Disclaimer: See the first chapter for full disclaimer, I don't own the Pretender. Sorry for the delay, some damn near Pretender-isque type emotional upheaval in my life. Enough of that, now to go on with the story. So here is Chapter Three – I am sorry it took so long and that this can only be about things changing and end this chapter… I wrote this right after I watched the two Pretender movies, and episodes again… and I am sorry this can't be a longer fic. But at least I can finish it. And hopefully one day we'll all get to see how this show ends…


Chapter Three

The World is Changing Part. 3


"Always"

On Miss Parker's last word, Willie's face set and his hand went to wrench the handle as an arm grabbed his damaged crushed arm. Lyle tightened his grip, a loud buzzing in his ear from the inconvenience of pain.

Involuntarily Willie let out almost a bark of pain and he slammed his good fist into Lyle's stomach. He smirked viciously as Lyle fell to his knees, the man's face crumbling in pain. He had been waiting to do that since the brick.

The door opened and it slammed into Willie's body sending him backwards onto the floor. He reached for his gun and the cold tip of another's rested on his neck. "Too bad you don't have two good hands" Parker's cold voice breathed into his ear. He relaxed his arm and Miss Parker took the gun from him. "Lyle, still breathing?"

Lyle was trying to sit up. "Should have smashed all the bones in both hands…"

Miss Parker smiled maliciously. "We could start now, couldn't we?" The dangerous tone in her voice was unsettling and Jarod found it better not to be on the receiving end. But even as he watched Miss Parker tie Willie to a kitchen chair- he realized that this had changed everything. Willie would tell the Centre about Miss Parker letting him and Lyle go.

"Grab your trash, Genius- chances are the sweepers are already on their way and I will not have them get Lyle in their desire to have you back"

He was not the only one worried about Miss Parker- Lyle had an intent look on his face and he met Jarod's gaze and then his sister's. "What are you doing Parker?"

"Excuse me?" Parker leaned down and then rose up as Lyle struggled to stand. "I'm trying to save your ass Lyle"

Lyle picked up Willie's gun and without hesitation shot the sweeper in the head. Had to make sure he was dead- no one ever seemed to stay that way with the Centre and this could be left to chance and he met Jarod's shocked look. The pretender was so naïve, despite Damon- sometimes you had to make sure the strong survived and he would do what his sister could not "What… you don't actually think Parker will come along…I mean sis, they killed shopteacher"

"How do I know it wasn't you?"

"If I was planning to kill Thomas Gates, I wouldn't have left your gun… I don't know who killed him" Lyle looked at her. "I've always been a survivor Parker looking out for myself but I wanted you to be happy, out of my way but happy because you're my sister, because you didn't deserve to lose him the way I-"

Both Jarod and Miss Parker were staring at him. Parker couldn't stop twisting it all around in her head, the way Tommy's death had looked, any outsider would say she had done it and had the Centre clean it up. Parker could still see Lyle ripping into the police officers and doing whatever it took to get her out of there.

The gun had been a warning- Lyle couldn't say anything in front of Daddy. If she had just run that night with Tommy- he would still be…

Lyle shrugged. "I do know it has something to do with this operative called 'Rumor' for whatever that's worth." He gestured to the now dead Willie. "This way you can stay begging for Dad's approval"

Parker's lips twisted into a snarl and she walked out of the room. Or rather stalked from it, and Jarod turned on Lyle in anger- Lyle was unsurprised and Jarod didn't look unlike his sister in that way. Jarod was from the Centre- and that place bred sociopathy into everyone who came from it to one degree or another. How else could what Jarod did to the villains in his little soapbox hero specials be anything but.

"Why did you do that?"

"You don't get it do you?" Lyle said and he noticed Jarod calm down. The difference between him and Parker was when his sister was angry, she didn't let it go. "If you try more of that sappy- 'you can be more' to her, you are going to fail every time- it's up to Parker… as for me I'm done trying to be something for my father, just maybe she will be too… one day"

Maybe it was Lyle's twisted version of a pep talk, or the way Jarod could tell that Lyle cared about his sister that made him help Mr. Lyle up and help him get out there. But that was right, Lyle was right. Only Miss Parker could take a good long look at her life and try to want something beyond the lies and manipulations the Centre offered.

If Che Ling hadn't been killed by her husband- Jarod realized with a sickening rush who her killer had been. It was the same person who had twisted Kyle and Mr. Lyle as he saw fit and the very man who could be Miss Parker and Mr. Lyle's real father. Jarod didn't know but for the sake of the Parker twins… he hoped not.


Miss Parker sat at her desk at Centre as she re-read the report. It said that Lyle had come to her in a panic but before she had been able to find out why- Willie had interrupted and the sweeper had been killed by Lyle's training. Jarod had swept in and saved Lyle.

She didn't feel anything for the sweeper's death- he could go join all the other Centre monsters down in hell. Parker just hoped that when Raines finally carked it, that there would still be room in hell. If her father didn't believe her, he didn't let on. Parker didn't let on that she didn't buy the misunderstanding and Jarod twisting things around. They were both lying now.

'That'snotalifeParker, it'salifesentence.'

'Stop searching for fixes, answers that may not exist. The only way to survive is get on with the business of living'

'Stop denying yourself your own life outside the Centre…what your mother would have wanted.'

'This way you can stay begging for Dad's approval'

Parker leaned forward and ran a finger across the picture of her mother. "What should I do?" she murmured to the picture, not expecting an answer. Everything always came down to the choices she made… her head jerked up as for a moment it was almost as if she had heard a whisper… but she hadn't been able to make out the words.

The doors opened, and Sydney walked in. He was followed by Broots. It was because of them, the last few weeks… if she had just gone, then the Centre would have taken it out on them, that wasn't to say anyone trusted her without supervision.

A moment later, Mr. Cox stepped in and Miss Parker had made it a note not to show how much the man disgusted her. And not just because of his taxidermy habits.

"We have a fix on Jarod in Texas- I do hope we don't plan to delay Miss Parker" There was something in the way Mr. Cox spoke that made him worse than Lyle, it seemed to come from the feeling of death that clung from his twisted obsessions.

Miss Parker got up and smirked at Broots who was giving Mr. Cox a wide berth. "Of course not… I want to find Lyle and the lab rat's doing who knows what to him in some pathetic attempt at revenge" She went past him and ignored Sydney. He was upset, because she had blamed the whole thing on Jarod and seemed to be back to being the Huntress the Centre wanted.


Shipping Yard - Plano, Texas


Broots and Sydney had already crawled down into the filthy shipping container where Jarod had apparently made his home and Miss Parker gave a cold, predatory look towards Mr. Cox. "After you…"

She watched Mr. Cox climb down and caught Sydney's eye, he had read the note she had given him and gave a small nod. And the second Mr. Cox hit the last rung, Sydney pushed the button which sealed the containers hatch. The one that said 'don't push'

"Ah, I thought perhaps it would do something else" Sydney's voice was muffled and Parker grinned.

Someone banged on the hatch. "Miss Parker- if you would be so kind as to let us out"

Parker leaned over the closed hatch and knew that they could hear her. "I'm sorry, I forgot to tell you something… you see Jarod and my brother are still here, they're just playing soldier in the army camp next door- and I'm afraid you are headed back to Delaware…"

"Whatever is upsetting you, we can discuss it Parker…"

"Considering I know now, after Gemini what team you play for, I doubt it… have fun boys" The sound of her heels grew quieter, and Sydney noted how quiet anger was now building on Mr. Cox's grim face, and Broots was looking panicked… Broots had never seemed claustrophobic before but considering who they were trapped with, it was not an unusual reaction.


Sydney,

This was the only way to protect you and Broots from my leaving the Centre. I am not letting the powers that be control my life anymore and I'll be damned if they take my brother away from me like my mother and Thomas. Be careful Sydney, I can't protect you or Broots any longer.


Parker handed the roll of bills over to Junior, who seemed to find this just as amusing as Jarod had. It had been his idea… and Parker had a suspicion that it would have been for her as well to fall into. She was not going to miss all of the tricks Jarod had pulled on her, and with any luck what they all knew about each other could get them closer to unlocking the secrets the Centre was keeping from them.

The truth- who had killed her mother- Miss Parker caught sight of Lyle playing the part of Jarod's subordinate. Their mother.

Jarod was forcing Lyle to go through some exercise and she wondered if she should just let them cut each other to shreds… she wasn't their god damn baby sitter.

They were 'meant' to be working together but she still caught Jarod's eye and smiled.

Jarod knew that getting Miss Parker away from the Centre was only the first step; the next was to get back the little girl he had known. And they would both have to work to get Lyle to… Raines had done so much to him, just like his brother and for the first time- Jarod understood his brother's last words to Lyle, the ones that contradicted his other words.

It doesn't matter Lyle, because we never made a difference anyway.

Miss Parker's brother was part of the 'we'. Both the tormentor and the tormented and now Jarod was trying to see who the real Lyle was… if there was anything of Bobby left untouched by Raines. With them, his childhood best friend and Lyle- Jarod didn't feel so alone in the world. He was going to find his family… and thanks to Miss Parker, he knew his parent's last name 'Russell' … anything else even she didn't know. But Michaela had given him a new road to follow, and Jarod would do anything to help her find out the truth- about her mother and Thomas Gates. They all in a way needed to know who they really were.

And the truth would set them all free.


The End