Summary: The viewpoints of a pair of twins.
Disclaimer: Only the OFCs are my own. Everyone else is property of the folks who bring us the wonderful _The 4400_.
Plot bunny: Twins - one is a 4400 and got taken, the story of how they both cope with being seperate and then reunited, especially when the 4400 twin is now different in some way. (thanks to Purpleyin)
"Fob" = 2a. A short chain or ribbon attached to a pocket watch and worn hanging in front of the vest or waist.
We did everything together. We played together, we shared a secret code, we wrote in the same chapbooks, our giggles were just as identical as we were. Dad taught us both the essentials of soccer and physics.
Three days ago, I was playing soccer with my sister at the field by our house. Two days ago, I was surrounded by complete strangers while I just kept sneezing from all the pine pollen in the air. One day ago, I was having a mystery meat for lunch here at the summer camp from, well, hell, even if we don't believe in it. My fingers don't stop running the length of my watch fob, back and forth, the only thing that keeps me sane in here. I look up when I hear "Kate Haggard?" called.
"You'll do fine," Maia tells me as I head to the booth I've been summoned to; I nod my head, thanks.
In the booth, door closed, I sit on my side of the glass. "And you are?"
"I'm agent Garritty. It's nice to meet you, Kate."
"What pray tell makes you think you know me well enough to call me 'Kate'?" I want to know. Next, I want to know what's going on. Nobody on this side of the glass, not a single person in this whole place, knows what's going on.
"Do you know what year this is?" he asks me, sounding like he's asked the same thing a hundred times before. Maybe he has, maybe he hasn't, all I know if I don't appreciate it.
"It's 2004," I retort. "I've heard that much around the water coolers here." Now he smiles. "Somethin' in particular amusing you?"
"Well, you're definately Lin's sister," Garritty says like its a relief. Lin? No, can't be. "She'll be glad to know you're okay." No. No no no no. Please tell me this is a mistake. Tell me you're not talking about my sister.
"Lin Haggard?" I ask.
But no, he nods. "Yup."
If its 2004, then that means... "She's twenty-six now." He nods. "And I'm still sixteen?"
"That's what the doctors tell us so far," Garritty says. Great, all this and uncertainty too?
"What happened to us, to all of us?" I ask.
"We're still not sure." He takes a breath. "Would you like to see a picture of Lin?"
"I..." I say, not sure why I'm nodding. Twins're supposed to grow up together, at the same time, at the same rate. We were perfectly normal, average in everything but our abundance of freckles. Garritty pulls out his wallet, unfolding it to show off a picture of him and - Lin!? - in matching sweaters. I can feel my stomach dropping. "I... I take it you and Lin are an item?" Its only been three days. Ten years in three days. He nods. "Lin Haggard Garritty," I state with confidence or as much of it as I can muster up; we always joked that when we got married, we'd just make our maiden name our middle name. And another nod. "I need to see Lin." I need to know, I need to see her with my own two eyes. We always could know if something was up, just by looking at our twin.
"I'll see what I can do." Doesn't make a promise, doesn't raise hopes that might soon get dashed. If this is all real, you did good, Lin.
"Hey," I say, before he goes to whatever the next question is, or if we're done here, to the next person on his list. "What's your name, agent Garritty?"
"Lemuel." Or not, Lin.
Back then, we did everything together. Shared codes and chapbooks, identical giggles and bodies playing together. Dad taught the both of us all about physics and soccer.
Alone, I followed in his footsteps. Studied atomic principles and the laws of physics and how far they could stretch.
Thank you, Mr. Ryland, for letting me come in to see Kate. Thank you, Lemuel, for standing outside this booth while I talk to Kate alone.
She's waiting on the other side of the glass when I step inside and take a seat, my eyes wide. Lemuel'd told me what I would see, what I should prepare myself for. But there's really no way to ready one's nerves for seeing something that's forever been a theoretical construct. Kate hasn't aged at all. Her eyes aren't even twitching the way mine did after she vanished. She's looking at me with equal intensity.
"Glasses?" Kate asks me, sounding as suspicious and wary of novelty as we'd both been at that age.
I nod, removing them, setting them on the table. "Slight astigmatism." Knowing her well enough to predict a 'since when?' on the way, I answer. "It started seven years ago."
"Great," Kate mutters. "Nice to know I have something to look forwards to in here."
"They just need to run a few more tests. Once they're sure everyone's fine, you can come home with us."
"'Us'?" I deserved that, I did. We were always 'us,' and now I'm using that word, our word, to denote a relationship you missed out on. For years I lived like that Monty Python sketch of the Kilamanjaro climbers, forever seeing you right there alongside me, doing whatever I was doing. You kept me sane in college and during that brief flurry of dating we did with guys like Lemuel. You were the better bridesmaid at our wedding. "I'm not married."
"I am," and the singular form stings once more with a ferocity I haven't felt in years. "We kept our old things." 'Old'? Relativistically speaking, its none of it more than fifteen years old to her, though its only that way to her. Einstein once spoke of twins, one who traveled at the speed of light while the other experienced time at a worldbound rate, the former remaining young while everyone else - her twin included - aged. Only now, Kate, now that you're back among the rest of us, you'll experience what you missed out on while you were gone. "There's a room perfect for you, you'll love it."
Kate just looks at me, and its been so long that I nearly miss its meaning. Loss, lost, and confused. We did everything together. We shared a room every night we went forwards through time at the same rate. She sees that as the normal state of affairs, as what should be. Maybe she was thinking Lemuel would sleep in the guest room now that she's back, or...I don't know. Ten years, and I don't have "synchronized thoughts" as we'd gigglingly put it. Kate's my sister, my twin...and someone I know for years as only memories. My own thoughts from when I was as old as she was and she is, those are certainly all memories, some hazier than others. "Great," she says finally.
"We'll get through this," I tell her. "Me and you, us."
She nods, slowly, mutely. Her lips shape words that she's saying to herself, and I believe she's quoting: "You'll do fine."