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It Runs In the Family

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Sarah tightens her grip on the gun, cold metal warming in her hands as they tremble slightly in the air. She has to clench her jaw and swallow hard to get the words out.

“Stop fucking lying to me.”

If she blinks fast enough, she can almost pretend she’s not crying.

“I’m not lying to you, love.” It’s the voice that used to soothe her nightmares and comfort her fears. “I’ve always been on your side.”

But that was a long time ago.

 

There is this one moment that is seared into her brain, she was maybe twelve years old and had been with Mrs. S for nearly two years. Just as she had been nodding off to sleep on the couch, television playing soft static in the background and Felix leaning into her side, she felt gentle hands draping a blanket over her.

Her eyes blinked sleepily, her lids too heavy to keep open for more than a second at a time, and she could barely make out Mrs. S leaning over her to tuck the corner of the blanket under Felix’s chin.

“Thanks, mom.” The word tumbled out of her mouth before she even had time to think about it. The hands stilled on the blanket for just a moment before resuming their task. Sarah risked a glance upwards to see Mrs. S giving that soft smile – the real one – before dropping her eyes to her lap again. She suddenly wasn’t all that tired anymore.

She felt the whisper-light press of a kiss on her forehead. “Goodnight, love.”

Sarah never said that word again, but she would remember that kiss and feel the word press up against the edges of her heart.

 

Sarah can feel her bottom lip tremble – it’s her tell and she knows it, but she can’t get a handle on it right now. The gun stays up.

“You were part of Project LEDA, don’t try and deny it,” she snaps, her accent coming through stronger than ever, pulling the corners of her mouth down with every vowel. “There are pictures of you in that lab with Dr. Leekie.”

Siobhan keeps her hands in the air and her eyes are far more tired than Sarah has ever seen them before. “Sarah, that wasn’t me, I was never directly involved with that.” There’s a hint of a self-deprecating smile on her face. “Never did have much of a head for maths.”

Scrambling for the photograph in her pocket, Sarah is forced to take her eyes off Siobhan for a moment, but the other woman doesn’t move. The photo is new, printed off by a shocked Cosima only hours earlier. It shows a pregnant woman, recognizable as a much younger Amelia, being cared for by an equally young Mrs. S.

“How can you deny this is you?” Sarah demands, holding up the photo to Siobhan’s searching eyes. “You’re the reason all this shit even happened.”

“That’s not me,” Siobhan repeats, her hands finally dropping to rest by her sides. “Twins run in the family, Sarah.”

Her eyes are sad and tired and just as gentle as they had been that night when Sarah was twelve and calling her ‘mom’.

And suddenly, it feels like Sarah’s world has been shattered anew.