Bree slips in the penthouse door sipping her smoothie and walks right into Oliver. His arms are crossed. He's cross.
"Were you with Skylar?"
She sucks at her straw, stalling. "I… might've been."
"What? It's a free country."
"You don't get it, you weren't there the first time Skylar turned evil," Oliver goes on, gesticulating wildly. A patch of frantic color rises high on his cheekbones. "She may talk and look the same, but she's not. Her whole moral code is wiped. Her goals, her feelings— they're all corrupted. You don't know what you're dealing with."
Again, she sips at her smoothie. The straw hits the bottom of the cup and makes a loud, futile slurping noise. Finally, Bree fixes Oliver with a cool stare and says, "I know she's not… herself. But Evil Skylar is better than no Skylar."
He blows up. "It's like you don't even care if we get her back!"
Bree's cup drops out of her hand and hits the floor with a hollow thwack. "I care," she says slowly. "I care more than you know. She's my girlfriend, you think I don't want her back? I want her back so much that it hurts me. But in the meantime, I have to wake up every morning and see her bed empty. And know that she's still out there being puppeted around by Reese. It makes me not want to get out of bed. But you know what? There are about a million people in Centium City counting on me to get up."
"It's actually closer to 900,000—"
"Not the point, Oliver," Bree snaps. "The point is… playing make-believe with Fake-Skylar for a couple hours a week makes it easier for me to do what I need to do. So I'm going to keep doing it."
Oliver stares at her. Not angry anymore, not condescending, just… kind of sad. It would be pity, except it's too understanding to be pity. More like commiseration. "She's going to hurt you," he says finally.
"Yeah," Bree says. "I know."
The next day, at sunset, Bree stands atop an office building downtown with Skylar at her side. "Isn't it beautiful?" Skylar says, surveying the pinks and oranges bouncing off the windows of the cityscape. "Someday it will all be ours."
Bree knows she means "Reese and Co." ours and not "Bree and Skylar" ours. She's rational. She's smart.
She still has butterflies in her stomach though.
Skylar is so close to the real thing. Her smile is the same, even her hair is the same; no white streak like what Kaz and Oliver described from last time.
But there is a difference. It's subtle, but Bree can see it. Something about her eyes… like they're empty.
"I can't keep seeing you," Bree says before she's even decided she's going to say it.
Skylar looks at her with that not-quite-right empty stare. "Why not?"
Bree flashes back, suddenly, to their first official date, when she clumsily dodged Skylar's attempt at a kiss. She'd explained, with increasing embarrassment, that they couldn't just kiss on the first date. And Skylar had said, Why not? And kissed her. She was an alien. To hell with social norms.
"Because… because you're not the version of you that I fell in love with," Bree says, looking at the sun-drenched city instead of at Skylar. "Because being with you feels good in the moment, but at the end of the day… it just makes me miss the real Skylar more."
Skylar opens her mouth to protest, and Bree wonders suddenly if part of Reese's plan involves Skylar sticking with Bree. Or if Evil-Skylar really wants to be with her.
Either way, it can't happen. Bree allows herself one last look, and then she shoves Skylar off the building.
She catches herself midair and flies away, up up and away from Bree and the office building, like a bat silhouetted against the sun.
Alone, Bree sinks to a seated position and wraps her arms around herself, just breathing. Trying to reassure herself, trying to remember that she's a superhero in her own right and she will get Skylar back, the real Skylar.
It's only a matter of time.
The air gets chilly and the sky gets dark, and soon enough she can see a couple stars pop out.
She's looking up at the sky when she hears someone land on the roof behind her. She turns, alarmed, but relaxes when she sees who it is.
"Hey, Oliver," Bree says, settling back into her sulking position. "I did what you said. You don't have to worry."
"I'm sorry." He sounds like he means it. Oliver sits down beside her. The ledge in front of them blocks out the view of the city, so all they can see is the sky and the stars. "We'll get her back."
Bree looks over at him, remembers how devoted he used to be to Skylar, how obsessed. "I'm sorry I took her from you," she says.
Oliver gives her a weird look. "She doesn't like guys, Bree," he says. "More to the point… She was never mine. She's never been anybody's but her own." His face darkens. "Reese won't be able to hang onto her for long."
"I hope you're right." Bree leans against her teammate. The moon lurches slowly upward in the night sky. Beneath them, approximately 900,000 Centium citizens sleep soundly.