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Affinities of Organic Beings

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She's thinking hard about the nature/nurture debate, and not just because it's an aspect of her evo-devo studies. It's like an experiment she's living in, with the clones. All born to different families: all genetically identical. No two of them the same beneath the skin.

Cosima was born in California. Growing up, she learnt that it was okay to desire whoever you desired, regardless of race or gender; that good home-grown weed was better for your head than booze or tobacco; that big business (including government) lied and cheated and killed and was corrupt; that you couldn't love others without loving yourself.

Which is kind of ironic.

Cosima rolls over and picks up a pen, doodles lazily in the margin of her notebook. It's like automatic writing, like letting her subconscious out to play. Her subconscious wants to play with Sarah. Sarah Sarah Sarah, looping across the page.

Well, why? They all look alike, under the hairstyles and costumes and cosmetic masks and scars. Likely they all give off the same pheromones; likely, if Alison canned the Elizabeth Arden and Sarah went a day without stealing Paul's aftershave in lieu of actual perfume, they'd all smell the same. Why, then, is it Sarah who attracts Cosima so strongly, when she doesn't feel anything sexual for the others?

Cosima stretches out on the rug, relishing the roughness of wool against her bare skin. Relishing the familiar groove of Bassnectar from the wireless speakers. Relishing the green burn of smoke down through her throat into her lungs. She wonders what Sarah's doing right now, what she's feeling, who she's with. Maybe she's hanging out with Paul, who was Beth's boyfriend first. He totally had to notice he wasn't fucking the same woman. Beth? Beth was kind of uptight. And she worked out, like, a lot. How did Paul not see, not feel, that Sarah's body was different? How did he miss that she kissed with more tongue or less, that she made a different noise when she came, that she didn't wax?

Or maybe all the clones fuck the same way. In which case Cosima knows exactly what Sarah's like in bed. Uninhibited, giggly, playful, wild, insatiable.

She tucks two fingers under the lace edge of her panties, not moving yet, just ... thinking about it. Thinking about Sarah with Paul. Thinking about the last guy -- Mark? Marcus? -- who she, Cosima, fucked. Thinking about what it would be like to fuck yourself.

It's not like they're the same person, the clones, except deep down in their DNA. Alison, heh. Alison's never comfortable around Cosima. It's like she never met a queer woman before. Beth was cool with who Cosima was, but there was always that edginess about her. And Sarah ...

Cosima constructs a hypothesis. Sarah, like the rest of them, is the product of her nature (the DNA they share) plus her nurture (how and where she grew up, who she loved as a kid -- okay, she has that foster-brother, Felix, who's queer as a three-dollar bill; but all that proves is that Sarah's not a homophobe). Right. Hypothesis. Sarah is different to the others because ... because what? Because she grew up in England? Because her BFF is gay? Because she, hmmm, because she likes different food, different drinks, different highs, different music? Because they did something different to her when she was just a little kid?

She's pretty sure that the attraction is a one-way street. Sarah's never responded to any of Cosima's flirty smiles. She's never -- has she even ever touched Cosima? (Cosima's touched her. Cosima's touched her hair, her blood, her cells.)

It's a flawed experiment, because the sample size is way too small. Incomplete. Cosima never got to meet Katja or the other Europeans, the dead girls. There's more of them (more of her) out there, she knows there are. Maybe one of them will feel about Cosima how Cosima feels about Sarah. Maybe it'll be mutual.

She takes a long, deep lungful of smoke, holds it til it burns.