by Jade Standish

Author's Notes: The song lyrics are from Reflection by Christina Aguilera.

Ezra walked slowly into the restroom of the Federal Building and headed straight for the sink. He turned on the tap, splashing cold water on his face. He glanced in the mirror and froze, water still dripping from his face. He felt his hand coming up of its own volition, lightly touching the darkening bruise on his jaw.

He instantly flashed back on the events that had occurred only about an hour before. A bust had gone wrong and disintegrated into a firefight. Chris had been unable to see the gunman aiming for his back. Ezra had broken cover, pushing himself between Chris and the gunman before firing, instantly killing the gunman. Afterwards, Chris had hit him in the jaw before violently shoving him against the wall. The words he had hissed still echoed in Ezra's ears.

"If you ever do a fool thing like that again, I swear I will kill you myself. Do you understand me, Standish?"

Ezra finally looked up from the bruise and gazed at the reflection of his green eyes. For the first time in almost longer than he could remember, the mask was gone. In its place was disappointment, regret, and the one thing that Ezra put the most effort into hiding. Love.

He leaned on the sink as a dry chuckle escaped from his lips. The words to a song he had heard on the radio that morning suddenly flew through his mind, and he found himself whispering the lyrics.

"Every day it's as if I play a part. Now I see if I wear a mask, I can fool the world. But I cannot fool my heart. Who is this I see staring straight back at me? When will my reflection show who I am inside?" Ezra smiled, but it was a sad smile rather than his usual smirk. "Who would have ever thought that a young girl could so accurately capture my entire life in a single song?"

He glanced back in the mirror, focusing on his pain-filled eyes. "Why can't I seem to let anyone else see who I really am? Why can't I let Chris see me like this?"

Ezra continued staring at his reflection, addressing his questions to the man in the mirror. "Even though I have no hope of his ever returning my feelings, surely things couldn't get any worse. All I want is a little trust, perhaps some respect if I am truly fortunate. So why do I continue to hide behind my mask?"

After a moment, Ezra glanced away from his image in the mirror. He splashed more water on his face, then looked back up. The mask of indifference was back as if it had never been gone. Only the slightest hint of longing could be seen as Ezra whispered one single word toward his reflection before leaving the restroom.


The door was just closing behind Ezra when a stall door in the restroom squeaked and a man exited. He shook his head in wonder, glancing at the same mirror Ezra had used a moment before. "What do I do now?"


On to: Mirror Image

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