Most of the characters in this story are the property of NBC, TNT, 20th Century Fox TV, and probably other entities, and I do not have any permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended, and this story is not for profit. Feedback is most appreciated.

This is just a short glimpse into a character--no plot. I have to admit that I found The Pretender to be a somewhat silly show on prolonged viewing, but the characters were quite intriguing, and it was Angelo who snared my attention at the last.

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Sounds, voices, feelings. They all crashed in on him in jagged waves, coming and going, echoing and whispering around his skull. He did his best to ignore them when he could, and counter them when he could not. Until they called his name.

"Angelo...Angelo. Who did this?" Some object would be placed in his hands, radiating its own aura of emotion and purpose. It didn't matter how long it had been since someone had handled it; the layers would be there, his alone for the tasting. He'd fondle it, heft it, roll it back and forth between his palms. The residue would rise up about him like a bright mist, invisible to those who stood nearby, and he would let it settle over him, sink into him. There weren't many words inside him, but these moments were when they came to his lips. He didn't always listen to what he said; the object was always more interesting. And eventually, they would go away again. Sometimes they would leave the object with him, and he could delve deeper, find finer nuances. Other times they took it away, leaving him to seek out his own amusement.

The best times were when they presented him with a whole pile of stuff. He could plunge deep into the myriad flavors and textures, assembling a wide canvas of goings-on. Those who brought him these things were often impatient, unwilling to wait for the subtler shadings he could extract, but he ignored their fussing. They would get what they wanted eventually, and leave him alone again.

He lived in his own world, knowing that the others around him were different, but not why they were so. He didn't worry about it. Most of them were blurs anyway, soft-voiced figures that came occasionally, bearing things for him to unlock, then going away again.

A few stood out. Her. The sharp one. The one so bound up in anger and sadness and fear of reaching out. Before, she had spoken harshly to him, hard words that made no impact on him. Then something had happened...something he could not quite remember...something that he didn't want to remember. And now she was gentle to him. Every time she came, more sadness came with her, sadness about him.

One man, scared almost all the time, scared but with a constant stream of calculation and intelligence beneath. Not scared of Angelo, but frightened of her and of almost everyone else.

Another man. The helper. The kind one. He had patience, and he cared, but he was tied to her. He took care of Angelo when Angelo was sick.

A third man, one who smelled of death and carried sterile air with him always. Angelo didn't like him. But there was no denying him. The best thing to do was to do what he wanted so he would go away again.

Angelo had a secret, one none of those shadowy figures knew about. Not even her, not even the helper. Jarod. Jarod who laughed, who felt warm, who knew what it was like to be locked away under the world. Who had escaped.

They asked him about Jarod, again and again. Where is he? What is he doing? What is he thinking? And he gave them answers, knowing it wouldn't matter. Jarod was too smart for them to catch him. He helped Jarod when he could, when he found something Jarod should know. Jarod cared about Angelo. Sometimes he came back for a little while.

There was the world, and there was here. Sometimes it was bad here. But he knew that nothing lasted forever, not even walls, not even darkness. Someday this too would end. He would walk into the light, and know silence, and never fear again. Until then...there was always more stuff.