Author's Notes: Great thanks to vampychick for poking me about this on IM, diraskyria for saying she wanted to read it, and rhi_silverflame and the_afterlight for the beta-read.
Spoilers: Right up through the series finale 4.21, "Daybreak, Part 2"
Disclaimer: Seriously, if I owned them, I'd also own my own Wii. Putting them back where I found them... mostly.
Summary: So let us not talk falsely now; the hour's getting late.
But You and I, We've Been Through That
The quality of light was different here. The air seemed to glow, almost. So long without being on a planet, or breathing unprocessed air, and she almost had forgotten what it felt like. Bill was digging while Laura sat in the grass, fingers caressing a flower.
"It's a good place," she told him. "You can see for miles. Watch the herds. See storms coming."
He leaned on the shovel for a moment, scanning the hills rolling away from them like ocean. "No people."
"Not yet. There will be."
The flower had white petals, tiny curled commas in a star pattern. Maybe it was similar to something on Caprica, although if so, she didn't know it. The same way the native tribesmen here were similar to the Colonists. Laura wished she understood that happenstance better.
Green, green, green as far as the eye could see. New Caprica had been grey and black by the time they left. Hopefully they wouldn't change this new Earth in the same ways as they'd changed the old.
"Quiet here," Bill whispered. "Safe. Good for retirement."
Laura smiled wryly. "You've been trying to retire for as long as I've known you."
"Long past time."
Hera was wandering down a little gully, poking at a stream with a stick, watching the water swirl around the tip as she played in it, while her parents kissed in celebration only a little ways away. It struck Laura that this was the first time Hera would have seen flowing water. She'd been too young to remember New Caprica before they'd fled. A whole generation of children torn away from home and planet life for four years, almost five, and now they'd have gravity and sunlight and a warm place to grow. Maybe they'd miss four walls; maybe they'd be afraid of all this freedom.
Hera smiled at her, and then waved off to her left. Laura turned to see Kara standing on the rise just above where she sat.
She waited until Kara was within arm's reach before she asked, "How did you know it would work? The music as coordinates."
Kara hooked her thumbs in her pockets. "I didn't. But it was the only thing I could do."
"Ahhh." Relief, to know that she hadn't overlooked something obvious. "Are there words to the song?"
"I think Sam knew them. I don't." Kara gave her a crooked smile, kicked at the grass, thick and muffling her footsteps. "Where do you want to go?"
The main plaza of Caprica City, buildings rising above them huge and glassy, with greenery in small boxes, just as she remembered it. It was a shock, all that order, after Earth. Out of the corner of one eye, she saw Felix Gaeta hurry down the street, face intent on some other destination.
Walking through the plaza were Baltar and Six. Caprica. Or whoever she was, the one who'd apparently died in the first attack. Laura watched them, arms folded, looking for some sign of what was to come.
She could hear them from across the plaza.
"I'll get you into the system. I hope that makes you happy."
"The people I work for—"
"I'm not talking about them, I'm talking about you." He rolled his eyes. "The things we do for love."
The Six stared at him, stunned. But only half as stunned as Laura.
"Or whatever." He put on his sunglasses. "You know what I mean."
They walked away, the Six wrapped around him, Baltar arrogant and blind.
"Just like that?"
Kara squinted into the sunlight slanting between buildings. "Did you expect anything else?"
Lee was sitting next to a campfire under the stars, silently watching the people on the other side. Tribesmen, the natives. Watching him back. There were five of them, all holding spears, held down but at the ready. Lee had a pistol, but it wasn't aimed at any of them. Laura could see flames dancing in his eyes. Kara was seated next to him, hands lightly clasped.
Lee slid a piece of meat toward them on a stick. One of the tribesmen accepted it, sniffing at it.
Laura released the breath she was holding.
Kara looked up at her and laughed.
The light coming in from the viewscreens was blinding. White-hot, overwhelming, unbelievable.
Sam's voice was singing a thready but unmistakable melody as cracks appeared in the light, and it became brighter, stronger, everything dissolving around him.
"There must be some way out of here… said the joker to the thief… there's too much confusion… I can't get no relief…."
Kara's fingers found hers in the emptiness of space. "Question answered."
The edge of a savanna, with people setting up a camp, following the herds of grazing animals they had yet to name.
Cottle was smoking a cigar, watching a circle of children playing in the center of the camp. On the other side, a Six watched too, eyes hungry and longing as one little girl bounced off to the side, spinning to catch a friend by the arm.
Saul Tigh sat with his back to the camp, a cup of what might be the last of their caff in his hand. A small, quirky smile was on his face, and he hummed Sam's song under his breath as he stared past a makeshift tent at his wife. Out in a sea of grass, Ellen raised her face to the sun, and spread her arms wide, eyes shut, face calm, just this once.
For just a second, Laura could have sworn she saw Dee leaning against a tent pole, smiling.
An icy shore, clouds lowering, wind whipping across the ocean. Reminiscent of the blasted Earth they'd left behind them, rocks and dark water.
Galen cast a line into the water, face composed, and settled in on a rock to wait.
No music. No people. White birds called to each other, circling in the breeze, then descending to fight over sea-creatures washed up on shore.
Sharon Valerii sat on a rock a little way off, curled in on herself, arms around her legs, staring at Tyrol's back.
"Does he know she's there?"
Kara rolled her eyes. "Would it matter if he did?"
Another city. Not on Caprica. Nothing she recognized. Crowds and crowds of people. Shining silver gleamed everywhere, with the shimmer of crystal rising in snowflake spikes.
A smooth metal woman walked by, articulation of her joints too perfect to be human.
The music rising over the city's hum was absolutely symmetrical; and above it all, circular screens beamed messages and the images of Centurion faces, speaking in voices she couldn't understand.
The sky was pink and gold with sunset, and as she turned she heard a trill of notes.
A small silver body rolled by, followed by another, and she stopped to watch as one darted behind a fountain, then was chased by two others.
"Tag." Laura looked over at Kara. "Some things are universal."
Back on the ridge, as Bill placed the last stone. He wasn't crying.
She turned to Kara. "How long have you been… gone?"
"Since the first Earth." Kara smirked at her. "Only figured it out when I got here, though. We jumped. We arrived." She shrugged. "I finished what I started. And it all came clear."
"Does Lee know?"
"Yeah. And now so do you."
Laura listened to Bill, talking to her. "….A good place. I think I'll build the cabin right over here."
"I can come back?"
Kara grinned. "You never have to leave."
"Wait." Laura turned to glare at her, feeling cheated. "Isn't this where I start some journey into the afterlife, and meet the gods, and get some answers?"
"You finished your journey. Same way I did." Kara shrugged. "The rest is up to you."