Disclaimer: I don't own The Pretender or its characters…

Author's note: I had never cared to speculate upon the mysterious subject of Miss Parker's name. But while watching the episode 'Faith' the other day, this notion came to me. And I had to write it, for it wouldn't leave me alone.

What's in a name?

Nothing. Everything.

Miss Parker ran her finger over the word, those four little letters she never heard uttered upon the lips of anyone, not anymore. No one had used that word since her mother had died. No one spoke her name. And with time, she had even grown accustomed to its absence, eventually never laying eyes upon it either.

She had become "Miss Parker."

It defined her precisely; an unmarried woman whose only connection to the world was a detached and distant family. A real family would use her given name, the name her mother had chosen for her. A real family would love her, not placate her with false endearments such as "angel" and "sweetheart." Even the word "sister" had become sardonic and sore for the distasteful associations it held, the memories, the man who had the right to use it.

Why wouldn't her father call his daughter, his angel, by her name? At first, all she could think of was that it displeased her father, that he hadn't agreed with momma about the name she chose for her little girl. But now, after what she had learned about the past, about her mother's past, Miss Parker was certain that her name greatly displeased her father. Oh, her mother, ever the romantic, the defiant wife, had given her a name with such irony…did her mother realize even then how disparate the name would be with Miss Parker's life, so much so that it would be removed entirely from her existence?

No, that wasn't her mother. Her mother wasn't cruel. She had been everything to her mother in a time of such deep despair, the only thing that kept the poor woman going, striving for something better. Her mother had loved her. And the name she had given her darling daughter, her treasure, her life, had reflected this.

Her eyes scanned the note once more (which had accompanied another "care package" from Jarod):

Miss Parker-

I know it's becoming more and more difficult for you to lie to yourself as you uncover the secrets the Centre holds, the secrets about our pasts, about your mother. I can only pray that you remember your mother's spirit, that she loved you, that she wanted a better future for you than the one within which you find yourself trapped.

Don't forget what you meant to her.

Don't forget who you are.


Taking a drag from her cigarette to calm her nerves, she set the note aside to read the accompanying letter once more. It was penned in the beautiful, elegant scroll of her mother's hand. Another treasure Jarod had salvaged along the way. This time she was able to get through the entirety of it without the tears spilling down her pale cheeks. It wasn't that it was a long, intimate correspondence. Rather the opposite, in fact, it was a short, endearing note, written in a hasty moment where her mother's thoughts had rested upon her beloved. Knowing the sources of information Jarod tended to root out, it was probably penned shortly before her mother did something very brave but also very foolish, in defiance of the Centre and her father.

My Beloved,

I write this not knowing whether you should ever receive it, if things do not go according to plan. I am doing something perhaps unwise, and most certainly ill-advised. And should I not return to you this night, I know you will blame me for being so careless as to leave you without a mother.

But know that I love you dearly. And what I do must be done. I am only giving others that which you have given me, my darling, beloved Hope.

You have given my life meaning and purpose.

All my love, forever,


Tenderly she touched her hand to the fragile, yellowing paper, the heartfelt words of her mother. Her fingers traced over and over her name as she fell into a wistful trance. That was who she was, despite her attempts to forget. And that's what was never allowed in the cold oppression of the Centre, why she had become "Miss Parker".

But underneath it all, in her heart, she still remained her mother's Hope.

A/N: I couldn't resist the possibility of her name being so very ironic, discordant with her life. Even though (especially because) she does not seem at all like a "Hope" to me. But what else would make it so taboo to use her given name?