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The Loop Closes

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The phone rings and Sarah stares blearily at the screen. She's still adjusting to Toronto's time zone on her second day back after a week with Cal and Kira, watching reindeer and playing in the snow. If it hadn't been for S and all this shite, she might not have come back. But she's changed, become a target, and gained a family in the process. She hates it, the way Cal looks at her without saying a word—the way Kira nods solemnly and whispers a few words in Icelandic to her father that she doesn't understand. She's trying to do the right thing for Kira, keep her out of this mess, but it just feels like she's slipping further away. No matter what S and the rest say, Sarah knows she is a shit mother, abandoning her kid.

It kills her, knowing Kira is experiencing life without her. Not that she'll ever admit that to anyone.

She bats away the start of a few tears in the corner of her eyes and looks closer at the display. The number's restricted, which means it's DYAD or some shite, and it's past time for new burners. She's not answering—Delphine's dead, Scott is running the science out of that abandoned building of Art's, cracking codes and waiting for Cosima to be ready, so whoever is on the end of the phone isn't one of her people.

Her alliance with Ferdinand may have been necessary, and the idea that he now considers her and her mum his new bffs terrifies her, but she knows better than to trust anyone else. Not with those tail-carrying freaks running around in plain sight.

The phone rings for a fifth time and Sarah finally hits the screen to accept the call, annoyed.

“Yeah? What is it you bloody want?”

“Ah, uh, hi,“ a woman's voice stumbles through the phone and Sarah swears she's heard it before. Maybe on one of those shows of Alison's she'd been forced to watch, it's high pitched and irritating, definitely not anyone who should have this number.

“Who is this?”

“Like—okay, I just—“

“Wrong number,” Sarah interrupts. She then hits the button to end the call and falls back into her bed only for the phone to blare in her ear once more. Bloody hell.

“I told you—“

This time, she's greeted with sobbing on the other end of the line. There's some gasping for air that sounds oddly like Alison the first time she'd taken her to see S after her big fight with Ainsley.

“Look, I don’t know who you are, because she didn't give me a name, or like… any details about what's going on. But this doctor said I was like in danger and to call this number because you’d help, and—“

“Oh, piss off—“

“Sorry. I am like, not good in a crisis, but I have no identification and I just—weird things like keep happening to me!“

"Oi! Sarah, you're awake," Fe observes, standing in the archway, eyes raised and arms akimbo. “Alison’s waitin’ for her break. It’s your turn to console lady lonely hearts.”

“Bloody hell,” Sarah mutters, irritated. How had she managed to get put on the rotation less than forty-eight hours after leaving her kid and her—Kendall overseas. "I'm on the phone, Fe."

"With who?"

"I don't know yet—"

"Because that always ends well for us," Felix sighs, flopping onto the bed. He looks at her expectantly, and Sarah knows he isn't leaving anytime soon. Might as well get on with it, then.

"Are you there?" The voice on the phone chokes out her question and Sarah sighs into the receiver.

"Yeah, sorry."

“Um, it's ok. Like how do I begin?”

“The beginning,” she snaps, pulling at her hair in frustration.

“Okay. Um, so I guess it like started with Craig and Hector and Rudy and his creepy brother Seth—“

“Shite,” Sarah whispers, suddenly aware of exactly where she's heard this voice before. “You’re Krystal.”

Fe looks at her with wide eyes, unsure if he should be shocked or frightened. After S and Kendall and Ferdinand's sudden switch, little fazes her, though the guilt starts to churn in her stomach. She's certain Felix feels the same way—they made a mistake, siding with Rachel, but Cosima's health had been worth the bloody risk.

“Krystal? The manicurist with the dildo?“

So bloody loud with that—she can probably hear him through her end of the line.

“She’s on the phone, Fe.”

“Shite, Sarah—“

“I have to know why she’s callin’,” Sarah sighs, throwing her free hand up in defeat. This is her role in this mess, clone savior or some bullshit, and she has to know why. Rachel's still missing, and Ferdinand's got no leads. This is the only way she's going to get the opportunity to punch the proclone bitch straight in the jaw.

Or put a bullet in her if it turns out she's a bloody Neolutionist and knew what she was doing all along. With that psycho, anything is possible.

“No, you don’t! Cosima—“

“Isn’t the only one who’s got a dead boyfriend, okay?” Sarah interrupts before she can think better of it, hoping to spare herself a bloody lecture.

"Boyfriend? Is this about Big Dick Paul?"

Shite. Nothing gets by him and she is not in the mood to share her feelings on that subject. Not with Cal so recent that she can still feel the ghost of him on her skin—she isn't quite sure what she wants, really, other than to run away from all this love bullshit.

It was never Beth I loved.

C'mon Sarah, can't you stay a bit longer? Just the three of us and some reindeer.

"It is, isn't it?" The question pulls Sarah out of her thoughts and she glares at him. "What happened in Mexico, Sarah?"

"Leave it out, Fe," she warns. This is dangerous ground he's treading on; she can't get bogged down in it, not yet. There's too much unknown and too many threats to dwell on the past now. What is it Cos said a few weeks ago when they were dancing at the loft? We just have to keep moving forward.

And to do that, she can't think about Paul and the circumstances surrounding that.

"You can't keep all your shite bottled up inside—"

"He's dead, yeah? And this one's not so piss off," Sarah spits and shoves the phone to her ear to prove her point.

“Hello? Hello?”

“Yeah, yeah, Krystal, I’m here,” Sarah says. Fe throws up his hands in disgust and she rolls her eyes at him.

“Wait, how do you know my name?”

“Long story, yeah? I'll explain it to you in person."

Krystal doesn't say anything in response and Sarah takes her cue to press her for more information instead of delving into the bit of identity theft they'd done up in Sudbury. "So who is this doctor?”

“I don’t know, she was like blonde, kinda pretty, but kinda sad? And like from Quebec, I think—she had a French accent, anyway. But I mean, she tipped pretty well, so maybe she's not—“

Shite. Delphine sent Krystal to her—which means there might bloody well be something to this bit of danger she's going on about.

“Delphine. How?”

“Oh! Like she thought you might ask why she had your number. Uh, she took it from caller id! Anyway, she said that you could like help me and uh, I just, I have nowhere to go—“

"Where are you now?"

"Umm, a bar in Toronto? The bartender is like looking at me weird, though," Krystal chirps into the phone. "I think it's like Bob's bar or something?"

"Shite," Sarah whispers into receiver, suddenly well aware of where Krystal is currently located. "Stay there, yeah?"

"Okay," Krystal drawls into the phone. "Wait, like, do you need an address? And I still don't have your name!"

"My name's Sarah. And I know that place," she answers, raking a hand through her hair. "Give me fifteen minutes, yeah?"

"Oh, okay. I guess I will like order a drink and wait."

"Good," Sarah sighs and ends the call. She shoots up from the bed and reaches around for a clean shirt—the one she's slept in smells and is all wrinkled and shite. Considering the clone she's meeting, best grab a new one from the pile.

Fe notices her fumbling around the floor and tosses her a black shirt with a raised eyebrow. "Where are you goin'?"

"Out."

"You can't just run off by yourself Sarah. Not after everythin' that's happened."

"Fe, you go take care of Cosima, I'll take care of this. She said Delphine gave her my number, okay? This is important," Sarah argues and Fe's eyes soften just a bit. He knows it is too, that it could give them all some answers, lead to the shooter.

"So is Cosima—"

"Yeah, I know. And she's not going to get bloody closure and move on from Delphine until we have answers."

"You're her sister, Sarah. You can talk some sense into her," he waves an arm in the air. "Wait, no, you can't, because you don't have a lick of it. But you can tell her with some authority that sleeping with someone else is the best way to get over a dead monitor."

Felix looks her straight in the eye and brushes a curl out of her face, a knowing look in his gaze. "You have lumberjack all over you, you know."

Sarah scoffs at that. Whatever happened in Iceland stayed in Iceland and she's not telling Fe any of it.

"Art's investigating who shot Delphine, and I'm gonna see if Krystal has anything useful, yeah?"

"Okay, fine," he huffs, realizing she isn't going to take the bait. "Where are you going? Just tell me, please—I don't want to spend another five days thinking you're dead."

Sarah sighs, she can give him this, and it does make some sense, given her time in Mexico. "She's at Bobbi's bar, and I'm going there to meet her."

"At some point she's going to figure out the whole clone thing with the lot of you running about."

"Don't I know it? But we got bigger things to worry about."

"Just be careful, yeah?" Fe pleads, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into him. She returns the gesture, gripping at her brother. She feels him lower his head onto her shoulder, and smiles against her ear. "And call if shite is about to go sideways, okay?"

"Got it," Sarah agrees, pushing away from him. She turns and heads down the stairs toward the bar. She turns toward the staircase and shouts up to him. "Tell Cos I'll call her later, yeah?"

"Go on and rescue the lost lamb," Fe calls down to her. She doesn't say anything else and storms out the door, wondering how much she'll actually have to tell Krystal about everything.

Chapter Text

"Oi Bobbi," Sarah starts, slinking her way up to the bar. Her eyes are still darting around the building, looking for a bit of blonde hair and a form fitting dress that would be incredibly out of place here.

Maybe she has the wrong bar.

"Hey Sarah," Bobbi smirks and drops a bourbon rocks in front of her. Yeah, she’s gonna need at least two of these to get through this meeting. "You ever going to tell me why you got all these chicks with your face roaming around here?"

Shite—she has the right bar. Dammit, Fe. He had to go on and curse her before she left.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Sarah drawls, slipping Bobbi a good tip for her trouble. That’s one thing she’s learned from all her jobs, you always pay the people who know your bullshit for their silence.

Bobbi smirks and pockets the cash with a shrug. "Probably not. But can you give me dreads' number?"

“What?”

"For when her Sapphire thing goes south. They always do,” Bobbi grins, bearing teeth and leaning over the bar. What Sapphire thing? Shite—Fe and his scratching post bullshit, must be related to whoever Shay is that Scott was going on about. Bobbi’s talking about Cos. “I'm more than happy to pick up the pieces."

"Cosima?" Sarah asks, already knowing the answer.

"Yeah. Your hot twin. She's into chicks and I’m a switch hitter."

"I'll let you know," Sarah sighs, raking her hands through her hair. Having Bobbi in clone club wouldn’t be the worst thing—she’s already met three of the members, five, if you’re counting S and Fe.

Sleeping with someone else is the best way to get over a dead monitor.

Bloody hell, Fe—the last thing Cos needs is another woman in her life mucking it all up. Why is she considering this?

"Thanks! The blonde one is over in the corner booth, away from prying eyes," Bobbi points and Sarah nods her head before stepping away from the bar.

She downs the rest of her bourbon and slams it against the bar, a little more aggressively than she intends. “Appreciate it.”

The blonde hair shines like a beacon and Sarah scowls as she makes her way over. There’s no one in the bar, really, being eleven on a week day, and Sarah’s grateful for it. Better get this over with before she loses her bloody nerve.

“Krystal?” Sarah slides into the booth across from her and stares at the manicurist, her arms crossed, preparing for the inevitable dust up from this one.

Krystal doesn’t disappoint, and Sarah lunges over the table to cover her mouth to stop the bloody screaming. Krystal’s eyes are wide and wet; Sarah feels the slickness under her fingertips as tears track down her cheeks. This display makes her miss Tony and the easy way he handled things.

This one’s more dramatic than Alison at her most paranoid and Sarah wonders how Beth handled initiating Alison into clone club. Whether or not Alison shrieked and screamed like Krystal. Sarah doesn’t think so; it’s not really her style. Alison likely threatened Beth a few times instead.

“I can explain this, yeah? But you gotta stop your hollering,” Sarah orders. Krystal bobs her head up and down as if she understands. Sarah settles back into the booth and waits for Krystal to say something, so she try to see where this conversation is going at the end of the day.

“Sarah? Ohmigod—oh my god.  Why do you look like a brunette version of me?  I like, work really hard to hide that.  Wait—am I a twin?  I can’t be a twin. They scare me!”

Sarah rubs her fingers against her temple. Krystal and her fear of twins.

“Bit more complicated than that, I’m afraid.” Sarah sighs, deciding to let her go a bit before letting Krystal in on the particulars. She needs another bourbon.

Krystal threads a finger behind a stray wisp of hair and flicks it back into place. “Oh my god, like, why is this happening to me?  I thought I like hit bottom in that creepy hospital, but, this is so much worse.”

Creepy hospital? Was Krystal at DYAD, then? Is that how Delphine gave her her number? This may just wind up being the best lead any of them have on solving that mystery so Cos can move on.

“What—what hospital?”

Krystal throws up her hands in frustration and inhales sharply while shaking her head gently from side to side. “I don’t know!  It was dark and there was like something in my nose and I thought I was blind and then—“

The details are fragmented at best and Sarah tries to piece them together, but Krystal is so bloody loud that Bobbi will stop having suspicions and start having her answers by the end of this conversation.

“Oi!  Krystal.  Krystal.  You need to quiet down, yeah?”

“I just—I have so many emotions!”

“Let me do the talkin' then,” Sarah orders and Krystal looks at her with wide eyes. This one is a right mess. “Alright?”

“Oh, um, okay.  Yeah, that works. Like an interview or whatever,” Krystal blinks; her voice softer than it was a few moments before.

“Yeah—an interview, right—“

“Go on,” Krystal says, straightening up her body until her posture is perfect and her hands are folded in her lap. It’s like she thinks she’s on with Oprah or some shite about to get her big debut.

“Jesus bloody—okay,” Sarah inhales, deciding not to make a comment.  ”Before the hospital, what’s the last thing you remember?”

Krystal turns her gaze toward the ceiling as if she’s trying to piece together everything that happened before she would up in Toronto. She then flips her hair back and stares intently at Sarah, leaning over the table. “Um, so I was like leaving the salon, and this old creepy guy and these thugs like drugged me.  You know, that’s like, the second really weird thing that’s happened to me in a month.  It all started with—“

She’s heard this part of the story before. Back when she and Fe were in town trying to steal her identity. If she’d known—no, Sarah knows herself; she’d have done it anyway, for Cos. It only makes the guilt worse, realizing she wouldn’t have changed a thing—Kendall and all of it is worth this.

Krystal isn’t one of her people. Bloody hell, she sounds exactly like S.

“Yeah, yeah.  Okay.  You can fill me in on your life story later,” Sarah interrupts instead of dwelling on that comparison. Fe would have a fit if he knew what she’s been thinking.

“You’re rude, anyone ever told you that?” Krystal’s eyes bore into her, her face scrunched up in an attempt to drive home the point.

“Yeah, daily,” Sarah smirks and Krystal huffs in annoyance. ”Now what’d this guy look like, his face, you see that?”

“Wrinkles.  Lots of wrinkles.  You’re going to get them too, you know, with that frown on your face.”

“Notice anything useful?  Like a—a hair color, or an eye color, or some shit?”

“Oh!  Yes.  It was gray, and longish, like super thick with a texture to it?  But it looked kind of scraggly though.  He doesn’t use a ton of product, but he was well dressed, wore a hat.”

“Nealon.” Sarah balls her hand together as the bits of Krystal’s story align. But why would Nealon want Krystal? Collateral in case he didn’t get Rachel out from under them? She doesn’t think this was planned on Rachel’s part. The proclone isn’t the type to fall in line with this lot. She’d want to be in charge, not a bloody captive of Neolution.

Unless this is how Rachel gets them back in the end. Acts the prisoner while taking Neolution over from the inside. Bloody psycho might be desperate enough to try that.

“You know him?  I have like, been trying to press charges on the first crazy guy, but they wouldn’t listen to me because Rudy and Seth didn’t give me their last name.  But this guy—he’s going down.”

“He already did.”

“What?  What do you mean by that?”

“He’s dead, Krystal,“ Sarah clarifies. “Him and Rudy and Seth, actually.”

“Oh, well, good.  That’s like, super refreshing to hear,” Krystal says, and it looks like a weight has been lifted from her. Interesting, she doesn’t seem the type to be relieved by bloodshed.

“Right, so—you woke up in this dark room, yeah?  Was anyone with you?”

“Yes!  Delphine.  Only, like, I didn’t know her name at the time.  She was just this family doctor who came into the salon like the day before I met um, Nealon?”

“Okay,” Sarah nods, falling into Beth as best she can. It’s easier to wear her than it is to analyze all of Krystal’s reactions while she’s trying to get to the bottom of it.  “Then what happened?  You thought you were blind, or some shite?”

“Yes, it was like, super terrifying.  Seriously, like, I felt like you know, I was on Grey’s Anatomy—there was this thing taped to my face, and I couldn’t see out of one eye and I was like, oh my god, how am I going to be able to do nails now?”

Beth slips away from her as she puts the remainder of Krystal’s story together. Rachel is in on it—Nealon didn’t need a backup plan, he needed a bloody body to help hide Rachel away. This is more bullshit that they have to get to the bottom of—Ferdinand’ll be angry when he finds out Rachel’s been a white-eyed freak in training for years.

There’s no other reason why Krystal was kept at DYAD like she’s blind in one eye. Bloody hell.

“Rachel. I’m gonna kill her.”

Krystal blinks and sits back in the booth, her brow furrowed and Sarah knows that shit’s about to go sideways. “Rachel?  Who is Rachel?”

“Later.”

“Okay. You like really hate her, don’t you?”

“She kidnapped my kid.” Sarah snaps, her irritation evident and she winces at her delivery. Yeah, overplayed that a bit. “But that’s not the point. Yeah?”

“Look, I think I have been really nice about everything, but Delphine said that I’m in danger and you’d protect me. But you’re just a—a bitch,” Krystal huffs, her hands shaking. Her bottom lip trembles slightly and Sarah knows that she’s about to start crying again. Shite.

“What?”

“Delphine, she like, gave me a couple hundred dollars, which was super nice of her, and like, you know, your number.  She said that I can't go home to Sudbury and you’d protect me,” Krystal elaborates.  ”But I spent the money on hotel rooms, different ones, every day. And really, I have nowhere else to go.“

“I—”

“So if you could like, be nice to me, that would be great. Okay? Please. Nothing has made sense since this guy Rudy stalked me on the bus and after he you know, and his creepy brother Seth and I had a moment that I was so not into—“

Sarah thinks back to the footage from Marion’s house. With Krystal’s tongue lodged down Rudy’s throat and all that Patty told her and Art about their encounter. Shite, they didn’t just make out in the lift, they finished things in the room.

“He raped you?”

“I don’t like to put definitions on it.  Okay?  Like, I try to keep my vibe positive, but I—I can’t,” Krystal stammers, tears tracking down her cheeks.

Sarah’s mind drifts to Vic and his bullshit. All the times he’d come in high as hell and pull something. His fists lodged into her skin and the lies she’d tell herself about how he loved her and this was her fault. It doesn’t make it better, but sometimes it’s all you have left in that moment, when you’re too scared to run. So Sarah gets this need to gloss over what happened better than most.

“Yeah, I can understand that,” she says, softer this time.  "The lot of them are worthless pieces of shit."

“Wait, speaking of. How do you know Rudy?  And Seth? And Nealon?”

“Krystal—“

“Are you one of them?  Like are you going to take me back there?  I am done with trusting people and you know, them taking advantage of me!”

“Shite—“

“Well?  Hmm?  I have a knife, I know how to use it!  I totally aced self-defense at the community center.”

“I’m sure you did.”

“Are you making fun of me?  Like, how dare you!”

“Look, I’m not with them,” Sarah sighs and rakes a hand through her hair. She is awful at this—Tony is proof enough of that. “Nealon tried to take my ovaries in the same bloody hospital you were in a while back. And Rudy? His lot held me prisoner in Mexico. So I’ve got as much of a bloody reason to hate them as you.”

“Okay, I believe you.  But only because we have the same face, so I can totally tell if you’re lying,” Krystal smiles knowingly at her and Sarah doesn’t have the heart to tell her that they all use their faces differently. She’ll learn that soon enough. “So now I get to be like Barbara Walters and you’ll tell me everything, Sarah.”

She rolls her eyes and folds her arms across her chest as she leans back in the booth. Barbara Walters, right. Like she’s some bloody celebrity about to give her tell all. “Fine, get on with it, then.”

“Okay, so, why do we look alike?”

Krystal doesn’t waste any time, does she? Then again, that’d been what’d driven Sarah in the first place, back when she took Beth’s life and found all those documents in the safe deposit box, so she’s not surprised by the question. Odd that Alison waving a knife in her face is now something she looks back longingly.

If only all her bloody problems were so simple. Then Kira could be back with her and she wouldn’t be dealing with Delphine’s murder and Rachel’s bullshit.

“You’re—“ Sarah pauses and runs through a bunch of ways to explain it to Krystal in a way that keeps her sort of out of this. She doesn’t deserve to always be looking over her shoulder, constantly on the run, none of them do. But Krystal has a chance—or she did, but now she’s in it, whether either of them like it or not.

“Fuck it.  You’re a clone, Krystal.  Same as me and at least twenty others, living and dead.”

“A—a what?  Oh my god, this is my bottom.  This has to be my bottom.  Not just a twin, but a—a clone?”

“Yeah, uh, sorry—and we call each other sister; makes it easier to take,“  Sarah says, watching Krystal deflate in front of her. “The ones of us who know, at any rate.”

Krystal purses her lips, screwing her face together as if she’s trying to think all of it through. Sarah doesn’t interrupt. She’d had the benefit of both Alison and Cosima, as well as all of Beth’s documentation, to back up her cloneage. She can give Krystal a few minutes to work through the particulars.

“Oh my god.  That’s why the guy at the hotel had a machine gun, right?”

“What?” Sarah furrows her brow, trying to remember this part of Krystal’s life story, but she’d been pretty tuned out by then, more focused on making sure Fe didn’t confess everything than on Krystal’s experiences. They needed Rachel, and as much as she hates the idea, Sarah thinks they still might. Unless she’s gone and lost every last bit of sense on them in this Neolution power grab of hers.

“The night Hector died, back when Rudy and Seth were you know. Like, there was a guy at the front desk of the hotel with a huge gun!  It’s because he knew, right?”

Nothing about Krystal’s story makes sense, but there’s still so much that none of them know about what DYAD and the military and Neolution have their grubby hands in. Maybe Ferdinand will be more forthcoming than Delphine, now that he’s in charge of the project, but she doubts it. Hopefully Scott’s friends can hack some shite, give them more intel.

Sarah knows the easiest avenue is Cal. But Cal has Kira and Kendall, and she can’t risk any of them tracking back—careful or not. Marion Bowles found him once he’d started snooping around, and who knows what side she’s on, considering she’d been Delphine’s contact.

Now Delphine’s dead and Marion and Charlotte are missing, at least according to Art. Her tutor reported it about two weeks back and neither have turned up since. But Marion’s considered a bloody suspect in Delphine’s murder, at any rate. None of it seems to tie back to Krystal, though, not beyond identity theft—unless she’s immune. She’ll have to have Scott check her out, considering Cos’ state of affairs.

Shite, even if she isn’t bloody immune, Krystal’s been infected with the Castor disease. Sarah has to get her to Scott and Cos now; her life might depend on it. But first, she has to make sure Krystal doesn’t go around telling her clients about this latest saga.

“I—I don’t know.  Look, you can’t—you can’t tell anyone this, yeah?  No one at the salon, not your parents, or your friends.  They kill the ones who know about your clone status.”

“My parents are dead. And I don’t have any friends—not like, really—they all—they all stopped talking to me after the whole Rudy thing,” Krystal sniffs, a few tears leaking out from the corners of her eyes.

“Yeah, about that—that’s your bottom, I’m afraid,” Sarah mutters under her breath, trying to change the subject and move the conversation toward a trip to the lab. She and Fe can get her pissed later and then they’ll all share stories and talk about their bloody feelings. Or, more like the two of them will do that while she forgets this shit for a while. Fe is better with their sisters, and emotions in general.

“What?”  Krystal shrieks, then leans across the table, desperate for answers. “What do you mean?”

Maybe she should have floated that softer—the incest story is worse than the clone story.

“Shite—never mind.”

“No, you don’t get to keep secrets, Sarah!  You tell me all of it.  I mean, it can’t be that bad, right?  They’re clones too, huh?  But I mean, it’s not like they’re our uh, you know, clone brothers—“

Sarah is silent, hoping she’ll drop the whole topic. And there’s not much else left to say when Krystal’s already gone and figured it out. Well, that part, at any rate. And here she’d thought the whole genetics mess with S and Kendall was the most fucked up part of their bloody family tree. But this shite blows everything else out of the water.

“Why aren’t you—oh.  Oh no. OH MY GOD,” Krystal screams and Bobbi looks over, a smirk on her face as Sarah meets her gaze. Yeah, Bobbi thinks this one is a nutter alright.  “Oh my god, oh no—incest? I mean, like, this is just—“

Sarah leaps out of her booth and slides in next to Krystal, wrapping an arm around her shoulder, while putting her other hand over the blonde’s mouth. Best not to let the whole bar know she’s been in a family way. She awkwardly rubs circles into Krystal’s back and she leans into Sarah’s shoulder, sobbing softly into her shirt.

“It’s okay, yeah?” Sarah says after a moment.

Krystal looks at her with wide-eyed disbelief, and Sarah has to remind herself that Krystal doesn’t know how bad this shit can get. That there truly is no bottom in all this clone mess, they all just keep sinking further and further with each new reveal. “None of this is okay!  I—I didn’t ask for this!  I just, you know, I wanted to like go to Hollywood, get some acting jobs, and if that didn’t work out, like, get a reality show.”

A reality show? Shite. That wouldn’t pass muster with DYAD, not based on Rachel’s reaction to her bloody Oprah threat, at any rate.

“I—“

“Oh my god.  Like, all these casting directors, they all like totally loved me.  And I have like, a really good sense of people, okay.  But then every time, a few days later, they’d call back and say that they went in a different direction—“

“What?”

“Don’t you see, Sarah?  They went in a different direction because of my, er, our face!  Like that is totally discrimination!”

“I don’t think you can prove that,” Sarah sighs, pushing away from Krystal, unable to hide her annoyance. “And we’ve got larger issues than your big screen debut.”

“It’s important, though! This could launch my career.”

“Look.  You’re not as stupid as you act, okay?  So cut the bullshit, yeah?  You’re one of us—“

“But—that’s who I am!  Silly, stupid Krystal. And people like me, or they did, before,” Krystal sobs, her eyes wet with fresh tears.

Sarah leans back into Krystal, her words achingly familiar in a way that strikes her to the core. She knows this feeling—the belief that all you are is a fuck up, not worth a second glance. It’s why she stayed with Vic so long. If Beth hadn’t jumped off that bloody train that night, or if she hadn’t taken Beth’s identity, Sarah’d probably still be with him, taking drugs and running cons up and down the east coast.

Maybe that’s why she holds Beth in such high regard. Beth ended her life, but she’d given Sarah a fresh start to hers. Maybe Sarah was never meant to save Beth, but Beth had been meant to save Sarah. After all, Beth’d given her a family, a purpose. She owes Krystal, and Beth’s memory, a chance to realize that she’s more than the bullshit story she tells herself.

“Shite—there’s one of us, Cosima.  She’s a scientist, bloody brilliant with everything except her love life—she’s made of the same stuff as you and me,” Sarah interrupts. “Then there’s Beth. Beth was a bloody detective who figured all this shit out. Alison, she’s a school trustee and a business owner—and Helena. Helena’s great with kids and can always find her way out of a tight spot.”

“So?”

“You’re not stupid Krystal. None of us are—it’s in our DNA.“

“That’s not what Hector and Craig said—“

“They can piss off,” Sarah snaps, her anger palpable. DYAD hired these guys, these monitors, to what? Make Krystal feel like shite all these years? Paul, although he didn’t love Beth, still cared about her enough to try and save her life. Craig and Hector were both just there for the bloody paycheck, from the looks of things. “They were hired guns, okay?  Monitors hired to get close to you, date you and take notes for our creators.“

“So my whole life is a lie?  Like, all of it?” Krystal asks and Sarah lets out a sigh. Maybe this is the kind of thing that she has to realize on her own.

“No, no.  Not all of it.  But you can’t go public with this, these people, our creators, they have an agenda, and we’re a part of it. So until we rout out these people, you can’t trust anyone who isn’t a member of clone club, yeah?“

“What? I just met you!”

 “I know. But Delphine? She’s dead, yeah? And that’s not all of it. There are these people—Neolutionists and Prolethians, who want to experiment on us,” Sarah explains, hoping she doesn’t have to go too in depth on any of this. She’s too bloody tired for it right now.

“Delphine’s dead? But she just got me out of that freaky hospital a few days ago,” Krystal cries and waves a hand in front of her face in an attempt to dry her tears.

“We don’t know who killed her—it could be one of them, or the military, or some other threat.”

“The military? Rudy said he was in the military—oh, shit,” Krystal hisses, more of her past coming into focus. “Is that why they tried to shove me in the trunk of their car? To take me to Mexico like you were taken to Mexico?”

“Yeah. They all think we’re bloody property for some fucked up science experiment. That we’re not people.”

“But we are people—wait, is this because we were like cloned? Can they do this? They can’t do this, right?”

“No, they can’t,” Sarah stresses, refusing to believe anything else. She’s not something to be owned, synthetic sequences be damned. “That’s why we have to stick together. Strength in numbers and all that shite.”

“That totally makes sense. Like the clone musketeers—one for all and all for one,” Krystal nods her head, the hint of a smile playing at the edges of her mouth. Then, after a second, it fades away and she looks at Sarah, frightened. “Are they going to come after me again?”

Sarah threads her fingers through her hair, trying to determine how best to answer that question. She could fill Krystal’s head with a bunch of lies about how she’s been kept out of it so far, only being kept out of it is what allowed her to wind up at DYAD with a patch over her eye in the first place. She’s come this far—best tell her the truth of it.

“I don’t know, okay?  Delphine said you were in danger, yeah? We all are, and we don’t know what we’re up against. We’re still figuring it all out—and you’re a part of it now, whether you like it or not.”

“Oh,” Krystal whispers, but doesn’t press it any further. Sarah isn’t sure if she’s grateful or not for that, but she takes it as a sign to finish explaining things.

“And there’s another thing, yeah?  Some of us, we get sick, and we’re uh—dying.  It starts in the ovaries and moves outward. Cosima, she—“

“The scientist?  She’s sick?” Krystal asks, cutting off Sarah in the process. She’s grateful for it, she hates talking about Cos as if she’s about to die on them. Not when they’ve all fought so hard and gotten so close over the past few months.

Sarah nods her head and then stares at her hands. “Yeah, she is, but she’s working on a cure. She’s close, we think, but we needed something from Rachel, the backstabbing pro-clone bitch, to help with it.”

“Oh, so Rachel’s the wicked sister.”

Sarah smirks at the description. Fe might appreciate it, even if it’s a bit tamer than what he’s used to calling her. Shite, Alison will likely lap it up, make it her own—she’s surprised Alison hadn’t called Rachel that first.

“You could say that. Rachel, she used to work with our creators against us. She tried to kill the lot of us, but we were desperate, so I made a deal.”

“Okay, but like, what does that have to do with me?” Krystal asks and the guilt rises in her stomach. She has to tell Krystal all of it—and knowing she’d do it all over again doesn’t make the confession feel any easier..

“She needed an identity, to get out of DYAD, turn a new leaf, she said,” Sarah elaborates, looking down at the table top, eyeing the splits in the wood. “So, we got her one—yours. Came to your work and lifted your wallet, since we all look alike, the rest wasn’t difficult.”

“We?  Who is we? I’ve never seen one of you—us—I’ve never seen one of us before today,” Krystal asks and Sarah inhales sharply. Time to out Fe’s part in all of this.

“My brother, Felix—he stole your wallet.  And we didn’t know any of the rest of it or—“

“Felix?  Wait!  The really hot guy at the salon who was super nice to me?” Krystal questions, her hurt audible.  ”He’s involved in this too?”

“Yeah—he wanted to tell you about all of us, after he saw your book, but I didn’t.  Thought it might be better to keep you out of it, and then Nealon and Rachel dragged you in anyway.  Sorry.”

“I guess I can forgive you.  It’s not like you could have known,” Krystal winks and Sarah sits up straight in the booth. She’s not used to this, fucking up and getting forgiven straight away. How can she possibly be this bloody accepting after everything that’s happened to her? Hell, even Cos has grown more jaded after all the shit they’ve been through.

“You’re not—“

“Angry?” Krystal finishes and Sarah bobs her head in agreement.  ”I mean, like, yeah, I’m pissed, but you know.  Forgiveness is important. Is your brother, you know?”

“A clone? No.  Not a blood relation,” Sarah clarifies, idly wondering what hundreds of Fe’s running around might be like. The world would likely be better for it, though she’s glad that there’s only one, and he’s her brother.

“Oh, well, that’s good to know, but I meant like single—“

Bloody hell, Fe. Had to flirt with her, even though she’d told him not to, and to work a different angle. Those private sessions with Alison running lines seem to have helped more than her acting ability. She’s going to love torturing him about this later.

“Yeah but not interested in your type, I’m afraid.”

“What the hell?  We have the same type—Oh,” Krystal pauses, as the pieces come together and she realizes just what Fe’s into.  “Well, like, that’s just probably for the best he’s gay.  I mean, that’d be weird.”

“It’d be pretty normal, considerin’—“

“So, like, what happens now?  I can’t go home, and like, I can't stay here," Krystal interrupts, not letting Sarah finish her sentence. Yeah, probably best to leave that in the past—at least once Scott checks on her to make sure everything is okay, afterward. No ill effects beyond the obvious.

“I’ll take you to see S, yeah?” Sarah answers, knowing that’s probably the safest place for her, with Helena still at the Hendrixes. Fe’s loft is full up with Cosima in mourning, and S has that extra bed in Kira’s room.

“S? Who is S?”

“My mum, Siobhan,” Sarah answers quickly, deciding to leave the rest of it out. She doesn’t like thinking about the technical definitions, even though Cos had wanted to work it out at dinner, before everything went to shite once again. “And then we'll figure out what to do. Together, okay?"

Krystal nods as she follows Sarah and gets up from the booth, straightening out her dress in the process. "Okay, together. But Sarah?"

"Yeah?" Sarah turns toward Krystal and throws a few more bucks on the table, hoping to buy Bobbi’s silence with the gesture. Who knows what she’s heard over the course of their conversation.

"Those cuticles are a mess. When we get a sec, I'll fix them for you, 'kay?"

Sarah starts to tell her to piss off and then thinks better of it. Instead she smirks at Krystal and opens the door. “Yeah, wait ‘til I introduce you to Helena. You’ll have way more to work with there.”

“Ooh! A project! I love a good makeover,” Krystal beams and Sarah laughs to herself. Maybe Helena will like it, a chance to touch up those roots with something other than bleach in a gas station bathroom. It could be a good break from all the bullshit they’re going through. But first Sarah has to take her over to S’ house and figure out if anything Krystal’s said can be useful in getting to the bottom of this Neolution mess and making it safe enough for Kira to come home to her.