Gaia Dreams
by Hecate

She feels her daughter breathing in her dreams, deep and regularly; and Hera's dreams fill her own to the brink. Until she wakes up to her girl's absence and to Helo's desperation and to the rough fabric of her blanket under her fingertips. She wakes and she curls together so her body is not limbs but mass, until she feels the movement of her chest with the knees she has pressed against it. She remembers a time when she could not do this, when her body wasn't empty and lonely and she shared it with a second breath and a second mind.

She feels her daughter's skin when she closes her eyes, her small hand wrapped around her finger, and it's so real that she is shocked to find Hera missing every time she opens her eyes. Shocked, and her sadness rips at her bones and her voice and she yells at Helo to leave her. Sometimes he does, but only for a short while before he returns. He tells her that he won't give up on her, on them; but she wishes he would. So she could give up herself instead of being torn into by her absence and his presence.

She dreams of her daughter and of Helo's smile, and when she remembers that her girl is dead she thinks she doesn't deserve his smile anymore. The warmth of his eyes and the dimples in his cheek, and she tells herself that this isn't meant for her. Not now. Never again. Because their child is gone: her God betrayed them and all she can do now is dream of what is gone; what has been taken away from her. And she can't share this with Helo: this is a mother's burden and it is hers to bear alone.

She's caged in the screams that aren't coming, her own and Hera's, and the cage of steel and glass she's in has become a refuge. Helo can't touch her here; Helo can't hold her and she could cry alone. But she doesn't. She won't let this pain out; she won't let it flee her body through salt and water. She's pregnant with it and it grows stronger, fed by everything her life has become.

At night, she remembers the pain of Hera's birth, when her mind is swaying to the hum of far-away transmissions and downloads. She remembers the pain and she feels the echoes of it in her body when she wakes, but they are drowned by the scream of her loss.

She remembers the way the crew looked at her the few times she was outside her cage; the words whispered. Cylon. Toaster. Machine. She wants to be a machine. Just a broken machine now, wires ripped out, battery dead, nothing works. Rusting from the inside. She thinks of oil and electricity instead of blood and life and she hopes for decommission. Maybe the pain and hollowness that rule her life now will stop then. An ocean dried out, waves frozen and unmoving.

She hopes she's just a machine. Machines can't be reborn; they can only be remade. If she dies and wakes up again she might be without pain. Because pain can't be remade either. It can only grow, like flowers on fertile ground. Flowers don't grow on steel and she thinks of a new silver skin and balls her fist, imaging it in a new colour.

Maybe she won't love Helo then. Maybe she will be a Cylon again, a Cylon with a mission. And she would be able to see her path again; she would have a purpose again. Not love, not to be loved, not a lover, not a child. Nothing that could hurt her, the absence of love completing her again, fractures and wounds simply gone. A perfect machine: without senses, without feelings: But whole.

Without Helo. Without Hera. Whole, she thinks, and her heart laughs at her, bitter like metal. Her heart that can laugh this way but isn't the pumping machine she wishes for but a muscle of flesh and blood. A muscle that tears and rips at the seams, that can't be repaired inside of this failing body.

She was a Cylon once. Model eight and a registry number she forgot when she woke up beside Helo after their first night. She was Sharon then and she was supposed to be a mother. It was her mission and it was more, and God's love had cleared her way.

She was somebody before, even before Sharon. She was one of many, but more than a copy. Her other lives sung in her and she was a lover, a friend, a fighter and a soldier. And then only she was the one that was the mother. She was more. Now she only dreams.

Somewhere on a planet below her, a girl so much like her sleeps peacefully. And between the planet and her cage, in the open space that seems black but really isn't, their dreams meet.


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