Prologue: Year 2020

The world had been changed. None had avoided this- all had been forced to adapt or die. Many had opted, by choice or by mere fate, for the second option. Those that remained were stronger, smarter, faster- better able to live in this strange new setting. More likely to succeed in a world where technology dominated the course of every individual's life.

Now the tech was defeated, but the world remained, twisted and distorted and shattered, and above all, changed. Cities had been razed to the ground, destroyed by the people who once worked and played and lived in them. Entire forests had been burned without rhyme or reason, simply for the pleasure of destruction. And the people... Well. Above all, the people were different. They were hollowed out, all that had been inside, all emotion and need and logic, had been siphoned out until all that remained was a body. Even now, now that all had been fixed and all that had been removed floated once again to the surface of their psyches, people were changed. In the face of this destruction, all that was left was the shells, the bare structures that had resisted the wear and tear of time and basic brutality. Underground, however, everything was still and peaceful.

In her pod, Echo lay, dormant. Her body was still but her mind was busy; she had so much time now- everything she couldn't say, everything she couldn't do, was all hers. She'd never told him she loved him: she could fix that. She could fix everything between them, the fights, the tension, and worst of all, the knowledge that she could never love him fully while her mind was split in two. But now he was part of her mind, and nothing would keep them apart. Not even herself.

Priya sighed with relief, the pent-up exhaustion of the past ten years released in a single breath. Her worries dissipated, and her fears vanished. All was as it should be. She tilted her head as she watched Tony watch T. T, for his part, stared into the flames tinted blue by the tech currently burning. He leant against the man he now knew was his father. The arm wrapped around his shoulder was both an apology and a promise- an apology for the years missing, and the hardships lived, and a promise. An oath, that it would never happen again, and that nothing could ever harm him while he was sheltered by that arm. Priya gazed at Tony's face, the light of the flames flickering along the curve of his jaw and the swell of his brow. Tony stared with open awe and adoration at his son, from whom he had so long been separated. As she watched, he leant down to lay a gentle kiss on T's hair. Tears dripped down her cheek as she beheld the makings of a family, finally.

Mag sat quietly besides Kilo's bed. Kilo herself had fallen asleep not long ago, but Mag was content to stay silently. Her thoughts were in turmoil. She didn't know what to do, now that the war was over. It felt like all her life, she had been running and hiding and fighting, and now that that was done, what was left for her? Go back to Berkeley, return to her studies in sociology, when there was no longer a society to study? How could anything return to the way it was, with the world in shambles and civilization destroyed? She couldn't stay here in the Dollhouse forever, Mag knew this. But she wasn't ready to step outside, to watch the slow and painful process as everything was rebuilt. Cities, countries, cultures, lives. She sighed, lifting a hand to the bed, gently grasping Kilo's. The other woman rolled over to face her, mumbling softly in her sleep, and gripped Mag's hand back.

Twenty stories up, outside, beneath the sun, Adelle Dewitt stood tall, eyes stinging harshly. Behind her, dark smoke billowed from the shattered windows at the top of a skyscraper. People all around her were starting to stir, starting to get up, confusion etched all over their faces. Confusion faded into horror as they took stock of their bearings. Took in the changed world. As one, they turned to Adelle, called almost instinctively to her. She took a breath, taking in their trusting faces, and innocent wonder, and couldn't help but smirk at the irony. What she had said for so many years was true- Dolls werethe essence of a moment, all was quiet. Then the questions broke out, in wild succession, shouted and sobbed and gasped hysterically. Where am I? My god, who are you people? Where is my family? Where is everyone?

Finally, all questions faded, until only one continued to echo in the still air.

What happened?

AN: feedback much appreciated, as this is my first story posted. Thanks! If I do continue, it'll be a while before the next post: I just wanted to see what sort of reception this story would receive.