Half an hour later we've got ourselves and a two-day supply of rations packed into a two-man kayak. I don't know what we'll do with my dad if we find him, but since neither of us is a sailor — Viking DNA notwithstanding — it's pretty much our only option. We can find another boat if we have to. I know full well this is a fool's errand, though I might resent the hell out of anyone saying it out loud.  

Theresa, Sasha, and the expectant couple wave as we leave the dock, wishing us luck while their expressions make it clear they don't expect us to survive storming the castle. The regret in Angie's eyes sharpens the teeth of the doubt gnawing at my insides, but I keep my damn mouth shut. For better or worse, we're doing this thing.

It takes a few minutes to sync up our paddle strokes, but after that we glide efficiently toward the passage that cuts between the UW campus and the Montlake neighborhood, joining Lake Union to the much larger Lake Washington.

The sun breaks through the patchy cloud cover, warming my back and arms. Cold drops of lake water splatter onto my forearms and thighs. My mood lifts a little. It's a relief leaving all those messy humans behind, one of them in particular, and I finally have a moment to enjoy the fact I'm actually safe from the fucking flesh-eaters. I can see the shoreline all around me, and there's not another boat on the water. Unless the assholes have learned to pilot seaplanes, there's no way they can sneak up on us.

Besides all that it's amazing to be doing something that feels so normal. When was the last time I paddled a kayak? Right before I graduated college, I'm pretty sure. A rare Sunday when Dad wasn't working. We'd paddled back and forth through the cut, peering through the windows of the houseboats on the way, before our arms got tired and we stopped for tacos and beer in the University District.

Dad and I had a bond that was hard to understand considering I hardly ever saw him. But Mom always said we were disturbingly alike.

"Do you know anything about your parents?" I ask, mainly because I need something to distract me from looping thoughts of tacos and beer. I'm not actually sure clones have any parents in the traditional sense.

Levi's quiet a minute and I can't see him, so I don't know whether to feel like a jerk for asking. Finally he says, "Nothing for certain. They have theories based on stuff found at the grave site."

"What kind of stuff?"

I hear the shrug in his voice as he replies, "Jewelry, weapons. Vessels made from precious metals. Silk clothing."

"So your dad was what ... a chieftain or something?"

"That's what the scientists thought, yes."

Not only Viking, but Viking royalty. The more time I spent with him, the smaller I felt.

"Didn't Viking corpses burn up in ships, or was that just Hollywood?"

"Most of them did, but they've found some, like my parents, in burial mounds."

"So you have a mom too?"

For a full minute, all I hear is the rhythmic swooshing of our paddles slicing through air and water, punctuated with the occasional clunk of a paddle blade striking the side of the kayak.

Finally he replies, "I have two fathers."

I have to rest the paddle on my knees and glance back at him after that one. "How is that possible?"

His gaze touches mine only a moment before switching back to scan mode. "I didn't come from a fertilized egg. But I'm not really a clone either. The scientists blended DNA from two sets of remains found in the burial ship."

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