Disclaimers: "The Pretender" and its characters do not belong to me they belong to TNT and NBC and are being used without permission. Please don't sue because I have no money.

Christmas

By: 24

Dover, Delaware

Jarod walked down the street looking at all the windows and the things around him. Everything was decorated for Christmas and he loved to see all of it. He liked the lights and the good cheer that everyone was experiencing this time of year. He liked almost everything about Christmas except that it was for family and he couldn't find his family. The family that was taken from him at a young age, the family that he really didn't know. He looked at the happy faces of a husband, wife and their two young children and then looked at another couple with four children. They were so happy. He looked at them in wonder and an ache filled his heart because this is what he could never have. He could never experience shopping with his mom, dad or siblings. Only because the Centre tore them away from him, Lyle killed his little brother and he didn't even know his sister. He would never experience this type of belonging and he never would.

Miss Parker stepped out of one of the many shops that she stopped in. She was shopping for Christmas presents for her father, Sydney, Broots and Debbie. She turned to go down the sidewalk when she saw him. She saw Jarod. She watched as he stopped and looked at a young couple with two children and then another couple with four. His face was troubled and he had a pained look in his eyes. He was probably thinking about what he could never have. The family that he was stolen from when he was younger.

He turned to walk down the sidewalk once more. He didn't even know that Miss Parker was following him because he was so engrossed in what he was thinking. He walked to the local park and sat on the bench. He brought his legs up on the bench put his arms around them and put his face on his knees. He watched as families played with their children and a tear ran down his face.

Miss Parker kept her distance not wanting to alert him that she was following. She watched as he sat on the bench and put his face on his knees. Then she saw a tear slide down his face. She left her gun at the Centre not knowing that she would run into the elusive pretender. Walking up to him she stood there not wanting to spook him.

Jarod felt a presence beside him and knew instinctively that it was Miss Parker. He wasn't up to putting much of a fight today.

"Hello Miss Parker. How did you find me?" He asked not taking his eyes off the family he was watching.

"Actually, I was shopping for presents for Sydney, my father, Broots and Debbie. I came out of the store and saw you, so I decided to follow you."

"I'm not going back."

"I know Jarod. I'm not taking you back today. I don't have my gun, or sweepers."

He looked up then and looked around. She was telling the truth and then he looked back at her.

She saw the pain in his eyes as he checked to see if she was telling the truth. Then his eyes turned to her and the pain was still there.

"What do you want?"

"Can I sit down?"

"Go ahead."

"You miss them don't you?"

"Yes, but I don't know why. It's not like I was raised with them. How can I miss people that I don't even know?"

"Because they are your parents. You love them just the same as if you were raised with them."

"I didn't even get the chance to know my sister, or brother, but I still love and miss them."

"I know."

"Do you think that if I wasn't taken that I would love my parents and my siblings?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because of who you are. You are generous and giving."

"Yes, but it was because I had Sydney in my life not my dad. Would I still be the same?"

"I think you would be." She was quiet for a minute "Jarod."

"Yes."

"You do have family at the Centre you know."

"What?"

"Sydney is almost like your father. He was the one that raised you. I'm not saying that he's a better father than your father, but he's been with you every step of your life. And you have me to."

He looked into her eyes and saw the truth there.

"Thank you, Miss Parker."

"For what?"

"For reminding me that I still have family. If not my real family, but my adopted one as well."

"You're welcome Jarod. Merry Christmas Jarod."

"Merry Christmas to you too, Miss Parker."

She got up and smiled at him and left.

He stared at her in wonder and then smiled at her retreating figure. It was indeed a Merry Christmas.

The End