A/N: A small piece, reflecting upon Claire's feelings of betrayal. Post-"The Hollow Men", first person reflective. A little dark. Everything but the words belong to their respectful owners, Joss is boss.

We had all been betrayed.

Even in the knowledge that everybody was suffering because of it, and everybody had their own pain to go through, I felt as if my entire world had been shattered, that I was in pieces along with it, and that my existence had been manipulated for the benefit of another's selfish pleasure and gain.

We had all been betrayed, but only I had been fooled into loving him.

Was it even love, could I even call it that? His kindness, his generosity and shelter were all lies, just a mask he wore to get what he wanted, to have what he wanted. To pull on the strings of my life, and put me where he wanted me.

"You know you can stay here for as long as you want, no questions, no expectations. I want to take care of you, Claire, I want to help you."

He had an easy way of speaking, an ease with which he said the words he knew I wanted to hear, needed to hear, and he played me just how he wanted to. I was easy, he knew how to play me.

"I don't want to be imposing…"

"You're not imposing; I invited you here."

His presence was almost always brief, brief moments here and there when he would come home for a stray carton of files or a long list of phone numbers, and then one day when I opened the door for him he was crying, traces of dried and cold tears along the rims of his eyes. That was the first night we kissed, the first night we made love, in his pain, to wash it away, to wash away my loneliness. He stayed home a lot more after that.

He had used me, played on my broken and fragile and frayed existence, used me up, all the while I thought he was loving me, making me whole.

When Adelle told me what had happened in Tucson, what had happened to him, I felt regret, not at having lost the man I loved, but in not having had the chance to kill him myself. I could have killed him.

I had been betrayed. I was betrayed.

I felt a darkness grow inside of me, a terrible hole that burrowed deep. For a while I was numb from the pain, my restored mind still jumbled in places, pieces rearranging themselves to fit. Then, all I felt was darkness. I was alive, but I was hollowed, and my life meant nothing, not to me.

I was the betrayed, and all that was left was a broken little lie, memories of love and comfort, and a numbing darkness that washed it all away.

A/N: Done, reviews are more than appreciated :)