The scene was only slightly less cliché than the situation itself. That meant it was just a tiny step away from being on par with “every cloud having a silver lining”.

“Which is so much bullshit,” the leggy brunette muttered with a snarl, taking in a long drag of her cigarette. She held the smoke in, glaring around the interrogating room with steel gray-blue eyes, then released a dragon’s plume at the two way mirror. She glared at her reflection, as if she was actually hoping to intimidate the cop hidden behind it, before turning away with a disdainful toss of elaborately styled shoulder-length hair. Another look raked across the room, as if it had changed in the time she’d spent glaring. Still empty aside from the table, the overhead light, and the two chairs flanking the table, walls decorated with the traditional, boring lines designating height, black on puke green. She turned somewhat to give the mirror another basilisk glower, her face almost disturbingly pretty despite the anger and annoyance. “Well?” she demanded, projecting like a professional actor to get volume without screaming, all calculated to clearly display ‘pissed off’- her specialty. “Are you going to talk to me, or just try to bore me to death? The emphasis is on try.”

They waited five minutes. She wasn’t sure if it was an attempt to make her think they actually weren’t paying attention, because she had never been that stupid, or just standard procedure.

Hell, it was D.C. Probably both.

The door opened to admit one cop, a white guy just over six feet, just slightly too long brown hair combed back from a high widow’s peak. His subdued gray suit spoke of money- for a cop, which didn’t mean that much money was involved- so probably some middling rank. His face was long, strong bones making for striking features accented by a pair of sky blue eyes that were as cold as her own.

Quite obviously, neither of them was impressed by the other.

“Officer,” the woman commented dryly with another drag of the cigarette.

The man flashed her a false, too bright smile, perhaps unintentionally imitating a jungle cat showing fang to prey. “Hello.... Miss Parker, is it?” He looked down at the small pile of papers in his hand. “I’m afraid we couldn’t find your first name anywhere.”

She smiled back, an equally insincere recognition of one predator for another. “I don’t have one. Speaking of names, what’s yours, and how does ‘meter maid’ sound in front of it?”

He let out a laugh, fake and brittle. “Funny.” He laughed again, eyes watching to coldly take in her every reaction, which she just as casually didn’t give. “Captain Vince Hunter. IA.”

“Ooo,” she mock crooned, sending more smoke into his face, eyes widening slightly and shoulders rising to twitch once, the sleeves to her gray suit- the same shade as Hunter’s, perhaps half the material, and at least twice the cost- resettling easily. “Now I’m scared.”

“There’s no smoking in this building.”

Another cloud drifted towards him. “So arrest me,” she dared. “Or would you prefer to get to the point?”

Hunter pulled a photograph from the papers and slid it across the table. “Happen to know this man?”

Parker glanced over, casually crossing her legs to raise the short skirt’s hem another calculated inch. Her eyes slit upon scanning the headshot of a dark haired, saturnine man. “Jarod,” she snarled.

“So you do know Detective Ellison?”

She raised a brow. “So that’s the name he’s using now. I wonder where he got that one.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?”

Miss Parker finally looked up, locking eyes with the man. “Jarod is mentally unstable. I’m the one assigned to bring him back to the organization trying to help him. He doesn’t want to cooperate. I don’t even want to think about how many identities he’s gone through in the meantime. What’s your story?”

Sapphire stayed targeted on steel. “A suspiciously anonymous, yet highly decorated officer transferred in a week ago, and immediately started nosing around a closed investigation.”

Again the brow arced, neither looking away. “So?”

There was the flash of bared teeth. “I don’t like detectives poking around my business when it isn’t theirs. Actually, I don’t like anyone poking around my business.”


“I try.”

“Pity you don’t succeed.”

Tension between the tangled glares grew with the sarcasm. “Shame you can’t even try. As for Jarod, oddly enough, soon after he starts poking around, it turns out the ruling from my department was wrong. We took the wrong cop off the streets.”

“Let me guess. He or she confessed, under conditions strangely similar to those that they committed some heinous offense.”

This time it was Hunter’s brow that rose. “You’re very well informed, Miss Parker.”

She let out a soft, scornful chuckle. “Jarod is insane, but he’s got a hero complex. He thrives on the melodramatic irony of making people reap what they sowed.”

“Very poetic.”

“Comes from hanging around a psychiatrist. Or maybe that’s just Sydney.” She shrugged again, still not looking away. “So what happened next?”

“Well, you’ve turned into such a good detective so far, why don’t you tell me?”

“Don’t get your boxers in a twist, Hunter. I know how Jarod operates; I’ve been following his chaos for a year and a half.”

“Aren’t very good, are you?” the cop asked, the coldly sardonic grin returning as they continued trying to stare each other down.

Parker gave a baring of teeth right back. “You’re the one investigating a man who infiltrated the cop shop and overturned an IA investigation. Why don’t you tell me?”

Both dropped the fake pleasantries, settling for a continuous glower at each other. The tension between them escalated, only to be shattered when the door slammed open. Hunter jumped back, whirling to snarl at the uniformed woman in the doorway. Parker stood in the same instant, shoving her chair back to reach for the empty holster at her back. “What?!” they both growled, looking at each other in shocked distrust, only to look back at the woman as she coughed.

“Uh.... Captain? Miss Parker’s lawyers called, and at this point, you have to arrest her or let her go.”

A glacial, emotionless mask descended over Hunter’s face as he stalked over to the woman. “Never, ever, just open the door. If I had been interrogating some six foot druggie, he could have killed us both by now. Or several other much less pleasant fates. Next time, and any other time, KNOCK!” Having finished screaming in his victim’s face, he turned to give Parker another glare. “Get out of here. The next time I see you, you’ll be in cuffs.”

Miss Parker gave him another insincere smile as she sailed past. “Only in your dreams, Hunter. And then you’d better not blink.” She left before the man could comment, stalking through the police station to the front desk, claiming her possessions. She’d just slipped her gun into the holster when her cell phone rang. “Oh, for the love of-“ She snapped the machine open. “What?!”

“So,” Jarod’s smug and far too amused voice drawled, “I see you met the esteemed Captain Hunter.”

Parker automatically scanned the hallway, searching for the missing pretender. Her gaze stopped as it encountered Hunter once more, their eyes locking yet again into a mutual glare. “Unfortunately. Bastard would fit right in at the Centre.”

His chuckle rumbled across the machine. “I thought you’d like him. So, who blinked first?”

Hunter snarled at her, a wordless domination tactic. Their eyes remained locked, until a pair of patrolmen moved in between them. By the time the cops moved, Hunter was gone.

“Who do you think?” Parker growled.

The wayward pretender just laughed.

Thanks and THBBBBT! to Tyr, who started my Pretender addiction AND mentioned how fun it'd be to see Richard Burgi try to stare down Andrea Parker. It's all his fault. ;)

Let me out of here!!! A.K.A Home

I want to read more! To get back to the fic archive

Any questions? Complaints? Screams of outrage that I actually consider myself a writer and/or dared to show this in public? Tell me! Send it all to! I love mail!!!!

I own nothing but the story itself. I'm not sure who owns Pretender/Jarod/Sydney/Miss Parker, but it's not me, and I make no claims. No profit, no intended infringement. Same goes for Hunter and The District. Please don't sue!!!