Disclaimer: I own not Alexandra Udinov or Owen Elliot or Nikita. Iliana Udinov was, however, a complete fabrication of mine after watching the episode 'Echoes' too late at night when my hyperactive imagination is in full swing.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


Alexandra Udinov despises her name; it doesn't define her, it incarcerates her.

Born into the Udinov family, youngest daughter to the famous mob boss, she's been held captive of what people think of her–or of who she's supposed to be–from the crib.

The things she's done, the people she's met, what she's learned, they were all requirements to fit into the mold built by her father and his expectations.

And that didn't exactly stop at his assassination; when Nikolai Udinov ceased to exist it was her older sister, Iliana, the one to step right into his shoes.

It was Iliana the one who ultimately shaped her into the Alexandra Udinov that she is today, the one she's come to despise so much.

Because being her, being Alexandra, being an Udinov, entails much more than what she first signed up for.

And she longs for things other people–normal people–shouldn't have to. Intimacy, affection, friendship. Love. What she'd once had and then lost.

Owen Elliot wasn't supposed to be anything else but her personal guard. And it had been Iliana who'd ordered that she get herself protection (and who had indirectly chosen Owen through it). Alex–she differentiates her own thoughts by giving herself a shortened name–didn't even like Owen at first. He was too cold, too stiff, too boring. About 10 years her senior, too. But he had the most beautiful blue eyes a girl as sheltered as her could have ever seen. And his smile...

It took some doing (okay, a lot of doing) before she even admitted her feelings to her own self. Alex, or Alexandra, or whoever she's supposed to see when she looks in the mirror, wouldn't own up to something as risky as falling in love. Or even liking someone, because it couldn't have been love back then. Not until he actually loved her back.

"Alexandra," Owen called, firm on his stance just outside her dressing room. Alex gave an exasperated groan as she glanced at the clock hanging from her wall.

"Is this absolutely necessary?" she inquired. He let out a small chuckle, not too loud, but enough to send warm feelings down her spine. She rejoiced in those little moments where she could steal him away from the role of Guardian that he played.

"So your sister said," he barely bothered to hide the laughter in his voice. He frowned slightly. "At least, I think that's what she said. I can't deal with her accent." Alex laughed, then, and she was loud and she didn't care.

She was still laughing when she came out and Owen's eyes met hers and he only smiled. She didn't blush but she was close to.

"You look beautiful, Alex." He didn't offer more, but it was sincere. She stood on the tips of her toes to kiss him.

She's never hated her sister more than in that moment when she found out Owen had been sent away. Back to the States. Thousands of miles from her. And she was thus thrust back into that role, that person, that name she'd never liked in the first place. The one thing about herself that she'd never appreciated.

She goes to sleep that night and, in her dreams, she sees Owen.

It's three weeks after the even that she's going through her wardrobe-really, nothing better to do-and she finds a folded up note. Her name it's on the top-Alexandra-, his closes it with a simple 'Owen'.

Alexandra, she's not only Alex now, reckons; if she hadn't been born the way that she has (Alexandra Udinov, first name and last), maybe she wouldn't have met Owen. But she knows that, whichever one she chooses to be, he'd love her just the same.

And maybe she could, one day, deal with both sides at the same time. Because she understands that she's much more than what those few letters say of her.