[personal profile] embolalia
Title: On Whom the Pale Moon Gleams (Chapter 3)
Characters: Kara, Daniel, background Kara/Lee
Rating: PG-13
Words: ~15,500 (2,600 this chapter)
Summary: On the other side of the maelstrom, Kara wakes up to truths she never expected.

Chapter Two

***

Chapter Three

Daniel settles himself on the edge of the hatch and begins again. Kara watches him this time with more faith, taking in the lines around his eyes and the flight of his hands with a thousand tiny shocks of recognition.

"When I first found it, I thought that this planet was the answer to all our problems. My parents had convinced the Centurions to stop fighting the humans, but if we could give them a planet this far away, it seemed like my parents' fears of war would be settled. And John could have as much space as he wanted. So I went back.

"Perhaps it was how young I was, but I thought that John would have grown up by then, would have changed. Or that my parents would have taught him better. I don't know exactly what I expected, but it wasn't what I found. I got back to where I'd left, but the Colony had moved. I couldn't find it. I couldn't even find my parents in the stream anymore. Leoben was there, but distant. I couldn't reach him the way I used to."

Daniel pauses, shaking his head. "There's nothing quite so lonely as going home and finding it's gone."

Kara nods, remembering the desolation of Caprica. "Yeah."

He swallows. "I hid my ship in an asteroid field. I had technology on board--a device based on something my father had been working on while they traveled from Earth, a transporter that could move tylium ore from one point to another instantly. He'd been trying to recreate the FTL drives his people once had, and since I already knew how those worked I was able to get his transporter going. I used it to go down to Picon. I wasn't sure it would work, but I had made myself a back-up body, just in case."

Kara snorts at the oddity of it, thinking of Sharon. Death as a learning experience. Then her eyes dart back to Daniel as she realizes suddenly where this is going. "You went to Picon."

"I did. Twelve years had passed since the war ended, and I wasn't sure what I was going to find. I had seen some of the Centurions' memories of the colonies: their decadence, their injustice, their technology. What I found was incredibly different. No more virtual life, hardly any computers. Ships just sophisticated enough to get cargo from one planet to another, except for the Battlestars, and they'd been built to eliminate networking as much as possible."

She smirks. "I know."

"I explored on my own for a while, and then one day I wandered into a bar. There were some off-duty marines in there, throwing darts at a target shaped like a Centurion. One woman was especially vicious. I watched her for a long time." His careful gaze makes Kara conscious of the new tension in her shoulders, the way her teeth worry her lip. "She was very damaged, Kara. Fighting the Centurions had scarred her so badly even she didn't think she could return to who she was. But I could see her in the stream, both the way she was and the way she could have been, if not for them. And I loved her. I wanted to bring her back to herself. I had failed to show my people, to show John, the wonder of the stream, but if I could show her peace, show the humans, I thought maybe I could bring the worlds back together from the other direction."

His voice is impassioned and Kara smiles, thinking of Lee. And then she bites her lips together, dreading the answer to her next question. "She never told me you met in a bar," she says softly. She doesn't even have the courage to ask it.

Daniel's eyes fill with sorrow. "I wish I'd been there to tell you."

Kara's heart races, her eyes locked on his. "I don't understand." She doesn't want to understand.

"I began to play, in the bar. Music for her, music that came from my father and from everywhere I'd been. It was how I first got Socrata's attention." He grins. "And we fell in love. It was different than anything I'd ever felt. It was wonderful. And just as the other Cylons had responded to my art, the people responded to my music. By the end of the year your mother had been transferred and I had moved with her. People on Caprica wanted to hear my music, and I wanted to share it with them. And we got married."

There are tears in her eyes and she's not sure why.

"I never thought we could have a child."

Kara's eyes clamp shut, and moisture tracks down her cheeks.

"I knew, though, the moment you were conceived. I recognized you. I loved you."

She looks at him, still crying, still voiceless. She watched her mother die again just hours ago but somehow seeing her this way is worse. Daniel rises, hesitantly, and sinks down beside Kara on the grass. "It's alright," he says again, reaching out for her with a tenderness that is so painfully familiar. And she lets him hold her, for the first time in twenty years. It's the other half of what she began in the maelstrom: understanding. Forgiveness.

*

The sun is dimming as Kara straightens and speaks again. "You left us." Her voice is thick with tears but her tone is accusatory.

Daniel lets her pull away, but remains beside her. She doesn't stop him. "I had no choice. When I first got to the Colonies, and then to Caprica, I had hoped there might be some of my kind there, that I would find them eventually. In all those years, I never saw any sign that they still existed. And I was so happy with you and your mom. I remember the first time I let you play my piano." He smiles at her, and Kara finds herself returning the smile. "I played a few notes, and then you joined me. You played his song, your grandfather's song, as if you'd just written it yourself."

Kara shakes her head, stubbornly ignoring a sudden chill passing over her. She laces her fingers through the grass as if the truths still in store will send her spinning free of this reality. "I don't remember that."

He shrugs. "You were very young. But you took to it right away. To art, too. I remember showing you the symbol I had tried to paint, the symbol in the clouds. It was like you knew what it meant."

She laughs, and looks at him with the same wonder she did that day.

"I didn't think you could see the stream, not like I could, but I could see you in it. I knew you had to know about the storm. And I knew you would be important."

Kara's eyes widen in understanding. "And you told Socrata." It's not a question.

Daniel hesitates. "Later. When I knew I couldn't stay." His fingers begin to pluck at the grass, echoing Kara's. "I was playing one night, at the Helice Opera House in Caprica City. And afterward a man was waiting for me outside the building. Fans waited for me all the time, wanting autographs or just to say hello. I didn't think anything of it until he stepped into the light."

"Cavil?" she asks quickly.

He shakes his head. "Sam. My father."

She raises her eyebrows in surprise. "What's wrong with that?"

Daniel sighs with the pain of the memory. "He didn't know who I was. I ran to him, hugged him, and he didn't know me. But he didn't know himself, either. He thought he was human, thought he had been in the military for years. He was a little surprised when I hugged him but he told me he was a huge fan, that my music spoke to him. He had no idea it was his." Daniel’s hands tighten into fists. "I didn't know what it meant, but I knew something was wrong. My tour was supposed to move on to another city but I didn't want to leave him like that. I stayed another night there, got Sam to agree to have dinner with me. It was a mistake." He turns his face away. "John found us at Sam’s house. He killed Sam at once, and then came at me, furious that I was alive, demanding to know how I had survived. He was sure that I couldn't resurrect, so he didn't bother to conceal what he'd done. He said he'd wiped our parents' minds, was forcing them to live among the humans so they'd realize what a waste humanity was." Daniel snorts. "He complained, even, that he'd have to rewrite Sam's memories again.

"I tried--tried to convince him that there was something beautiful in humanity, that I'd found love and it outshone anything we'd known, anything our parents could have programmed into us." His eyes meet Kara's. "That was what did it. He got so angry he killed me."

She nods, her eyes worried.

"I woke up alone, back on my ship, no one to help me with the awakening. And I knew I had to leave, that if I stayed you and your mother would be in danger, too."

"You couldn't bring me with you?" Her voice is high-pitched, child-like.

Daniel takes her hands in his. "I had seen pieces of your future in the stream. You were needed there. Destiny would not have let me take you."

She shakes her head fiercely. "Destiny--"

"Kara." His tone orders her to give him her eyes, and she does. "I had no choice. I knew that. I snuck back, praying that because Cavil didn't know I could resurrect he wouldn't think to look for my family, or that he'd believe like I had that we couldn't reproduce and wouldn't know you were mine if he found you. I stayed just long enough to say goodbye, to try to tell your mother how special you were, how she had to make sure you grew up ready for the things that would be asked of you." He sighs. "She wanted an explanation but I couldn't give her one. I couldn't tell her what I was--as much as I loved her, as much as I had healed her in those years, I don't think she would have understood."

"She never did," Kara whispers.

His eyes apologize, but his voice is firm. "You're here, where I always knew you would be. All the rest since that moment--I've spent all that time trying to get here. And so have you."

*

It’s grown dark, now, and Kara doesn't resist when her father pulls her to her feet and tugs her back toward the ship. She sighs softly when her feet leave the grass for the metal planking, but the craft is warmer and she finds she's hungry again.

Daniel hears her stomach growl and leads Kara further into the ship. "Time for dinner." She tries to stop and look at the paintings this time, especially when she sees a figure of a child, but her hunger draws her on. They stop in the galley. The kitchen itself is make-shift, appliances welded into the walls of a room designed for another purpose. She wonders what it was before the final five stole it to make their escape. Daniel reaches into a cabinet and pulls out a jar. "Here you go."

Kara unscrews the lid while he gathers other things and dips in a finger, tastes experimentally. Her eyes fall closed at the sweetness, the sudden memory of childhood treats. "Honey," she says in surprise. "We haven't had this in the fleet in years."

Daniel grins. "Lots of things are easier to come by on a planet."

"A planet with bees?" She shakes her head in doubt.

"Not exactly." He lays out other food on the table: bread, more apples, some kind of dried meat.

Kara begins to eat ravenously. "This is so much better than algae," she gets out between bites.

He nods, eating his own share more slowly.

"So, what?" she asks quickly, "just something like bees?"

Daniel swallows and continues his story. "Actually, real bees. Bees are from Kobol, and my parents had brought them to Earth. My other mother, besides Ellen, was the one who knew about animal life, and in the data Ellen gave me were the genetic codes for most of the species that existed back there. The first time I found this planet, it had vegetation and some animal life, but not nearly as much as now. When I had to leave the colonies, I came back. I knew it would be a long time until I saw you again, and I was lonely. So I began to put the codes into the resurrection machine, to see what it could come up with. And it worked. I began to seed the planet with other animal life: bees and goats and dolphins...the animals of Kobol."

"What, like you're one of the Gods?" Kara snaps, shocked at his presumption.

He snorts. "Your mother gave you her religious notions?"

"Hey!" Kara protests. "The Gods have done more for me than you ever—"

He shakes his head. "We'll have to debate that later. Can I finish?"

"Fine." She glares and goes back to her food.

"It was lonely here, even with the animals, and eventually I decided to try to make people."

Kara stops eating in startlement, but doesn't say anything.

"Without Ellen's gift for programming, though, I could only generate bodies. My people came out...unformed. I've tried to give them language, to show them the stream. They make their own music now, and art." He smiles like a proud father. "They're learning. Creating their own knowledge. In the past few years, I've mostly just watched them develop."

Her eyes are wary, almost horrified. "How is that different?" Kara demands. "Hasn't the creation of the cylons--twice!--taught us not to take creation into our own hands? Isn't that what your parents wanted to tell all of us?"

Daniel blinks at her in surprise, but then he shakes his head. "I think--No. I remember. I remember from their own minds what my parents wanted us to learn, and it's more complicated than that. It's not the technology that's wrong, Kara, or the creation of sentience. It's keeping power over it. It's exactly what went wrong with John."

"And so what if he finds this place? And makes your peaceful little human prototypes his slaves because he can?"

He shakes his head again. "I've seen the stream, Kara. They will have a role to play too, in the future of humanity."

She frowns at him. "That doesn't get you out of everything, you know. 'I've seen it.' Leoben tried to put that over on me, too, and it never turned out the way he wanted it."

Daniel surprises her by smiling. "How is he? Leoben?"

Kara glares. "Oh, he's just frakking great. Killed a few of him myself."

For a moment Daniel studies her carefully and she wonders what he would make of her if he could see her the way she was before, with scars and tattoos and long-healed breaks.

"What happened to you?" he asks softly.

She shakes her head, laughter bubbling up at the ridiculousness of the question. "What, since I was six?"

"Yes," he says firmly. "Tell me."

***

Chapter Four
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embolalia

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