Title: The Last Light She Sees
sasa_hq Ficathon Prompt: #18 (Dark Unshiny Future)
Spoilers: AU during and after Maelstrom
*Title from Euripides' Hippolytus
Feedback most welcome.
Every morning he thinks he’ll wake and find that it was all a joke. A stupid trick. He’ll tell her all the absurd things he dreamed about, and she’ll smile. They’ll laugh.
Every morning it’s the same, and it’s all wrong.
When he arrives on the Inchon Velle, Sam hasn't left. He finds him where he always does, slumped against the doorframe, staring blankly through the thick pane of glass.
“Hey, Sam,” he offers when the man doesn’t look up. “Shuttle’s here.” Sam doesn’t move, and the attendant looks at him.
“Only if you want,” Lee adds gently.
Kara's husband seems to shake himself. “No. It's ready. I’ll go.” He turns to leave, but when their eyes meet, he starts to break all over again. “It's just...she wasn’t—seeing her like this...” Sam shakes his head, voice rough with anger and pain. “She wasn’t supposed to—”
“I know,” he says. The four white walls, the isolation, the constant surveillance; it still makes him sick inside. But Sam has seen the reports and signed the forms, unresponsive to all medication, a danger to herself and others; he knows, and Lee knows, there is no other way. No other. Lee’s not going to tell him they’re doing what they can, that there might still be hope. He doesn't need to. He and Sam are long past the time when they didn’t understand each other.
So Sam nods, once, and clasps him awkwardly on the shoulder on his way out. It’s all they have, these useless gestures, this common grief. The routine of every day.
He braces himself, then they let him in.
“Just stay there, Kara. I’m coming to get you.”
“No, you don’t understand. Just let me go. Please.”
“Kara, no one’s gonna let you in the tubes. Come on.”
“No, Lee. I have to do this. I see it now. I wasn’t strong enough before.”
“Just stay calm. We’ll get through this. Please—put the gun down.”
“They’re waiting for me.”
“Kara, listen to me. Kara—!”
He leaps the last two steps to knock the gun out of her hands, but it's too late. There's a flash from the barrel of the gun, and nothing is more peaceful than her smile.
“No,” she snaps at the air to her left. “He won’t listen.”
She hitches up the shoulder of her gown to scratch at the bandages on her shoulder, where the bullet split her collarbone. “No!”
“Hello, Kara,” he says, though he doesn't know if she'll talk to him instead of the Cylon. Or maybe today it is her mother.
She turns her head and frowns. “I never told you my name.”
Dread curls in his stomach. A bad day. He's only going to disturb her, he can tell; he wants to leave, get out of here right now. Instead he replies in a pleasant tone: "I know who you are. And I'm Lee. Apollo."
(Sometimes 'Apollo' works. Sometimes, she is flying.)
“He won’t leave me alone,” she says, aggrieved, and he doesn’t know how many people are in the room now. “If I do it, will you shut up?”
“Okay, here’s what we’ll do.” She drops to the floor and grabs her knees. “It’s like this. You see him over there?” She points to an empty corner.
Never challenge the patient; never deny what they’ve seen.
“You see him. Tell me what he’s doing.”
She laughs. “I can’t forget his face. We’ve got a big day ahead of us. Humbly O Father we thank thee.”
Lee glances over at one of the warders, and he nods. She’s on a higher level of sedation, less likely to launch a physical attack. He crosses the room and sits beside her.
She twists handfuls of hair around her fingers. “I am the messenger you confused for the message. What I’ve always been trying to tell you is this.” She leans in and smiles. “I need you to bring me a knife. Please. Something quick.”
He stiffens beside her, blinking rapidly. He can betray nothing, show nothing, nothing that will alarm the patient. “I can’t bring you that, Kara,” he says as evenly as he can, but it's too strained.
All the times she's asked, it's never gotten easier.
She hunches her shoulders. “I understand,” she says softly. “You’re afraid. I was too.” Kara turns to face him and there’s such warmth and pity in her eyes, he wants to pull back. Instead, she reaches out and cups his cheek. “No, Lee, no, we have to see this, this is the illusion, the cycle is what’s real. I want you to see the truth of your own life.”
“What is that?” he says, a tremor in his voice. It’s been two weeks since she knew his name. But before he can even take a breath to speak, he’s lost her again; she tilts her head, catching more words he can’t hear. Her hand falls away.
“You’ll see it one day,” she whispers, and rests her chin on his shoulder. “Just let me go.”
I can’t let you go, he thinks, I need you to come back. But she’s letting him hold her and the illusion that she’s there, really there with him again is so strong, he leans over and presses a kiss to the top of her hair. It might be a pointless gesture, but he has to hope she understands.
“Sometimes I’m afraid to go alone,” she says softly. “Are you with me?”
“Yeah,” he says, bowing his head as he closes his eyes. He doesn't trust himself to say more, and the tears stinging his eyes don’t heal anything, don’t fix anything at all.
Every night his dream is this: they are flying together, and she is smiling, and she is not afraid. They fly on and on, and see no Raiders, and never turn back to Galactica to land.