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It was not supposed to turn out this way. It's all wrong, from start to finish. Nothing is the way it's supposed to be, not one part of my life... and most days, I'm okay with that. That's the most bizarre part.

Sometimes I feel like I'm two different people, or two halves of the same person, and somewhere along the line we switched places and are living each other's lives. Somewhere, there's a version of me that has never known anything but the Brotherhood and so doesn't have any problems being here, and then somewhere else another version of me who left the lab with Mikel that night and went on to have a life as a researcher with him, and I'm just a hybrid of the two. Maybe two people is the wrong way to look at it, though. Maybe it's better to think that one person died at the lab and another person was born.

No, that doesn't work either. There's no way to think about this that isn't morbid.

But the thing is -- I don't mind. More than just 'don't mind', I'm happy here. I'm put down roots here that are firmer than any I've ever had before. They're definitely stronger than any bonds I might have had to my old life, and that's almost a little scary sometimes. I used to think I could never be happy in a place like this, but all the things that I thought I would hate, all the things that used to bother me, just don't anymore. Not even the stealing, maybe because I'm mostly separated from that side of Brotherhood life. Although that's not really true, either, because I ate, sleep and breathe because of that stealing. Hypocritical? Maybe. But at some point, I think I stopped caring about that. Maybe being forced to work for Canard, however indirectly, helped me learn to compartmentalize like this. As long as I personally am doing what I feel is right, as long as I myself am helping people and taking care of patients, then I can ignore the means that allow me to do that.

But, oddly enough, I don't think I could have settled down like I have if Tarrin hadn't been willing to let me go. Being given a choice meant everything to me, so I could know I was choosing to be with him instead of being forced to stay. It made me feel like I had some kind of control over what happened to me. I never knew it meant that much to me before, but once I went back to with him of my own free will, most of the things that had been bothering me just... stopped. I didn't feel claustrophobic anymore. Being away from the weather didn't bother me anymore. Even the little things like having to go down to B to do something as simple as wash my face become only a minor inconvenience. It isn't that much different than my old college dorm, anyway.

I would never have thought that being about to choose my own life would mean that much to me, especially when the options were ones I never should have had to face.

I don't know. Maybe it was meant to turn out this way after all.


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