DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Vague spoilers for the first season.
FEEDBACK: To Tamoline[at]gmail.com
You wake up, tangled in the bed sheets of an unfamiliar bed.
You shouldn't be here.
You shouldn't *be* here.
There's a drawer in your bedroom that you don't ever open whilst someone else is there, not since this all started. It used to just contain your 'maybe' clothes. Maybe you'll wear them again, maybe you won't, but just having them there, having the option is its own kind of comfort.
But now, hidden beneath layers of cotton and polyester and even a little silk, is your secret stash. Of gifts and emblems and totems.
Your maybes of a different kind entirely.
The bed next to you is empty, of course.
Could you really have expected it to be any other way?
You sit up, push yourself around so your feet are brushing against the floor, stand up.
These things are important now. More important than ever.
Your clothes are folded next to the bed, but the sloppiness in their creases is almost painful to look at, an unwelcome reminder of how drunk you'd been last night.
You're currently wearing, well. One of *her* t-shirts, or so you presume.
It's almost more hole than cloth, featuring an almost completely faded logo you probably wouldn't recognise, even if it was new.
It doesn't take you long to divest yourself of it, and only slightly longer to get dressed.
You look rumpled, unkempt, not really like yourself at all. Really, you need to spend far more time to be properly ready to face the world.
But there's a pressure building up inside, and you need to be out of here before she gets back.
Before you have to *talk* about anything that happened last night.
There's a noise elsewhere in the house and you freeze, for a moment.
And then you're *gone*.
It's only when you're in your car that you realise (that you allow yourself to realise) that you're still holding the t-shirt, gripping it tightly in one hand.
It doesn't mean anything, anything at all, but you still fold it up neatly and carefully place it on the seat next to you.
The first thing, the thing buried deepest, the thing that you find easiest to admit to yourself that you have, is the gun.
The gun that Beth gave you, taught you how to use, to protect yourself and your children.
(Even to protect Donny, as laughable as that seems nowadays.)
When you pick it up, when you hold it, you can remember her instructions, almost feel her hands as she positioned you during training.
And when you aim it in the mirror, it's almost like you can feel her settling over you.
Like if you try hard enough, you too could investigate, could find things out, could protect the others.
You drive until - suddenly - you can't outrun the tears anymore, and you pull over.
You always thought that you were a together kind of girl. As close to perfect as you could make yourself, even if it was never quite enough.
And these days all you seem to be doing is coming apart.
You don't even have the excuse of alcohol this time as fat tears roll down your face.
You don't know how long you stay there, getting red eyed, blotchy faced, *ugly*...
But it's not too much of a surprise when the door opens next to you.
The nearest thing to the gun is the glasses case.
It's something- well, not something Cosima exactly lost when she stayed around your house. But misplaced. With your help.
You helped her look for it, of course, but you didn't find it. Located, as it was, upstairs in your room.
The glasses inside aren't hers, of course. You'd never do that to her. But they look like hers.
When you put them on, the world is slightly distorted through their lens.
Like it's born anew.
Like if you look hard enough, you might be able to pierce some of the mysteries surrounding your creation.
"Hey," Sarah says awkwardly from beside you. "Fancy seeing you here."
You don't even need to wonder how she found you, as you shield your face from her until you can make it as presentable as you can under the circumstances.
After a few... unfortunate incidents, you've started putting tracking devices in your cars, just so they can be found if you're kidnapped or captured or just in over your head.
You didn't disable it when you left, so...
Well, you suppose that a part of you wanted to be found.
"You didn't need to," you say anyway. "I'm quite alright. I just had... allergies."
"Allergies," Sarah echoes sceptically, but doesn't follow it up with anything else.
You spend a few minutes there in silence, with you steadfastly looking out of the windscreen, and her looking at you.
"About last night-" she finally starts, and suddenly you can't breathe, can't look at anything at all.
Sarah's t-shirt will take pride of place next to that.
You really don't know why you haven't acquired anything of hers before.
Maybe putting it on, letting her scent surround you, will allow you to adapt like she does. To face things down, that need to be confronted, rather than duck away.
To bend, rather than break and break and break and break.
You know why you haven't taken anything of hers before this.
You know *exactly* why.
"I don't think you realise how much I rely on you," she says. "I mean, I wanted Kira back - I wouldn't change that for the world. But I didn't have any idea of how to be a *mother*," and suddenly it's *her* wrapped around *you*. "Not like you do."
"You'd manage," you say stiffly. You always do, you add mentally.
She makes a noise, half laugh, half sob. "I don't think you realise how much of a fuck up I am, Ali."
You hold her awkwardly, as best you can. You've never been at your best with crying people. Of your own age, anyway. Children have always been easier.
"You've said," you say neutrally, because she has, during the search for Kira or when she's drunk or when she just can't take the constant grind that is your life now.
You can't quite believe it, though. Not now, not after... everything.
"Come back," she says, and you want to ask what the point would be. The only thing you ever contributed was the money, and now.... "You're *not* useless," she says insistently, almost in response. "You're *not* a waste of resources. You're the heart of the household. You keep things running. The children need you." She pauses, then adds, quietly, "I need you."
It still gives you a thrill, knowing how hard it is for her to say that. It costs her, but she'll spend it every time.
Just for you.
"Okay," you say, then force a smile. "I was just out for a drive. That's all"
She pushes away, then stares at you searchingly. Apparently satisfied, she leans forward and kisses you slowly. And this part... this part alone has always been simple, despite everything else. And it can't help but warm you, melting the last of the icy knot left inside you after... last night.
"I just had to make sure," she says quietly.
You stiffen. "I shouldn't have said anything."
She fastens one hand around your wrist, holds you hard, holds you tight.
"No," she says. "You should. Just..." she trails off, but you don't need her to say the words to hear the rest of the sentence.
Just don't leave me.
But it's always Beth that you've been closest to.
You've always known this.
And sometimes, when you hold the gun she gave you, when you aim it at the mirror, using the stance she taught you...
You know how she felt on that platform.
Sometimes you know exactly how she felt.
Return to Orphan Black Fiction
Return to Main Page