For the Yuletide gift fic exchange.

Early season three fic. This is not her life, not her world. Olivia is certain of that now, and must hold onto that fact if she's to make it back home. Character piece wherein Olivia considers the implications of the switch that has been made.

Olivia didn't belong here. She knew that now.

"This is not my life," she'd said, knowing this was the truth. She'd tried to escape. They'd caught her, brainwashed her somehow, and she was their Olivia, at least for a time.

Not now. The hazy memories from her other life grew stronger every day. This was not her life. Frank was not her boyfriend. Marilyn was not her mother, not truly. Charlie was not her Charlie , no matter how much she wanted him to be, no matter how much comfort she took from seeing some version of her friend alive and well. This was not her world.

Yes, she looked like their Olivia, especially with her dyed hair – she regretted ever colouring it, regretted ever posing as her alternate self. Had she not done so, it would have made it harder, maybe even impossible, for Walternate and his cronies to swap their Olivia for her.

She often wondered what was going on in her world; had they uncovered the deception? Surely they must; the genius Walter, the perceptive Peter, the observant Astrid. No doubt there were ways to bring someone up to speed with regard to her work and anything that was a matter of public record, and in many regards she and the other Olivia did much the same job. Yet surely her counterpart could not successfully impersonate her with regard to her most important and personal relationships; Peter, Rachel, Ella.

The thought that maybe her friends and colleagues knew, and were trying to rescue her, was the only thing that kept her from going mad. The thought that they might not know, that they were all in grave danger, was the thing that kept her going. The knowledge that Peter was waiting for her back in her world spurred her to find her own way home.

She was even afraid to look in the mirror. Each time she did so, she felt a preternatural chill, fearing that when she met her own eyes she'd see a stranger there, as if this other Olivia had taken over not only her life but her body and soul. She'd had nightmares about it, bad dreams she tried to push aside during her waking hours.

So she just swallowed hard and forced herself to gaze upon the reflected Olivia in the mirror above the bathroom sink. She knew that, impossible as it was, this situation was real, and she still knew where the line between reality and fantasy. That this was still her body, and her mind; it was just that she was trapped in a parallel world. She was still Olivia Dunham and Olivia Dunham did not give up. Olivia Dunham would reclaim what was hers. Her identity, her place in her world, her friends, her family.

"Looking at yourself in the mirror again," Peter said from behind her. He irritated her almost as much as his presence warmed her. He was a hallucination, a part of her subconscious that had taken this form in order to lead her back to the truth of who she was. Maybe it was something Walter had done to her that made this possible, a gift in its own way; or maybe she was just on the verge of madness. It didn't matter. Hallucinatory Peter was a near constant reminder that she had her own world to get back to.

"Do you think she does this too?" Peter asked, and she could only be imaging his breath on the back of her neck as he leaned in to study her reflection as she was doing. "Does she stare into her eyes, wondering if she'll see you?"

Olivia shook her head. "She knows who she is, knows she's living a lie. It's not the same."

"You're living a lie too. Pretending to be her."

"Because I have no choice if I'm to survive and get back home." She shouldn't have to reason with a figment of her imagination.

He smiled. "Back to me?"

"You're not real." But her Peter was.

He shrugged. "Yet you chose this form for me to appear in. You miss him."

Olivia wasn't going to argue with her subconscious, nor did she have to admit anything aloud. Thinking about Peter and the rest of her friends and family was always a double edged sword, bringing both sorrow that could incapacitate her, but also anger that would drive her onwards. And if that impersonator had laid one finger on anyone she cared about she'd kill her. Hell, killing her alternate was the only way to guarantee this sort of incident would never happen again.

Could she do it? Look into her own eyes and pull the trigger? Not her eyes, she had to remember that, had to keep it straight. It was a resemblance, that's all. They were not the same person. Like identical twins, with two bodies, two souls, two identities, she and the other Olivia were two different people.

She thought, for a moment, about the consequences of killing her duplicate. She'd be depriving Marilyn of her only remaining child; Broyles of a fine agent; Charlie and Lincoln of their close friend and colleague. The alternate's actions may be despicable from her point of view, but from this universe's perspective they were a noble attempt to try and save the world. For this universe's point of view, their Olivia was a hero with friends and family of her own. Did she have any right to destroy the other Olivia, any more than Walternate had any right to try and destroy Olivia's universe in retaliation for the destruction her Walter had wrought on this world?

She walked out of the bathroom and climbed into bed. Comfortable and familiar, even if it was different; not her bed, not her apartment. Some days she wasn't sure if what she felt were genuine feelings she had, or the duplicate's. While she now knew who she was, many of the implanted memories remained, muddying the waters of her mind.

"Good night, Olivia," not-really Peter said.

She closed her eyes and tried to ignore him. If she was lucky she'd sleep without dreaming. And tomorrow she'd continue the deception, posing as their Agent Dunham, while still striving to find a way home.