Title: The Architecture of a Virgin Love
Author: Amethyst Blizzard
Rating: K (General) – nothing naughty here.
Pairing: Claire/Topher
Spoilers: Omega (S1, E12)
Summary: He is the architect, and she is the archetype. But nothing is ever quite that simple.
Disclaimer: Don't own it, Joss is boss.

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He watches her, catches bare glimpses of her through the slats of glass that encase her office. Some are frosted and some are clear. He likes the clear ones the best; he can see her then, barely. Up on his balcony, overlooking the House, stealing glances when he can, if only to catch sight of her profile as she passes the windows.

He remembers her, different though she is now. A picture of innocence she may have been, now a cold and affected and broken Doll, painted over and over with sharp graphite and occasionally rubbed out with a blunt eraser. A design, a sketch with outlines and rough edges and overlapping borders, complete and incomplete all at the same time.

He admires her, her tough exterior, poised and always ready with an insult or dismissive quip, and the interior that is neither cold nor warm, a conflict in itself. She is kind and patient and caring with her patients, polite and compliant with her superiors, cold and cutting with him.

He tells her, subtly and cryptically, how beautiful he thinks she is, how even though she is almost always short with him, he does not mind, nor will he ever mind.

He desires her, even when he knows he should not. She is captivating, and strikingly beautiful, but in a very regal way, elegant and flowing.

He loves her, but will never tell her. It is not right, can never be right for him to love her and for him to let her know he loves her. So, he will keep loving her secretly, always painfully at such a distance that he has to steal glimpses of her through the slatted windows. She is, after all, the archetype. His archetype, his model. His design, the foundations of her fabricated life keep her steady, at least for now, and the structures of her self are his to know, intimately, if only at a distance.

He watches her, barely.

She watches him, between the slats of the clear and frosted panes of window she stands and looks out, forever encased in a glass prison and glimpsing freedom above her, freedom resting on the railings of his balcony. She watches him watching her, though only barely. Obstructions between them prevail.

She dismisses him, quickly and cuttingly, when he comes to her with jovial or light conversation. Even the sombre meetings don't last long. It isn't that he is not worthy of her time, effort and patience – though sometimes he may not be – it is just that with him she feels almost obligated. To do what, she does not know. It's just a feeling that remains in her around him.

She condemns him, sometimes silently, sometimes with the spoken word, sometimes in secret, sometimes in public. Always with a preserved malice she knows should not be there. Preserved and reserved only for him, his boyish grin and mischievous words, her malice cuts, cold and deep. It eases the pain in her to make him hurt.

She denies him, chances to be civil and undamaging, to feel the necessary feelings that both of them possess freely and without shame. It hurts her to remain distanced, seething beneath a calm exterior and irate at his disguised persistence. Just a game of cat and mouse, one chasing, one running, both hiding in their own way.

She desires him, secretly, ashamedly, wondering why she takes the time to steal bare glimpses and allows her thoughts to rest on him when all it does is let the storm inside of her rage on. Her pain erupts at the thoughts, an ache she isn't sure of. How did it come to be there?

She hates him, despises the surface of him all the way through into the interior of his flawed design. She tells him of her hate, simply and questioning – why? – but never tells him how deep it runs, will never tell him. He his, after all, the architect, the designer and creator, he should know. Whether he does or not, she will not let it matter. She will continue to desire and despise, mostly in secret but sometimes she will let it slip out, subtly and deliberately. She will let the architect know his archetype is flawed, just like him, just like he made her.

She watches him, barely.

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A/N: The idea for this came from sitting in on a lecture about the history and origins of the Internet, believe it or not. Funny how inspiration works, huh? Reviews are appreciated!