He sat on his small balcony not feeling the biting wind. Or maybe he did and just enjoyed feeling something real for a change. The lines were very blurry for him these days. Reality versus fantasy. Which was which? And which side was he on?

Until recently he'd always toed the line of the law, staying on this side of the door that kept anything but reality out.

What was it Jim Morrison had said?

"I believe in a long, prolonged, derangement of the senses in order to obtain the unknown."

That's what Boyd felt he was in the middle of right now. He just wasn't sure what was unknown and what was known anymore. More blurred lines.

His thoughts turned to his charge, Echo. He'd scoffed at the idea he'd grow to feel anything for her when he first began this job. She was nothing. A blank slate, waiting for whatever information was fed into her brain before becoming something. Anything. She wasn't a person, she had no feelings or even memories that were her own.

She was more than that, though, he was coming to realize. She was able to think outside of the box even within the given parameters of an assignment.

And what was moreā€¦

She'd saved his life. She'd asked him if he trusted her and his affirmative reply had been not just honest but heartfelt. Scarily, he did trust her with his life.

He'd thought for sure he was a goner out there in the woods. And that would have meant he'd failed her. He had one task, to protect her, and he'd had to rely on her.

He remembered, vaguely, when it was over. She'd come to him and settled against him comfortably. Seemingly mindful of his injury she'd avoided it without effort. They'd remained like that until he came to enough to realize he had to get them back to the van if there was any hope of a rescue.

His hand was wrapped tightly around his glass, but he didn't drink from it. There really wasn't any need. He already felt numb so the alcohol wasn't necessary. There was a part of him that wondered if Echo didn't have the better part of the deal. In between assignments, she didn't have to remember or think about anything. He was stuck remembering the danger she'd been in.

Of course, if what he suspected, that the Dollhouse's magic was fading - even just a little bit - she might remember and think about more than he realized. She'd been drugged, though, and could have just been experiencing hallucinations. He decided to hold off making a report on that until he knew for sure.

And if she did know? Remembered?

He wondered what that would be like. Knowing something when no one else around her thought or felt anything more than standard day-to-day living.

Here he was, free to do as he pleased, living expenses at a minimum, earning a decent salary and he was sitting at home contemplating things he had no answers to. He wasn't a genius, scientific or otherwise, he was just an ex-cop.

And someone who took more to heart than he thought he would three months ago the job of protecting his Active.

~The End~