Well, didn't people like him? Why was he suddenly wondering about this? He had sat at the table with his friends. They had laughed and teased, and with the admission that they preferred his company, he found he was able to join in the banter with more ease than usual.
So he was good, right?
Her words had stung him. Everything about that whole ordeal stung him deeply. The Arcturus Project seemed to do nothing but bring his character to task in the eyes of his co-workers, his friends, and now his family. Extended family. Old family. He knew the name Arcturus meant "Guardian of the Bear." He was beginning to wonder if he was the bear, and who his guardian was.
He would never forget the desperation in her eyes, begging him to understand. Was she his guardian? Her words had hit him like no other. Was she sent to him through this project to save him?
Why now? He had been fine. Doing his thing, making his goals, not caring who got in the way or who got hurt. All in the name of science. Except...science was acquiring a new name, and it was humility.
He couldn't let it. He couldn't get soft.
'Are you happy?' It had hurt so much.
He was when he left that room. So what had happened?
He lay on his bed, his fingers laced behind his head. The ceiling above him wasn't going anywhere. Why was he staring at it like it would?
She was so different. So smart, so normal. So feminine, so motherly. So different. And yet just as damned annoying as the day she had come out screaming. Screamed for weeks with the stomach ache, and he had hated her. It was his earliest memory of her.
He never could bully her. Never could intimidate her.
It pissed him off.
On the other hand, it would have been nice to have her in his corner on occasion, but no. She abandoned him, just like everyone else. Or had he driven her away, like everyone else? He couldn't remember, but surely he wasn't that hard to get along with.
Of course if he really believed that, would he have been so jealous of his other self?
He knew his nature. He didn't apologize for it, never felt the need. Never felt the want. He was right proud of himself, and that was all he needed. He looked around his room at the diplomas on the wall, and the photo of his cat. What was wrong with it? Why did it suddenly seem so barren?
Where had that small photo come from? He raised his head.
It was taken shortly before she quit school. A friend of hers had snapped it, determined to prove to them how alike they were. His hand was upraised, frozen in an argument, looking down on her. She was bent forward slightly, one hand partially raised, arguing back with as much fervor.
They did look alike.
His own domain was physics. His sister's was family. Both clung to their visions of what constituted right with a tenacious grip.
Which was truly right? Why did it matter?
It didn't. The photo was on his night stand, not hers. And beside it was a note. He sat up slowly, and fingered it gently.
So, it seemed he was finally mending bridges as he created new ones. Fitting, that.
And millions of light years across the galaxy, so did she.