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Changes of Habit or Instinct

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This time it was the light that woke Delphine. The dust-speckled rays of sunshine were hitting her in her face, causing her to squeeze her eyes shut as soon as she had opened them. Slowly Delphine opened her eyes again, giving herself some time to get used to the bright light.

Once she could see again, Delphine took a look around the cabin. It was maybe 15 square metres; the bed she was lying in took up a large portion. The other half contained a table, a few chairs and some cabinets. A couple of bags were scattered on the floor; some of Cosima’s clothes were spilling out of them. On the table were piles of paper and books strewn. Cosima’s laptop was standing on top of this mess. Next to Delphine the bed was empty and cold; the clone was nowhere to be seen.

Delphine threw the blankets to the side, shuddering when the cold hit her. Carefully she pushed herself to a sitting position. A blinding pain caused her to nearly black out. Cosima had been right last night when she said the wound would hurt more in the morning, Delphine thought.

She spotted a medical bottle with a glass of water on the small nightstand next to the bed. Lifting the bottle to inspect the ingredient label, Delphine noticed that it contained fentanyl. She removed the cap and took one of the strong painkillers out of the bottle. Gratefully she washed the pill down with a large swallow of water.

She wondered where Cosima was. Delphine took another look around the cabin. Grinding her teeth, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed and got up. Again she was seeing black spots. Delphine grabbed the nearest chair for support, allowing herself a moment to catch her breath.

As the spots disappeared, Delphine shuffled towards the next chair. A navy hoodie with a golden bear on the chest was draped across the back of the chair. She pulled it over her head. It was a tight fit but it warmed her instantly.

Delphine pushed the hair out of her face. Her curls had returned almost completely. She walked to the door. It wasn’t locked, and swung open as soon as she put her hand on it.


Fresh snow had fallen during the night. Delphine noticed that everything was covered in a 20 cm layer of snow. The only disturbance in the fresh pack of snow was a single file of footsteps, at the end of which Cosima was standing.

From her position in the door, Delphine observed the animated woman with a smile. Cosima was talking to someone on the phone. She was wearing an oversized pair of rain boots, and a thick woolen scarf over her regular clothes. The boots caused the clone to trip every few steps, almost landing her face first in the snow.

Cosima stood still with her back to Delphine, her head tilted, listening to the person on the other end of the line. She was oblivious to the silent observer, scratching her dreadlocks while considering something. “I’m sure Ferdinand is on our side. Just, like ask him for your job back.” Cosima’s voice drifted to Delphine.

Suddenly it hit Delphine; she remembered what she had wanted to tell Cosima. “Cosima!” she yelled, running towards the startled woman staring back at her, the phone still to her ear. It seemed to Delphine to take forever before she reached Cosima. “Hang up! Please, hang up!”

When she reached Cosima, the clone had not yet moved. Shocked by Delphine’s sudden outburst as well as the fact that she was literally up and running. “What?” Cosima asked as Delphine grabbed her by the shoulders.

Delphine did not answer. Panting, she seized Cosima’s phone and pulled out the battery.

“Hey, what the fuck!”

Again there was no answer from Delphine. She just threw the phone and the battery in the brook. The short sprint suddenly caught up to her, as the rush of adrenaline faded. Shooting Cosima a frustrated look, she sat down on the ground. The edges of her vision were black again. Delphine lowered her head to allow some blood into her brain

Slowly Delphine’s vision returned to normal, the snowy landscape stopped spinning. Her chest pounded, her feet were burning in the snow. The cold was seeping through her thin pants but Delphine could not bring herself to get up and move inside. She stared at Cosima’s knees, clad in colourful patterned thighs.

Cosima sank down, sitting on her heels. “What the fuck was that about? Are you all right? “

Delphine nodded.

“That was a new phone. I was only talking to Scott.” Cosima tilted her head, trying to make sense of Delphine’s behaviour.

With shaking hands, Delphine reached out to Cosima. “It was Scott who shot me.”

“That's not funny, Delphine,” Cosima shook her head, refusing to believe her.

“I’m serious. He’s a Neolutionist.”

“You’re delirious.” Cosima grabbed Delphine’s arms, pulling her to her feet. “Let’s get you inside.”

Leaning on Cosima, Delphine let herself be guided back into the cabin. “I’m not delirious, it was really him.”

Cosima helped Delphine sit down on one of the chairs. “No, it can’t be. Not Scott,” she said stubbornly.

Delphine shook her head. “It was. He looked me right in the eyes as he shot me.” She shuddered, thinking back to the way Scott had come closer after he first shot her, determined to finish the job. “Think about it Cosima.”

Cosima sat down in the chair next to Delphine. She looked deep into Delphine’s eyes, for any sign that the French woman was joking, delirious, or simply mistaken. When she realized that Delphine was dead serious, Cosima buried her head in her hands. “I’m so stupid. I trusted him,” she mumbled.

Gently wrapping her arms around the heartbroken clone, Delphine whispered, “Je suis désolée.” She didn’t know what else to say. As far as she knew, Scott had been the only friend Cosima had in Canada before meeting Delphine. That was apart from the other Leda clones of course.

They sat in that silent hug for a while, taking comfort in each other’s company. It was the growling of Delphine’s stomach that pushed them to move again.

“Breakfast?” Cosima asked, finding it easier to ignore the harsh betrayal of her friend for now. There was nothing they could do about it anyway.

“Yes please. And some dry pants perhaps.”

They both looked down at Delphine’s legs. The cotton pants were sticking to her legs, and her cold feet were bright red in the relative warmth of the cabin.

“Dude, you ran outside into the snow without shoes?”

Delphine nodded. Once she realized who the clone was talking to, she had been too alarmed to think about silly things like shoes or snow.

The clone got up to grab a towel from one of the bags and Delphine pulled the pants down, discarding them on the floor. Cosima kneeled in front of her, drying Delphine’s legs and rubbing some warmth into her feet. Once she was done, Cosima pressed a kiss to each of the knees in front of her face. She smiled up to Delphine, “I hadn’t told him yet where we are.” Cosima looked so regretful. She obviously felt responsible for Scott’s betrayal and his attempt to murder Delphine.

Delphine leaned forward, trying to reach Cosima’s face. The pain in her abdomen caused her to cease her movement prematurely. Instead she used her hands to pull Cosima’s face upwards.

Delphine pressed her lips to Cosima’s. Her intention was for a small kiss, to let the clone know that she was forgiven.

Delphine had no idea what their relationship was at this point, what was allowed and what was not. She had broken up with Cosima and she had given Shay and Cosima her blessing when she thought she might never see the clone again. Then Cosima had saved Delphine’s life after she was shot and ran away from everything to keep her safe. It was all terribly confusing to Delphine, but apparently not to Cosima. The kiss quickly escalated when the determined woman, still on her knees in front of Delphine, slipped her tongue into Delphine’s mouth. They only broke apart when Cosima started to cough.

After she had managed to control her breathing, Cosima grinned at Delphine. “So… Breakfast.”

“Yes… Breakfast,” Delphine agreed.

Cosima got up and started to move around some pots and pans in the kitchen. “There should be some pants that fit you in the red suitcase.”

Spotting the suitcase next to the table, Delphine got up groaning and sat down next to the suitcase. Digging through the contents she found a pair of sweatpants that looked like they fit.

Still seated on the floor, she put them on. Next she pulled a pair of thick woolen socks on. They were several sizes too big, but warmed her feet.

Taking a look through the rest of the contents she noticed a hairbrush. How thoughtful of Cosima, who obviously didn’t bring the brush for herself. Delphine brushed her hair. As she advanced, her curls rapidly returned to their natural state.

“Cosima, did you bring my bag?”

“Huh? What bag?” Cosima turned around from the stove, looking down at Delphine. “I couldn’t go to your place. Everything in there is either mine or new.”

Finished with her hair, Delphine got up from the floor and walked over to Cosima. “Was there no bag standing next to me when you found me?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Cosima tilted her head, pondering the question for a bit. “Does it matter?”

“Yes, Kira’s stem cells were in there.” Defeated Delphine plopped down on one of the chairs. Everything hurt, she was exhausted, and the cure she had been working on in secret for the past weeks was lost.

“What?” Cosima abandoned the stove to sit down next to Delphine. “How?”

Delphine looked at Cosima with tears in her eyes. “You don’t honestly think I gave Rachel all of the bone marrow, do you?” Her lower lip trembled, “I held back a tiny bit. Just enough, so no one would notice. Behind their backs I cultivated more and prepared another dose of your treatment.”

The sick clone gasped. “You did what?”

Clutching Cosima’s hands in her own, Delphine said, “I didn’t want them to be able to hold power like that over you and your sisters again. I wanted to make sure there would be another available dose when you need it.”

“Holy shit.” Cosima shook her head. “You managed to do that behind their backs? That’s totally amazing!”

Delphine managed a weak smile, “If my bag is gone, then so is your cure.” She couldn’t bear looking Cosima in the eyes, looking out of the window instead. “It took me weeks to cultivate it with a proper lab. Without the equipment, without stem cells, I can’t get you another dose on time.”

Gently turning Delphine’s head, locking eyes with her, Cosima said, “Hey, if you can bring the knowledge, I can get you the DNA.” She grinned at Delphine, who looked back confused. “Malone’s samples are hidden in Felix’ loft.”

Delphine fiercely grabbed Cosima’s dreadlocks and crashed their lips together. Their previous kiss had been long and gentle. Though it lasted only a short time, this one was enthusiastic. Pulling back from Cosima, Delphine asked, “When are we going to see Felix?”

“You kinda destroyed my phone.” Cosima got up to transfer their breakfast to the table. Some of it was slightly burned, since Cosima had left the fire on when she left the stove. “We don’t have a car. So we’ll have to wait for Art to come back.” Handing Delphine a cup of tea, Cosima joined her at the table again. “He promised he’d be back within a week.”

“Hmm…” They still had time. The next dose was not necessary for another month, and Delphine wanted to get some of her strength back before returning to the dangers of the outside world. A week in an isolated cabin with Cosima didn't sound so bad. Sipping the hot beverage, Delphine glanced over at Cosima. “What will we do until then?”