Spoilers: Through episode 3.3, "The Plateau".
Disclaimer: I don't own Fringe or its characters.
Author's Note: Written (and finished extremely belatedly) for the Bechdel Test comment fic-a-thon. Prompt: Fringe - Olivia & AltOlivia - are you sick of your skin.
"You can't do this."
My gun is out before I turn around. Looking at her is like looking at myself three months ago, except this time I'm pretending to be her and she's pretending to be me. She's even got my gun, her aim just as steady as mine. We both have an easy shot. The only question is which of us flinches first.
The last piece of the device sits on the table between us. A call to Newton and it will be transported across universes, ready to be assembled into a weapon to save us all. Or destroy us.
I shove my doubts aside and focus on the mission. Get the piece, get it to Newton. Kill anyone who stands in my way.
But I don't pull the trigger.
She licks her lips, her eyes flicking down to the table and back up. A moment of uncertainty that's quickly replaced by determination. "I know you think you're doing the right thing."
I shake my head, finger tightening on the trigger. "You have no idea."
She laughs softly, bitterly, tilting her head as she stares me down. "I know better than anyone."
"Why?" I lift my eyebrows, tilting my head to match hers. "Because you've spent a few months in my universe?"
"Because I'm you."
She said that the last time we met, but this time I'm intimately aware of how wrong she is. "I've been you, well enough to fool your nearest and dearest. You're nothing like me."
"Except now I am."
I suppress the chill that shudders through me at the twisted smile on her face. I've never seen that expression in the mirror. I hope I never do. Haunted isn't even the half of it. Her eyes burn into mine as she continues. "Brandon-your Brandon, not mine-did something. Gave me your memories. Sent me to live your life. I lost myself, forgot who I was."
My mouth goes dry. I ignore the prick of betrayal; if they slipped her into my life it was for a good reason, just as good as the reason I'd been slipped into hers. I have to believe that. Too often it's what has kept me going. "And now, what, you've remembered everything and want your life back? You're here to take it from me?"
"By the time I remembered, it was too late."
I don't want to ask, but I have to understand what's behind the pain in her eyes. "Too late for what?"
She nods like she was waiting for the question, like it was inevitable that I would ask it. "Too late to be who I was." She rubs her free hand over her face, fingertips digging into her scalp as she suddenly looks so very, very lost. "Both of our memories are burned into my head and both them are me. Or maybe neither of them are." My stomach hurts as I watch her struggle with the price she's had to pay, yet another casualty in the war neither of us asked for.
Her eyes refocus and her lips tilt up in a grin, one that's cocky and just a little sly. The expression is oh, so familiar, and not one that should sit so easily on her face. "But I remember your life and I remember mine, and that let me put the pieces together. I wasn't supposed to be able to figure it out but"- she shrugs -"I seem to have a knack for these things."
My growing misgivings about my mission resurface. Doubt gnaws at me. I never used to question my orders. Life was so much easier when I trusted my superiors almost as much as I trusted my partners. But to be her I had to start questioning everything, and it's become a habit I can't break. What if she's right and the Secretary is wrong? Dare I take the chance?
Dare I not?
There's no one here I can trust for a second opinion; all I have is myself. I stare into her eyes-my eyes-and listen to my gut. I know her. I've lived her life, walked too many miles in her shoes. Better, I know me.
I lower the gun. "Tell me what we need to do."