfully, "I'm not quite sure myself what I feel for Jarod. I blame him for the death of my mother, even though I know it really wasn't his fault, and I could kill him for screwing up my life. But I don't really want to see him hurt---I'm not even positive I want him returned to the Centre. Somehow, when I need him, he's always there for me. I---just don't know." She finished in deep confusion.

"Hmmm," Rebeckah murmured thoughtfully. "Okay, fair enough. How would you feel if he found the love of his life, which he seems to do fairly often, now that I think about it. Even I wrote an almost romance." The author shuddered. "Why the HELL did I do that anyway? I hate those plots."

Miss Parker smirked smugly. "Now you know what it feels like---being controlled by some outside force."

Rebeckah's eyes widened in disbelief. "Are you saying YOU had something to do with my literary aberration?"

If looks could kill, and in her universe she was just about ready to let them, Miss Parker would have already been halfway through the autopsy.

"Oh, no!" Recognizing death and torture when it glared out of her from stormy gray/blue eyes Miss Parker backpedaled rapidly. "I was just noticing the similarity between the way you feel and the way we feel."

"Just remember," Rebeckah threatened grimly, "If I even suspect that you people have somehow managed to manipulate my reality, every one of you will suffer, for a long, LONG, time!"

She faded slowly away, her glaring blue eyes disappearing last, much like the grin of the Cheshire cat. Just before all signs of her visit were totally gone Miss Parker heard a thin and hollow voice echo from around her.

"Guys," she heard Rebeckah say, "I think we may have a problem!"

by Rebeckah

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