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Story Notes:

CATEGORY: A twisted romance with a lot of drama and angst and pain and, well... it IS revenge after all.
SPOILER: Everything, I suppose.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, sadly. Not making money out of this, either.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a... twisted love story. It’s not the regular romance, per se, where both parties struggle with the sentiment, but basically one where both parties are forced to dwell in it, “it” being there or not, which by the way, doesn’t mean necessarily they’ll act on it. It’s a little confusing, but I can’t really explain without giving the plot away. It’ll be obvious with the first chapter. 

This idea popped into my head suddenly and I figured 'why not'. I have written dozen of The Pretender fanfics, but that was years ago, and this is the first one I'm posting. It’s not my first fanfic ever; as I have posted several for other fandoms, so hopefully this won’t be too off the writing charts. Reviews are most welcome and received with squeals.  

And, sadly, this was not beta read. So any and all mistakes are my fault. If anyone volunteers to be my beta, you'll be welcome. :) 

Thanks for reading!


The glass started to feel heavy and her hand faltered for only a second. She tried to grip the half empty glass tighter and ignore the sudden relaxing feeling washing through her body as she raised her hand to her lips to gulp the rest of the scotch down. Please, only one more gulp and she'd be done.

As she did so, she finally lost the grip and the sudden very heavy glass fell on the carpeted floor, the content spilling soundlessly. It was only when her vision blurred and she didn't have strength to bring her hands up to rub her eyes that worry hit her senses like freezing water had been thrown on her face while she was sleeping.

All she had wanted upon arriving home was a nice full glass of alcohol and drink herself to sleep, forget the mandatory stressful day at The Centre, forget Lyle's smug grin as "Daddy" (as he so eloquently reminded her frequently) gave her yet another one of his warning speeches about bringing Jarod back in and her endless failure of doing so. The chase was making him more than irritable and he wanted results now. She had been this close from giving the oxygen-depraved ghoul a little piece of her mind but was stopped shortly when Sydney interrupted. For her sake. Her father wasn’t there anymore; there was no one now to be as tolerant towards her as Mr. Parker had once been. She was on her own.

Close calls were getting more frequent and in shorter amounts of time. Jarod was teasing, she knew, he was playing with them now, more than ever, and it was being enough to drive William Raines up the wall, and consequently bringing everyone with him, specially Lyle with his let’s play nice façade. If truth were to be told, she'd have admitted right then that it was partly her fault as she had started being a little reckless on the chase. Her heart wasn't in it anymore and since Carthis, catching Jarod seemed a very, very distant future that would never happen. Not unless he allowed her of such. Which he never would. He seemed to notice the change in her because it caused him to contact them more, taunt her more, and many more late night house calls with more warmth and less venom from her part.

She would never admit it, (not even under oath or some drug induced state, or even if Jesus himself resurrected again) but she actually enjoyed the calls. Jarod was the only thing tying her to her past, to the part of herself that had been hibernating since her mother had died. And only during such calls did she allow that side to peek out. It was her refuge. And now with the rules turned upside down, God knew what would wait for her, for both of them, if she did ever bring Jarod back. She knew his freedom for hers was a long lost deal and she wasn’t expecting such. It was now, bluntly put, his freedom for her life.

Using the armrest of the couch she was sitting on for support she tried to stand, but it was turn to her feet to falter. Like a drunk, she took a few seconds resting her body against the armrest before she attempted to take a step. It seemed like the simplest tasks required all her will power.

If only she could make it to her bedroom she could lie down and sleep it off; whatever 'it' was. But godamnit, even her cells were starting to fell numb.

"What’s the problem, Miss Parker? Feeling a little dizzy?"

The sudden voice floating to her sounded like in a dream, or maybe as if she were under water. The intonation changed with each syllable and she tried to focus on the source as her mind went into confused synapses. Even through her daze she could feel the smile pouring forth from the male's lips. "Jarod, you idiot. What did you do now?" If she weren’t trying so hard to keep her body upright, she'd have been impressed with the way her voice hadn't slurred.

"I'm so sorry." The voice carried a tone of enjoyment and sneer, and briefly she wondered if Jarod was capable of carrying such cruelty in his voice. "But unfortunately for you, it's not your boyfriend."

Taking his time, the presence slowly came into her blurred view, the metal suddenly glistening under the room's lightening momentarily blinding her. A gun, she managed to make out, loosely hanging from the man's hand. The surprise in her face was evident.

"You-" Her eyes went as wide as her current state permitted, which made her look rather comically, her mouth went slightly agape.

"-Are supposed to be dead?" He finished for her, flashing her a devious grin. "Surprise."

"What are you doing here? How did you-"

"Now, now, Miss Parker." He put his free hand up, stopping her upcoming annoying questionnaire, the grin widening. The surprise covering her expression was more than he had expected and every cell of his body was tingling with excitement. Priceless. "Did you really think I was going to die so easily?"

Her silence and confusion were her only reply, and served to spur him on. The sigh of a bewildered, vulnerable Miss Parker was pleasing him in more ways than he could imagine. He kept his grin in place, his 9 mm in her sight.

"What did you do to me?" Standing was becoming a very difficult task by now, her limbs slightly giving away under the weight of her body, weaker and weaker by the second to the point of not being able to support her anymore.

Alex lowered himself onto the chair across from the couch Miss Parker was half occupying, bringing his feet up to rest on the coffee table between them, and crossed his legs at the ankles. He let out a deeply, loudly sigh.

"What did you do to me?" The silence she had gotten as a response the first time raised her annoyance, and she was actually surprised at how her voice came out, loud and demanding, not sure where the strength had come from. Her head was starting to spin.

He rolled his eyes. "Cut the drama, Miss Parker. I added a mild sedative to your alcohol. Soon the full effect is gonna kick in and you're going to sleep peacefully. You'll be good as new in a few hours, though."

She eyed him carefully, suspiciously, the weight of her body duplicating, even breathing seemed a difficult work, tiring. She eased herself onto the couch, unable to stand any longer; keeping her head up was being impossible, and like a new born she had caught herself losing control of her neck, and a couple of times had to snap back into check, bringing her head back up and not let it rest against the back to the couch. She couldn't afford to lose Alex out of her sight.

"I could still have taken you down, knocked you off, tied you up." He shrugged. "But then, I couldn't take any chances of you trying to reach your gun." He saw her steal a glance at her own 9 mm, lying atop the drink cabinet, just where she had laid it upon arriving home. She silently cursed herself and her negligence.

"So I suppose I should thank you?" The sarcasm dripped off her tongue like venom, even in her daze.

He spread his arms out, as if she had finally understood. "Exactly."

She snorted rather ungracefully and realized that the movement sent jolts of pain to her already spinning head. She groaned softly, and used all her strength to bring one hand up to her head. She felt as if she had just woken up after a night of free alcohol party. That feeling she knew a lot of. "This-this isn't just a sedative."

Alex shrugged again. "I made a few modifications of my own, not that it matters to you." He replied with disinterest.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes; the dim light of her living room was starting to be a bother. She wasn't feeling well. "Alex, you son of a bitch, what did you give me?"

"Nothing that will kill you." And gracing her with a sadistic smile, he added, "You'll be conscious when the time comes." Clearing his throat, he stood, stretching like a cat and made a show of checking his wrist watch. "Anyway, you'll be out in no time."

For the first time tonight, since she saw him, Miss Parker really felt fear wash her senses. It stormed down her spine, took a stop at her gut and curled around her toes; every hair on her body was raised in attention. She knew he wasn't someone to play with. He had killed people, he had killed those undercover agents, he had killed the other pretender, wanted to kill Jarod and almost succeeded in killing her former father. All for revenge. She also knew he wouldn't hesitate to kill her should the moment arise. He wouldn't blink twice before doing so. But she also knew that for him not having killed her already, it only meant he wanted something first, and that she could use to her advantage. Buy time. Think of a plan.

Not right now, though, because right now her mind was taking a hundred turns at a time, a hundred thoughts mixing and mingling and breaking and forming. A hundred feelings running through her veins. What had he given her?

"You look troubled, Miss Parker. What's on your mind?"

"What do you want?"

His face darkened and all traces of his sociopath bliss vanished. "Revenge."

She almost laughed at that. "Wow, now that’s such a surprise." Maybe she would have laughed if she weren’t so under the effects of whatever drug Alex had used. "Didn't you get the memo, though? Father dearest is already dead. You're kind of late."

He chuckled, a deep, cruel laughter that sent another jolt of fear to pinprick down her spine. The voices in her head started whispering all at once; increasing the pain she was already feeling. Momentarily she thought if that was how Ethan felt.

"It's not Mr. Parker I want."


"This is Sydney."

"Do you think everyone has a soul mate out there?"

"Jarod." He acknowledged his protégé with a soft greeting, a smile gracing his lips.

"And how do you even know if you have one and who it is?"

Ignoring the question, the psychiatrist made one of his own, curiosity grabbing at the corners of his voice. "Have you met someone, Jarod?" Early in his escape, when he was still basically a baby into the world, he'd call with similar inquiries, feelings and thoughts and images that never before were an issue, attacking his senses with an overbearing power and he'd seek Sydney for help. Things he couldn't understand. After so many years he'd think that by now Jarod would be aware of everything and those before very silly questions and doubts would have faded into bigger ones. But then, the soul mate subject was something that bothered every human being. Is there someone so perfectly right out there for me?

Jarod let out a smile of his own. "I have been watching too many... 'chick flicks' as the female population seems to call it. In every one the perfect, unfairly pained beautiful young lady meets her soul mate only to have Fate, or Life, do everything to keep them apart, until things turn out right and she can finally "fix" whatever is wrong with her soul mate."

"That sounds like an accurate description."

"Well, do you?"

Sydney took a moment to think, considering the answers he could give Jarod and what his reaction from each would be. What was the right reply? What was it that he believed? "Yes, I do believe there is someone out there for us, the "other half" if you call it, or soul mate."

"But how do you even know if that’s the one?"

This time Sydney sighed honestly lost at what to say. This time he didn't even have an answer for himself. "I don't know, Jarod. I suppose you just... know."

Jarod was in silence, digesting his mentor's reply. When he had called his attention was divided; he was, indeed, curious about these so famous chick flicks, but the other half of him just wanted to get in touch with Sydney, it had been a while and as much as it pained him to admit, he missed his father figure.

"I'm sorry if I can't be of more help, Jarod, but I'm afraid this is one of life's mysteries."

"You have helped enough, Sydney." And with that the goodbye he left was a dial tone.

The moment he dropped his cell phone onto the mattress, his laptop beeped, announcing the arrival of a new e-mail. He wasn't expecting anything. Curious, he took the laptop from the bedside table and placed it on his lap, moving the cursor to the right box, and soon opened his e-mail inbox. There were a few older read messages that he hadn’t bothered to delete, but at the top of the inbox was the new arrival. A ‘No Subject’ marked the title and Jarod frowned. There wasn’t anything especially suspicious, but he just had a bad feeling brushing against his nape. His father and Angelo usually titled their messages, and he didn’t know of anyone else that had his e-mail address.

He clicked on it, and the page faded into the e-mail itself. There was a video attached and a lone phrase in the content, ‘for your viewing pleasure’. He hesitated before downloading the video, considering the possibilities of it being just a virus. But then, he rarely got any viruses, if ever, let alone Spam e-mails. His curiosity was peaking in its high top, though –curiosity killed the cat, still, he clicked on it and waited for the download to finish.

All the while he couldn’t shake the feeling on his spine that was raising every hair on his body. He knew it wasn’t going to be a good thing.

Once the download was done, it started playing automatically, the screen changing from the white of the page to the black of the video. For the first few seconds all there was, was a black screen staring back at him, until it changed into a colored focus of someone’s face that was too close for recognition as the unidentified person fixed the right angle of the camera. Once it seemed right, the person stepped back and Jarod gaped at the sight. There was s moment, afterwards, in which his heart sped up considerably, his teeth clenched and his anger came forth. There was also a tiny stinging fear that came with the knowing.

“Hello there, Jarod!” Alex exclaimed with false cheerfulness, the steel of his voice making Jarod’s eyes darken. “Boy, you must be so happy to see me, huh? I’m sure you have plenty of questions twirling around in that genius brain of yours, so to make this short, I’m going straight to the point,” At that Alex’s voice hardened, his expression changing to one of maniacal anger. “I want you, and I’m going to have you, and I’m not even gonna have to ask.” He smiled and the gesture brought a wave of nausea to Jarod’s insides. This can’t be good.

Alex stepped back and to the side, into the peripherical corner of the screen, revealing the lone figure hanging to the far back. It made Jarod’s heart nearly stop. No, he groaned inwardly. Damn it. He almost cursed out lout, but years of training taught him to keep his temper in check, at least superficially. He could feel his blood pumping faster inside his veins; his breath became shorter and faster, and his expression became harsh. Damn it!

He took a moment to assess Miss Parker’s condition; her wrists were bound tightly together, a chain around them was being used to hang her to a ceiling hook. Her face was bent down, her dark hair curtaining her features, sweat visible as tresses were stuck about her face, specially on her forehead and cheeks; her bare feet hardly touching the ground. Black leather mini skirt and a silk button up purple blouse that was wrinkled but still tucked inside her skirt. Her skin was too pale, and he couldn’t help but think if she ever took some time to get a little sunshine.

She was unconscious, but otherwise unscathed. Good.

Alex made his way over to Miss Parker, and brought his gun up, poking her unconscious face; his threat evident. If she had been awake, she’d have given him the death glare, Jarod thought. “You have 48 hours, Jarod. You come and she won’t be hurt in the mean while. And you’ll come alone, Jarod. I’m not kidding.” And to emphasize his point, he grabbed a fistful of her hair, her head rolling towards him with no restraints, and pressed the gun firmly under her chin. “I’m not kidding.” He repeated, then let her go and walked towards the camera to shut it off. The screen turned black.

As fast as lightening, Jarod’s mind thought through thousands of calculations, formulating and discarding one course of action after another, each simulated to fit a different set of contingencies. His heart was beating as fast as his mind was working.

First things first, he had to find out his location. He had 48 hours to find out where Alex was holding Miss Parker and get there hoping she’d be all right and then get her out.

He played the video again, this time ignoring the taunting voice of Alex, and the unsettling sight of an unconscious Miss Parker, focusing on the layout of the place, the building, the lack of furniture, the entrances and exists visible during the short minutes of video feed. Anything that could give him a clue. He played the video once more, then again, and again, and again, until he had every detail recorded in his memory, until he could visualize the space without watching the video again, without even closing his eyes, until he had every inch mapped out in his brain.

He couldn’t shake the faint terror and revulsion that insisted in invading his thoughts and feelings, as fragments of what Alex would do to her in case Jarod didn’t follow through with his plan appeared in his mind. He knew there was a small possibility Alex could be alive, but it never crossed his mind that, in case he was indeed alive, he would take Miss Parker to further his agenda, and consequently making Jarod’s negligence towards her safety widen.

He tried to focus on the current task: find out a location. And he had 48 hours to do so with only the video sent to him as a clue.

48 hours to find her.

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