Spoilers: Up to S2 "Life Interrupted"

A/N: Betaread by fififolle.


Her first impression of him is, he's not her type. Blond hair, blue eyes, stubborn. He's nothing like her previous husband, nobody could replace him – it's almost insulting to have them force her to act as if Tom Baldwin is. But maybe it's fortunate even, to be here with a man she has little desire for. Though she knows deep down she wishes she could cling to someone and have it the way it used to be, even just a little like it...but the desire wracks her with guilt. This isn't what she wants. Her life as it had been lately wasn't what she wanted either. Neither is right, but this is worse.

Here no one knows her pain, her suffering. Here she was never widowed, never taken. Her losses are not even recognised. There is no record, no grave, no bench – their lives are denied by this reality. They exist only buried in her memory. She only exists as an extension of Tom, Mrs Baldwin. She has no life without him – not even the refuge of work, her gallery to retreat to. Instead she immerses herself in what it is they hope to achieve, those who are doing this to them. She studies their life together as the blissful Baldwins, the one they can't remember – she sees what it is, or what it should be, in scattered snapshots. She sees a life she can't recognise with a man she barely knows, wishing that they would have made this real to her so she knows nothing else, so she could yearn for no one else to be where she sees Tom Baldwin in those photos.

Love isn't meant to be cultivated as they are trying to do with them – whoever they are. They're intertwining their present, hoping for a shared future, but she and Tom don't have the roots together. Her ties to the world were devastated long ago when her family was taken from her and the remains of her life after that have been removed completely by this. She's alone, apart from him and his family. His roots have merely been disrupted, he's still searching for his old life without her, even though they have given him almost everything he could wish for.

It's strange knowing that he doesn't want to be here when he has a normal life made for him, free of the trouble the 4400 has brought them all. Her rejection of this reality is because of the fact that this would be perfect, but for the family she must accept as her own. She can love them all, accept them as good people but ultimately they're his family, not hers. Yet his excuse is the same; they look, feel and act as he knows but he doesn't believe in his place any more than she does. She wonders if she'd feel the same way if she had her husband and son back in this reality. Would she rejoice or question it?

One thing at least she does understand – he doesn't want her here. Perhaps he'd accept this more readily but for her. She didn't ask for this, and despite his posturing she is certain she did not do this, but he sometimes acts as if she did, like he's the one person put out by the changes. He has the door to search for, but after months here she already knows nothing of her life is left intact, all she has to look forward to is what she rebuilds here. It's time to shake off those bad first - and second and whatever nth degree – impressions because she can see those were tainted by hopes and dreams that will never be fulfilled. Perhaps then she can reshape this place to fit a version of the future where she feels she can be happy again, and somewhere inside she hopes Tom will do the same, that every day this will all feel a little less like a lie until finally they belong.