Title: Roll, Jordan, Roll

Author: nostalgia

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Me not own these people. So there.

Summary: Slavery and freedom in the Mirror Universe.

Author's Random Crap: kbk was my beta-bitch.

If the alternative is slavery, people will do almost anything. We'll fight, we'll die, we will kill in cold blood.

Except I've never been very good at that last part. Even though I know that it isn't really cold blood, not in circumstances like these.

Fortunately, Julian is very good at the killing. He's even come close to killing me a few times, when he's angry or drunk or just annoyed. He says they did something to him, when he was a kid. Made him smarter, took away a little bit of his conscience. I don't think he's bitter about that. I think he's proud.

If we ever succeed at this, if we manage to destroy the Alliance, or get them to leave us all alone, it might be best if someone killed him. We won't need someone like him if that ever happens, we won't need a human killing machine on the loose.

But now, I suppose, he's useful. Like I said, he's good at the killing.

We're still slaves, really. We have to hide from everyone, live in caves. There's never enough food. But we're free in our own way. We're in control now.

I actually met him years ago, in the ore processing centre on Terok Nor. Only it wasn't really him, it was a calmer, saner one from the other universe. That nice, happy one where everyone plays fair. Said he was a doctor, said he hated having to kill.

Sometimes I like to pretend that my Julian is that other one. That I'll wake up in a friendlier reality, and the man sleeping next to me won't be dreaming of murder. It's one of those internal betrayals we all commit. I shouldn't feel guilty about it.

Maybe that other Julian could actually love me. Maybe he wouldn't think of me as "something to pass the time with." Another little daydream.

Or maybe the other Julian never looks at his Miles O'Brien that way. And maybe his Miles O'Brien doesn't want him either. It's so different over there. There's no way for me to know what might have been.

The other Miles is free, and doesn't depend on the people I have to depend on. He's married, with a daughter. He's happy.

If it would let me live his life, I'd gladly kill that other Miles, slide a knife into him and watch the blood drip onto the floor. Would that be murder or suicide? Both?

It's not that I don't love this Julian. It's just that I know I shouldn't. I shouldn't want to be so close to a killer.

When the alternative is slavery, you'll do almost anything. When you've been a slave, it's hard to get used to having free will. When I worked on Terok Nor I waited until someone told me what to do, and then I did it. Now I have to make up my own mind about what to do. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be.

But I'm me now. And that's what matters. That should be what matters.

Why isn't it the only thing that matters?

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