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what could've been

Chapter Text

The air in the train station was cold when Sarah stepped off of the train. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her leather jacket as she pushed her way through the crowd. Her hands burned as the wind blew as she picked up the phone at the phone box, pushing in the buttons of Mrs. S’s phone number.

The phone rang for a long moment until Siobhan picked up on the other end.

“Who’s this?” Her accent cut through the line, familiar against Sarah’s ear.

She inhaled. “Hey, S, it’s me. It’s Sarah.”

Siobhan was silent on the other end of the line. “You’re not dead.” Was all she said.

Sarah chuckled awkwardly. “You know me,” she said, “too stubborn to die.”

She heard a noise from Siobhan’s side of the line. The sound of distant, small footsteps. The footsteps of her daughter. Of Kira.

“I take it you’re back?” Siobhan said with no warmth in her tone.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m back in town,” Sarah said. “I’m back for Kira.”

Siobhan sighed. “Sarah… you know how I feel about you taking Kira.”

“She’s my daughter, S. She belongs with me.”

“And I would agree with you if you didn’t dump her on me and your brother for ten months.”

Sarah fought back the urge to let her building tears fall. She knew Siobhan was right, that Kira was better off in her care than in Sarah’s.

Ten minutes of heated arguing passed when Sarah noticed the other woman at the station. Sarah was not the best at reading people, but her basic person reading skills could pick up that the other woman was in distress. Whatever Siobhan was saying sounded like background static and was ignored as Sarah quickly hung the phone back on the receiver, making her way over to the other woman. The other woman looked like she needed help from the look of her trembling body as she slid off her heels. 

Sarah approached her slowly, hand extended so she could reach for her elbow and ask if she needed help. She was surprised when the woman turned around. The woman looking back at her looked exactly like her. Despite her neat, brunette hair, she had her face. The same dark eyebrows and the same lips. The same dark eyes, though this woman’s eyes had a look of defeat. A look of someone who was tired. The look of someone who wanted to end it all.

Sarah knew what was coming next. She stood frozen in fear, but as the woman turned to walk to the edge of the platform, adrenaline kicked in and she forced herself forward to grab her lookalike from behind by the waist. As Sarah dragged her back off of the edge of the platform, the other woman thrashed and swore. She tried to fight her way out of Sarah’s arms, throwing her head back so the back of her head smashed into Sarah’s mouth. Her mouth tasted like metal and her chin stung but she kept her grip on the other woman.

The other woman gave up thrashing when the train passed, and when Sarah let her go, she turned on her heel to face her.

“Why did you do that?” She snapped. “Why wouldn’t you let me die?”

“I wasn’t going to let you fucking kill yourself, lady.” Sarah said.

Her lookalike ran her hand through her now messy hair. “Why?” Her voice cracked. She sounded as defeated as she looked.

“‘Cause you look just like me.” Sarah said. “Why is that?”

The other woman shook her head. “It’s better that you stay out of it.”

“Sorry lady, I want to know why there’s another chick who’s walking around with my bloody face.”

The other woman looked at her for the first time. “Stay out of it.”

She turned to walk away. Sarah was a step behind her, grabbing her elbow and yanking her to a stop.

“Are you my twin?”

The question sounded stupid, but Sarah has gone so long without knowing who her biological family was, that the chance, the chance, that the lady whose ass she just saved, is her sister, her family, gave Sarah a little glimmer of hope. 

The other woman turned to face her fully. She decided her options, then sighed. “You could say that, I guess.”

Sarah’s heart skipped in her chest. She had a sister. Family. She was in shock, and had to fight the urge to throw her arms around the woman who had her face.

“We’re sisters?” She asked.

The other woman looked around quickly. “It’s uh, it’s complicated.” She said.

Sarah was confused. “Complicated?”

The other woman looked exasperated. “Yeah, complicated. Jesus just, do you have a pen and a piece of paper or something?” She asked. 

Sarah rummaged through her backpack until she found a crumpled receipt and a pen. She handed it to the other woman, who scribbled something onto the back of the receipt and handed it back to her. It was an address.

“If you want your questions answered, go there at nine o’clock on Wednesday night.”

She shook her head. “Why should I trust you? How do I know that you’re not some psycho cultist who’s gonna chop my tits off and sacrifice them to some God?”

The other woman chuckled. “Do I really look like the ‘psycho cultist’ type?”

“You never fucking know.”

The other woman rolled her eyes, and extended her hand. “I’m Beth. Beth Childs. And I promise you that I’m not in a cult.”

Sarah took her hand cautiously. “Sarah. Sarah Manning.”

A flash of recognition shadowed Beth’s face, but she said nothing. She turned, slid back into her heels, and started to make her way off of the platform. Sarah watched as she walked, surprised when she stopped and turned back to look at her.

“Hey, uh, thanks. Thanks for y’know,” she gestured to the tracks. “For saving my life.”

Sarah nodded. “Yeah, yeah. It’s no problem.” 

The other woman nodded and turned and continued to walk off of the platform. Sarah watched her go, her head still spinning. Beth Childs. The woman who was going to kill herself for whatever reason she had. Beth Childs. The woman who had Sarah’s face. Beth Childs. The woman who could quite possibly be her sister.