Their devastation over the desolation of Earth seemed silly a few hours later. Baltar, lab coat at the ready, had noticed the plant that Roslin had found growing in the dirt. Given the stammering of his description of the “medicinal” values of the leaf, it shouldn’t have surprised any of them that he knew all about it. Although, he maintained that it was because of the anti-radiation treatments that used the root.
“Of course it is,” Roslin soothed, holding back her smile.
And roots there were in plenty.
“The radiation is minimal at this point,” one of the scientist Sixes reported later. “To both our species, it would still be fatal over a very long-term, but twenty years should lessen that to terms of a lifetime. A generation from now and it will not be an issue. Provided we can create anti-radiation treatments with these plants, and perhaps even grow them in our ships with what power and technology we have left, well...”
“We could eke out a living on this planet until it’s fully safe,” Adama finished her sentence with a rumbling comment.
And that was that. Settlement began almost immediately, even when the Final Four started reported confusing memories about what exactly Earth had been. No one cared so much.
“It’s pretty bleak,” Dee said, hands on her hips as she watched the people spread out.
“New Caprica 2.0 is a good name,” Gaeta mused.
“Are you nuts?” Kara asked skeptically. She should really be searching for the radio signal that had brought them here, but something kept telling her not to. “This is hardly an improvement.”
“Actually, it would make sense,” said Helo, undisturbed as always. “With the addition of radiation, this planet is much closer to Old Caprica, so it’s a better representation of the planet. Hence the name, New Caprica 2.0.”
Kara eyed him steadily, but shrugged. At this point, naming was not her concern. Not that she was addressing any of those concerns, managing to avoid all her issues by working far away from them. It managed for now, and it managed for the next six weeks.
Caprica had lost track of Saul when Ellen and Boomer found them all, and somehow it didn’t feel as heartbreaking as it might have. Finding Earth meant a home for her child; she didn’t need Saul for that. If he wanted to leave, she wouldn’t begrudge him.
That’s what she told him and herself, in any case. That one hazy, bitter night that had ended in desperately warm and tangled limbs spoke of something else, but both she and the other party had sworn to dismiss it.
Her child was starting to move noticeably; Cottle said it was a son, and she was starting to think about names, as she helped build the settlements on Earth.
Pausing to let the babe act out a frustration, she put a hand to her belly and breathed out slowly. He certainly seemed to know how important he was, and was giving himself airs.
“Hey,” came a crisp call, and Caprica turned to see who. Kara Thrace, bundled up in a warm jacket, stood with arms crossed a few feet off. “I need to talk to you.”
Caprica didn’t really have the ability to blush, but she felt vaguely uncomfortable at this. “What is it, Captain Thrace?”
“Oh for the gods’ sakes, call me Kara,” the pilot answered, slightly snappy, arms crossing even more tightly. A light wind blew her hair in wild wisps about her face.
Caprica took a few steps closer, looking down straight into her eyes. “That night didn’t happen,” she said in a low tone. “We agreed—why are you here?”
Kara bit her lip, brow deeply furrowed. “I have a problem. I’m pregnant.”
Caprica’s discomfort vanished in an instant. “You are?”
“Yes,” Kara said bluntly.
Caprica felt a smile spread across her lips. “That’s wonderful, Kara—we always thought that Hera would be the only one of this new generation. But now you and I...Sam must be proud.”
Kara’s scowl didn’t budge. “It’s not Sam’s.”
Caprica blinked, and sure enough, she could remember the past weeks and how Kara seemed to be avoiding Sam, and him likewise. “Then it is...?” she asked, confused.
“No, it’s still half-cylon,” Kara said grimly. “I know it’s not Sam’s, since, well, I had plenty of signs since the last—you know, you don’t need to know that part.” She bit her lip again. “Anyway, I know it’s not his. Or any other man’s in this fleet.”
Caprica’s face began imitating Kara’s frown. “What do you mean?”
“I haven’t frakked anybody since the time when this thing had to happen,” Kara explained, indicating her stomach beneath her coat. It was still too early to show, of course, but Caprica knew what she meant.
She knew what else that sentence meant, and leaned in closer. “Kara, are you saying that it is a miracle from God?”
“Wouldn’t that be simple for all you religious folks,” Kara muttered. She took a short intake of breath, then explained. “I went to Cottle. He says I’m four weeks along.” And then she looked right up into Caprica’s eyes.
Caprica held her gaze for a second, and then gasped.
“Yeah, freaky, no?” Kara said.
“That’s not possible,” Caprica said, putting a hand to her brow, shaking her head.
“No frakking joke!” Kara said, voice dripping in a dozen emotions, none of them happy. “But I had Ishay do the extra tests once Cottle left the room, and who’d guess, the simplest answer is the correct one. No matter how idiotic it is.”
“Are you saying I got you pregnant?” Caprica demanded, crossing her arms over her pregnant belly.
“Yes, damn it,” Kara answered.
“But—but that can’t be—” Caprica stammered, her world reeling. “Especially because, well, I don’t love you!”
“Oh frak you,” Kara answered, with a roll of her eyes.
“That’s what got us into this predicament,” Caprica snapped back, frustrated and still confused and disbelieving. “No human/cylon child has been conceived without love. That’s how it works.”
“That’s moronic,” Kara answered with an eyebrow raise. “And I’m telling you, all the evidence is pointing otherwise.”
Caprica shook her head again. “It’s biologically impossible.”
“And it happened,” Kara said shortly. “You think I want to believe it? I’ve got a little bundle of cells that are half yours in me, and that’s freakier than the fact that I actually frakked you four weeks ago.”
“Gods, we weren’t supposed to speak of this again,” Caprica muttered, about ready to bury her face in her hands.
“Why did you do it anyway?” Kara asked. “I needed a distraction, and I was drunk, but what’s your excuse? Were you even drinking?”
“I don’t remember,” Caprica admitted, sighing. “I shouldn’t have, given the baby. I told you, though, I suppose I thought you were Gaius.” She paused and frowned. “Or Saul. Something like that, I don’t remember.”
“Yeah, like I’m going to buy that?” Kara answered with an incredulous snort. “I don’t look anything like either of them; even if it was involved, no drink’s going to change that.”
“You do have the same denial ability as Gaius,” Caprica responded, slightly musing. “It’s very attractive in you both. And you drink like Saul. It’s close enough.”
Kara eyed her.
Caprica took a deep breath. “Actually, Kara Thrace, do you realize that you are the two men I love in one person? That is what is insane here.”
Kara blinked. “Gods, are you being serious?”
“Oh believe me, I wish I weren’t,” Caprica answered dryly. She groaned. “Kara, that’s why it happened. It must be. You represented what I loved, so conception happened.”
“What?” Kara asked, shaking her head in sharp disbelief. She pointed at Caprica. “It doesn’t work like that! You don’t have the right equipment, if you remember correctly.”
“God works in mysterious ways,” Caprica answered with a shrug, as this situation started to make a little sense. Not enough—not yet.
“God did not make me pregnant by you,” Kara said shortly, and stared her down. “It was an anomaly of nature, got it?”
They stood for a moment, arms crossed, not saying anything.
“It scares you, doesn’t it?” Caprica said after a moment.
“Of course it does,” Kara answered disdainfully, but adjusting her shoulders as if to deny that they had been tensed. “After everything, I get mysterious cylon genes in me, and they’re going to grow into a little hybrid child. Not my comfort zone, believe it or not.”
Caprica breathed in deeply, and suddenly now that she had accepted the situation’s existence, the breadth of it hit her like a hurricane. “What are we going to do? Are you going to carry through with it?”
Kara frowned. “I don’t know. At this point, things are too frakked up for me to judge well.”
Caprica looked around the planet where they stood, the cold wind and irradiated sand everywhere, and somewhere far off salty waves crashed onto an icy shore. It was Earth—it was the start of their civilization. The buzz and gossip flitting around surrounded raising children, disbanding everything they’d made in the Fleet to set up new life.
“I’ll be honest, the last thing I ever wanted was kids,” Kara said after a moment, tipping her head to one side. Her frown was looking less secure the longer she talked, and she seemed to chew nervously on the inside of her lip.
“I—I can’t exactly sympathize,” Caprica admitted, with a sad kind of smile. “I always thought I would be a mother of the new generation, but it was supposed to be me and Gaius.”
“Great, what I always wanted, to be a frakking Gaius Baltar substitute,” Kara muttered, and the walls started going back up again.
“I didn’t mean that,” Caprica protested. “But Kara, I’m not going to tell you that I expected this, because you know I didn’t.”
“That’s not the point now, is it?” Kara muttered again, glaring down at her boots. “Well, now you know, I’m going to go and not get drunk, because apparently I’m not allowed to do that anymore.”
“Wait,” Caprica said, and she put out her hand to touch Kara’s arm.
Kara glanced back up, and for all the confusion and frustration in her green eyes, they weren’t rejecting her.
“You’re not going to tell anyone yet, I assume,” Caprica said. “Until you figure out what you’re going to do.”
Kara nodded slowly.
“I haven’t been spending much time with anyone, but I’ve got plenty of room in my house down here,” Caprica continued. She nodded off to the right, to a few haphazard dwellings past the main ruins. “It’s quiet, alone, safe.”
“Just what you wanted?” Kara asked, but her tone didn’t have sarcasm or bitterness in it.
Caprica nodded, feeling a slight twinge of something.
“This situation is loony enough, I suppose me being your new roommate won’t affect it too much,” Kara said, and shrugged. “Fine. Thanks.”
“Hey, it’s my fault, if it’s anyone’s,” Caprica admitted with a half-smile.
“Which is just wrong,” Kara said to herself under her breath, and shook her head tightly. She sighed deeply, and turned to walk off, arms still firmly across her chest.
Caprica watched her leave, and felt very, very strange. She wanted to believe in God and his ultimate plan. It had always made sense to her before.
She glanced down at her belly, where the first true cylon reproduction had its evidence. Then, looking up at the skies, she demanded, “Is this part of your plan?”
And of course, there was no answer.
She sighed, and went back to work.
Kara went to Ishay later that day.
“Will you stop asking me?” the nurse begged, exasperated. “I don’t want to think about it, all right?”
“Join the club, sister, but I’m going to have to,” Kara commented back.
“Take the results, then!” Ishay said, and shoved the file in her hand.
She walked off, leaving Kara with a dark look on her face, but information at her reach. It took a heady amount of self-control not to go to Joe’s after that, but she managed to board the shuttle back down to Earth. Caprica wasn’t home yet when Kara found the house. The cylon had arranged it neatly, sparsely, but it was as comfortable as Earth dwellings got.
Kara sighed and sat in one of the metal chairs borrowed from Galactica, putting her heels up on the bed-frame and reluctantly opening the medical file she’d brought hidden under her coat. Numbers, pictures, ultrasounds, little medical comments...it was like a nightmare, but one she could understand. The DNA test was on the last few pages, and Kara stared at the calculations, stared at the comparisons. How could it possibly be Caprica? Or did the gods really have a sense of humor after all?
Despite all they’d gone through, Kara thought that that was the most likely theory. She closed the folder, let it fall to the floor. Leaning back in the chair, she rested her hands on her belly. Frowning, she poked a little at it. So far, there hadn’t been many changes in her body to notice, but she knew that somewhere in there was a little bundle of cells that might become a baby.
“If I don’t want this, you surely don’t,” she said, looking down at it. “Your genealogy isn’t the best; one genocidal robot, and one undead frak-up—you should be the one most scared about this.”
“You’re not a frak-up,” Caprica’s voice came in.
Kara sat up sharply, her feet dropping and chair tipping upright again. “Do you practice being silent?”
“Maybe I should; I didn’t know you talked when no one was around,” Caprica said smoothly, hanging her work bag on the designated hook. She took a seat opposite Kara, sighing with relief as she slipped off her shoes, wiggling her toes and closing her eyes.
Kara tapped her finger on the arm of her chair. “I was just about to say, you’re not really genocidal. It’s just the principle of the thing.”
“Oh, I believe you,” Caprica said. She smiled a little. “You’ve always been good to us, even when you didn’t want to be.”
Kara frowned. “Maybe. For honesty’s sake, I should tell you that I told Sam I’d shoot him if he turned out to be a cylon.”
Caprica pursed her lips. “But you didn’t.”
Kara gritted her teeth. “No, I didn’t.”
At least Caprica got the hint and turned the conversation elsewhere. “Take your time on this, Kara. You don’t need to decide today.”
“How can you be so frakking calm about it?” Kara demanded.
Caprica raised an eyebrow. “Strange things have been happening around me ever since this whole war started, I have to cope somehow.”
“Strange? Like what?” Kara asked, putting her feet back up, and noticing Caprica flinch a little as she tipped her chair back.
“Seeing an invisible version of Gaius Baltar who claims to be on a mission from God,” Caprica sighed, closing her eyes and laying her hands over the swell of her pregnancy.
“No, I’m serious,” Caprica said without opening her eyes. “And what’s worse, he’s been right most of the time.”
Kara groaned. “This is not boding well.”
Caprica’s eyes snapped open. “Wait, do you see him too?”
“Not him, but I saw one of them,” Kara said. She sighed. “Oh frak, frak, frak.”
“Well, I at least don’t think you’re crazy,” Caprica said, standing up and walking over to the bed. She fluffed the pillow a little. “It’s just a strange world. Now, I’m tired, and going to bed.”
“Where am I going to sleep?” Kara asked suspiciously, looking around the spartan dwelling.
“The floor’s pretty soft, if you use the blankets as a mattress,” Caprica said, waving her hand in the direction of a pile of Galactica-green blankets.
“You are a crappy host,” Kara sniped as she walked over.
“You don’t have to stay,” Caprica countered, curling up on her mattress, which granted was not very thick.
But Kara did not want to go back to Galactica, or anywhere else on this planet. There was already enough screaming at her that she was crazy—whatever else happened, Caprica was an ally. And she wasn’t likely to just brush off insanity, despite the hallucination thing.
Three more days dragged by, and Kara glared at the world in a way that no one seemed to understand. When Leoben approached her, brow furrowed as he tried to say something about a viper transmitter, her look sent him running away. Or well, people assumed that that was the reason. You never knew with Leoben.
They finally set up a bar on the planet itself. Kara was scowling, walking through the main village and kicking at the gravel, thinking about all the problems this stupid magical baby was already causing. Even if it did seem to say that she was not truly undead...
She was still avoiding most of the people she knew. If she waited long enough, they’d forget everything, and they could all just start over fresh. That was her plan at least. She walked into the bar and sat down.
“What’ll you have?” the bartender asked.
She opened her mouth, and then remembered, and grimaced. “A water.”
No one would dare ask questions, not the way she’d been. But a sip of the water made her feel on edge again, and it didn’t help when she looked across the room and saw Sam.
The one she had felt betrayed by, when it turned out he was a cylon and had known for months and had almost lied to her. He was supposed to be simple, and he wasn’t. It was so much easier to deny that her perception had been wrong, deny that she had ever known him enough to have perceptions.
He might have caught her eyes, he might not have. Kara started to feel weird in any case, and got up off the stool, almost kicking it back into place. Her life just had to be difficult and without precedent, didn’t it.
She walked out of the bar, arms crossed.
She gritted her teeth on hearing Sam’s voice, and kept walking.
“Kara, I know you don’t have anywhere to be, so you could at least stand still and let me talk at you,” he said again, voice weary.
She raised an eyebrow and turned around, arms still crossed. “Hmm?”
“Look, at some point we’re going to have to say something,” he said, half a frown on his face.
“Not now,” she answered, and meant it.
“Why not now?” he pressed, stepping a little closer to her.
“I’ve got enough on my plate,” she answered shortly, and started to turn to leave.
“Like what, avoiding me?” he said, taking a few strides to cut off her escape route, looking down at her. “And everyone else?”
“No, like having one stupid mistake turn into a half cylon,” Kara snapped up into his face.
He blinked, and she realized that, yet again, she was finding herself talking to him. Even when she was trying to avoid him, she kept telling him things. “What’s wrong with you and Hera?” he asked.
“It’s not Hera,” she muttered. “It’s mine. Now for frak’s sake get out of my way and leave me alone.”
“Whoa, wait, what?” he asked, and put a hand to her elbow.
She yanked it back. “Okay, you want to talk, Sam? If it’s not bad enough to come back from the dead, now apparently I can’t frak anyone ever again, no matter what gender, without being blessed with fruitful consequences.”
“You’re pregnant?” he asked, astonished.
She’d said too much again. “Yes,” she muttered. “And from Caprica, of all people.”
“That’s...not possible,” Sam said, looking gravely confused.
“Medical machines don’t lie,” Kara shot back. “Unlike others of their kin, but never mind that.”
“You’re serious,” he said, with an odd look. “Caprica Six...and you...wow, Kara, what are you going to do?”
She hadn’t known a few moments before, but his reaction pushed an answer out. “Just thinking about the reactions from everyone makes me want to keep it, because it’s exactly what they wouldn’t want if they knew, and I’m sick of being what they need. I mean, at this point, logic and probability have been frakked to hell, what’s a little common sense to go with it?”
To her surprise, Sam looked slightly impressed.
And well, she had obviously been thinking this through without really meaning to—her mind did strange things when she wasn’t completely focused on it, but she trusted it.
“Okay, that settles it,” she said shortly, loosening her shoulders a little. “This kid can’t be any more messed up, given how it’s coming into the world. Sam, I’m having a baby—with Caprica Six. I’m sure you have words, might as well get them out now.”
His face seemed guarded, though not suspicious. “I think it’s going to be an interesting nine months,” he said plainly.
And with that, she almost laughed. A sharp grin did cross her face though. “Sounds good to me.”
“Are you out of your frakking mind?”
The next few days were an exercise in finding new and edgier ways to answer the question. The admiral, Roslin, Lee, Cottle, Saul Tigh, Tyrol, and everyone else behind Kara’s back—Kara finally just said “Yes,” and left it at that.
“I still can’t believe this is happening,” Caprica said with a sigh as Kara moved in another cot to her cylon baby-mama’s house.
“Maybe none of it is, maybe this is some crazy dream and I’m still stuck in that maelstrom in a viper,” Kara said, only half snarkily.
“They’re all correct, you know,” Caprica said, giving her a dry look. “You are insane.”
“At this point, that’s a good thing,” Kara answered.
Caprica wasn’t the only one who accepted it in stride. The cylons managed to be an easier sell. In general, the models approved of any new progress on reproduction, and the improbability just seemed to be more existence of God. Kara highly doubted that, and brushed them all off.
Helo and Athena, as always, supported her as an underdog. Sam let her avoid him still, but what she saw of him was quietly accepting. Tory, surprisingly, also seemed not to care either way. Ellen gave Kara looks as if she was an abomination of nature, but all she said was a short, “I hope this works out.”
An interesting one was Baltar, though he didn’t approach Kara. He didn’t have any actual words for Caprica, just a kind of awed look before leaving as soon as she gave him a cold one.
By the time it was all over, Kara had decided that it would have been easier to tell them all that hell had frozen over. Next time when she got rebellious urges, she’d stick to that.
“What am I doing here?” Kara asked, standing at the doorway as Caprica put food on the table.
“Having my child,” Caprica answered.
“I barely even know you,” Kara said, shaking her head.
“Now there, that’s a bit of a lie, isn’t it,” Caprica said, glancing over in her direction with a half smirk. “In a scriptural sense, in any case.”
Kara glared from under her eyebrows, but walked in to sit at the table. “This arrangement isn’t calling for a repeat performance of that, understand?” she commented.
“Hmm,” Caprica agreed as she served up food. “Make sure you eat some of everything, the baby will need all the nutrients.”
“I’ve talked to Cottle,” Kara answered testily as she plopped some of the food onto a plate. “I can handle my own damn pregnancy.”
Caprica watched her eat, and took a long, slow, deep breath. Kara certainly had no intention of taking this the traditional way, and Caprica could see where that would take them.
“I’ve had to settle for refinery work,” Kara said as she came back to her and Caprica’s house later the next week. “They’re working on melting down the ruins.”
“Is that safe for you?” Caprica asked.
Kara chose to hold back on a snarky remark, just this once. “Yes, it’s safe. And it’s a lot more interesting than any other of the jobs left. All the vipers are being recommissioned, and raptor patrols are pretty pathetic.”
“The refinery ship landed pretty distant from everything else,” Caprica commented.
Kara gave her a steady look. “And?”
“Are you avoiding them, or do they want to avoid you?” she asked next.
“Hell if I know,” Kara said with a sigh.
“Bit of both, then,” Caprica said and nodded. “Same here.”
“I don’t really want to discuss my new life with anyone,” Kara said, putting up her feet.
“Oh, you don’t need to make an excuse, I know what you mean, I do,” Caprica insisted.
Kara wondered about that. But this self-induced separation didn’t feel like such a bad thing, at least for now. There was one thing Caprica wouldn’t do, and that was give her strange looks. She kept asking over-protective questions, but Kara could deal with that. She hoped.
Over the next couple weeks, Caprica made the decision to go the zen route with all of this. With two babies on the way (both of them hers), and a new housemate, she had no choice. When under stress, it was either zen or giving out death, and she was still regretting the times she’d given in to the latter.
Kara wasn’t making it easy. Caprica should have guessed, given her reputation. But things would have to mellow out eventually, Caprica knew it.
At eight weeks for Kara, twenty-four for Caprica, they had joint ultrasounds on Galactica. Caprica felt all her troubles and concerns about what she’d chosen melt away as she saw the glowy little image on screen, and it didn’t even matter that she had no one but Kara to share it with, and not even her, not really. Then, from behind her:
“Is that supposed to be a baby?” Kara’s voice was completely suspicious as she stared at her own ultrasound projection.
Caprica felt a little surge of irritated protection. “Don’t talk to my child like that,” she said, looking over her shoulder.
Kara looked back and raised her eyebrow, but Caprica just glared at her.
“No bickering in the exam room,” Cottle growled, with a fierce look for both of them. “Of all the things to have to negotiate...” he muttered, as he walked off to get their reports.
Caprica did feel slightly odd about it, finding herself a mother in two separate ways. It was so much easier for Kara, so there was no excuse for her being—well, the way she was being.
“Are you taking this seriously?” Caprica asked on the shuttle back down to Earth.
“Since me taking this seriously involves cursing you with every breakfast I can’t eat, no,” Kara answered.
Well, that was fair, Caprica supposed. Waking up the next morning to find herself tripping over Kara’s boots was not.
“There is a place for shoes,” she said, pointing to the little rug by the door.
“Okay, fine,” Kara said, reaching down from her cot to drag them over, then rolling over and leaving it at that.
Caprica tripped over her shoes again the next morning, but with a glint of frustration in her eyes, moved the shoes herself. If Kara had to pause when she woke up to find the shoes, Caprica pretended not to notice—but it made it worth it, especially as the routine repeated.
The last thought on Kara’s mind as she came home late one night was that Caprica had probably waited dinner on her. She had, though, but didn’t make a comment on it—a good thing, given that Kara was in no mood to feel even a smidgen of regret or guilt. Over anything.
She went to take off her jacket, now in the warm house. But she paused half through and her face clenched in discomfort—she wanted to rip it to shreds at that point, but it would only hurt more. She left it on.
“What is it?” asked Caprica.
“I have never hated a work uniform so much in my life,” she growled. Then, because Caprica had brought it up in the first place, she turned and added. “You’d think your people could have avoided nuking all the appropriate bras in the universe, as a courtesy—you know, a little consolation prize for attempting genocide and failing.”
“You don’t have to be rude,” Caprica answered coldly.
“Okay, no, I don’t,” Kara answered. “But I swear, if another thing gets closer than five feet from my chest, I am going to bite its head off and feed it to the baby when it comes.”
She shouldn’t have been surprised to see the dawning in Caprica’s eyes. “So that’s started, then,” she mused. “You know I’ve had to deal with that for months. “It will probably get worse. And more prominent.”
There were two meanings to that last word, and Kara understood both of them. “Gods, I hate being a woman,” she groaned.
“Sit down, relax, it’s the only thing that helps,” Caprica said, walking over and waving her to a seat. She gave Kara a look as she sat down. “If it’s any consolation, you look nicer than you feel.”
“No, that does not help,” Kara said with a frustrated sigh.
“Well, considering that my libido rolled over and died weeks ago, it’s probably best for us both,” Caprica said, a little snark sneaking into her cool tone.
“Despite the way this whole thing is working, I did not need to know that,” Kara started, but then paused. “Being in the same boat doesn’t help much when you’re miserable,” she said, and would have crossed her arms as she leaned back if her breasts wouldn’t have killed her for it.
“It is a vague comfort,” Caprica admitted. “But true understanding is golden at times like these.”
Kara couldn’t deny that one.
It was Caprica’s turn to come back seething days later, from her work at the food production plant.
“Who got your aggression all in a knot?” Kara asked as Caprica set down her day bag with far more force than necessary.
“The Eights,” Caprica said with a dark glint in her eyes.
“Oh gods,” Kara groaned.
“They’ve been pestering me as to what exactly we did to cause God’s power to work so wonderfully in you,” Caprica spat out, flicking her hands in the sink as she washed her hands. She gave her a steady stare. “I have never felt so insulted.”
“It is a bit TMI,” Kara said, almost flushing. “Are they really going to try to—among themselves?”
“Oh god forbid,” Caprica said earnestly. She sighed, and the frustration turned into something else. “But no, it’s not that that’s the real issue. For months I was on Galactica, one of them. Did they care? Did they notice? Not until I was the mother of the new generation. Before that, it was as if I wasn’t even a cylon to them.”
She looked back to Kara’s face, saw a kind of calm determination in her eyes. “Yeah, I know all about that, in principle at least,” Kara said in a low tone.
“I suppose you do,” said Caprica, and watched Kara closely for a second. She had to wonder just how much of Kara was difficult because she just coped differently than everyone else.
“Oh, I made dinner,” Kara said, turning back to their little stove and dipping her finger into a pot. She licked it, raised an eyebrow. “It’s not bad.”
Caprica felt herself start to beam, relieved of most of her pressure with those few words. “You have no idea how wonderful that sounds,” she sighed.
“I’m not that dense, I have a good idea,” Kara said with a bit of a snort, but she just grinned and put the food on the table. “Unlike the Eights.”
“Unlike the Eights,” Caprica agreed with a small smile.
The good feeling about everything turned into confusion the next day, and Caprica was frowning all the way back to the house. Kara stood by the table, looking as if she’d just come home. She looked back as Caprica entered and closed the door behind her.
“Again?” Kara asked.
“What did you do to them?” Caprica demanded.
“Who?” Kara asked, blinking as if innocently.
“The Eights,” Caprica insisted, trying to make sense of what had just happened. “They came and apologized. Formally and sincerely.”
“Oh, that,” Kara said. She shrugged. “That’s a good thing, right?”
“Well yes, assuming they keep their promise to stay away from me,” Caprica said. But she frowned again. “Kara, what did you do to them?”
“Nothing illegal,” Kara said lightly. She paused as she walked across the room. “Nothing they can charge me for, in any case.”
Caprica was about to open her mouth to say something, but then snapped it closed. She smiled to herself, and didn’t just feel good, she felt warm. This was the Kara she’s always thought was under all the bluster, and it was good to be proven right. It was even better to have the Eights off her back, no matter what the method.
At their next appointment with Cottle, Kara caught sight of Baltar walking through one of Galactica’s halls. Caprica didn’t pay attention, but Kara saw Baltar give Caprica a long look, and it looked half-desperate and half-afraid. And half longing, if she really wanted to butcher the math.
Kara wondered if Caprica looked like that when she thought no one was watching. She and Kara had a working and living relationship, mostly, but they stuck to the practicalities. Kara didn’t look farther than that—she was a-ok with it, given that putting too much emotion into this might give her cold feet. She wanted to do this, but she didn’t want to feel it, not that much.
It helped that, with her jacket on, the pregnancy was all but invisible. It was her smug little secret, except that everyone knew about it. Helo smiled and waved to her when they walked back to their dwelling, and she reluctantly waved back just a few seconds before seeing Sam at his side.
Sam gave her a bit of a smile across the distance, and Kara didn’t know what to do. So she just turned and walked away with Caprica, hands deep in her pockets.
“Do you know how to give back massages?” Caprica asked suddenly, breaking Kara’s train of thought.
“Yeah, sure,” Kara answered.
“Good, because I don’t want to ask anyone else,” Caprica sighed, with a sideways glance at a few staring people.
Kara hummed to herself. Despite the isolation, there were benefits of living with Caprica. Having that one safe, stable person, it was so much simpler than anything else.
It was only when Kara’s pregnancy started to show that Caprica started feeling proud and truly motherly. She found herself grinning every time she saw the way Kara’s toned stomach was starting to pooch out and give an adorable sway to Kara’s back, and she would unconsciously rub her own belly, where her little baby boy kept kneeing her in the ribs at every opportunity.
“Would you stop that?” Kara said, after noticing one of Caprica’s happy little looks.
“Why?” Caprica answered with a little smile.
“You look baby crazy,” Kara observed dryly.
Caprica ignored her.
But joy and pride only carried so far as her body started to feel cramped for space, and work wasn’t giving her any breaks. She started feeling out of breath, and then she stopped being able to get a good night’s sleep. People made her pissed off now, especially the ones that weren’t there.
She came home tired one day, and stopped still in the doorway. Kara lay back on Caprica’s bed, the bulge of her belly small compared to Caprica’s now, but sticking out prominently in that position. Kara had an arm flopped over her face and looked vaguely sick.
“What are you doing in my bed?” Caprica asked coolly.
“Ready to die. Again,” Kara groaned without moving.
“You have your own bed,” Caprica reminded her, stepping in and preparing to close the door.
“Frak that, yours has more back support,” Kara muttered.
“And what, after carrying twice as much weight around all day, I’m supposed to accept your second helpings in my own house?” Caprica demanded, putting a hand on her hip.
Kara said nothing.
“Oh, there is no point to this,” Caprica exclaimed, and walked over. She still had her cylon strength, and she grabbed Kara’s shoulder and pulled her to a sitting position, then up to standing, giving her a little push. “Get out of my bed, and if I find you in it again, it’ll be out of the house.”
“Why do you have to be such a bitch about all of this?” Kara asked, starting to bristle.
“Because you are not the person I wanted to have a child with, got it?” Caprica said, suddenly saying more than she planned. “You’re not even making an effort, like always. It’s about spectacle with you, isn’t it?”
“Well I’m not going to be like you, all perfect organization and cooing,” Kara snapped. “You aren’t even trying to be a partner, you just want to control this.”
“Since when are we partners?” Caprica said back at her. “You don’t talk, you don’t help, and you don’t seem to care about anything.”
“Maybe I’m a little overwhelmed with all of this,” Kara shot back with surprising force. “Maybe this is not an easy choice, and you’re not making it easier with your ‘oh how wonderful it is’ attitude.”
“It is not all wonderful,” Caprica spat. “But I don’t back out of things, and if you look, there are positive things to be found.”
“I don’t back out either,” Kara said, with a low glow in her eyes. “I’m still here.”
“Not if you continue like this,” Caprica said as a parting shot. A random contraction pain shot through her belly, and she grimaced and breathed in deeply. “Get out if you have nothing else to say,” she said shortly.
Kara did, almost slamming the door behind her. Caprica groaned as the contraction died, then looked up to the ceiling and beyond. “Why?” she demanded.
There was no answer, of course.
Kara wanted to slam the door as she left the house. Her back ached, her breasts hadn’t stopped feeling painful for the last four weeks in particular, and she had to visit the outhouse so many times that she hadn’t remembered dinner long enough to make any.
If it wasn’t for the ultrasounds, she wouldn’t even know there was a living baby in there. She might just as well have been growing fat and sore, and it wouldn’t mean anything. Gods, how she missed vipers. Now she probably couldn’t even fit in one.
And what she didn’t tell Caprica was that there was definite freakout going on. Children had scared her a little, always. But this was just plain weird, weirder than the circumstances that brought it about, even. She just didn’t know how to talk about it, especially to Caprica. The woman seemed to keep all her true thoughts locked up, until they burst out in a rage and then it was too late. Kara wanted to be closer, but she just couldn’t yet.
And she felt like a blob. A hungry blob who hadn’t done anything useful in days. A few hundred yards from their house, she stopped and leaned forward, breathing in deeply and putting a hand to the small of her back. “Frak!” she said to the night.
She sighed, and barely turned around. “This has got to be a joke, Sam.”
He walked towards her out of the dusk. “You okay? I was just heading to the town.”
The oddness of everything else surrounding her and Caprica and their children hit Kara, and she just stood and stared at him for a moment. They were on Earth. They were trying to rebuild a society with cylons. And she hadn’t seen him in a couple weeks, which had been her goal, but it still felt out of place now.
“I’m fine,” she said shortly.
“Which means you’re not,” he answered with a snort, and walked over. “You’re favoring your back, Kara. You shouldn’t be out walking.”
She hissed a little as his hand met her back, and it felt sharply sensitive, but one nice thing about Sam was his height, and she said nothing but just accepted the support and leaned on him. “Not back home,” she said, as he started to walk.
“Trouble?” he asked curiously.
“What, with me and a cylon in the house? How could there possibly be trouble?” she snarked. Before he said anything, she added darkly, “And don’t you dare blame hormones, or I will knock you out, backache or not.”
He sort of chuckled then, and she sighed. Her stomach growled loudly.
“I’ll take you back to my place,” he said. “There’s hot food there, and way more than I can eat.”
Even though he couldn’t see it, Kara nodded slowly. This was probably not helping, despite how comfortable his support felt in the moment, but she did not care. He was being remarkably helpful, given everything.
By the time he lowered her into a seat that actually seemed to cradle her back, she had forgotten any reservations. She closed her eyes and absorbed the relief, and almost imagined that she wasn’t pregnant. Then she smelled a fresh salty broth, and her stomach growled again and she opened her eyes to see the bulge in front of where her stomach used to be. No use pretending, she was completely pregnant.
“Thanks, Sam,” she said, when he came over with a bowl of soup and a spoon. She leaned forward to the table as he sat on the opposite side.
He gave her a small look before serving up his own food. “You look good,” he said as he took his first bite.
She eyed him suspiciously, but he had only a short smile and a nod for her. “What have you been doing?” she asked him after a minute.
He frowned. “I don’t think you’d want to know.”
Kara sighed. “Sam, I just got told off for not being talkative, don’t spoil my attempt at trying something new.”
“I’ve been trying to remember more of my past, with Ellen’s help,” he said, not really looking at her as he ate.
She swallowed, and everything repressed over the last months started coming back. “Oh.”
After another minute, though, Sam put down his spoon and looked her in the eye. “Look, this is not the right time, I know, but there will never be a right time. I know you were upset that I was a cylon. It wasn’t a surprise.”
“No, I bet it wasn’t,” she said, dropping her eyes to the soup and poking at it frustratedly. “You had quite a few weeks to plan over just how to keep it secret and pretend that everything was normal, I’m sure you took a few moments to imagine the other options.”
“Hey, now that isn’t exactly fair,” Sam protested. “You threatened to kill me, and that was only a few hours after I knew for sure that I even was a cylon!”
“I didn’t mean it,” Kara shot back, looking up at him.
He paused. “I did figure that out when you didn’t let Lee airlock me.”
“Look, Kara, I was a mess, and I didn’t do everything perfectly,” Sam continued, and he brought his hand up to rub at his eyes. “We both know that. I’m just—I’m sorry, okay. I didn’t want to hurt you, and I didn’t want to lose you.”
Kara stared at her food. “Okay,” she said after a moment. Then, her tongue twisting in her mouth as she prepared to say the words, she managed to get them out. “Apology accepted.”
She ate a little more food before feeling better, and then stood up, one hand under her growing belly, the other to her tender back.
“I can walk you back,” Sam said, standing up and moving to her side.
They walked back out to where Caprica’s house was, on the edge even given the large and sparse spread of the rest of the settlement, and Kara didn’t say anything for the first half of the trip. They’d already talked enough, surely.
“You’re happy, right?” Sam asked suddenly. “Living like this, having the baby?”
“Is anybody happy?” Kara answered. A moment passed. “I miss alcohol.” Then, a second later, “We manage.”
Sam hmmed in answer, then added, “Except for tonight.”
“Well, sometimes you live with someone who has unrealistic expectations,” Kara said under her breath.
Caprica came to the door when they made it there. “Oh. Sam,” she said, surprised.
“She’s fine,” said Sam, as he loosened his arm that had been supporting Kara’s waist.
“Of course,” Caprica said with a quick smile. “Do you want to come in, since you’ve gone all this way?”
Kara gave her a look at that, but said nothing.
“Sure,” said Sam lightly, and they all went in.
Kara watched with interest she tried to disguise as Caprica and Sam had no lack of subjects to speak on without her help. She discovered that they had talked a little before, back when Caprica first arrived on Galactica under guard, and also while Kara was gone. She had been the one who saved Sam on Old Caprica before Kara rescued him, and they’d talked about that, among other things.
And Kara envied Sam his ability to just ‘get’ Caprica. It would have been nice to have it come naturally. Now fed, however, she started to feel warm and not so achy, and began drifting off.
“I just don’t know how to deal with her,” Caprica’s slightly exasperated voice came into her hazy brain, and she didn’t know how long she had been dozing.
“Have you talked to her?” Sam asked.
“Well—no—she just freezes up.”
Sam chuckled. “This sounds familiar...”
“It’s not easy, I tell you,” Caprica protested.
“No, that would be less funny.”
“You have no right to be in a good mood,” Caprica said.
Kara opened her eyes and sat up straight. “He’s gloating, because he doesn’t have two pregnant women in his house,” she muttered.
“Hey, if you need a break, I don’t mind if you come over,” Sam said, but he looked at Kara as he said it.
She saw a look in his eyes that was too familiar, and said nothing.
“We’ll see,” Caprica said. “Now, I need to go to bed, and so does Kara, because I know for a fact that her back will not appreciate sleeping in that chair.”
“Not like it appreciates anything,” Kara retorted, just for the sake of it. Caprica stood up to let Sam out, and Kara watched as she did so. Something twinged in her heart, something like regret. In all the freaky weirdness that surrounded her now, she hadn’t focused on anything but keeping on a steady plane. She wondered now if she had missed Sam all along, and just hadn’t thought about it.
“No, I do not understand it,” Kara said, letting the dish fall back in the sink and throwing up her hands. “How is this system supposed to make things easier?”
“It’s only four rules, Kara,” Caprica insisted. She couldn’t quite squeeze in next to Kara at the tiny sink, and verbal instructions weren’t working so well for Kara.
“Four rules that make no sense,” Kara said, looking back at her. “I never follow rules that don’t make sense, you should have heard that.”
“Well, which ones would you rather have, to keep everything organized?” Caprica asked, turning to compromise with difficulty.
Kara paused, and blinked. “Here,” she muttered, and opened the dish cupboard. A couple minutes later, and she had everything rearranged. “Plates, bowls, cups, silverware.”
Caprica frowned. “But those aren’t all eating bowls, and some of those ‘plates’ are platters.”
“It’s about shape, not function,” Kara said. “It’s easier, and what’s more, I’ll remember to do it.”
Caprica took a deep breath, and decided that for the sake of harmony, she had only one response. “Fine.”
Kara gave her a little grin, and then finished putting the dishes away.
Caprica leaned back, wishing her son would just pop out and stop banging away at her from the inside. Kara’s child had just started moving around, and despite the weird looks she gave to her ever-growing belly, Caprica saw a frequent little moments of appreciation in Kara’s eyes. It was sweet, for Kara, which meant she tried to hide it.
Kara now joined her at the table, though, and then there was a knock at the door. Kara sighed, and pulled herself slowly to her feet again with a wince. Other than the rare visit of Cottle or Athena (with advice and sympathy), they didn’t get visitors. Only slightly meaningful, given the amount of construction and organization going on all over this area of the planet.
Then Caprica saw who was behind the door when Kara opened it.
“Dr. Baltar,” Kara said dryly. “What are you doing here?”
Gaius looked in through the open door and saw Caprica. He swallowed. “Just—just a gift.” He held out a small bag to Kara.
Kara opened it, then frowned and sniffed. “Frak, is this real?” she asked.
Gaius shrugged. “I’ve had it for years now, was waiting for the right time. I couldn’t—I should have brought it sooner.”
“Damn right,” Kara said.
“What is it?” asked Caprica.
Kara smirked. “Chocolate.”
Caprica gasped. “Are you serious?”
Kara laughed. “So is Baltar, apparently.”
Caprica forgot everything else, she just looked at the man she had once done everything for. “Thank you,” she breathed out.
He gave a quick smile. “You’re welcome. I hope you’re doing well.”
Caprica nodded, and then Gaius turned and left.
Kara shut the door, and her wider step was almost a bounce as she came back to sit next to Caprica. “I didn’t know he was worth this much,” she said, holding out the bag to Caprica.
Caprica took a deep breath, feeling somehow happier than she had before, and pulled the bag to her.
“Hey, don’t be a hog,” Kara protested.
“You’re not eating my chocolate,” Caprica answered with an eyebrow raise.
“Does the word ‘share’ mean anything to you?” Kara asked.
“No,” Caprica said shortly. She bit down, and almost melted with the pleasure. Her son must have felt it, for the kicking stopped for a second. “Oh god...” The room spun happily around her, and nothing else existed.
She heard Kara’s quiet hum then, and looked at her to see a chocolate in her fingers.
“There’s only a few,” Caprica protested.
“This is the last chocolate on any planet, not to mention Earth,” Kara said, as she swallowed the first bite of chocolate.
Caprica sighed. “All right, but I’m going to regret this later.”
They each had two more, and a happy glow started to build around Caprica. Kara’s grin was intoxicating as she reached for her next one. Then Caprica, with a little smirk of her own, darted her hand into the bag and grabbed the last one.
“Hey!” Kara said, with a bit of a frown.
Caprica bit down on the last little piece of heaven.
“Do you work at being this troublesome?” Kara asked.
“Not as much as you,” Caprica answered back sweetly, about to lick the last little trace of sugar from her lips.
Then Kara leaned in and swiped her tongue over Caprica’s lips.
Caprica gasped again.
“You didn’t think you’d get away with stealing all of the last piece, did you?” Kara said, with a dance in her eyes. Then she kissed Caprica full on the mouth, sucking a little to get the last bit of chocolate, and pulling back to lick her own lips with a whimsical grin.
“Do you plan anything, or is it made up in the moment?” Caprica asked, but then Kara kissed her again, and in more earnest. Still caught in the moment, Caprica felt almost intoxicated. She brought up her hand to Kara’s face, closing her eyes and running her finger through Kara’s hair, thick and long and glossy now.
Kara’s lips were softer than Caprica remembered from their one night, so long ago now. She was gentler, too, even though Caprica could feel the hint of amusement in the quirk of her mouth.
“I’d forgotten how good you taste,” Kara murmured after a second, breaking free.
“It’s not like you had a lot of opportunity,” Caprica said, with a little smile.
“Well, I’d forgotten how good anybody could taste, until recently,” Kara said. Then she glanced down, and chortled.
“What?” Caprica asked, confused.
Kara leaned back in her chair, biting back giggles. “We are definitely the odd ones out in this world,” she said, shakily, nodding to their pair of pregnant bellies.
Caprica swallowed a laugh. “I think I’m almost all right with that.”
“Me too,” Kara said with a sigh. “Me too.”
The next day, coming home to find Kara restructuring the sink attachment to the wall, Caprica offered to help and ended up joining Kara in hopeless tired giggles a couple hours later when it looked a thousand times worse.
“Frak this,” Kara finally said, wiping her eyes and moving the cupboard down to cover up the hole left in the wall. At least the sink was at a better height for both of them now.
“That was fun,” Caprica said, nudging Kara with her hip.
“Being competent?” Kara mocked, then nudged her back with a light-hearted smirk. “Yeah, it is.”
Finding more comfort in each other over the next couple weeks, they next felt the desire to reach out beyond and start interacting with society again. But society started coming to them first. Caprica still hadn’t come home when someone knocked at the door. Kara didn’t know who to expect, but it wasn’t likely to be someone pleasant.
Her surprise didn’t mitigate any of apprehension when she opened the door with a glare, and looked straight into the face of Saul Tigh.
His was less pissed than hers, a bit of a surprise there. “Well, if it isn’t Kara Thrace,” he drawled, as his eyes strayed down to her abdomen.
“Spit it out, why are you here?” Kara demanded, resting a hand on her hip.
Tigh’s face went unsure for a second. “I need to speak to Caprica.”
“No, no you don’t,” Kara said quickly, not liking this at all. “Go back to Ellen, it’s where you belong. You stayed away too long to make anything better now.”
The annoyed look she was used to seeing on his face started to appear. “Since when are you the god of all things, Kara Thrace?” he blustered.
“Since I’ve been living with, and caring for, her a lot more than you have over the past few months,” Kara retorted shortly. “So unless you’re bearing gifts, which I would accept gratefully on her behalf, you can just frak off and leave us in peace.”
When he looked more irritated than disappointed as he turned and walked off, Kara knew she’d done the right thing. And she wasn’t going to bring it up to Caprica. She cared about her too much to make life more difficult for her, even if it was just a reminder of an old conflict.
But it seemed like life was going to get difficult no matter what. The peace they’d achieved staying away from irritating people as much as possible couldn’t last when Caprica herself could barely manage to get through each day without snapping at something. It wasn’t completely without reasons, as she declared that her pregnancy seemed like it would never end. Caprica’s bursts of fire had Kara feeling the same, and with her child starting to poke at her ribs, she was hardly in the mood to deal with anyone else.
Somehow they ended up screaming at each other over the kitchen table, a glass breaking against the wall in the process, and if Sam hadn’t been stopping by with a message from Cottle, who knew what would have happened. As it was, Kara opened the door to storm out of the house, and looked straight up into Sam’s startled eyes.
In that moment, she felt all the strange kind of loneliness of the past four months, and her anger crumpled into something worse. “Oh Sam,” she said, and grabbed him in a firm hug. The baby got in the way, but she didn’t care, especially not when he hugged her back with a fierceness that denied words.
“Hey, you okay?” he said, brushing his hand through her hair.
“I don’t know, are you okay?” she answered, shaking her head a little to release the cloud of emotion that had settled there.
“As long as you’re glad to see me,” he said with a quirk of a smile.
“You don’t need to leave, Kara,” Caprica said from behind her, one weary hand to her forehead. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.”
“Didn’t mean what, exactly?” Kara answered, looking back with a hint of snark.
“I don’t think our baby’s a demon child,” Caprica admitted, but her apology stayed slightly offset by the glare in her eyes.
“Well, it’s a good thing that I believe you,” Kara answered, blaming the hormones for not making her want to put up a fight. She walked over, kissed Caprica’s cheek, looking back after she did so to say, “Come on in, Sam.”
“Yes, sorry about that,” Caprica said, rubbing Kara’s shoulder as a further apology.
“I’ve been through worse,” Sam said amiably as he pulled up a chair.
Kara looked at him when he said that, and saw that even though the weariness in his eyes said that it was true, his tone was honestly meant.
When Caprica lay down on her side for a little while before dinner, Sam stood beside Kara as she put it together.
“Sam,” Kara said quietly after a few minutes.
“Yes?” he said, turning to look at her.
“I know this isn’t your issue,” she said, frowning instead of hesitating. “But I think I’ve kind of missed you.”
“Really?” he said, and she saw him swallow something.
“What?” she asked, momentarily apprehensive.
“You should have said something,” he said with an awkward smile.
“What?” she asked again, exasperated, and feeling in that moment that she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
“Oh, I’ve missed you too,” he said simply, looking her straight in the eyes.
She paused, breathed out, and then nodded slowly. “We could fix that, you know,” she said with a little shrug.
“We could,” he answered, and then gave her a big grin that reminded her of so long ago. “Does that mean I get to be your birthing partner?”
Kara snorted with laughter. “Oh frak, why not? It’s not the strangest thing that’s happened so far.”
“Hey, I married you once,” Sam answered, bopping her nose with his finger. “I obviously wanted strange.”
She smiled back, and even though it felt like they were getting to know each other from the beginning again, that familiar pull was still there. And she was ready for it.
Caprica considered it a good day if she could get through without wanting to burst into tears. These days, she was still looking forward to another six weeks of this torment, and now she had jealousy on top of it all.
She didn’t just like Kara. None of their issues had ever lasted beyond a day, and she was fun when she was relaxed. Caprica had started to appreciate her quiet solidarity, even if it wasn’t outright enthusiastic support. There was a kind of easy love there for them.
Caprica didn’t realize that it was most of the love she had until Kara found Sam again. It wasn’t Kara’s fault—everything was supposed to be relaxed with her and Caprica, and it wasn’t like she was disappearing on a regular basis. But when Sam was over, Kara’s attention was divided. They were finding their way back to a kind of harmony with each other, laughter and teasing and spark-filled looks, and Caprica didn’t know why, but she felt envious.
It didn’t help that she felt like all rational thinking was supressed by this stupid, stupid baby. She hadn’t even found a name for him, which somehow made it worse on these days. Despite Kara’s frequent offers to give her a massage, or cook her dinner, or anything to help her off her feet that were now troublesome, her mood didn’t change. Even the little affectionate shoulder rubs and kisses, or shared inside jokes, hardly helped.
Caprica didn’t say anything. It was probably just her, but after another night when Sam was over, she walked out to sit on the porch in the cool of the dark. Behind her, she heard Kara’s chortle as they cleaned up the dishes, and a little squeak as Sam splashed her with some of the water.
“Keep that up and you aren’t invited back,” she heard Kara say.
“You know, survival instinct keeps telling me I shouldn’t say it, but you look really hot like that,” Sam answered with a chuckle.
“Oh you are being daring tonight, mister,” Kara answered, but her tone wasn’t completely discouraging.
Caprica tried to close her ears. She didn’t want to think about what might happen next. But things quieted down and the stars rose in the sky. The cool air soothed Caprica’s swollen ankles, even though there was no way to sit comfortably on the front step.
“Are you all right?” she heard Sam’s voice. She looked up and he came out of the door, looking as if he was ready to leave.
“I’ll be fine,” she answered, raising a hand to her nose.
“You sure?” he asked, and sat down next to her.
“Do you have to know?” Caprica asked with a bit of bitterness, turning to give him a look.
“No, but you look like you want to tell someone, and Kara’s already gone off to bed,” Sam said, shrugging. “Something’s been bothering you for a while now.”
“At least you noticed it,” Caprica said under her breath and turned again to look out at the dark.
“What is it?” he asked quietly, resting his hands on his knees as he sat still, waiting.
Caprica breathed out slowly. “You’re one of the Final Five, one of the ones who made us...why are we so needy?”
Sam sighed into the night. “I don’t remember much of that. Ellen—”
“I’m not talking to Ellen about this,” Caprica said swiftly. Then, finding words again, “Why must I always have someone close to me, someone I can love? Why must they love me back for me to feel whole?”
“That just makes you more human, right?” Sam offered with a hand gesture. “We all need people.”
Caprica sighed. “It doesn’t feel like that. It feels like if I don’t have enough—I thought Kara would be enough.”
“She loves you,” Sam said.
“No, she loves you,” Caprica answered, turning to him.
“Kara has a lot of love in her,” Sam said, shrugging with an easy look. “For both of us, at the same time.”
“Maybe,” said Caprica, and she sighed again. “I don’t feel it the same way, not like...” She didn’t want to think about that; it wasn’t an option anymore.
“Caprica,” Sam said after a moment, his voice low and soft. “I just spent nearly the last five months feeling like I couldn’t find a life after Kara. I managed to survive, but every day I felt frustrated that I couldn’t live. I’d let her become a part of me—I’d become a person who needed her. And I wanted to hate her for it, but it wasn’t her fault. We all become different when we share ourselves.”
“Maybe” Caprica said, and it sounded different when he said it. “But Sam, Kara is worth that change; I gave my heart to Gaius Baltar and he broke it. I do not need to need him.”
“Hmm,” Sam said. “Not the old him, maybe.”
“He hasn’t changed, Sam,” Caprica said, eyes sending a piercing glance towards him. “I know his words are different, but he’s just using a different tactic to get what he wants. I loved him too much not to see that.”
“If you mean the religion, he’s dropped that,” Sam said.
Caprica sat a little more upright. “Really,” she said.
“He’s been working with the cylons, actually, cataloging the research that Ellen can remember,” Sam said. He adjusted his hands, letting them hang off the edge of his knees. “It’s all he’s been doing, so his band of...well...they’ve moved on. They have a new leader now.”
“That’s strange of him,” Caprica said, brow creased.
“I think he’s starting to feel a pressing need,” Sam said quietly. “It’s just taken a while. Ellen has not been the most politic of us, but every time she’s been dismissive of you, he’s defended you. I’m not sure he even notices it.”
“That’s a bit of comfort,” Caprica said, but she didn’t put much heart in it.
“Well, you’re going to be fine for now, right?” he asked.
“I do feel a little better,” Caprica admitted.
“Well, take care,” Sam said, standing up, touching her shoulder once as he did so. “You’re going to start worrying Kara, and then where will we all be?”
Caprica smiled to herself in the darkness. “She might do something drastic to break my mood, which would probably end in disaster.”
“Something like that,” Sam said, quiet and amused. Then with a nod, he walked off down the path, away into the dark.
Caprica sat for a few minutes longer, and wondered how she could feel even a little proud of Gaius. But she decided to file away what Sam had told her as the first unselfish act he had ever done.
Now that Cottle had confirmed the commonsense explanation, that Kara’s child was definitely a girl, Kara found herself feeling a bit more responsive to the baby who started having an identity in her mind. Her daughter was a kickboxer—that was probably a good sign. That would make things interesting, not a load of confusing soft feelings. She could feel proud of her baby’s strength.
Kara sat on the edge of her bed, her stomach spilling out in a bulging balloon shape over her hips. She was finally losing her belly button to pregnancy, and her now larger but much less sore breasts were only a little consolation. When she remembered Caprica, though, Kara decided to take comfort in the good that she had right now.
Just then, the baby started a drum roll on her front ribs. Breathing slowly, Kara watched her belly, sure that the strength of those kicks must be visible from the outside. “You’ve got a lot of power there,” Kara addressed her unborn child.
“What is it?” asked Caprica as she walked in.
Kara lit up. “Hey, is it a good time?”
“Yes,” Caprica said slowly. “What do you need?”
“Come over here,” Kara said with a grin. “Baby’s kicking, and you still haven’t felt her, have you.”
Caprica gave a happy near-squeal, moving over as quickly as she could. “Really?”
“She’s a little storm of attack today,” Kara said, leaning back just a little.
Caprica placed her hands on either side of Kara’s belly, closing her eyes for a second. Then she smiled, and Kara felt the strikes. “Oh, I can feel her, Kara. Our little girl.”
“Well, she’s attacking us both now, but it’s still all good,” Kara said with a tip of her head and another grin.
Caprica made a little noise in her throat, smile broadening. “This is almost exciting now,” she said, sitting next to Kara on the bed with a happy sigh.
Kara snorted, leaning into her a little. “No, it’s you who are getting exciting—scary exciting.”
“It will still be four very long weeks,” Caprica said with more than a hint of darkness.
“Oh, that reminds me!” Kara said, finding a bit more energy as she remembered her original plan. She stood up slowly, pausing to stretch a bit, then waggled her eyebrows at Caprica. “Wanna see my new project?”
“You had time for a project?” Caprica asked.
Kara put out a hand to help her to her feet. “Just for you, hon.” She started walking for the door. “I’ll have to get Sam to bring it in tonight, but you should at least see it.”
She led Caprica around the back of the house, a few steps off, and then withdrew the protective tarp and revealed her present. “Voila—for you.”
“Oh my,” Caprica said, standing stock-still in her surprise.
Kara followed her gaze, admiring her handiwork that had mixed a viper cockpit seat with an armchair and added a rocking bottom, making something form-fitting and supportive and sturdy enough to work.
“Is that a chair?” Caprica asked, stepping forward. “A real chair?”
“As real as I can make with some scrap viper parts and some bad upholstery, yes,” Kara said, following her in. “What do you think? You know I’m jealous of how you can still look so good, but you’re gorgeous and huge, and I don’t want to imagine what that feels like. I thought you deserved something special.”
“Oh Kara,” Caprica said, putting a hand to her mouth, looking far more emotional than this called for.
Kara almost rolled her eyes, but then remembered that she hadn’t had eight months of discomfort and awkward chairs yet. “Well go on, sit in it,” she insisted, pushing Caprica forward.
With a look of relieved happiness, Caprica took a seat, and exhaled long and slowly. “Oh yes,” she purred after a moment, eyes closed, “you must get Sam to bring it in tonight.”
“Good, good, I’m glad you like it,” Kara said, putting her hands in her pockets to keep from looking too gleeful at it all working out.
“Oh, come here,” Caprica said, beckoning her over.
Kara complied, leaning down best she could and giving Caprica a slow sweet kiss.
“You’re enjoying this too much,” Caprica said, giving Kara a little squeeze of a one-armed hug. “And you’re being amazing with it.”
“Well, I’ve seen you looking down,” Kara said with a bit of a shrug. “I’m starting to feel good about this whole thing, but it shouldn’t be at your expense.”
“Oh, don’t feel guilty,” Caprica insisted. “It’s not. This is good enough.”
But though they shared a smile, Kara knew better.
And her mind was dragged frequently to the subject over the next couple days.
“When she says I’m not doing anything wrong, should I believe her?” Kara asked with a furrowed brow, as she leaned back into Sam’s back rub. Caprica was having another appointment with Cottle, and Kara had found Sam alone in his house.
“Yes,” Sam answered, applying deep pressure just below her shoulder blade. “You’re not the problem, you’re the catalyst.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Kara said, slightly peeved even as his hands seemed to absorb all the tension in her back. “And wait, do you know what she’s been upset about?”
“We did talk a while back,” Sam admitted.
“Oh that’s just great,” Kara grumbled. “She doesn’t talk to me, but she talks to you?”
“You know, coming from you, that objection has a lot of irony,” Sam said in a droll tone.
“Maybe,” Kara admitted reluctantly. “Well, you’ll tell me at least—what is it?”
“She misses Baltar,” Sam said, moving his hands to the back of her neck.
“What the frak?” Kara asked, neck prickling with the sound of that name.
“Hey, you have to relax for me to do this,” Sam said, rubbing his thumbs at the base of her skull before he added, “She’s always loved him.”
“I thought we were getting past that,” Kara muttered. “You know how much work I’ve had to keep people away from her who would possibly hurt her?”
“Yes, I noticed,” Sam said appreciatively, leaning in to kiss the spot on her neck he’d just relaxed. Kara couldn’t help a little shiver of enjoyment. “But that doesn’t change the facts. She loves you, but she wants him too.”
“That’s just a bad idea in so many ways,” Kara objected, able to bring up too many memories to support her claim. “There is no way I’m letting him come back into her life.”
“Well, that’s selfish,” Sam said shortly.
“It is not,” Kara protested.
“You don’t want to share, when you expect her to do so,” Sam explained, fingers still rhythmically kneading the knots out of her spine.
“I can share,” Kara said. “Just not with Gaius frakking Baltar. He doesn’t deserve her.”
Kara heard Sam chuckle softly behind her. “He’s not as bad as he used to be,” he said.
Kara opened her mouth to say something, then closed it, frowning. Much as she didn’t want to admit it, that was a pretty good recommendation, given the source.
“And if it eases your mind, if he does prove false, it’ll end the prolonged torment that Caprica has been suffering, loving him and not knowing for sure if she should,” Sam said.
Kara grunted, thinking about the words for a second.
It didn’t take her long, though. The more she saw Caprica, the more it ate at her heart that she was never unequivocally happy. With her child’s due-date only a few weeks off, she would need the strength of being whole. Kara didn’t know much, but she knew that.
Feeling oddly out of place, especially given her dark misgivings, she made her way out to the nearby settlement and all the way across to the facility that served as the headquarters of the Final Five (such as they were, with Sam living elsewhere), ignoring everyone in her path on the way.
She’d lost a taste for city life, she realized with a scowl, crossing her arms above her belly as she waited out on the paved street, not wanting to go in and face the stupid frakking cylons. Then again, given that the two most important people to her were cylons, maybe that distinction wasn’t what bothered her.
She winced a little, because if she thought too hard, she’d wonder what life on Earth was doing to her, turning her into. But her target came into sight then, and she honed in.
“Dr. Baltar, a moment,” she said, in a tone that left no other alternative.
The immediate discomfort on his face only increased the stern look on hers. “Kara Thrace,” he answered, swallowing, reluctantly stepping closer.
“What are your feelings towards Caprica?” Kara said, giving him a sharp glare.
“The—the colony?” Baltar stammered.
“You know who I mean,” Kara answered.
Baltar swallowed again, bringing up his hand to loosen the tie around his neck. “And why should I be talking about this to you?” he asked, glancing around to see if there were any possible eavesdroppers.
“Because it matters to me,” Kara said shortly, arms crossing even further. “No stalling, just tell me the truth.”
“I haven’t seen her in weeks,” he began, scratching at his head. Then, swallowing again, and almost looking Kara in the eye, he said, “I’ve missed her.”
“Have you really,” Kara answered dryly, not budging.
“I don’t intend on being interrogated about this, least of all by you,” Baltar said, feathers rising. “If I love her, that is my business, and mine alone.”
Kara raised an eyebrow. “You love her?”
He paused, mouth slightly agape for a moment. “Yes, yes I do,” he said, quickly but not too quickly. “And what is that to you?”
“Doesn’t matter to me at all, does it?” Kara said with a vague shrug, still watching his every move. He’d have been a lot smoother about it if he was lying. Or rather, his anxiety wouldn’t be on hiding the way his heart-rate seemed to rise as soon as she mentioned his name. He was embarrassed by how much Caprica affected him, even when she wasn’t there.
Even after she had rebuffed him, he still cared—that reminded Kara just enough of someone else that she couldn’t help but give him credit. Grudgingly, hatingly, but she had to.
“But if you do, you shouldn’t be acting as if you don’t,” she said after a moment of silence.
Baltar gave her a look of confused surprise.
“She needs you to prove yourself, so I suggest you do it,” Kara advised, and then gave him a long look.
The meaning of her words dawned slowly on him, but when they did, it was obvious.
“She wouldn’t—she wants—?” he stammered, a look of brightness coming on his face.
“She does,” said Kara, and almost regretted giving him that much encouragement. But this was for Caprica. She was about to turn to leave, then looked back and took a step closer so that she was staring straight into Baltar’s eyes. “If you hurt her in any way, I will make sure that even thinking about another woman will make you hurt in the equipment that you will no longer have.”
Her work done, Kara left the city and went back to her home. She thought she’d have a sick feeling in her stomach, a sudden regret and foreboding. It was astonishing when she didn’t. Frak, she was not ready to start trusting Gaius Baltar.
As the due date drew ever closer, Caprica’s stress over it grew to enormous heights. She could barely eat, barely sleep, and since she could no longer work, the days inched by. Her last visit to Cottle, Kara had come with her again, and Cottle had pulled them both aside after the basic check-up.
“Now, there’s no point in me giving this speech twice, so I’ll explain it to you both now,” he said, waving his cigarette at them until they took seats. Then, grave eyes matching the set expression of his mouth, he began, “Whatever you think you know about labor, it will be worse.”
Caprica’s eyes widened, but he didn’t stop there.
It was the most unnerving day of her life. In all her simple dreams of becoming more like humanity, taking what was good of them and letting it help her create a child—in all of that, no one had ever mentioned so much blood and chaos, and pain that she would probably swear felt like being squeezed to death. Slowly. And with much relish from a sadistic universe.
“I’m not saying this all to scare you,” Cottle said, a moment after he had described the entire process. Caprica didn’t know whether to believe him. “You need to know what you’re facing, and you’d better have the whole of it so you can’t blame me afterwards. I was never interested in obstetrics, and this damned four year voyage through space has given me far too much experience. I’m not sugar-coating it, knowing that your criticisms while in transition certainly won’t be. Are we understood?”
Caprica glanced at Kara, saw pure panic in her partner’s eyes, and managed a hasty nod as she swallowed deeply.
“Good, now Ishay can finish up with you here,” Cottle said, nodding and preparing to turn away. “Oh, and I don’t think I’ve said it before, but congratulations to you both.” And then he walked out of the bay.
Caprica wasn’t sure she even acknowledged the last words. “Am I going to die?” she asked, overwhelmed, turning to Kara.
But as Kara seemed to not know how to answer, thankfully they weren’t alone.
“Dear gods, I can’t believe he actually said all that,” said Ishay, coming from around the corner and pulling the curtain behind her. She had never looked so horrified. “Listen, what Cottle said was all essentially true about some labors, but you will not have experiences like that, I promise. I think he mentioned every worst case, but I can’t remember a single person who went through all of it. And for that matter, that is not even the bulk of labor.”
The bluster in the nurse’s tone and the warm facts of her words made Caprica want to hold onto her for dear life. “That’s good to know,” she managed, a little shaky. She realized that she had her arms wound tightly around her belly as if Cottle’s words could somehow have affected her child from afar, and she let them relax a little.
“I have experience in this, in fact,” Ishay said with a sigh, crossing her arms. “I went through with an accidental pregnancy, and though I put up the child for adoption, I understand this part.”
The tale Ishay spun was much less violent, though more focused on the length and hard work and weariness of it all. Caprica’s disconcertion didn’t go away entirely, but something about the nature of this struggle spoke more clearly to her.
“It is not at all impossible,” Ishay finished with a nod. “Nor will you be in any danger of dying. This is something that happens all the time, and believe me, it only requires the strength that we women have naturally. And when it is done, if you do not record the experience somehow, as happened with me, you will likely not remember half of it. Now, is that better?”
Caprica nodded with a little relieved smile, then looked to Kara again. They weren’t confident, but that wasn’t necessary.
Ishay gave a short smile and a nod, and handed them their paperwork and sent them on their way. Neither of them spoke on the way back down, and Caprica still cradled her unborn son as best she could in her arms. By the time their house was right in front of them, her own stress had faded, but she could feel her son wiggling as best he could in the limited space left to him.
“I think I’ll need to practice those relaxation techniques,” Caprica said, exhaling as she crossed the threshold.
“No kidding,” Kara said, finally finding her voice. She leaned a little against the table, shaking her head.
Caprica pulled over two cushions, and Kara helped her sit down cross-legged.
“After all we have gone through, I believe I have never been more frightened,” Caprica admitted after a moment.
But she was surprised to not get an immediate answer from Kara. Kara’s face tensed a little, and she didn’t look at Caprica.
Caprica had seen that look many times, had agonized over what it meant, but had never found an answer. And that hurt.
“I told you I never wanted children, right?” Kara said after a moment, still looking down at her crossed knees.
Caprica looked at her more closely, wracking her brain for a second. “I believe so, yes.”
“I’ve been fearing that a lot longer and harder than any kind of physical pain,” Kara said, glancing up for a second. “Having children. I never would have, if things hadn’t been different. And this whole journey, there’s a part of my mind—” She paused, shaking her head and clenching her mouth as if to will away pain. “A part of me keeps saying that I’m wrong for doing this. And what’s worse, I don’t have a good argument against that. I just keep ignoring it because I can’t stop now.”
The momentary glow Caprica had felt on being finally let into Kara’s confidence faded quickly with the words. “What can frighten you so much?” she asked quietly, reaching out a hand to rest on Kara’s knee.
“I’m not perfect,” Kara said bluntly. Then, with a twisted ironic smile, “Well, we both know that. But I mean—I’ve screwed up my own life, but I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t just making my life different, not worse. Childhood means pain and hatred to me, and that’s it. I don’t know how else to see it.”
“Your parents?” Caprica asked, feeling a choking in her throat as she didn’t want to imagine.
“My mother,” Kara said, but she didn’t look at Caprica when she said it. “And if that’s all I know of motherhood, then what’s the point in me thinking I can do better. I don’t know anything, so it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll just do what I know even if I don’t want to. My daughter—part of me just hopes she’ll never come out, because inside, she’s safe.”
“Oh Kara,” Caprica said, and all her anxiety started coming to the surface again as she gripped Kara’s knee. “Kara, I didn’t know.”
“Well actually, you’re the first person I’ve told who I wasn’t engaged or married to,” Kara said with an attempt at a smile. “Told this much, anyway. Although given everything, you don’t break the pattern that much.”
Caprica tried to smile back, but she couldn’t. “Kara, if I had known...”
“You couldn’t have done anything,” Kara cut in, with a sigh.
“Will you let me finish?” Caprica asked. Kara nodded after a second, almost abashed. “What I meant was, I thought I was alone in my fears.”
“What do you mean?” Kara asked, frowning.
Caprica swallowed slowly, bringing up the fear that had been chilling her mind on and off for weeks, only now it was almost always at the forefront. “Your mother may have made you fear that you follow her example, but I have no memory of a mother at all. I had none, not in this sense, so even if I could remember it would not help. I watched so, so many humans with their children, fascinated. But until I was facing having my own, I did not think what I would do after that.”
Kara seemed to bite down a word or an emotion. “Oh,” she said, comprehending at last.
“And I feel terrible for not thinking of it sooner,” Caprica said, and it was almost greater torment to admit than to just worry alone. “I do not know what I will do as a mother.”
Kara’s eyes widened, not in shock but in focus, and she rubbed at her forehead. “Well, that’s just great, isn’t it? Clueless and afraid the both of us.”
“How will this not end badly?” Caprica groaned, and put a hand to her eyes. Their dwelling didn’t feel so safe anymore, instead being almost alien for this moment, like they didn’t know what to do with it.
“Look, no matter how little we know, we’ve got to be smart enough to brainstorm our way through this,” Kara said, shaking her head a little, sitting up a little straighter on the cushion.
“This isn’t a war, Kara, this is parenting,” Caprica said, not entirely comfortable with Kara’s approach.
“Who said you can only strategize during war?” Kara countered. “Now come on, we can do this somehow. We’re not idiots.”
“Maybe,” admitted Caprica. “But what are you supposed to do with babies?” she asked in a slight undertone.
Kara’s mouth set in a straight line. “You’re right. We call in Athena at least.”
Caprica realized a moment later how poor an idea that was. None of them had seen Hera in her first few months, and when they called on her the next day, Athena almost went stiff on it being brought up again. She was vaguely helpful on describing motherhood feelings, how certain things would come naturally. Caprica could see plain on Kara’s face that she was afraid of just that.
But it was soon apparent that there was no one to give any other advice. No one with experience.
“Gods, I do not want to be a frakking guinea pig,” Kara swore as they sat over dinner one night, after fifteen minutes of just poking irritatedly at her food.
Caprica said nothing, just hoping that things would be all right. She only had three weeks left to figure out anything, and what she and Kara knew came down to regular feedings, bathings, and cuddling of some kind.
It didn’t help when Kara finally let slip the issue around Sam. His raised eyebrows and initial hesitation showed just how little he knew, perhaps even less than Kara. But something changed for Kara after that, and maybe because so little in comparison was resting on Sam, his support meant more. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he didn’t fear failure like she did. It was something that Caprica realized separated the two of them; Kara and her. They could sympathize too much about just the wrong things.
As Caprica had told Sam, though, Kara was all she had.
Alone in the house during the days, Caprica tried to focus on baby names, anything to help her mind stay positive. She didn’t want to move, not when she felt stretched to the limit, with her son about to pop out at any moment. When the contractions started hitting, irregular still, just teasing reminders of the time she had left to wait, she closed her eyes and sipped water and focused on meditation. Times like these, she wished God would speak to her.
But no, not he. For all the thousands of people settling this world, she could feel as if she was an island in a storm. A storm of emotions and fears and thoughts, but real enough that the strength stressed her.
Then there was a knock at the door. Breathing in deeply, sharply, Caprica rose slowly to her feet. She had to answer, but god, she couldn’t imagine how it could help.
The door swung open in her hands and she stood in shock, staring straight into the eyes of Gaius Baltar. And for a second, all she could think was that he looked well. Shaven, clothes neat, hair combed back. It was so sharp a contrast from her last important memories, she could almost forget them and remember the good old days. Before he knew that she was a cylon, before she knew just how weak he could be, back when the idea of love seemed pure.
“Gaius,” she said out loud, breathing slowly out.
“Caprica,” he answered just as slowly.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, but she had intended it to come across as more of a demand. Of all the people...
“I heard that you were alone,” he said, on the verge of stammering. “Or, well, no one told me in particular, but I made my guess, and thought—from everything I was told, I just assumed—”
“No, Gaius, what do you want?” Caprica interrupted, speaking distinctly, even as her emotions were not helping her. There was a flip-flopping in her stomach, like her nervousness had become overwhelming again.
He paused, looking at her with conflicted eyes. “I—I didn’t have anything else to do.”
“I’m sorry for that, but now is not the time for me to lighten up a dull day,” Caprica said firmly, breathing in deeply and starting to close the door.
“Wait—please—Caprica, please wait,” he said, stepping closer to the door, looking her straight in the eye. “That’s not what I meant—I need to—I can’t explain it like this. Please, may I come in, just for a minute? You can turn me out if you want, but please, I can’t do this out here.”
Too much history rode in the look he gave her, and she didn’t have the emotional strength to be cold-hearted. But her lips pressed in a straight line as she stepped back, letting him in her house. He stood for a moment, his gaze random, but then he turned back to her.
“Are you doing well?” he asked.
“Yes,” Caprica answered, and only considered it a white lie. Then, as an afterthought to make this awkwardness as smooth as possible, “And you?”
“I am sure you do not want to hear about me,” he said, surprising her with the way he almost laughed, self-consciously running a hand through his hair. He licked his lips, blinking. “You—you heard too much of me, I think.”
“I heard enough, yes,” Caprica found herself saying.
“I want to know about you,” Gaius said, stepping forward a little, trying not to look desperate. “I had nothing to give, nothing to do for you, but I have heard word of you all this time and I did not want to rely on others.”
Caprica didn’t know what to say, and so as always, she said nothing. Just stood and looked at him, and could not for the life of her see what was going on in his mind. “There is nothing to tell,” she said finally. “And now you know, you may leave in peace.”
“I don’t want to,” Gaius said suddenly, stepping in even closer and looking up into her face, his own nervousness distracting her from her own. “Caprica, please, I need to tell you. I was never able to keep quiet, not really—I just didn’t know what I was saying sometimes. But now I know. I couldn’t stay where I was with the other cylons, not only because they reminded me of you, but because they wouldn’t speak of you.”
“What are you talking about?” Caprica asked, starting to feel frustration rise above every other emotion in her. She couldn’t understand Gaius like this, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to. She feared what she’d find out.
“I thought my destiny was with the cylons, with your cylon god,” Gaius said, even as he looked almost as confused as Caprica felt. “But after all these months working with them, living with them, I know it wasn’t that. It was you. You were the one.”
“I was the what?” Caprica asked, but her voice seemed to lose the power of outrage.
“You were the one, Caprica,” Gaius said again, his voice earnest and breaking. “The one that, when it came to it, I wanted to live for. Nothing could hold me if you weren’t there. And over the past weeks, whenever I hear your name, I can only think of what you might need. I know you are well, and so I couldn’t bring anything, but I wanted to tell you that I would. I don’t know why, but I would bring you what you needed...if you needed it.” He broke off again, lowering his eyes. “I don’t know what happened to me, but you are the one.”
“Gaius,” Caprica started, even as her heart started flipping over on itself, and her throat constricted. Her breathing was unsteady for a second—she could see what was happening now. She had known him, and in his eyes now, she read this confusion, not knowing how to help because he had never wanted to before. Something other than his own interests was pushing him, and he had no experience to deal with it.
She felt her heart wishing that he knew more. That he knew the needs that wouldn’t be apparent from the outside, the things that no one else could give her even if she asked. Her frustration was leaving, her previous emotions crashing down on her again, and this time it was overwhelming.
“I—” she started, trying to say that she understood but he couldn’t help, not knowing only as much as he did. Her voice broke mid-word, though, and she gulped back a sob. Bringing her hand to her mouth, she felt her eyes start to sting with tears, and she breathed in sharply. It didn’t stop—she felt tears coming.
“I’m sorry,” he said quickly, horror on his face.
She shook her head, feeling lost, wishing she wasn’t alone for this moment. “Don’t,” she managed, even as the tears blurred her eyes.
“I didn’t mean, I didn’t want to hurt—I should go,” he said, concern and embarrassment all in his voice, hesitation again in his stature, turning away.
He had changed. And it hurt, because she hadn’t expected it. “No, Gaius,” she said through tears, reaching for his arm.
When he looked back, she saw sorrow in his eyes, deep longing beyond anything she’d seen there before.
“Gaius, I always wanted you to be like this,” she admitted, mouth trembling as she looked him in the eyes.
“Then you—you don’t hate me?” he asked hesitantly.
And Caprica laughed through her tears, because in that moment, she didn’t. “No, Gaius, not like this,” she managed to say, and pulled him in to kiss him.
His lips were just as she remembered, his hands still strong beneath his gentleness as he brought them to what was left of her waist, holding her close to him as he kissed back with an urgency of longing and waiting and fearing that it might never happen again.
Caprica had thought he was lost, but now he was trying to find his way back, and she wanted him. She needed him with her, on her path. She pulled away from the kiss a few seconds later, and smiled at him.
Gaius brought up a hand to wipe the tears from her face, looking relieved. Then, his eyes widened, and he looked down at her pregnant belly between them. “Did he move?” he asked with almost a gasp. “I think I felt him move—yes, I did.”
Caprica had felt no kick from her son, but Gaius’ glee warmed her heart too much, and so she just beamed as he put his hands to her belly.
“It is all right if I touch?” he asked then, suddenly nervous again, pulling his hands back.
Caprica just laughed and kissed him again. That little piece she’d noticed missing was back again, and she was complete.
As soon as it was made plain that Baltar was yet another person in their lives, Kara decided that she’d have to live with it. She had plenty of room in her heart for Caprica and Sam, of course, but none for Baltar. And given the odd looks he gave her when she kissed Caprica after coming home after a long day, he had the same reservations. Resignation was the only option.
“I wanted to talk to you about names,” Caprica said at breakfast one morning, as Kara slowly stretched before sitting.
“Me?” Kara asked. “Whatever for?”
“I trust your opinion,” Caprica answered with an obvious smile. “Now, I was thinking Julius Deus.”
“Not that one?” Caprica frowned.
“His middle name is God?” Kara asked, with an incredulous grin as she sat down and pulled a bowl towards her. “That was my old territory.”
“Hmm, well,” Caprica mused. “That’s all I had so far.”
“The Julius part isn’t so bad,” Kara decided, taking her first bite of food.
“Maybe I should talk to Gaius too,” Caprica added. “If you don’t mind him coming over again.”
“Whatever you like,” Kara said, even with a slight eyebrow raise.
“What I would like,” Caprica added after a moment’s pause, “is, now that things are so complicated, that we find a place where all four of us could be together. One family.”
Kara swallowed her food before her eyebrow truly rose and she answered, “You know the implications of that, right?”
“Gaius and Sam in the same house?” Caprica suggested. She sighed. “Yes, I know. But it would make less sense for us all to live apart.”
“We’ll see when the time comes,” Kara said after a moment.
She didn’t end up waiting that long, not when Sam suggested it the very next week.
“Sam, this whole thing barely makes sense the way we’re working it now,” she protested to him. “It was kind of an accident, all four of us. Moving in would be...weird.”
“Hmm,” Sam said, as they sat out on the front step. “As weird as not doing it?”
Kara breathed out slowly. “We have had a lot of separations, you know. All of us. Even when it always feels more right to come back together.”
“Yeah, I’d noticed that too,” Sam said with a tone of deep meaning. “Sometimes it hasn’t been a bad thing. But unless there’s a good reason, I don’t see why we need to keep up the tradition.”
Kara shrugged. “Mm, well, I think I’m just hesitant about living in a house with Gaius Baltar.”
“We can set boundaries,” Sam assured her, giving her a look that made her realize that it would be doubly important to him.
She chuckled, and decided not to totally dismiss it.
There were times, though, when both Gaius and Sam were gone, that she wondered if she enjoyed that most of all. Sitting with Caprica in the quiet, talking about simple things, with none of the kind of history they had with anyone else. Everything they had together was recent, fresh, hand-made. It would always be different, and she didn’t want to lose it.
Of course, no one was telling her she had to. Just rearrange it, maybe. It was just, Kara didn’t like change—not really.
But it was coming whether she liked it or not, just as always.
Caprica’s muscle contractions had been going off and on for days before that evening. Kara was already asleep, curled on her side, and Caprica had no reason to wake her yet. Then it started falling into a quick, consistent pattern. Caprica’s heart started to race; she knew what this meant. She just couldn’t bear to admit it yet.
For hours she paced back and forth, watching Kara sleep and feeling calmed by it, even as she could feel her body starting the hard work that was leading her to the end. She practiced her breathing until it had gone on too long, and the house was too quiet.
“Kara, Kara,” she said, nudging her partner.
Kara came awake with a slight jerk. “What is it?”
“He’s coming,” Caprica whispered, putting a hand to her stomach as another contraction hit.
“Oh gods,” Kara said, sitting up, eyes wide. “I need to get Cottle here. We need to get you up there.”
Caprica shook her head. “No—yes. Yes to the first, but no, I want it to be here.”
Kara gave her a look, but then made her way to the door. “Right, I’ll contact Galactica and Cottle.”
Had her daughter not been kicking up a storm already, Kara would have wanted to bang her head repeatedly against the wall. Cottle had refused to allow her near Caprica as soon as things started actually happening. It had been hours and hours of what seemed like nothing compared to his description, but the moment it started taking hard work, and when Caprica might need support—
“This is not a situation for you, not in your condition,” Cottle said, rumbling but firm.
And so Kara just paced outside, rubbing circles on her belly to keep from fidgeting, impatient with the universe. After all they’d been through, she was going to miss out on this. Every once in a while she could hear Caprica groan with a particularly difficult moment.
“Damn, this isn’t good for her,” she muttered to herself. And she knew, reluctantly, what she had to do. She would get Sam, and he would get Baltar.
A half hour later, mission accomplished, she still had to stand outside and listen through a closed door to the labor going on within. It was getting harder and harder, even now that Sam stood with her.
“It’s going to be morning soon, godsdamnit,” Kara muttered.
“Everything’s going to be fine,” Sam said, for the third time at least.
“It’s going to be damned strange,” Kara answered shaking her head, trying not to feel nervous. “I feel like I’m somehow involved.”
“Hey, I’m no fountain of zen here either,” Sam said, but reached out a hand to rub her shoulder. “We’ve put a lot into this, you more than anyone; it’s important to all of us.”
“It’d just better turn out all right,” Kara muttered, worried and unsure and not liking it. Everything had to turn out fine. It just had to.
Cottle had been right, Caprica was going to die. “How long has it been now?” she asked, almost delirious with weariness as she leaned back into Gaius’s arms.
“Half a day,” Cottle said, tone flat.
“Why can’t I just push and get it over with?” she asked, breathing hard. Her body felt completely out of control, like some giant force was just playing with it, wracking it with pressure upon pressure.
“A few more minutes,” Cottle insisted under his breath. “And I’m not telling you again.”
“Oh god,” Caprica said, breathless, closing her eyes. “Gaius, are you there?”
“Yes, yes, I’m here,” she heard him say, then felt his hand stroke her damp hair. “But I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, I don’t know anything.”
Caprica’s stomach started to turn as an urge began to come over her. “You aren’t here to be useful, Gaius,” she managed, voice unsteady. “You’re just—god!”
She didn’t have time to notice the pun, as she felt simultaneously exhausted and needing to push.
“This is it,” Cottle said, voice almost sighing with relief.
Caprica lost all sense of him after that, lost all sense of Gaius. Her son was coming out. It was almost over, she just had a little more work, and then. Oh god, it burned, but he was almost out. Almost. Her body had never felt so wonderfully wretched, and new tears spread across her face, joining the salt of sweat and previous tears already there. Cylon strength did nothing here.
Then, in a rush of exhaustion and exhilaration all at once—
“That’s it,” Cottle said crisply, triumphantly. “Here we are, your son.”
Caprica managed to open her eyes, and breathe out slowly. He was so small, so purpleish red and wrinkled and messy and even from so far away he was gorgeous. Cottle held him scooped in his hands, and as Caprica tried to sit a little, Gaius still supporting her, he handed the baby into her arms.
“Oh my god,” Caprica said, as her son was in her arms for the first time. She closed her eyes and could have wept for joy. She had done it, and those she loved had been close. Sometimes the world paid attention and gave her small kindnesses.
After all the worry, Kara almost fell asleep waiting for all the measuring and clean-up to be done, before she could finally come in and see Caprica and son with her own eyes.
“Kara, there you are,” Caprica called from the bed where she was now propped, leaning back against Baltar’s chest, a tiny baby suckling at her breast.
And then Kara felt awkward, even as she was happy for it all. She walked over and kissed Caprica’s sweaty forehead, squeezing her arm and looking down at her. Dark circles lay under Caprica’s eyes, and the flush of hard work crossed her cheeks—but her eyes were shining, and as Kara had nothing to say, she just looked at what all this hard work had brought.
“He will be called Julius Paul,” Caprica said warmly.
Kara thought Julius Paul did not quite need a name like that, given his diminutive and squashed looks. But she couldn’t help but smile a little, because even past the smooshed head and folds of wrinkled skin, he was a vivid bit of life that Caprica had brought forth. If nothing else, Kara felt she knew so much about him already.
“Looks like he’s glad to be in the open,” she said finally with a nod.
“As are we all,” Gaius said, with a weak but happy smile.
Kara couldn’t suppress a yawn then. “I’ll be sleeping then, even though it is daytime.”
“Everyone should sleep,” Cottle emphasized as he packed up his equipment.
Yawning still, Kara walked back out to Sam, gave him the news, and said her goodnights. She passed Gaius leaving on the way back in, and noticed that Caprica had already drifted off. Kara sighed and turned off the lights.
Lying down on her bed, curled up again, she put a hand to her belly. Her daughter was barely moving around anymore, and as Kara fell asleep, she wondered what kind of joys and terrors waited for her.
The next few days didn’t give her many clues.
“He eats, and sleeps, and eats, and sleeps,” marveled Caprica, from where she rocked back and forth in the chair Kara had made for her.
“And soils his diaper,” Kara added. Their small collection of baby products that had been gathered in preparation had been wildly too conservative, and Kara had gone to the settlement to scrounge for appropriate fabric in particular.
“Even that does not make him less beautiful,” Caprica said, smiling, brushing a finger over her son’s cheek as he slept in her arms. “My Julius.”
Kara sighed, not knowing what to think of this. “You know, I’m not calling him Julius,” she said. “Or Paul. He’s always going to be J.P.”
“Oh no, you don’t mean that,” Caprica protested, frowning.
“I don’t say something if I don’t mean it,” Kara answered with one raised eyebrow. “Come on, look at him, he’s too small for anything else. I used to give callsigns, I know what I’m talking about.”
“If you just hold him, you will feel how there is so much more to him than physical size, and he deserves every piece of that name,” Caprica assured her.
“Nuh-uh,” Kara said, shaking her head. “I’m not holding him, I told you.” Nominally it was to keep him from giving her daughter any ideas about coming out early, but when it came down to it, she was afraid of what might happen. Afraid that she might like it, afraid that she’d feel nothing. Better to risk it all when it was her child.
When the world seemed to come to revolve around little J.P., Kara just drew back and watched. Gaius, of course, hovered a little. Sam as well. All the Cylons came to see the little miracle here at last, and Athena and Helo came with a gift basket of some of Hera’s old things. Kara stayed back; she loved to see Caprica happy, but this was something else entirely. It worried her, just a little.
After the first few days of floating on a sea of new emotions, Caprica felt everything drop heavily back to ground. She had a baby now. She didn’t know what would come next. Since her fears hadn’t completely disappeared, she started to watch over her son as he slept, stroking his hands or his face, worried and anxious.
The only thing that helped was everyone around her. Gaius was almost glowing the whole time, ready to hold the child at a moment’s notice, and far more excited than he should be. Caprica had a sardonic thought that once the weight of responsibility became clear to him, he would become just as worried and probably twice as frantic as she was. Until then, she quietly tried to think of him as support.
Kara provided more of the physical kind. She had never been so diligent about keeping everything organized and at Caprica’s beck and call. It was not the Kara Caprica had been used to seeing, but when she surreptitiously asked Sam about it, he just nodded and said, “Just don’t tell her you’ve noticed.”
Caprica wondered about that, but managed to guess that maybe Kara was afraid of what she could do. The good as well as the bad. She didn’t want to admit that she could be normal, even for a little while, so if she did then it had to be unnoticed. So Caprica smiled and said thank you, and let it go at that. Even when Gaius made a cradle, and Caprica would sometimes wake up in the night to find Kara rocking it back and forth, she just closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep until she was.
After all the check-ups for her, she was glad when a couple weeks had gone by and it was time for Julius to get his appointment. Given his unique situation, Caprica felt on pins and needles through the whole thing.
“He’s perfectly average,” Cottle pronounced at the end, handing her the baby back.
“Told you not to worry about that,” Kara said from where she sat with Caprica.
Caprica just nodded, but it was amazing how fast the anxieties seemed to fade after that visit.
And when Julius was asleep, Caprica found herself once again fascinated by her other child—the one who still had a few months to go. Especially as Kara seemed more and more nervous about it.
“This should have ended in disaster long ago,” Kara grumbled as she paced back and forth. “It shouldn’t be happening so frakking normally.”
“And what kind of attitude is that?” Caprica asked pointedly.
“The realistic one,” Kara answered, turning towards her. “What am I doing? What is going on here? This is...”
“Lunacy, yes, we went through this many times,” Caprica said, cutting her off. “But until you start having visions, just relax and it’ll all be fine.”
“Don’t say that,” Kara said, pointing a finger at her. “I don’t want anything getting any ideas.”
Caprica smiled, but as soon as Kara turned away, she glanced up towards the heavens, slightly nervous all the same. There was nothing, as always.
The weeks wore on, and little J.P. was packing on the weight, eating at every chance he got. Kara watched and wondered, and it was hard to believe looking at how round she had gotten now that there were still two and a half months left for her. It felt even longer on the nights when she couldn’t sleep, not least because J.P. had discovered that if he wanted some quality time with mother, a good start would be flailing around and moaning a little.
Sometimes Kara pretended that she didn’t notice. Other times, even though she felt tired, she had to get up and out of the house and move. She spent hours strolling the nearby fields, conversing to the stars, or when it was cloudy, which was often, to her baby.
“I guess one thing I know for sure is that you’ll be coming out blonde,” she said, looking down towards her belly as she talked. “Just don’t make it curls, all right? That’s just freaky.”
She still didn’t have a name for her child. She was almost afraid to come up with one. “I could just call you something for the time being, you know,” she said, and her daughter’s answering kick made her wonder if she was paying attention. “Something silly like Lulu or Nini. But it might stick, and that would be a nightmare. Another nightmare, though, is waiting for your other mother to get in on this, and you’ll end up being Delia or Monalisa or both.” Kara sighed into the night.
She was having backache problems again, yet another reason she couldn’t sleep, and there was a bit of dread on seeing how J.P. was almost always attached to Caprica that maybe Kara would never get rid of this weight on her.
“I’m making Sam hold you a lot, okay,” she told her belly firmly. “So you should probably get used to him now.”
And somehow Sam must have found out that she had insomnia, for all the times that he ended up joining her out in the dark.
“I’ve told her you’re going to have to be partly her father,” Kara said, “because Caprica’s going to be a little busy for all of the aspects of motherhood, at least at this point.”
“That’s fine,” Sam said. “And it’ll be good practice, you know, for the next one that’s mine.”
Kara’s face of horror and disgust managed to keep him from saying anything for a few seconds. “No way, this is the last one,” she said. “One time through this is plenty.”
“You do realize that you’d need at least two to maintain the population,” Sam mused.
She glared at him. “Frak the population.”
“That was what the admiral ordered, literally I think,” Sam continued, his tone still easy. His eyes twinkled at her, even in the dark. “And I could mention that ‘God’ didn’t seem to have a problem helping you along the first time...”
“Don’t even think about joking about that,” Kara warned.
“I know, I know,” he answered with a half chuckle. “But hey, I thought you married me for my wit.”
“You did, huh?” Kara said as they continued walking. “You thought wrong, Mr. Samuel T. Anders. I married you for a lot more than that.”
“Ah, I see,” he said, and snuck a hand round her waist.
She shook her head, but her expression was content, even as she just wanted to go to sleep.
Once Caprica noticed that she wasn’t the only one yawning throughout the day, it became clear that their one-room house would not cut it anymore. Unfortunately, they eventually brought up the subject at one of the full-family meals with Gaius and Sam. The two women went to bed soundly that night, not imagining what the next morning would be.
Just as Gaius was about to step in to make a short morning visit, Sam showed up and said, “Dr. Baltar, I need to talk to you.”
And then they were off. An hour later, their presence still remained suspiciously absent.
“You don’t think they got into a fight, do you?” Caprica asked, concerned.
Kara, forced to maternity leave for her last month, shook her head. “No offense, but I don’t think Sam would consider Gaius worth the effort.”
Caprica smiled. “None taken. Gaius has never been a warrior, something I value in him.”
Kara said nothing, just cocked an eyebrow.
A little later, after Caprica had fed Julius and set him down for a short nap, she spoke up to Kara. “I had a thought last night. About names.”
Kara swallowed her bite of lunch skeptically.
“I was thinking, given the circumstances,” Caprica said, leaning towards Kara with an encouraging smile, “that perhaps our daughter should be called Miracle.”
Kara tried not to cough as she drank. “Caprica, hon,” she said, giving her a straight look, “you know I love you, but I am not giving our child a name that isn’t even a name. It’s just a word. In that case, we might as well be naming her Anomaly.”
Caprica paused, but only for a second. “Anomaly does sound well,” she defended. “And she could be Melly like my little one is Jules.”
“What’s wrong with J.P.?” Kara put in, not the first time she’d mentioned it.
“He is too precious for it,” Caprica insisted, and her lip curled in a not-quite-pout that belied her rock-hard core about important matters.
Kara shrugged, thinking over what Caprica had just said. “I don’t mind Mela so much, Melly for short.”
“Really?” Caprica responded, excited.
“I’m not settling yet, though,” Kara warned.
Then, a few minutes later, from outside came the tumble of crashing as if a viper production factory had dropped a load of spare parts.
“Oh, well that was just brilliant,” they heard Baltar’s sarcastic tones.
“And not my fault,” Sam’s firm protest followed.
“Just a minute, I’ll see what that is,” Caprica said, rising with a frown.
But Kara got to her feet too, and frowned as she had to waddle over to the door to see what lay beyond. Then she cackled. “Oh, that was brilliant,” she called out.
Sam and Baltar were wheeling a cart towards the house, a rickety one full of boards and sheets of metal and other construction supplies. Given the lack of livestock, carts had all been modified to be pulled by humans, but the steering still lay behind the pulling mechanism. Sam had been pulling the cart while Baltar had been steering—whatever had happened, and the uneven ground could offer a hundred possibilities, the cart had stopped abruptly and half the supplies tipped forward dangerously. Sam looked almost in danger of being squashed, as Baltar sat perched on top of everything behind.
“What are you doing?” Caprica asked curiously, one hand on her hip, the other reaching up to push back her free-falling hair to get a better view of the near-disaster.
“Mr. Anders here,” Baltar said, “decided that it was time to dismantle his house. He planned to add another room to yours, so that there would be space for expansion.”
Kara snorted in humor.
“It’ll work as soon as we can get the supplies there,” Sam insisted, sleeves rolled up, running a hand through his hair as he looked at the near-toppled cart.
“I’ll help with this,” Caprica said, looking back to Kara before walking down the steps to join them.
As it happened, they didn’t need much help to get the supplies to the other side. The air was warm and dry, too, sun shining consistently bright, which offered more aid once they started. J.P. startled awake with all the noise, and Caprica ended up gazing on from the window as she nursed him, rocking her hips from side to side as Kara sat behind in the rocking chair. Caprica had moved the cupboard aside to use the hole behind it as a second window.
“I don’t think it needs to be said how massively insane this entire project is,” Baltar said, as Sam nailed the paper plans to a tree and started arranging the boards. “You don’t know anything about architecture.”
“This isn’t a masterpiece, it’s just a house,” Sam countered shortly, wiping his hands after laying the boards flat. “Besides, you know about this kind of work, don’t you?”
“I grew up on a farm,” Baltar explained with heavy sarcasm. “I maybe built a shed—once. And you don’t even know that much.”
“Look, just stay quiet and get to work, all right?” Sam said, walking over, standing a good head above him. “You want the result, you’ve got to work for it.”
“Fine,” said Baltar after a pause, with a steady gaze up at Sam. “But don’t you dare drop a hammer on my head.”
“Not if you work hard,” said Sam lightly, and tossed him work glasses.
After that, Kara lost sight of them for a while, occasionally glimpsing a dark head popping up above the window, followed by a leaning board as they laid out the basic framework, while the infrequent sounds of pounding echoed against the flat wall of the house. Once they nailed together a few wall structures and had them upright, after a few tipping mishaps, they needed to attach them at roof level. With J.P. now fed, Caprica tucked him into his cradle and set it by Kara.
“This could end very badly,” she said in a serious tone. “Watch him, and I will go and help.”
“Hey, wait,” Kara protested, realizing what was going to happen.
“You’re not doing anything,” Caprica retorted, as if she had read her mind. “You are too late term and you know it.”
“And what about you?” Kara tossed back.
“It has been ten weeks, Kara, I am not in any way an invalid anymore,” Caprica said smoothly. “And of all of us, I have the most natural strength in any case.”
Kara could have grumbled under her breath, but she couldn’t deny the logic. Still, feeling more fat and lazy than ever before, she sat in the chair and watched the construction, slowly rocking J.P.’s cradle with one foot.
Caprica was a remarkable asset, once she joined them. The work seemed to go twice as fast, and she had an eye for symmetry that complemented Sam’s.
Kara, though, found her own enjoyment a couple hours later, once the framework was mostly set in place and the heavy work began. The sun had risen high in the sky, and full-on summer heated everything in sight. From inside, Kara grinned as she sipped her cool water, watching the sheen of sweat make them all look absolutely delicious.
Caprica had recovered gorgeously from her pregnancy, retaining a different set of curves but one that only made her impossibly more attractive to Kara. With her steely muscles beneath, Kara could have watched her forever, even when she had to wipe up every couple hours to come and feed J.P.
As soon as Sam went shirtless, though, Kara had to admit that her eyes may have been distracted a little more often in his direction. And even Baltar looked passable all scruffy like this.
She also had a bit of perverse enjoyment from hearing the heat-induced irritation as the day waned, while she was still relatively cool and relaxed. Pampering was not so bad in small doses.
And by the end of the day, their house was twice as large. They had cut into the window in one wall to make it a door, and adjusted the plumbing so that there were now two sinks, one on each side of what had once been an outer wall. Last but not least, they’d added an attic to the roof for insulation’s sake.
“Just like homesteaders,” Sam said triumphantly as he finally returned to the house, smelling like sawdust and sweat.
“Oh please,” Caprica responded with a roll of her eyes, and while she hadn’t removed her shirt it had stuck to her with sweat. “Our life on this planet is nothing like homesteading, not with all the technology of the fleet.”
“It was certainly a rural task, however,” Baltar concluded, gulping down water and wiping his face with a washcloth.
They all had hearty appetites once cleaned up, and sat exhausted around the table once night hit.
“So, tomorrow we can add indoor furnishings,” Sam said, laying out the rest of his plan. “And Baltar and I can move in our cots.”
“At some point we can research larger, better beds, I think,” Baltar offered.
“Yes, but not yet,” Sam said.
“Agreed, separate beds are a necessity still at this point,” Caprica agreed.
Kara nodded quietly, and the whole outcome had brought up an interesting point in her mind.
A week after the house was in order, Kara spoke to Caprica with a look on her face. “I’d like to use the new room as a birthing area,” she said.
“Well of course,” Caprica said with a nod.
“Yes, but a birthing area without Cottle,” Kara continued.
Caprica blinked in shock at this.
And Kara soon proved herself very serious. With all the testiness she was feeling about birth already, she knew for a fact that Cottle would only aggravate the situation.
“I trust you and Sam to handle the birth, and even Gaius might help if he can,” Kara said, addressing them all around the table later that day.
Caprica had noticed that as soon as he and Sam had moved in, both Kara and Sam had stopped calling Gaius “Baltar”. It only helped Caprica’s opinion that they really were melding into one family, and it was like her old Cylon family, only better.
“It can’t be that hard, women have done it without doctors before,” Kara insisted, as no one had anything to say.
“And the mortality rate?” Gaius queried, raising a hand.
“I’ll get Cottle’s advice and help on it,” Kara said, giving him only half of a stare. “It’ll be fine. Just, he isn’t here on the day of the birth—that’s what I want.”
Despite Caprica’s misgivings about this kind of risk, something she should have expected from Kara from the beginning, Cottle confirmed the issue by perking up as soon as Kara suggested it.
“I can brief you on everything you need to know, and believe me, I’ve given a few instructions on helping with delivery,” he said, tapping his fingers and looking to Sam and Caprica with the last words.
Even though he seemed to agree with Kara, Sam didn’t seem to sit entirely comfortably with the idea. But Kara held a smug smile all the way back to Earth, and Caprica knew that it would probably be just fine. Kara had a way of dragging everyone into insane ideas and making them work.
“How are you expecting this to work,” Sam asked, as they looked over the paperwork and instructions that Cottle had given them.
“No issue,” Kara said shortly. “Caprica is the support, given her strength. You, Sam, will catch the baby. I watched you play back on Caprica, I know you can do it.”
“A baby is not a pyramid ball,” Sam protested.
“Good, I think that’s the first instruction on the list,” Kara answered snarkily from her relaxed position in the chair. “’Make sure you know what’s coming out.’”
Sam shared amused yet sighing eyes with Caprica over Kara’s head, there being little on the table to truly discuss.
Over the next two weeks, they practiced positions and breathing and roles so many times that Caprica almost felt like she was having flashbacks. It had only been three months and a little, and even though it would not be her work going into this, the idea of sympathy pains was now added to her worry list. It made her heart beat fast just to watch Kara’s clenched-jaw practicing.
Through it all, Gaius was wonderfully sensitive, or fearful, of Kara’s issues. They came out as frustration, but Caprica knew that under everything there was probably still a good deal of panic. But whether it was self-preservation or tact or both, Gaius just rocked Julius and brought supplies and water whenever they need it during the training sessions, leaving Sam and Caprica to focus on the last big hurdle in this whirlwind of the past nine months.
The next night, though, Kara didn’t speak all the way through dinner, and Caprica worried. She glanced to Sam, who was finally about to ask as they prepared to retire.
“Holy shit,” Kara said under her breath. “I think this is it.”
“What is it?” Sam asked, and it was worse than they had guessed.
“They’ve been going on for hours now, these contractions, and they’re finally getting in a line,” Kara said, eyes wide as she looked first to Caprica, then to him. “I mean—it has to be.”
“There’s still another three weeks to go, though,” Caprica said, the rush of information and implications flooding her senses.
“Damn it, I know that,” Kara snapped. She put a hand to her wide belly. “But gods, this is it, it has to be.”
“This is not good,” Sam said, and ignored Kara’s immediate glare. “This is too early—or early enough—we can’t do this alone.”
“No, there is no decision on this,” Caprica cut in, standing up and grabbing a coat. “Kara, we need to take this up to Galactica now.”
“Frak!” Kara swore, but it wasn’t at them.
Everything was in a rush as they helped wrap her up warm, Sam darting out to go down to the settlement and fly a raptor here instead of making Kara walk.
“Everyone’s going to have to go, it could be a long time,” Caprica said to Gaius.
“No, I know,” he answered, stuffing random objects into Julius’ diaper bag, the baby curled in his arm already.
“Damn you, Mela, for making this difficult,” Kara muttered as she tried to wrap the coat around her, talking down at her stomach. “You just had to, didn’t you?”
“Kara, sweetie, look at her genes,” Caprica offered, a strained wry look just an added bonus.
Kara groaned but nodded. “This had better be worth it,” she said to herself.
Then Sam had the raptor touching down, and they were all loaded in, flying up to where the ship in orbit still had the best infirmary on land or in the remaining fleet.
Cottle swore half a dozen times before he had even entered the medical bay where they first arrived. Kara swore right back at him, informing him in no mild words how she had done absolutely nothing he hadn’t told her to, and it was not her fault.
“Is it too early?” Caprica asked, worried by Cottle’s fuss.
“Not enough to cause problems, in all likelihood,” Cottle growled out as he had his aides dart around, getting everything ready. “But it could be a tough night, we’ll see.”
Caprica caught Kara’s eyes as Cottle got her on the table, ready to start the examination and take measurements. There was fire in her gaze, and her fist was clenched—but if Caprica’s feelings were even half as complicated as hers, a lot of worry and fear gathered under that prickly veneer.
For the first bit, however, they were all ordered out of the main infirmary altogether. Caprica took the opportunity to try to relax and nurse Julius, knowing from what she could hear in the infirmary that nothing serious was happening yet.
His greedy suckling calmed her more than she had expected, and when he was done she cuddled him for a while, taking comfort in his sweet baby scent and trusting innocence. He was going to have a half-sister very soon, and no matter how much he had held Caprica’s mind for so many months, in the moment she was more worried about everything but him.
An hour later, though, Cottle came out to talk to them directly.
“Yes, the labor’s started, no, nothing’s dangerous,” he said shortly. “It’s progressing normally, which should be expected of births only a couple weeks early. What’s most important is that you keep her calm; I know this was unexpected, but if she starts snapping off already, there’s no way she’ll last through without some major trauma. So get in there, do what you need to do. I’ll be checking in at regular intervals, or if anything changes.”
So finally Caprica could hand Julius off to Gaius, and he found a nice quiet room to lounge in nearby, to settle in for the night that would be ahead of them all. Caprica and Sam crossed the infirmary to find Kara set upright in bed, Ishay at her side arguing with her about drinking.
“I don’t want anything going in, I’m trying to get something out,” Kara said.
“If you don’t stay hydrated, you are going to damage yourself,” Ishay ordered grimly.
Kara gave in, but reluctantly. “Oh thank the gods,” she breathed out as Caprica and Sam approached.
“Seconded,” Ishay added under her breath, stepping away from the bed.
“Hey, what happened to your, ‘I’ll be practicing my breathing from the beginning’ resolution from last week?” Sam asked, taking one side as Caprica took the other.
“I don’t know, it all feels like it’s falling through a storm already,” Kara said, leaning her head back against the pillow.
Caprica reached out to stroke her hair softly. “It’s nothing dangerous, as long as you keep on top of things.”
“Meaning I’m supposed to relax, I know,” Kara said, jaw almost tight in any case. “Just talk to me, talk to me while I can still stand it. If I don’t think, I’m not going to be able to relax.”
That was cue enough. Kara closed her eyes and Sam started going on and on about New Caprica, about the weird things they had done, about the nights out with friends that had turned into drunken hijinks they’d all regretted the next day, but had felt good at the time. For all that they had been apart for so long, Caprica realized, Kara and Sam had filled those together times with memories to last a lifetime, and happy memories were the only remedy for what was going through Kara’s mind right now.
Caprica herself found just as much relaxation in hearing the stories and Kara’s extra comments, all of them new to her, as she quietly massaged Kara’s belly in the way that they had been practicing. It hadn’t taken much time of living with Kara to figure out how much this kind of touch soothed her, and even when the contractions demanded a pause in both speech and touch, Caprica found that the focus was helping her as well.
But the night wore on. Kara relaxed enough to doze between contractions, even when Caprica brought more food and drink and got Sam to help her demand that Kara keep up her strength. When Cottle came in again at the six hour point, though, he just hmphed and said nothing.
“Why won’t this stupid labor move on,” Kara grouched in between sips of water.
Caprica shook her head, but started silently praying that it would move on, for all their sakes.
It didn’t. Caprica wondered just how many times it would take before she stopped believing in God at all. She hadn’t seen the one who had called himself her angel in many months, so it might as well be all her own faith keeping her going. There was only so far that could go.
And five hours later, when the true labor struck, she wasn’t the only one who feared losing something.
“There’s a reason I never ran marathons, ever,” Kara grunted two hours in, after four contractions had piggybacked onto each other for the last 3 minutes straight. Sweat beads were gathering on her brow. “I like adrenaline, I like come and go excitement, I do not frakking like this!”
She had to deal with it anyways, and with hardly any breaks in between the contractions, eventually all talking ceased as Kara’s jaw seemed glued tightly shut, eyes closed as she concentrated, attempting to breathe in a steady pattern. During one of the longer breaks, Caprica pulled Sam aside.
“She’s got to drink during these times, even if we have to threaten to force her to,” she said.
“You can tell her that, after she’s been squeezing your hand half to death,” Sam suggested, but he nodded.
Kara did not plan to cooperate. But as she continued sweating, her body starting to tremble during some of the longer contraction sessions, she gave in more and more easily. Cottle kept a more constant vigil, continually checking her vitals, but though she looked like any moment she might break, Kara’s strength hadn’t hit bottom yet.
Sixteen hours after they’d made it up to Galactica, afternoon wasting away on the planet below, Kara didn’t seem to see any of them beyond the way she gripped onto their hands tightly with each muscle pressure. Caprica started to feel nauseated, both from exhaustion and worry, and Sam pushed her to go and eat something. Her breasts were engorged too, from her infrequent trips back to Gaius and Julius, and though he was keeping Julius satisfied in between with a bottle, it helped to sit down and nurse him again as she ate.
“You are being wonderful,” Gaius assured her in a near-whisper, kissing her hair.
Caprica didn’t know if it was true or not, but she felt guilty.
Even when she sent Sam away for a similar break as soon as she got back, she could see that Kara was getting no break whatsoever. She didn’t even have strength enough to find a few words.
Just as the breaks got longer a couple hours later, Kara only used it to make it clear just how much she was losing it.
“You motherfrakking son of a bitch,” she gasped out as soon as Cottle came by her side again. “This is stopping now, you are going to cut this baby out of me right now, or gods help me—”
“I warned you,” Cottle said in a low tone. “And no, that’s not happening now. You could be in transition any minute, and yes, it is going to be worse, but it’ll all be over soon. If you relax.”
“Frak you, frak your stupid motherfrakking—” Kara broke off to take a breath, and then another contraction hit. She was lost for another half a minute, but came back with words at the ready, “Get your shitpile of instruments the frak away from me, I know what’s going on here, and nothing has frakking changed.”
Cottle said nothing, and Kara didn’t reach for Caprica’s hand when the next contraction broke, instead grabbing onto the metal bar on the edge of the table. It was another two on top of each other, and Kara’s body seemed to be shivering with the force of what was happening to her.
“Kara,” Caprica started, as soon as Kara’s eyes stopped being squeezed tightly shut.
“No, don’t even think about it,” Kara gasped, her eyes looking wildly towards Caprica. “I hate you. I hate what you’ve frakking done to me, and gods help me, if you don’t get out of here, I am going to—gods know, but I will find a way to—” The anger turned into a whimper as her eyes flitted shut again, breathing difficult.
Caprica felt tears coming painfully to her eyes, and guilt kept wracking her over and over.
“Caprica, please,” Sam said, touching her arm and drawing her back a few feet from the bed. He hadn’t slept in over a day, like her, but there was something settled about the look in his eyes. “It’s just words, it’s just tiredness, you don’t want to hear what she’ll say—she’ll regret it later and it doesn’t do anybody any good.”
“I can’t abandon her,” Caprica protested, putting a hand to her eyes.
“It’s not abandoning if it’s what she needs,” Sam said, gripping her shoulders, looking her in the eyes. “You’ve pushed yourself to the max; I haven’t yet.”
Caprica finally nodded, and with a pain mingling with worry, she walked out to find Gaius and her son and wait for the end. Sam out of anyone should know what this meant for Kara. She had to trust him.
Kara was losing herself along with her mind. Her mind had been lost the moment she couldn’t distance herself from Cottle, from the examinations and beeping machines and everything that spoke of farms and panic and terror. As her mind had been lost, she couldn’t manage to say anything.
Now her body was breaking who she was, and she felt the cracks. This would go on forever; it would never end and she’d be broken into shreds and nothing would come of it.
Her spoken words were the last bit of identity she could feel. When she could sense the outside world again this time, they had sent Caprica away. She couldn’t think at all, not to mention straight, and didn’t know what it meant.
Only Sam was left, and she didn’t have anything to say anymore.
It was impossible to judge what kind of pain this was, it had gone on too long. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, maybe she was just too tired to tell. But the next contraction hit her in another growing wave, and after hundreds of them so far, she didn’t have any sense of anything but the exhaustion.
This time she reached for Sam’s hand, but it didn’t help, even as her grip threatened to break his. It didn’t help at all.
As soon as it broke, she heard his voice. “You need to drink again, Kara.”
She didn’t protest, just gritted her teeth and reached a trembling hand for the glass he offered. The sweet juice-like liquid cleared the bitter taste from her mouth, but nothing else. It didn’t soothe, it didn’t heal. She was still lost in all this.
Her break lasted for only a minute before another one hit—and this time the pain came on intensely. She heard herself cry out this time, and heard Sam call for Cottle. Then the pain was overwhelming her senses; not a familiar sharp pain like injury, but the aching pain of losing a war.
“This is it, we’re almost there,” Cottle said, words finding their way to her hearing. “And it’s about time, or we’d have to start intravenous supplements. She’s wouldn’t be able to push through this with will alone.”
Kara kept trying to breathe, kept trying to hold herself together as long as she could. She was losing sense of the world even between contractions; she had already lost sense of what all this pain meant. The next contraction hit and all she knew was that tears were rolling out of her eyes and down her cheeks, streaking new marks into her sweat-soaked skin.
She was gripping the sheets, but Sam’s hand wrapped around hers. It didn’t help, but when the wave of pressure finally broke intensity, she remembered just enough to find words.
“Sam,” she rasped, not opening her eyes. “If I’m not dead when this is over, you need to take the baby, far away, raise her yourself. I’ve got to get away.”
“Don’t talk like that,” Sam answered, and she wasn’t sure if his voice was all registering. “You are not giving up on yourself, or Caprica, or this baby.”
“Frak you, I’m not,” Kara managed, but another wave of pain drove all the remaining thoughts from her mind.
And then another. And then another.
Kara exhaled slowly, feeling her body collapsed against the pillows and sheets. The release should have been blissful, but she was too tired to accept it.
“Here we go, full dilation,” Cottle’s voice broke through the empty static of relief.
“Gods, Kara, you’re almost there,” Sam’s voice came in, his hand stroking hers.
“Almost gone,” Kara murmured, keeping her eyes shut, thinking that the only way out of this would be losing all consciousness.
She almost did, for a few minutes. Sleep took her for a brief time, as all activity in her body seemed to cease, leaving only the worn muscles trying to relax.
Only a few minutes, though, and then another type of contraction hit right where it hurt the most.
“Home stretch,” Cottle said, more for Sam than her. She already knew. “Kara, you need to push with these,” he said then, and with her eyes half-open she saw his looking at her.
“I’ve got nothing, doc,” Kara whispered, and just let the contraction go its way. It couldn’t make her do anything; she had this much left.
“This is not the time,” Cottle growled, and again she knew he was talking to Sam.
Kara just lay back as the contraction ended, and though the sensations were different for this, she had lost the ability to care.
“Kara, Kara, come on,” Sam said, gripping her hand this time.
“No, Sam, I’m not doing it,” she said, as close to stubborn as she could manage. Everything was lost now.
There was a pause, her body still not contracting again, and with her eyes closed she had no idea what was going on around her.
Then, Sam’s hand grabbed her shoulder. “Kara, look at me,” he said firmly.
Almost automatically, her eyes flitted towards him.
“If you give up now, you know what that says?” he asked, looking straight into her eyes. He was almost blurry, as if even her eyes couldn’t focus fully anymore. “It says that you’re weaker than Caprica.”
Her breathing jerked.
“It means that you’re weaker than everyone’s mother who’s ever been,” Sam continued, not breaking his gaze. “And Kara, it’s not true.”
Kara felt a contraction about ready to build, and she breathed in deeply. “You bastard, Sam, I hate you to the ends of every planet in this universe,” she gritted out.
“Good,” Sam said shortly. “Now prove it all wrong and push.”
Her will wasn’t broken enough—and under everything came a deep desire to get this over with and finish the job.
She didn’t know how long it took, she didn’t know how many pushes were needed, but a primal power had grabbed a hold of her and refused to let go until the last push, and then finally she felt the freedom and knew she had done it.
“Got her!” Cottle said shortly.
“Oh gods,” Kara gasped, and she could almost not believe it. Tears still streamed out of her eyes, no particular reason, just flowing away with all her remaining energy.
A half-wail filled the room, and Kara’s heart flew to her throat. Her eyes snapped open, and she could see again, see a small thing flailing in Cottle’s hands, and knew it was her daughter. This time, as the next wailing cry came, loud and piercing, the lump in her throat grew larger and her eyes stung. It was over—her daughter was born.
“I need her,” she whispered, unable to speak louder.
“I need to check her lungs,” Cottle answered.
“Damn it, I need her,” Kara snapped, but voice shaking beyond her control, a sob of overwhelming emotion ready to come forth.
She clenched her hand in the sheets again as an interminable time seemed to surround her again, but it might have only been a couple minutes before she saw Cottle coming closer and then her child was in her arms.
Warm damp skin met hers, and she pressed the crying baby to her chest immediately, skin against skin. She breathed out slowly and felt the tiny heartbeat right above hers. Her hands still trembled as she clasped her tiny daughter close to her, and the crying stopped, and the pain started to fade away.
Kara had never been so tired in her life, and had never had so many tears to shed. She just closed her eyes and wept, and though there was so much still to do, she only noticed the little piece of herself that curled against her chest.
Caprica’s head seemed unable to leave Gaius’ shoulder now, worn and feeling terrible, physically and emotionally. It had not affected her son, however, who slept like a dead weight in her arms, quietly in dreamland. Her mind refused to let her think anymore, leaving her to just stare blankly and wait, feeling Gaius’ hand slowly caressing her back and shoulders.
Then finally the door opened. Sam all but stumbled in, and though there was an attempted light in his eyes, he was too tired to manage completely. But with a weary smile, he nodded and said in a hoarse voice, “It’s all done. They made it.”
Caprica sat up immediately. “Safe?”
“Safe,” Sam answered. “Needing sleep for the next few days the both of them, but safe. She wants you.”
Caprica looked at him closely at the last words. “How do you know?” she asked, hesitant and still guilty.
Sam sat down with a slow exhale, but he looked at her closely from behind the dark circles. “I asked her, and she nodded.”
Caprica felt half a smile cross her face.
“Go on,” Sam encouraged, smiling back.
Handing Julius once again to Gaius, Caprica felt renewed energy as she rose to her feet and found the birthing room. She stood a moment at the door, gauging her surroundings. Ishay and Cottle were cleaning up the mess, but were wisely leaving Kara alone. Whatever had happened since the birth, everything looked settled for the moment. Kara had the baby curled in one arm, already suckling at a breast as she lay back collapsed.
Caprica felt the confusing but warm feelings of motherhood start spreading through her again, and she walked forward. Kara looked up as she approached and stretched out her free hand.
“Caprica,” she said, low and weary tone tinged with calm at last. “I was wrong, it didn’t manage to kill me.”
“I knew it couldn’t,” Caprica said, feeling a smile truly cross her features as she took Kara’s hand. “I just wish I could have—”
“Hey, don’t regret anything,” Kara said, shaking her head slowly and pulling Caprica closer with a slight tug. “It’s over, and doesn’t deserve thought. I don’t have enough strength for opinions, but I think I”m going to be okay.” She breathed out slowly, a quirk of her mouth not quite a smile, but so much better than anything from the last day. “Mela wants to meet her other mother,” she added.
“You’re going with Mela?” Caprica asked, feeling joy start to spring up in her heart.
“Yeah, I kind of used it too much not to be attached to it,” Kara said, looking back down at her daughter. “She sort of looks like it, too. Wrinkles, bald, a birthmark behind her ear, dark blue eyes...it’s a good fit. So is she—I know that much.”
Caprica leaned in close, reaching out delicate fingers to stroke her new daughter’s hand that lay in a little fist between Kara’s breasts as she fed. “Oh, she is beautiful,” Caprica said, on the verge of choking up.
“Don’t know about that,” Kara said tiredly, “but she is perfectly mine. Which is better than beautiful.”
“It is,” Caprica said, smiling through the tears coming to her eyes. “Oh Kara, I am so proud of you, so happy for all of us—but you are invincible.”
“Close enough,” Kara answered with a slight smirk even as her eyelids drooped. “I’m going to need to sleep for days to build up that invincibility again, though.”
“Do it, please,” Caprica coaxed further, squeezing Kara’s hand and planting a kiss on her cheek.
As Kara closed her eyes one last time, Caprica thought she heard a murmured, “Sorry.”
“All forgotten,” Caprica whispered back.
Cottle was there to demand that they all sleep as well, and with all the worry gone, it wouldn’t be any trouble.
When Kara woke again, it was just long enough for Cottle to tell her that they needed to mark down all of Mela’s information and check her for anything. Kara had a brief flash of stubbornness, but ended up letting them take her child so she could get back to sleep. She was roused out of a doze again when her child was handed back to her, all wrapped up and ready to snuggle against her again, but she slept for hours beyond that as well.
It was a couple hours past midnight into the second day since labor had started when Kara finally woke up and the world was back in place. Her body still felt fairly limp, overwrought by everything, but deep inside her she felt strength again. And hunger, definite hunger.
As Mela needed to nurse again as well, Kara called for food of her own. Cottle insisted that she get cleaned up and put in a fresh hospital gown first, but Kara didn’t protest that, and felt cleansed of more than just sweat and grime when she finally got to eat. Feeding Mela was slowly giving her a feeling of being on pain meds, a kind of painless buzz surrounding her body, though not giving her energy. Kara had no problem accepting that.
And Kara could finally understand what she’d been agonizing over for months. The fear of touching her child and having her mind suddenly spun around to a completely different level, gone forever from what she was comfortable with—well, that was satisfactorily false. It was just a little switch, just a little lever flipped in her head, and maybe that little difference was enough, but Kara could deal with it. It felt right to hold her daughter, and she couldn’t ask for more.
Caprica had been given a cot close by, Sam and Gaius and Julius sleeping a little beyond that. They woke themselves one after another sometime later, as Kara absently catalogued all the intriguing qualities of her daughter. Especially the grip—Kara just stared at her index finger where Mela’s little red hand held on as if she was about to be dropped.
By the time all the other recovered parties had gathered around the bed, Kara was ready to gloat and share. She didn’t mind this part one bit, especially when Caprica scooted close enough to lean her head on Kara's arm, making cooing noises to her new daughter.
“Do I get to keep her?” Sam asked, poking at Mela’s little double chin.
"No," said Caprica, staring strongly at him, just as Kara gave him a pointed look and commented, “Everything I said?”
“Disregarded?” he finished for her.
“Yeah,” Kara answered. “But,” she added, bumping his hand with her arm, “you do get to help.”
With no one else in the infirmary at this time of night, all four were free to muse lazily over just how nice it was to have a complete family, and how important a day this was, and just how interesting life would get, even assuming the best that neither child would be colicky.
As Kara looked down once again at her daughter, large eyes now staring up at her as she had finished her meal, she heard what seemed to be a familiar voice.
“All the pieces have come together at last.”
But Kara immediately felt something off, and her head snapped upright at once, eyes darting around. Where nothing had been before, she now saw Caprica—only not Caprica. A Six in a long red dress, cool smugness on her face as she stood with arms crossed just a few feet way from where they all stood. And next to her, a copy of Baltar with a similar look, in a black pinstripe suit. Kara froze.
“What do you mean?” Caprica and Gaius asked simultaneously, then turned immediately to each other. “You see them?”
Kara looked to them next, the real Six and Baltar to her. “Wait, I’m not supposed to?”
“They’re not actually there?” Sam demanded next.
The four gave hasty glances to each other.
“No one else can see us, of course,” the surreal Six said in dulcet tones.
“We’re not what you’d call real,” said the other Baltar as well, with a tricky smile.
“But we are the angels we told them we were,” the Six continued, nodding to Caprica and Gaius.
“Holy crap, you’re like that Leoben from my vision,” Kara said, remembering when she and Caprica had talked about it. She glanced around the infirmary just to make sure that there wasn’t anything else going on.
“It is remarkable that four of you should be together at such a time as this,” the Baltar said with eyebrows raised.
“How can I see you?” Sam asked skeptically.
“You once did, thousands of years ago on this very planet,” the Six told him, and Sam’s eyes widened. “And now, once again, there is necessity. For God’s plan has come into fruition once again with the birth of this child.”
The two ‘angels’ smiled indulgently towards Kara.
“It is all part of the plan,” said the Baltar.
Kara, on the other hand, felt an intuitive suspicion that she was inclined to trust. “Bullshit,” she said. “There was no plan here, was there?” She gave them both a solid stare.
They looked at each other, slightly off balance.
“Well,” began the Baltar.
“Not exactly,” admitted the Six. “It has always been an evolving plan. However...”
“This was not part of it, at least as far as we were told,” the Baltar said next. He glanced at the Six, as if suddenly suspicious of something. “Yes, just a genetic anomaly,” he said hastily, looking back at the four people who were watching them in a kind of shock. “Sorry about that.”
Kara was the first to recover, however, and something about this felt too familiar. “Oh, just get out of my recovery room, and don’t come back,” she grumbled.
And with that, without even a flash or a pop, they just disappeared.
“Deja vu,” Sam said with a long exhale.
“Is it over?” Caprica asked hopefully.
“One can only hope,” Baltar offered.
Kara spoke for her gut feeling. “It’s never going to be really over, but I think we’re safe for now.”
Two days later, and back to near-full strength and certainly full pissiness with Cottle, Kara finally demanded that she be declared ready to go home. Given all the helping hands and his own emotional well-being, Cottle gave in. He offered a gruff congratulations which Kara accepted remarkably graciously, and then they all piled into a raptor to go back to the Earth.
“Diverting life we have,” commented Sam as they neared the planet’s surface.
“Which reminds me...” Caprica said, something coming back to her mind as she glanced over at Kara.
While Kara spent the next days lounging in the rocking chair, absorbing the comfortable heat of summer and the still warm glow of post-labor, Caprica started making arrangements, and then realized that things had to be said. A couple one-on-one conversations with Kara, though, and it seemed that everything would be settled.
Two weeks after Mela Thrace’s birth, initial fears and lingering weariness all laid to rest at last, Caprica and Kara, children in arms, called Sam and Gaius to the front steps of their house.
“So, we’ve been living like this for a while now,” Kara started, tone bright and sure.
“And we’ve got you here, now, like we wanted,” Caprica said next.
They glanced at each other, and then Caprica looked to their men. “Life’s not going to be easy, especially not once all the shine is gone and it’s back to drudgery.”
“We don’t exactly know what we’re doing,” Kara admitted, with a slight eyebrow raise and a shrug.
“But, we do know how we’re going to do it,” Caprica finished with a smile. And she nodded to Kara to make it clear.
“Our house, our children, our life,” Kara said, nodding between Caprica holding Julius and herself holding Mela. “Do you want to be a full part of it?”
There was barely time to catch a breath before even the idea of suspense was shattered.
“There isn’t really another option that we can see,” Gaius offered, as Sam looked slightly incredulous of the need for this question to begin with.
Caprica smiled, and Kara grinned. “Good,” she said. “So now, you may come into our house for good, and we’ll all make this work. Right?”
“Absolutely,” Sam said, and his grin matched Kara’s a second later.
“This will be quite something,” Caprica said with a nod, as they all made the symbolic walk over the threshold.
“And worrisome,” added Kara in a slightly lower tone.
“And possibly dramatic,” Gaius added.
But Caprica couldn’t help but smiling anyways. Family would make anything work in the end, as long as you were prepared to fight for it. She had no doubt that this one would.
Afterward/One Year Later
Behind them, Sam and Gaius quarreled over just how many noodle packets had been acquired from the rebel basestar’s long trek back to the Colonies to rescue all the prepackaged irradiated food. With the advancements in radiation meds, a few trips and they had enough food to ensure survival and lowered stress on the algae processing ships. Farming was not yet an option, but with the oceans relatively untouched by the nuclear holocaust, fishing industries had been brought to fruition along with (unfortunately) more algae gathering.
Earth was indeed their new home, as Adama had said. And Caprica sat on the front porch, Kara between her legs and leaning back into her arms, as they soaked up the soft evening rays of the sun. With Melly and Julius running circles just a few feet beyond, leaves crumbled in their wild bright hair, their family of six was well accounted for.
“I don’t know what to think about all this anymore,” Kara sighed.
“Why?” Caprica asked absently, although suspecting that the out-of-nowhere question meant something deeper.
“Life doesn’t feel so...permanent,” Kara said. “We keep working and eating and sleeping and living and corralling little tornadoes we like to call children, but it’s not tied down.”
“That’s good, right?” Caprica mused.
“Yeah, that’s good,” Kara said. “There’s roots, just not shackles. Although sometimes, even though I’m relieved, I—I don’t know, I just feel like I had a destiny.”
Caprica hummed, her fingers playing through Kara’s hair. “Did I ever tell you, back when we were both pregnant, how many times I asked God what was going on with us?”
“No,” Kara answered, with a hint of humor.
“It seemed like an odd strike of destiny,” Caprica said. “But I kept looking up to the heavens, and there was nothing there. It didn’t disconcert me after a while.”
Kara looked up to the sky, where gold started to mingle with crimson at the edges. “Maybe you were looking too soon,” she murmured to the evening.
A hint of a breeze blew past them, ruffling their hair, and Caprica breathed in deeply. Destiny was such a strange word, and it had been shown how easy it was to push it aside with something as simple as a genetic anomaly.
Caprica looked up and smiled. They’d beaten out the angels on this one. If there was a true destiny for any of them, it could wait for their terms.