"The answer is yes. I've killed."

My statement hangs in the space between us. Deb's entire body tenses as if she's paralyzed by the weight of my words. I broke the code, but it had to be done, and it feels oddly…

Exhilarating.

My secret is out. It's over. The daily dance to balance the inner and outer me has come to a close.

"No you haven't," she says stiffly.

She's facing me, but it's like she's looking through me, not at me. Her eyes are wide and unfocused.

"I have," I reply simply.

Her eyes meet mine for a split second before she quickly turns away, squeezing her eyes shut. She lowers her head into her hands and I hear her mutter as she exhales—

"Jesus fucking Christ…"

I've done such a good job pretending to be normal that I know it might take a while for this to sink in. So, I wait. Deb is silent for a few more seconds. Then she whips her head back around to face me.

"No. This isn't possible," she says firmly.

I say nothing.

"It must've been an accident. You didn't mean to kill anybody. You couldn't! You're a good person, not a murderer!" she insists.

She's pleading with me now, begging me to agree with her. I think we've moved on from denial to the bargaining stage. She could forgive an accidental killing. That would be workable.

"Dexter, you're my brother," she says, her voice breaking.

It looks like we're back in denial. Her statement is supposed to act as a repudiation of mine. If A: Her brother could never be a killer, and B: I am her brother; then C: I'm not a killer. It's weak, but it's all she has left. I'm not taking her 'it was an accident' bait so really, what else can she do?

"Deb, I am your brother. But I'm also a killer," I say softly.

Her eyes fill with tears, and she starts shaking her head.

"No," she says again.

She barely gets the word out. I know that I have to push forward or we'll never get anywhere.

"Now you're supposed to ask for a name," I direct her.

"Stop," she bites out.

I don't stop.

"But that's a naïve question. It assumes the best. It assumes there's only been one."

She screws up her face in pain, and she looks for all the world like I've stabbed her in the gut. I know the look well.

"God, just stop," she yells, burying her face in her hands again.

I do stop. Momentarily. It's difficult for me to see Deb this way. It hurts. I look away, take a deep breath, and continue.

"Are you going to ask me how many?"

Deb drags her hands down her face and when she opens her eyes I'm surprised to see rage.

"Fuck you! Fuck you, Dexter! I can't do this again!" she shouts.

I'm stunned into silence. Of all the ways I thought Deb might respond, this didn't make the list.

"What happens next? Put a ring on my finger and then laugh at me for being too stupid to figure it out? Fuck!" she continues.

And it suddenly makes sense. Deb told me what Brian did to her: proposed, plied her with drugged champagne, and then confessed everything as the sedatives took hold. She told me he was calm, casual, and completely unemotional while he crushed her. Exactly the way I'm acting now. I can't imagine how it feels for Deb to see another person she loves betray in the exact same way.

I didn't even consider this. I knew that Deb would reject me when she found out my secret, but I always assumed that she would recover from the shock eventually. Now I'm not so sure. She looks devastated. Lost. I was so worried about Deb becoming a casualty of my double life that I didn't stop to think that the same might happen if I revealed myself.

What have I done?

"I'm sorry," I say.

I almost laugh at how inadequate my words sound in this situation. I look at my sister, but her face is still buried in her hands.

"Deb, I'm sorry," I repeat feebly.

"You can't be like him!" she shouts into her hands.

"I'm not," I assure her.

It's true. Brian's relationship with Deb was entirely fabricated. She was a means to an end for him. I may have used Rita as my cover, but with Deb the affection has always been real.

She lets out a laugh that's really more of a sob.

"Fuck you! You said it yourself—you're a monster!"

Her words hit me with such venom that I physically flinch. When Harry called me a monster, it hurt. But to hear Deb say it… I knew it would happen when she found out what I really am, but seeing this hate in her eyes is affecting me in ways I never anticipated. I feel a deep sense of loss. I've lost my sister. The only person left on earth who loves me, and she stopped. Just like that.

The ache in my chest grows, and I have no idea what to do next. I reach out to Deb in desperation, drawing her to me. She fights me, struggling to pull away, striking out blindly.

"No, don't touch me goddamn it!" she snarls.

"I'm not like him. I'm nothing like him, I swear," I murmur softly.

She shows surprising strength when she shoves me back onto the couch and stands.

"You're exactly like him. You're a fucking killer. You don't have feelings. You never cared about me."

I feel a pang from somewhere deep in my chest. If feels so real that I'm sure I've been physically struck. I'm never felt a pain like this before.

"That's not true," I say.

Brian was right. Deb could never accept my true nature. I am everything that she hates, and now she has to protect herself by disowning me entirely. I'm either a brother or a killer, but I can't possibly be both. So I'm no longer her brother.

"Isn't that what you've been trying to tell me all day? Don't back down now, Dex. Lay it on me," my sister seethes.

The pang in my chest has increased to a sharp throbbing pain. I want to look away, but I can't because the rage in her voice doesn't match the look in her eyes. A new malice is coming from her lips, but her expression is horribly familiar. My sister is staring at me with the same hollow eyes I dreaded seeing in Harrison.

She's empty.

A child who lost her family.

She's like me now. No one left on earth who loves her.

And I did it to her. I murdered her brother and replaced him with an unfeeling murderous monster.

Only, right now I don't feel like a monster. I feel all human, sitting here, watching my sister fall apart and knowing that I'm the one responsible for it. I feel…

I feel.

I'm not faking this. This is pure unadulterated feeling. And it's not rage or fear or panic—the kinds of emotions I'm experienced before. This is something new. Could this be… well, what does that even feel like? Would I be able to recognize it if I felt it?

"Deb, I…"

Then I stop, unable to complete my thought.

"What?" she snaps.

I'd give anything to have her look at me the way she used to. These hateful eyes burn my skin. Something is happening to my own eyes. Something heavy and thick is creeping from my lids. There's a tickle in the back of my throat that feels equal parts hot and tight.

What's happening to me?

All I know for sure is that I'll burst if I don't speak. The words spill over before I can reconsider them.

"I love you," I say.

The emptiness in Deb's eyes disappears instantly. Her brow crinkles and her face contorts into a mask of… disgust. She is absolutely revolted at the thought of this monster before her being her brother.

"No you don't," she replies firmly. "People who treat human life like you do can't love."

I've observed grieving family members hundreds of times. I can clinically recognize the signs of grief, and logically I understand why people experience those emotions. But I have never been capable of comprehending grief on a visceral level. I always assumed it was a blessing, and now I realize that I was right.

Because certainly what I feel now—the rejection of the only family I have—must be grief. I feel almost weightless, awash with feelings of desolation, drifting boundless in my own futility.

The heaviness spreading across my eyes pools at my lower lids. I blink and one single drop falls from my right eye.

I'm crying.

I should let her push me away. She needs to turn her brother in for murder; she shouldn't have to harbor a broken heart while she does it. Let her hate me to make this easier.

Normally this sort of logical argument would work on me, but with my new emotional awareness I seem to be impervious to reason.

"Well, I feel something, Deb! Damn it. I've never felt this before. With anyone. It's the strongest thing I've ever felt. I'd do anything to undo the pain I've caused you. Hurting you like this… losing you as a sister… it feels like…"

I struggle to finish. What does it feel like?

Yesterday I was Dexter Morgan: Serial killer, blood spatter analyst, husband, father, and brother. I'm not a husband anymore. Soon I'll be in jail. No more analyst or father. No more killing either. Without Deb, what am I? What's left? Nothing.

Dexter Morgan: Would-be killer. A body and mind occupied with nothing but depraved unfulfilled urges.

"It's like I'm losing the last piece of me that keeps me human. I don't want to lose that," I say pathetically.

It hits me like a sudden epiphany.

"I don't want to be a monster," I plead, turning my glassy eyes on her.

I see Deb's expression soften for a brief moment. I see a glimpse of the sister I know before her walls come up once more.

"I won't let you do this. You're just fucking with me," she accuses.

Of course she doesn't believe me. After what she's been through, I really can't blame her.

"I am not my brother," I assure her.

I'm unprepared for her furious response.

"You are exactly like him," she retorts, but then reassesses her thoughts and goes one step further. "No, actually, you're worse. Brian Moser convinced me that he loved me for a few months. You've done it my entire life."

I shake my head, distraught by the turn our conversation has taken.

"You have to believe me, Deb. I've always cared about you," I implore her.

She eyes me coldly before making her reply.

"I don't have to believe anything you say."

It's hopeless. She's done with me. It's not as if I ever pictured this turning out differently. From the very beginning I imagined the moment when my sister would condemn me for my sins. Yet I feel betrayed.

Brian gave me a choice—embrace my true nature and earn the unconditional love of a brother or continue to wear the mask and keep a sister who would reject me when she discovered the truth. I chose Deb, and now the inevitable sequence of events has run its course. I knew this was coming, so what right do I have to feel so damn hurt? But I can't help it.

"I killed my brother for you," I murmur, more to myself than to her.

This statement causes the first real break in her spiteful facade. Her eyes widen and she takes a step back from the couch.

"He committed suicide," she says uncertainly.

I look up at her from under hooded eyes.

"He didn't," I say darkly

My tone is enough to convince her.

"Why?" she whispers.

I look into her eyes, and see utter confusion reflected in them. I'm so happy to see any emotion other than hate or disgust that I almost smile.

"For you. To protect you."

Confusion is still evident on her face, but the tears are back. She stands awkwardly in front of me, apparently unsure how to proceed after this latest piece of information. Finally, she sits back down on the couch next to me. She leaves an entire cushion between us, but it's something.

"But he was your brother," she says hesitantly.

Slowly, giving her a chance to pull away, I place my hand over hers. She doesn't move. We both stare at our joined hands for a minute.

"You're my sister," I reply.

She lets out a tiny sound halfway between a sob and a sigh. We look at each other and for the first time since my confession I feel a glimmer of hope. I can tell that she still harbors some scrap of tenderness for me. She wants me to be her brother, but she doesn't know if it's possible.

"How many?" she whispers.

I know exactly what she means. She's asking me how many victims. She's hoping the number is two or three. She's upped her bargaining tolerance. She could accept two or three murders, maybe.

I look away and stare down at my shoes. I don't want to tell her. I don't want to lose her. The number I'm about to say will end any possibility of reconciliation. It's too horrible to speak aloud. I can't do it.

"Dexter. How many?" she pushes.

There is a sense of urgency in her tone. I feel my heart speed up again. I don't want to hurt her any more than I already have, but I also don't want to hurt myself. I don't want to see the absolute horror that my answer will provoke. But I have to tell her. I owe her honesty after so many years of deceit.

"Seventy-three."

I don't see horror or disgust. Just complete disbelief.

"Holy fuck."

She sounds like she might faint. Or burst into tears. Or possibly run screaming from the room.

"You should know they deserved it," I rush to add. "They were bad people. Harry taught me to use my compulsion for good. They all deserved it."

Well, except for that photographer. And Camilla.

"Holy fucking fuck."

She bends forward so that her head rests on her knees. It's similar to the position a person takes when they've just exited a rollercoaster and still feel queasy. I can't think of anything else to say that could possibly make this any better, so I fall silent. Deb doesn't move for what seems like five solid minutes, but is probably closer to thirty seconds.

Then, slowly, she sits up and turns to me. Her breathing is heavy and labored, her eyes wide with apprehension.

"Oh my god, you're the Bay Harbor Butcher," she says.

I don't try to deny it. Don't say a word.

"Are you?" she asks, a note of panic in her voice.

I open my mouth, but nothing comes out. My hesitation speaks volumes.

"But Doakes…" she starts.

"Was a convenient scapegoat. Things just sort of… fell into place. I didn't kill him," I add hastily.

Deb frowns, ruminating over this latest piece of information.

"There were weapons in that cabin with him. And a body," she murmurs.

"I didn't kill him," I repeat, helpless to say much else in my defense.

"You were going to frame him?" she asks.

She seems more distressed by this than the fact that I'm the Butcher. I can't deny a thing, so I fall silent once again. Deb doesn't press the issue. Her mind is already elsewhere.

"All those bodies. You chopped them up? Dumped them?" she asks, swallowing hard.

I shrug meekly, as if to say, 'Yeah, my bad.' It's quite possibly the most inappropriate display of casual embarrassment in the history of mankind.

"Harry taught me how to dispose of evidence," I say by way of explanation.

"Oh god," Deb moans, lurching forward.

In a split second she's up and racing toward the bathroom. A moment later I hear the unmistakable sound of retching. I don't move. I just wait awkwardly on the couch for my sister to finish heaving her guts into the toilet.

A few minutes pass, giving me an opportunity to predict what's going to happen next. I come up with three likely possibilities.

Possibility Number One: Deb will emerge from the bathroom, retrieve her cuffs, and escort me immediately to the station.

Possibility Number Two: She'll call the station on her cell from the bathroom and wait for backup to arrive, either too upset or too afraid to face me again.

Possibility Number Three: She'll give me the chance to escape. Some lingering hint of a connection between us won't allow her to bring me in herself, and she'll tell me I have a one-hour head start before she calls this in.

When I hear the door squeak open, I brace myself for whatever comes next. I see her emerge around the corner of the living room. She looks exhausted.

"Are you a flight risk?" she asks.

I frown.

"No."

I'm not going to run away. I'm ready for this to come to an end.

"Good, because I'm too tired to deal with this now. It can wait till morning," she replies.

I pause, unsure that I heard her correctly. The most notorious and prolific serial killer in Miami history can 'wait till morning?'

"Okay," I say, unsure.

"I'm taking the bedroom," she informs me.

"Okay. Harrison's in there," I note.

She nods and turns toward the bedroom door. I watch her retreat in a state of bewilderment. Just before she disappears inside her room, I speak.

"Goodnight, Deb," I blurt out.

She pauses, her hand on doorknob.

"Goodnight, Dexter," she says.

~o~o~o~

I awaken to the smell of bacon.

She's cooking me my last meal as a free man. I can't help but be touched by her thoughtfulness.

"Morning," I say cautiously, as the kitchen comes into view.

Deb turns from the stove and nods in greeting.

"The baby's still asleep," she says offhandedly.

I return her nod and slip onto the stool at the bar. For a few minutes, neither of us speaks. Deb putters back and forth in the kitchen, flipping bacon, pushing the eggs around in the frying pan, retrieving the orange juice from the fridge. I'm almost fooled by her act, but I can tell she's not quite relaxed. There's a practiced air to her matter-of-fact routine. She's trying to give the impression of nonchalance, but we both know what's on her mind.

Still, when Deb sets a hot plate down in front of me and pulls up a chair as well, I allow myself to relax and enjoy what will be my last lazy morning breakfast with my sister. I've just taken a huge bite of eggs when she speaks.

"So you only kill murderers," she asks unceremoniously.

I choke on my eggs.

She waits patiently while I wash down my eggs with a gulp of orange juice.

"Um, yeah. Yes. Harry gave me a code to live by," I stammer.

She's studying me with the intensity of a detective on the hunt. I have trouble maintaining eye contact, but force myself not to look away.

"A code?" she prompts.

"Yes. The rules are very strict. I have to be sure, collect evidence, know beyond a shadow of a doubt. There has to be imminent threat of the person killing again. Then and only then do I take action," I explain, trying to shake off the surreal feeling I'm getting because this conversation is actually happening.

"Why not just hand them over to the police? To me," Deb asks pointedly.

I sigh and put down my fork.

"I don't target just any murderers, Deb. These are people who slip through the cracks, killers who get released on technicalities or elude our warrants. Usually they have another victim lined up and I know that bureaucratic red tape won't allow for their capture in time."

Deb pauses to take a bite of bacon, chewing it contemplatively.

"Why do you do it?" she asks, finally.

It takes me a moment to realize what she's asking.

"Why do I kill?"

She nods.

"Do you do it to save people?" she clarifies.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to say yes, to give her a reason to accept my nocturnal activities. But I'm through with lying to Deb.

"My victims are bad guys, but… that's only because Harry taught me to channel my compulsion in that direction. I kill because I like it. I need it."

I brave a glance in her direction only to find her staring down her eggs with a pained grimace on her face.

"Have you tried… not doing it?" she asks tentatively after a moment.

"I, um…" I trail off, shaking my head, a bit lost for words.

Deb cuts me off.

"I mean… I'm sorry, is that like asking someone if they've tried not being gay?" she asks apologetically.

I can't help it. I laugh, but quickly cover it by clearing my throat.

"No, it's a good question. Um… Harry always told me that it was just a part of me. He taught me to direct my demons toward a more noble purpose."

"Do you believe him?" she asks.

"For the longest time, I didn't fight it, didn't even try. The Code of Harry was absolute."

I smile at her. She just barely returns it.

"But a couple of years ago I went through a sort of… belated rebellion. I tried to break the habit," I continue.

I remember the moment that Lila convinced me I might get better. The hope I felt in that moment was indescribable. My future never seemed so promising.

"How'd that go?" Deb asks.

"It didn't take," I conclude.

I shoot her another smile, but this time I'm met with a look of absolute despair. It sobers me instantly.

"Damn it, Dex. I'm a fucking cop," she laments.

I nod.

"Yeah. Me too. Well, sort of. I have a laminate," I reply.

For the first time, Deb laughs. It's a sad laugh, like when people gather to tell fond stories at a friend's wake.

I know what's coming, so I figure I should tell Deb my plans. I went through it all last night in the hours before I drifted off into a fretful sleep.

"Look, just give me the morning to get my affairs in order. I already have the notarized letter to distribute my possessions, but I need to update it. Add the house. I put the money from the sale of my bio father's house toward a generous down payment so you should make a decent buck on the sale. I want the proceeds to go into a college fund for the kids. And I have to figure out Harrison. I know Astor and Cody will go to their grandparents, and, unless you have a huge objection, I'd like Harrison to go to them too. You're getting my TV, by the way. Oh, and my boat. Although that'll probably be seized as evidence."

"You douchebag," Deb interjects.

I freeze.

"Okay," I say warily.

She scowls at me.

"You think I'm gonna turn you in?"

I frown. My heart speeds up.

"You're not? What was with the 'I'm a fucking cop' comment?"

She throws her hands up in the air.

"Just because it really sucks!" she announces.

I pause again. Is she saying what I think she's saying?

"It does," I cautiously agree.

She shakes her head at me.

"You thought I was going to send you to jail. You dildo," she scoffs.

I almost smile.

"I'm a dildo and a douchebag," I marvel.

Deb gives me the hint of a smirk.

"You're multitalented," she offers.

"That I am. I think you just came up with a very lucrative invention."

"Probably already exists," she replies.

"Probably. We'll have to ask Masuka," I suggest.

We share a smile. It's the oddest moment I've ever experienced, and I've experienced some odd ones. Is it really possible that my sister has accepted me for who I really am? That she's willing to just go on as brother and sister despite my inhumanity?

Maybe she's just afraid of being all alone. Maybe she feels like she has to protect me because our dad made me this way. Maybe she doesn't realize the true danger involved in this arrangement.

"Deb, I can't ask you to do this," I say abruptly.

Deb doesn't seem the least bit surprised by my statement.

"Good thing you didn't ask then," she retorts.

Before I can make heads or tails of this, she's standing and bringing her plate over to the sink. I frown. I can't possibly allow Deb to get involved in my sordid world.

"I'm not going to stop."

She freezes in the middle of scraping her plate clean.

"It's not an addiction, Deb. It's as much a part of me as my blood type. I can't change it. I am a killer."

She puts her plate down and turns back towards me.

"I know," she says.

"It's inevitable that I'll get caught eventually."

She shakes her head.

"Nothing's inevitable."

I sigh.

"That's entirely untrue. A lot of things are inevitable," I counter.

Deb groans in irritation.

"God, can you turn off the scientist for one second, Professor?"

"It will ruin your career," I press.

Her jaw is set in determination before she replies.

"Family's more important," she says firmly.

Never, not once, did I ever think that Deb would say those words when faced with my truth. Family is more important than my perversion? I can't help the skepticism that invades my mind at those words. She just hasn't processed it yet. It'll dawn on her that she's a cop and I'm a killer and I'll be in a cell by the end of the day. Right?

"How are you handling all this?" I ask.

"What? Finding out my brother's a serial killer?" she quips.

I raise my eyebrows.

"Uh, yeah."

She sighs.

"Not great."

Well, at least she's not pretending everything's fine.

"But I don't believe you when you say that you're a monster. First of all, you only kill killers. You're actually saving more lives than you take," she continues.

I stand and walk over to the sink. She continues rinsing dishes, pretending I'm not there, until I place a gentle hand on her forearm to stop her.

"Deb, you know I don't kill to help people," I remind her.

"We all have our annoying habits," she replies weakly.

"Deb."

I don't say any more; just give her a pointed glare.

"I know!" she bursts out. "It's just hard to accept. I'm working through it. But… okay, so it's a part of you, but so is the part of you that loves your kids, and that cares deeply about giving them a good life. And you're the best brother, and that wasn't all an act because you saved my life. You chose me over your brother. And you didn't have to."

"I have evil inside of me, Deb," I snarl, frustrated by her willful ignorance.

"And I still love you."

Her simple declaration stops me cold. She turns off the faucet and grabs a towel to dry her hands, leaving me standing speechless at the sink.

I twist around to look at her. She really does love me. How is that even possible? I never planned for this contingency. I plan for everything.

Brian was wrong. Harry was wrong. Deb knows me and she still loves me. This changes everything. I'm not sure how yet, but I know that my entire life is going to be different from this point forward.

Deb tosses the towel down on the counter and comes back to the sink. She places her hands on my shoulders, forcing me to meet her eyes.

"You can do this. You can put your life back together even though Rita's gone," she urges.

The mention of Rita brings me crashing back to earth.

"Deb—"

She squeezes my shoulders, stopping me.

"We can do it together. I understand that balancing everything would be impossible, but I'm here. You can be a father to these kids."

I've never been a father to these kids. Not really. They were pawns in my twisted game. And pawns get sacrificed. Just like their mother.

"I was using them as a cover. They were just a way to keep killing. I was never a good father; I just made it look good," I reveal, the truth of my words hurting as it comes out.

Deb roughly releases my shoulders and places her hands on her hips.

"Stop acting like you are incapable of providing a loving home," she orders. "You did it for me when I couldn't live alone."

She doesn't know the truth about my relationship with Arthur Mitchell. She has no idea what she's talking about.

"Haven't I already done enough to these kids? First I get Paul killed, then Rita. I orphaned them," I growl.

She doesn't ask what I did to Paul. She doesn't ask how I caused Rita's death. She just asks one simple question.

"Are you the Trinity Killer?"

I know she doesn't actually believe I'm Trinity; she's just making a point. A misguided point.

"No," I say tersely.

"Then shut up. And do you really think the kids would've been better off with Paul in the picture?" she asks incredulously. "Last you told me he was trying to take the kids away from Rita."

She just doesn't get it. I could have stopped Trinity, but my dark passenger wouldn't let me.

"I could've killed him," I mutter.

"Paul?" Deb asks, confused.

I shake my head irritably.

"Trinity. I had more than one chance. I upset him. He was trying to ruin my life because I ruined his."

Deb takes a step back. She's starting realize that she's missing some very important pieces of this puzzle, but I see her struggle not to ask me for details. Finally, she settles for what she deems the only question that matters.

"Did you kill his wife?"

I'm repulsed by the very notion.

"No," I reply immediately. "But I messed up. And Rita's dead because of me."

Deb doesn't ask for any more explanation.

"Nothing you do or say is going to bring her back, and you're not the one who killed her. So you need to stop blaming yourself and let her go."

Let her go. Forgive myself.

Impossible.

"You need to do right by her now. That's how you honor her memory. When you married Rita, you agreed to share the responsibility for her kids. And I know you think the best way to do that is to get them away from you, but that's bullshit," Deb continues.

I can't be a monster and a father. I couldn't protect my wife. I can't put the kids in danger.

"You're a good person. I need a brother. Your kids need a father," she presses.

I'm a brother. Deb still wants me in her life. Is it even possible that this could work? Do I dare take that chance?

I realize that I don't have to live in my head anymore. I can actually speak my fears aloud. Deb knows. She'll listen.

"I'm so scared of what I might do to them. What I might've already done to them," I say quietly.

Deb brings her arms around me. I feel her head come to rest on my shoulder, her hands on my back. I lean into her for support.

"You are needed and loved, Dexter. You are not a monster."

"I am," I say without hesitation.

"You are not. And I'm going to keep reminding you of that every day until you start believing it you big 'tard."

She pulls away to look at me. She wouldn't say that if she saw me in action, if she saw me cutting through flesh and bone, bagging bloody body parts without an ounce of remorse. She'd be like Doakes. Like Harry. She'd recoil in horror. Stay away from me.

"You don't know—"

"I know exactly what you do," she interrupts.

"I saw the bodies, Dex. I know how many, I know why, and I know how. And I'm telling you that you are not a monster. You're just fucked up. Maybe more than the average person, but you're fucked up. Like the rest of us. Welcome to the motherfucking human race," she declares, arms spread wide in typical dramatic Deb fashion.

"Normal people aren't murderers," I argue.

"Yeah? Well, normal murderers aren't good people. I guess you defy the odds. Stop trying to catalogue yourself as good or evil. Let's just face facts: the world is a better place with you in it. Don't look any further than that."

She's standing in front of me, arms crossed, daring me to defy her. I say nothing for a moment. I simply reflect on my situation. My sister knows. And she still loves me. She believes that I can have a family. She is my family. This is actually happening.

"Astor and Cody are coming back today," I say absently.

I feel her hand on my arm again.

"We'll tell them about Rita together," she reassures me.

I don't know if I can do this. This is strange new territory.

Dexter Morgan: beloved serial killer.

It seems like I'm going backwards and forwards at the same time. I'm making the same mistakes, but at the same time I'm striking out on an entirely new path. I have no idea how things will turn out for me, or for Deb, or for my kids.

"I can't do this alone."

"You don't have to," she tells me.

I look into her eyes and, for now, I believe her.

~o~o~o~

The End

~o~o~o~

Thank you for reading. Please review!