Chapter 13

Day 4

New York


Standing in front of her mother's grave early in the morning, Tru is crying in angst and despair. Completely distracted by the mixed feelings and confusing events, she did not notice Jack watching her from nearby.

"Why did you keep it a secret? What were you afraid of?" She asks her dead mother, desperately searching for logical answers. "I'm sure you had a good reason to do what you did. You died trying to protect me, and you gave me the power to relive days, the least you could do was tell me."

"She couldn't risk losing you too." Jack explains as he approaches her from behind. He understands how upset Tru is that her mother Elise never told her about Caroline, even after finding out that she was still alive and staying with a foster family in Los Angeles. That secret has cost Elise her life. "She was hurt and confused… and concerned for the safety of her children." Jack continues, "What you don't know won't hurt you. She obviously kept it a secret to protect you. You can't blame her for how things turned out. It was all your father's doing."

"Who the hell do you think you are to elucidate her motives? She didn't have to be alone in this, I could have helped her."

"You were 12!"

"I could have done something! And why are you even here?" She shouts at him while shakily trying to wipe away her tears.

"I was worried about you, Tru. You were so quiet on that flight back to New York, especially after I told you the truth about your father's part in the murder of your mother. And with the new change in his plan and seeing Echo here with him, I was worried you'd do something drastic." She looks at him with red teary eyes. "I'm sorry, I just heard about Echo's new engagement. I'm here for support. And I was hoping you would consider me your friend..."

"Not to rain on your parade, but you're not my friend. You're nothing but a damned robot controlled by daddy dearest, just like everybody else."

"Then let me make up for that. Let me help you."

"I'm not the one who needs help. I'm the one who gets asked for help, remember?"

"You have all the right in the world to be furious right now Tru, but it won't change the fact that you're the one being controlled and manipulated the most. Your father's managed to get rid of your mother and alienate your sister, and then he used me to slow you down. Now he's played his last card and won your sister over to his side along with the Dollhouse's craziest alumnae. He did all this to stop YOU. You're his biggest fear… and his weakest link. The question is: what are you going to do about it? The ball is in your court now, and this is a merciless game. Are you up to it?"

"Oh, this is not a game. This is war!" Tru replies with determination, remembering how she threatened Jack a year ago in the same cemetery, secretly wishing that things are still as simple as they were back then. The threat now is directed to her father.

Jack rushes to walk next to her as she prepares to leave and tells her: "I did some digging and found out that because of her ability, Echo is about to become a combination of all of the people she had been imprinted with in the past… all except Caroline. Aren't you a little worried about that?"

"It's all just programming… just lies."

"Maybe the lies are true. You see to her it IS true, it's all true. Echo is turning into a rogue doll with multiple personalities, none of them your sister's and none of them is playing pretend. She's broken."

"She may be broken but she's not defeated." She says.

"No but soon you will be if you keep ignoring that what you are up against is not Caroline or the sweet innocent Echo that you've met for 10 minutes. It's a Frankenstein whose main mission is to stop you from yours."

"They can take away her life but not her spirit. Caroline is still a part of Echo." Insists Tru.

"Caroline is in a hard drive! She's gone. There is a stranger in her place or a bunch of strangers as a matter of fact, and you must figure out a way to free her before she slips away..." Worries Jack.

"She may turn into all of those people, but none of them is her… none of them is Caroline. Caroline is still there, in spirit. I felt her. Don't ask me how... It might be a bizarre twin radar thing… But I know."

"Tru, don't let your emotions get the best of you. Echo needs your help now while she's still blank. Her doll-state makes her weak and easy to control, something your father is using for his advantage. But you can still change that… you can still save her."

"That's where my new friendship with FBI Agent Paul Ballard comes in handy. I helped him find the Dollhouse, and he's promised to help me get Caroline's imprint back."

"You think it's that easy? Those people are good. They know how to deal with these situations and stay hidden. Echo on the other hand can be turned to your side now, before she becomes your worst nightmare."

"She won't. No matter how many characters will rise and try to bring chaos… her true voice, her inner light will always be present and will grow stronger every day until it has control over all of the other imprints. I believe that."

"How can you believe that? You don't understand how the system works."

"I have faith in her." Tru yells.

"You don't even know her!"

"I know how I felt, OK? I believe in that... I have to believe in that… It's all I got."

Realizing how upset he's making her, Jack tries another approach to the conversation. "Well, for the sake of argument, let's just say you're wrong. Think of her as another one of your cases. She's not too different from all of those corpses asking for your help."

Tru stops walking. Jack stops as well and focuses his eyes on her.

"That's what I thought when I first sat with her," she admits, "but minutes later she proved me wrong. She made me realize that we are not our thoughts and memories; we are beyond that. Our purest essence resides in the soul. That is what defines us as human. We are not physical beings living a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings living a physical experience. If anything my calling should have taught me, it's that. Ironically, the only time I learned this lesson was when I met who I thought was a mindless worthless breathing doll carrying my sister's body. I guess I was blinded by my own programming. Echo is free of this emotional and intellectual poison that conditions who we are and how we think, which eventually results in what we do and how we act. She's beyond that. She's transcended that. She's liberated. Those dolls being called actives is perfectly appropriate. They are active because they are living their true essence. We are the ones who are dead!"

Jack's eyes narrow. He's still having trouble reading Tru's direction with this analogy. "It almost sounds like you're about to sign in to join the Dollhouse yourself!"

"I'm just saying that I've finally seen the light, and I have Echo to thank for it. Caroline wanted to free people, but instead she became free of herself and everything that was limiting her and weighing her down. And I think that's exactly how she will succeed in what she originally set out to do. She didn't know that her own father manipulated events to get her there. She believed she was doing it for the people who are trapped there. She believed that her ability to relive days could help her find a way out. She sacrificed herself to free others. It wasn't my father's trap that she fell for; otherwise she would have gotten there against her will. But she didn't. It was her decision… her choice. I respect her for that."

"Well, in that case, she isn't too different from me." Finally admits Jack. "I gave up on my ability to relive days so I could help you. And I made that decision in spite of my imprint. I rebelled against my programming. That was free will too."

"What made you do that?" Tru asks softly, knowing that she had been focusing her attention too much on her sister that she forgot all about Jack and his part in the events.

"It was burning me up inside to see the pain in your heart and realize that I was a part of what had caused it, even without me knowing that." He says tenderly. "I'm not the enemy Tru, I'm the victim. Just like your mother… just like your sister… just like you. That's why I need you to trust me… to let me in; otherwise, you will be tortured by the future… of things that are yet to be. You need me on your side. I'm the only one who can help you and who has risked it all to do so. You have to trust me."

"That's the craziest thing of all… I do!"


Author's Notes:

Well, that's it. This is the end of 'Two of a Kind'. There might be a sequel at some point in the future, though ;) I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. Please leave comments and/or reviews. Thank you very much for your time.

Also, you might have noticed that I used quotes from both Tru Calling and Dollhouse theme songs throughout this chapter. I felt they both suited what I was trying to conclude. Besides both songs are really beautiful :)

And just to be clear :-

Tru Calling was on air between 2003 – 2005. Eliza Dushku was approximately 22 – 24 years old. Tru was approximately 22 – 24 years old.

Dollhouse was on air between 2009 – 2010. Eliza Dushku was approximately 28 – 29 years old. Caroline/Echo was approximately 22 – 24 years old.

I had to choose one of these two categories to be the time setting for my story, so:

Tru and Caroline got their powers right after graduation as decided by their mother, which means they're both 22. And like the actress who plays them, I've decided that they were born in December 1980, so that means they got their abilities in 2003. Therefore, the time setting for my story is in 2005. I hope that's clear.

Also, I chose their birthday to be December 12th because in Tru Calling's episode 'In The Dark', Tru celebrates her birthday a couple of weeks before the Christmas episode :D