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Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to The Pretender or any of it's story. Only this work is mine.
AN: This has been edited so that it is easier to read. This story started years ago and I'm just now reposting it chapter by chapter. It's very long so far and I'll do my best to a) post all of the chapters as soon as I can and b) maybe even FINISH the story. :)

I'm a Parker; a leader, invincible. The Centre is my blood, my life. My past. My future, too, until I retrieve Jarod.

The deal with Daddy permits that I return Jarod for my freedom from The Centre, so he says.

At first, I thought it would be easy catching the most successful genius The Centre has ever had. Before Jarod escaped, I was working in Corporate as head of security. Then, when he escaped, I was called back into the "field." I wasn't expecting lifetime head labrat to put up much of a fight. I used to be his best and only friend, surly he would come crawling back muttering apologies. All I had to do was find him, and as quick as he got out, he's back in.

I was wrong. Immensly wrong. Jarod resisted and I get a queezy feeling that he always will. It will only make things worse for him later when I catch him. Lyle already proved that when he played his games with his jumper cables and Jarod when I was shot in the back by one of Raines' clumsy snipers. For five years now, I have been chasing Sydney's pet around the entire damn country. I have no guilt over this situation and I'm definitly not worried about him. I am a Parker. Parker means no guilt. Parker means no emotions. Parker means brick wall. Invincible.

I've come to detest his little tricks, breadcrumbs, etc. He lives to torment me. He thrives on it. Over the last four years, I've stayed in more cheap, dingy, roach-infested, hotels than I care to count, been humiliated in front of my team one too many times, and been stuck with Broots the official coffee-spilling computer geek and Sydney the parental guilt-obsessed shrink just too damn long. King Pezhead needs a hobby that does NOT include sugar or me. Preferably one behind Centre bars.

A few times, I've had the delightful pleasure of catching Jarod. Though circumstances kept me from keeping him; whether it be hurricanes, bank robbers, empaths. Somehow, I didn't capture him. I let him go.

Daddy, of course, wasn't thrilled.

As soon as I care, I'll let the world know. If there's any positive result of Jarod escaping, its what he's learning. Learning about things like me, Mama, Lyle, Daddy, The Centre, and yes sometimes it's good when he learns about himself. For example, the clone, Gemini, and Ethan, my half brother that I share with Jarod. St. Jarod himself fixed those situations that even I didn't approve of. Though, he doesn't need to rub my face in it all. And when he uncovers another lie I've lived by, he just has to grind some more salt in the already flaming wounds. But no, I'm the invincible Ice Queen that shows no pain. So I don't. I'll take a drink or a cigarette instead. Invincible.

Jarod and Angelo were my best friends for so long. Adventures ranging from following the disgusting wheezing corpse that drags around his breath of life in a tank to discovering my long lost sister, Faith. I knew Faith for a few short days, but I still miss her. I remember simply cracking after her loss and crying in front of my two friends. Back then though, I didn't need my icy facade to be accepted. Instead of laughing at me, Jarod held me and actually made me feel better. Cousin It himself still hangs around me and Wonder Boy continues to call at hours of the night when God isn't even awake. I suppose even after all these years we're still a connected trio.

Jarod has shown me so much, yet I desperatly want to take him back.

Back to the place he hates.
Back to his Hell.
Back to my Hell.

Maybe I just don't want to suffer alone. I need someone to share my pain. Sometimes, I don't know what I would do if I actually captured Jarod.

Sometimes, after a failed attempt at bringing him back, I daydream (in vain) about dragging him through the front entrance of The Centre in shackles by his hair. As soon as the expected stabs about how "proud" Mama would start I'd toss him in his cell like yesterday's garbage with my own immitation of the trademark smirk of his I've grown to hate. All done proudly with glory and confidence. Complete with a pat on the back from the Triumvirate and a little gold star of approvable from Daddy. I really am just the dog fetching the bone for my master's approval. The Centre really is my master when it comes down to it.

Other times, the guilt about imprisoning the one living person who has never lied to me and given me more than anyone, pulls at my concience, or what's left of it. He did give me most of my knowledge about Mama's murder, momentos of the rare pleasures of my past, my first kiss, and Thomas. I will always treasure the time with Tommy that I was given by Jarod. I guess when I look at my situation through these new eyes I find it hard to resist the urge to hug him and whisper a thank you. But no. Emotions get in the way and make you weak. Invincible.

Of course I'd be able to leave.

I'd miss Sydney and Broots, my only true friends now.
I've known Syd since before I can even remember. When I stayed at the Centre with Daddy as a child, I was always in his office. I either talked about Mama or asked about Jarod. He would even let me go see him. I guess I must have really annoyed him. Dr. Spock really needs a life outside of The Centre, The Chuckle Hut, his favorite science project, and me. I can tell that he counts me as his daughter just like he includes Jarod as his son. To this day he still stops our bickering and teasing like before. He is still our "father". Daddy could never compete.

Broots is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. A nervous, studdering, pitiful coward, but a nice guy just the same. He wouldn't hurt a flea; he probobaly couldn't if he tried. I long for the day that he can have a conversation with me without a studder in it. Though, I do enjoy my overwhelming power I have over the canary. I've heard about his fantasy dreams about me. But he's more like a little brother. Atleast he's not a phycopathic, cannibalistic, murdering sociopath. I just need to get him a plastic cover for his chair for all the coffee spills and we'll be on civil terms. He will back me up all the way no matter how much I intimide him. And Debbie is just a perfect niece. She's a great kid. Before I met her I thought that I hated all kids. Kids are loud, don't stay still, make a mess, and ask too many questions that I don't want to answer. They're just disasters waiting to happen. She proved me wrong with her childish innocence which is something only Sydney and Jarod have ever done in my life. The only ones that can and will crack the black ice I've layered myself in. Black ice is the most dangerous kind.

Jarod. Jarod, my best friend, love, and enemy. Enemy. Well, he is getting what he deserved by leaving The Centre. He's their property and he needs to get used to it.

But still,
Is my freedom worth Jarod's?
He'll understand; annoyingly he always does.
No guilt.

AN: Feedback is appreciated. :-*

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