Someone is pointing a gun at Felix again and he still hasn’t learned how to talk his way out of it.
Sarah skids around a corner because that’s definitely a shotgun barrel and surely Graham isn’t still that--
“Shit,” Sarah mutters, catching herself on the doorframe. This is worse. “Callie, hey, hey, put the gun down, come on.”
“Sarah? What the hell are you doing here? ” Callie bites the words off, her voice creaking with anger, and the barrel swings over towards Sarah. Felix, somehow, seems surprised that there’s someone else who wants to shoot Sarah in the head. He really does never learn.
“Fee,” she says loudly. “Fee, this is Callie. Callie, this is my brother Felix.”
“What happened to your orphan sob story?” The barrel of the shotgun hasn’t moved an inch, even as Callie’s jaw clenches visibly. “You’ve got so much nerve, the last time I saw you you took ten grand and my brother’s car!”
“You brought us to one of your marks’ house?” Fee shouts, finally distracted from the gun still pointed at him, his attention zeroing in on a glare at Sarah and her attempts to edge herself between Callie’s gun and his chest.
Sarah grabs for Kira, yanking her out of the line of fire and behind her protectively, holding her there with one tight hand behind her back while the other raises, open and empty and shaking, towards Callie.
“Oh, come on,” Callie mutters, but she lowers the gun, unloading it easily. “Who is--”
“Callie,” Sarah says quietly. “This is Kira. My daughter.” She brings Kira out to her side, arm still locked around her shoulders.
Callie stares down at Kira, eyeline sweeping over fair hair and wide eyes and her fingers twitch, one after the other, counting years, until her eyes go wide and ricochet back up to Sarah’s.
“She’s-- no way she’s--”
“Hello,” Felix says, loud and charming; timing, at least, he has mastered perfectly. He can’t talk his own way out of gunpoint but he’s always had the instincts to protect Kira. “Felix. Foster brother. Avowed pacifist. Sarah, why don’t I take Kira upstairs?”
“Right,” Sarah says, still flushing under Callie’s stare.
“Okay, monkey, up we go.” Felix swings Kira up into his arms-- she’s almost too big for his lanky form now, but God knows he’ll keep picking her up until she’s taller than him-- and shoots a look, dark and insistent, at Sarah over his shoulder.
Callie, to her credit, waits until they’re upstairs and the click of a shutting door follows their footsteps, before speaking. “Is she…?”
“Yeah,” Sarah says quietly. “Where is he? I thought this was his house.”
“Where-- Jesus, Sarah.” Callie shoves a hand through her hair and barks out a laugh, dropping down to sit at the kitchen table. “My brother died in a car accident two years ago.”
“Drunk driver,” Callie says with a shrug. “Ran a red light, t-boned, Graham died on impact.”
“Shit, I-- God, Callie, I’m--”
“Oh, you’re sorry?” Callie’s hand is still on the shotgun, knuckles pale with the force of her grip. “Because you can’t scam child support out of him now?”
“No! Shit, Callie, that’s not-- I didn’t think anyone would be here, we just needed a place to lay low.”
“Who’d you screw over this time?”
“One night, Cal, I swear, and we’re out of your hair.”
“It’s not like there’s anything left for you to take,” Callie says after a pause. “One night.” She pushes up to her feet and points the unloaded gun at Sarah with one hand. “Whoever the hell was in my bedroom is sleeping on the couch.”
“We didn’t go in there,” Sarah said quietly. “I was on the couch anyways.”
“Good,” Callie says over her shoulder. “It’s basically a brick.” The bedroom door slams behind her, echoing off the hardwood, and Sarah slumps against the wall. She doesn’t move until the creak of Felix’s footsteps on the stairs reaches the kitchen.
Master of timing, as always.
The next morning, Sarah wakes before sunrise-- the couch really is a brick; her whole body protests when she stretches-- to a silent house. The door to Callie’s bedroom isn’t shut entirely; Sarah peers through the crack to where Callie is wrapped around a pillow, the sheets kicked half-off the bed. Sarah’s fingers tighten into a fist, because this really was a shitty idea and Callie and Graham have every right to hate her and regardless of Kira or lingering guilt or--
The shotgun is propped against the wall between the nightstand and the headboard, a box of shells left open on the table, and Sarah clenches her jaw against her own thoughts and moves on towards the kitchen.
Callie is the next one up, wandering out to where Sarah’s sitting on the edge of the back deck with her knees pulled to her chest and coffee cooling in her hands.
“So nice of you to save me a cup of my own coffee,” Callie says. She’s wearing glasses and blinking sleep out of her eyes behind the lenses and it takes off some of the edge to her words as she sits. Her posture is the same as Sarah’s but she settles six feet away, the distance intentional and clear. Her sweater is too big, cuffs rolled twice and still trailing past her wrists; with her tousled hair and the slow, sleepy blinks behind her glasses, it’s almost easy to forget the shotgun she pointed at Felix last night.
“We were in a bind, Cal.” Sarah sets her coffee down, her body curving towards where Callie sits, but she grips the edge of the deck in both hands to keep herself still. “We just needed a place to stay.”
“Is she really even his?”
“Timing’s right,” Sarah says quietly. “I didn't know until after I left, but I wasn't with anyone--” Her words cut out for a moment, wilting under the sharp snap of Callie's eyes towards her, but she heaves out a slow breath. "He was the only guy I was with, she's definitely his."
“Did you come here to drain more money out of my brother? Reappear with some cute kid asking if he’s her dad and take another ten grand?” There’s an intent for venom in her voice but it’s softened by the rounded edges of sleep. Callie always was slow to wake up.
“I swear I didn’t. We’ll leave today, we just--”
“Needed a place to stay,” Callie finishes for her. “I got that part figured out.” She takes a slow sip of her coffee, staring out towards the woods. “So what kind of shit are you in now?”
Sarah’s fingers clench tighter to the deck and she swallows against the dryness in her throat. “We’re going to leave today,” she repeats. “Now. We’ll get our stuff and go.”
“Right, okay.” The familiar edge is sliding back into Callie’s voice. “Run away, like you do.”
Sarah bites down on the inside of her cheek and pushes herself up to her feet. Exhaustion weighs her down, shoulders rounding a few inches closer to the ground than normal, but she turns to go anyways. She’s halfway back inside before Callie’s voice cuts through the morning quiet once more.
“Hold on, wait, wait a sec.” Callie climbs to her feet as well, pushing her hair back and rubbing at one eye tiredly. “I’m not going to kick this little kid out on the street, not just because you screwed us all over. You can stay another night, if you need to.”
“Thank you,” Sarah says, and her body sags with relief and fatigue. “Really, thank you.”
“Just don’t steal anything this time. Including my coffee.” Callie brushes past her, pausing only to take the coffee mug from Sarah’s hands and dump the rest of it into her own mug before pushing the empty mug back into Sarah’s hands. “And Jesus, you look like crap, go back to sleep.”
Sarah leans against the door and watches as Callie takes a swallow of the coffee and disappears out to the shed behind the house. She doesn’t look back to where Sarah stands, watching, and Sarah doesn’t move until the stairs inside creak under Felix’s feet.