Summary: We all have a choice who we want to be. I do not want to be like him.
Author's Note: I wrote this the day after The Firefly aired. I thought the idea with the book was really neat, so I ran with it. And before you ask, yes, I am a book nerd. I also think the idea behind this fic kinda took on a completely new meaning after Reciprocity...
That was the word that adorned the envelope that lay square and center on one of the workbenches in the lab. For the longest time, he just stared at it while his fingers traced the letters that made up his name. P. E. T. E. R. Taking extra care with the little squiggle that rounded up his name. He knew the handwriting well, it was Olivia's. He didn't know if he should reach for it, open it, and find out what was inside or if he should just let it sit there and ignore it.
Putting words on paper was easier than saying them out loud. That was what he was afraid of. All those unspoken words between them, her anger, her rage – they could have found an outlet on that piece of paper that was hidden inside the envelope. But then there was also the hope that maybe, just maybe, the words he would find in that letter were not about how much he had hurt her, about how he had ruined her life.
Hope was all he had.
So he reached for the envelope and ripped open the side. A small piece of paper fell onto the table in front of him. It wasn't the long letter had expected from her. Turning it over, he found a short note in her unmistakable handwriting.
This always reminded me that living in this world isn't easy, that there needs to be a balance of the good and the evil. We all have a choice who we want to be. I do not want to be like him.
His fingers reached inside the envelope and he pulled out a book, causing a smile to appear on his face. He had shared his favorite book with her... so did she. Only three words graced the simple cover, three words he hadn't read in a very long time.
Heart of Darkness.
She wasn't like him. Always trying so hard to right all the wrong in this world... no, she wasn't like Kurtz at all. She never would be. Her constant struggle with herself to not give in to the anger and the rage that she felt... he finally understood that this wasn't only about what was happening between them. She was afraid – afraid of allowing her darker side to get the upper hand because if she did, she would lose.
They all had a choice in life, a choice to give in to the darkness inside them or not. That was what was guiding them, what made them tick. Walter's struggle with his own self, resulting in his decision to have parts of his brain removed so he would not even be tempted anymore to give into his darker side. And then there was his own struggle with the knowledge that for one universe, he could be the savior while for the other, he'd become the destroyer.
If Conrad was right about one thing, it was that there is no easy place to accommodate evil. The world is a complicated system of balance. Without evil, good has no meaning and cannot exist as one is defined against the other. This whole concept is based on a matter of perception, the boundaries of what constitutes good and evil are blurred. In order to achieve the good, evil things will have to be done. What it all boils down to is the choices you have made in your life and if you can manage to live with them. In a twisted way, the book Peter held in his hands told the story of their lives.
He thought it was funny how one book could reveal so much about a person. Though while the topics of their favorite books were world's apart, in essence, they both said the same. The power and wisdom lay inside them and only they could decide what they wanted to do with it. Olivia wanted him to understand her, just like he had wanted her to understand him when he had given her his book. He had always known that beneath that hard outer shell that seemed to always surround her, there was a soft core. This book, it was her way of telling him just how vulnerable she was and what it was she feared the most.
They seemed to have found a way to convey their thoughts and feelings without having to voice them out loud. It was easier this way. They were taking baby steps, but at least, they were taking them together.