disclaimer not mine.
set: AU. post-Maelstrom, incorporating bits of current season 4 canon.
pairings: Kara Thrace/Sam Anders, Kara/Leoben, Kara/Lee Adama, Cally/Tyrol
length: 1500+, rating: PG, language
genre: babyfic, AU
notes: *shakes fist at Friday Night BSG Chat people* *sulks* My changing style, let me show you it. Also? Sleepy Lyssie is sleepy and going to bed now. Unbetaed.

know that only time will tell
by ALC Punk!

Once upon a time, Kara Thrace came back to life. She had a mission to fulfill, a Destiny to meet, and two grieving lovers, one was her husband.

Once upon a time, Kara brought back something from where she had been, a tiny scrap of humanity, barely able to open its eyes. Doc Cottle hrumphed a lot and said it had been barely nine months, but that the lungs seemed fully-developed, and Kara's body showed the signs of child-birth.

The baby was a girl and Kara didn't hesitate when she named her, even though she had difficulty looking at her. "Sasha," she murmured, fingers brushing through baby-soft hair, the fine cap of gold curls already tangling, as Kara's used to do when she was small. There were pictures, once upon a time, pictures with a smiling man and woman whom Kara had never met.

She'd only known the frowns and dark looks.

For the others, Kara Thrace (Starbuck, still, to so many), with a child was something they'd never suspected. Parternity tests never seemed a question (the only two possible fathers had blue eyes, and Sasha's dark brown ones stared at them both without comprehension or recognition).

A tiny child on a giant battlestar is no easy thing. There's diapers and milk, sore nipples and frustration when she won't sleep ("Sam, I've done everything--" "Shh. C'mere, Sasha. Shhh."), anger when she responds to others with better humor. But Kara copes, and Sam learns that he's a lot more resilient than he ever imagined. Lee watches and realizes something he should have known long ago. The knowledge is bittersweet, a twist in his gut that drives him through his campaign for re-election to the quorum and then the presidency.

The first night Sasha sleeps straight through, Sam wakes as normal and finds no small child whimpering and demanding. He shifts on his side, peering into the darkness towards the small cradle Tyrol gave them (Nicky certainly didn't need it anymore). Kara's fingers tug at the back of his shirt, and he turns, tucking himself back against her.

Sasha wakes like clockwork the next night.

Five months after her return, Cottle clears Kara for viper duty again. She and Sam work out their schedules so one of them is always awake for Sasha. It leaves them no time for each other and less for sleep. When tempers flare, the shouts can be heard three decks down.

Six months after her return, the CAG finally puts his foot down and shouts at Starbuck that her kid will be perfectly safe with Nick and Hera and to shut the frak up before Sam decided airlocking was too good for her.

Kara, for her part, decides being stuck in the brig for striking a superior asshole, isn't worth the effort. Sasha adapts rather swiftly, and even seems pleased to see the other two children. Adjusting their schedules, Helo makes certain Starbuck and Longshot have time to see each other for more than arguments.

The first word Sasha learns is 'frak'. Kara blames Sam, who laughs and blames her right back. The argument never makes it out the gate, as Sasha decides they're not paying her enough attention and throws a tantrum.

A week later, Sasha's picked up half a dozen more words, including the usual parental titles, 'crap' and one or two things Tyrol admits to having said around her without a trace of guilt or repentance. Cally, for her part, just laughs and suggests that children will learn no matter what their parents want them to hear.

The day Sasha stands on her own, arms out, trying to balance, is the day they decipher the last sign post for Earth.

President Adama leads a quiet celebration for the feat, congratulating the officers who worked out the coordinates. Afterwards, Sam lies in their bed, Sasha on his chest and wonders about the future. Sasha makes chuckling and gurgling noises until he lets her down so she can crawl her way to the round stubby crayon that Hera Agathon gave her weeks ago as a present.

Aware by now that small children always require at least one eye upon them, he rolls on his side, watching her. It takes him too long to realize what she's scribbling, concentric circles in one color muddy the meaning until she makes a frustrated noise and demands more color.

Sam stops smiling when he sees it, really sees it, and he's still kneeling, with her against his chest when Kara comes back from her CAP.

"I was expecting it."

The words drop like a stone through their silent quarters later that night. And Sam, for once, stops caring if she finds out his secret. Unlike before, this argument is almost inaudible, angry words little more than whispers until Sam can't take anymore.

Banished to the floor, Kara's rage and betrayal at his stance following him, Sam considers telling her and walking to the airlock himself.

Neither of them sleep, though Kara, at least, doesn't have the added torture of a secret kept too long anymore.

When morning comes, Sasha has climbed from her bed and curled up next to her (supposed) father despite his soft protests. Kara says nothing when she sees them, but she's curt once they're dressed and Sam stays away from her for more than a day.

He catches her on the third day, just dressed for her CAP in the head. Everyone else takes one look and flees (despite the gossip fodder, no one likes being around for their arguments).

"I'm a cylon," he says, without inflection.

Kara looks at him for a long moment, then nods, "I know. Why else would--"

There's no completion to the sentence, though Sam can hear the words as clearly as if she'd said them (put up with me, love me, care for a child that was never yours). "It's not programing," he says, wondering if he's more desperate to convince her or himself.

The PA goes off, dragging Kara from the room to her CAP. "Later."

Later is a week during which every pilot walks on eggshells around Longshot and Starbuck, the CAG has both of them demanding shifts that keep them apart, and Sasha looks lost and alone.

Later is ten days of hell that end with a baseship exploding too close and Galactica taking shrapnel.

Later is Sam and Sasha, one chair and Kara's hand tangled with Sasha's while Sam falls asleep leaning against the bed.

Sam cadges a set of half-used crayons two weeks later, claiming they're for teaching purposes. But he shows Sasha how to draw vipers, letting her describe circles around them in red, blue and yellow.

"She doesn't have a destiny, Sam," Kara says into his shoulder too many nights later. "There's no reason--"

"All of this has happened before--" he points out, hands tightening on hers. "And you are not your mother."

The conviction in his words frightens both of them.

Nicky teaches Sasha how to draw centurions and soldiers, and Hera laughs at both of them, her eyes bright and merry as she fills page after page with blonde hair. Sharon jokes that she and Kara should form a support group for mothers of Cylon children and Cally suggests drowning at birth is too good for their progeny. It's joke or run screaming into the night.

Or scream in the night.

Kara wakes from dreams she can't remember, with Sam's hands on her shoulders, shaking her and murmuring comfort.

In the morning, Kara sits on the floor and thinks of the past and the future, the things that make a child strong and what makes her different from her mother. She couldn't see differences, not at first. Her mother had had the best intentions, after all.

When Sam walks in, his unguarded face lighting up at the sight of them, she wonders if it's not her mother that made the difference, in the end. Sasha has her genes, and there's already mischief in her (Sasha's hated pink shirt disappeared without a trace only to resurface as a rag on the hangar deck) that will drive both her parents insane.

Sam keeps coming back. Unlike her father, who'd allowed himself to be driven away, in the end, Sam stands his ground. They still fight, and sometimes Kara hates him for what he is. But underneath it, they need each other--some (and Sharon has, laughing at them both in a way that would have made Kara punch her face in, once upon a time) would call it love.

Once upon a time, Kara Thrace fell in love with a toaster. Once upon a time, the toaster fell in love with Kara Thrace. More than one, if the stories hold true.

Once upon a time, Sasha Thrace-Anders was created in a test-tube and implanted in her mother to grow to term. No one was expected to love her.

-f