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12 November 2009 @ 09:48 pm
The Thread of Ariadne, Ch. 16  
Chapter Sixteen






It felt like old times. It was almost two years ago, now, Kara realized, since she had sat down on the other side of the table from one of these Cylons. He returned her look in exactly the same way the other one had, as if he could see something she couldn't.

But at least this one wasn't dressed the same way; he was wearing a plain black t-shirt instead of that eye-burning green thing the first Leoben had worn.

They stared at each other in silence, and Kara felt her body tense up, remembering Leoben breaking his shackles and nearly killing her last time. But he didn't move, he just waited.

She broke the silence first. "What did you do to Sam?" she demanded.

"Nothing."

Her hand shot out and backhanded him hard across the face. "Don't lie to me," she spat at him, infuriated. "I saw the scars. He was hurt."

Leoben leaned back in his chair and regarded her calmly, not upset by her blow, as the mark faded slowly from his cheek. "You asked what I did; I did nothing. I knew he was a messenger of God and I would never harm him. None of my brothers, or the Sixes or the Eights hurt him. But the Ones and Fives kept him captive for most of the occupation. He was beaten and left in isolation for weeks at a time. We -- his friends -- were shown a hideously burned body and told it was Sam so we wouldn't try to get him back. At the end of the occupation, D'Anna found him, but tortured him to force him to find the path to Earth. Caprica and Sharon brought him home, and soon after, he and Thea became lovers." He regarded her unblinking, impassive to her growing dismay. "Is that what you wanted to know?"

"Oh, gods," she whispered, able to imagine it all too clearly. "Does she love him?"

He nodded. "Yes. She believes in him, and she loves him."

"And does he… love her?"

He took a moment to answer, having to think about it, and her stomach tightened up. Eventually, he answered, "He still wears your dog tag."

Kara pushed away the implication. "That doesn't mean anything. I saw him with her." Sam had smiled at the Cylon the way he had once smiled at Kara, and he held her hand and rested against her like she was the only thing holding him up.

Leoben frowned and cocked his head to one side, regarding her. "He cares deeply - how could he not? She has been his constant support from the day he was picked up in the depths of space. She has helped him when his visions tore through him like madness. They were given a miracle in the child to come. She makes him feel like more, not less. Those are all strong ties. But if you asked, he would cut them all for you."

Kara thumped down in the opposite chair. She searched Leoben's face, looking for the lie hidden in the truth, but saw only belief. She shook her head, "How can you say that?"

"Because it's true," he answered. "Because your destiny and his are entwined."

She chuckled and shook her head. "My destiny? You still on about that? It's Sam, not me."

He leaned forward, intent, and held her eyes. "You. Did you think it was done with, Kara? You haven't started yet."

She leaned back, away from him, and forced another chuckle. "You just can't help it, can you? Frakking oracle in the next room, and you still have to go on about some 'destiny.'"

He seemed to think a moment and licked his lips before he spoke. "On the planet, in the temple, there was a symbol of circles, nested inside each other, of yellow and blue and red."

That was impossible. She stared at him, shocked. "You're lying."

He shook his head once. "Ask anyone who was inside. It was there in several places. The Temple of Five. Sam said its true name was the Temple of Hopes." He leaned back in his chair and regarded her with a small smile. "You still think you're not involved in this, Kara? Because you are. Your part is yet to come, and it's very important that you do it. I fear Sam will try to take it from you, but this is your destiny, not his."

"Take it from me?" she asked in confusion. "How could he do that? What is it anyway?"

He admitted reluctantly, "I don't know. But whatever it is, Sam looked at those circles on the floor and he said he died there."

The words were like a splash of cold water in the face. "He saw his own death?" she whispered in horror. Gods. Everything he'd said to Roslin took on a horrible new meaning. "Are the gods that cruel?"

Leoben didn't answer at first, and his smile seemed kind, though somewhat amused. "Only if you believe death is cruel. But it's not the end of everything, only our awareness of this limited perception. Death is beautiful."

"Beautiful?" Gods, how had Sam put up with this for the last few months? She laughed. "That's funny coming from a Cylon who won't die."

He replied calmly, "We can die. Take us from resurrection range, and we're lost. We have nothing but the faint hope of rebirth in the cycle of time. But that's not true for you. Death should hold no fear for you, Kara." He leaned forward again, staring into her eyes. "Your fear holds you back. But facing it, you will be free to follow your destiny."

She made herself roll her eyes, ignoring the tangling in her chest that restricted her breath. "You know, if I wanted cryptic psychobabble I'd go visit the shrink on Inchon Vale." She stood up and planted her hands on the table. "I found out what I wanted to know. I won't be back."

He waited until she opened the door to call after her, "Running away doesn't change the truth, Kara. It never has."

She left, trying to shrug off what he'd said.



* * *

Walking the corridors of Galactica felt strange now. Everywhere he went seemed to emphasize that he wasn't home. He wasn't a pilot, but he wasn't a civilian. He still had friends among the pilots, but he wasn't one of them anymore. He could still play Pyramid with Jean and Duck, as he had before, but it wasn't the same. Nobody knew what to make of him now; he wasn't the man he'd been and he couldn't forget what he knew or what he'd done.

But at least it was only awkward with the ones who liked him. As Simon had suggested, there were some who believed he was a collaborator and a traitor, and they shoved roughly past him or muttered under their breath whenever he was near.

They weren't the worse, though.

"Mister Anders? Lieutenant?"

He turned at the sound of the feminine voice, to find a woman he didn't know. She was about his age, and she was holding a tow-headed little girl in her arms. He made himself smile, reaching back to ten years of fan interaction, though he had a sinking feeling he knew what this was about. "Yes?"

"Hi," she swallowed nervously. "My name's Julia, this is my daughter, Kacey. I ... was wondering... They say you have a hybrid child on the way, that the gods led you to the Cylons to be their oracle and teach them peace. And that you were the reason they withdrew from New Caprica."

"I'm pretty sure it was the two battlestars jumping into the system that pushed them from New Caprica. It had nothing to do with me," he said and clenched his jaw on anything more. Damn it, Bulldog, you didn't have to tell everyone. "Don't believe everything you hear." He started to turn, eager to get away.

"But you are an oracle, aren't you?" she asked, more persistent than most in the face of his brush-off.

He halted and turned back, drawing a deep breath. "Look, I'd like to help, but I can't tell your future. That's not how it works for me."

"No, no," she said hastily. "I don't want to know my future. Who would? But it feels ... I don't know, it feels as if the gods are very close to us. That maybe they're walking among us now, and giving us all these oracles and prophecies and messages. Like we're coming up to the end of... everything. I suppose I wanted some kind of reassurance..." she trailed off and glanced down at her daughter, who was watching him with a child's curiosity. "You think I'm foolish," Julia murmured and ducked her head in embarrassment.

Kacey could be Iris, in a few years, he realized with a sudden pang, and he bit his lip.

"No, not at all. You're right," he agreed in a low voice. "We all have more trials to go through, before we find our destiny." He put out a hand and gently smoothed Kacey's hair, imagining stroking Iris' soon, and suddenly, he knew. "I ... I've seen Earth, Julia. I've seen our home. It's out there and Kacey will see it."

Julia lifted her face to meet his eyes, and her lips parted in wonder. "You know that? Really?"

"Really," he confirmed, and his smile was more natural as he pulled his hand back.

"Thank you," Julia said, holding Kacey tightly and her eyes bright with tears. "Thank you," she repeated with a whisper and rushed off down the corridor.

He watched her go, and his smile faded away. Kacey would live, that much was true. But it was also true that no one should know one's own future.

Another voice came on him from behind. "At least some people get good news."

Sam turned to find Galen standing there, dressed in his green BDUs and rubbing some small engine part with a cloth. "They'd still be alive, if I'd listened to you," Galen said. "Wouldn't they?"

The memory of the desperate words hung between them. "... listen to me, please. I saw Cally in a pit full of bodies. I saw her dead if you go down to New Caprica..." And Sam shut his eyes, remembering he had been the one to make the vision come true. Cavil had killed her and their baby, too, because of him. He whispered, "I'm sorry, Galen."

But Galen didn't hear him. "The Cylons wouldn't have killed them, if I'd believed you. I get that. But how could you know what they were going to do and still ally with them?"

"Only with a few of them," Sam answered. "They're not all the same, Galen."

Galen wasn't listening, but he seemed to be working his way to saying something, so Sam waited. Galen looked down at the metal casing he was cleaning. "You said you heard the Temple calling to you. A sound in your head..."

"Yes," he answered warily, wondering where Galen was going with this. "A sort of music. A really annoying buzz from far away, but more like a hum when we got in the system. It pulled me down to the surface, and I had to go. I can't really explain it better than that."

"I heard it," Galen admitted in a murmur. Sam nodded, slowly, now understanding. Galen was starting to remember, too. Galen added, "That's how I found it. What does it mean? I'm not... I'm not like you."

Sam glanced both ways down the narrow corridor to make sure no one was close, and he murmured, "You are, Galen. I'm just farther down the path." He remembered a blonde apparition with a wry smile. "And I have some help. But I saw you; I remember you. We were both there in the Temple of Hopes a long time ago. We built it, you and I. And we died there."

Galen's gaze snapped up to Sam's, and he shook his head. "That can't be. That's impossible."

"All this has happened before..." Sam reminded him. "We were there when the cycle turned, and now it's our time to try again."

Galen shook his head again in slow denial. "No. It's not true."

Sam gripped his arm. "I swear --"

Yanking himself free, Galen glared at him. "I don't believe in any of this. It's not real."

Sam didn't try to call him back when Galen stomped off. Galen would accept it, or he would keep fighting against it, but he wouldn't be able to hide from it for long.

Sam went back to Thea's cell to chase the past away and look to the future. He touched the taut belly reverently -- Iris would be his legacy. She would do what he could not and take their people to Earth.

Thea smiled up at him and laid her hand over his. "Soon. Just a few weeks and she'll be here, Sam. Our gift of God."

"It seems like we've been waiting forever." He bent down to nuzzle at her belly. "Iris, you can come out now. We want to see you!"

Thea laughed, and the joyful sound helped to push away the dread that weighed on him so heavily since the Temple visions. Each day with them was a gift, and he couldn't forget that.


* * *


Kara kept away from the brig, where Sam was spending most of his time. She heard about him from the Clellans, who had brought his namesake to visit, and she knew he played pyramid on the half-court Barolay had put in a empty storage locker, but she didn't go near, herself. And even though he left the brig occasionally, he seemed to be avoiding her, too.

She wasn't angry at him, but there seemed no reason to seek him out. She knew him well enough to know he would never abandon his child or that child's mother. So, Leoben's mystic crap aside, she and Sam were done.

But the Bucket wasn't that big, and eventually their paths crossed. When she saw him round a corner and head toward her, she felt an impulse to avoid him again, but pushed it down to face him. He hesitated, when he realized it was her, but kept going. His hair and black sleeveless shirt were both damp from sweat, and she guessed he'd been playing pyramid.

"You gonna hit me again?" he asked, when he was still several steps away.

She couldn't help a snicker. "Scared?"

He didn't play along, just gave a little shrug. "If you want." But he came closer anyway.

Kara frowned, wondering why something seemed different, then she realized he was limping. It was probably nothing anyone else would even notice, but she could tell. "What's wrong with your leg?"

He glanced down reflexively. "Nothing."

"You're limping."

"Oh, that." He looked up again, suddenly realizing. "I fractured my ankle and lower leg when I punched out. And... well, it never healed quite right. Cylon medicine is... an undeveloped science." He said it wryly, but his blue eyes held no amusement, and the faint smile vanished quickly. "It aches if I jump on it a lot, that's all. No big deal. I think my days of pro ball were pretty done with anyway."

"Can you still fly?" she asked.

He nodded. "I've flown a Raptor and Heavy Raider, so I think a Viper should be okay," he said, then reconsidered, "Maybe not a long CAP. That might be worse than standing up all those hours." He shrugged again. "Not that I'm getting back in a Viper any time soon, so it probably doesn't matter."

He had a point: Roslin had freed him, but Adama hadn't restored him to duty yet. "Because you have a Cylon girlfriend?" she retorted, unable to help herself.

He flinched but shot back, "Helo has a Cylon wife and he's in CIC."

"Sharon's on our side. But you were taking the Cylons to Earth," she said. "To Earth, Sam. That's supposed to be our refuge."

He couldn't meet her eyes. "I had no choice."

"And you had no choice but frak the Cylon, too, I suppose?"

He straightened, a spark of anger in his eyes which she perversely was glad to see, since his expression was so dead most of the time. "Yeah, I had a choice: I could hold onto her, or go insane. You don't know what it was like, you don't know what I --" But he cut himself off. The anger was gone as quickly as it had come and he inhaled an unsteady breath. "Look, I'm sorry I'm God's frakking hand puppet, but I am, and there's nothing I can do about that. And I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough to wait for you alone." He reached out a hand to touch her, but dropped it back down to his side, the gesture incomplete. He looked just as helpless as Kara felt. "I still love you, Kara - I do, and I always will. I hope you believe that. But... we never had a chance."

He turned away and she blurted, scarcely able to believe the words were coming out of her mouth, "Leoben says our destinies are entwined, you and me. That it's not over."

He turned his head, and somehow the angle of the light made his eyes look black and inhuman. He answered in a flat voice, with chilling calm, "He's wrong. I know how it ends."

"So you're just going to give up?" she demanded. "The future's not written in stone, Sam. There's a little boy with your name that proves that."

He took a sudden step toward her, looming over her. "Do you think this is easy?" he hissed. "Do you think I don't want to tell God to shove it and pretend I don't know? I do. Every single frakking day I want to be who I was. But I can't. Samuel T. Anders of the C-Bucs died when the Cylons came, and there's no going back."

His words hit her forcefully, as if there was some deeper truth in them. She regarded him with wide eyes. "Died?" she repeated. "You mean that?"

"No, not like that!" He shook his head and threw up both hands in frustration. "Frak, maybe it's true. Maybe I am what everyone's so afraid of. Would it matter so much?"

He stared down into her eyes, and she looked back unblinking. Her heart was pounding quickly, hard in her chest, and she wondered what answer to give him.

But something inside her knew the answer. She reached out, not sure what she was going to do, maybe hit him across the face. But instead, her hand grabbed him by the neck and pulled him down, as she went up on her toes.

Their mouths came together and his lips clung to hers, kissing her deeply, and she pushed against him, forgetting about everything else but the feel of him. He staggered back into the wall support, and his hands spanned her waist, steadying her. Her other hand went around his neck, too, fingers in his hair and rubbing along the top of his shoulders.

"Kara," he groaned against her mouth, and his hands slipped to her hips, hitching her up against him, to where they fit perfectly. "Oh, Kara... please..."

The feel of him against her was like a fire under her skin, and she wanted to touch him so badly... It felt like no time had passed at all, except to make her want it more. She grabbed a fistful of his shirt and tugged him around the corner, to the janitorial closet which reeked of oil and bleach, but it had a door that locked and an overhead light which was all she wanted.

She barely got the door locked when he pushed her back against the wall beside the door, and kissed her again. Gathering the hem, she yanked his shirt over his head and the feel of his skin was burning under her fingers. Gods, it had been so long... so long since she'd had him under her hands, and had the feel of his strength surrounding her.

They didn't speak as he pulled her tanks off, and she unbuttoned his pants so they'd fall down his legs. All she knew was that she wanted to climb him like a tree and frak him so hard, he never forgot her again. She had to clutch the upper shelving as he held her hips and positioned her, but the feel of him when she slid over him was worth it. He groaned from the bottom of his lungs, and his hands gripped her tightly.

"Oh, God, I've missed you," he whispered, panting, his eyes shut as he pinned her against the shelf, deep in her. She didn't answer back, letting her body speak for her, as she let herself sink into him, not thinking, only feeling.

And if she were honest with herself, re-staking her claim.

When they were shuddering down from climax, he didn't let go of her or pull out. His head was bowed, and when she dropped her cramping hands to his shoulders, he was shaking. Not all of it was because he was trying to breathe.

And even though she felt all bruised in the lower back from hitting the shelf, and her thighs ached from holding her legs around him, she didn't want to move either. So strange ... it was like her vision of the temple with him frakking her against the column, but different. Real.

As she caught her breath, she plucked a damp lock of his hair off his neck and wound it around her finger. "So. It's over, is it?"

He laughed shortly, but with real humor. "Yeah, that was me keeping my distance."

"I can tell," she teased.

He freed one hand to caress the curve of her hip and her thigh, his touch soft now, where before it had been all need and desire. She let herself enjoy it for a moment, until her back twinged and she had to shift against the shelving. That was enough to end the moment. He inhaled a deep breath, gathering himself together, and pulled away finally. He eased her to the floor and handed her paper towels from a stack on the shelf to clean up with, without meeting her eyes. She shivered in the sudden cold, now that the warmth from his body was gone.

When he bent over to pull up his pants, it gave her a view of his back and the pale lines on his skin. There were more than she had thought. She reached out to the worst one, the touch making him flinch, but then he froze to let her trace the thin ridge of scar tissue. "Who did this?" she whispered. "Who hurt you like this, Sam?"

"Doral and Cavil," he answered and shuddered. He yanked down his shirt, making her move her hand, and the scars were soon hidden from view again.

But that was all he said, as they dressed, and she found the lack disconcerting. If he tried to apologize or say it could never happen again or even say they should do it again, she could respond that it was just a frak and didn't mean anything.

But in the face of his silence, what it meant seemed to press down on them. He should've been the one to pull away. She was the reckless one, the one with no attachments; he was the loyal one, whose girlfriend was carrying his child just down the hall. But he hadn't stopped.

When he finally looked at her, she could see the guilt on his shoulders and in his face. His eyes still seemed to drink her in, pull at her with need. It took him a moment to speak. "I... don't regret this," he said, even though his eyes made the words a lie. Or maybe they weren't such a lie as he continued, "I would give anything to have what I want," he murmured, and she almost wanted to flee from the intensity in his eyes. "If I could go back to you and me flying CAP forever, I would. You... make me feel so alive, Kara. You always have. When you're around, I remember how to be human. And I want that. So much."

She swallowed, struck by the words and knowing how deeply he meant them. Whatever he felt for Thea, it wasn't this. Leoben had been right. While the thought of having that kind of pull on Sam was sort of heady and satisfying, it was also disturbing. She wanted to say that making him feel human had to be a good thing, but maybe it wasn't. He'd led the Cylons across hundreds of light-years of space on the strength of his visions, and he'd lost the path to Earth the minute he came on the same ship with her.

"But I can't," he added after a moment. "I've seen... " his gaze turned inward and flickered with dark memories, and his voice hoarsened, "I've seen terrible things from the last time we had this chance... I know what being selfish would cost."

Without heat, and with far too much understanding, she murmured, "Damn you anyway, Sam. Why couldn't you just have stayed a pyramid player and fought Cylons, instead of getting Zeus' hand up your ass?"

He snorted a surprised laugh. "Yeah, and it's just as much fun as you'd think."

Silence fell again and she let out a painful-sounding chuckle. "You're forcing me to be responsible. I hate that."

He nodded. "I know." His hand fell to the dog tag at his chest, and for a moment she feared he was going to give hers back. "All these people, they depend on us," he murmured, holding the tag. "Humans and Cylons. We have to break the cycle of war and death and hatred. When I find the path, you'll need to take them all home."

"Home?" she asked softly. "I want to see that."

"You will," he answered and smiled at her. Not his usual bright grin, but a soft, glowing expression of love, and he looked at her face for a long moment, as if memorizing it.

Though she wanted to bask in it, she felt a cold trickle of fear between her shoulder-blades. "Sam, don't do anything stupid."

"You know me," he tried to shrug casually, but she didn't buy it.

"I do."

"Yeah, you do." He bent and pressed a swift kiss to her lips, murmuring, "I love you." His fingers brushed her cheek and a moment later, he was gone.

She put her fingers to her lips, trying to hold the touch to herself, stricken by the feeling that his kiss tasted like farewell.


* * *

The cell had become more homey, as Adama had allowed curtains and a box to put their clothes in. Sam rarely slept there since the cot was so small and Thea had grown large, but it usually felt welcoming to him.

Except now. He'd showered off what he'd done, and it hadn't helped. He stayed near the door, even after the guards shut it behind him, and he felt like an intruder.

Thea was sitting crosslegged on the bed, and even though he'd found a new shirt for her, it didn't cover her rounded belly completely. Underneath that pale skin was the miracle he had very nearly thrown away because he couldn't keep his hands to himself. God, what was he going to do?

She glanced up from dealing herself a hand of solitaire and smiled. "Come in. Play triad with me?"

"Sure." He sat at the other end of the bed, feeling small and guilty.

She dealt the cards and then stopped him from picking them up, with a hand on his. "Sam? What's wrong? Did something happen?"

"No," he answered, feeling sick from the lie. "Nothing."

"Did you have a vision?" she asked, in concern. "You seem very bothered by something."

"I... I don't know what it was," he answered.

She picked up her cards and arranged them in her hand, but then she lifted her eyes again. "You've been very quiet since the Temple. It's obviously troubling you. Why don't you tell me what you saw?"

"It's my burden, not yours," he repeated what he'd said before when she and Leoben had asked. They were his visions and his fate, and there was nothing the Cylons could do about either of those things.

She shook her head once. "It's my burden, too, Sam. I'm with you; Iris is with you. I think if you would talk about it, it might help." She hesitated, then put her cards on the blanket, with a determined expression he recognized. "I was there. I heard what you said and I know what it means. It's not a secret."

The jolt of panic and guilt that went through him was probably visible from the other end of the ship; he was sure she didn't miss it. "Tell you what?" he asked lamely, and he knew they both knew it was an evasion.

She gave a little sigh and beckoned him close for a kiss. He tried to say he was sorry with his lips, to give himself back to her. Then she pulled him into her arms, triad cards scattering, and she whispered into his ear, "You're one of the Final Five."

His whole body went rigid with shock. She knew. When he tried to pull away, she held onto him tightly and murmured, "Did you think it would change how I feel? Or do you really think it's so terrible that you have to keep it locked up inside you all this time? It's not terrible, Sam; it's wonderful." One of her hands ran up and down his back, soothing, trying to get him to relax. "It doesn't change anything," she reassured him and then pulled back a little bit to look him in the eyes. "It doesn't change my love. Nothing you learned in that Temple could do that."

"I saw so much, but I don't understand," he admitted in a whisper, putting his head on her shoulder. "I have all these memories, these things I saw, but they don't make a pattern. But the thing they all have in common is..." He opened his mouth to say 'his death', but then said, "I think I'm being punished for something."

"Punished? For what? What could you possibly have done that could be so terrible?" she asked. "You're a good man, Sam."

He remembered frakking Kara in the janitor's closet not even two hours ago and let out a shaky laugh. "No. No, I'm not, Thea. I'm selfish and I lie, and I remember causing so much death and ruin...."

She grabbed his hand, squeezing it. "Sam, they were visions, not you. And even if it was a past life, it wasn't you now."

He wanted to object that he knew it was him, but instead he gathered her close and kissed her hair. "I don't deserve your faith in me, Thea."

"Would a bad person be agonizing over something he might have done in a past life?" she asked, with a small smile, and laid a finger over his lips. "Enough. You can't convince me otherwise."

He could. He could open his mouth and tell her the truth -- and watch the light dim in her eyes. So he swallowed the truth and his guilt, and resolved to make it up to her and Iris.

* * *

The baby looked absurdly tiny in his hands. She was all wrinkled and reddish, with skinny little arms and legs, and a smushed up face below a dusting of dark hair.

But then her eyes opened and blinked up at Sam.

"Hello, Iris," he whispered. She looked at him with her large crystal blue eyes and blinked again.

"You are a gift," he told her. "A miracle." His voice broke on the word, as a great wave rose up inside him, love so great and intense it was painful. His ribs seized up and he couldn't breathe. He kissed the top of her head and carefully laid her back in Thea's arms, before kissing Thea again. "You are both so beautiful to me."

He swallowed hard, trying to choke back the tears burning in his eyes. He turned and went blindly from the room, nearly tearing down the plastic curtains in his need to get away.

"Sam?" he heard Helo ask, worried. "What's wrong?"

But Sam pushed past him, making it as far as the corner. He folded his arms against the wall and leaned his head into them, and tried to breathe, as love and grief and rage tore at him from inside.

Shaking, he gulped air, trying to bury it all again, a little afraid of the intensity of what boiled just under his skin.

"Sam?" Karl asked and put a friendly hand on his shoulder.

"I can't -- I can't -- " he gasped.

"Let it out, it's okay," Karl murmured and rubbed the back of his neck gently.

Sam shook his head desperately, but couldn't tell him. He couldn't force the words out to explain, to say what he knew. How he'd thought he was resigned to his fate, but seeing Iris, he knew he wasn't.

Iris began to cry behind him, a thin wail that seemed to pierce right through him, as if she was crying in response to his thoughts. She quieted almost immediately as Thea and Ishay murmured.

That, in conjunction with Helo's soothing gesture, let him finally calm down and drag in new breaths. He wiped wet eyes with one hand and straightened.

"Better?" Helo asked.

"Yeah, thanks."

"Sure. Hybrid parents club meeting tonight if you want to join," he joked.

Sam gasped a little laugh and smiled weakly. "We should. Gotta stick together."

Helo looked him in the eye and said more seriously, with a squeeze of Sam's shoulder, "Anything you need, let me know. I'm here for you."

"Thanks. I - we - appreciate that."

Helo gestured back toward the delivery room, with a smile, "Congratulations. Now, go on back to your little miracle. She needs you."

That struck him, sharp in the chest, but Sam kept his face blank until he turned away and headed back.

Iris was already nursing, Sam saw, and couldn't help marveling at the sight of a Cylon with a baby at her breast. His baby. The thought caught at his heart again, and he swallowed hard.

Ishay was showing Thea how to hold and position the baby. She didn't seem to be treating Thea any differently than she would any other new mother, which he was glad about.

Sam pulled up a chair to watch, and Thea smiled at him, tired but loving. "You okay?" she asked.

"Fine. I just didn't expect to love her so much already," he murmured, reaching out to feather a touch of the tiny foot and its even tinier toes sticking out from the blanket.

Cottle came back in with a clean coat on, and took a look at the new family with a distinctly approving and paternalistic gleam in his eyes. "Well done, both of you," he said, nodding. "You'll stay in here a few days, at least, while we keep an eye on you both. I'm going to report to the admiral, and do rounds." He got halfway to the plastic and then turned back. "There are guards at the door. The Admiral ordered no visitors except senior officers. So if you want that Cylon Leoben to be able to visit you'll need to ask the admiral."

Sam jumped up and followed him. "Doctor?" He glanced around to check they were alone, noting the two nurses still cleaning up in the corner. "You're sure Iris is all right?"

"She's a perfectly healthy baby," Cottle answered. "She'll have to do some time under UV light, but that's normal."

"Oh, when you said you want to keep her here a few days - "

"If she leaves here, she's going back to that cell," Cottle reminded him.

Sam nodded, feeling cold. "Oh, I didn't think -- thank you. So, uh, you didn't find anything… weird?" he asked hesitantly, glancing again at the nurses within earshot.

"Nothing," Cottle confirmed. "Of course, I haven't done any in depth analysis, but so far, she appears nothing more extraordinary than any newborn."

Sam couldn't help smiling at that, since Cottle didn't know how extraordinary Iris truly was. "Good, I'm glad," Sam said. "Thank you."

"That's what I'm here for," Cottle told him brusquely and moved away.

Sam went back to Thea and Iris, to sit beside them and soak up their presence.

For as long as he could.


The end.

To be concluded in Not All That We Are 4: Black Sails at Dawn



Comments make the fic world go 'round! And will encourage the writing of the finale, besides... Don't make little Iris feel unloved! *g*

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grey_swgrey_sw on November 23rd, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
Wow, neat! I read the previous installments ages ago, and I have to say that this one is even better. The pacing is perfect, the characterizations are solid, and I love how you wove in so many details from the series. Your version of the Final Five is also much deeper and more interesting than where they went with it on the show... can't wait to find out how it all ends.

I especially liked Sam's pet Raider -- so cute! <3 The part about the Cylon virus was also especially good; it was a great idea to use that as the catalyst for Sam's change of heart toward the Cylons.

I have to wonder what the Cavils have been up to all this time, though...! Was that them jumping in with their Basestars, just before everyone else left the Eye of Jupiter?
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on November 24th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
Wow, you were quick! It has been ages, I know. To think I orginally hoped this would come out last SPRING! man, I'm slow.

And yes, you're right -- those other baseships were Cavil and Co coming in to take advantage of the situation. Also, I was possibly too subtle/vague, but you know that Cylon who likes teal jackets? :) He was a spy for Cavil the whole time. I'm going back to Boomer's viewpoint in the last installment, so we can see how all that played out after Sam left the ship.

Thank you! .
grey_swgrey_sw on November 24th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
Also, I was possibly too subtle/vague, but you know that Cylon who likes teal jackets? :) He was a spy for Cavil the whole time.

Yeah, you definitely implied that. I liked the contrast you drew between him and the Doral who did beat Sam, but died from the virus -- nice moral ambiguity there. I'll hold you to it when Cavil shows up. Wanting to be a shiny robot counts as "change", right? >:)

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention this earlier: the idea that "fucking" is the Colonials' polite euphemism for "frakking" is beyond brilliant! :D As is the idea that Athena doesn't really care which word Kara uses around Hera... she and Helo were spot-on here. I especially appreciated the fact that they were just a little more THE PRESIDENT ATE OUR BABY! here than they were on the show, because it always seemed to me that that plotline was tied up a little too neatly...
lizardbeth: Anders- Helolizardbeth_j on November 24th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
I can't actually claim credit for the frakking/fucking thing. I read it someplace - it was years ago, but it stuck with me as something that was utterly hilarious and I had to use it in a fic sometime.

THE PRESIDENT ATE OUR BABY! *snerk* indeed. I shipped Helo/Sharon from the beginning, so I have a huge soft spot for them and what they go through.
safekh_aubisafekh_aubi on November 24th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
Eeeee!

Seriously, am making dolphin noises here (Or would be if it wasn't 0150 at night and I'd wake everyone up).

This is just... guh! Brilliant! I've stayed up way to late just to read this, and I've lost all coherency and...

I love this series so much, but am too tired to say why at the moment. I'll have to re-read the entire thing when I'm more awake and get back to you.

Seriously, thought, this entire series is amazing.
lizardbeth: BSG- Templelizardbeth_j on November 24th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
thank you! I'm glad you liked it! And of course, I'd be happy to hear any other thoughts you have on it.

There is one more still to come, next year.
zahdahezahdahe on November 24th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
WOMAN! I LOVE YOU.
zahdahezahdahe on November 24th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
ALSO!
zahdahezahdahe on November 24th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
SORRY someone is distracting me! * hits them with wet fish*
I will have to make time to read this when everyone is in the bath or asleeep.

will comment fully when stuffed full of food!
lizardbeth: Anders-Kara - distancelizardbeth_j on November 25th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
Did you come to the final part without reading the rest? YOU SPOILER JUNKIE YOU! :P

*waits patiently*
zahdahezahdahe on November 29th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
No! I'm still trying to read with knackering eyeballs computer screens do bad things to eyeballs of forty! (yes 40).
zahdahezahdahe on November 29th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
glee! smiles.
noybusiness on November 24th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
Very well-written and engrossing epic. One thing: I didn't believe Jean accepting that Sam had been with a Six without at least a day to think about it.

Very good angsty foreshadowing of Sam's death. *oh noes* But better him than the baby. I'd hate for that dream with her turning to ash to be literal.
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on November 25th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)
heh, in my defense, Sam says he thinks he and Jean would be okay, not that they are, right then So there's a bit of time built in there. But I also don't believe that she would refuse to listen to him -- or wouldn't notice that he looks like shit and it hasn't been all happyfuntimes with the Cylons. So it might take a bit, but she would gt.

I don't know if it's foreshadowing, so much as GIANT ANVILS, but yes. There is something quite important happening there.

Thank you!
Silver: BSG - Sixsilverblade219 on November 24th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
I have to run to class, so limit my comments to the fact that I loved this installment. I really liked the back story you made up for the Final Five, and started to laugh when I realized that PsiLon was pronounced the same way as Cylon.

I also liked how you hint at the rising tensions amoung the Cylons, even though Sam doesn't really pay any attention to it. Was the Six that was crying the same one that voted against her model?

And I hope nothing terrible happens to Thea and Iris in the next part... Can't wait to read it :)
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on November 25th, 2009 08:49 am (UTC)
Thanks!

Part of my backstory comes purely out of my impatience with the idea that Kobol was EXACTLY like Caprica, or their cylons were the same and that nothing changed between then and now. My concept of a cycle of time doesn't mean things are duplicated so precisely. So the Psi Alliance becomes shortened to the Psilons, which later comes back as Cylons through the mystical etherwhatever.

Yes. Crying!PTSD!Six is the same one. With some pushing by Pimp Daddy Doral.

Wonderful things happen, too. :)
slybrarian: Colonial Fleetslybrarian on November 24th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
Awesome! This is so great, it's hard to point at any one section. I love what you did with the internal politics of the Cylons, the way they go back and forth on how much they should follow Sam. It's very true to the way most of them act in canon, being easily swayed to different positions and then swayed back. The parts on Galactica are cool, too, especially the scenes when Kara discovers that Hera is alive and forces the President to admit that. As noted before, the reaction of the Fighting Agathons seems more real than it did in canon - although to be fair, in that case they had to rescue Hera and Helo still seemed about ten seconds from pulling Roslin apart with his bare hands.

Can't wait to read the next (and final! Oh no!) part.
lizardbeth: Anders- Helolizardbeth_j on November 25th, 2009 09:12 am (UTC)
I love the Cylons and their struggle to become grown-ups! They start out little kids, all easily persuaded by their big brother into doing some bad stuff, and then slowly start to figure out that they can be people. And they each sort of start to stray off the baseline. Which is all very head-desking to figure out, but fun, too.

OH, I *heart* that part in canon when Bill has to hold Helo back. mmmm.

Thank you!
Merry F: kara sam pyramidivanolix on November 27th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
This chapter kind of blew my brain with the AU...Sam and Julia (and I totally believe that Kacey saw Earth in canon too), Sam being "unfaithful" when he fraks Kara (which honestly, left me as guilty-feeling as Sam), Kara having to wait for Sam (and ack, I have no idea where that will all end) Sam being a dad with a Six (but his reaction is so pitch perfect), and creepy creepy mythology implications. And yet, I'm still so hooked!

(using my happy icon because I'm glad to know more, and yet they're all so broken it makes me wibble)
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on December 1st, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
Julia and Kacey ended up more important than I had planned, but Julia's such a perfect example of an ordinary person caught up in very extraordinary events, I had to keep her (plus that budding friendship with Kara).

creepy creepy mythology implications
*laughs* This chapter is almost entirely set up for part IV, I admit. :)

Thank you very much!
Une Frakkante Cylonne: Six- incredibly lovely- vordoghsunshine_queen on November 28th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
This series is so epic and amazing, I am absolutely in awe. I'm biased towards Sixes, but I really love Thea, and I think that everything in these chapters is true to the characters we already know and love. Also, I was pretty sure you were going to make the magic hybrid baby die and I was very sad, so the fact that Iris was born delights me. Thank you so much for sharing this fic!
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on December 1st, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
Nope, magic baby lives! Yay! I agonized over that for a bit when 4.5 aired, but then I said frak canon, I'm already changing the mythology so much, and these people need some hope! :)

And I'm glad to hear from a Six fan that Thea works - I love her (in all her incarnations), but I don't write them nearly as often as some of the others, so that's lovely to hear. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks!
patron saint of neglected female characters: chocolate plzrose_griffes on December 12th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
Don't make little Iris feel unloved! *g*

Bwahahahahahaha! *uses baby icon to encourage her ongoing existence*

I really wanted to go back and reread some of the earlier chapters and comment (because this is a HUGE labor of love, and I appreciate it), but I finally decided to just comment somewhere.

So I'm fascinated even as I'm heartbroken over Kara and Sam's ongoing separation... even as I recognize it's the choice he needs to make right now.

This is fantastic; what a detailed universe you've created here.
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on December 12th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
Commenting somewhere is better than nowhere, *g* so thank you! Poor not-wee fic has been somewhat overwhelmed by other people's busy-ness and other fic, I think, so I appreciate that you read and commented.

Miracle baby Iris thanks you, too! :D

Final part next year. (I'd say spring, but I always wildly underestimate how long I take to do these)
emmiere: Samemmiere on December 16th, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
And a late finish!

This is so fantastic, I'm sure I had a million thoughts about what I loved but all the little bits from just this chapter are sort of overwhelming. <3 I love moving from Leoben bringing it back to Kara's destiny, to Tyrol, to the looong-awaited Kara and Sam conversation and then the reveal and birth (whew! how do you do it?) The mythology you're building here is truly fantastic and I'm really excited to see how it plays out, since it's so similar to canon, but still splitting off at some fascinating places. Really, I just get the sense that everyone is shifting into place for the finale and I cannot wait! Well, you know. ;) (Totally worth it)

Even with your note and comments, I'm still worried for little Iris. I'm was so happy to see that's where you ended it Like the little girl crumbling into ash wasn't enough to keep me going! *wibbles a little still* ;)




Edited at 2009-12-16 05:51 am (UTC)
lizardbeth: Kara-Sam -Demetriuslizardbeth_j on December 16th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

heh, I like how you notice the Kara and Sam conversation. *g*

Hopefully the resolution is satisfying, and like I said someplace else, a moment of "ZOMG, that works so well!" and not "WTF?" But we'll see next year.

Baby Iris is grateful for your support! :)
emmiere: Love Storyemmiere on December 17th, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
heh, I like how you notice the Kara and Sam conversation. *g*

Hee, well there was some conversation in there, I'm sure of it. I know how these kids love actual sex compared to dream sex though, so I appreciated it too. Oh angst. ;)

*has confidence is your magical fic plot skills*

I think my whole previous comment is a good example of why I don't post from work though, yeesh with the non-sense making.
Taerieltaeriel on December 21st, 2009 09:24 am (UTC)
An excellent story - I'm looking forward to reading the conclusion!
lizardbeth: Anders-Thealizardbeth_j on December 22nd, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Keep an eye out next year for the rest...
(Deleted comment)
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on December 30th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)
*friends back* Dude, if we shared more interests on our userinfo we would be sockpuppets of each other. :) You know Christian Bale is one of my crushes, right? . *ahem*

ANYWAY.

Thank you, first of all! (for this one and the previous comments)

Obviously I'm not going to 'spoil' you for part IV, *g* but don't be sad. They're apart because they need to learn some things and because they're being tested if they'll do the right thing. But as we know, destiny will have its way.
(Deleted comment)
bastetseye: BSG Sam/Karabastetseye on January 8th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
Spent the last couple of hours reading all of this, It's now nearly 2:30am!

I'm completely caught up in this story and so eager to know what's going to happen, so please don't wait to long to update!
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on January 10th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
oh good, I'm glad to hear you were enthralled. :)

I'll try not to take too long, I promise!

Thanks!
entertaining in a disturbing waylyssie on January 10th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to think of what to say that isn't "what they said". Although, really, I keep coming back to the part where Kara shot Sam's dog!

And then they had sex in a closet, during which I kept going "....you two. *facepalm*" MAGNETS, LIZARDBETH. THEY ARE LIKE MAGNETS.

I do like all of the mythology, and the idea that Sam (and others) keep srewing up and getting it wrong, because it's hard to change the course of things if you're not all dedicated to it.

*shakes fist at Leoben* Don't be sending her into the maelstrom, mr. slick.

ALSO. I'm glad we're getting to Boomer soon. Poor Boomer, stuck with CAVIL and THREE.
lizardbeth: Anders-Thealizardbeth_j on January 13th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC)
*unearths comment from pile of P-C notifications*

They ARE magnets, yes. Totally. To the point where if they're in vicinity they can't help coming closer, even when everything else tells them they should stay back. which kind of sucks for everyone involved.

By shooting his dog, I assume you meant punching him in the face? cuz, boy have I had that scene a long time. When y'all were angsting in the comments for 'Labyrinth' and I told you they'd meet at the algae planet, I already had that drafted. heh.

They do, they all keep screwing it up. Sam more than anyone, as he's finding out, but he's not wrong either.

Yes, poor Boomer. I'll go back to her next to recover that part of the Cylon side of the evac. At least she's not Cavil's play toy in my 'verse though. And Caprica's still with her.

Thanks!
entertaining in a disturbing waylyssie on January 13th, 2010 05:27 am (UTC)
Hee. Sorry. i should have poked you and said "heeeeey" I was very lazy about getting around to the big bangs.

I actually meant when Kara shot the raiders. Poor puppies.

But I was pleased about her punching him in the face. =D (which is so sad, really. violence never solves anything, tsk)
lizardbeth: Anders - gunlizardbeth_j on January 13th, 2010 06:01 am (UTC)
oh duh. *rolls eyes at self* Somehow I got stuck on the "shoot the dog" trope, and didn't think about the obvious.

I'm writing more porn, that's my excuse!
jencut_thestring on January 15th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
I LOVE this story. Quite a spin-off, an all kinds of epic. ;-)

Very interesting you paired off Sam with Thea - though I've always been of the opinion they'd make beautiful cylon!babies. :D Still wondering how it'll work out in the end...

Also, I love that you've included pretty much every character that counts. You've managed their voices very well!
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on January 15th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!

heh, yes, Sam and Thea have made one really beautiful miracle Cylon!baby. No ugly genes there!

It's a heart-breaking triangle for me, because I love all of them SO MUCH. And nobody's wrong or bad, it's just complicated. *sigh*
korekorenap on January 23rd, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
So I decided to read the unfinished opus because I'm apparently a masochist. Well that and the damn porn made me do it. Given there are twelve months in 2010 and this is still the first one I must fight sliding into a deep dark fanfic depression as I await the end.

So the final five were a wee bit arrogant and created immortality taking away a certainty of life. I guess without death taxes just aren't enough for people. I love cylon centric fic because there just wasn't enough explanation of them and your mythology works to provides the reason for the early departure of the 13th tribe. And really explains why the five were only five. (I really couldn't imagine five people knowing about the coming annihilation of a planet and one of them saying hey it's okay there are going to five of us left standing- resurrection itself being forbidden and the reason for Kobol going up in smoke makes even RDM mythology work better.)

I want to know what your earth is like since that can be anything now. I'm way curious to find out what choices Sam and Kara made in the past and why they apparently can't be together until the cycle is broken.

The characters are all consistent with the originals and often more interesting with the added depth. This is just a great well thought out story that gets better every chapter.
lizardbeth: Anders-Thealizardbeth_j on January 24th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC)
I'm glad you read it, even if there's a bit of a wait for the finale! But be strong --- no deep, dark depression allowed! :P

There'll be a bit more on Old!Earth and its final days in the last part. But I think you've got the main idea already. The Five had to re-construct the Colony's resurrection chambers which were destroyed at the Temple. They would've saved more if they could've, but the task was just too big, and they couldn't do it too openly. And yes, they were definitely into immortality (they were probably protesting taxes too, but that part of history's been forgotten, hee!).. Resurrection, death, and the cycle of time are very much entwined in this mythology.

But in any case, before I go blabbing it all *g*, I'll just say thanks for reading and commenting!
imelda72imelda72 on April 28th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
Ack! Oh no! I didn’t think I would ever come to the end of the posted chapters! This fic has been keeping me company for a couple of days and is delightful. I am intrigued by the new mythology you’ve created, I love all the hints and glimpses you give us, and as usual, I think you get the characters spot-on. Since my last comment, I think my favorite parts have been: Sam seeing all of his past lives in the temple, and the Kara/Sam reunion (the one where they frak, not when she punches him, :-p, although I loved the punch, too! SO Kara). I hope they get to be together again…. Anywho, now there’s no more and I’m off to cry.

Hm, since I generally just gush, I wonder if you’re curious about the (few) things that don’t work for me. A couple of times I felt like the gods or Sam’s visions or whatever were being overly mysterious, and it was more frustrating than intriguing. Especially because I’m also more interested in Sam and the others’ character arcs, rather than their slowly-unraveling destinies. Besides that, I, cough cough, don’t really care about Isis. At least, not yet. I have enough faith in you as a writer to have patience, and to wait and see what your plans are for Sammy’s family. (But I will always long for Kara and Sam to get back together!)

That’s it, pretty much. I’m loving everything else in this fic and look forward to the concluding story!!! :-D
lizardbeth: Anders with ciglizardbeth_j on April 30th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
ah yes, sorry, I'm not quite fast enough to finish the next part by the time you reached the end! But it'll get done soon. Soonish. :)

YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT THE MIRACLE BABY? What's wrong with you??? (kidding) But that's okay, she's ... important for other things. And to be honest, she's also there because I HATED the death of Liam with a fiery passion, so I fixed it.

Cryptic prophecies and epic destinies are, I'm afraid, par for the course for this story. But part IV is mostly reveals of how the cryptic babble fits together, not new ones at least.

Thanks for your comments! Stay tuned in spring summer. :D
jeneditrixjeneditrix on May 24th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
More to the story
I've just found your fan fics and devoured this story; wow! I can't get it out of my mind. Any hope for the rest sometime soon?