The first time Felix noticed him, the man was ducked under the canvas covering the garbage dump, gloomily looking into the rain. Jake the dog was nowhere to be seen, probably hiding from the thunder. Felix started, but hurried to join the civvie in the makeshift tent before he could get soaked.
The man nodded a greeting at him, brushing damp strands of hair out of his face.
It was a gaunt face, eyes too old and too tired, making Felix mentally skim the deportation lists, wondering which of the names on them belonged to this man - wondering if he was one of those Eight claimed she'd released. He had to be. Barely anybody else had gotten out.
"You wouldn't have a fag to share, would you?" the man said in a perfectly aristocratic Caprican accent.
"Sir?" Felix said.
The Caprican grimaced. "A cigarette," he corrected.
She says she wants to help, Felix thought. She says she could let more of them go if I gave her the names. It would be better to make contact with the Resistance. But he didn't know how to make contact with the Resistance. All he knew was how to make contact with Eight.
His eyes flickered at the man with the gaunt face while he searched his pockets for his box of cigarettes.
"Thank you," the man said and still sounded terribly like Gaius although he looked like his opposite, released Cylon prisoner that he appeared to be.
They waited for the rain to end in silence, staring into the gray.
"I hate this planet," Felix muttered, bending down to pet Jake. "Don't you hate this planet, too?"
Jake thumped his tail against the ground and rolled onto his back, presenting a belly entirely covered in mud. He seemed to like it best that way. Jake's world was alright.
Somebody's had to be.
"I'm going to help them," Felix whispered. "I'm going to trust Eight. I don't have a choice."
Saying it aloud would make it real.
It was strange, Felix thought, huddled in a cloak that didn't keep him warm enough, how he only ever met the Caprican when Jake wasn't around.
Then again, they only ever ran into each other when it was raining, for some reason, and dogs were known to hide when it did - rain on New Caprica went along with thunder so loud it made the planet shake and lightning so bright it illuminated all the sky. He hoped Jake had found a good spot.
At least one of us should have one, he thought glumly, muttering a thanks at the Caprican as he moved to make room for Felix under the canvas.
Felix offered him a cigarette without waiting for him to ask.
"I think I've never hated anything more than the rain," Felix muttered by way of making conversation, knowing damn well that there was plenty in his life he hated a lot more. Knowing from the fleeting look of pity the other man threw him that he knew it, too. Felix still didn't know his name. It felt like if he asked, he'd have to introduce himself, and the charade would end because they'd have to acknowledge who he was. That he was the damn Chief of Staff, a collaborator, and this man would lose his excuse to treat him like he hadn't recognized his face. But everybody recognized his face.
"I like the rain, believe it or not," the Caprican said now, blinking into the sky. "It reminds me of home. We had a lot of rain back home. The buildings were so tall that the snow would often melt before it reached the ground."
"Where on Caprica are you from?"
The man threw him a glance. "London."
"Never heard of it."
An unhappy smirk. "That's what they all say."
"Why did you come to New Caprica?"
Felix wasn't usually one to ask so many questions. Spending all day cooped up on Colonial One, though, between Caprica Six's sorrowful glances and Baltar's drug-induced rambles, and the Cavils bent over the desk as if Felix wasn't even there, discussing another way of...
No. That was why he went to Eight every night.
Except for how she made him shudder, too.
The Caprican paused. "Somebody pushed me into it," he eventually said.
"Sounds familiar," Felix said.
It had never occurred to him to wonder why he was always the one to leave first once the rain dried up, until it struck him one night. It was long past curfew, yet the other man was standing there, hiding from the rain.
"You don't have a tent, do you?" he asked before the Caprican could open his mouth. "Gods, you hide from the rain because you sleep on the ground somewhere and you'd get soaked. Frak." It was his job to keep track. Everybody was supposed to have a home, at least.
Home, he thought bitterly. What a joke.
"Hello to you, too," the man said easily. Then, throwing a careful glance over his shoulder to make sure they were alone, he shrugged. "I mentioned how I'm not here by free will, didn't I? It was a bit of an accident. I might have refrained from having my name written down when you took all those counts before the Cylons came here."
It was the first time any of them acknowledged who Felix was.
Felix pressed his lips together. "That might as well be the best decision you ever made," he said, ignoring how the other man's eyebrows were raising in interest. "Listen, you're not allowed to be outside at this hour. If the Centurions notice you, and you're not on their lists, you go straight into detention."
"Aw, nobody ever notices you if you waggle your tail," the Caprican drawled, but Felix just grabbed his shoulder and, after a careful glance up and down the street, pulled him along. It was good that the man hadn't been in detention after all, but that didn't mean he wanted it to change.
"Then you'll still catch your death in the rain," he said curtly. "Stay in my tent for the night."
"You've got cigarettes?"
Felix threw him a look.
The Caprican smirked.
The Caprican exhaled with his eyes closed after holding the smoke in his lungs for a moment.
"I didn't even use to smoke before I went to... prison," he said. "But good god, I miss it."
Felix blinked, too put off by the Cylon allusion to notice his hesitant pause beyond thinking, one of Tom's people then. That explained a lot, he guessed. "Which god?"
"The one responsible for addiction." The man grinned shortly, then said, "Thank you, I appreciate it," when Felix held out a blanket, pinching the cigarette in the corner of his mouth when he wrapped the cloth around his bare shoulders. The weird shirt he'd worn had been soaked along with his jacket, as had Felix, who'd stripped down to his pants with the lack of concern of a soldier that he hadn't lost.
The only item the Caprican seemed to be carrying had been a wooden stick, of all things, strange carvings on its handle. "Only thing I brought from home," had been all he'd said, and had carefully placed it on the nightstand, always in his line of sight.
"I'm sorry you can't stay here until dawn," Felix said, sitting down next to him on the makeshift bed and reaching for a blanket of his own to warm up. Uncomfortably, he thought of Eight showing up out of nowhere to... not check on him, he thought. Not check on him. "I never know when the Cylons will summon me."
It was impossible to keep the bitter tone out of his voice.
The Caprican was watching him in the corner of his eye. Sitting close, Felix could feel his body heat, upper body just as scrawny as the rest of him - as if he'd been starved but hadn't bothered with putting on weight afterwards. "You shouldn't have to rely on the Eight," he said.
"What..." Felix' head shot up. "How do you..."
Another of those unhappy grimaces appeared on the gaunt face. "I know many things," he said with ironic grandeur and continued, "I'm not saying she can't help you. I'm the last person who'd tell you that people can't change sides." He hesitated, then spoke on, "But I think it would be smart to make contact with other people, too."
"There are no other people." Felix felt the anger of exhaustion and frustration and fear raising within him. "Other people don't even talk to me, no matter trust me enough to..."
"I do," the Caprican pointed out.
That he did, apparently, Felix thought in a daze.
Then the Caprican placed his cigarette in the ashtray and leaned over to kiss him.
It was a dry and cold kiss. Everything felt like that now, even when their hair was soaked from rain. Felix reached for the man's bony shoulder blindly, tilting his head to find a better angle. There was touching that felt also dry and cold, but still good.
"I miss home," the Caprican muttered, sounding so terribly apologetic, but that was fine with Felix who'd been missing a whole lot more than home.
Leave your messages in the drawer of the garbage dump to contact the Resistance, said the message left behind next to his bed. I'll ensure it will be found by the right people. Take care and good luck in your war. ~ Sirius.
It was madness to leave such a message behind, one that Eight might have found. But the moment Felix managed to draw his eyes away from the unfamiliar signature, it seemed that the piece of paper had caught fire in the ashtray, hot green flame burning all of it away.
Maybe his luck had finally changed.
"Sirius?" Felix said quietly into the night, stepping under the canvas.
The name felt foreign. It might have been a code name, he thought. It certainly sounded like it could be a name, but none he'd ever heard. And a code name would have been smart.
The dog jerked awake at his voice, staring at him with startled gray eyes.
Then he waggled his tail once in recognition.
"Sorry, Jake," Felix muttered, bending down to pet his ears. "I was expecting somebody else. It wouldn't have been smart for him to ever come back here, you know, but I still thought he might. I'm glad that he didn't. I don't know if you've noticed, but it's a good time to keep a low profile for people like us."
Jake leaned into Felix' palm, vigilant eyes on Felix' face. He looked startlingly understanding, vigorously waggling his tail now.
"Good boy," Felix said, getting up.
Flip the dog bowl to show me that you answered my message, said the piece of paper he slipped into the drawer. We'll make it out of here alive.
I don't need her anymore, Felix thought, and for the first time since the Cylons had arrived, he felt something like relief.
When he stepped outside, the rain had stopped.