The Pretender
A Xenocide Production

AN: Not much to say here. Just a pathetically melancholy 'whozzit?' oneshot. I like to let my readers draw their own conclusions. Sorry for the shortness. In the middle of continuing IO6 and starting a new TwentyTruths format fic.

Enjoy, and drop me a line.

Summary: What is more shameful? The liar or the lie he tells?


A man sat down on the shores of a lake one day.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon. The clouds were drifting serenely, the wind was blowing playfully, and the dappled shadows of the trees, cast by the warm sun, danced merrily on the sandy beach.

It was a perfect day, by any other standard. But to him, there was something missing. Something that seemed to tug on the corners of his heart and make him feel melancholy for that missing piece of his soul.

She was supposed to be there, sitting at his side. She was supposed to be there, leaning against his arm. She was supposed to be there, her hand entwined loosely with his own. She was supposed to be there, a source of warmth and comfort to him whenever a cloud would pass over the sun.

But she was not.

She was gone, a dream that slipped wistfully between his fingers, and drifted mournfully on the wind.

Instead, there were only the shadows, the sun, and the wind to keep him company. Hardly any sort of desired companions for a man who yearned for the warmth of her.

He laid back into the soft sand, hands clasped behind his head.

He closed his eyes and pretended. Sometimes pretending was all he had, and so he had become very good at it.

So, there she was lying next to him, one hand propping up her head and the other tracing intricate patterns in the sand. She was silent, as she always was, but somehow that made her all the more tangible to him.

He opened his mouth and began to speak.

He spoke of trivial things, how his day had gone, what bad and good things had happened to him, and all the things that would normally be unimportant, except for the fact that he was talking to her.

"I miss you, you know." He stared at the clouds as he talked. He was always afraid to look at her, as if that one careless act would make her disappear forever. "I don't know how that can be true. I mean, we do talk mostly every day."

He could feel her smile. He was good at pretending, it seemed.

"Is it possible to miss someone you've never met? Is it possible to form such a deep bond with someone you've never laid eyes on? A person you see every day with your eyes but haven't seen with your heart?"

She didn't answer his questions, but she was there. And that was enough.

"There's not a day that goes by that you aren't in my mind, drifting in and out of the edges of my consciousness. Is that obsession? Is that love? Or is it something else?"

She only moved even closer, so close that he could smell the vanilla in her hair, and almost taste the sweetness that permeated her silky skin. He was good at pretending.

For the first time since he had met her, he rolled over to meet her eyes.

Softly he mumbled, "Do you feel the same? Or are you pretending as well?"

She smiled, and opened her mouth to speak. He didn't hear her. He was good at pretending.