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DISCLAIMER:- I don't own The Pretender or any of it's characters, NBC does, I'm writing this purely for fun.

by Krystal McDermott

Light is filtering through my closed eyelids making the world appear red. Oh please don't tell me it's morning already, I only went to sleep a few hours ago, I swear. Oh what day is it today? Is it the weekend? Please let it be the weekend. I glance at the calendar on my wall. Oh what the?! It's Monday. Damn it!

Suddenly it dawns on me. Why is it so bright? It's not usually this bright when I wake up. I look at the alarm clock sitting on my bed side table, the harsh red numbers glare back at me 8:20. Oh shit! I have to be at school in 10 minutes. Ahhh!

I leap out of bed and rummage through my wardrobe until I find my sports uniform, a pale green polo shirt and grey cotton shorts. Eww how shameful. Hurriedly I get dressed, brush my teeth, do my hair and I'm out of the door by 8:35am. I run as fast as I can up the hill towards my school. My school has to be on a hill doesn't it? Like who's bright idea was that?

Finally I reach the side gate at 8:42. Well that has to be record time. It usually takes me 15 minutes to walk to school and I still have 3 minutes to spare before I have to go to home room.


I plonk my self down at my desk ready to embark on another ever *boring* lesson of legal studies. I wonder what happened on The Pretender the other night in the States. I'll have to check my email when I get home from drama rehearsal this afternoon. Oh and I have to get around to finishing my fic Visions and I have to check if the next part of that fanfic has come yet and ......My thoughts are interrupted by a figure looming above me.

"Miss McDermott are you planning on starting the questions in front of you now, or would you prefer to come back during your lunch hour and do them with me?"

Oh well decisions, descisions isn't it...wait, that's not my usual teacher, who's this guy? His voice sounds so familiar. I turn around to answer his question but the words catch in my throat.

"Uh, umm, well, uh"

"Yes" he says coolly.

"Umm no I'll do them now" the words rush out of my mouth.

I quickly turn around and look down at my desk so as he can't see the look of utter shock that has spread across my face. There is no way that can be who I think it is. Is there? No Krystal! Don't be stupid, it's totally impossible. But I'll just check again anyway. I look up from my desk to see that the substitute teacher has stepped out of the room. Well great, how am I supposed to check now? Wait is that him there? I lean back on my chair to see past the filling cabinet that blocks my view. No, damn it! I still can't see. Just a little bit further and .....whoa shit! Ow my head. Oh great *now* he comes back! How embarrassing. The entire class is laughing at me and Jar...No it's not him! Mr. Teacher Guy who looks suspiciously a lot like him is headed this way.

"Miss McDermott are you OK?" I just fell backwards off my chair, hit my head on the desk behind me, and the whole class is laughing at me, what do you think wonder-boy?

"I'm OK" I reply sweetly. He looks back at me strangely, almost as though he knows me. Of course if he was Jarod, which his not, but if he was, he'd know everything about everybody in this class. It'd be pretty cool, if it was Jarod though, then I could make him realise how much he loved Miss Parker. Hey and if he was Jarod, Miss Parker would be bound to come here looking for him and then I could make her realise how much she loves and needs Jarod. God, I'm obsessed. Do I ever think about reality? He interrupts my thoughts, yet again

"You appear to have injured yourself when you hit your head against the desk, I think I should take you up to the office, just to make sure you're OK"

We walk in silence along the wide concrete path that leads up to the office. Partly because I'm too absorbed in my own thoughts to make small talk and partly because my head hurts to much to even bother to make conversation. Did I say partly? I mean mostly! He doesn't seem to mind however, and that trademark grin of his, no Jarod's, is spread across his face. Why on earth would he be grinning? Does he find it amusing that I'm injured and in pain? If it does that just proves it, he's not Jarod. Not that I needed it to be proven. I may think about The Pretender a little too much but I'm certainly not delusional.

By the time we reach the office, he is smiling so much that he's bound to strain something at any moment. It's really starting bug me now. What could be so funny? I haven't been thinking out loud have I? Because I really hate it when that happens!

After he explains the situation to the ladies behind the office counter, he takes me into the sick bay.

"I'm afraid that you're going to need stitches" he says matter-of-factly.

Well I'm afraid that you're quite mistaken. Stitches means needles and I don't take well to needles. Nope, sorry, no stitches.

"Umm, what do you mean stitches. Nobody said anything about stitches before. I'm not having stitches. No needles and I don't mix".

I know it was useless trying to argue but hey can you blame me? We were talking needles here! Despite my protests the stitches are completed in a matter of minutes and much to my surprise they didn't really hurt. Now I'm not sure if that was because the needles actually didn't hurt or whether it was because I was so high on pain killers I felt as though I was flying around the room the entire time.

As I lay on the uncomfortable, brown lounge in the sick bay, staring at the ceiling, it dawned on me, I didn't even know this Mr. Look-Alike Labrat's name. I'll ask him next time he comes in. He seems to know my name "Miss McDermott". I really can't stand people calling me "Miss McDermott", it's so formal. The name is Krystal or Krys if you want or if you're my mum, uncle or grand-pa you could possibly get away with calling me....Is that a town car I just saw drive past the widow? Nah, couldn't be. What would anyone in Pine Rivers be doing driving around this place in a town car for? I don't have time to answer my own question, because at that moment Mr. Mysterious himself walks through the door, bringing to mind by previous question.

"Sorry, I never asked before, but what is your name?"

"I'm a little surprised you asked that question" he replies.

"No, I don't mean to be rude, I was just wondering". Great Krystal now you've insulted the guy.

"Oh, It's just that I thought, well I assumed you of all people would know" he said rather surprised. It's not Jarod. It couldn't be. Jarod belongs in the world of television, make-believe, this is reality. It's not Jarod.

"It's not Jarod. Is it?" I ask rather uncertainly. There's that grin again. "No way" Ooops I didn't mean for that to come out loud. Oh well. His grin widens until he looks as though he is about to burst out laughing. It can't be Jarod. He's just messing with me.

"You're just messing with me right"

"No, It's me alright. Jarod, AKA Labrat AKA Wonder-Boy AKA..."

"OK I get the point. But how can you possibly be Jarod. Jarod is make believe, not real, fiction, fantasy, whatever you want to call it. He doesn't *really* exist."

"I know this may be difficult for you to understand, but I am as real as you are. The Centre, the Parker's, Sydney, Broots, Raines they're all very real. Now I'm here because you are in grave danger, you must let me help you" he pleads

I almost burst out laughing. For a minute there he really had me going. Jarod, in Pine Rivers. The Centre an actual place. Raines well.......Yeah Right!

"Good one Sir, you almost had me fooled" I laugh.

"I'm telling you the truth. Your father was a member of ......." his beeper cuts him off. "Look, I have to go, but please don't do anything stupid, you have to believe me. I'll be in touch soon" and with that his out of the room and running down the corridor out of the office. Wow! And I thought I was delusional. This guy must of been absent the day they were handing out the brains. How the hell did he ever become a teacher?

Surely I can go now, not that I want to go back to class, but it's certainly not exciting in here. Well it isn't if you don't include Mr. Delusional from before. Hmmm I wonder if they're going to call my parents to come and pick me up and take me home. I hope so, it's so boring just lying here. Perhaps I can go for a walk. Ahh what the heck, there's nothing better to do.

I wonder out into the foyer. There's Brooke the shy receptionist. She's always so nice, but she's too quiet, I can never understand a word she says. Oh but she's leaving now, probably to go see Mr. Rolland. He's most likely complaining about something again. Great, that only leaves Meg to talk to and well I can't stand that cow. Oh, what a shame, she's already busy talking to someone else. I pity the poor person who got stuck talking to her. I probably should go and rescue them. Yeah I will. Mr. Wonder-Boy Wannabe has put me in a generous mood. Just thinking about him makes me laugh. What a whacko. Who could honestly believe that the Centre existed and even if they did and Jarod was here, there's no way in hell Miss Parker would come to Pine Rivers! Ha! She'd di.......I take that back.


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