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Family Photograph

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It hasn't had time to sink in yet, how weird this all was. Getting stuck in Yellowknife while unplanned wasn't a total surprise. It was the middle of winter after all, but the rest of this- Kate presses a hand against her forehead as if it aches and sighs.

She had ended up staying at Loreen's, a Sanctuary tradition Kate can't remember who started. Everything had seemed normal when they had pulled up the driveway, but it had all turned on it's head pretty swiftly after that. Although, Kate supposes, that is what happens when you find a small child wandering outside when it's forty below.

Originally they had piled back into the car because Kate wasn't about to stand outside and freeze into a popsicle, but they had quickly moved into the apartment, Kate whining and snipping the entire way.

The kid had no parents as far as they could tell. He wasn't one of the neighbor's kids and no one had come looking for him yet. He couldn’t have gotten far, not in this weather, and he’s been with them now for over an hour. He has a tag pinned to his jacket like something out of a World War II movie, Magnus Zimmerman scrawled on it in what looked freakishly like Magnus' handwriting. He was attached to Kate from the second he had spotted her, arms wrapped around her legs, and now that she was seated, around her neck.

Loreen's having a hard time coaxing him out of his jacket. He’s had it on since they had come inside and by now they both know he has to be overheating. Loreen attempts once again to slip a sleeve down the kid's arm, but he holds fast to Kate’s neck as Loreen shoots her a look that clearly says she could be helping more. Kate's too caught up in trying to decipher what the kid's saying though to take much notice. It sounds a lot like mommy and love you, and Kate's not sure she can handle that right now even if the notion of her with a kid beyond insane. The kid’s too young for this to be some sort of joke, but it twists in her stomach all the same. Whoever had been taking care of this kid had loved him, there’s no other explanation for his attachment to her, but why her and not Loreen is beyond her.

Something falls out of the jacket when Loreen finally gets it unzipped and Loreen hands it to her. It takes a bit of juggling to get it to where she can see it, but when she does she almost drops it back onto the floor.

It's a picture of her with Will, faded and crinkled. It's obviously been well loved, the inscription on the back nothing more than a faint smudge of ink. For a moment, she considers the possibility that it's a fake. She knows it's not though, it can't be. She had taken the photo herself right before she had left town to come up here. They had had an unusual turn in the weather, unseasonably warm to the point where both of them had decided to play hookie and they spent the afternoon chasing each other around the park like children, window shopping, stopping into cafes along their walk and buying pastries and sweets to snack on. It had been a magical afternoon; they were both grinning like idiots in the photo, the corner of Kate's mouth smeared with a bit of chocolate. She’d set the photo as the wallpaper on her phone to remind her of the warm weather and the laughter while she skidded over ice and gave herself frostbite. There’s no way anyone could have gotten a hold of that photo without her knowing.

The kid in her lap squirms and Kate tries addressing him experimentally.

"Magnus?" The name sounds odd, applied to someone so small, but the boy settles down for a moment and peers up at her with big brown eyes. "Magnus can you tell me who's in this picture?"

Little fingers curl around the edges of the photos and she lets him have it as he turns to sit in her lap. "Papa." He says slowly pointing to Will with a grin. "Papa." He nods shaking the picture.

"How about the other person? Who's that pretty lady?"

Magnus looks at her and blinks and then looks at the photo proclaiming, "mommy!" before pointing to himself, "'us".

"And me?" Kate points to herself. "Who's this?"


"All I have is beer." Loreen supplies when Kate looks at her for help.

"You're sure you haven't seen him before?"

"I'd remember him. What a cutie." Loreen cooes as Kate groans.

"You're going to fix this right?"

"Of course." Loreen frowns. "We'll have this fixed in no time."