[personal profile] embolalia
Title: On Whom the Pale Moon Gleams (Chapter 6)
Characters: Kara, Daniel, background Kara/Lee
Rating: PG-13
Words: ~15,500 (1,500 this chapter)
Summary: On the other side of the maelstrom, Kara wakes up to truths she never expected.

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five

***

Chapter Six

A vision overtakes Daniel as he stands on the shore of one of this world’s great oceans, watching Kara racing through the surf the way she did as a child on Aquaria. Perhaps Leoben was right about water being a catalyst; at any rate, as the salty tide rushes around Daniel’s feet, he’s suddenly on another world, ankle-deep in another ocean, standing on sharp rocks instead of fine sand.

There are snatches of their faces around him: Saul and Leoben, Galen and D’Anna. His sister’s face is twisted in grief at the devastation before them. In the distance Daniel sees ruins, and he knows where they are. “What am I?” Kara screams, and he whirls, the scene spiraling into night, into smoke and darkness.

“Dad?” Kara asks, and then he’s back. She’s standing before him, dripping wet, frowning in concern. “What is it, what did you see?”

He shakes his head. “I saw—you’ll take them to Earth.”

“But you said it was dead.”

Daniel shrugs. “It’s their destiny, it’s their journey. They’ll reach it.”

“No, we’re bringing them here,” she insists. She gets her stubbornness from her mother. “They need a place where they can live again.”

Gazing across the ocean toward the horizon, he doesn’t bother to correct her. Another vision has been haunting his dreams every night, keeping him awake and wandering at all hours: a vision of his oldest brother studying the genetic code of Sharon’s daughter, determined to dissect her and replicate her and bring her generation under his control as he has their parents’. There’s only one reason Kara would have to cry out like that on the dead world, only one reason from this day forward that she wouldn’t know exactly who and what she is. Daniel’s chest aches, but he recognizes the glimpse of his own destiny. This will be his doing.

“Dad?”

Her face is lined with worry, and Daniel forces his own expression to soften. “Don’t worry, you’ll be their guide.” He nods back toward the ship, which they’ve spend the week flying across the surface of the planet, scouting for the materials they need to build a Viper and keeping an eye out for settlement sites. Kara is single-minded in her purpose, and he’s enjoyed the chance to see her in her element. “We should get back to work,” he says, and she nods.

*

Kara winces as she sets down the soldering iron, fighting the urge to rub a hand over sore skin. She’s marked again with the stains of her various rebellions: the old Gemenese words for ‘public property’ on the inside of her elbow, a protest against her mother’s sense of ownership; a mechanical wing on her other arm, marrying her to Sam. They’ve both taken on new meaning in the past days, as her father held his breath and stroked the needle across her flesh. She’s not the same girl who chose them, and might not have chosen them again if circumstances were different. That first time Lee saw her, from a distance on New Caprica, after she got the tattoo—she still flinches at the memory.

Her fingers stroke over the raised skin, pressing down to draw out the ache. It’s for him this time: to bring him here, to bring them all here. He’s married, and so is she, and the very best she can do is give them all a chance to live with sun on their faces and clean air in their lungs.

The Viper has taken nearly a month to finish, but all it needs now is a coat of paint and a tail number. They won’t understand where she’s come from or why her ship is intact, but the Gods have mysterious ways, and they’ve all seen more than a few miracles. Back in the first days of the war, she prayed for Lee’s soul and only hours later he was standing before her. Kara wonders if they’ve had a funeral, wonders if Lee spoke, or cried. More likely he and Sam got into a fight. Her eyes burn at the thought of Lee having to hang her picture in the Memorial Hall, having to stand in that place where she put up Kat’s picture, where he comforted her over yet another loss and then kissed her like he couldn’t believe they’d both survived the day.

A shudder ripples through her. For weeks she’s put off the one question that haunts her every time she thinks of Lee or Sam: what if her father hadn’t found her? What if she were never coming back? Her visions of Leoben, of her mother, have faded into the merest dreams. The taste of fear is sharp on her tongue and she smacks her hand against the side of the Viper, reminding herself that she’s here. Trying not to think of how close she was to gone.

Kara takes deep breaths, calming her nerves, carefully paints on her old tail number. That ship saw her through danger more times than any other—she’d get its name tattooed on her body sooner than half the men she’s loved.

“Almost ready?” Daniel asks behind her.

“Getting there,” Kara sighs, shrugging her shoulders to release the day’s tension. “It’ll pass inspection at first glance, but it’s obviously new. As long as they let me on board, though, I can do the rest. The old man just needs to listen to me, and he will.”

“He loves you.”

She peers at him, trying to discern all the emotions in her father’s face: regret, jealousy, relief. “Yeah,” Kara answers, glancing away. “We’re family.” She gathers up her tools, avoiding Daniel’s eyes. The Old Man got over Boomer being a Cylon, and adores Hera as if she were his granddaughter, but Kara knows better than to doubt Adama’s rage, or his mercilessness in the face of betrayal. She has no idea what her return will mean.

*

Kara’s been with him for nearly two months when Daniel wakes in the dark to the knowledge that it’s time. The human fleet is nearing the nebula. Against the backs of his eyes, stars prickle and shiver, obscured by the clouded color of the formation and ships he recognizes all too well. John is there, waiting. Daniel reaches out in the dark, trying to see further, and with a wracking heave he can feel his brother’s mind. John is darker than before, his entire being twisted inward away from the stream. He’s consumed by hunger for power, by a seething jealous anger. By an unyielding hatred for humanity and a determination to seize Sharon’s child.

He wakes again, the beams of the ceiling clear now in the dimness. Daniel dresses quickly and heads through the ship to the dusty control room near his resurrection tank. He used this years ago, when he was trying to program new ideas into his creatures. It uses older technology, for writing and rewriting new skill sets. For the last few weeks he’s been mulling over how John must have used something like this to make their parents sleepers, their original memories suppressed. The problem has been processing in the back of his mind, and now the answer seems obvious. Daniel wipes the machines off and sets to work.

“Dad?” Kara calls hours later.

His heart clenches at the sound. “Here!” he shouts back, and she appears in the doorway. She’s avoided this part of the ship, with its Cylon technology, with the resurrection tank she still won’t look at.

“What is this?” she asks, gesturing to the tangle of wires before him.

“The last step,” he says carefully. “It’s time for you to go back.”

Kara’s eyes light up in anticipation and eagerness. “You saw it?”

“Yes.”

She nods, circling the chair-like apparatus in the center of the room. “What does it do?”

Daniel swallows back the truth and smiles. “It’s what allows me to transport your ship back into space near the Galactica.”

“But I need to be in the Viper,” Kara argues.

“This will let me lock on to your signature,” he promises quickly. “I just need to scan you. Come here, lie back.”

She does it without complaint. She trusts him. Daniel looks away. If this weren’t the only way to save her life—but it is. As Kara lies back, he gazes down at her. “I love you,” he says softly. “I always have.”

Kara nods. “I love you, too.” A tear streaks back from the corner of her eye, finding its way along her temple, and Daniel flicks the machine on. His daughter’s eyes snap shut, her body spasming for a moment that seems to last forever before going limp. She’ll remember nothing more of the last weeks than their flights over the planet. He has to give her some bit of hope to hold onto.

Daniel presses a kiss to her cheek and lifts her in his arms. All that’s left is to set her in her Viper and release her into space. She’ll find her way back to him, someday. He can’t see when, or what she’ll survive in the meantime, but he knows, as he’s always known, that there’s no need for goodbye.

***

Chapter Seven
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embolalia

December 2016

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