Prophets and Messiahs
by Paradoqz

She is entirely, utterly, coldly, insultingly unsurprised when he staggers drunkenly into her hovel of a house. In fact, it would be fair to say, he thinks drowsily, that he is the most surprised person in this sickly tableau and includes the burbling brat in the crib.

It's all so fucking domestic, he wants to vomit.

He wants to scream. He wants to rage.

He weeps instead. Weeps without tears, without any outward sign at all. He has no more tears left. He spent them all during that first horrific day when the Gods stepped on him and burned out yet another of the illusions he had been hoarding ever since Caprica, old real Caprica, burned in the dawn's light.

It's not easy being a messiah, he thinks dully, leaning heavily against the door-post.

He misses Caprica.

He misses the idea of it, because he no longer remembers the reality. He was never a visual person, was never gifted with the talent of keeping images in his mind. But he misses the idea of it desperately, the life, the exclusive restaurants, the velvet ropes, the fawning hoteliers of the Grand, the velvet ropes, the good wine, music and the stifling air of the UoC's lecture halls, the feels of the paper folder in his hand, the looks of his `colleagues' as he shredded them with ease and aplomb that made him The Gaius Baltar.

He misses civilization.

He misses not being responsible for the survival of humanity.

He misses not failing.

He misses, most of all, with cutting, wailing desperation he misses the feeling of Caprica City's massiveness. The ability to step out on the balcony and feel himself being pressed from all sides by people and people's things.

He thinks back to his beloved villa, well outside of the urban sprawl and insipid suburbia.

He wants to laugh. He wants to cry.

He sits instead, unexpectedly, suddenly dropping in an ungainly, awkward sprawling fall to the dirt-floor, still gripping the mostly empty flask.

He doesn't know what else to do.

He is tired. He is drunk. He is... done.

He never wanted to be President, he thinks. He never wanted to be the Messiah. He never wanted to lead anyone anywhere. He never wanted to bring them to the Promised Land.

He remembers the overwhelming, heady freedom. The sheer exuberant glee he felt in that one bright hour when Roslyn seemed to have won after all, pulling victory out of the jaws of defeat, just as he always knew she would.

He remembers the iron control that kept the expected expression of disappointment on his face for Zarek and the rest. He remembers the calming, oh-so-regular feel of the pen in his fingers as he composed his concession speech.

He just wanted to be left alone.

Gods, he thinks, do so love their little jokes.

He wonders suddenly, for the first time, if it was days like this that made the Secretary of Education, President Pro Tem Roslyn into a religious fanatic and a mad-eyed Prophet.

He giggles then. Because it is so idiotic.

Of course not. She never had days like these.

And truth be told she had very nice eyes. And legs for that matter.

He always had a very health appreciation for Roslyn's legs, he thinks. Something to be proud of there, perhaps. He never let a little thing like political rivalry and the fate of Humanity interfere with the important things.

He giggles again, fully aware of and hating the hysterical girlish, pathetic sound of it all.

Much can be inferred about a person by how they laugh, he thinks with unexpectedly dark bitterness.

He's drunk. Drunk, tired and more than anything else he wants to wake up from this nightmare.

"Self pity, Gaius?" His curse, his blessing, his private God and Devil, the ghost that haunts his waking days appears from nowhere as she always does, slinking with catlike grace around the meager furniture, smiling at him with that alluring mixture of scorn and love, or cruelty and admiration. "How predictably pedestrian." She pauses and for a second he thinks she will touch him, ruffle his hair, kiss him. She doesn't. "It is not easy being a Messiah."

She has no right to lecture him, he wants to tell her. She's not even real. She's a dead Cylon. She's a hallucination. She's the sign that he has been steadily loosing his mind for almost two years now.

She hasn't talked to him for a year now.

She smells of jasmine and vanilla, making his head swim with the incongruity of it here, the unacceptable aberration that she is, in her evening gown and impeccably coiffed hair and her smell mixing with that of bile and fear and rusting metal and fumes and hunger and sickness and desperation and unpicked-up refuse ...he must not forget to meet with the Municipal Council again, tomorrow.

He giggles again. Gods. Municipal Council.

He laughs, and the sound of it, the real laughter that comes from somewhere he hasn't reached for what seems like eons, cheers him.

He gestures with his right hand, the one still gripping the flask and bows, as gracefully as he's able with the old mocking air of Gaius Baltar, the rake of Caprica. He smiles and he can tell that it's his old smile or a shadow of it that's near enough, the same easy assured smile that made perky sophomores and arctic department secretaries alike melt and lose their trains of thought.

He toasts toward the graceful form and inclines his head. "I missed you," he says and takes a drink, the cheap moonshine burning his throat.


"I missed you, "The drunken man in her house says suddenly, leering at her, and Lara Roslyn closes her eyes, allowing herself a minute's luxury of pure unadulterated rage. Savoring the feel of it as it washes through her mind in cleansing, purifying fie that burns away the small inconsequential minutiae of the last year and leaves her clear-eyed and tense in her focus.

She thinks of Kara Thrace, for some reason, and her mouth quirks in a crooked grin that Adar used to love and find desperately alarming all at once.

Kara... Kara would punch him.

And it would feel so good. So right

The problem was, she sighs and opens her eyes, is that she isn't sure she'd be able to stop if she hit him. It frightens her a little, that thought. Laura Roslyn doesn't lose her temper. She never surrenders herself to the emotions. Laura Roslyn controls herself and her world. That's what she is. Was? No. That's what she is.

It makes her instinctually, immediately wary that the attraction, that impulse was so overwhelming. Of letting that control go. Of screaming at this ... stupid, weak, foolish man that SHE FRAKKING TOLD HIM SO!

And so she finally stood up, brushing her hand lightly against the crib as she left her chair moved toward the stove and asked him in an even calming voice, "Would you like some tea?

She must have stood up too quickly, making her head swim, because for a split second she could have sworn she scented jasmine and vanilla and herd a softly mocking voce tell her own thoughts.

"It is not easy being a Prophet."


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