Because you pick your side and you stick. You don't cut and run when things get ugly.
Otherwise you'll never have anything.
No love. No family. No life to call your own.
~ Sharon Agathon to assorted Eights, “Faith” ~
White light, hot flesh, metal shelving at her back. Stolen moments in stores, frantic encounters in empty bunkrooms.
He’s rough and she likes it - the urgency, the need. Open mouths and grasping hands - the rough shove of flesh against flesh, the scrape of stubble against skin. Sometimes they’re gentle with each other, but not today.
Warmth burns in her belly, blocking out the feelings that sometimes nag at her - the ache of something missing and something lost, the grind of something she can’t identify deep beneath her breastbone.
She welcomes the heat of his kisses in the cold rain, the drag of skin against skin.
It’s a human reaction: life and desire in the face of death and destruction. After everything he’s faced in the last few weeks - the attack on the colonies, then his sacrifice, living on the run, working together, losing her, then finding her again... After all that he’s been through, he needs this contact - this confirmation of life and living and loving.
And Sharon wants him, too.
Not just for the child they’ll have – a new creature, born of Cylon and sired by human - but for so many other reasons.
He came back for her, hoping against hope that she was alive. Not knowing if she was, but willing to take a risk for a friend - for a woman he loved.
He’s not like the other males she’s known. Not one of a model; he’s all his own – calm support and grounded practicality that she can admire. Patience and determination and stubborness - but also tenderness and thoughtfulness and care.
It feels so good to whimper in his arms, to make him groan against her skin, to hear him panting against her throat as their bodies move together. It feels so good to be with him - just a man and a woman together in a moment of need.
She’s not thinking of the child they’ll have when she listens to his heart thundering in the silence afterwards.
Chatter and murmur, the clatter and beep of the Galactica. An endless hum of machinery and mankind all around her, and the look on the Commander’s face as he praises them for their mission.
There’s a buzzing in her head, like a broken light, flickering on and off. She tries to listen to the commander’s words, but her thoughts won’t draw together. She clenches her hand, trying to draw herself back into the moment - to feel the triumph she should feel at having performed a successful mission.
As he steps forward to congratulate them, she barely feels the weight of the gun she lifts and fires into his belly.
“Do you remember shooting me?”
The question isn’t unexpected, although Sharon wasn’t expecting it to be asked today. But the commander knows how to set up and spring an ambush. And Cylons – even those who’ve chosen to turn their backs on the plan – know how to be patient and careful.
“It’s not my memory.”
“That’s not an answer.”
She can hear the questions beneath his words. Who are you? What do you remember? How much of what I know of you is a lie?
The truth is that most of it is a lie and very little of it is a lie. What the other Sharon did and said is also in her memories and she can experience them as her own if she wants.
This is one memory she doesn’t want.
“You remembered what I said to Sharon - the one who was with Fleet - after she was dead. I ask you again - do you remember shooting me?”
“I am who I am.” It’s as much admission as she’ll give him. He doesn’t need to know she remembers, she doesn’t want to remember. “But I make my own choices.”
He hears the echo of what she said on Kobol, but doesn’t acknowledge it.
“Do you get a choice? Did she?”
“In a way. She made her choice before she took the mission.”
She didn’t expect the conflict.
She didn’t expect to enjoy the mission - or, rather, the circumstances of the mission. To live as a human and see their variety and complexity. To meet a person and not automatically know their core personality. To laugh and tease, to play and work, to rest and belong
The Ones said humanity needed to be taught a lesson, that they’d had their chance and they’d spent it on war and brutality, on cruelty and destruction. And they had.
But they’d also spent it on art and creativity, on laughter and companionship, on learning and desire.
On ‘being human’.
Looking out at the far distant cities of burning Caprica, Sharon feels something cramp in her chest.
The shabby blanket of her bedding isn’t enough to keep her warm. Sharon’s not sure anything will ever warm her ever again.
Welts on her skin have been tended to, and there’s cream for the bruises. She heard someone mutter a complaint about the care of Cylons in this place as the medic looked her over. Just one more stranger who’s been assigned to Galactica in the last few days.
The walls of her prison kept her inside, but they also kept the fanatics out.
Except now the fanatics are in charge of her prison, too.
From the bits and pieces she’s heard, there’s a Cylon prisoner over on Pegasus, too. A Six - slim and slender and pretty and personable... The other Cylon had no squadmates to defend her loyalties, no friends whose belief held harder than their betrayal.
There but for the grace of God.
Sharon shivers as the bruises sting with the memories.
She curls up her knees, wraps her arms around her legs, and buries her face in the blanket. Then she forces herself to breathe. It’s not just for herself; there’s her daughter to consider, too. Her daughter - the reason she’s here, the reason she chose not to follow the Plan.
Life curls beneath her breastbone, small and fragile, but the anchor which keeps her sane. If everything else fails her, she won’t fail her daughter.
The clang of the locks brings her face up, bloodless. Even when she sees it’s one of the Galactica marines outside the door - a familiar face and known from before - she can’t make herself relax.
The marine steps into the room - two steps in - and holds out a blanket. “Hey,” she says, her voice calm and carefully neutral. “You look cold.”
“I am,” Sharon manages out of a throat that feels rusty, as though she screamed herself as raw as the Cylon on Pegasus must have. She eases herself out from beneath the threadbare blanket she was assigned, and reaches out, and the woman puts it into her hands.
It’s a small exchange, barely a minute. The marine goes back to her post, and Sharon goes back to her bed.
But she wraps herself up and feels a warmth that has nothing to do with the wool.
“Did you hear? There’s a child - a Cylon-human child.”
“Aren’t there lots of them out in the farms?”
It’s another background conversation that Sharon hardly listens to - until she hears her name.
“--went after the Fleet officer - the one who was left behind. One of the Threes - D’Anna, I think - brought back a video...”
“So we need them.”
Their voices drift away through the gardens beyond, and Sharon stares out the window, the book of Fleet history forgotten on her lap. So the other Sharon succeeded, too. But she’s still out with Fleet, her choices made, her luck holding.
Her breath is harsh and her brain is abuzz as she unclenches her hands.
Days drift through the cell, time marked by the changing of the guard, by the announcements of the colonisation taking place down on New Caprica, by the ebb and flow of her hormonal tides.
And every month the bitter, bloody reminder of the daughter she lost.
Helo still comes to visit. He sits on the chair or on the bed, bringing news of those resigning their commissions and going down to New Caprica - more and more every day.
“Why don’t you go down?” The question is asked one day half in anger, half in hope. “You could resettle.”
He shrugs, a sharp gesture, full of the restlessness that’s been in him since the election - since their daughter died. “Everything I care about is here.”
“Our baby isn’t.”
“No.” His mouth thins as he looks away. “Look, Sharon...”
“If you want to go, you should.” She’s not sure she should do this - drive him away, tell him to make a life without her. Only it would be fairer to him than this endless nullity where he’s caught between her and humanity. Their baby’s dead - he doesn’t have to stay for the child. “You don’t have to stay here.”
“But you do.” There’s a set to his jaw. It’s the stubbornness that prompted him to come after her. It’s the determination that made him come after Lieutenant Thorne. And it’s the tenderness that seeps into her every time they touch.
He deserves more - life with someone who won’t be looked sideways wherever they go. A life without the kind of trouble loving a Cylon will bring him. A life with children whose lives won’t be in danger because their mother isn’t human.
“You’d better face it, Sharon,” he says, and his gaze is on her face again, direct and fierce. “I’m not going anywhere without you. You’re stuck with me.”
Something clogs her throat - gratefulness and grief and gladness. She would let Helo go if he wanted to leave, but the relief that he doesn’t want to is perilously close to hysteria.
“Prove it,” she says. “Marry me.”
He blinks, surprised but not revolted. Then a smile grows on his lips. “Is that a proposal?”
“You’d better believe it.” Sharon swings herself into his lap, meeting his smile with her own. “So, Lieutenant Agathon...how about it?”
“Yes.” His mouth touches hers. “I say yes.”
Her teachers at the Academy spoke of the best laid plans going awry.
Walking through the streets of New Caprica, she feels the gazes on her - the hard suspicion in the eyes of the humans.
Here and there are faces she recognises - people she knew once upon a time, people she called friends and who called her friend back. Once there would have been smiles, handshakes, invitations to drink. Now, they’re strangers, unable to tell the difference between her and her sisters.
Unable to trust a Cylon.
This isn’t the world she hoped for when she spoke with Caprica Six about a future. This isn’t the truce she imagined when she thought of Cylons and humans living together under one government.
This isn’t the life she wants. It’s not the life she hoped for.
As she walks down the corridors of the Galactica, once again a commissioned officer, she sees the respect in the eyes of the few crew she passes. A Fleet uniform above a Cylon face, a Lieutenant’s tabs back on her collar, the visible sign of the trust of Admiral Adama...
Not everyone’s convinced.
“Frakking Cylons,” comes a distant mutter from the tech she’s just passed.
Sharon could turn and confront him, argue the point with all the times she’s helped humanity since she returned to Fleet with Helo. She walks on, as though she hasn’t heard, as though his words don’t matter. In a way they don’t.
She’s made her decision to cast her lot in with the Colonials - to rise or fall with humanity. And, as she told her husband, she knows what a gift she’s been given, and she won’t betray that.
She can’t change her history or her nature - she is what she is. Yes, she’s a Cylon. No, the memories of ‘Sharon Valerii’ are not ‘hers’, experientially speaking. Yes, she once believed in the plan to destroy humanity. No, she doesn’t believe in it anymore.
She is who and what she is - but she will be who and what she will be, too. Her choices matter. She’ll make them matter.
They’re waiting for her in the hangar deck after she changes into her flightsuit: two men who trust her - love her. Two men she trusts and loves in return.
Helo’s blessing is expected, the unfailing faith he holds in her and in them.
But she can’t help questioning the Admiral’s trust. No-one else would do it - only the old man. His gamble, his risk. Sharon knows it’s no risk, and Helo’s trust is well-founded. But Adama’s?
“How do you know? How do you really know that you can trust me?”
“I don’t. That’s what trust is. Good hunting, Lieutenant.”
Cylon or Human, they all have choices. To fight, to run, to trust, to love...to trust to love.
As Sharon Agathon settles down for her preflight check, she reflects that whatever she is - whatever she was made to be, she’s making her own choices now.
She’ll stick to them.
You can't declare war on love.
~ ‘Tough Six’ to Cavil, “The Plan” ~