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Changes of Habit or Instinct

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She felt as if she had only just fallen asleep. A quick glance at the alarm clock on her bedside table confirmed this theory. The red numbers indicated that it was a little past seven in the morning. She hadn’t turned off the lights until almost four, studying a pile of papers for useful information for her thesis. Cosima had wanted to continue all night; she had already lost almost an entire year due to all the clone drama and illness. The floor on the left side of her bed was riddled with papers and articles covered in scribbles and theories. Somewhere within that pile of paperwork her phone was ringing loudly.

By the dim light of the early sun peeking through the gaps of the curtain, she sat up and picked her glasses up from the nightstand. Once she was wearing her glasses, she quickly found her phone and looked at the screen. It was Rachel. Frowning at the name, Cosima pressed the green button. “Rachel, to what do I owe the pleasure?” No one had heard anything of the disabled clone since she had ran off with Ferdinand almost six months ago.

“Miss Niehaus. How are you?” came the posh, British voice from the speaker.

“Uhm, fine. Thank you,” Cosima yawned and looked at the empty spot in the bed beside her. She ran her hand over the still warm area. The smell of fresh coffee was seeping into the room.
Delphine had probably gotten up a few minutes ago and was getting ready for work.

“That is most wonderful to hear,” said Rachel after clearing her throat.

Looking at the almost empty bottle of pills on her nightstand, Cosima suddenly understood Rachel’s reason for calling at this insane hour, “You are sick, aren’t you?”

At that moment Delphine entered their bedroom with two cups of coffee and a plate of breakfast. She was already wearing her work clothes and her curls were pinned into a neat chignon.

Cosima gave her a small wave, pointing at the phone next to her ear.

It remained silent on the other end of the line for a bit. Cosima sat back, waiting for Rachel to acknowledge what she already knew was true.

Frowning at what she had overheard, Delphine sat down next to Cosima. She set the plate on the nightstand and handed Cosima one of the steaming cups. Cosima took a small sip; she nearly burned her mouth and put the cup next to the plate to allow it to cool a bit first.

“It’s Rachel,” whispered Cosima leaning towards Delphine. She pressed a small kiss to Delphine’s cheek, just as Rachel decided to answer Cosima’s question.

“Yes, I am.”

“That sucks, dude,” Cosima waited for Rachel to ask for it. She was still angry about the way her sister had left them, after they had been through so much trouble to free her. It had put them in a very dangerous position and nearly killed Cosima. Yet Cosima would not wish for her worst enemy to go through the sickness, pain and treatments she had suffered in the past seven months.

Rachel was obviously not in the mood for Cosima’s games. “You found a treatment,” she stated.

“Yep, we did.” Cosima glanced at Delphine. Her girlfriend was biting her lower lip, clearly anxious to find out what Rachel wanted.

“And it worked.” Again it was a statement, not a question. Rachel was clearly well informed.

Cosima thought of how she had returned to Toronto, more dead than alive. How Delphine had worked around the clock to prepare the treatments amongst the ruins of DYAD. The doctor had sat beside her bed every spare minute she could find, holding her hand, encouraging her to eat, holding her dreads out of Cosima’s face as she threw up everything she ate.

When the treatment worked and Cosima was starting to feel better, her girlfriend had pushed her around the snow-covered park in a wheelchair. And when the first scans had come back clean, they had moved back to Minnesota. Moving in together because, as Delphine had put it, Cosima still needed around the clock supervision from a doctor.

Even now, almost seven months later, Cosima was still taking three pills a day. But she was back to working on her dissertation, doing most of the work from home. She was able to jog up the stairs again, to smoke without coughing up blood and to engage in all the physical activity she could want. “Yep, it did.”

A sigh came from the other end of the line; Rachel was not amused. “Would you share this treatment with me… please?”

“Of course, dear sister.”

“Wonderful.”

“Brilliant, where are you?” Cosima took another sip from the coffee, this time it was perfect.

“In München. Could you come by?”

“Nope, a bit busy. Do you have a doctor you trust?” Delphine was looking at Cosima with a raised brow, waiting patiently until Cosima was finished with her conversation.

“Of course I do.”

Of course she does,’ Cosima thought. “Delphine will e-mail you the treatment.” She looked up at Delphine, silently asking for confirmation. Delphine nodded, the brilliant woman had probably worked out what Rachel wanted five minutes ago.

Rachel was nothing if not effective. She provided Cosima with her e-mail address and thanked her very formally. She even offered to pay for the information, which Cosima refused. Within a minute Rachel had hung up the phone. Cosima threw her own on the bed and moved over to Delphine. “Would you e-mail her today?”

“Of course, cherie,” answered Delphine. She kissed Cosima briefly, cupping the clone’s face with her free hand.

Cosima could taste the coffee and breakfast as she slipped her tongue between Delphine’s lips.

Delphine pulled away, “I have to run, I’ll be late for work.”

Cosima pouted at her, patting the bed next to her. “Are you sure you’d not rather stay?”

“Tempting, but I have a lecture to teach in less than an hour.” Delphine had taken a job in the biology department teaching a few immunology courses and doing her own research.

“Oh, okay.” Disappointed, Cosima leaned back into the pillows. Of course Delphine would be back in a few hours, but Cosima would much rather have her crawl back into bed. “I’ll be here, working on my dissertation.”

“Have fun,” Delphine gave her another quick kiss as she got up from the bed.

Cosima called back at her girlfriend, who had already left the bedroom. “I will!”

After she heard the front door close, Cosima picked up the bottle of pills. When she had finished this bottle, she would be completely done with the treatment. She unscrewed the lid and looked into the bottle. She could see the bottom already, and more importantly, what was hidden in the bottle. She would not take it out until she had swallowed every last pill in the bottle, but buried safe and secure in between the pale, pink pills was a simple silver ring.

Cosima fished a single capsule out of the bottle. Shaking it slightly she estimated that there was about two weeks left before she would present the (almost) empty bottle to Delphine. After her near-death experience, Cosima had know that she wanted to she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Delphine. Yet almost all of their time since then had been spend making sure Cosima, her sisters and even Delphine would survive.

Looking at the silver sparkling in between the pink pills, she realized that she was not longer surviving. Cosima was alive; she was truly happy and wanted to spend the rest of her life feeling this blissful. Rinsing down the pill with the last of the coffee, Cosima stretched. While she took a bite of her breakfast, Cosima turned her laptop and put the papers and articles back onto the bed. It was about time she did something and finished her thesis.