Dollhouse is in no way mine.

Staring at the rush of traffic passing underneath her feet, Mellie is swallowing back tears. A few leak out, defiantly, and she mentally berates herself. Once she'd thought (1) Paul was somehow special, different than the other men she'd known (2), or if not special, at least better. (Hadn't he been the one to give her the chance to proverbially lie on the therapist's couch? Hadn't he tried to sympathize with her, joke with her, assure her those men were idiots? Hadn't he been the one to kiss her? Hadn't he divulged his secrets to her?) She'd deluded herself.

But, but, it wasn't to be. She could spot a man keeping secrets. It was that spirited, lithe little Caroline in the video. And plain, practical Mellie, old reliable Mellie, was no match for the mystery of Caroline. If it was a film noir, Caroline would be the little girl lost, whose big brown eyes only really appeared in flashbacks or dream sequences; Mellie would be the girl Friday, feeding him homemade dinners and bouncing clues around with him, but any horizontal tango they may have done would only be a mistake (3) and one he'd recognize.

It'd suit, Paul the brooding do-gooder detective. Even the hypocrisy's there: brooding detectives always swear up and down they won't bring work home and then they do just that. He was lying when he said he hadn't been thinking of Caroline.

She considers pitching herself off this godforsaken bridge. It isn't the first suicide she's contemplated (4) but she knows it'd be foolish. (A bitter voice in her brain asks would she be missed; an even bitterer voice scoffs at the idea of even being able to tell, an afterlife seeming too unlikely today.) She's too chicken to do it, too, there is that. She loves Paul, but, and she isn't sure why (5), she loves living more.

It's no surprise that he'd choose the idea of Caroline over her. Caroline probably wouldn't consider something as weak as killing herself over men; Caroline probably doesn't cry over every little thing. Caroline takes charge. Caroline makes what she wants to happen happen. And she's probably a regular Bunny Ranch girl in bed. It doesn't take much to satisfy a man, but the bitterest part of her thinks after a lot of vanilla pudding, you can't help but want chocolate cheesecake doused in strawberry sauce.

It must be said, the rational part of Mellie knows, that he never actually included Caroline in the laundry list of reasons he gave her (by name, anyway). It came off a pretty conspicuous blank spot, though. She knew.

It really shouldn't have been such a shock.

Mellie knew talking to strange men in L.A. was a bad idea, but she couldn't help following the man who asked if she wanted a treatment.

They scrubbed her body clean of Mellie, of her wants and needs and hopes and dreams. They thought it would be for the last time; she wasn't of use anymore. He knew, obviously he knew, but Paul couldn't help but be amazed at the woman he'd thought he loved being so wholly erased. It was sort of a sickening, thudding sort of truth.

Anyone who could do that to someone was plainly a monster. November, Mellie, whoever she was – she was just caught in the crossfire.

(1) or been programmed to have thought.

(2) or the ideas of men she'd allegedly known programmed into her head.

(3) at least, for "Mellie." It was exactly what they'd programmed her to do.

(4) or she'd at least been programmed to remember contemplating others.

(5) because the Dollhouse was still trying to keep that body safe for its' proper owner.