Word Count: 4,317
Characters/Pairings: Laura Roslin, Laura, Caprica Six, Cavil, Billy
Summary: Laura Roslin resurrects as a Cylon when she flatlines in Epiphanies, while in the Fleet, the original Laura recovers.
Link to Art: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v397/katamaran/BSG/divisionbell.jpg
Author's Notes: Thanks to everyone who participated in the resurrectiontub project: writers, betas, cheerleaders, and supporters. It's been so much fun. Props to my fantastic co-mod mmegiry for making this an incredible, fun and smooth process, and thanks to my patient beta somadanne for making me expound upon "irritably."
General Story Notes: Written for the 2010 bsg_bigbang. Thanks to the rememberlaura community for initial development assistance and to seariderfalcon for the original idea. Story title and most subsequent chapter titles are from Pink Floyd's The Division Bell, with a few other song titles tossed in.
Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten | Chapter Eleven | Chapter Twelve | Chapter Thirteen | Chapter Fourteen
As a child, Laura Roslin learned of the afterlife—what existed beyond the point when one left her body for the mythical world beyond. There was no fear to be had upon one's own death, only peaceful expectation of the journey to come.
The peace settled in just as her last breath left her body.
There was a bright white light; she followed it. She was led to it. It was flashing as it had been before she had closed her eyes for good, like flashbulbs popping, like electricity sizzling white hot, then blood red.
The boat. The shore. The fields. The boat, I'm lost, Mother, the shore, the fiel—
Laura's back arched, the sound of her sharp gasp echoing around her. Warmth encompassed her body. She was suspended, floating, and nearly choked on the liquid surrounding her as she submerged entirely again, fumbling for her grip to pull herself up. She coughed and spit the sweet, thick liquid from her mouth, finally gathering enough air for a scream that sent her body shivering. She clung to the side of the tub, heated metal pressed against her bare chest. She heard herself scream again and it echoed back, ringing in her ears.
She wiped her face with the back of her hand, trying to clear her eyes. She opened them to the darkened room around her, glowing with lights of red and blue. She panted, her heartbeat pounding in her ears. The liquid was everywhere, all over her body and hair. A wave of nausea hit her and she clutched at her stomach, resisting the urge to retch.
"Back in the stream that feeds the ocean that feeds the stream," she whispered, surprised to hear her own voice. "Back in the stream, the stream that meets the shore." She licked her lips, her eyes darting down to her body, naked in the pool of translucent liquid. "There is no shore. There is no shore. There is—"
She jumped with a gasp at the voice to her left, jerking her head so quickly that it sent a shot of pain down the side of her neck.
Laura saw her then: an angel without wings with hair of pale blonde, sinewy arms hanging limply at her sides. She kept Laura's gaze, her head tilted slightly, a look Laura slowly recognized as empathetic.
It was then she realized it was the Cylon agent. It wasn't to be trusted. Laura tried desperately to remember its name.
"You," Laura said, anger welling inside her. "Why are you here?"
"Ask this of yourself," said the tall blonde Cylon. "There are many questions to be answered, each in its own time."
"Am I ... I'm dead. I died."
The Cylon merely shook her head, her expression calm. Laura began to shake harder.
"What is this?" Laura's stomach churned again as she swirled her hand around in the warm liquid.
"Relax," the Cylon answered. "It's always a shock."
"Godfrey," Laura said suddenly through chattering teeth. "Godfrey. You're Godfrey. You were the one ... the Riverwalk ... Baltar ... I'm dead."
Godfrey took a step toward her and lifted her hand. Laura flinched and scrambled away, slipping against the side of the unusual tub she was in. The liquid sloshed and splashed around her. "My heart stopped beating," she said, her voice rising. "I felt it stop beating. I'm dead. This isn't the afterlife ... the shore? What's the shore?" She felt a lump in her throat and heated pinpricks behind her eyes. "Oh, my Gods. Am I in Hell?"
"No," Godfrey said, her voice smooth, nearly conciliatory. She moved a step closer, her hand wavering over the tub. It paused inches away from Laura's shoulder. "That is not our fate."
"What do you mean?" Laura whispered. She felt tears slipping down her face.
"You've been reborn."
It will all happen again.
Laura reached out and ran her fingertips over Godfrey's outstretched palm. She pressed against it, feeling warm, firm skin.
"That's it," Godfrey said, her own eyes welling with emotion.
"I don't understand," Laura said softly.
Laura's fingers encircled the outstretched hand. Then she closed her eyes and followed the Cylon's lead.
She could barely stand up straight, her legs wobbling beneath her, and she leaned heavily on Godfrey's arm. She realized she was naked yet she didn't feel self-conscious, not even as Godfrey's curious eyes wandered down her body before she handed Laura a large, white robe.
Laura rubbed the terrycloth over her skin, the sweet smell of the liquid turning fainter, and in this quiet moment she noticed an omnipresent hum that seemed to radiate from the lighted walls, punctuated by a low, steady beat like that of her own heart.
Laura wrapped the robe around her body and tied it. Her shoulders slumped as she gave Godfrey another distrustful glare.
"How do you feel?" Godfrey asked.
Laura looked down at her chest, realization hitting quickly that she no longer felt the sharp pain in her lungs that had most recently radiated with each breath she took. There was no rasping and no fight for air. "I feel ... good. What did you give me? Morpha?"
Godfrey shook her head. "What you feel is life, Laura."
"Life." Laura wrapped her arms around her waist. "So, I'm alive."
"Yes. You're alive. More alive than all of us."
Laura tried to remain patient. "How can I be more alive than anyone? Is this how all Cylons talk?"
Godfrey smiled, extending her hand once more. "Some of us. Walk with me."
"Just down the hallway. We'll go slowly. Your leg muscles will need some time to adjust to being upright."
Laura didn't want to trust her, but until she found out what was going on, she knew she didn't have a choice. She was discouraged to find the Cylon was right; her legs were wobbly like a fawn's. She gripped the Cylon's hand again and they walked out of the room and into a long corridor. More blue and white lighting ran the length of it and the grating was surprisingly warm, not cold, against her bare feet. "Shoes?"
"With each step you'll gain more energy," Godfrey said as they walked. "Feel it under the soles of your feet, running up your body. We are one with her."
"Her. The ship? This makes no sense."
Godfrey squeezed her hand. "For now."
Laura felt it then, when she let herself—the tingling against the soles of her feet causing a vibration that began to run itself through her. She questioned why it felt so comforting to feel the energy below her and to hear it in the walls surrounding them.
"Where are we?" Laura asked.
Godfrey nodded once. "A Basestar."
"I'm ... how did I get on a Basestar? I was in sickbay."
"Yes, you were."
Laura tightened her arms around her waist and shook her head in disbelief. "A dozen people were watching over me. There's no way you got me out of there ... I don't understand."
Godfrey was silent. This Cylon seemed to speak only in riddles and allusions. When she wasn't speaking, she appeared lost in thought, as if drawing her next mysterious string of words from deep inside.
"Did you abduct me somehow? Does Admiral Adama know I'm here? Does Billy?"
"Patience, Laura. There's so much truth to be known," Godfrey replied.
Laura scoffed, eyeing the Cylon peripherally. "You're damned right there is. I want to speak to the Admiral."
Laura took a deep breath, still expecting to hear a rattle deep in her chest. Though she was irritated by the Cylon and her vague conversation, she was curious about how much stronger she was feeling with each step. "So I'm being held against my will."
Godfrey shook her head. "He doesn't know you're here."
Laura rolled her eyes and sighed in exasperation. It did nothing to relieve the unsettled feeling in her gut. "Which is precisely why I need to speak to him."
The hand on her shoulder slowed Laura's pace, and they came to a stop in front of a large door to the side of the corridor. "He won't understand," Godfrey said, opening it.
"Neither do I." Laura put her hand on her hip. "You need to stop talking in circles and tell me what's happened."
"Come in and sit down," Godfrey replied, her voice smooth. "I'll tell you what you need to know."
The sound of the Riverwalk fountain was constant; rushing water always seemed to soothe her, the feel of it and the sound of it. Eyes closed, she was dipping her toe in the water, letting the fountain drown out the anxious thoughts swirling in her head. The steady beeping sound was distant at first and then grew louder, drowning out the sound of the fountain before her.
She took a breath. It didn't feel like she was sucking syrup through a straw.
Her heart was beating. The monitor was beeping in time.
She opened her eyes, then squinted at the bright overhead lamp still shining down upon her.
The sound of his voice made her smile and she turned her head to look at her lanky young assistant, sitting legs askew in a chair a small distance from her bed. "Billy. My Gods. Turn off that light."
He jumped up obediently, his chair scraping against the floor as he leaned in and flicked off the lamp, which was a relief to her dry eyes.
Billy looked down at her and she reached for his hand, squeezing it as tight as she could. Of all the people who could have been at her bedside when she woke up, she was so happy it was him.
"Sit," she said, surprised at the strength of her own voice. Her body felt completely different from the last time she remembered being awake. She was no longer fearful or chasing life, though her muscles and chest still ached slightly.
Billy slid his chair closer and put his hand on her arm. "I'm so happy to see you awake," he said. "Is there anything you need?"
She shook her head, running her tongue across her parched, cracked lips. "Did I almost die?"
He looked taken aback by her question, his expression losing some of its awe. "You ... you did die. For several seconds." He smiled as his fingers pressed gently against her skin. "But then you came back."
She nodded, swallowing dryly. "What did Cottle do?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, he obviously did something. I don't feel like I did before. I feel different. I'm more settled. I can breathe."
Billy looked away and she watched as he chewed on the side of his lip. It was a nervous habit, one of the first she'd ever noticed about him. "I don't know if we should discuss this so soon after ..."
His voice drifted off and she watched him staring off into the corner of the room. He was obviously uncomfortable and it made her feel the same. "What did he do?" Laura asked softly.
Billy kept looking away. That was odd in itself. "It wasn't Cottle."
Laura attempted to sit up straighter on her bed, feeling the gentle protest of her muscles. "What do you mean it wasn't Cottle? Who was it then?"
Billy hummed, shifting in his chair.
"Billy Keikeya, you tell me now what happened to me."
That tone of voice always worked with him and she was pleased to see that some things hadn't changed. He looked over his shoulder, then leaned in and looked into her eyes, his expression serious. "Vice President Baltar had an idea—"
"Maybe I don't want to know."
She didn't like the way this conversation was headed and she was sure Billy heard it in her voice. He leaned over and swiped away a strand of hair clinging to her clammy cheek. "Maybe you shouldn't."
She chuckled weakly. She felt her stomach tighten painfully. Her body wasn't ready to be jovial just yet. "Well, now I have to."
Billy looked down as he began to speak. "There was something unusual about the Agathon baby. Cottle had noticed it in the tests he'd run. There was something about its genetics that was ... weird. I don't know the specifics."
Laura stared at him, her jaw set. Her heartbeat sped up, reflected in the beeping of the monitor. "Can you shut that damned thing off?" she asked. The constant reminder that she was hooked up to machines was starting to grate on her nerves.
"I uh ..." Billy stood up and walked over to the other side of the bed, staring at the panel.
"Just pick a button," she said. "You're not going to kill me."
"Not funny," he replied, turning down the dial next to the monitor's display. The beeping stopped and Laura sighed at the welcome silence. Billy returned to his seat and looked at her again. The impact of what he'd just said finally hit her.
"Wait. The Agathon baby is still alive?"
She'd never seen Billy look so uncomfortable. "I'm sorry," she said. "I'll deal with that later. That wasn't your ... what were you saying about it?"
Billy took a deep breath and put his hands on the rail of her bed. She looked into his eyes and felt her brow furrow at the anguish that she saw in them. "Dr. Baltar looked at the results and after close scrutiny and some tests, he found there was something about the baby's blood that was ... curative."
"Curative," she repeated, her voice soft. "You're not saying what I think you're saying."
She felt queasy waiting for Billy to respond, and he took his time, seemingly searching for the right way to tell her what she already knew.
"Baltar suggested injecting you with the Cylon baby's blood in an attempt to cure your cancer."
"Oh, my Gods," Laura breathed, closing her eyes. Her head felt suddenly dizzy at the idea of putting her life in the hands of a man she barely trusted to handle a press conference, not to mention relying on that aberration to save her life.
"He knew what he was doing," Billy said, his voice wavering. "And we were desperate. You were about to die."
"But I didn't."
"No, you didn't."
She swallowed the lump forming in her throat. "I lived because of that Cylon baby."
"It seems to have worked. Your cancer ... it's gone, and nobody can explain it. Cottle says he's never seen anything like it."
Laura rubbed her forehead. It was unbelievable; it couldn't be true. "Gone. Just like that."
"So it seems."
"And now ... " Laura said, trying to force her next words. She didn't want to speak them. She didn't even want to admit the possibility. "Now ... I'm part Cylon."
She pressed her fingers against her forehead, taking a deep breath. She was alive thanks to the thing she hated most. The idea made her nauseous.
"Gods, no," Billy rushed to say. "No. I ... I don't think so. Nobody thinks that. I mean, hardly anybody knows what happened. Nobody has to know."
"It's okay," she interrupted. "It's okay. I just need to think on this awhile. I don't like it, but—"
"You're alive," Billy said firmly. "To lead this Fleet to Earth. You're going to live a full life and a good life. You deserve it, Madame President. Best not to question the why and how and just accept it for what it is."
She opened her eyes, glancing at him. "Thank you, Billy. I need some rest."
"Yes." He stood up, rubbing his pants with his open palms, as if brushing off the remnants of an uncomfortable conversation. "Madame President, there's ... there's one more thing I think you should know."
She settled her head back on the pillow with a small smile, exhaustion setting in once again. "It can't possibly be more shocking than what you just told me."
Billy ran his hand through his hair. "No. I just think you should know that I uh ... I gave Baltar the letter."
She turned her face to him, her eyebrow raised. "Jumped the gun a little, didn't you?"
"Well, he wasn't supposed to open it until your ... until you ..."
"Yeah." Laura laughed weakly and rolled her eyes. "I'm sure he tore it open the first chance he got. I bet it wasn't what he expected."
Billy shoved his hands in his pockets with a knowing smile. "Well, we all thought you were going to be gone soon, and I wanted him to read it. He really needed to read it before he assumed the presidency. I wanted him to have some time to let your advice sink in a little."
"And now he probably thinks I think he's an incompetent, selfish bastard."
"Yeah." Billy laughed. It was the first time she'd heard him do so since she'd awakened, and she delighted for a moment in the sound of it.
"And he's right. I do think that."
Billy nodded. "Yes. You do."
"But he's still my Vice President."
Billy tried to restrain his cringe, but couldn't. "Yes. He is."
Laura closed her eyes and settled back on the pillow. "And I'm part Cylon now. What a day, Billy."
She felt Billy's lips graze her cheek and linger. "It was quite a day for all of us, Madame President. But you're alive."
When Laura awoke from a sleep devoid of dreams, she felt an overwhelming urge to see Sharon and her unborn child. Billy of course did her bidding, arranging for a nurse to help her get dressed while he found her a wheelchair.
"I'm not riding in that thing," she said, eyeing it while steadying herself on Billy's arm.
"Then you're not going down to the brig," Billy answered.
She looked up at him, then looked back down at the chair with a defeated sigh.
"It's only temporary," he said. "Do this for me. Then maybe I can find another wheelchair and we can drag race down the corridor."
"I'm sure the Admiral would appreciate that," she said, chuckling as Billy lowered her down into the seat.
"I think it'd make him very happy to see it."
Billy began to push her and she closed her eyes, pretending not to be seen. The rumbling sound and feeling of the wheelchair rolling over the grates of the corridor set her more at ease.
They arrived at the brig and he pushed her into the control panel area.
"It's a two-way mirror," Billy explained, then shrugged, looking sheepish. "I suppose you already knew that."
She smiled. "Thank you, Billy. I'll only need a few minutes to myself."
With that, she looked through the window at the Cylon lying on her side on a cot. She appeared to be sleeping, her hands on her protruding belly, seemingly protecting it.
Laura wondered if Sharon knew she'd ordered her baby killed. She found it disturbingly ironic that the thing she'd feared most had been the thing to save her life. She found it even more disturbing that she still felt like she'd made the right decision when she'd made the order.
"You're part of me," Laura whispered, "whether I like it or not."
She pressed her hand against her chest and felt the beating of her heart. A chill went down her body when Sharon opened her eyes and stared blankly at her.
Laura couldn't look away.
The room Godfrey led Laura into was appointed like living quarters. There was a bed in the middle of the room, oversized and white-sheeted. There was a dresser with a mirror and various things set atop it—a brush, some bottles. A pair of white slippers sat at the foot of the bed.
The entire thing made Laura extremely uneasy. There was something that seemed far too permanent about this predicament she was in.
They walked to the side of the bed and sat down on the edge. It was soft and sank underneath them. Laura resisted the urge to lie down on it and close her eyes. Maybe it was all a nightmare and she'd wake up back in sickbay, surrounded by those she cared about the most.
For now, she looked over at the blonde Cylon and blinked slowly, expecting her to disappear. She didn't.
"I saw you," Laura said finally. "I saw you with Baltar. On the Riverwalk, the day the Colonies were destroyed."
"It wasn't me," Godfrey said.
"Oh, it was you," Laura replied, sarcasm tingeing her voice.
Godfrey looked straight at her, unmoving. "It was another copy of me."
Laura could barely keep up with the information she was being fed. Whether it was true or not was another story. She tilted her head and tucked her drying hair behind her ear. "A copy."
Godfrey nodded. "Each model has many copies. Some of us look the same."
"So ... you weren't on Caprica when the Colonies were destroyed."
"I was not. Not in this body."
Laura straightened her shoulders. "Are you even the ... copy, whatever, that was on Galactica? The one who was questioning Baltar's legitimacy?"
"No. That was another copy, too."
Laura tried to steady herself—so she wasn't Godfrey after all. "Do you have a name?"
This seemed to unsettle the Cylon for a brief moment. Laura watched her as she decided whether to release this precious information to her or not.
"I am called Caprica," she finally said.
Laura barely held back a huff of laughter at her admission. "Curious choice of name."
"It's significant to me. To my line."
"Your line. Okay." Laura nodded once, then flexed her fingers against her legs. "Caprica, I'm trying to understand who you are, why I am here, and when I can get back to the Fleet. I'm sure it's in chaos right now if nobody knows where I've gone."
Caprica suddenly reached over and cupped Laura's face. Laura jumped slightly at the intrusion, but oddly enough, didn't feel an urge to pull away. "Laura, I need to tell you something."
Laura felt her heartbeat speed up as she looked into Caprica's eyes. "All right."
"Nobody in the Fleet thinks you've gone anywhere."
Laura's brow furrowed as another small wave of anxiety set in. "Why?"
Caprica's thumb stroked her cheek as her lips parted. She paused, then spoke. "Because you ... one of you ... is still on Galactica."
Back in the stream that feeds the ocean that feeds the stream—
"Wait," Laura said, standing up and backing away from Caprica. "Wait. Hold on."
"One of me is still on Galactica? That's impossible. There's only one of me."
Caprica stood up and Laura took a sharp breath, suddenly alarmed by the Cylon's presence.
"You are one of humanity's children," Caprica explained, her voice hurried and impassioned. "You're a Cy—"
"Don't you even frakking say that to me!" Laura yelled, her stomach twisting into a knot. She felt her body shaking as her fingernails pressed into her palms and her hands balled into tight fists. "Don't say those words. Don't say such things. Take me back to the Fleet. I ... I demand to speak to the Admiral immediately. I—"
"The Admiral could quite possibly be standing with you right now back on Galactica. The other copy of you is still alive."
Laura put her fists next to her ears and squeezed her eyes shut. "The other copy of me?"
"Yes." Caprica's voice was unnaturally even. "It wasn't supposed to happen this way."
"Oh, you've got that right." Laura slammed her fists down on the sides of her thighs and began pacing, gritting her teeth through her labored breathing. "This is ludicrous. This is ... how do you know this? How do you even know that there's another copy of me ... out there?"
"We have our ways," Caprica murmured.
"Spies, on the ship ... no." Laura approached her then. Caprica didn't move. "No, no, you are lying to me and ... I don't know why you're doing this to me. Stop."
"You're a Cylon, Laura. You flatlined on Galactica and that's all it took."
"Your resurrection began when you flatlined and then your other copy came back to life. Because of Gaius Baltar. He saved—"
"Shut the frak up!"
Laura had never experienced blind rage before, but for a moment, she lost all sense of where she was. She wanted to scream but she didn't. She looked down at her painfully closed fist, fingers aching, and looked back up at Caprica still patiently standing in front of her. Only one of them seemed afraid.
She felt her body twitching, tingling with energy.
"You," Caprica whispered as she reached over and touched Laura's shoulder, "have been reborn. Into a new body. Into a new life. Your memories have been retained, you're the same person, but you have started life anew."
Laura felt a wave of immediate, inexplicable calm flow through her body. Her breathing evened out; it didn't hurt any more. "I should kill you."
Laura's own words made her gasp. She covered her mouth with a trembling hand. Caprica merely moved her hand to Laura's jaw line and leaned in to kiss her cheek. Her lips lingered and Laura felt warm breath against her ear.
"You'll understand so much in time," Caprica said quietly. "I'll leave you now."
Caprica pulled away then and turned, walking toward the door.
"When will you be back?" Laura asked.
Caprica opened the door and stopped, then looked over her shoulder. "When he allows me."
Laura sat slowly on the bed. She looked down at her tightly closed fists, pale against the white terrycloth covering her legs.
"Who?" she whispered.