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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list January 27, 2001

Title: Light
Author: Uriel
Fandom: Roswell
Paring: Isabel/Ava
Archive: list archives are a go, others tell me where it is going and you can have it.
Disclaimer: the characters are about as much mine as a copy of the Godfather. which is to say, they are not at all.
Notes: This is something i wrote way way back right after (i mean like five minutes after) Meet the Dupes. and i've been worrying at it, and mucking with it ever since. And I still don't much like it. So I apologize on its behalf, it is very very sorry that it was written and it will go sit in the corner and think about what it has done. Or something.

She looks at me with those big eyes. She's like a puppy who was beaten and left outside in the cold. Her eyes are expecting me to hurt her, almost begging for me to hurt her. What did they do to her? How could they have done this to her? Were they really that different from us? Could we so easily become like her or them? Could they really want to hurt her like that?

She's not like Tess. If someone hurt Tess she would hurt them back. Tess would get angry. Tess would retaliate. This girl who has Tess's face would curl up on the floor and wait for the next blow. Tess can be a bitch sometimes. I don't think this girl is capable. I don't think she has the will to stand up to anyone.

But here she is, standing before me, offering herself up to me. Like Tess did. Once. I couldn't say no to Tess. I can1t say no to this girl. This girl who wears the face of the only person I1ve ever felt safe with. This girl with eyes like a beaten puppy.

She's so different. Ava. She's not Tess. She's not Tess at all. She seems so young. A scared little girl, with a quivering lip that makes her lipring reflect the light back and forth, making patterns dance on the walls.

I wonder if she loved the other me. The woman who isn't me, but shared a lifetime with me a lifetime ago. We were the same person once. Are we still the same? Are our lives forever in parallel? Did she love this girl like I love Tess? Or was it that woman who gave this shivering waif who wears Tess's face the eyes of a beaten puppy?

I make a decision. I offer her my hand, slowly. It moves towards her face, giving her the time to run away. I reach out to her like I would a frightened animal. My hand touches her cheek. Her cheek is colder than Tess's was. Tess was always warm. Tess was aggressive. Tess wasn't afraid of me. The girl who wears the face of the woman I loved leans into my touch. Her eyes close, and a smile cracks the defeated mask of her face. The little ring in her lip twitches and light changes angle in the reflection. I slowly move towards her. She tenses. Her jaw clenches beneath my hand. She's so frightened. So horribly terrified. Of me. Of what I might do.

"I won't hurt you," I coo at her. "I promise." She backs away a little and her eyes open. Distrust and the self-defense urge overcome her puppy dog eyes. She glares at me, her fear boiling off of her skin. "Please, Ava. Just trust me."

"I trusted someone once. A long time ago. Her name was Vilandra." Her voice was a choked sob, a strangled cry, an accusation.

"I'm not Vilandra. I'm Isabel. I'm not who I was. I couldn't do those things." The excuses pour out of me, trying desperately to convince both of us that they are true.

"Lonnie was still Vilandra. She didn't know it. She still doesn't realize. What if you are too? What if you can't see it?" Her lip quivers, and the little ring flashes blindingly in the dim light. I feel the need to take her in my arms and press my mouth to hers.

"I- I don't know," I whisper in reply. I turn away. I can't look in her eyes. I could do this to her. I know it to the very center of my being. I have it in me to give her eyes like a beaten puppy. I don't want to hurt her. She's been hurt so much by me already. Even though it wasn't me, it was just someone who wore my face. I don't want to hurt her.

"You are different," she whispers. Her voice seems awed by whatever difference she sees in me.

"I'm not," I choke out. I think I'm going to cry. At least I'm not wearing any make up.

"But you don't want to hurt me," she breathes, as if the very idea of someone not wanting to hurt her is amazing. I can't express how horrible the idea of someone wanting to hurt her is to me. I reach out to her. She takes my hand in hers and holds it delicately, gently, like Tess never could.

The connection is deeper than it was with Tess. It becomes more intimate, the sharing of our minds. I feel her memories and her pain wash over me. I feel her rob me of every secret I ever held behind my beautifully crafted, brushed on face. She slides into me more than Tess ever could. The beaten puppy leaves her eyes. I wonder if it has gone into mine. She smiles and the ring twitches again, sending a cascade of light across my vision.

She crawls out the window, leaving me alone in the room that I call mine. I stare blankly at the ceiling, waiting for the patterns of color and light to fade from my eyes.


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