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The day after they throw out the For Sale sign that had been in the front yard, Sarah curls herself around Kira in Kira’s little bed, and waits for her to wake.

It doesn’t take her long, and Kira doesn’t even spend a moment startled, only blinks her eyes open and laughs.

“Mom,” she half-scolds while Sarah gently cards her fingers through Kira’s hair. “I’m getting too big for this!”

“Yeah, I know,” Sarah murmurs, head on Kira’s pillow. “But I just want you to be small enough for me to hold, just a little longer, okay?”

“Okay,” Kira agrees, snuggling back down into her blankets. “But not much longer. I have to go to school.”

Sarah laughs, her eyes not leaving her daughter’s face. “So responsible, aren’t you, monkey? Where’d you get that from, hey?”

“Not you,” Kira retorts, falling into giggles at Sarah’s affronted expression.

“No, I guess not.” Sarah’s gaze goes unfocused, eyes going down, until Kira’s hand on her cheek pulls her gaze back up.

“I can feel you getting sad, Mom,” Kira says, too much wisdom in her young, high voice. “I know it’s still hard for you here. But she’s just in the next room, like she said. And she’s happy for us. So you should be happy too.”

“That simple, is it, monkey?”

“Yes,” Kira says easily. “It is.”

“Okay,” Sarah says, taking Kira’s hand and pressing a kiss to the back of it. “Okay.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

They go to Finland, all of them--Sarah, Helena, Cosima, Alison, Delphine, Donnie, Felix, Arthur, and all the children--travelling together, crammed into the same row on the airplane, all of them a little giddy and a little terrified as they move as a family, as one, united and in defiance of everything they’d lived in fear of for so long.

The trip once they land is a blur of rented cars and travelling chaos--Purple loses a lovey that they have to go back for, Orange tries to shove a large rock into his mouth, Donnie gets carsick--but it’s all so normal it feels unreal. They make it to their destination just before sunset, the top of a craggy overhang looking out onto the ocean. It’s ridiculously picturesque, the sky just starting to turn colors in front of them and pine trees behind them, little alpine flowers poking up around their feet. When they’d mentioned where they were going, a lady in town had mentioned that if they came back in the winter, it was a perfect spot to sit and watch the northern lights.

“Are you sure this is the right spot?” Sarah asks. Felix steps forward and places his hand on her shoulder. “I mean, are you sure she’d want--”

“Well, you can’t do this in cyberspace, no matter how hard you try.” His bright facade falls away for a moment, and he pulls Sarah a little closer. “Scott and his buddies did some digging. This spot is where Niki’s surviving family had her ashes scattered.”

“Okay. This is definitely it then.” Sarah takes a few steps forward and kneels, setting the urn she’d carried since Toronto onto the grass. “I’m sorry it took us so long, Mika. But we’re all here, now. And you’re home.”

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“Oh, my babies!”

“Mommy!” Gemma quickly ducks out from her grandmother’s arm, sprinting forward as fast as her legs will take her. Oscar, always a bit quicker, has already flung himself at Alison’s legs, squeezing tight.

“Oh, hello, hello!” Alison loosens Oscar’s grip enough so she can kneel and wrap her arms around him. Gemma arrives moments later, and Alison frees herself enough to hug her close too. “Oh, Gemma, Oscar, mommy missed you so much!”

“You changed your hair. We weren’t sure it was you.”

“Oh, it is, it is, I promise you it is.” They’re in the middle of the airport, and Alison’s grandmother--a woman who has never left the house without gloves and perfect lipstick in her life, and is severely disproving of what she considers the degrading moral character of emotional displays--is only a few feet away, but Alison is throwing all that to the wind. It’s a strange feeling that has nothing to do with the carefully memorized mantras she’d learned at her retreat, and everything to do with the aching bright warmth in her chest. “I missed you so much.”

“Are we gonna have to go away again soon?” Gemma asks, all little-girl innocence, and something in Alison breaks as she presses her hand to Gemma’s face and kisses her forehead.

“No, my babies. Never again.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cosima wakes but doesn’t open her eyes just yet, stretching her arms out instead and luxuriating in the feeling of clear breaths after a dreamless night.

Delphine catches her hand and pulls it close, pressing kisses to it, and Cosima laughs.

“Hey,” she says, opening her eyes at last. The world is blurry, but Delphine’s face is on the pillow next to hers, close enough to be clear. “How long have you been up?”

“A while.”

“Were you like, watching me sleep, you creep?”

“I cannot help it!” Delphine objects, and Cosima grins, pulling on their entwined hands so they lay between the two of them. “You are too beautiful.”

“Irresistible, am I?”

“Well, while you are sleeping. The other times…”

“Hey!” Delphine laughs, seeming to surprise herself with how carefree and easy the sound is, before tugging on their linked hands and pressing a kiss to Cosima’s.

“I cannot help it,” she says again, a little softer. “It is...too miraculous, getting to wake up next to you.”

Cosima gets that, maybe even more than Delphine does. She still half-expects, every time she opens her eyes, for Delphine to be gone. She’s still surprised every time Delphine is there.

But they haven’t been apart--not since DYAD fell--and maybe now she can trust that Delphine will be there, as much as she’s been able to trust that Delphine loves her, that she is on her side.

And maybe Delphine will be able to trust that Cosima loves her, that Cosima knows Delphine is on their side.

“Knock knock!” Cosima’s mother Jean calls before sticking her head through the door, one hand very obviously covering her eyes. Delphine goes red, pulling the covers over her face, while Cosima just groans in well-worn exasperation. “Don’t mean to interrupt you ladies doing, well, whatever it is you’re doing--”

“Mom--”

“Just wanted to let you know the coffee’s made, the forecast is set to be a lot smoother sailing today, and don’t forget about the frozen eggs for breakfast! Unless you two are more focused on breakfast in bed--”

“Mom!”

Cosima’s mom leaves, the closed door not enough to hide her cackle that sounds so much like Cosima’s that Delphine has to emerge from the blankets to be sure it isn’t Cosima laughing. Jean is very like Cosima, a passionate marine biologist with her hair in elaborate locs, though her skin is several shades darker than Cosima’s. She’d taken the clone news surprisingly well, commenting simply that she’d always assumed Cosima looked so white--despite her having carried her--was down to their sperm donor just having very strong genes. Cosima’s mother Sally was currently doing fieldwork somewhere in the Pacific with terrible reception, so Cosima was waiting until that trip had ended before dropping the clone bomb on her. Jean had been in California, however, and had immediately offered both Cosima and Delphine spots on her research boat when they’d arrived in town.

“We should get up.”

“Nooo,” Cosima moans, but despite her objections they end up dressed and with actual breakfast in their stomachs. Jean goes out to gather samples and Delphine and Cosima go up to the deck, the sun reflecting brightly off the waves.

They stand shoulder-to-shoulder, holding hands, Cosima’s head on Delphine’s shoulder.

“Where’s your head?” Cosima asks gently, after a few too many minutes of silence. “You know you can tell me.”

“I know,” Delphine says, too quickly. “I…”

Cosima leans into Delphine’s side, reaching around to place Delphine’s hand on her hip and sneaking her arm over to rest on Delphine’s, and she waits.

And Delphine starts to speak.

“I do not want us to be as we were, before,” she confesses, eyes trained on the horizon. Cosima’s eyes are fixed on Delphine, and the way she struggles to find the words. “But I do not know how to--to go forward. To be with you but without any of the rest of it.”

Cosima bites her lip. “Do you want to? Be with me?”

“Of course!” Delphine twists to meet Cosima’s eyes. “Cosima, always, I--I do not know how to be without you.”

“Okay.” Cosima smiles, to let Delphine know that it’s alright and she’s alright--and maybe a little bit from that fierce joy and relief that courses through her. “Then we’ll start there.”

Delphine exhales, low and relieved, and leans her arms on Cosima’s shoulders, leans her forehead on Cosima’s. Her eyes are closed, and Cosima lets her own eyes close. Delphine breathes out and Cosima breathes in. Cosima breathes out and Delphine breathes in.

They’re in the middle of the ocean. There’s nobody hunting them down. They’ll never need to leave each other again.

“There are things I know you will never ask,” Delphine says at last. “But I want to tell you.”

“Okay,” Cosima says.

And she listens.

And, slowly, they heal.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arthur and Donnie are strapped securely into their carseats, burbling happily to each other in a language all their own. Helena is in the passenger seat, twisted around so she can see them both.

“Oi, meathead,” Sarah says, reaching over to jostle Helena’s arm. “They’re fine. You gotta stop moving, I can’t see past your hair.”

Helena huffs, falling back against the seat, craning her neck a moment later to look back at her babies. Sarah keeps her eyes on the road, but takes Helena’s hand, squeezing it tightly. A moment later, Helena squeezes back.

“They are fine.”

“Yes, they are.” Helena nods at Sarah’s words, settling her head against the headrest. She doesn’t let go of Sarah’s hand. With her other hand, she starts fiddling with the radio dials.

“Oh, no, no, what are you--” Something melodic starts to play and Helena grins, turning up the volume. “Meathead, come on.”

Helena starts bobbing her head up and down, crooning loudly and off-key. Sarah groans, detangling her hand so she can rub her forehead. Helena takes the opportunity to start clapping along, horridly off the beat.

“Helena.”

Helena laughs the way she always laughs, biting her lower lip like she doesn’t know how to let go and be joyful, even as the rest of her body moves with glee. Sarah laughs loud enough for the both of them, though it’s punctuated with groans and pleas for Helena to stop.

“Do you even know this song?”

“No,” Helena says, entire body shaking with mirth. A bark of laughter chases the word and Helena slaps both hands over her mouth, wide-eyed. Sarah can’t help but laugh at Helena’s expression, and then Helena is laughing too, and it’s near-deafening in the car and it’s beautiful. The babies are squealing and babbling, trying to get in on the fun, and Sarah and Helena are feeding off each other, Helena switching from singing to guffawing, and Sarah going from begging Helena to stop to laughing hard enough to hurt.

The song ends and then starts over--someone at the radio station not doing their job--and somehow both Sarah and Helena end up with their heads thrown back and singing at the top of their lungs.

Let’s become stories

Let’s become ghosts

Let’s learn to hold on close

To those we love most

Let’s never die

Let’s just shine, shine, shine

All day, and all of the time

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The knock on the door is prim, controlled, and proper.

Helena, when she opens the door, is anything but.

There’s paint smeared along her cheek and arms, the pockets in her stained overalls bulging with trinkets, and hair tied up roughly with what looks like twine.

Rachel, on the other side of the door, is in a professional dress and suitjacket, and looks for the first time to be entirely lost for words.

“Hello, Rachel.”

“Helena.” Rachel takes a breath, glancing around the yard. “No one answered at the front door, but I thought I saw movement back here.”

“Yes, I am doing remodelings,” Helena says. “Sestra Alison is doing the shopping and Donnie is at work, so Sarah is watching the babies. The other children are at school.”

“I see.”

“Why are you here?”

Rachel doesn’t know, though she would never say it aloud. She doesn’t answer, though, which in itself is answer enough.

“Is Felix--”

“Sarah is watching the babies,” Helena says again. “She and Kira will bring them home after Kira finishes with school. You will be gone by then,” and it isn’t a question. “But would you like to come in?”

The question sounds carefully rehearsed, and Rachel glances past Helena into her home out in the Hendrix’s garage, full of homemade decorations and baby toys. Rachel’s nails are still perfectly done, her clothes perfectly pressed. There is a war going on inside her, though nothing shows on her face.

“Yes,” she says finally.

“Then come,” Helena says, and steps aside.

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Sarah goes to Huxley station and stands on the platform.

People are moving back and forth around her--boarding trains and getting off, going home or running away, like there’s nothing special about this station at all. Like nothing monumental has ever happened here.

There’s the pay phone, there’s the advertising board--the spot where she stepped out of her shoes, the spot where she placed her jacket down, the spot she’d set down her purse.

The spot where she’d turned and seen Sarah.

She heads over to that spot, just a little patch of concrete. A man shoots her an annoyed glance as he is forced to side-step her, but she doesn’t care. She closes her eyes.

She’s still working on how to do this, despite both Helena and Kira explaining it to her, but she tries. She breathes, in and out, and remembers.

She runs through everything that happened--and god, so much has happened. She remembers the fighting and the running, the pain and the fear, the struggling, but also finding her sisters, finding her way to her family, the birth of Helena’s twins, the place where they are now.

I tried, she thinks, trying to reach out with the thoughts. I fought. We fought. We finished what you started, and we tried to bring us all through to the end. We didn’t all make it but we tried. I tried.

We miss you.

And there’s a wave--a rush of feelings that aren’t her own, all regret and gratitude and love. Thank you comes through, in a whisper, like Beth is standing just behind her. Like if she turned, she could see her. Thank you.

“Sarah?” Sarah opens her eyes and the feelings disappear, but Felix is there, only a few feet away. “You ready? Kira’s waiting to get picked up from school.”

“Yeah,” Sarah says, turning away from the platform. “I’m ready.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cosima and Delphine get married in Alison’s backyard. They’re both in dresses, but neither are wearing white--Cosima’s in a deep red patterned dress, the bottom of it trailing in the grass, her arms bare, and the neck of the dress ending halfway up her throat, her locs piled in a large bun on her head. Delphine’s in rose gold, a backless halter dress with a flowing skirt and lacy flowers scattered in various bunches on the fabric. The colors of their dresses should not work together, but they do.

Maybe it’s because of the way the two women wearing the dresses are looking at each other.

Cosima’s parents are both there, introduced to all the clones and seated in the front row. Alison is already crying, Donnie trying and failing to comfort her, but both Gemma and Oscar are part of the wedding party, holding bouquets and beaming. Sarah is beaming too, glancing around like she can’t decide whether to gaze at Cosima or at Kira. Kira, for her part, is a lovely little bridesmaid, next to Charlotte, holding onto Cosima’s bouquet for her. Sarah has Arthur in her lap, while Helena fusses over little Donnie in her own lap. Krystal is on Helena’s other side, cooing delightedly at both babies. Even Tony has dropped in for once, and was largely responsible for Cosima’s bachlorette party debacle the previous night, the fuzzy memories of which everyone present has been trying to put out of their minds.

But none of that matters now as Delphine hands her bouquet to Charlotte and places her hands in Cosima’s.

“Greetings, ladies, gentlemen, and otherwise, clones and non,” Felix announces, in his spot between Cosima and Delphine. “We are gathered here today to join in matrimony Cosima Niehaus and Delphine Cormier, an occasion specifically for which I got certified to perform weddings like a year ago. Honestly, you two, what took you so long?” he asks, a bit of laughter washing over the small crowd. “I’ve been told they’ve got their own vows, which I’m fine with since it gives me less to do, so I’ll hand it over to them.”

“Do you--”

“Oh, God, no,” Cosima says quickly. “You first.”

“D’accord.” Delphine takes a deep breath, looks up and into Cosima’s eyes. “Hello.”

“Hi,” Cosima says, and they both laugh. Those assembled probably laugh too, but Cosima and Delphine don’t hear it--they’re too wrapped up in each other.

“I love you.”

“Yeah?” Cosima’s voice is just a little shaky, and there are only a few tears in Delphine’s eyes. “I love you too.”

“What, is that it?” Felix asks, looking between Delphine and Cosima.

“Yeah,” Cosima says, breaking her gaze away from Delphine to look at Felix. She’s crying now, she really is, but smiling so wide it hurts and she never wants to stop. “We’ve talked. A lot. And that’s really all there is left to say.”

“Right, well.” Felix makes a show of flipping to the end of his little booklet and they both giggle, a little punch-drunk. Delphine is smiling and luminous, and God, joy is such a good look on her. “I’ve got the rings, so…”

He holds them out in his palm and Delphine goes first, sliding a simple gold band onto Cosima’s left hand. She runs her thumb over the ring, then lifts it to her lips, smiling even as she kisses the band.

“Cosima?”

It’s all the prompting she needs to slide the matching ring onto Delphine’s hand, though the fingers are hard to see through her tears.

“Ma cherie--”

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she says quickly. “It’s just--we’re married. You’re my wife.”

“Ah, not yet,” Felix interrupts. “Delphine, if you could repeat after me--”

“I read ahead,” Delphine says quickly. “I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, Delphine Cormier, do take you, Cosima Niehaus, to be my lawfully wedded wife.”

“I call upon these persons here,” Cosima says, before Felix can get a word in, “to witness that I, Cosima Niehaus, do take you, Delphine Cormier, to be my lawfully wedded wife.”

“You don’t need me at all, do you?”

“Get to the end!” Sarah calls, and Felix huffs before turning to the final page. Despite his front, even his eyes are suspiciously wet by the time he begins.

“I, Felix Dawkins, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Marriage Act, do hereby pronounce you, Delphine Cormier and Cosima Niehaus, to be married. You may now--oh, well then.”

There’s laughter and cheering, and the excited throwing of flower petals. Delphine and Cosima pull apart just enough to press their foreheads together, the both of them crying, the both of them glowing.

“I love you.”

“I love you.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

“We have become stories,” Helena explains, nestled up in her bed next to Sarah, shoulder-to-shoulder. Their shoulders are different, but it feels right, to be touching. The leather of her journal is soft and worn under her fingertips. “Everything that has happened to us, all of the hurts and the fighting. It will be a fairy tale for my babies. A story. Not-real.” Sarah looks soft in this light, no lines in her face, Mrs. S’s coat draped over her shoulders like an embrace. She’s looking at Helena and there is nothing hard in her face. It looks so good on her. “And stories cannot hurt the way truth can. So nothing that hurt us will be able to hurt them.”

“That’s the best we could’ve hoped for, yeah?”

“Yes.” Helena is looking at Sarah and Sarah is looking at Helena, and one or both of them reach out and then they are holding hands. They are holding on tight. There is nobody who can hurt them or make them let go. Not anymore. “All of this is the best.”

Helena leans her head on Sarah’s shoulder, and Sarah does not stiffen or pull away. Sarah only leans her head against Helena’s, cheek nestled in Helena’s hair, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Some of Helena’s hair falls in front of her eyes, but she does not push it away. Blinking through her hair like this, the whole world is soft.

The whole world is golden.