DISCLAIMER: "Bionic Woman," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of NBC-Universal and Jerry Eick. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Bionic Woman," NBC, or any representatives of the actors.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This one took a bit longer than the last, but I like the end result. This builds on what I started 'In Dreams'. Once again, a series of mental images have been strung together into a tale that I rather like!
DEDICATION: Believe it or not, to my long neglected Birds of Prey (TV) muses, because I finally noticed how much there were some strong parallels. Think about it; Ruth as Barbara, Becca as Dinah and stick Sarah and Jamie in the same body to get Helena. That'll make you think, huh?
CHALLENGE: Written for Passion & Perfection's Big 5000.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To In Dreams.

Dreams of Tomorrow
By Shatterpath



It's stupid. It's unprofessional. It's madness.

Weeks have gone by. A dozen-odd missions passing in a blur when, in the recent past, I could call up all the trivial details from each one.

Now, I feel like I can barely remember my own name, much less my identity, it seems like.

And don't I know exactly why…

What started out as a night of wild and completely unexpected sexual healing with that girl-woman and her tortured eyes, has turned into a strange and very real bond that fascinates me. Every other night, every third at the most, Jamie sneaks into my little house to molest my willing self.

I don't even know how the hell she gets past the security system. To save my sanity and reduce paranoia, I haven't asked. She's so quiet, sneaking up on me like a ninja, making me jump, heart racing, as she puts hands and mouth on my unsuspecting body. In truth, she startles me every single damn time she's been here and seems to enjoy startling me. Since it puts me under her thrall, BP revved up like the GTO's big engine, adrenaline like a drug, I really can't complain about the game.

The affair has changed me on a fundamental level. This bright, sassy puppy of a young woman has altered how I live my life, eroding my icy isolation like the tide.

"God, I'm getting too old for this," I mutter to the empty house, gathering up the paraphernalia of my sandwich making to return it all to the refrigerator.

"You're only as old as you feel," comes a voice from nowhere, scaring me half to death, condiments and sandwich filling smashing all over the kitchen floor. The voice registers even as I whirl around, not at all believing what I just heard.

Oh… oh crap.

Like a nightmare stands, not my lover, but her evil twin. Not just crazed and deadly dangerous Sarah Corvus, but a waifish teenage girl sprawled unconscious in her arms. It's an incongruous image in my kitchen and I'm not sure that this is really happening.

"S… Sarah," I breathe harshly, quietly, and her feverish dark eyes watch me like a hawk.

"Jamie trusts you," her voice says quietly and completely seriously. "So here we are." Only then do I wrench my eyes downward to the still figure in her arms.

"Is that…?" I question in horror and Sarah steps back into the living room, trusting me to follow. I pause and look over at where my gun lays on the entryway table, but pause. If Sarah had intended to hurt me, she would have already.

Dammit, Jamie better be right about her.

In my bedroom, Sarah has very tenderly laid out the unconscious teenager and clicked on the bedside lamp. "Someone snatched her," is the quiet explanation and I shudder inwardly at the slightly maniacal smile Sarah flashes over her shoulder. "I snatched her back."

There's more to the story of this than what Sarah's telling me, but right now I'm concerned for Rebecca. Peeling back both eyelids, I note the pupils react normally and breathe a sigh of relief. Her pulse is normal and her breathing unobstructed.

Jamie's on a mission with Jae and I stare at the phone on my bedside table. Should I call Jonas with this new development? The debate stalls when I note that Sarah has vanished. God, she's even quieter than Jamie…

Yet, I'm not really surprised to find the first bionic woman standing pensively in my living room. The weight of our history and the company that links us is like a solid barrier between us.

"Thank you," is all I can think to say, searching the hazel dark eyes for any sign of the soldier I once knew. There are shards of her, like the broken glass on my kitchen floor. What the hell went so wrong?

"Don't overanalyze, doc," Sara tells me placidly, a hint of the gentler sarcasm that I remember. "I find myself keeping an eye out on the kid. Good thing too." I'm at a loss for words and Sarah obviously understands that. Something that might be discomfort passes over her stark face and she fumbles out a pack of cigarettes. "Guess I should stick around for awhile." Nervously, she taps out one of the sticks and places it in the corner of her mouth. "Y'know, in case they come back for her."

Her hands are shaking alarmingly and I snatch away the lighter, enjoying her mildly startled expression. "Just this once, Sarah," I admonish lightly and flick the lighter to life. There's a wary acceptance in response to my gesture and the acrid smell of tobacco fills my living room.

A strange hour and a half passes like this. A silent Sarah keeps watch while I clean up the kitchen and finish my neglected sandwich and puzzle over what the hell to do with my unexpected guests.

What am I going to tell Rebecca? What am I going to tell Jonas?

"You'll think of something." Sarah says nonchalantly and makes me jump just a little.

"Did I say that out loud?"

"No, but you've gotten very expressive." The droll expression morphs into something wicked and teasing, which I find alarming and strangely charming. "But I'm guessing that has something to do with Jamie, hmm?"

Panic is a very real tension in brain and stomach and I'll bet that my expression speaks volumes.



"Remind me again why I'm doing this?"

Jae's only response is to chuckle humorlessly as I follow him down the hallway of the Burkutt Group complex. We're tired and beat up and sick of the crap we've had to do for three straight days. Right now, I'm desperate for a shower, change of clothes and a good answer to where the hell I should spend the night. I should go home, but I'd really like to go crawl into Ruth's big bed and cuddle.

Like my life isn't complicated enough, with my mixed feelings about the older woman, Becca still clueless about my life, Sarah messing with my head…

What the hell was that?


Stopping in my tracks, I stand there, trying to contemplate what my brain just registered from my eyes. Either I've gone psychotic or something has seriously gone wrong.

Hesitantly, I step back as though in slow motion reverse and force myself to look through the glass wall into the main conference room. Later it will amuse me that Jae has echoed my maneuver and stares just as blankly.

Ruth… Sarah… and Becca…

My sister and my nemesis/evil twin wave mischievously at me while my lover looks pained and mildly amused. I'm really not sure who I'm the most glad to see.

"Holy crap…" Jae mutters as Becca jumps to her feet and trots over to open the door and throw herself at me for a hug.

"Jamie! They told me everything and I can't believe you're like some kind of superwoman now and I totally understand that you couldn't say anything and I'm not mad or anything stupid like that, it makes sense and I can't believe what happened and that Will did this and I like Sarah and Ruth is cool and…"

To make Becca take a breath and give my brain a moment to catch up, I grab her head, slapping a hand over her mouth. "I don't have any idea why you're here," I say hoarsely around the lump in my throat, "but I couldn't possibly be any happier to see you."

Yep, she feels real as I grip her close with a relieved sigh. Which she allows for a moment before sassing me, "seriously though, what is it with you and doctors?"

Meeting Ruth's sheepish and amused gaze through the glass, I can't help but laugh.

Becca follows me to the locker room where I shower, listening to her chatter on the other side of the wall. She's as wired as a squirrel on caffeine and I don't even hear half of what she's saying, not bothering to kick on my new ear. It's enough to just hear her voice.

Imagine my surprise when Ruth appears at the opposite end of the showers, her face impassive as always. At least when she's at work. Leaving the water to run, I walk towards her, responding to the energy in her eyes. I do my best to match her cool expression, but I'm guessing that my eyes give it away. Hopefully, we're not being watched too closely. I've given up on my privacy in this place and try make a habit of avoiding looking down at myself while I clean up.

Not to mention keeping my gaze aimed over Ruth's shoulder so that she isn't compromised by the camera installed in my head. "It's just a flesh wound," I quip sarcastically in a truly bad English accent, quirking a faint smile from Ruth. Her hands are clinical when they touch me, but I'm surprised at how powerful my memories of her touch are, making me shiver.

"If you've been reduced to Monty Python, you must be hurting but healing," Ruth drawls as she walks around my body, fingertips mapping the wounds and bruises tenderly. "They all look like they're fading normally. Bet you're stiff and sore though. You should see someone about that."

A smile curls my mouth, my hormones responding to the low thrum of her voice. "Thanks Ruth, I'll do that."

The rest of the day is a blur that has Becca bunking up in Ruth's second bedroom which is a claustrophobic little home office. Sarah's on the couch near Becca's open door playing guard dog. I still don't understand Sarah's motivations, I really don't, but she's in my sister's life now and the bond there is strangely authentic. Becca even seems to really like Ruth and the energy there feels like a mentor-student role.

It feels weird, this odd little family unit that's fallen into place, but here we are, real as life.

I like this house, it feels more like home than the sprawling loft that we Sommers girls share. Where I am and what I'm doing sure as hell helps. Right now I'm sprawled on my stomach, relaxed, happy and eying the twisted mattress springs with guilty pleasure. When I came to Ruth all those nights ago, I wasn't sure what the hell I was after. Just a connection to another human being and a brief reprieve from freakdom. I know that she didn't want it, the connection, but she allowed me to persuade her to let me close.

Neither of us could have expected how that night would turn out.

Desperate for simple human contact, terrified of my own body and what it's now capable of, I was out of places to go. Becca in the dark, Sarah too frightening and everyone at Berkut too standoffish and cold. A girl can only handle so much of being made to feel like a science experiment and I was beginning to get stir crazy.

Whether it's true or just the job classification as the psychiatrist and head information broker, Ruth Treadwell is the only sympathetic link in the company. Desperate, I followed that lifeline to its source to find solace. Sure, things aren't any different at work, not noticeably anyway, but I can feel the bond. Am I reading too much into it?

The slide of her oily hands on my back and neck are sublime, pressing into the dulled pain and stiffness beneath my skin. Groaning heavily, the endorphins overriding the inhibitions of my sister just a couple of doors away, I wallow in Ruth's caring touch. The woman might generally be a complete hard ass, but she's got magic hands. A naughty smile curls my mouth with memories. A damn wicked mouth too.

After a brief freak out over doing the deed with another female, I got over it. We're both grownups and Ruth has made no move to throw me out of her bed. So I must be doing something right by her and me both. Half the time when I sneak past her elaborate security system (it's a good challenge) all I want is a warm body to cling to. Every time she startles at my invasion, but falls back to sleep faster every time.

That trust makes me feel good.

In return, I have someone to reassure me that I'm not a freak and an ally that I desperately need. Even Jonas has started to pick up that I'm far more willing to deal with Ruth than him. Wonder how long we can keep this up?

"Missed you," I groan softly as Ruth digs in harder to my muscles, pain mixing deliciously with the pleasure. Anthrocytes or no anthrocytes, I'm all beat to hell and her hands feel amazing over my back and shoulders. "Bitch."

"Flattery will get you everywhere."

Bracing my left hand and levering up on that and my inhumanly powerful legs, I raise both our bodies with no effort, enjoying Ruth's sound of surprise and the way she clings to me for balance. Coming down on my side, I quickly wiggle around so that I'm on my back and able to look into her affectionate expression. It wasn't meant to be a heavy moment, but suddenly, here we are.

"So," Ruth begins awkwardly. "I think Becca's more scandalized by me than the bionics."

It's the most vulnerable I've seen her since jumping on her in the first place and I pull her down to kiss her enthusiastically. "Do you think it's that we're both girls? Or the age gap?" The sassiness earns me a sour look that doesn't reach the pale eyes, so mercurial in color. They range from hazel to green to almost yellow if she's in a real mood.

"You're a smartass."

The dry, flat tone she uses at work amuses the hell out of me here, naked in her bed. "You noticed, doc?" It gives me great pleasure to mess up the straight blonde hair, dyed a starker pale than other places on her strong body! With that grip on the soft strands, I pull her down to gently and thoroughly explore her mouth again. Being a lover has taught me important lessons in self-control and how to instruct these new and artificial parts of myself. Every goofball at the facility can lecture me until they're blue in the face, but being bionic is a hands-on skill, so to speak. Between Sarah's coaching and Ruth's trust, I've come further than anyone can believe. On this last mission, Jae was surprised as hell.

Shoving aside all the banal crap in my head, I concentrate on this still-surprising lover, snaking my left arm around her neck, trailing the bionic one down her spine. Trying to explain the different stimuli is an exercise in futility, but it is different. Clinically, I know that Ruth is significantly older than I, nearly eighteen years, but all I care about is that her skin is soft and she's an amazing kisser and I'm the only one that sees the particularly sweet smile she gets when really loosened up.

Sloppy, urgent kisses leave me moaning softly, her breath is harsh and quick, her urgency telegraphed clearly to me. A faint growling noise rumbles up as I curl that right hand into her tense glute and her yellowed eyes make me grin into the kisses.



As much as I like what Jamie's doing, I can't shake the inhibition of our company. The fact that volatile original bionic woman can hear us is the least of my worries about her, but not the fifteen year old.

My shudder doesn't go unnoticed by Jamie.

"What is it?" she hums, rolling us over so that she's on top. Self-conscious, I can't look her straight in the eye, nor can I miss that curious and sweet smile of hers. Not to mention when she drops her head to suckle lightly at my pulse, making my nerves tingle and my muscles tense pleasantly. "Is it Becca and Sarah?"

There was a time, quite recently in fact, where I could maintain my position of being unknowable and untouchable. But Jamie will have none of it, her mouth hot and open on my neck, my breathing rough, the twisted bedsprings blunt reminder against my shoulder.

"Yes," I groan, tracing over her back and ribs with both hands. She's so impossibly beautiful and warm and loving that it just leaves me in awe to be her lover "I can't help it. Just knowing they're so close…"

Long, dark hair trails soft and tickling over my chest, her devious mouth lost from my sight. With little preamble, she's at my nipples, knowing that's a damn efficient way to shut me up and stop me overthinking. Hot and soft, teeth a welcome tease, she suckles at one, pinches the other. Back and forth, her voice murmurs encouragement, but I just can't quite let go.

"Jame, I'm sorry, I just…" I hate the whining note in my voice. I want so badly to give into the familiar duet of our twined bodies, but I'm too aware of the others so close by.

Sitting up, my young lover eyes me with affectionate exasperation. "Will you trust me?"

Even now, I have to pause. Trust is such a difficult concept for me and makes me feel so impossibly vulnerable. A roughly voiced, wordless affirmation, my eyes sliding shut of their own volition, makes Jamie chuckle and grind her slender body down onto mine.

"C'mon, Ruth," she purrs against my sternum, biting at my skin almost hard enough to hurt. "Just say it. I want to make you feel so good." A sharp, rough suckle at that soft spot just below and between my breasts always makes me squirm helplessly. Couple it with that with the little growling noises she makes and I never stand a chance. "Just one little word…"

Why am I fighting this so hard? Jamie's mouth is low on my belly now, kissing and licking across my skin. Such a sublime sensation, making me sound strangled and desperate, even to my own ears. This devastatingly gentle tease is like quicksand, a slow and inexorable pull towards the inevitable.

Hands on my waist, tickling my skin, her tongue in my navel, my skin wet with sweat, groans low in my throat, stifled in the pillow I've clamped suffocating tight over my face, I'm losing control. The faintest of chuckles vibrates my flesh where nerves cry out with the hot and cold of her touch, her breath, her saliva on my skin. "Ask me…"

Good god, is that my voice echoing around my skull? Like a desperate animal, I beg hoarsely, wordless in my need.

"Ask me," hissed almost soundless, more sensation than sound, her chin so close, ruffling the wheat-gold curls at my groin. My heels are dug into the bed, her powerful body completely ignoring my struggles where her torso holds my thighs spread.

"Please," I can't fight the need any longer. "God, Jamie, please!"

Jamie mercifully wiggles down, tossing my legs over her shoulders, that teasing mouth finding my burn and I can only hope that the pillow will muffle my cries.

It's my one completely frivolous indulgence. The roar of the massive V8 engine is something strangely addictive and I've had the damn thing since before I had a driver's license and I can't bear to give it up. Despite the mixed memories wrapped up in its darkly painted chassis and original leather seats, I can't bear to be parted with my big car.

Jamie complimented the beast as we drove to the devastated town of Paradise. She knew what it was and even the year of its manufacture. Secretly, I was pleased and impressed, but not ready to tell the girl that.

On an empty, isolated road, the roar of the big engine is like a racing heartbeat, the road translated through the ton and a half body like tremors beneath the skin. It's an almost sexual thrill, this enormous, heavy machine in my control. Beside me, Jamie watches the scenery and I watch her from the corner of my eye.

The flat, straight road and monochromatic farm scenery is making me sleepy from boredom. If I were any good at small talk, I might try and break up the quiet, but nothing comes to me.

Then suddenly, abruptly, Jamie scoots across the seat, leaning over so that her breath mixes with the breeze from the open window. Startled, my foot slips from the accelerator, the GTO losing its lion's roar rumble. "No," Jamie breathes, that bionic hand curling around my right knee. "I like the way it feels."

Dry-mouthed, I stomp the accelerator, pressing us back into the seat for a moment, the engine wailing fiercely. Whatever she's up to, I'm game, because this car changes me, makes me more like the woman beneath the armor. It's a good thing that I've been driving this exact car for twenty-five years, because the feel of her wet tongue circling my ear nearly puts us violently out into the verdant fields.

Even as I register the surreal impossibility of the act, Jamie chuckles softly, "keep your hands on the wheel, doc," and somehow manages to wedge her slender frame between me and the steering wheel. Open-mouthed, she kisses me, the vibration of the car's wailing engine echoing in body and mind, from me to her and back again.

Out of control, freed like a wild animal from a cage, the car takes on a life of its own and I just… let it happen.

Blinking awake, I am once again wrapped up in Jamie Sommers, the quiet of the house unbroken so far as I can tell. Her body is soft and warm in my arms, against my belly and thighs where we're spooned. I can't help the strangled snort of amusement at this most recent of my very elaborate fantasies about this woman.

"Hey," Jamie murmurs sleepily, reaching back to stroke my head and cheek. "wha's up?"

"A dream," I hum in easy reply, nuzzling her dark crown and settling back into her body.

"Yeah, I got that," Jamie giggles and squirms onto her back to wrap me up in a hug. "You were making those sexy noises in your throat. Where'd I jump you this time?"

"This is what I get for telling you about them in the first place," I gripe with no venom and press my nose in behind her ear. Sighing, I answer the question, because she'll get it out of me anyway. "The car."

"Ah yes," Jamie chortles. "Your sexy GTO. Bet there's a story behind that monster, hmm?" Kisses and renewed hormones are distracting for a moment, the girl makes me crazier than I've ever been, before she picks up the theme once more. "So, is it a fantasy that I can play in too?"

"Full tilt down a back road with you straddling my lap? I'm not sure I'd like that one in real life." I could kick myself for my flippancy as she shudders in memory of the car accident that left her half machine and her unborn child dead. "I'm sorry, Jamie," I whisper against her temple, stroking her bare skin in comfort now.

"Thanks," she says simply, clinging to me as anchor for a long moment before sighing gustily. "Good spot to be the doc again, huh?"

Casting a look down our nakedly entwined bodies, I grin wryly at her. "I think my take on you is less than completely professional, Sommers."

That gets a sincere laugh and the morbid moment passes easily.

"Y'know, I might have to find access to one of those testing machines, where they run cars on those huge rollers," I muse thoughtfully, aware of her wide grin. "Get that engine screaming and find out what I can do to you trapped up against the steering wheel."

"Mmm, sounds good to me. Now, come here."



This should be fun.

Grinning with menacing sweetness at Jonas, I twist the knife a bit more. "I'm fully aware of your investment, Jonas. After all you remind me every chance you get. You want your money's worth. I want to not be treated like some kind of mindless object."

This is the closest I've seen him to losing it, his temper swirling beneath the impassive façade.

"You've been hanging around Sarah Corvus too much," he finally mutters sourly and I actually have to laugh.

"I'm not going to argue that Sarah is a two-edged sword. Fortunately, one that's on my side for now."

Groaning, actually showing that much of his irritation and frustration, Jonas leans forward and puts his hands over his face, scowling through his fingers. "Fine. We'll do it your way. Again. I really don't like this crap."

"Then you can only imagine how the hell I feel."

There's a pause at my flat tone and something in his eases. Settling back into his chair, the man eyes me contemplatively. "Everything I can do I will, to keep your sister safe. I can't make any guarantees, but I will keep a small team on her when Sarah's not. Sarah is negotiated through you. You are negotiated through Ruth. Anything else?"

"I'm worried about our five year warranty." The statement might sound flippant, but my tone is anything but. "Any luck on that front?"

Something that might be actual regret softens his face for a moment. "You'll be the first to know."

Honestly, it's more of an answer than I expected and we share a strangely empathetic moment. Then the phone buzzes and his secretary speaks from the device. "Ruth to see you, Jonas."

"Send her in."

Now he's smug and I'm a bit worried. Ruth is as calm and collected as always, silently reassuring my frayed nerves. Jonas reaches into his desk drawer and pulls out an envelope to wave it lazily.

"Ruth, rather than actually acknowledge this letter, how about a change in assignment?"

Beside me, Ruth stiffens imperceptibly and my bionic ear can hear the faint stressful catch in her breathing. "I'm listening."

"Jamie here has informed me," a faint smile ghosts over my face at his sarcasm, "that her contracts are to go through you. Care to be a handler again?"

For a brief moment, she holds her breath and I force myself not to look over and disturb this negotiation.

"Go on."

"Jamie and Sarah go through you. Frankly, the only reason you haven't been more involved in their training is that I need you on intelligence. But if that's not what you'll do anymore, I'll have to shuffle personnel, won't I?" Standing, Jonas comes around the desk and Ruth turns to face him, her back to me. When Jonas speaks again, it's the most intimate tone I've heard from him yet. "Look, we go way back and I don't want to lose you. They need you, obviously, and I'm at a loss for a better solution. You're one of the best, if not the best, big-picture operatives in this business and you just might be the key to keeping them sane and productive."

I'm a little surprised when Ruth half turns to give me a long look, something vulnerable in her hazel eyes. My smile is authentic, our only intimacy in this public place. Nodding, she turns once more to Jonas, offering her hand.

"It's a deal."



"Nice digs, doc," is a typical Sarah response to our new company housing. The Sommers sisters are far more effusive, moving through the space like curious cats. Since I've been here already, supervising the converted warehouse, I know it inside and out, but I'm enjoying it all over again through their eyes. The lower floors are almost completely open for working out and parking cars, while the massive second story has been made into extensive living space.

Each room has been carefully designed with the occupant in mind. A pair of soothing zen-like spaces for the two bionics, and a suite for Becca that includes her own office/studio and bathroom. I figure that the extensive space will encourage compliance, study and enough independence to keep her sane. Fifteen is a tough age and she's been through an awful lot.

The master suite, my indulgence because I could, is on the complete opposite side of the building for privacy. My things are already moved and mostly sorted and the public areas of the building are stocked and ready to accommodate the four of us.

"You didn't tell me I had my own room," Jamie smiles in the doorway, lounging against the frame indolently. Pushing away from her perch, preening under my gaze, she strides over to loosely wrap me in a hug.

"I wanted everybody to have their own space. Keeps tempers and stress to a minimum," I smile faintly, nuzzling her face lovingly.

"Hmmm," Jamie hums happily, kissing the corner of my mouth. "As long as you don't expect me to sleep there much. Hey, you got a new bed!"

Now I'm smiling and push her away to gesture at the thing. "Yep. Try it. I bought it with you in mind." It's a real delight to watch the woman flop down and light up with delight.

"It's one of those memory foam things, isn't it?"

"Yes. There's one in every room. We can store yours and Becca's beds downstairs in a corner for if you need them again. These are comfortable and therapeutic."

Standing, Jamie grabs me again and I enjoy a long kiss. "Thanks doc," she purrs in a voice that's anything but businesslike and I'm suddenly eager to break in the new mattress.

But the Sommers' girls things have arrived and the evening turns late as we get Becca settled in enough that she can get back to school in the morning with a minimum of hassle. Pizza and soda is the order of the night and we retreat to our respective rooms.

Well, Jamie doesn't retreat for long, coming to me with silk pajamas and a mouth tasting of spearmint toothpaste and her own unique flavor. With the thick walls I insisted on and the sprawling distance between us and the roommates, I can finally let my defenses down for the first time since Sarah showed up in my kitchen carrying Becca's unconscious body.

Jamie goes to great length to make me respond to her lovemaking with noisy enthusiasm and winded but eager, I return the favor. Once again, she does impossible things to my ego, soothes away my stresses of my nearly forty-two years. exhaustion and the sexual satiation that makes me such a different woman eventually melts us down, sweaty and cozy in the sheets and blankets.

"Good to know the mattress'll hold up," Jamie murmurs in my ear, making me chuckle and shift until I'm completely comfortable against her strong, curvy body, our legs intertwined. "G'nite, Ruth." Her hands curl around my neck and skull and I bask in the embrace.

"Night, Jamie…"

That night I dream of what might be reality soon enough. Myself, once more in the thick of the business, no longer on my pedestal of information found, borrowed or stolen. Flanking me like a pair of impossibly dangerous guard dogs, light and dark, are my bionic charges. We make an intimidating and awe-inspiring sight, no one foolish enough to underestimate what we three are capable of. It's a real thrill to have their power at my beck and call, but also a reminder to be careful and vigilant of the responsibility.

Snapping awake, I'm completely floored to find myself in my bed, wedged up between their two bodies. Atop the covers, fully dressed, Sarah has her back curled along my body, Jamie tight up behind me.

"I couldn't handle being alone," Sarah whispers defensively, her body tensing in response to my surprise. I feel for her, I do, and wiggle my right arm from beneath the covers to gently touch her head, smoothing the pale hair.

"You can stay."

When Jamie stirs, embracing me more fully beneath the bedding, she doesn't even pause at her counterpart's presence. It's a strange bonding moment that moves me as both young women relax once more into sleep, cradling me safely between them.

Family is what you make it.

I think I finally believe that.

The End

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