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First-ever Pretender Fic please be kind
AN: The dates I used are estimations based on some of the episodes. I'm not sure when Jarod escaped. So I am assuming it was sometime before the series premiered in September of 1996. The episodes I used for the various dates in the story and occasionally make reference to are, in chronological order, Ranger Jarod, Gigolo Jarod, Red Rock Jarod, Wake Up, Ties That Bind, Junk , The Pretender 2001, and The Island of the Haunted movie.
AN2: The format of chapter 1 was inspired by The Secret, a fic written by Mandy a while back. It's not on fanfic(dot)net because hers was full of smutty goodness. And sadly, Mandy's work isn't archived here. Mine sadly, does not have the smut, but I liked the idea of using some of the episodes as plot points for Parker's secrets over the years. Hope you enjoy.
Chapter 1: Secrets
She went back to the Centre Security room on SL-8, looked at the monitors and saw Jarod, Alex, and Eddie making their way to the boiler room. She re-set the cameras showing continuous loops of days gone by and programmed the alarm system to malfunction for forty-five minutes, giving the Pretenders enough time to make their way out of the Centre.
She put her fingers on the glass of the monitor. "Be safe my friend. Find your family." She whispered.
Making her way back to her office, she made a secure call. "What's your ETA? Good, two miles up you should see him, about 6'2", 180. You have the cash to send him on his way. Great. Thanks Todd."
Two hours later, her phone at home rang. "What?!" She answered. "Yes Daddy, I'll be in shortly."
She was smoking a cigarette at a diner in Oregon, TolucaNational Park to be exact. Wonderful, she thought to herself; leave it to Jarod to come to the most godforsaken places. There wasn't even a bar in town that served a decent single malt scotch.
She looked over at a table where Nia Perdon was seated having breakfast. Nia was too distracted given her lovesick look to notice her sitting at the counter because she wasn't dressed as she was yesterday when she and Syd interviewed her about Jarod. Parker was sitting at the counter looking like any other person at a National Park. Ball cap, pony tail through the opening in the back, flannel shirt, jeans, hiking boots. She had sent Sydney back to the Centre knowing this lead had gone cold.
She had no doubt that Jarod and Nia had a relationship, even a short one. He had called Sydney asking about sex one day leading her to wonder if Jarod had surrendered his v-card to her. She sighed; feeling dejected, as if something was stolen from her.
The door to the diner opened. She looked at the new arrival that had just walked in and took the seat right next to her. He was a good looking man, tall and very wiry build, like a runner, late thirties, early forties. Dark hair cut short, flannel shirt, jeans, hiking boots. Blue eyes encased in wire rimmed glasses. His eyes met hers and he smiled. He had an infectious smile that made her reciprocate, her dimples showing.
"It was good to hear from you." The man said.
"Glad you could make it, John." Parker said. They sat for the next twenty minutes or so making small talk about the weather, how busy their day had been good restaurants to visit. As she stood up to leave, she surreptitiously handed him a motel room key. "See you in a few." She flashed her dimples again.
She sent Sydney and Broots back home to the Centre, again their lead on Boy Wonder was cold. She was at a bar, a block away from Bucky LaFontaine's. He had written a book for her, she hadn't had time to read it yet, if she ever would. It was pretty sad that she was in this seedy bar in downtown Detroit this close to Valentine's day. It sucked, but Monkey-Boy had a way of making his point, the bastard. She felt secure that she had her firearm with her as she sat and waited.
"So we meet again, John." Parker smiled at the man that took the bar stool next to her.
"Parker, I swear you take me to the best places." John flashed his infectious smile again.
"I didn't choose the locale. Just taking advantage of a diversion," she replied, dimpled smile showing.
They make small talk for a few minutes then decide to meet at a more private location later in the evening.
It was Cinco de Mayo and the last thing on Parker's mind was celebrating. She had just watched a man die because he wouldn't pull the trigger for fear of hitting her. Kyle's death nearly broke her best friend. Watching him hold his dying brother in his arms broke her heart.
Broots and Sydney were sent home to the Centre, once again empty handed of both Lyle and Jarod. Where Jarod disappeared to, she didn't know. He left with Kyle's body and no one had a clue.
She was in a Mexican Restaurant, because, it was Arizona and it was Cinco de Mayo. Festivities were all around. She looked up and spotted John making his way towards her table. "Parker, heard you had one hell of a day."
She sighed and looked at John, "Here's some interesting reading material for your boys in DC and Virginia." She said as she stood up and walked out. John was concerned about Parker. The last couple of years have not been easy on her.
Another Cinco de Mayo and Parker was not in a celebratory mood again. John was heading on his way to a bar in downtown Dover. As he was walking into the bar he noticed that Parker was already there, looking three sheets to the wind. He had heard about Thomas, knowing the man meant a lot to his colleague, he felt sorry for her pain. He hung back as he noticed a man sit down across the table from her. This, he knew, was Jarod, her current prey and one time best friend.
John watched and kept an eye on Parker. She was laughing and crying at the same time. He stood close to where the couple was sitting and overheard bits of the conversation.
"I was thinking more along the lines of a cup of coffee and a cab. What's so funny?" Jarod asked.
"This. You and me. I spend 80% of my life hunting you and the second I stop you sit down in my lap," Parker replied.
"I guess as much as we both like to deny it, we're both just two pieces of the same puzzle."
"And quite a grotesque little puzzle it's turned out to be. Have a drink with me, Jarod, while I'm still buyin'. Another round here for me and..." John saw Jarod wave his hand no to the bartender. "Oh come on, good buddy Jarod. Boy genius." Parker continued slurring her words.
"I realize you're in pain and I'm very sorry for what has happened. But if you're going to find out who really killed Thomas, you're going to have to keep your wits about you."
". . . The man the police think killed Thomas Gates died of a drug overdose in his cell less than one hour ago. Missing pieces . . . Miss Parker . . . Missing pieces." Jarod said and got up. Before leaving, John noticed that Jarod told the bartender to make sure Parker got home in once piece.
After ensuring that Jarod had indeed left, John walked up to Parker's table. She looked up at John and just shook her head. He sat down. "I'm sorry Miss Parker. I wish you didn't have to go through this . . . I saw Jarod leave. Heard what he had to say. If you need help with any of that, you'll let me know right?"
Parker nodded her head. "I left something for you with the bartender. Have a drink on me, I'm going home."
"John, why do we always meet at bars? Can't we just meet at some random airport switch brief cases then go back home? I'm getting really tired of this coat and dagger crap. Four years of this and it's getting old. I'm getting old."
John smiled at Parker, happy to see her dimples once again. It had been awhile since he had seen them. "You look pretty hot for an old lady. It's all up to you. You're calling the shots on this one."
"Every time I think I have my answers, more questions pop up. I keep finding more and more atrocious projects the Centre's gotten into. John, they got a young boy hooked on drugs so they could make it more addictive. . . " Parker recalled the DSA's showing a teenaged Jarod suffering from severe withdrawal. "You'll find it all here. I just feel there's more. As scary as that is, I know there's more."
"Finally, we're in my stomping grounds Parker. No hopping on a last minute flight to BFE, USA to meet at some seedy bar." John said as he sat down at Parker's table. They were at a WashingtonDC bar close to the FBI building. This quest has taken its toll on her. He can tell. The lies, half-truths, and mind games the Centre had perpetuated was getting to her. "You okay?"
"I've had one hell of a year John. Let's see, uhm delivered my baby brother. Find out that I have another brother oh and that Dr. Frankenstein shot my mother in cold blood minutes, mere minutes after she delivered my younger brother. Almost get blown up on a DC train. One of the other Pretenders that escaped with Jarod was still alive and apparently knows more about my family tree than I do. I find out my father may not really be my father and is now in a catatonic state so that I can't even talk to him. Anymore branches fall out of my family tree and I swear it will be over; answers or not. I give it a few more months then I'm calling it quits. Next time we meet, it will be in some tropical island somewhere. Hawaii sounds good or the Bahamas." She shoved a thick stack of papers to John.
"For once, can we at least have something to eat?" John called out to her. She just waved her hand and continued out the door.
"Hey, you said the next time we would meet it would be in a tropical island." John said as he saw Parker, as he and another man sat at the table she had acquired for them.
"I hope you brought someone who can work on this side of the pond," Parker said as John sat down.
"I always keep my promises. This is Agent Milford from the CIA."
John had suspected that this might be it. When he had talked to her upon her return from Scotland, he had sensed a change in her; a weariness and tiredness that hadn't been there before. He wasn't sure what happened in Scotland, because his and Miss Parker's relationship didn't delve into the personal. He does know that Jarod was with her, whether intentional or not, he wasn't sure. He had also heard about the unfortunate death of her baby brother.
He had been working with Miss Parker five years now. The last time he had seen her in WashingtonDC she had hinted that she was almost done with her quest. He realized that this might be the last meeting he would ever have with Parker. He knew that as soon as she passed on the last of the information to him and to the CIA that she would just disappear.
Instinctively, John reached out to hug Miss Parker. "It was a pleasure working with you Miss Parker." John said feeling her tense for a brief moment, and then relax into his embrace. "Take care of yourself," He whispered.
"I always do. Thank you, John," she replied.
"Did you get your answers Parker?" John called out.
"No, but I'm done waiting," she said as she walked away. "I'm changing the ending of this story."
John saw her make a quick call then hang up. He was certain that she would smash that phone as soon as she got some distance away.
"Ethan, it's me. Margaret is in London." Parker said as she hung up her phone.
Walking through the airport, she caught snippets of news coming from the various TV screens. Pausing for just a minute, she glanced at the screens and smiled with satisfaction and continued to her destination.
CNN News: "Sources say the major corporation out of Blue Cove, Delaware has been the subject of several investigations for some time. Yet only now, do authorities have enough evidence to make a move on this national threat."
". . . biggest conspiracy . . . human rights violations . . . . murder . . . kidnapping . . . extortion . . . bribery . . . " the news went on, listing all the charges the Centre faced.
"You will see key Centre personnel being escorted into FBI vehicles for transport . . . William Raines . . . Lyle Parker . . ."
International News Africa: "The joint operation between CIA and Other International Agencies has finally come to an end with the surrender of Triumvirate forces in Africa. Instrumental in the downfall was an insider whose identity is a very closely guarded secret. The insider, an expert in the operations of the Triumvirate worked closely with the CIA. Dozens of children, kidnapped by the Triumvirate for the sole purpose of creating assassins were rescued from conditions that were far from ideal and labeled inhumane by many sources. If you will recall the Triumvirate had strong ties with an American Corporation called the Centre. The Centre was taken down last month by the FBI."
AN: The death of Baby Parker referred to in this chapter isn't "canon" if you will, just in case you all were wondering. The story continues in the next chapter. Please leave a review and let me know what you thought . . .