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Tru Calling and Dollhouse Crossover: Fade Away

Fade in.

Jack Harper leaned against the glass paneled door of the Dollhouse that led to the art room. From a distance, he watched Echo and the other Actives paint pictures, wondering why he had ever agreed to this bargain of insanity in the first place.

It wasn't morally correct. It was all a bunch of lies, complacent unawareness and deception. And the people here, the Dolls, were just innocent pawns in a violent game.

He tried to remind himself that his job was to protect Echo, but he was really there to fight for Tru. To get her essence back, body and soul. Tru Davies as Tru Davies. Not the alien, child-like Echo that had replaced her. How could he protect someone he did not know?

Yes, the active-handler script bound them together, but it did not make Jack feel any different about his original mission. He vowed to get Tru returned to him, no matter what the cost. He didn't care anymore.

She caught him staring at her. He noticed a glimpse of familiar brown eyes underneath delicate eyelashes, eyes that saw but did not really see. Her eyes still sparkled, but now they held a different sparkle. An innocent sparkle. Fierce, loyal and confident had been replaced by confusion and innocence, a glimmering self-awareness bubbling just beneath the surface.

But still… she was different.

Her eyes reflected something very different than they used to.

Echo blinked once, put down her paintbrush and stood up. She began walking towards him, a small part of her sensing something wasn't right.

Jack shifted his weight almost uneasily from one leg to the other and sighed. There was an unspoken truth to the lies and deception of the Dollhouse. He saw it in Echo's eyes, the round, brown orbs that once belonged to his girlfriend, Tru Davies. He saw reason behind her eyes, the lies of the Dollhouse haunting him.

Even with his beliefs as Death, preserver of a balanced universe, he knew this was wrong. This was exploitation, not another chance at humanity. His girlfriend was behind held against her will. A victim.

She was the answer to why he was there. She was the only answer. His love for her kept him there. Though he questioned his reasoning, his capacity and ability to love. The ability to love her.

"You're sad," Echo observed quietly as she approached Jack.

"Yes, Echo," he told her. "I am sad."

"Why?"

"It's… it's hard to explain," he replied carefully, not wanting to reveal too much. He tried to keep his conflicting feelings about Tru and Echo in check.

He loved Tru, not Echo… didn't he?

Echo was just someone he thought he knew. But did he really know her? And could he?

She reached up and touched his cheek with her fingertips, her eyes innocently reflecting into his.

Jack carefully took her hand that rested on his cheek into his own hand.

Suddenly, a brief but vivid memory surfaced in his mind.

"Tru…"

She sat facing away from him. She clutched the light bed sheet against her chest as incoming sunlight poured through the cracks of the bedroom windows and felt the warm caress of his hand on the exposed flesh of her back.

"Don't…" she said softly. "I don't want to talk about this. It's over."

"So what? We just pretend this never happened?"

"Exactly," she replied firmly.

"I think I know what this is about, Tru. Why are you afraid to love me? Why aren't you letting me in?"

Tru carefully maneuvered off the bed and away from his warm, comforting touch. She wrapped the bed sheet tightly around her body, turning to face him as tears began streaming down her cheeks.

"Because I can't, OK? I just can't!"


Jack suddenly blinked, finding a confused Echo staring back at him. He dismissed the memory temporarily from his mind as he squeezed her hand and led her away from the art room.

"Come on. Let's get a snack."

Echo smiled.

Minutes later, Echo was happily and blissfully nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie while Jack sat beside her, his arm wrapped carefully around her shoulders.

In these sacred moments with her, he enveloped himself deep in thought. It was the only place he felt safe enough to think these thoughts. The only time he was allowed to think these thoughts was when she was beside him and he could protect her. Otherwise, the thoughts were forbidden.

He found himself falling in and out of love. In love with Tru, the sweet, intelligent, beautiful woman who had the biggest, brightest orbs of rich chocolate eyes he'd ever seen. They melted the core of his being with their fiery inquisitiveness. Out of love with Echo, the child-like, innocent girl with a curiosity and self-awareness that made her slowly evolve into a separate being. Another woman. A woman he didn't recognize. A woman who wasn't Tru.

There was nothing wrong with Echo, but she lacked certain characteristics that only Tru could have.

Couldn't anyone else see it? Couldn't anyone else feel it? Couldn't they see that Tru and Echo were two entirely separate but complete beings?

Human beings.

But as long as he remained in the Dollhouse, his love for Tru would never fade away.

No matter what the consequences, no matter how much he kept running in search of answers, no matter how hard he kept falling into the dark, mysterious depths that may or may not unlock the Dollhouse's most obscure mysteries, his love for Tru would never waver.

His love for Tru would never fade away.

Echo's yawn pulled Jack from his reverie.

"I'm sleepy," she said softly, leaning into him instinctively while trying to find a comfortable position to sleep on his chest.

He found this almost ironic, remembering the vivid memory he'd had moments before when Tru had become angry after they had slept together for the first time. That had only been a few months before. Their relationship had gone through so much since that time and she'd come to trust him and love him… with her life.

Maybe that was why it was so easy for Echo to trust him now, even though he could clearly differentiate between the two of them. Some part of Echo loved Jack wholeheartedly, only in a way she was still trying to understand.

"Rest, Echo," he whispered back, kissing her forehead softly as he watched her slip into a deep and peaceful sleep.

Sighing, he gently carried the now unconscious Doll back to her pod and placed her inside of it. He covered her with a soft cotton blanket, taking a moment to run his fingers gently through her perfect brown curls of hair.

Then he leaned back and watched as the transparent glass panel came over her sleeping form, trapping her inside the pod.

Jack would never let Tru fade away. He knew that a part of her still existed inside Echo. Somehow. Somewhere.

Blissfully unaware, the dark haired Sleeping Beauty slept on as her Prince watched over her through the black and starless night.

Fade out.

THE END