Disclaimer: "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.

Author's Note: This one follows the last one. It's the same concept except it's the family's first Christmas together.

The First Christmas

By: 24

Jarod stepped out into the cold, chilly air with the bags in his arms. He had finished his Christmas shopping and was ready to head home. He remembered back when he escaped the first year and someone told him that Christmas wasn't that fun without family. He agreed with the man and was happy that this time he was going to have his family with him.

He quickly walked to his car, put his things in and drove away. He reached for the radio and turned it on listening to Christmas music he made his way home. As he turned into the drive he saw his clone playing basketball. Maybe after putting the gifts in his room he would play with him. He got out of the car and bounded up the stairs and into the house. He quickly went upstairs and put his things away and went back downstairs and out the door.

"Hey can I play?"

"Sure."

They played basketball while inside Margaret listened and watched the two.

"Have you ever experienced Christmas?"

Margaret remembered what he said at Thanksgiving and wondered what he would say now.

"When I first escaped I did volunteer at an orphanage and found out about Santa Clause. I read this book called Twas the Night before Christmas and had to ask someone about how Santa could go from one place to another giving out presents. She kind of looked at me strangely and then told me about it. I was also pretending in a morgue trying to find out who killed Christmas George a poor man who gave his money to the orphanage so the kids would always have presents. I was also trying to find out who a young girl was. While I was there I was given a fruitcake. Is that getting a present? Once Sydney gave me a snow globe that had the Empire State building in it. I don't know if that was Christmas or not. "

"I remember having Thanksgiving with dad and we went to a restaurant and we had turkey and the fixings. Dad gave me presents and we decorated a tree."

"I remember someone saying about decorating a tree, but I've never did that."

"Well, we'll do that and I'll show you how to decorate a tree."

Jarod smiled as he made a basket.

A week later.

Major Charles, Jarod, Jeremy, Margaret and Emily went to go pick out the tree. After bringing it home they put it in the Christmas tree holder and put water in it. They put the lights on it and Margaret got out the ornaments out. She opened it and they all put them up. Jeremy got the silver tinsel out and Jarod looked at it.

"What is that?"

"It's tinsel."

"Why do you put tinsel on the tree?" He asked his young clone.

"Because it looks pretty. We put the tinsel on it last time and it looks nice." Replied Jeremy.

"Oh, okay."

"This is how you do this." He grabbed some of the tinsel and showed Jarod how to do this.

Jarod grabbed some of the tinsel himself and tried it too he smiled as he did this for the first time.

After they finished they turned on the Christmas tree lights and awed and ohhed at the tree.

"That was fun."

"See I told you."

Later the same night.

After everyone had their dinner and went their separate ways Jarod went back upstairs and wrapped his presents. He hoped that they would like what he brought them. He really didn't know what they liked because he really hasn't spent much time with them. After he was done he carried the presents downstairs and put them under the tree then turned to find out what his dad and his clone were watching.

Next week.

It was almost Christmas and Jarod was excited. He saw that the presents under the tree were building and he was curious to see who's they were and whom they were from. There were some from his parents to all their children, some from Emily to all of them and some from his clone to all of them and of course there were his that he had put there.

He smiled as he walked away knowing that this was indeed going to be a good Christmas because they were all together. He went out the door and took a walk looking all around him. This was his second Holiday that he would be celebrating and he was happy about it. Finally after many years of heartache they had found each other and were finally reunited. Holidays were for family and it was no fun to celebrate alone.

That night

Jarod sat in the dark with the tree lights on watching them blink on and off. He was surprised when a voice spoke up from behind him.

"What are you doing up?"

"Just watching the lights and thinking."

"About what son?"

"About how many years we spent apart and now we are finally a family."

"It's amazing isn't it?"

"Yes, it is Mom."

"I've never been allowed to experience any kind of Holiday inside the Centre because it just wasn't allowed. They didn't want the pretenders to know about anything that was going on in the world around them because it might make them want to escape. They weren't allowed junk food or anything good either. That is why I like pez, Twinkies, chips, ice cream and other junk food because that was denied to me. All I got to eat in there was wheat grass stewed with tomatoes."

"I'm so sorry, Jarod."

"It's not your fault Mom. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if there was no Centre and I wasn't kidnapped and held captive all those years."

"I don't know, Jarod. I wish I had all the answers, but I don't. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like too."

"It's not your fault that they took me."

"I know, but sometimes I feel like it is. Should I have not gone to sleep that night and checked up on you. Should I have looked to see if there was anyone lurking around?"

"It's not your fault I don't blame you."

"I know. Jarod you are such a good man."

"No, I'm not."

"Why do you say that?"

"I was responsible for a lot of death and destruction while I was in The Centre. When I found out that they were killing and hurting people from my Sims I just knew that I had to get out of there because I couldn't have anymore innocent blood on my hands. When I got out I started doing various pretends trying to make up for everything that I've done."

"Jarod, it's not your fault. You had no way of knowing what they were doing to your Sims."

"I'm a genius I'm supposed to know everything."

"Jarod, it's not your fault."

She gathered him in her arms and comforted her oldest son while he cried.

Major Charles stood in the darkened doorway as he listened to everything that was said then walked away to the bedroom. A few minutes later Margaret came in and went to bed too.

"Is he going to be okay?"

"You were listening?"

"Yes."

"I think he's going to be fine. He just needed to talk about it and then cry. He's been locked up for so long in that place in the dark where there was no one to love him. He needs to be back in the light."

"I think Sydney loves him in his own way. He did save Jeremy from the same fate as Jarod. I think that Sydney thinks of Jarod as his son, but can't express it because of the Centre. I also think that Sydney tried to protect him as best as he could. I also think that Jarod also views him as a father figure."

"What do you think of that?"

"I think that Jarod is lucky to have two fathers that care for him."

Christmas Morning.

Jeremy raced to each of the room knocking on them and yelling for everyone to wake up. Margaret was already in the kitchen making pancakes and Major Charles was frying the bacon and the eggs.

Jarod, Emily and Jeremy came into the kitchen.

Jarod was the first to speak. "Merry Christmas everyone."

"Merry Christmas Jarod."

After a healthy breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes, orange juice and toast they went into the living room to open their presents. Jarod's smile grew as he opened the presents from his mother, father, sister and clone. He was handed his stocking and emptied it too.

Jarod watched as everyone opened their presents and smiled again as he thought this is how it's going to be every Holiday and everyday. For the second time this year he was truly happy now that his family was back together again.

The End.