Continuity: Follows 'Symphony of Light.' McKinney canon not applicable.


The shallow curves of her breasts were both abnormal and familiar, when she stepped carefully from below the shower-head, passing before the narrow mirror. Her eyes flickered, uncomfortably, towards the reflection, dark, watchful red noting the pale skin before she methodically wrapped the towel around her waist. The pale, electric oddity of her appearance was made more ethereal by the steam along the mirror; she knew, uneasily, that it would always seem like that to her.

She was at once comfortable, still Sera in this slender human body, and yet uncomfortable, unaccustomed to the knowledge that she would forever *be* human. Joy and fear, at once.

Her light green hair was plastered, long, to the back of her neck, made darker by the heavy thrum of water and dripping still onto her bare, white feet. An odd impulse to feel the strands came to her, and silently, she touched a hand to her hair, feeling again that peculiar mix of normal/alien at the slick, stern touch of hair. Her hand dropped and she watched her reflection a moment more, then wiped the heel of her hand across the fog, smearing a clear space to look at herself.

The most alarming thing, she thought slowly, was the individuality of her appearance. Among the Invid after the transmutation, among the humans now, she had been uneasy with the sensation of *unique*, that she was a single, self-contained being instead of an integral piece to a large, encompassing whole. The shallow weight of her breasts; the pale green shade of her hair when dry; the small, flickering expressions that crossed her face even when she did not will it; the other, smaller things about this body, known only to her, and perhaps Lancer: things that made her an individual.

Even stranger was that it did not frighten her now, as it had before. The humans welcomed individuality, encouraged the presence of being unique, and she thought, uncertainly, that if the Invid (her mother and people, her fragmented self) were gone, she would have to be human. Her palm rested, still, on the mirror, and she withdrew, holding the pale, goosebump-riddled heel to her face.

The sensations of flesh were still unusual and dazzlingly strong; even the fading warmth of steam was a source of fascination and curiosity. Other things, too: the taste of meat, and milk, and slender green things that Lancer carefully prepared. (Milk, in particular, had proven to be a delight: she loved the creamy smoothness of it, especially when it was heated.)

"Nothing *too* rich," he had warned, absently, and so she was as careful in her eating as he was in preparing it. "You won't have the stomach for it, yet; a steak is a bit different from Protoculture."

At the thought, she glanced down at her flat belly and patted her hand upon it. She sucked it in, then, in reaction to the cool touch of her hand. It was mortifying, that her body reacted so quickly and habitually to the mild shock of temperature change, much less the contact of skin on skin; she wrinkled her small nose, then, thinking that when Lancer set his hand on her skin, she did not react in quite the same way.

"Sera," she heard faintly, through the thin door. "Are you done with the shower yet?"

The steam had condensed and slid from the mirror, revealing towel and skin. She blinked her red eyes at the reflection, was pleased to note that she was not quite as uneasy at seeing the small shapes that made her different.

"Yes," she answered in her light voice, tugging the towel further up. "I am done."


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