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9 minutes, 47 seconds

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Opening up her eyes Cosima was met with the same clinical darkness that she had mistakenly fallen unconscious inside of. Taking a deep breath she blinked a few times, then scrunched up her eyes and looked around some more. There was literally no light in there, she couldn't see at all. But she could feel. She had no idea how long Delphine had been but that wasn't her main concern, if she could fall unconscious and wake up then it had to be a few hours at least. Why hadn't she bled out. Trying to move was like trying to squeeze solid concrete out of a toothpaste tube. It wasn't going to happen. But she could feel something over her neck, her hand felt numb and it was unresponsive so she knew it wasn't that applying pressure. Blinking some more she tried to focus on the sensations all over her neck. The pain wasn't as sharp now, it wasn't as piercing and stabbing on her neck it was there like a throbbing creature attached to her. She could feel something heavy on one side. Her eyes focused as she heard footsteps come over to the wardrobe, she wanted to hide somehow but had to face whatever was coming.

“Open.” She heard the muffled but controlled voice of Delphine on the other side, relieved the grey light flooded over her and Delphine looked down with a little shock, a little of what seemed relief and something more unnerving. As the doors opened fully Cosima felt the massive strain leave the side of her, her body gave way to her left and she collapsed to the floor. Delphine gasped and bent down her hands comforting Cosima's shoulder and back of her head as the petite women moaned out. Cosima shook her head free of the neck strain from staying in the same position for too long, her numb arm came back to life but it was stuffed with what seemed like hot pins stabbing at her every time it moved a millimetre. She managed to get up to a seated position before remembering where she was, her eyes darting around to check her surroundings. “It is ok, I lead them off on a 'wild goose chase'.” Delphine pulled that shrill metal chair over to Cosima and helped Cosima up onto it, supporting her from under her shoulders. Once Cosima was seated she leaned back and stared up into the blondes dark eyes.

“So, we have to stop the source then huh?” Cosima was weak, but her wounds seemed to have been wrapped up pretty well when she was out. Her hand came up to her neck and felt the dry bandaging, at least the blood had stopped running out, even if she was covered in it. Leekie was the source, Cosima knew that now, but she didn't want to think about how to 'stop him'. She thought back to her time in, when she had first met Leekie before the other Cosima had needed to go on stage. ' “I can't seem to get a hit.” 'Leekie had said, staring into Cosima's eyes, at the side of the ISRO conference stage. The look on his pale wrinkled face was penetrating, he was literally trying to get into her head. “What would it mean to end would I be me again?” Cosima saw a conflict flicker across Delphine's face and understood that it would the end of 'her Cosima'. Delphine took a breath and smoothed out her long blond hair, looking away from Cosima to the ground or floor or anywhere but in her eyes.

“In theory, I suppose it would mean you get control over yourself again.” She was blank, cynical, clear cut. It was a statement she was repeating from some internal monologue Cosima was unaware of of. She had practised these words and thoughts, a coping mechanism? “And that would probably mean Cosima, would urr...” Delphine looked up and blinked whilst shrugging, trying to get the words out whilst thinking intently. Trying to seem unaffected by this trauma. “She would be gone, yes, she would no would be in full control.” Delphine's arms came across her chest in a tight fold and she stood in her tailored suit legs slightly apart for balance. Her high black heels contrasted the showing of the top of her pale foot and ankle below her straight legged black suit trousers. Cosima took a deep breath, she wanted her life back, it was her life and no one should ever have that kind of control over her. Yet this women was loosing her wife because Cosima was selfish isn't the word, she was taking back what belonged to her, her own biology. Cosima felt a little more together, getting up with a sad puppy dog look on her face, she didn't know how to talk to Delphine, how could she make up for the fact that in taking her own life back she was destroying another's. There was a momentary pause, Cosima furrowed her brow and went to apologise or say something at least, her hands starting to do the talking. In that second, Delphine moved forward and pulled Cosima into a tight embrace, her arms consuming the petite women. Cosima was a little shocked and saddened, but pulled her arms out from between the two of them and slid them across Delphine's back, hugging her back.

“I am so sorry Delphine.” Cosima's head was burrowed into Delphine's shoulder, Delphine's head resting just above her head. It was a familiar embrace, one the two bodies had probably done a thousand times before. They fit so perfectly together, Cosima was even a little nostalgic for something she had never had. Delphine closed her eyes and felt the fit, how they pressed into each other, the warmth, the love, the memories they really had never shared together. Delphine took in a deep prolonged breath and paused a few seconds.

“Non, it's ok.” They held each other, Delphine's eyes still closed lightly, Cosima's wide open staring at the wardrobe. “Now.” Delphine pulled out of her hug and took Cosima's hand in her own like she had done so many times before. She thought about letting it go, it was an instinct when they hugged, she couldn't let the embrace be the last mode of touching she had to hold onto her somehow, even before it all started. Cosima reacted to the touch, her own thumb touching the side of Delphine's hand in an affectionate brush. “We have to stop this. It is the right thing. We need to think about how we are going to do this.” They let go of each other and stepped back, the chair was moved again and it pissed Cosima off so much that god damn chair made such an awful noise.

“Dr Cormier?” The atmosphere grew thick with tension, Cosima and Delphine seized up at that voice. It was Dr Leekie, he was just outside of the door. Cosima acted first and thought second as she ran over to the door just as it opened. Her body was pressed back against the wall and there she hid, behind the frosted glass. The shadow cast by the door was enough to conceal her location from Leekie as he entered and stared down at Delphine across the room. Dr Leekie crawled forward, his feet taking him so slowly across the room. Delphine just stood there shocked, her body still frigid from where he drew the gun on her before. Thinking quickly, Cosima from behind the door slowly and silently pulled the rope that held her jogging pants out from its hole. Once she got the length of it out she tested its strength, it was strong and not that elasticated. For holding up jogging pants it was not that comfortable, Cosima had a red line across her hips from sitting in the wardrobe where the rope was pressed into her. But for what she had in mind, it might just be what she needed.

“Aldous.” Delphine creaked out her mouth was dry and small, the colour out of her face. Although her posture was strong, her most humanly trait was evident of fear. Leekie surveyed the room with his eyes, he saw the open wardrobe, the chair which alerted him to this room and the look of guilt on Delphine's face.

“You let her go?” Leekie confronted in a slow whisper. Delphine did not give anything away she just stared back at him as he slowly stepped closer to her across the room. Cosima thanked god that doors 12 years later didn't creak like they used to as she slowly pushed it out for her to get free. From behind the door she pulled tight the two ends of the rope between her two fists. Delphine's eyes flickered for only a second but to hide this she closed them in defeat. She couldn't let Cosima's creeping position be known to Aldous.

“I had to Aldous. This is wrong.” Leekie was stalking his long legs over to Delphine, whilst Cosima shadowed him trying to get as closed as she possibly could. She saw that big black gun in his back waist band as if it were screaming yellow and neon, it stood out like nothing had ever done before. Her eyes were locked onto it.

“It's taken you a long time to come to that decision Cormier, why the sudden change of heart.” They were so close, both himself to Delphine and Cosima to his back. “You know the interference is almost over, the back up will kick in and I will have total control once again. You will get your Cosima back, don't you want that?” Cosima's eyes widened at her reaction, Delphine opened her eyes and stared through Aldous into Cosima, she nodded in defeat.

“I do Aldous. I do-” Delphine stepped forward and pierced her eyes into Leekie's. “-But that's not my decision to make, and it's not yours either. You stole a women's identity. You stole a human beings life and made it your own. My Cosima was parading around as someone she was not, she was never 'mine' she was just taken.” Cosima's heart crushed at the defence Delphine was putting up for her. Delphine was so brave, Cosima almost felt bad for what she was about to do.

“Well then, I only have one solution.” Aldous stated through gritted teeth, his hand began to come around his back to get his gun. Without thinking Cosima kicked the back of his knees and buckled him down to her level, her hands coming around his head and pulling that rope tight across his neck.

“Delphine get the gun.” Cosima commanded in a weak voice, this was so not her, she had never done this before. Delphine took a second to take in what was happening, it was so unlike what she had known of Cosima before. But she acted fast, she bent down and grabbed the gun out of Leekie's waistband, his hands had come up to try and stop Cosima. Closing her eyes Cosima again wrapped the rope around his neck and pulled hard, her weak body barely able to but the adrenaline coursing through her body gave her the strength she needed to end this whole thing. Delphine stood up in front of him and pointed the gun right at his throbbing red face.

“Fuck you Aldous.” Delphine groaned, Cosima had never heard anything so French and hot in her entire life. His body began to writhe for a few moments and then it fell limp, the colour drained from his face. As soon as she knew he was out Cosima let go of the rope and stepped back her hands coming up to her mouth and gasping at what she had done. Her arms began to ache from the strength she had put into it, the strain on her muscles. She felt her head burn internally as if something in her head was sizzling. She moaned out and grabbed either side of her head for it to stop, the white noise crashing over her again. Delphine ran over to Cosima's side around the body of her ex boss. She pulled Cosima in for another embrace, she was shaking herself but she had cowered out, she had not just killed a man. Cosima collapsed into Delphine's body her chin was wobbling hard as she tried to suppress the tears of pain and elation. “It's not over yet. The others, they will still be under control.” Delphine pulled out and grabbed Cosima's shoulders shaking her out of her flood of tears. Cosima sucked it up, wiped her face and her eyes moved from Delphine's watery dark orbs to Leekie's pale body. “Killing him wont be enough, we have to remove the source.” Cosima didn't know what she had to do, she was a scientist before all of this but her mind was frazzled from the burning and what she had just done. “Don't worry, mon cherie, I will do it.” Delphine moved out of the embrace and over to his body. Cosima just stood there, still in shock as she watched the mechanical actions of Delphine. It worried Cosima, but it looked like Delphine had done it before. She grabbed him under the shoulders and began to drag his body toward the door. “Cosima we need to get him to the medical lab.” As Delphine reached the door it was even more paramount for Cosima to do what she had to do, but she was still in shock. Her hands were red from gripping that rope. It happened so fast but at the same time it happened so slowly, he was limp before she had even known what she was doing, but at the same time with each of his wincing breaths and the struggle it was the hardest most lengthy act she had ever had to commit.


Sealing the door in deadlock behind her Delphine moved over to the lab table as if she was no longer in her body, her movements were fluid but her flare and soul seemed to have left. Cosima just watched from the other side of the suspended plastic sheets that separated them. It was a lab, a medical research lab. Cosima's arms were folded, one holding up her head in thought and insecurity. If anyone found them they would be dead on the spot, but the door was deadlocked Delphine had told Cosima no one could get in and Cosima hoped to god she could trust Delphine on that. But after what they had just been through, she was sure she could trust Delphine with her life.

Delphine folded her long silky blonde hair into a tinted green medical hair cap, and pulled a medical apron over her attire. The white latex gloves were the last thing to go as scanned over Leekie's body laid out on the slab covered apart from his dead face. He was deathly pale, Cosima couldn't bare to look at him. But when your life is at stake you would do anything to protect it. As Delphine made the first incisions on his neck and forehead Cosima couldn't bare to watch, she moved over across the research lab to distract herself. She pondered over the machinery the decoding technology that she was not familiar with, the interfaces, everything was white, grey and far out of her 12 years past comprehension. Everything moved so fast. But paper never changed. In a filing cabinet next to a bookshelf Cosima found some sort of filing system. Her name stood out to her immediately. She pulled out the files and scored through it, her face was on a clipped picture as she opened the cover next to information on her birth, yet it wasn't 'her' information. It was fraud, her birth place seemed to be in Cambridge, England where she lived until she was 21 where she was moved over here to finish her education. 12 years later she would be 33, which was crazy. The last time Cosima has checked she had just turned 21, she had just started to be able to buy drinks and go to bars. She still got ID'd even though she always looked older than she was with her dreds and glasses. Now here she was looking at the wrong information but the right base. She really was 33 now. It made her hollowed inside, she had lost 12 years of her life to science. Something she wouldn't have minded had she been in control and the whole project wasn't so unethical. 30 god damn 3. “Holy watershed.” Cosima whispered to herself.

On the next page she found her actual details, areas were blanked out, an attempt to conceal the original if they were found out? It just said that she was born in San Francisco at St Luke's, that she had education somewhere that was blanked out even though Cosima knew where she had been enrolled and ditched out of almost every study period. It gave details to who her parents were but the names were blanked out too. Even her own name was blanked out. Maybe in hopes the authorities found these documents they would assume the same name for both people would not be used. Well they messed up there. It pained her that her whole life was reduced down to her birth at St Luke's and the dates of her first 'intervention'. This caught her eye and made a tear of anger well up.

'Scott Smith PhD' was printed on a list of names next to details of the first time they had taken her. Scott... Cosima only knew one Scott Smith, it was her best friend on her Evolutionary developmental biology course. He sold her out? Cosima realised that she did not just go to bed one night and wake up 12 years later, that someone had to have come into her room whilst she was sleeping and operated on her. There were further details but at this point Cosima's head was so overwhelmed with the information and what she had done that none of it was going in. She pulled out a comfortable office chair and crashed down into it, her body tense but relaxing into the soft material of it. It was comfortable, comfortable enough for her body to give in and the tears fall. This was so messed up.

“Ahem.” Cosima looked up at the noise to see Delphine in her green tinted medical scrubs, parts of her hair fallen out of the cap, her latex gloves covered in blood and something metal and full of wires dripping in her hand. “It's done.” Delphine said. Cosima looked up and wiped some of the tears away, she could see Leekie's blurred bloodied body through the plastic sheeting but her eyes were drawn to the thing hanging in Delphine's hand. It was way bigger than she could have imagined, that fit into his head? It was about the size in body of a watch face for the main part but the wires were like spiders legs shooting out from it in different places and in differing lengths. They probably connected to different parts of his brain. Delphine dropped it to the floor and crushed it under her foot again, stamping and stomping on it repeatedly under it was nothing but a collection of bloodied wires and large metal dusty parts. She was worn out and covered in unimaginable mess. But they had done it. “He will live, Cosima.” Delphine stated. Cosima looked up at her intently, her brow furrowed deep and her eyes angry in disbelief. “He unconscious from lack of oxygen and will probably have some brain damage, but I will make sure he is locked away for the rest of life and this whole project is shut down.” Delphine's words were impassioned and it gave Cosima a little hope, at least she hadn't killed a man. Her body felt this immense relief, she dropped her file back into the cabinet and staggered over to Delphine. She didn't care about the blood, she was already covered in her own, she just had to share this moment. Her arms wrapped themselves tightly around Delphine's body, Delphine responded, her arms coming around Cosima's shoulders. They nestled into each other and for the first time Delphine could feel it, the connection between the two of them. She may have known the other Cosima but this part of her. This raw part of Cosima right now was like she had always know. Delphine thought that maybe she had known this version of Cosima all of her time. Cosima's tears fell from her but they were tears of happiness. It didn't matter if the guards or people outside of that deadlocked door knew they were in there or that they were coming, right now in that moment they were holding each other. They knew they had won.

“What about the rest of them, the other people are they free too?” Cosima looked up into Delphine's watery happy eyes and they connected for a second.

“Yes..although the world is about to go through a massive shake up when the 97 world leaders and ministers around the globe will wake up and have no memory of the last 12 years.” Delphine made the serious issue into a joke. It may not even have been a joke but Cosima's emotions were a little all over the place, sort of like everything that has just happened so quickly in a flash. She had killed a man, she had found out her personal details, how her old best friend Scott was one of the professionals involved in her operation and security, how she hadn't really killed a man and how she had potentially saved the world from a DYAD take over. Saved the world, Cosima cried happily into Delphine's shoulder, she was worn out and in pain but it was the happiest moment in her life. She had her life back. “As much as I want to crawl into a ball and sleep out the events of the past few years I need to make calls. I need to get in touch with the ethical committee who shut DYAD's project down the first time. They will take care of this.” Delphine leaned out of the hug but they were still connected, each others arms still wrapped around each other affectionately. “The science in this room could rewrite the nature of human development.” Delphine paused looking down at Cosima. She wasn't ready to let this new Cosima in, but there was the natural way they fit that she could not ignore. “Lets burn this bitch down.” Cosima cried even more as she laughed out loud.

“Thank you for saving me when you could have easily given up on me. I know I am not the Cosima you knew, but this is the real me. I am the weed smoking, science geek who loves RPG's and cuddles and I would really love to get to know you. When this is all done.” Cosima turned on her charm even though she just wanted to collapse out of exhaustion.

“I would like that.” Delphine said in the most French way she could have without mentioning baguettes or croissants. “Let's finish this.” Delphine tried to pull out of the embrace, but Cosima pulled her back, her arms letting her go but moving up to her face and bringing it down so that their lips could connect.

“Come here.” Cosima said as she pulled Delphine in. Their kiss was so simple yet loaded with all of the experiences that they had just gone through and the sorrow that filled Cosima's weak bones. It was not fancy or complex but it gave them both hope. Delphine smiled into the kiss, it gave her the boost she needed to finish this. Blood covering the both of them, Delphine grabbed her mobile device from her suit trouser pocket and phoned the committee her breathes were deep and strong, her voice weak from exhaustion but she told them exactly what had happened. They replied that they were mobilising right now. Ethical committees had changed since Cosima's day, she didn't want to dwell too much on how far that was away. The committees now had small armies of police and a lot of power, enough to shut down a global operation apparently.


A while later once the EC had cleaned the place out, they reached the lab were Cosima and Delphine were hiding out. They had given Delphine a codeword on the phone whereby she could recognise them when they got to their position. Opening the door a medical team swarmed in to the both of them, whilst others in police gear searched the whole lab for information, details and evidence. Cosima pointed towards the file cabinet with the documents in. Two or three people searched it for evidence, whilst another small team investigated Leekie's unconscious bloody body on the slab. As the doctors shone lights into Cosima's eyes to check her pupils she couldn't help but look over to Delphine as she got checked out herself. She had taken her scrubs and cap off now, her hair was dishevelled but she was breathtakingly beautiful. As the female doctor addressed her neck wounds Cosima tilted her head and smiled over at Delphine. The medical team had checked her over and she was leading them around the room, giving her statement to the police and committee members. Cosima watched the collected calm persona Del was putting out as she spoke, how her arms were still folded over her chest but her language was confident. The doctors changed the haphazard dressing on Cosima's neck and cleaned out her jagged wound. She wasn't even entirely sure how she mustered up the power to cut the receiver out of her neck but she did and she was glad she had. It was that moment where the game changed in their favour, if she hadn't they would have been able to find her to give her the advanced receiver and carry on with their plan. Still a little out of it she sat down as the teams filed about the place, her hearing just sort of washed over until everything was an inaudible blur as she let her mind relax. Staring at the previously deadlocked door Cosima knew she could never go back to 12 years ago. Unless they had invented time machines? But she really doubted that. With all that happened she decided not to think about the past that she could not change. It may have been 12 years of her life unwillingly stolen from her, but maybe this time wasn't so bad. Maybe DYAD were the only thing wrong here, maybe the world was a better place. Her scientific curiosity took over and she started to fantasize about what lay outside of DYAD's doors.

“Cosima.” Delphine whispered in a loving way, she put her arm on Cosima's shoulders and motioned her head for them to leave. “We can let the team sort out the rest, they have people securing the 97. I think they can handle it from here.” Delphine's tone had changed, there were no tears just tired loving eyes looking down at her. The same eyes she had seen in the moment where Delphine thought this Cosima was her Cosima. Now Cosima was just herself. But there was one question bugging Cosima as she slowly got up, her weak legs carrying her this last leg of her journey.

“If you could have just called the Ethical Committee why didn't you in the first place?” It seemed obvious to Cosima now that they were walking out of the lab and into the white walled corridors of DYAD she had seen a few times. Delphine looked down at the floor for the a few seconds and then straight ahead.

“Even when I had protected you and hid you away from Leekie, up until that point I wasn't even sure I wanted this to end, I wasn't sure whether I wanted you or my wife Cosima back. And then I realised when you were about to kill Aldous that I had no right to make that decision, it needed to end and it needed to end with him.” Delphine's voice was low. They carried on walking in silence for a few seconds both clinging onto the other for support and comfort. A few police walked in and out of rooms as they walked down the corridor, around a corner and into an expansive corridor, one side white walls but the other a giant row of floor to ceiling windows. Cosima's eyes were caught by the day light outside of them. She had just assumed it was night time, or maybe they had been in there for a long time. Either way as they walked she looked out across the city. It looked similar to how 12 years ago looked, except it was clean, fresh, the sky was a little overcast but blue crept through in leaps and bounds. The roads were litter free, people cycled and walked around, only occasionally did a car pass.

“Can we just sit here, for a bit?” Cosima found a grey concrete seat row by a potted flower in the corridor looking out over the city. They sat down, resting from the relative hard effort they had put into walking. Cosima's eyes were in wonder over what she saw, it was like some kind of utopia, in the distance were white majestic wind turbines scattered over the horizon, solar panels reflecting the blue skies light back up speckled over roof tops. Cosima was amazing. The world could have gone horrible wrong, she was in fear of seeing a sky line dominated by sky scrapers and businesses, instead she saw more grass areas, great sky scrapers that seemed to be residential blocks and overall it just seemed a little better than what she had been to bed in. Cosima's eyes grew heavy and tired, looking out onto the scene she rested the side of her head on Delphine's shoulder. This time she knew she would open her eyes and still be her, still be her and that filled her with a great ease. Closing her eyes for the last time she fell gently into a sleep thinking about the new world she was about to be introduced to for the first time with Delphine by her side.