A/N: Just Dexter POV-ish drabble about changes in perspective, takes place sometime between/within 7.02 and 7.03.
I've always known what I am.
By day, a loving father and caring brother, by night, a monster that hunts his own kind.
This is who I am, this Jekyll and Hyde, this monster with an on-off switch.
Who I was.
Something familiar and dark inside him bristled at that correction.
But why do I feel, every time Deb looks at me, like I'm still a lie?
He shrugged down in front of his desk, peeking out from under his furrowed brow, checking on his new rehab sponsor, old-time boss, and older-time sister. Lately, the way she'd been glancing and staring has made him feel more and more like an animal in a cage. Locked in the perfect cage she'd made for him, one no one else could have made better. Like any animal he felt a need to pace, to wander in circles, and, on a safe occasion, check for weak points.
Her eyes found his through the blinds, as they almost always did now. Without thinking he gave her his trademark nod and friendly smile – his 'On' switch had been flicked before he could stop it. The wary look she'd been giving him evolved into one of true discomfort before she looked away, continuing her conversation with one of the crew he'd never expended much effort to get to know beyond the polite exchanges while on his occasional donut rounds; another 'On' function of his.
He leaned back in his seat, sighing deeply and rubbing his neck. Deb had always been at the center of his world, the one world he didn't kill people in. But now, after what happened, she was something else – he was something else. She wasn't just part of one world anymore; she'd seen his Hyde.
He knew now that he was more than just a monster with a switch; he'd been a brother with one as well.
'On', for Deb and everyone else who knew him as the lab-geek extraordinaire 'Dexter', and 'Off' for those not-so-lucky few who'd reserved a spot on his table… or for the rarer few who he had trusted. More faces than he was comfortable admitting came to mind, as well as their various ends which were by his own hands a majority of the time.
Deb, whether he wanted it or not, was now one of those faces. Whether he trusted her or not, she knew.
But that left him in a place he'd never felt before, a new limbo he didn't know. Deb had been the one person he'd believed should never see him for what he was. More than the safety of himself or others he wanted her to never know him the way those rare few had. He had always been 'On' for her and her especially. Now that she knew both sides of him he had lost all footing of what he was or should be to her.
What does he do around her? Being the Dexter she always knew would be a lie she'd see through in a second, as evident by the chill his smile had just given her, but he couldn't be the monster with her either or she'd get more than a little chill. He'd never been outside the black and white with Deb.
He found himself staring at her again.
What am I to her now?
Am I both?
His eyes drifted down to the paperwork he hadn't been doing for about an hour. He remembered Deb as the way she was; longer hair, braces, unafraid of happiness, and the one person he could imagine 'caring' for. Time had changed everything but that last part. But that was the Deb who didn't look at him the way she just had, the Deb he trusted knew only half of him, the Deb who trusted him. She'll never be that girl again, Dex, Harry explained quietly.
His expression hardened when he realized that much in the same way he'd become a stranger to her, so had she to him. Her place in his world was lost now that she was in both.
What is she to me now?
A prison guard?
Or the one to finally put me behind un-metaphorical bars?
He looked up again, she was reading files at her desk, something obviously bothering her – Deb, for being as normal as she was, had never mastered camouflage like he had. Several minutes passed before she looked up just as he looked away. If it hadn't had been Deb in this situation he would have appreciated the irony in the fact that he had ended up watching her more than she'd been watching him.
Everything had always been so black and white with Deb. But that was changing….