“Sorry again that there was nowhere better to sleep,” Anders whispered as he knelt down and brushed the top of Miranda’s head with a kiss. He flung the covers off of the bare mattress a few feet from the fireplace, exposing a Miranda still curled up with a pillow pressed against his head. “I’m just going to go to work now and hope that you feel like waking up.”

“Let me be,” Miranda mumbled, sliding the pillow off and sleepily sitting up. As Anders’ feet drifted off to whatever chaos he needed to sort out downstairs, he rolled off of the mattress and on top of the bag he’d hastily packed at home. Cursing under his breath, he changed into the simplest dress he could obtain, resting back onto the mattress beside the pile of dirty clothes. “Now what am I supposed to do for the rest of the day?”

The hollow walls offered no response, and none of the staff were anywhere to be seen with breakfast or clearance to go downstairs, so Miranda blankly stared at the pile of clothes for a few bored moments before pulling a book off of one of the piles beside the mattress. The bookcases that used to line the walls had already been moved to the downstairs of their house, and faded wallpaper from generations long moved on stared back at him as a pinch of dust slid out from the opened pages. “Dear book, what do you have to offer today?”

The title page and table of contents yielded nothing new about Anders or his studies, but from the first actual page of content, smudged medical diagrams and scrawled notes about skipping evolutionary processes all crowded side-by-side. Miranda’s fingers traced over the ancient creases in the hands reaching out from the second page, marveling for a moment before realizing that the blemishes of the sketches mirrored his own hands.

“Why would you leave a book like this laying around?” he whispered before remembering that Anders had already left his presence. “Surely you wouldn’t want anybody to discover your…” His words drifted off as he turned the page and a whiter scrap of paper came loose from its paper clip and slipped off. Miranda picked it up and held it to his eyes, jolting to replace it and slamming the book shut when one of the staff members peered in and promptly left. Cautiously replacing the book and flipping to a random page didn’t do anything to help slow down his racing heart, for each time that he attempted to lose himself in the words of a younger Anders, another ripped segment of paper with Miranda’s face would peer out and plead for help with silent eyes.

“Giles!” He pushed the rest of the stack of books away, clutching the first one to his chest and standing up. “Can you come up here, please?”

“I was just about to deliver some waffles.” Giles pushed through the suite doors, carrying a crate under his left arm with a covered plate strapped loosely to it. “What do you want?”

“Why does Anders keep sketches of me in his study books?” He opened the book and pointed out the scrap of paper, wedged in the crevice between two pages.

“I’ll be damned if I knew for sure.” Giles set the crate down and slid the plate to Miranda. “That one, I believe, was drawn before I came under his command. Those are probably just concept sketches. I wouldn’t worry about them.”

“But they’re about me!”

“And Anders created you. Why wouldn’t he want to visualize how you would come out?” Giles heaved up the crate again and exited the room, shouting from just behind the doors, “Now drawings are freaking you out. I expected nothing less from the mother of the new humanity.”


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