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Before We Crash

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For Cosima, being stuck with Alison Hendrix for the duration of the apocalypse was a mixed bag. On the down side - like, the way down side, the so close to the bottom your fingers brush the floor side - their coping methods were way too similar. They both had a habit of turning to self-medication to distract them from how fucked up things were. Ordinarily, fine - great even. If Alison had just been another girl Cosima had met in college, crying because of the interest rate on student loans or because her boyfriend was a dick, Cosima would have loved to get them both so baked that they forgot what year it was. When the world was ending, not so much. Survival kind of necessitated a clear head for at least one if not both of them. Really it should probably be both, but the human mind could only put up with so much for so long before needing a break.

Of course, supplies being what they were, maybe this wouldn't be such an issue in the long run. However long the long run actually was anymore.

But on the subject of supplies, Alison had the kind of endurance that could only be built up through years of health-conscious soccer mom-hood. Sure, running break-neck through what used to be downtown Toronto to bring back enough food to get them through another day wasn't really equivalent to a leisurely jog through the suburbs (for one thing, Cosima was pretty sure that Alison's yoga pants used to be better laundered), but it got the job done.

Alison also knew how to shoot a gun and theoretically kill something (or someone, but she tried not to think on that too much) if necessary. That was a plus.

Cosima for her part was a modern day MacGyver. Anything useful that they didn't have but could be made, she made. Anything broken that could be made to work, she made work. It kept her busy, at least. That helped a bit.

If someone had asked her at the start of all this whose mental state was likely to make them a liability, she would have said Alison. She would have felt bad about it, but to be fair Alison had freaked the fuck out. Well, they had all freaked out, but an Alison Hendrix freak out had always been next level even when they'd just been traversing the mundanities of clonehood and fighting shady scientific organizations and cults. Cosima had learned very early into the end of the world that Alison's freak outs were also directly proportional to how much shit had hit the fan at any given time. So yeah, it was pretty rough in the beginning. And Cosima herself had always been driven, focused. There was no need for that to change.

But apparently when Alison was pushed to her limits, she could compartmentalize like a pro. It had kind of scared Cosima at first, the way Alison just shut off. It was hard not to be grateful for it now. Alison had become very efficient.

Cosima, on the other hand, could feel herself losing her grip. Her usual favourites - avoid, deflect, ignore - didn't work so well when the evidence of how bad things had gotten was everywhere she looked. She tried to cover the cracks with humour, but that only worked so well when there was no one left to laugh along. It was a shame really - up until recently being a clone had been quite literally killing her, but apparently that same genetic sequence spelled immunity to top secret biological weapons. The cosmic irony could have made for some great material.

But there would have had to be something worse wrong with her for none of this to get to her. Especially when every time she closed her eyes she saw those last minutes with Delphine and remembered exactly what the aforementioned biological weapon did to people. She didn't mean to dwell, but she thought it might be okay to still feel shaken. Even Alison, Alison who was cold and eerily calm during the day, still cried at night sometimes. Her kids had been part of the early evacuations. Neither of them knew how far this thing had spread, but they could hope still. They had that. (Cosima wasn't the praying type, but she hoped every day that Kira inherited whatever it was that had kept them "safe".)

Nights were always the worst, though. When it got dark and they couldn't see the occasional misshapen silhouette pass over the covered up windows. They were always horrible to look at, but worse not to see.

And at least during the day, when they weren't trying to feign the normalcy of a regular sleep pattern, Cosima could keep herself occupied. She tried not to have idle moments anymore. They lead to remembering, which lead to wanting to try to make it into to the first hideout to see if Helena ever came back looking for them. It was a stupid impulse and likely useless besides. Whatever her problems, Helena wasn't an idiot. Even if she'd taken the risk of coming back, she would have seen that the location had been compromised and never would have risked herself or Sarah by going in. Well, if she had ever found Sarah. Cosima liked to think that she had. Sarah was tough and Helena was probably built better for this than any of them. It was reasonable to think that they might be okay.

Sometimes when she let her mind hold on the topic long enough, Cosima remembered that Rachel had probably been with Sarah when things really went bad. Sometimes she wondered what happened to her without being completely sure if she wanted her to have made it or not. Except that she kind of hoped that she did because if Super Bitch couldn't pull through, then what did that say about the kind of chances that the rest of them had? She'd taken a pencil to the eye and come back meaner than ever, looking like a full on super villain with her new eye patch. Like the Energizer bunny, but evil. (Cosima deliberately didn't think about how they'd run out of disposable batteries again last week, the dead ones put to the side to be discarded because they really didn't keep going and going indefinitely.)

(And she really didn't think about what had probably happened to Felix or Alison's husband Donnie or Kira's dad or any of the dozens of other people that any of them had loved before all this.)

So they were generally not in a great situation when it started. It was the kind of half-baked scenario that a full-baked Cosima might have dreamed up and laughed about with one of her girlfriends during her undergrad, but the reality didn't involve quite so many tank tops and neon hairstyles. So it was pretty easy for them, her and Alison, to wave it off as "comfort". At first.

Having sex with your clone was weird. It was something that everyone had thought about at least once, even if only during a proto-drunken game of Would You Rather, but just thinking about it didn't prepare you for the reality. That's not to say it was bad - not at all. Just weird.

Cosima was sort of fascinated by all the ways in which she and Alison were the same or different in this department. Alison had that familiar spot behind her knee that made her absolutely melt if Cosima rubbed it right. She had the same ticklish ribs that completely turned her off if Cosima lingered on them for too long. But Alison also liked Cosima's mouth on her neck almost as much as she liked it when Cosima took it low. Cosima had never been much for neck kissing, finding the sensation of saliva on those parts of her skin unappealing, but she was happy to oblige if it was what Alison wanted.

Alison, once she got past her initial reservations, was pretty bossy in bed. She liked to be in control. Cosima wasn't a pillow queen by nature, but she found that sometimes lying back and letting Alison take care of things was...nice. Not something she wanted every time, but once in a while was alright.

Eventually it stopped making sense to keep saying that it was just for "comfort". They were already playing house and there was nothing worth hiding from each other anymore. So the monster-infested landscape of post-apocalyptic Toronto wasn't the most romantic venue, but Cosima seemed to be turning falling in love in the most terrifying and out of control way possible into a habit.

For Cosima, being stuck with Alison Hendrix for the duration of the apocalypse was a mixed bag. Being in love made the end of the world simultaneously more bearable and more frightening. Having something to hold onto always meant that you had something to lose. But every day she woke up and Alison was still there so maybe it was okay. She could still hope. She still had that.