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Scene Title Pupil
Synopsis During the civil war, Colette Demsky encounters something she never knew she had lost.
Date July 22, 2013

Before the war, Walker Army Airfield was an abandoned former military installation located north of Interstate 70 in Ellis County, 1 mile northwest of Walker, Kansas. The cast, flat stretches of bare land that it inhabits empties out into the horizon in every direction. Nothing can approach the airfield without being spotted, not at day, not at night, not ever. The flatlands have proven to be the Resistance’s greatest boon, allowing them to spot incoming aircraft and land travel long before they can maneuver into position. Things like inclement weather don’t serve as an advantage to the forces still loyal to President Andrew Mitchell, because the number of evolved who mistakenly took the wrong side of the war are dwindling.

Walker airfield is protected by two weather manipulators, each hailing from different sides of the country, each vital to the Resistance movement. On a rainy day in the middle of June, the airfield is buzzing with activity. Outside of the mile vicinity of the airfield, the rain is coming down in torrential sheets, mitigated to only a modest and refreshing drizzle against the summer heat thanks to the airfield’s caretakers.

Aircraft in service to the conflict often refuel at this waystation, and today sees only two new aircraft settled in for the long refueling process. One of them is an old C-31 cargo plane refitted to serve as a troop transport, the other is a sleek black thing that has the airfield mechanics whispering. Though dinged up by gunfire, the experimental X-51 Rook aircraft were supposed to be Mitchell’s ace in the war. Quick, reliable fighter craft that could move in, strike, deploy troops, and get out before the Resistance knew what hit them.

One of these beautiful weapons of mass destruction now rests in the hands of the Resistance, thanks to the efforts of an increasingly famous squad of fighters nicknamed Wolfhound for their tenacity. Gathered at Walker Airfield to refuel, Wolfhound has spread out among the tents, prefab constructions, and mess halls for a few days of rest and relaxation before redeployment. Today, Colette Demsky walks with head held high, a wolf herself.

Seated under a large pavilion tent, Colette is slouched back against a picnic table, elbow propped up and a half-finished beer in hand, resting on an outstretched leg. She’s damp from the rain, black hair slicked back to keep out of her face, bare arms beaded with water over the outline of a tattoo started — but not yet finished — on her left bicep that looks like a DNA double-helix.

She has the table to herself, rifle propped up beside her, watching a handful of mechanics working on the Rook with her sightless eyes. Though she’s not really paying them any mind, her attention is a thousand miles away, thoughts lingering on two people not here. Two people watching out for her heart while she fights. She’ll need a tattoo for them, too. That’ll be next.

The waystation homes a new soldier. At first, when the war started, Adel had not been involved much. All her fighting skills of the past had been learned utilizing her ability, with some basic skills for the few times she might be without. Negation, at least the gas kind, had never been a fear for her, if her ability had been up, but it had always been a worry in the back of her head. Still, too many of her skills relied on that sphere, that control of her immediate environment. She practically had to relearn how to kick and punch.

JJ had helped a lot with that, teaching her, once again, how to be useful to the cause, how to help out. And she loved him for it.

Because the world needed soldiers. Needed people who were willing to fight. And she would fight for those who could not. Even if Elaine had begged her to be careful.

As she’s moving to look up at the jet, dark eyes taking it all in, she spots someone that— “Colette?” she asks out loud, looking shocked, surprised and— then suddenly elated.

She had known the young woman who would have been her mentor had survived Alaska, but she’d been unconscious when Adel had started to make her way home, still reeling from the loss of both her ability, and her father.

“By lasers it’s really you!” She moves closer and looks very much like she wants to hug her. Whoever she is.

When Colette looks up it's a knowingly vestigial gesture, one done to make people feel more comfortable than her dead-eyed addressing. She's practiced it, made it natural. “Uh,” words are still kind of a work in progress. “Hey ah,” she shifts, straddling the bench more so than sitting on it, briefly flicking a look at makeshift stripes on Adel’s sleeve. “Sergeant?”

There's a squint, one Adel’d seen in another time and place, but never directed at her. Not once. But when Colette looks at her it's without even an ounce of familiarity. A lifetime of memories that never were, would never be. And yet, that crease of Colette’s expressive brows never changed. The scars on her arms are reminders that she endured a similar fate to Howard, that things can't ever line up the way they once did.

But there, in that moment of silence between the call of rank that belonged to the soldier who originally owned Adel’s third-hand jacket, Colette Demsky proves herself to be the same woman.

“Nice t’meet you,” Colette offers with an extension of one hand freely. “You with the Kansas militia?” She doesn't ask how Adel knows her, she just assumed she's a staff Sergeant whose job it is to know new comings and goings.


Adel tilts her head a little as if wondering how this situation happened. Did Benji not send her any dreams!? Was she already in Alaska at that point? Or maybe future Colette had asked Benji not to— oh man. For a moment, she tugs on the sleeve of her jacket, both anxious with desire to tell her everything, and unused to being called Sergeant. The kids from the future didn’t exactly have ranks!

But that is the rank they decided was appropriate for her when she joined up. Her knowledge of the robots had helped, more than her skills at the time, but she worked on that. Knowing a lot about how to take down the ancestors of the robots she’d learned to fight a majority of her life had been very useful.

“Yeah, Sergeant Lane. I joined up a while ago.” The delay had been retraining, more than anything else. “And that jet is totally primal.” She looks up at it. “I wish I could learn to fly it!” Because she won’t say the part that she’s thinking— that she really wants to fly again. “How did you get it?”

“Stole it,” Colette explains with a crooked smile as she reclines back onto the table, making a motion that Adel is welcome to join her. “Mitchell went through all his trouble to make a whole airfield full of those little babies,” she motions to the Rook wth her beer. “I figured it'd be rude not to accept the gift.”

Then, looking back to Adel her smile only grows. “I asked about flying lessons too, but the bosses kinda gave me that look you know?” Her brows raise, laughter bubbling up.

“Want one?” Colette asks, waggling her beer from side to side and then kicks out a small cooler from beneath the bench seat with one foot. “From one volunteer soldier to another; can't always save the world sober!”

This is all Epstein’s fault.

That was new. Adel looks down at the cooler, eyebrows raised in surprise. After a moment she bends down and gets one out. They rarely had anything resembling decent beer in growing up. And her and Howard had tried it! Once. It had been horrible. Also likely expired. She didn’t understand how some of the adults could drink the swill that they distilled themselves, either.

But there was another reason Adel almost never had a beer— her teacher had been adamant against it. It caused her to lose control of her ability. One she no longer had, so she figured her teacher would forgive her. This time. Especially since it was herself that offered it.

With a hiss, she opens the bottle, some fizz overflowing from the side and onto her hand. It’s obvious from the way she holds it, drinks it, that she’s not much a beer drinker. Or a drinker at all for that matter. With a cough at the taste, she wipes her mouth and then moves to get closer, looking back at the stolen jet. “Will they at least let you fire the missiles?” Does it even have missiles?

“See, here I thought the same thing. Missiles, right?” Colette takes a swig of her beer and shakes her head. “None. Its got a primal gun on it though,” and somehow, somewhere, Colette had already picked up that 2036 slang.

“You from here or a transplant?” Colette changes the subject, sipping again from her beer. She means geographical transplant, but— the irony of the question isn't lost on Adel. “From New York myself. What's left of it, anyway.”

What? No missiles?” Adel shakes her head in displeasure at the whole thing, because the missiles would have been primal. More so than regular machine guns. She doesn’t even notice, at first, that Colette used 2036 slang, at least not for a few moments. When she does she straightens, that excited/anxious look returning once again.

“I’m a transplant. Also from the New York area. Born and raised. Though it wasn’t quite like New York is now when I was growing up.” There’s that, ‘taking a chance’ tone to her voice, as she looks carefully over the beer can as she continues, “The War’s happening a little earlier than it was supposed to, but that’s probably a good thing, since it looks like we’re managing to fight back way better than we did when it started in 2020, or we seem to be. I wasn’t even a year old when that war started.”

Yeah, she’s not one for dancing around words when she decides to go for it. She’s just blurting it out. All because the young woman said primal.

"But from everlasting to everlasting," says Kaylee, her voice louder now, clearer, and she does not have to struggle to be heard over the muffled sound of crying, "the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children— with those who keep his covenant, and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over us all.


"He'll be watching over you honey" Delilah's given a grateful look for help, a glance to Raith as he passes, carrying on with consoling the girl. "It's cruel that the Lord above saw fit to take him, call him to his side but he did and now, he's gonna watch over you from his right hand and he will love you from afar. Keep crying honey, it's good to cry. Always remember that hmmm? It's good for the soul" SHe whispers this all so not to interrupt Kaylee's speech, even as she shh's the child. Something like this is hard on the children. Blame has to go somewhere, has to be assigned and she's assigned it on Raith and Ryans it seems.

A hand slips into the curve of Quinn's elbow companionably, or seeking comfort — as opposed to giving it. This, Quinn might be able to see in the way Colette's eyes are raw red from crying, making the emerald-cut irises of her's stand out brilliantly. She gives her friend a watery smile, before turning her pixie-like face towards Kaylee— a trait that seems only encouraged in age instead of worn down— as she ends the psalm. She doesn't say 'amen', but she does shut her eyes on its final-like note.

Elisabeth does, however, the word murmured, and the boy she stands with echoes it after her. Her hand slips to his shoulder, squeezing, releasing. But rather than run off, he only slinks back to her side, an arm hugging around her waist, and her eyes unfocus in damp blur before he pulls him into a more proper embrace. "It's okay, kiddo," she mutters.

Delilah joining Abby and the girl has her retreating a half step back, a long sigh escaping her breath as she finally turns her gaze back up to Kaylee, choosing to finish reciting the pslam from memory rather than reopening her bible. All without too much outward emotion coming from her, outside of teh distinct look of sadness painted across her face.

Until she suddenly feels the touch against her arm.

Turning to look at Colette. The red eyes, the sad smile, the shutting of eyes, it's too much for Quinn. A few tears finally make their way down her cheek as she echoes out the Amen, doubly loud as if she's doing it so Colette doesn't need to. And then she just turns to her friend, hugging her.

Colette doesn’t realize that she’s crying, her expression doesn’t betray it either. What crosses her mind is a dream from what feels like a lifetime ago, of Pollepel Island, of a funeral for a friend that never happened. Bringing one hand up to her mouth, she looks so confused when she feels the warm wetness of tears on her cheeks. Sniffling back emotion, she very quickly wipes at her eyes with her thumbs and looks around to check if anyone saw her.

She breathes, an exasperated and broken sound slips out, and when Colette catches her breath she’s angling a stare at Adel that might well be baleful were it also not so bittersweet. But there’s still that crease of her brows, still that look of no recognition. “You’re —” Colette’s bare shoulders tense, back straightens as she looks around one more time before continuing. “You’re one of them?

Colette speaks as though she doesn’t well and truly know much about the time-travelers that Adel is party to. But as Adel tracks the chain of events back, the reason for that starts to become clear. She was captured by the Institute in early 2011, right around the time the collective of children came to their consensus about revealing themselves. Likely, she was kept in an ACTS and unable to dream. She — of all the people — may never have actually learned the truth. Not completely, not like everyone else did.

But she has no more words, no more questions other than the faintest inkling of something emotional and confusion tearing at the corners of her mind. But she isn’t withdrawing, either. She’s vulnerable, and yet inquisitive. Passive, yet eager. She is standing on the knife’s edge of the woman she used to be, and the woman Adel knows she can become.

Oh no. Which one of them did she meet!?

Adel hopes it wasn’t Calvin. “Yeah, one of them,” she offers, trying to put her smile back on, looking relieved, but still rather anxious at the same time. “Children of the Wasteland, stuck in the past in a world half of us will probably never be born.” If not most of them, to be fair. She knows she won’t be. She saw her father die.

“We actually should have met after Alaska, but I kinda bailed pretty soon after that was over. Made my way back on my own. I was going through some things.” Loss of father, loss of kind of brother, loss of ability— she needed to work it out on her own and no one in Canada would have probably been able to help with that. Except one woman who— honestly needed time to recover herself.

“I suppose I should reintroduce myself. Adel Darrow-Diego.” She holds out the hand not holding a beer, cause that’s what people do! “Elaine and Sable were my moms— “ Well, technically she considered herself to have four. But they were the main two.

Colette’s expression shifts from uncertainty to one of raw emotion. She didn’t ever really know Elaine well, but Sable’s name draws a guilty expression that mixes with something much more intense. With a sweep of her thumbs, Colette wipes at her eyes and clears her throat. “Sable,” she says, having not said the name aloud in years now. She’d nearly forgotten her, and that realization stung. “Christ,” Colette exhales, pressing a hand to the side of her own neck where a deep scar lays. “No wonder you look like —” Colette cuts herself off, pursing her lips, shaking her head. “Lovely,” is the more polite way of putting it. “You’re lovely. Sable, you — she —”

Swallowing noisily, Colette shifts to face Adel and finally takes her hand, squeezing it firmly before just dragging her into an embrace. It’s a tight one, like family meeting after a long period of time. Colette is tense, curls her fingers into the back of Adel’s jacket, head on her shoulder for a moment in heavy burden of her own weight. “God,” she exhales, then leans back to get a better look at Adel. “It really… it’s really real isn’t it?” Blind eyes search Adel’s, somehow. “You’re all… really…” she’s at a loss for words, embarrassed by her own emotions.

“Yeah, we’re all really real,” Adel says, closing her eyes as she’s embraced. Her moms had given her hugs, but there was something about this woman giving her hugs that made a difference. Part of her wondered if her teacher would have been ashamed of her, losing her ability like that in the thick of everything, when people needed her most. She couldn’t ask her shining Professor, but she could feel like maybe she’s forgiven a little. All because of an unknowing hug from someone who should be much older than her— who isn’t.

The pale eyes might be unnerving to just about anyone else, but not to her as she looks back at them, steady, unscared. “Really real. And still here! Even though some of us thought we wouldn’t be.” Some of them aren’t. But not because they disappeared with the changed timeline, like some might have feared. “Sable knows— though I’m sure she hates that I still want to call her mom. She didn’t like it in the past— future? — either. But I still did it anyway.” Usually when she wasn’t in ear-shot, though.

“I wasn’t sure you knew about us at all, but I went for it.” She may have pulled a Varlane, as many of the women in her life would have called it. “Glad I did.”

“I barely did,” Colette admits, reaching up in an uncharacteristically familial gesture to brush a lock of Adel’s hair away from her brow and behind one ear. She smiles, awkwardly, after doing that and hesitantly recoils her hand, fingers curled towards palm in a sorry that just came out sort of gesture. “I… I knew that something like it happened? The redhead with the glasses who followed Gillian everywhere, the blonde guy who never wore a shirt, um, I’m— sure there were others I didn’t know.”

Colette casts a look down to the ground, then back up to Adel. “So,” her brows pinch together in a furrow that has such a familiar connotation to Adel. She’s about to ask a tough question. “Was it…” her tongue presses to the inside of her cheek, eyes askance, considering. “Like— future-tech genetic engineering? Or… I mean,” her hands make gestures as though she were trying to assemble something from parts. “Did they like, c-clone you? Or…” her lips part, the question hanging, she’s trying to figure out the mechanics of Adel’s parentage. She takes a sip of her beer to break the awkwardness, or perhaps mask her inability to form a sentence.

The familiar gesture makes Adel beam, and she’s still beaming like a proud kid when she’s asked that question. That makes her laugh. A genuine, full laugh. The kind she hasn’t been able to really do since the red lightning, since the final flash in the sky. The kind of laugh that carries, that brings tears to eyes. And it does.

“No. No. No. They.” She’s still having a hard time getting it together. “Cloning would have been so primal,” she laughs, still amused by the whole idea. “But no, Elaine, she’s my first mom, bio-mom. My dad is Magnes Varlane. But my moms raised me.” More than her moms. Her moms, another set of moms, and even the woman in front of her.

She had a lot of women in her life to look up to, to want to be like. But the part of her that was Magnes Varlane always seemed to influence her too. After a moment, the laughter in her eyes falters. She had forgotten.

She’d said is.

Colette chokes on her beer.

She covers her mouth, eyes wide, and choke-laughs and then frantically waves a hand in apology. “Adel, you’re —” She stares. “Your dad is Magnes!?” At first it’s just an out-and-out fit of laughter, because the moment has been so unbelievable and disorienting that for a time she forgets herself, forgets the world and her place in it. The cackling, heady laughter is suddenly cut off when Colette realizes what she’s laughing at. Who she’s laughing at. What she’s lost. Colette turns those blind eyes up with wide-eyed apology, the hand over her mouth no longer to keep her from spitting beer everywhere, but out of embarrassment.

Adel,” Colette croaks out. “I— oh my god he— he was— “ She’d heard about what happened to Magnes, what she’d missed while she was unconscious all those years ago. Setting her beer down on the table, Colette reaches out to rest a hand on Adel’s shoulder, brows raised and angling to bring the young woman back into an embrace. One of sympathy, and apology.

“It’s okay,” even as Adel says that, she has to try to ignore the weight of teardrops on her eyelashes. If she ignores them, they’re not there. “I wouldn’t have even known him if I hadn’t come back, so…” She does her best to sound like it doesn’t bother her, to shrug it off. Like that’s just a drop of water in the ocean. Nothing to be at all concerned about.

And she had understood the laughter, too. Her father had been hilarious. And unique. And… now gone.

Like a star that faded out in the sky. She used to think some satellites had been stars that moved funny, and they disappeared sometimes very suddenly, never to show up again.

“It’s okay,” she repeats, doing her best to smile.

Colette never knew Magnes well, but he wasn't a bad person. He had a circle of friends who cared deeply about him, a daughter who traveled time itself to meet him, and he died a hero. She doesn't need to know Magnes to empathize with the scope of the loss.

Beer away, Colette scoots in next to Adel and puts an arm around her shoulder. “M’sorry,” she says in a small voice, letting her brow come to rest against the side of Adel’s head. “I… know what it's like. That— void?” She tightens the embrace a little. “I… I lost my dad too. Before the war, when the Institute took me. I tried to rescue him from a holding facility, and— he— he got killed trying to protect me.

There's a tense silence for a moment, and Colette reinforces the firmness of that arm around Adel’s shoulder. Her other hand comes to rest atop Adelle’s, a hand that bears the same puzzle-piece ring it did in her timeline. “It took me a long time t’really come t’terms with his death. I… I don't know what it was like for you, what it will be like for you but…”

Years ago, she'd have never considered this. But as Colette closes her eyes she squeezes Adel again. “You're Sable’s kid. That means you're basically family t’me. You ever need anything, doesn't matter what it is. I'm there for you, ok?”

For all that this world is different from Adel’s, it's clear that there are some things that won't change. Adel’s father will be taken from her, and Colette will be there by her side. Some people are designed to cross one-another’s lives, no matter the distance.

When the woman who should be older mentions her own father, Adel straightens up in surprise. “Judah? He— oh— oh no,” it’s an empathic sound, because they’ve both suffered a great loss. She had never actually met Judah, but she’d known who he was, heard of him, knew who he had been to her teacher. She barely got to know her father, still, but the loss still ran deep. Like a hole. An emptiness that would never quite be filled.

And that didn’t even include what else she lost that day. Instead of thinking too much on that, she closed her eyes and leaned into the hug, holding tight. Sable’s kid. In so many ways that blood didn’t matter. Even if Sable had sometimes scoffed at being called a mom, she had relented when no one looked. Even that last moment— when she asked her to change destiny.

When she held her much like this.

“You were always family,” she breaths into the woman’s shoulder, fingers tightening against jacket. “Always.” She’d always had more family than any one person deserved, and she’d loved every moment of it— she’d never once felt the emptiness of not having a father— until she’d suddenly had one and then saw it flicker away into nothing.

Anything— anything at all? “Will… will you teach me again, Ms Cole?” it might sound like a strange question— the girl who looks older is older, sounds so much younger.

The question melts Colette’s heart. She wraps her arms around Adel tighter now, fingers curling into her jacket and head shaking from side to side. The thought of teaching anyone was a terrifying prospect, let alone someone who was like family — if distant family — to her. It takes her a moment to respond, to even understand how to. It’s the implication that makes her seize up the most, the implication that she was Adel’s teacher, that she’d already been responsible for this young woman in a lifetime of never-was.

“I can try?” Colette offers shakily, finally disengaging from that embrace enough to lean back and take a more assessing look at Adel. “I’m— uh. I’ve kinda’ got the training wheels on myself, but… Hana, she’s a great teacher. M’leaning a lot from her. An’ I’ve got some’f my own tricks too…” There’s a crooked smile, one tinged with emotions, and Colette looks at Adel with a serious expression.

“One stipulation?” Colette requests, expression twisting to a playful smile. “Don’t call me Miss.”

The stipulation earns a slight tilt of the head— maybe that has been something she had been trying to get away with, or a difference between the two versions of the woman she had known— but Adel takes it in stride and nods. “Auntie Cole probably won’t work either, will it?” she jokes, grinning widely as she nods. In some things, they will have to learn it together, as equals perhaps, even.

“I know some things too, so— we can teach each other, this time. But my combat skills are rusty.” She makes a gesture that she doesn’t seem to care if she can actual see, flicking her fingers at the air around her. “I used to have an ability, but I lost it.” It sounds so off-hand, like she doesn’t care, and she sounds almost convincing about it.

If it hadn’t been for the fact she’d already been worked up about the thoughts of her father, she might have been able to get away with it. “I’m learning how to fight all over again.”

The look Colette levels to Adel is at once piercing and playful. “First— First. No “auntie” anything unt— ” No, wait. Colette recognizes something, and her expression slips from teasing to bittersweet. “Fuck, I— I'm already an aunt.” The distance from here to family makes her forget just how much her life has changed.

But still. “No auntie,” Colette reaffirms. “But— Cole’s fine. Usually only Tasha and Tamara call me that, but…” she slants a look back at Adel, one corner of her mouth creeping up into a smile. “I'd let Sable get away with it. So, seems only fair.”

Reaching up to ruffle Adel’s hair as if she were a child, Colette’s expression spreads to a broad smile. “Ok and, like, how’d you lose an ability, it's not like it's fucking car keys.” Then, a pause. “It's— not car keys, right?”

Already an aunt. It makes Adel grin, even if the topic is threatening to become something that will destroy that grin in a moment. At least until she mentions… car keys. That makes her laugh out loud, to the point she feels like she's going to start crying. Between car keys and were you cloned… It's almost too much.

"I love you."

Is what she says, when she gets the laughter under control, wiping at her eyes. "No, no it— my ability was really physics related. You made me study all this math and learn all these things. Read all the books you could get your hands on. And you lasered me a few times to teach me how to raise it fast, how to keep it going, how to reflect light and anything else that wanted to get inside my sphere. That's what it was… A sphere. You called it my sphere of influence. This little six foot ball around me where I could pretty much control anything that happened within."

As she talks, she's not even aware those tears are still falling, for things that have nothing to do with amusement.

"I could float, cause there was no laws of gravity in my sphere— I could even have people throw me around without getting hurt— you said it was because I could cancel out inertia. You thought I might be able to control anything at all within it one day, but…"

Now she never will. Cause she failed. "The— other Cardinal? The bad one— he's the one who did it. You could say he took my keys," she tries to make a joke. Too bad it comes out with a choke. One of fear as much as sadness and loss.

Cause she can't help but worry that Cole, the one she left behind, would have been disappointed in her.

This Cole, however, is speechless.

There's color all across her face, blind eyes wide, lips parted in a subtly shocked expression of bewilderment. It isn't about how she was a teacher, how she became some sort of mentor in a future that isn't. It isn't even about how Adel lost her ability.

Colette can count the number of people who've told her they loved her — and meant it — on one hand. Judah, Tamara, Tasha, and Nicole. Her family, one she never got to have together all at the same time. Once there were just four, but now there's this quantum entanglement of lives she has barely any memory of, because it never happened for her. Now there's five.

But the way Adel says it flusters her. The rest of Adel’s explanation is mostly lost to the rushing of blood in Colette’s ears. To the beating of her heart and the tightness in her chest of creeping bittersweet melancholy.

Colette never planned on being a parent. The idea repulsed her, and in many ways still does. But this feeling in her chest, this reaction she's having to Adel’s words and the look in her eyes, she imagines this is how Nicole feels when her daughter looks up at her.

“Y’big— fuckin’— ” Colette can't keep it together. Big, fat tears are rolling down her cheeks. Here is living proof that she could make something of her life. That she could help people, help herself, help make a difference on an individual level. She winds her arms back around Adel’s shoulders and buries her face in the young woman’s hair and just sobs.

She can't remember Adel, not in the way Adel remembers her. But she can be receptive to her, to what she represents to Colette. “I ‘magine I loved you too,” Colette whispers into Adel’s hair. She isn't there yet, can't be dishonest with those words. But the strange, inexplicable feeling of closeness there is with Adel is beyond reason. She knows she'll get there — learn to love a surrogate family member — in her own way.

After the crying subsides, Colette puts her hands on either side of Adel’s face and kisses her forehead in the same soft, paternal way she'd always imagined a good mother would. “I know somebody,” Colette offers as a whisper against Adel’s forehead. “Who’s really good at finding lost things.”

Blind eyes, trimmed with red, open to look at Adel. “M’gonna help you find your keys.”

“I promise.”

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