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The Burning Room
By Demeter


"Hello Libra. How are you?" he asks, keeping his voice low and reassuring.

She smiles. "I've had a massage. It was very relaxing."

"That's good." He runs his hand down her bare arm and then takes her hand. "Come with me."

It wouldn't occur to her that she could say no. Because choices aren't a part of Libra's world. Isn't he lucky?

John Ashe has to admit to himself he kind of regrets that the Dollhouse is weeks, maybe days away from being shut down completely. Because the science they do could help, and it already has helped catching killers with minimal personnel investment and the efficiency of a dozen task forces.

He's been amazed right from the start about the results brought by actives lent to law enforcement, in forensics, in profiling. It's not like any of them has special powers, but the configuration of their brains creates a head start for the police force that your average killer is not even aware of. According to him, it's a very good thing. He could have used it while hunting the Kiss-Me-Not-Killer, five years and counting, before Lindsay Boxer took all the credit.

When the FBI took over the case officially, he'd thought that he could use her skills, just like he'd used Elaine Lewis as a bait but just like the latter, the plan had backfired.

What he'd found was someone just as unwilling to let go as he was and in the end, she had brought down Billy Harris. He'd listened to the tape of his call to the department, You took something that belongs to me, which means I had to do the same. He'd always known that his time would come.

He runs his thumb over her cheek, her lips and then he leans forward to kiss her. Her passiveness isn't exciting him; in fact, he finds it rather irritating but that can't be helped now.

I had to do the same. They are never even going to know. But he will. "Do you trust me?" he asks, hand going to her knee, sneaking up her thigh.

"With my life," she answers instantly, though blushing and confused about sensations she can't place. It's a shame that Adelle's self-serving store is going to be closed forever. She will regret it quite a bit herself, he muses. Bringing her friend back from the dead, having one of the male dolls to be her perfect date? He wonders what Rossum will have to say about it. He's going to find out. Not right now though.

He steps away the moment the door is opened and a flustered Topher Brink walks right in. "Here you... are," he says. "Um, I need Libra." It sounds more like a question.

"You weren't going to do anything...inappropriate?" he asks then, just a little too smug.

"Not any more inappropriate than your special tests you need to run once a year, strangely on your birthday."

Brink shuts up after that. Ashe turns back to Libra who is looking frightful and irrationally guilty.

Some things in the Dollhouse are not so different from the outside world after all.

The End

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