[personal profile] embolalia
Title: On Whom the Pale Moon Gleams (Chapter 7)
Characters: Kara, Daniel, background Kara/Lee
Rating: PG-13
Words: ~15,500 (2,000 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

***

Chapter Seven

Daniel never knew how lonely he was before. Now silence is heavy in the air around him, the walls muffling his muttered words with warped echoes. He goes out among his people and finds they’ve nearly forgotten him in his short absence since Kara arrived. A new character has emerged in their stories: a man whose skin shines like light, a man who can fly up in the sky and command crops and speak in tongues they don’t understand.

A smile crosses his lips as he listens. Kara would be both amused and appalled that he’s become the image of the One True God for these folk. His heart aches at the thought of her.

It’s difficult to tell his own anxiety from the pressure of the stream in his mind, but finally, after several months have passed, Daniel wakes knowing it’s time to take the next step. He watches out the window as his ship lifts off and sees children shrieking and chasing after him, their elders kneeling in awe.

When he steps out of the ship again on the scorched earth of his parents’ home, it’s never seemed more important to protect his children from this. Except that his first child is here too, her body burned and mangled. Daniel sits beside her for two long days, memorizing the healed fractures that mottle her bones, the artifacts of her identity that still hang over her heart. He’s never fought his destiny for more than a moment, but as he strokes the rough, ruined metal of Kara’s ship Daniel rages inside at how brutally it’s treated his daughter. He turns on the beacon in an instant impulse, then stares at his own hands, wondering what it is that guides him: God? A God? Some glitch in his programming?

Ships streak through the atmosphere. Human and Cylon together, neither shooting at the other, and Daniel stares up at them, grinning even as tears streak down his cheeks. Watching from afar he sees them land, sees several of his parents and his siblings standing among humans on the shore. Not all: Cavil’s rage tingles in the back of his mind. They’re still being chased. He’s indescribably sad; it means he can’t bring them to his world yet. And yet he knows they’ll walk those sands, too.

Kara turns away, Leoben trailing her. Daniel wants to laugh, to hug his brother close to him. Instead he follows.

What comes next haunts his dreams for years. His daughter, his little girl who once sat in his lap as he played for her, finds her own body. Even Leoben runs away, and Daniel flings silent curses after him. In the darkness Daniel watches as she builds a pyre, a monument to something she doesn’t understand. He’d give anything to go to her, to hold her, to explain all the secrets. But he’s a stranger, and telling her would only break her heart again.

The fleet jumps away, and he can’t help but follow. Sinking into the stream brings some peace: he can feel Kara now in her aching confusion, but he can feel her future, too. She will know such joy.

*

She’s stopped ranting about it to whoever will listen, refuses to describe it when Leoben asks, but Kara still has the dreams at night. She’s as sure as she’s ever been that she flew over a bright planet, blue and green and richly alive. The others look at her like she’s crazy or avoid her altogether. She disappeared and came back and led them to a dead piece of rock; none of those are forgivable offenses. If she were in their place, she’d even agree—better to lose one person but keep hoping for Earth than to be like this, adrift, still at war and with no end to either in sight.

By day she goes through the motions of being CAG to pilots who no longer entirely trust her and at night she slips away to hold Sam’s hand. Somehow she thinks he can feel it when she’s remembering finding her body, when she’s remembering how much happiness they shared in the early days together. Cottle says Sam probably can’t even hear her, but still she tries to remember the good times.

That corpse, that pyre on the beach—they’re both so impossible that she can put them out of her mind for hours or days at a time, until some smell from the mess hall reminds her of her own burning flesh and she bolts for the head, retching.

Even real ambrosia, when she can get it, won’t make the dream go away. Kara gets glimpses of waves crashing over a shore or stars shining overhead just like on Kobol, and it’s the worst kind of ache to wake up and remember, because Galactica isn’t a place with hope anymore.

*

It’s almost time. Each day Daniel wakes with pressure building inside him—and the knowledge that Kara needs him. On impulse he slips into the fleet and transports himself on board the Galactica.

He finds himself in the middle of a hallway, the walls covered with pictures and letters, burned-out candles littering the floor. With a sharp breath of relief Daniel sees he’s alone.

The hatch at one end of the corridor opens with a clang and a man steps through, a man Daniel has known since Kara was a little girl.

Daniel watches as he stops halfway down the hall, his fingers hovering over one photograph in an unconscious caress. Then the man glances toward him, his eyes glassy with tears. “Who did you lose?” he asks softly.

Daniel opens his mouth, unsure how to answer. “My daughter,” he finally says. The words feel right after his long days with Kara’s body. His daughter, who grew up to be that woman, is lost to him no matter what the future brings.

Lee Adama nods toward the picture. “My wife.”

A wave of fear crashes over Daniel.

“My ex-wife,” Lee adds quietly.

The fear recedes. Daniel holds out his hand on an impulse, and Lee clasps it. When they let go, Lee nods and leaves.

Daniel proceeds further into the ship. It smells familiarly of the Colony, though he isn’t sure why. He passes his father Galen and a grin washes his face, but he stays silent.

And then he stops short at the sound of music.

Somewhere his own music is playing, not in his head, not in the stream, but with the tinny resonance of a recording. Daniel races through corridors that suddenly seem to twist and turn around him until he stumbles to a halt inside the door of the sick bay. There are people everywhere, human and Cylon both, but no one notices him as he slips past the curtains. Then he’s there, standing just a few feet from his daughter where she’s leaning over Sam’s body.

Daniel could cry at the sight: Sam’s head is wrapped in bandages and he’s sickly and pale, nothing like the laughing, charming man he remembers. And yet he can feel his father all around him, the music strengthening his spirit, wakening his mind to all the truth that has been suppressed for so long.

Kara leans forward, resting her forehead against Sam’s hand, clasped in her own. Her shoulders are locked, tension keeping her from falling apart, but somehow he thinks he can hear her crying like a child. She starts to turn and Daniel slips away.

*

The sheer scope of the Galactica amazes him after so many years alone on his own small ship. There are miles of corridors, hundreds of bunks and storerooms, thousands of people. They jostle past as if Daniel is invisible. A small girl with dark curly hair runs by, narrowly avoiding his knees, and Daniel turns in an instant of panic before her mother chases after her with a mumbled excuse me. He stares after his sister with tears filling his eyes, his hand still outstretched to call her back. She doesn’t know him, but one day she will.

They’ve even built a bar, he can smell it a mile away. It’s been decades since he had a good whiskey and it burns as he knocks it back. In the mirror behind the counter - a polished section of what was once a tylium drum - Daniel catches sight of a piano.

He spends a whole day tuning it, and until Kara appears he doesn’t realize he’s been waiting for her. But then he starts, letting his fingers slip over the keys in patterns so often repeated that they come without a thought. He tells her story back to her, in bits and pieces, stanzas and refrains, all the things he can’t tell her in words. Eventually she joins him, and her eyes are wary and her words are bitter but she’s beside him, and it’s almost enough.

He’s never known her like this before; back on his ship she was so guarded, keeping secrets at first for the sake of the secrets and later for his sake instead. She still holds back now but when she lashes out with her words in anger and despair, Daniel can feel how true they are for her. Again he burns with rage at the universe.

A few nights pass before Kara shows him what Sharon’s daughter has made: a series of dots, of notes, a pattern buried deep in her heritage. The child sensed somehow that it was for Kara, that the song in their hearts is the same. Daniel’s not sure whether to cry or laugh, but he wishes Sam were himself again, could remember and understand that his gift will be part of all their descendants. He plays for Kara, her hands beside his the way they first played together when she was a child. Their shoulders brush as he remembers and he’s sure she can see some part of his projection from the way she turns to him in surprise. He doesn’t bother to hide it; he lets her feel the intensity of the love and regret flowing through him.

The notes play out into silence, into release. Kara’s breathing seems to come more easily than it has in days. Around him emotions swell: his parents have recognized the music, perhaps even him. With a rush of adrenaline he feels Ellen’s alarm.

As the last notes ring out, Daniel projects a farewell into Kara’s mind and transports himself back to his ship. It’s empty and cold there, but newly peaceful. He’ll see them all again soon.

*

Kara can’t remember now if the music was always part of her dreams or not. Perhaps it was just too soft before; now it seems indistinguishable from the planet, from the joy she feels flying over it and watching the bright swirls of rivers and streams. Kara no longer questions her dreams. There’s no reason to believe that place is any more than a figment of her imagination, inspired by longing and a thousand legends. But she needs it to be real, and there’s a kind of release in belief that lets her go on.

As they prepare to rescue Hera, the little girl who gave her the music, Kara can feel the rightness of it. Lee is by her side, planning the mission, sharing in the dream because he believes in her the way she believes recklessly, completely that there’s reason to hope again.

In the final moments of the war, an answer occurs to Kara that seems startling only because she’s never thought of it before, and because she knows at once that she’s right. When she was four years old, the universe told her where home would be, and she raised her hands to her father’s piano to tell him, too. Kara keys in the notes, music swirling in her mind as if she’s playing a piano and not a keyboard.

The universe reforms itself around them, flooding through her mind in the instant of the jump, and as the ship shudders and groans to a halt, Kara smiles in pure relief.

***

Chapter Eight

Date: 2013-08-09 02:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kdbleu.livejournal.com
I realized last night as I was going to bed how heartbreaking it was that Kara lost all of her memories of her father and Earth when she went back. A clever solution, more so than what the show came up with, but sad that she had to forget her renewed connection to Lee. (And the knowledge that Sam is pretty much her Grandfather. eww- kinda)

The scene between Lee and Daniel is so sad too. Daniel has lost Kara just as much and can't tell anyone.

Daniel as God is pretty awesome. Great little detail.

Date: 2013-08-10 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] embolalia.livejournal.com
Thanks! And as for all the angst of it ... just wait, there's one more chapter :)

Date: 2013-08-10 12:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kdbleu.livejournal.com
I was wondering how many more chapters. I will miss it angst and all when it's over. :)

Date: 2013-08-10 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] embolalia.livejournal.com
Just pre-scheduling it now! It always felt slightly unfinished, but I added a last paragraph and now I am done and happy with it! :D

Date: 2013-08-10 01:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kdbleu.livejournal.com
Yay! I will likely reread when it's all posted, for flow. Can't wait.

Date: 2013-08-10 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] embolalia.livejournal.com
Go for it! Though there was a two year writing break between chapters five and six owing to discovering LJ and getting diverted, so...hopefully there's flow :)

Date: 2013-08-10 10:42 pm (UTC)
lanalucy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lanalucy
I absolutely adore that Daniel rages at the universe on his daughter's behalf.

Date: 2013-08-11 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] embolalia.livejournal.com
It was interesting to write him this way, where he knows even more of the universe than Leoben, but is still a parent who doesn't want to see his daughter suffer.

Date: 2013-08-11 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragoninthecup.livejournal.com
This all works together so well. LOVE the way that Kara struggles with her loss of memory, combined with a certainty that she has a purpose. It is brilliant, and makes perfect sense (where the show did not.) I'm amazed at the way you've crafted this. Just wonderful!

 photo 181-OhYeah.gif

Date: 2013-08-11 05:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] embolalia.livejournal.com
Thank you! It's years of head!canon in the making - and frustration with all the blanks the show left for us :)

Date: 2013-08-12 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rirenec.livejournal.com
Oh, that he came to see her! And his reactions to the beach scene... somehow I find it both beautiful and yet like he's just another participant in her suffering.

Gonna take a break here and read the rest tomorrow. Gorgeous work, sweetie.
Edited Date: 2013-08-12 06:56 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-08-13 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] embolalia.livejournal.com
He was fascinating to write - almost an OC, there's so little canon about him. Thank you!

Date: 2013-08-12 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] newnumbertwo.livejournal.com
So very gorgeous. I love that Daniel feels so much as he sees Kara's body and her reaction to it, as she moves through the motions.

This is such a wonderful fix-it. That makes much more sense than what we were given.

Beautiful.

Date: 2013-08-13 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] embolalia.livejournal.com
Thank you! I finally made peace with some of my demons of canon :)

Date: 2013-08-13 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deborah-judge.livejournal.com
One thing I like about this relationship is that it's sort of the inverse of Hra's role, instead of human-Cylon union coming about by coming to terms with having a Cylon as a child, it's about coming to terms with having a Cylon as a father. Interesting.

Date: 2013-08-14 02:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] embolalia.livejournal.com
Yeah. There are a lot of more interesting things they never got to do with Hera because she was so young she was mostly treated as an inanimate object. And Kara's sense of her parenthood and self-identity have always been so complex.

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