Title: One Round Stone
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: I smoothed the clay sides with a trowel made of ash and bone.
Notes: Set after S2
When the cylons come, nobody knows what to expect. The fleet doesn't respond to their calls, no matter how urgent the signal. By the evening of the next day, all their communication devices are confiscated, anyway.
Word trickles down about peace, at the same time the fences are put up. Centurions patrol the edges of the settlement, but they only attack if provoked.
After the first week, nobody bothers to offer provocation.
Laura is separated from the group in the early weeks, confined to a makeshift building with actual walls. She cannot hear the goings-on outside, nor can she communicate from her end. Aside from the door, whisking open and shut at irregular times, she can't even see outside.
She's not mistreated. If not for the evident confines, she'd think herself treated quite well.
It's been ages since she's seen any human being. It's only the cylons, strutting in to examine her at their leisure.
Though "toasters," those upgraded museum relics, are those she most frequently sights, there are others. Sometimes, she's seen a twinned pair of cylons hovering outside her door. She thinks one might be the Sharon of the Galactica, but when she asks, she discovers the identity of "Sharon" is more fluid than even she thought.
When she asks, tries to confirm the Sharon's identity, no one responds. She's fairly certain, most of the time, because of the hateful squint one of them levels at her.
Laura is careful not to turn away first. The door always swings shut before Sharon steps inside.
There's another cylon, Simon, who draws her blood at frequent intervals. The first week, she tried to fight him off. There's still a faint bruise on her right upper arm, remnant of the bone-crushing grip he wielded with a smile.
She is visited by a particular cylon, an individual identical to Shelley Godfrey, and the cylon who escaped from the Pegasus.
The others call this model "Caprica." Laura doesn't; the name gathers in her throat like bile. Instead, she stares at the cylon's smile, her throat, and thinks the word like a curse.
Sometimes, Caprica will seat herself on Laura's bunk, four and a half careful feet distant. She asks Laura how she's doing, how the others have been treating her, how she thinks the other humans are doing, out there.
Laura smiles at the interrogation and answers each question thoughtfully.
Over the weeks, the months, the distance between them narrows, and Caprica's tone becomes more intimate.
Laura does not shift in her position, because she refuses to give ground.
Also, there's nowhere to go.
"We've seen each other before," Caprica tells her. Her hand has settled on the bed, just beside Laura's hip. "We didn't meet, of course, but we saw each other."
Laura tilts her head, leans a quarter of an inch closer. "Did we?"
Caprica nods. "The day of the attack, as you call it. On Caprica. I was with Gaius."
"Ah." Laura leans back again, and Caprica follows. "I suspected as much."
"I'm not surprised." Caprica presses closer, close enough to touch. "You're an intelligent woman, Laura."
She inclines her chin and misreads the point. "I'm sure President Baltar was pleased to learn civilization was brought down by his," she pauses to sneer, "raging libido."
To Laura's surprise, Caprica doesn't draw back. Instead, she grins. "He is a proud man, even of his...littler accomplishments."
A laugh escapes from Laura's throat, and it's almost completely genuine.
It is four and half days before Caprica kisses her. Laura counts, and it happens exactly as she expects.
She lets fall a few insights about the human condition, regret and rage and reprisal. Caprica's expression barely flickers, but there's enough there to give Laura hope.
She expresses it with a quiet sigh, a quick hand pressed over her heart. "I'm sorry," she murmurs. "I'm just--"
"Yes?" Caprica says, and she bares her teeth.
Laura looks up at the ceiling, at the corners of the room. At Caprica's hand on her knee, and the top button of her blouse.
"I just wish," she says again, then shuts her eyes. Shakes her head. "I'm sorry, I'm tired."
Caprica touches Laura's wrist, then her shoulder. "Laura," she says.
She raises her chin, widens her eyes by a fraction. She gasps just as Caprica presses their lips together, and triumph masks her revulsion.
Laura has often found seduction to be trite, but she finds the storybook cliches play true.
The other cylons are more courteous towards her, though wary, and her medical examinations are thorough but perfunctory.
While they splay across her bunk, Caprica lets slip all sorts of things, about the cylon plan, and about the state of the outside world. Much of it is jumbled, and all of it patronizing. Some of it makes Laura wish Elosha were still alive, because many of the references Caprica makes are beyond Laura's recall of the scriptures.
Humanity still survives, in some form, and so does Laura.
And every other night, every other morning, there is Caprica, and her clever fingers, clever tongue.
If she knew nothing else at all, Laura might find this persuasive.
Laura wakes alone with a start, with a hollow feeling in the middle of her chest. It is all silence, an oppressive bog beyond the usual quiet.
Her breakfast does not arrive, nor does her lunch or dinner. She pecks at the remnants of her last meal, sips meagerly from her cold cup of tea.
The door to her room does not open.
It is a day and a night before her door slams open, and Laura draws back, arms raised, before she recognizes the intruder. She's from the Galactica, one of many young pilots she never bothered to name.
"Madam President," the woman says, "you are alive."
"Yes." Laura stands, stiffly, and smiles. "What's happened?"
"We've broken through, but the cylons are regrouping." The woman hesitates, clutching her gun like a blanket. "I need to get you out of here."
"Take me to whoever is in charge," Laura says. "I might be able to help."
The woman smiles, bright through soot and blood. "Follow me, ma'am."
Laura does, and the door swings shut behind her.
A/N: Title and summary adapted from William D Waltz's Bear Trap. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.
Linked on getyourtoaster.