Author's notes: Over the past 8 months or so, I've been getting more and more back into the show 'The Pretender'. (A video store that was going out of business had the season 2 box set on sale for 25 bucks.) Anyway, I started thinking and I wondered what would happen if the doctor whose philosophy is 'everybody lies' meets the man whose whole life is built on lies.

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HOUSE, M.D.: Who We Pretend to Be

(Pretender crossover)

There was something about Dr. Jarod Laurence that seemed to automatically inspire trust.

At least that was Dr. Lisa Cuddy's impression as she sat her desk and stared at the new doctor seated in front of her. Jarod Laurence's eyes seemed to hold some deep pain and loss, but when he smiled there was a sense of kindness and deep compassion. "I'm impressed," Cuddy finally said, closing the personnel file. "You're a top notch physician and you're smarter then a lot of the doctors I know." Cuddy stood and held out a hand. "Welcome to Princeton Plainsboro."

Jarod shook her hand and smiled. "Thank you very much. So where will I be assigned?"

Cuddy smiled ruefully. "You'll be working with Dr. House in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine. And I apologize in advance."

Jarod's eyebrows raised in curiousity. "Apologize for what?"

Cuddy sighed as she headed for the door, beckoning Jarod to follow. They had just entered the lobby when Cuddy saw Dr. Gregory House limp in wearing his leather jacket and leaning on his favorite cane. "Dr. House."

"Showing the new boyfriend around the place? Or looking for an empty room? Radiology is probably free. Or you could go with a clinic room?" House quipped, studying Jarod intently. Jarod tried to keep a passive expression, but there was something about the older doctor's bright blue eyes that seemed to see right through you.

"Dr. House," Cuddy said in her best 'I'm the boss so behave' voice. "This is Dr. Jarod Laurence. He'll be working in the Diagnostics Department."

There was a glint on House's eyes, something that Jarod couldn't identify as the older smiled. "Oh, goody."

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The Centere

Blue Cove, Delaware

Miss Parker couldn't believe that Bridgette had tried to kill Thomas Gates.

On the other hand… '"At least I know how to protect the ones I love."' That should have been a clue. Bridgette had seemed so gleeful…

Unfortunately, this situation proved that the Centere and the people who ran it would stop at nothing to keep her locked away. Not unless she did something drastic… Something irreversible…

Catherine Parker had killed herself… trying to escape from the life at the Centere.

But Miss Parker couldn't do that. She loved Thomas and all she wanted was to make a life with him.

"We can't go to Oregon," Thomas said, interrupting his lover's thoughts. "They know I'm heading there and that you were coming with me. They'll be waiting."

"Where can we go?" Miss Parker asked as Thomas came up behind her and wound his arms around her waist.

"Well…" Thomas said, slowly. "We could always fake our deaths."

Miss Parker eyed the drawer where she'd stashed her gun. "Great minds think alike."

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No one had seen Miss Parker all day and that made Sydney nervous, especially after the attempted murder of Thomas. Something wasn't right.

Going down to the Sim lab, Sydney saw Broots hurrying up. "Any word from Miss Parker?" Sydney asked, entering the lab.

"No," Broots replied, looking around. "I tried calling her place but no one picked up. It's weird. Like she vanished into thin air." After a moment or two, Broots whispered, "Should we go check on her?"

Sydney remained silent, trying to think. There was a chance that the scare had made Parker nervous about leaving Thomas alone… or the two had decided to spend the day together… or something or someone had decided to tie up some loose ends. "Broots, meet me out front in 10 minutes."

Broots nodded and hurried out as Sydney grabbed the phone and dialed Jarod's number.

"Hello?" Jarod asked, slightly anxious.

"Jarod, it's Sydney. I was wondering if you'd heard about what happened to Miss Parker."

"Is she alright?" Jarod asked, the anxious tones getting stronger.

"No one has heard from her since the day before yesterday," Sydney replied. "Bridgette tried to kill Thomas."

"I haven't heard anything, Sydney," Jarod replied. "But if I hear anything you'll be the first to know."

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"It's a shame to blow it up," Thomas said as he loaded his and Parker's bags into his truck.

"I know," Parker replied, sadly. "But it's the only way. Even if we just leave…"

Thomas sighed as he got behind the wheel, Parker getting in beside him. "I know. Let's get out of here. I know you wanted to make those few stops first. New Jersey, here we come."

The pick-up truck pulled away from the house and just as Broots and Sydney started heading up the drive, Miss Parkers lovely woodland home exploded in a fiery blaze.

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During lunch, Jarod had taken the time to review some of the old case files House's team had worked on. There was no true Pretend here. To Jarod, this was a working vacation. A chance to relax, but still keep his mind sharp.

The only distraction was the brief call he'd had earlier with Sydney. Thomas Gates had almost been killed—murdered—by Bridgette and now Miss Parker was missing…

"Having fun?"

Looking up, Jarod watched one of the doctors sit down across from him, a cup of coffee in his hand. "Yes, actually. I'm Dr. Jarod—"

"Jarod Laurence," the other doctor said, smiling. "I'm Dr. James Wilson. Only friend of Dr. House."

"House does seem to be the prickely sort, doesn't he?" Jarod said, and Wilson snorted into his coffee.

"That's putting it mildly."

"Don't worry," Jarod said, smiling as he thought of Miss Parker. "I'm sure House and I will get along just fine."

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