Spoilers: Up to S3 "The New World"

A/N: Betaread by Fanwoman.


Isabelle makes him nervous. She makes him sweat and his stomach flip every now and then. He's never quite sure what to say to her, not at first anyways. He always manages to reassure her, help her somehow, but he never knows what is going to come out of his mouth. He speaks from the heart; he doesn't dare lie. There's no good trying to sugar coat the truth as far as she's concerned. He can't tell her what to do, so he tries his best to explain everything she needs to know so she can make the right choice. Now she knows she can choose.

She makes everyone nervous, but they avoid her, try to look away. He looks her straight in the eye, ignoring his anxiety, because he's not scared of her powers; he's scared of her power over him. He can feel it. She's oblivious to her effect, walking round in a bathrobe, or worse, naked. It isn't just about looks; it's another kind of attraction, a strange pull towards her. He feels the need to be near her. He can't overcome that, so he deals with the fact and follows his gut instinct to help her. Isabelle needs friends; that's for sure. The 4400 are isolated because they are different, and she... she is something else altogether and as lonely as anyone could be, lonelier than any 4400. Shawn gets that, why it is, despite not knowing what draws him to her.

He told her every one can choose what they do, but that's not always true. No one chose to be abducted. It happened, and it brought good and bad alike. And he doesn't choose to feel this way, yet it's happening. Maybe it's a good thing - he prays it's a good thing. He can't take any more mistakes. But is it a mistake if you can do nothing else? Is it wrong to want to date someone who's technically less than two years old? It really hurts his brain to think about it all. So he simply accepts that Isabelle is more or less his age because, despite her lack of social norms, there's little difference between them. Oh, and the superpowers... but somehow that's become usual for The Center, even if hers are taking it up a notch. Isabelle is still a girl in spirit and experience, not a woman, but so, too, is he still the boy who hasn't graduated from high school, the teenager trying to find his place. Both of them are far from ordinary, far from grown up, despite appearances. When he thinks of it like that, it makes a lot more sense. Then it's boy meets girl, and for a split second, he thinks it's so much simpler than it really is.

There's something else about her; he feels it with an ever-increasing intensity. She has this affect on him. He doesn't just want to be near her, he has this desperate desire to make the world better for her. It goes beyond normal, because it's not just sympathy for another human being, the faint pleasure that she is doing well. He feels pure elation when she smiles, and when she laughs, it makes him laugh, too. There's a shared happiness that links him to her – he couldn't bear for her to come to any harm. It sounds so silly when he thinks of what she's probably capable of, but there it is. She has to be happy or he can't be, either.

He'd like to think it's a crush, inappropriate, maybe, but understandable. Except it's sticking, and it isn't mere puppy love. It's tough, hard to explain, complex - indescribable. In that case, he'd like to say it's love, true and deep, even love at first sight, but he doubts it's that easy to categorise. Instead, he decides it's fate. He can't tell what to do, objectively, but his heart knows what it wants, what he practically needs to do. He can't resist. Perhaps that means he isn't meant to.