[personal profile] embolalia
Title: On Whom the Pale Moon Gleams
Characters: Kara, Daniel, background Kara/Lee
Rating: PG-13
Words: ~15,500 (1,400 this chapter)
Summary: On the other side of the maelstrom, Kara wakes up to truths she never expected.
A/N: Cheers to everyone at [livejournal.com profile] bsg_epics for coordinating and participating in the Big Bang! This is in eight chapters - I'll post it over the week, but rest assured, it is finished! :)

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world forever, it seems.

- Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

Chapter One

He hums softly as he waits for her to awaken. The music flows out of him; he hasn't felt this kind of joy in years.

She gasps as her body comes to life: her chest heaves upward, her eyes open.

The first thing she sees is him, and she smiles, filled with more peace than she's ever felt before.

"Is this heaven?" she asks, eyes wide with awe.

He laughs, and it's the same laugh she remembers.

She reaches out to touch him, and sees her hand, and looks around, and starts to scream.

He holds her hand gently, waiting for her to awaken again. He had to sedate her the first time; she wouldn't stop thrashing and shrieking. She's coming out of it now, though, and he knows she can hear his voice.

"I know it's strange," he says softly. He can remember very faintly the sense of color and motion that was all around him before he was him, before he was being born like she is now. He remembers, too, the shock of it: sensation and knowledge. A woman smiling at him whom he suddenly knew, a moment where he was pulled out of the stream and became a person. Her fingers seem to tense in his and he tries to explain, uses his voice to soothe her. "The first time I was born, I wasn't anywhere else first. Just part of the stream. Even when I opened my eyes, it was like I could feel time and space shifting around me and through me. But then my mother said my name and I had language, and I knew her, and I knew myself. She smiled at me, and I was...anchored, suddenly." He shakes his head. As many times as he's thought about this, he's never tried to put it into words.

"I remember I looked around. The light seemed so bright and I didn't know what to look at. My brother and sister were across the room helping Sharon to be born. I stood for the first time, and Leoben took my hand to help me out of the tub. He touched me and the stream flooded through both of us for a second, and he laughed. I didn't understand until later that he had thought he was the only one who saw.

"They took us, me and Sharon, dressed us and brought us into another room where the Centurions were waiting. I knew what they were, from memories my parents had created, but I also saw their past, their future." He frowns, remembering how he'd gasped, how Leoben had squeezed his hand to silence him. "They approved of us, and my mother was pleased.” He shakes his head. He knew her pleasure, could read it in her eyes, could feel it in the curve of his own face reflecting her emotions. Once he would hold a child in his arms, and see her smile, and know that same love.

"Then Sharon and I met the others. There were thirteen of us, then. Thirteen left of the thirteenth tribe. The day we were born was the day they fulfilled the promise that ended the war. At the time I just knew everyone was happy.” His thumb caresses the backs of her fingers in his. He thinks of the other time she was born, of how perfect and small her hands were. The sound of his voice seems to be soothing her.

"Leoben was the one who first took care of me, helped me to eat and sleep. He had been alive already for months and was so glad I shared his knowledge of the stream. He took me to see the hybrids. There were more of them, then. They showed me things even Leoben couldn't see. That was the first time I saw your face." He smiles fondly down at her. "I wanted to show the others how beautiful it all was. I was so young!" He laughs softly at himself.

Her free hand is floating in the gel of the tank, creating ripples in the viscous fluid, circles spreading outward to lap at the sides. The reach the edge and fold back on themselves, constrained. He’s always been living this moment.

"There was an image I had in my mind. Ripples. Rings. Leoben always talked about what we saw as the stream, so it was the only language I had. I had no better way of describing it. I tried to show them one day, cut my arm open and used the blood." He glances down at where the scar had been, on that first body. "My father Sam brought me paint. The others would come and watch me as I tried to express it. Even our parents didn't seem to understand completely what I was able to see, but Sam knew the most. He would sing to me sometimes, while I worked. Sharon and Sarah, when they were there, would join in." He smiles fondly. "Sam wasn't a programmer, hadn't had much to contribute, but he put that little piece into all of us." He wraps her hand between his two. Her skin is growing chilled. So is his heart, as memories pour forth from his lips.

"John would come with the others sometimes, but he would always watch them, never me. He had dreams at night and woke, screaming in terror. I thought sometimes that he could see things too, in a different way. Once I woke him from a dream, tried to touch his hand and enter the stream with him, like with Leoben. John pushed me away, hit me." He winces. "I should have known then.

"Our parents began to make more like us, as the Centurions had demanded. First John, then Leoben--they went in order. The volume of the technology was limited in those days. And then the Johns did something to the Centurions, to change them so they wouldn't demand things of us anymore. Our parents were angry, but no one wanted to change them back. They would have killed all of us, and then the humans."

She's holding his hand tightly now, and he's not sure if she's waking up or just responding to his tension.

"I didn't pay that much attention to what the others were doing; I was absorbed by my art. Ellen would still come and watch me for hours as I painted. The Johns were angry about that." He pauses, not sure how to describe the sudden agony, the darkness. "I barely remember the attack at all, but I remember waking up again. Back here, like you are. A second chance."

He looks down at her and Kara's eyes are open. She's not panicking this time, but her eyes are scared.

"Dad?" she breathes.

Daniel smiles. "Kara. You remember me?"

She starts to nod, then looks at their joined hands, and past them at the missing tattoo on her forearm, at the resurrection tub that she's laying in. "No!" she starts to protest, pulling away, but he hangs on.

"Kara! Kara. It's alright. I'll explain. You're alive. It's alright!" He grabs her by the shoulders now, and pulls her up until she's standing, trembling with cold and shock.

She gazes down at her feet through the murky gel, her eyes wide. "This is not alright," she growls through her teeth.

He reaches for a towel, wraps it around her. "Come on," he coaxes. Forcing her to look up at him, Daniel helps her from the tub. She's poised as if for an attack, yet shivering at the same time. He tries to be gentle, uses another towel to dry her hair. It's as blond as he remembers.

As he wipes the moisture from her cheek, Kara speaks again. "Dad?" She starts to shake her head in resistance.

Daniel meets her eyes and can't help smiling. "I've missed you so much."

"But..." She stops, swallows, looks away a moment, off into memory. He waits for her to process, catches the flashes of grief and horror that cross her face. "I can't be a Cylon,” she whispers, voice curdling.

He hesitates. He knew it might come to this, leaving her with Socrata. But the joy in her eyes when she first opened them—he’ll make her understand, in time. "It's a long story."

Kara looks up at him angrily. "I can’t be."

Emotion leaps in his heart: pride and love, everything he’s waited to feel for his daughter. He can’t contain it. Nothing could ruin this moment. "Let's get you cleaned up and I'll explain."

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