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Tru Calling and Dollhouse Crossover: Comfort in the Dark

He was all she had. He was her comfort in the dark.

"Echo?"

She sat in a corner away from everyone else. Away from the other Dolls. From people. Away from the existence that was created in this place. She sat in a corner with her legs crossed and her head down. Her beautiful brown ringlets of hair covered her oval shaped face.

Her beautiful oval shaped face.

She looked up at him through tearful eyes when she heard her name. When he called her name. Only him. Only his voice. She trusted him with her life.

Yet her voice hung on a whisper in the air, bringing with it a hint of sadness.

"Jack…"

He sat down beside her. And for the first time Jack Harper looked into the eyes of Echo. Really looked. He looked for any discernable trace or sign that some part of his beloved still remained within her.

For what had been missing in the essence of Tru Davies had been replaced by the blank, child-like persona of Echo. Or so he thought.

All he wanted was Tru Davies. For her essence to be restored to her body, mind and soul. Echo seemed like a foreigner to him. A person Jack did not seem to recognize, even though he had sworn to protect her.

Of course he would. He'd protect her with his life. And so much more…

But what did this blank existence hold? Did the tearful brown eyes that stared back at him hold the promise of something more? Something bigger? Was she the key to getting Tru back? Or was everything more complicated than that?

He knew about the Dollhouse. He studied some of the intricacies of how they worked. He knew their operations. He knew their manipulations. And though he did not agree with all of their philosophies, he went along with it.

He had signed his name on an invisible dotted line. He had sworn to protect her with his life.

"Is something wrong, Echo?" he asked her softly, his hand instinctively reaching out to brush away the tears that fell and rest his fingers on her warm cheek momentarily.

"There's water falling from my eyes. I can't stop it!"

Her eyes glazed over with confusion and frustration.

"I can't stop it," she said again, a little more emphatic this time.

"You're crying," he told her gently. "That's why there's water falling from your eyes."

She was silent for a moment before speaking up again. "Does water fall from your eyes, too?"

"Sometimes, yes. Water does fall from my eyes."

He removed his hand from her cheek to brush a strand of hair behind her ear.

"How are you feeling?"

"I feel sad," she told him. "I don't want to feel sad anymore."

"Why do you feel sad?"

"When I go into the pod, it's dark. And then when I close my eyes, there are things. Bad things. Images in my head. Noises. I don't know where they came from. Topher didn't put them there."

"They're called dreams. It's what happens when you close your eyes and go to sleep."

"Then I don't want to close my eyes. I don't want to sleep. I don't want to hear those bad things anymore." There's an edge to her voice now, traces of hysteria and desperation. "Will you help me, Jack?"

Their eyes met and suddenly…

"Oh, come on, Tru! I just want to hear you say it one time. 'Help me!'" Jack teased her as they walked along the busy streets on Christmas Eve day.

"Would you settle for 'bite me'?" Tru taunted back.

"Not if you want what's in here," Jack pointed to his head and grinned.

"Help me," she said, with as much fake sweetness as she could muster.

"I thought you'd never ask! Come on!" Jack smiled smugly as he led the way.

And then…


They both blink their eyes. It is a moment they both share. A moment they both remember.

And in the seconds following the memory of the flashback, he knew she remembered who she used to be before she was Echo. When she was Tru.

Jack licked his parched lips. "Of course I'll help you, Echo."

A flicker of a smile creased her lips as she took one of his hands and squeezed it gently. She didn't say anything for a few moments as she looked away and the two remained suspended in silence.

"Thank you," she finally whispered.

"You're welcome."

He took a deep breath before squeezing her hand gently again and their eyes met once more.

"Do you trust me?"

"With my life," she replied.

A tingling sensation coursed through both of them just then as the connection is established between them. Not just as active and handler, but in a bond so much deeper than that even though Echo may not know the proper way to express her feelings. But she does feel it. She does feel for him what he feels for her.

Love.

"What did you see in your dreams, Echo? What kinds of bad things did you see?"

"I never saw anything. It's dark like inside my pod. But I heard a man's voice. And I heard your voice. And I heard my voice… or at least… I think it's my voice, but it doesn't feel like it belongs to me. It feels like it belongs to her. Tru."

Jack startled a bit at Echo's mention of Tru's name. Echo remembered bits and pieces of Tru's kidnapping and what Tru's father did to Tru. So she was aware. Maybe more than she was letting on. Maybe more than she was willing to let Topher or Adelle or even Jack see. She was aware she had been Tru before, but to what extent she was aware he did not yet know.

"Do you remember anything about Tru at all?"

"I think she felt safe and warm with you. I think she felt all tingly and warm like I'm feeling now. You wanted to keep her safe. Is that right?"

"That's right. And I still want to keep her safe."

He pulled Echo to him, holding her against his chest. She doesn't pull away, knowing instinctively that he will also keep her safe.

"Make the bad things in my dreams go away," she whispered in a soft plea against his chest as he held her.

Adelle isn't going to be happy about this.

He knew she would find out sooner or later. She'd known about the connection between Tru Davies and Jack Harper. That it was a love that transcended above the highest heavens and soared through the whitest clouds. It was a love more potent than anything. A connection.

But now Tru was replaced by someone else. Only an existence. A supposedly blank slate.

Echo.

But isn't that what they shared as active and handler? Maybe it wasn't love. But maybe it was an attempt to feel beyond what Echo supposedly had the capacity to feel. However, it was still something. A connection.

He kissed her forehead gently.

"Everything's going to be alright," he whispered in her ear.

"Now that you're here," she replied quietly.

In this secluded corner, it was dark. And in the darkness, Echo let herself slip into sleep in the safe and warm embrace of Jack's arms.

One day, he knew. He knew Tru would be able to come back to him. To return to him as she once was with her body, mind and spirit intact.

But for now, he was Echo's.

He was all she had. And he would be her comfort in the dark.

Fin