DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. Dollhouse belongs to Joss Whedon and Fox. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Demeter


"I'm Special Agent Sarah Classen. I'm sure you know Assistant Director Myers."

"Sir." Ashe jumps to his feet to shake the assistant director's hand and she smiles to herself, aware that he became uncomfortable the moment he recognized her, even though he tries to hide it. Good luck trying to hide anything from her.

"So, Agent Ashe," she says, taking a seat at the table. "We asked you to come here because there were a few questions regarding your undercover assignment at the so-called Dollhouse."

"Of course," he says, stealing a somewhat nervous sideways look at her. "What do you want to know?"

She enjoys seeing him sweat a little first, then she begins. "We understand that you were assigned as handler to Cindy Thomas."

"It's true. Going in as a handler was one way to help keeping the actives safe and gather the most information." He glances at Myers but the man's face is unreadable.

"Interesting." She leans back into her chair comfortably. "However, it was brought to our attention that it wasn't all you did. Assaulting an active is not part of the handler's contract according to the ones we've seen." Her voice turns colder as she continues. "It's all on this tape. You were careless having a conversation with a certain doctor."

Ashe just stares at her, and she knows he's beginning to realize what happened.

Special Agent Sarah Classen. Dr. Claire Saunders, the Dollhouse's phantom, formerly best active. They sent her in long ago knowing that whatever happened in that chair wouldn't have much of an effect. Her mind is a steel trap. It's part training and part gift. She has learned to withstand torture and mind control even before she was chosen for this assignment and while other 'actives' might have trouble being believed in court, her superiors have always known what she is capable of. Whiskey.

They had offered to pull her out after Alpha's attack, but she'd flippantly told them that she didn't want to waste the time plastic surgery would cost her. Maybe now with the L.A. Dollhouse and its counterparts all over the world gone, she'd indulge herself.

"Agent, do you have to say anything about this?" she asks.

"You can't use any of this in court. You see what's going on, no one believes what they say."

"Even if we didn't," Myers speaks up now, "Your statements on this tape make the situation pretty clear."

"You withheld information," Sarah presses on. "You could have helped ending this much sooner, but of course you didn't, because you had an interest for the Dollhouse to continue."

"Cindy Thomas was a casualty!" he shouts, and Sarah exchanges a satisfied look with her boss. Ashe who thought of himself as untouchable when he entered this room is sure losing his cool.

"Why do you even care? Hundreds of arrests have been made across the globe, and it started here in L.A. They are the criminals!"

"Rape is a crime, Agent. One we know you are guilty of."

Sarah gets up smoothing down the dark grey pants of her suit. In the reflection of the glass pane, she can see the unfamiliar new dark color of her hair she has wound into a French roll. Quite a difference from Whiskey or Claire Saunders.

Maybe, she'll just stay herself for a while now. Wiping the arrogant smile of her now former colleague's face was sure worth it.

She resists the impulse to reach up and touch the scars on her face, thinking of the people on the other side of the glass, L.A. and San Francisco investigators Boyd, Brenda Johnson and Lindsay Boxer, wondering about their hopes, dreams and regrets.

We probably all wish to turn back time. But forward is the only way to go.

The End

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