Title: But never meant to last
Rating: PG
Warnings: spoilers for Moon; mild profanity; um, there's cuddling, but it's (mostly?) platonic; gratuitous artistic liberty with Sam Bell's history/past
Summary: Moon. Nor would he tell him that at this moment, he wished they could come together, become one. So they could both be happy, they could both go home.
Notes: I just wanted this to happen during the tuck-Sam-into-bed scene. ;_; Title of this fic is a lyric from The Trapeze Swinger by Iron & Wine.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Sam Bell had seen only a scarce few tragedies in his lifetime. He was an ordinary person in that regard; one who was lucky to know natural loss. His father's funeral, his mother's struggle with cancer before it finally reached remission. The other losses were not entirely physical, but the pain was equal. The fights with his beloved wife, the three year mission to the moon taking him from her, his daughter, three years of watching his baby in his arms as he rocked her crying form to sleep, the giggles as he held her high to bathe in the sunlight. All these sad things were few, but they held an impact upon him that etched itself into the memories set in stone that could never be changed or altered.

At least, the original Sam Bell.

The clones, well, they knew the tragedies. But they really didn't in the end. They could share the same sadness, anger and loss as their original, the very first and the only real Sam Bell. Yet at the same time, he wondered if it was almost a mockery to his creator, the man whose face he wore and memories he carried. As if he were not meant to carry this burden; as if he were taking something from Sam. A computer downloading information without truly experiencing or relating to them. It was cruel and terrible in all aspects that a man should live through these struggles and losses not once but apparently six times over. Like removing the threads from a great tapestry; unwinding hard work, beauty; sweat, tears and blood. Knitting it all back together would not revive the glory it once had.

Of all the sadness, frustration and pain Sam Bell - no, this clone, this sixth clone - carried, none of it was real. He was sure that many memories of Sam's past had been omitted throughout the cloning process. His predecessor, the fifth one, he knew about Eve, loved her dearly. Yet she sounded almost... foreign to him. As if the bond between them had frayed.

This, however. This pain was all his own. The original Sam Bell would never know it. This was his, the sixth clone's very own pain that he'd treasure in a morbid way when nothing else about him was his and his alone.

The fifth clone was dying. It was a slow deterioration that reminded Sam 5 of the memories of Sam Bell's mother. Her days of sickness and struggle and tears, how she looked so hollow and lost. However, she survived all that. Sam 6 knew somewhere in the dark reaches of his mind that Sam 5 would possibly not be so lucky.

After Sam 6 tucked his clone into bed, bundling him up for warmth to the best of his abilities, he turned to leave. Turned to put his macabre, disgusting plan into motion that would surely shame his creator. But then, he felt something pull at his sleeve, yanked back weakly.

"D-Don't go."

Sam 6 blinked and looked back over his shoulder. His pallor, blood stained, sickly twin was squeezing the cuff of his jumpsuit sleeve with shaking fingers. The most pathetic and depressing look on his face. "P-Please," Sam 5 swallowed, licked his cracked lips. His milky eyes were pleading. "Don't go."

"I need to," Sam 6 insisted. "I have to - "

"They won't be here... N-Not for a few more hours," Sam 5 interjected. His fingers did not loosen their grip. He gave a weak tug. "I. I need... I need this."

Sam 6 wondered what had happened while the two were separated, out exploring the limits of their transmissions and if they could be broken. The towers they found like hidden giants mocking them from afar. What brought the sudden increase of suffering in his twin when he returned later, saw the way his eyes glistened and the wrinkles at the corners of his mouth deepened. An expression of a man who Death touched, but not directly.

Sam 5 knew something he didn't. He should have asked him what. Should have told him that dawdling would only set them back. You want to go home, right? But yet... The clone below him had eyes, the same eyes. They all did. But it wasn't his eyes Sam 6 saw. Rather, a distant memory of holding a small life in his arms, the familiar stretch of muscles as he smiled when her eyes opened. She had his eyes; this shadow had hers, too. They all did, but instead of Sam Bell, he saw Eve in them. And the hurt and pain in Eve/this clone's eyes broke his heart.

Sam 6 stepped back. The older clone shifted and wiggled aside, cocooned in his massive blanket. Sam 6 slipped in beside him; the bed was small, cramped, but it was what Sam 5 needed. Sam 5 sealed any remaining little space between them, carelessly flushed his body against his successor's. Sam 6 felt a little awkward, a bit uncomfortable, but didn't move, didn't push him away.

Sam 5 pulled his blankets to his chin as he rested his head against Sam 6's shoulder. "S-So cold," he stammered. His teeth were rattling, fists bunching up the blanket over his chest.

Sam 6 reached over, placed the back of two fingers against the moist, ghost-white forehead. "You're burning up," he noted. "Funny how the body works."

"Our bodies..." Sam 5 murmured and trailed off. His groggy tone was tinged with disgust. Sam 6 twitched; this wasn't like his predecessor. Who clung so blindly to the idea he was the original, or at least on the same mental and emotional level as the original. Reality was perhaps setting into his fever riddled brain.

They laid there in silence for a few minutes. Sam 5 curled up against his clone without a care. Discarding any discomfort it might make the sixth Sam Bell feel. However, he did note the tension and stiffness in Sam 6 seemed to be dwindling. He was relaxing into the mattress; he was still stressed, willed his body to keep from shaking. To stop him from releasing the aggression he inherited from the original.

"I'm dying."

Sam 6 turned his head. He was face to face with his clone. Saw the varicose veins stretch like spider webbing across his temples, along his jawline. The bruises over hanging eyelids; rings circling the eyes in gray and rust gold. The soft blue in his lips. A sickly, quivering breath against his cheeks. Sam 5 cracked his eyes just a centimeter wider, rolled them up to look into Sam 6's. "M'must look like shit."

"No," Sam 6 countered. "You're not going to die." Sam 5 smirked and irritation flared in the sixth clone. "Hey," he said sternly. Enough to win back that gaze, meet them. Sam 6 looked firm, insistent, annoyed. "You are not going to die." There was no heat in his tone, just matter-of-fact. As if he were stating nothing but an established truth instead of comfort and reassurance.

Sam 5 frowned weakly. He shifted, nearly pulled the cover over his mouth. His eyes with their long lashes and paled irises stared at the door across the room. A world outside he had come to hate; a place he wished was home. "Think it's... It's coded into our DNA... S-So after three years, we-we deteriorate. We can be replaced. Maybe - maybe inherited..." A hand with knobby knuckles reached up and out the blanket, rubbed his face. He sighed heavily. "Might explain the hallucinations I had that morning. What drove me into... into the harvester." He chortled bitterly. "Was losin' my mind, but not from the - the loneliness."

"You're going to go home. You're going to feel better. You'll get the medical attention you need."

Sam 5 made a raspy noise that passed off as a pitiful laugh. "You think so? I-I'm suppose to be dead. If they got... If they got their hands on me, they'd just kill me. I can't live or I... I jeopardize Lunar Industries." His eyes shut. "Just one man - a clone - against a multi-billion c-company that fuels more than h-half the world. I don't stand a chance."

"So, what do you want?" Sam 6 leaned back, tilted down his head. His clone blinked, looked up at him, confused. "Do you want to stay here? After all this time, these three years yearning for the love taken from you - Your pure Goddamn determination keeping you from going apeshit. Our plans, fuck, everything - And now you're resigning? You're giving up? You're just going to accept curling up in a corner and dying like some wounded animal?"

Sam 5 frowned. His tongue peeked between his lips in thought, drew back. He looked down. "There's a chance you can be saved. You know that," Sam 6 continued. "Stop pitying yourself. You never got anywhere being a coward and accepting a fate that is not yours."

"Was it Bell's?" Sam 5 demanded. It was weak, hardly able to work up the aggression he felt in his weary bones. "He. The logs. They..."

"Stop it."

Sam 5 shivered from more than the fever. The cold tingle of flesh against his cheeks. Suddenly, Sam 6 was on his side, facing him. Glowering, his eyes, the same hue, radiating intensity. A will of fire and iron. He held Sam 5's face in his hands, and the older clone sucked in air with a sigh. "I'm serious," Sam 6 grumbled. "You're going to go home. You're going to see your wife, your little girl. Our wife, our little girl. And you're going to shower them with love six times strong. More love than Bell could ever give." The fire in his eyes seemed to fade. It felt like watching something die, and Sam 5's stomach somersaulted. "My love, too. Damn if I can't give it to them myself, you're going to do it for me." His eyes were firm again. "You understand? For me, for you, for Sam Bell, for those before us."

And oh it was like something tearing and shredding his heart apart. Sam 5's eyes were glassy. He wanted to tell his successor everything. What the logs had shown, what Gerty had revealed. The shock and confusion in his daughter's eyes and the way she bowed her head ever so slightly when she told the man who claimed to be her dad that her mother, that her mother was...

"It'll happen." Sam 5 swallowed dryly. He dropped his face into the hands. "It'll happen to you, too. What is happening to me."

"That's fine," Sam 6 assured. He sounded sincere, but he was Sam 5 as Sam 5 was him. He knew he was scared, angry. "You'll be fixed up. You'll go on living. We'll find a way to stop this from happening to anyone else again."

"At this point, the most... The most merciful thing..." Sam 5 couldn't continue. To kill them all. To spare them this same misery and suffering. It was... No. He couldn't do it. The idea that Sam 6 was going to try, just... He knew he wouldn't. But he said nothing.

Sam 5 flinched when the blanket around him suddenly lifted. Sam 6 was crawling beneath it, pulling it over the both of them. Sam 5 gasped when the cold material of his clone's jumpsuit pressed against him. It warmed up rather quickly, however, his body heat engulfing the both of them. Sam 6 wrapped his arms around his predecessor, pulled him as close as possible. One hand reaching up to cradle the back of his head, guide it to rest against his chest beneath his chin. Sam 5 was breathing haggardly into the collar of his suit; he felt the moistness against his flushed skin.

It was a silent reassurance. If words could not persuade him, then this embrace would. He would be okay, even if it meant he'd be leaving others behind. Sam 6 would be okay, too, even if it hurt like Hell. Sam 5 did not react, not immediately; then slowly, heavy, tired arms were winding around Sam 6. Legs pushed weakly between his, until they were coiled up in each others limbs. The blanket pulled over them completely, just barely over their mouths.

Somehow this felt natural. Even with the sickness, with the awkwardness. It was as if this was how it was meant to be. And Sam 5 would never tell Sam 6 what he saw and what he was told before the younger clone returned. Nor would he tell him that at this moment, he wished they could come together, become one. So they could both be happy, they could both go home. Likewise, Sam 6 would never tell him he was thinking the same.

That maybe united, they would be closer to the real Sam Bell.

So please remember me, finally
And all my uphill clawing
My dear, but if I make the Pearly Gates
I'll do my best to make a drawing

The Trapeze Swinger by Iron & Wine