...Mightier Than the Sword
A Fan Fiction Archive
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Disclaimer: I do not own The Pretender or anything affiliated with it. It is owned by TNT, NBC, and Craig & Steve. No infringement is intended and no profit is being made.

Author’s Note:
The first real thing I’ve been able to write in a while. Not written for anything in specific, alas. No specific timeline either. Thanks to everyone that helped me figure out a title for this!

Summary: The only constant companion in her life has been that which lives deep within her heart.

A Toast, With Bitterness
by: chopsticks
p g – 1 3


Over the years, she has found anger to be her constant companion. Since her mother died in a woeful tale of suicide revealed to be a conspiracy of murder, she has held a deep-seated anger toward everyone around her.

It started when she was barely scratching the surface of adulthood, when she pulled away from her only true friend, believing all the words (lies) her father fed her. It began with her angry glares sent his way, and her pointed ignoring of his very existence.

It had not bothered her then, his hurt gazes and his disillusioned words at a friendship dying torturously before his very eyes. She found that it still did not bother her, as she had stared into his eyes numerous times since, more often with a gun still trained on him.

Her anger had bloomed inside of her through the abandonment of her father's affections. He had always called her "Angel," but she now saw that he did not mean it anymore. She was the spitting image of her mother, so people had told her and her own mirror had shown her, and she often felt that he could not bear the sight of her. Sometimes she couldn't bear the sight of herself, and the anger within her had led her to shatter all the mirrors in her room, deemed her only place of solitude while she still lived at home. Her father had not noticed, and she had quietly repaired the damage, thanks to his ever-abundant bank account.

No money could sate her anger, though.

When she went to college, she felt anger bloom within her at the utter trivialities the women around her focused on. She had not thought of frilly dresses or elaborate, curly hairstyles since her mother had died. She had even flatly refused to go to her own high school prom, not believing any of the bullshit the other students were chirping about it being a rite of passage.

She had closed up on herself, pointedly ignoring possible friends and acquaintances. She found release in the beds of men, places where the passion of her anger could be exposed before the world, but mistaken for the throes of sexual release by men all too eager to rule her body. (Women, she had found, were far too intuitive and would cluck over her angry passion, even while in bed, so she quickly discarded them for the men that could not think and fuck her at the same time.)

When she graduated from college, her father had not appeared at the ceremony. She found, with bitterness and anger, that his absence affected her, even though she had convinced herself that she did not care a whit if he came or not. He appeared, though, two days later at the house that had been her graduation present (given to her in a generic card with a small envelope containing the key), with a job offer at Corporate, an extension of The Centre. She had accepted, false happiness covering her face.

The anger within her pointed out that he was still grooming her to be his successor. The childish part of her that still demanded the love and devotion of at least one parent was pleased; the adult portion of her was simply angry that he dared to create her future without her input.

Nonetheless, she quickly threw herself into the mind-numbingly easy work, and even faster into the beds of a parade of men. She had once overheard a coworker joking about her bed being a revolving door, and the coworker disappeared soon after. After that, any gossip that might have been exchanged about her was done only on the opposite side of the country, where the fear of the Parker wrath was less insistent.

Surprisingly, though, she felt no change in her anger when it came to how people perceived her. As far as she was concerned, they were all worthless peons anyway. Her father's words had gotten through to her, somehow: she believed she was destined for greatness, in some shape or form.

For a few years she found herself able to convince herself that nothing could bother her; she was surrounded by an impenetrable wall of anger. She even believed for it the first few months she was put on the search for her past friend--the only one, she could admit, she had ever had. Slowly, though, the truth of the matter sunk in and she was left with nothing but her anger holding her afloat in a sea of lies concocted by her father and his contemporaries.

For two years her anger only grew in its magnitude, her frustration at being unable to successfully hunt down a genius and the irritating--yet tantalizing--clues he gave her about the truths of a life that she found to be nothing more than poorly-constructed lies.

Then, amazingly, for almost a year the anger began to recede. She did not keep the wall of anger up more often than necessary, and then only to scare subordinates into doing their jobs. She found she could trace this newfound almost-happiness to the bed of a man, which surprised even her. Her house began to feel like a home, and she was able to imagine a shared life, not one covered in sex, alcohol, and--most of all--anger.

That, as with everything she ever loved, was taken away from her, and she found herself standing before yet another grave. (Though, this one, as it turned out, was the only one that wasn't empty.)

She lost herself in the horrible grip of the anger again, and, as far as she's concerned, has yet to crawl out from beneath its weighty presence in her heart. She is less surprised by her father's betrayals, though they still sting her. The anger still stands by her side, holding her steady through the battles of her life.

As she rolls the dark liquid in the tumbler, she wonders if she would be able to survive without it. She brings the tumbler to her lips and lets the alcohol slide down her throat, wincing slightly at the sting. She thinks she may have grown too old for constant bed-hopping, but alcohol works just as well to soothe the anger within.

She pours herself another glass and toasts to her constant companion, before drowning it in the darkness of the alcohol.


the end.

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