beatrice_otter: BSG's Six with red Cylon eyes (Six)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
Title: Orphaned Days
Author: [personal profile] beatrice_otter 
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Characters: Daniel (Seven)
Spoilers: All of BSG, none for Caprica which I’m not watching.
Word Count: 6,022
Betaed By: [livejournal.com profile] lls_mutant 
Summary: The Final Five weren’t the only ones Cavil exiled to the Colonies.

There was a hard surface under him. Hard, and cold, and oddly rough, like one of the sections that had been hollowed out of rock but not finished yet. And there was a breeze, but it was too uneven to be the steady flow from a vent. Was there a leak? Daniel knew he should be panicking, but he couldn’t quite seem to. It all seemed so far away, somehow.

He opened his eyes, at last. It seemed to be some time after he’d awakened, though he wasn’t sure. In front of him, he saw…. He was—he was projecting. He had to be. But he couldn’t turn it off—why couldn’t he turn it off? Why couldn’t he see what was really there? He hauled himself up and started walking, hoping that he’d run into a wall. Maybe that would snap him out of it. There was a loud noise, and the air around him whooshed as something large went by fast, like one of the Raiders had buzzed him, and he was splashed with water from a puddle.

This was not a projection; this was real. He was really on the surface of a planet, and the thing that had almost hit him was a truck, and around him were buildings, and above him was, oh God, the sky. Daniel—the earliest copy of the Seven model—scrambled backwards and pressed himself against a building, out of the way, heart racing, eyes screwed shut.

***

It took Daniel a few minutes to get his breathing back under control, and when he did, he opened his eyes cautiously and stared at his surroundings. He’d never seen cars before, or the open sky, or freestanding buildings, except in pictures and projections. The air smelled—he didn’t have a word for it, but he didn’t like it.

He was somewhere in the Twelve Colonies, not on the Colony, that much was obvious. He was also somewhere near a spaceport—the roar of ships taking off and landing filled the air at regular intervals. The ships sounded different; at first, he thought it was because they were Colonial, not Cylon. But everything sounded odd. There were no walls or ceiling for sound to bounce off of.

His last memory was of John—that sadistic bastard—jabbing him with a needle and shoving him in a cargo pod with a pair of Centurions who had ignored him, no matter how much he’d tried to reason, no matter how hard he’d begged.

Daniel didn’t want to know what John had done to them to make them obey him, but it wouldn’t take Ellen and the rest long to find him missing and come after him. He had been on his way to work on a mural with his brother Sevens when John had come for him. Once they realized he was missing, it wouldn’t take them long to ask the Centurions what had happened to him, and no matter what John had done to the specific Centurions that had kidnapped him, surely the others would be able to tell they were acting suspiciously. Once they knew, they would come for him. He just had to wait here near the spaceport and they would be back for him. He nodded to himself. He’d just stay here, and everything would be fine.

***

A day later, they hadn’t come for him, and Daniel was hungry. He’d known that to get food or a room or practically anything, in the Colonies, you needed money, and to get money you needed a job. What he hadn’t known was that to get a job you needed some form of legal identification. It had something to do with taxes, he was told, though he didn’t quite understand. He was given instructions on how to find a shelter, but it was dirty and filled with foul-smelling Humans, many of whom seemed to be mentally deficient in one way or another, and Daniel decided that while he might be willing to eat and shower there, he’d rather sleep on the streets.

He was grateful, however, to the men living at the shelter for one thing: they had a much better idea how to get a job without ID than he suspected most people would have. A day after that—his third day on the planet, whichever one it was—he was a janitor at a bar near the spaceport, paid in cash off the books. The job came with a cot tucked in a corner upstairs in a filthy room. But Daniel had access to the cleaning supplies, and once he got the junk cleared out and the stains scrubbed with bleach and the dust bunnies gone and the window clean and open for fresh air, it was … okay, it was still pretty bleak. But he’d asked if he could paint it, and the owner shrugged and said “knock yourself out,” and Daniel knew what the first thing he was going to buy with his pay was. Well, the third thing, after a few more sets of clothes than the ones he’d been wearing for three days straight and some bedding.

***

He hacked into the spaceport computers. Getting on base and into a position to access the computers was more difficult than the actual hacking was. To do it, he’d needed to steal a uniform from the laundry so he’d blend in, which was the difficult part. Human programming was so laughably easy to circumvent, even counterintuitive as it was. Daniel looked for anything that might hint at Cylon activity, anything that might hint at what had happened to him.

There was nothing. Well, he figured out what shuttle he probably came in on, and that he was on Scorpia, and that the spaceport’s main business was supplying the dockyards up in orbit and providing services to sailors and marines with passes groundside. But there was no trace of Cylon activity, and there was no point in trying to steal a ship to make his own way home. Daniel knew how to fly and navigate using Cylon ships, but no idea how to do it in dead soulless hulks the Humans favored, and it’s not like he could network directly and ask the ship for help. He left a flag in the system, so that if any other Cylons accessed it they would know where he was, and slipped out of the base again and back to the row of bars just outside it where he worked.

***

The bar had been without a janitor for almost two weeks, and it probably hadn’t been any too clean to begin with. It was dark even in the daytime, and that was for the best because it hid the layer of grime. The bar itself was bad enough, with the smell of stale booze and sweat over everything. But Daniel had never in his life seen anything as filthy as the bathrooms. On the Colony, heavy-duty cleaning was done by maintenance drones with barely enough decision-making power to scrub floors and such; the rest of the cleaning was shared out so that everyone, humanoid and centurion alike, did their fair share and everything was kept neat and in good order.

The first time Daniel opened the door to the men’s room, the smell hit him with an almost physical force. His throat convulsed, and he panicked for a few seconds before realizing it must be a gag reflex. He’d never been sick before (although some of the Fives had), and he’d never encountered anything disgusting enough to trigger it. The door slid from his fingers and he staggered backwards, into the main bar.

The owner looked up from the now-clean bar, where he was working on the books. “Better you than me,” he said, and went back to his work.

Daniel went back to the men’s room, stood outside it psyching himself up. He’d been drunk a few times, seen others drunk; sometimes, it meant you missed the toilet with either piss or vomit. On the Colony, when you made a mess like that you had to clean it up yourself once you were sober, and that tended to be a decent motivator not to get that drunk very often. Here, the people getting drunk came here to drink and left before they were sober; they didn’t live here, and obviously wouldn’t be doing the cleanup. So someone else had to do it, and Daniel had no reference or skills or identification to get a better job, so it was going to have to be him. So he was going to go back in there and get started.

Any minute now, he was going to get started.

After about two minutes he got disgusted with himself, grabbed the cleaning cart, took a deep breath, and barged in.

Two hours later he walked out, handed the owner a list of cleaning supplies that needed to be refilled, and walked out into the fresh air outside the bar. The bathroom still reeked, but now the stench was that of bleach and other cleaners. It was still mildly disgusting, but that was a hundred percent improvement on what it had been. When he felt a little better, he went back and did the women’s room. That was easier, because it was a little cleaner to begin with; women sat down to pee, so they missed less often. (They still puked.)

But Daniel couldn’t help thinking that maybe John was right, after all. Maybe there was something wrong with Humans, if they could create this kind of filth and not care.

“Hey,” the owner said when Daniel put the cleaning supplies away after finishing.

Daniel jumped; he hadn’t heard the guy coming up behind him. “Yeah?”

“Did good in there,” the man said. “Real good. Bonus.” He held out a piece of currency.

Daniel didn’t know enough about Colonial money yet to figure out how much it was without studying it, which no Human would need to do. “Thanks,” he said, stuffing it in his pocket. He’d figure it out later.

***

That night, as he lay on his lumpy mattress with a thin pillow over his head trying to drown out the sounds of the music below, he let out a string of curses on John for doing this to him.

He thought about killing himself, waking up back in a nice warm tank on the Colony with all his brothers and sisters and parents around him. But he’d never died before, and for all that their parents had assured them it was perfectly safe, for all that some of his brothers and sisters had tested the system, Daniel couldn’t quite believe it would work. Maybe he was out of range—did they know what limits there were on resurrection? Maybe John and the Ones had tampered with things. Maybe Daniel just had too much respect for the God-given gift of life.

***

It was worse when the noise from below had stopped, and there was nothing to mask Daniel’s solitude.

***

The next day, once he’d cleaned the bar, he went to the shelter, showered, ate, and did his best to wash his clothes in the bathroom sink. One of the volunteers stood there for a while, watching him, after he’d done his business.

“Those your only clothes?” he said.

“Yes,” Daniel replied. “I’ve got a little money to buy more, but I wanted to get these as decent as possible before going to look.” He was nervous—he’d never been to a store before, and wasn’t quite sure what to do in one, but it would be worth it.

“Good idea,” the guy said. “You know how to get to the thrift store?”

“Thrift store?” Daniel said, bending his head and staring at the stain he was scrubbing. He was trying not to attract much attention, but he was never sure quite what he was supposed to already know and what he could ask about without raising questions. The chances of Humans figuring out he was a Cylon were remote, as they didn’t even know Human-looking models were possible. But considering what the likely consequences would be, Daniel didn’t want to take that chance.

“Yeah, you know—charity shop. People donate their old clothes and household goods, and the shop sells it cheap to people who can’t afford to buy stuff new. It’s run by the same group that does this shelter. There’s a shuttle van that goes once a day from here to there, but it’s already been and gone for the day.”

“How far is it to walk?” Daniel asked. He figured that was about as good as his shirt was going to get. Thankfully, it was a warm day. It’d dry as he walked.

“Probably take you half-hour to get there, at least. There are directions at the front desk.”

“Thanks,” Daniel said with a guarded smile. On his own, he’d have had no idea where to go. He shared a language with the Humans, but their society was alien to him. He wondered if the man would have been as quick to help if he’d known Daniel wasn’t one of his own.

***

That night, as the bar below was in full swing, Daniel sat up in his room staring at the walls and projecting different designs on them, imagining what he could do to them once he could afford paint.

***

It took him three weeks to earn enough money to buy paint. It would’ve taken less, but he got tired of the food at the shelter, and even if you bought it at a grocery store and made it yourself, food was expensive. He should get primer to do a base coat, but that would leave him with bare white walls until he could scrape together enough for the top coat. He wanted color.

And if he had to live here long enough for the lack of a base coat to matter, he might just go mad.

He carefully covered his bed with old sheets from the shelter, ones they’d been going to throw out because they were too worn and stained even for their use. Then he pried open the cans of paint—red, blue, yellow, the primary colors, or at least as close to them as he could find in the rack of returned and discounted paint at the hardware store. He could mix them to make other colors, though it would still be cruder than he was used to, and more suitable to cartoons or bright patterns than anything else. Geometric shapes it was, then; he’d always preferred subtle colors, but this was what he had.

He hadn’t thought to get a pen to sketch out his designs before painting, and had no straight edge or curved edge to guide his hand. So he took the narrower of the two paintbrushes he’d gotten, dipped it into the yellow, and stood with his head tilted, studying the wall. After a few seconds he nodded at himself, and started to work.

It shouldn’t have taken him long to sketch out the design; it was fairly simple, after all, the mandala, swirling reds and yellows and a hint of blue at the center, against a dark background. The one from the nebula and the temple that had marked their parents’ route from Earth to the Twelve Colonies. And he’d put a red border around the top and bottom of the room to remind him of his elder brothers’ red, sweeping eyes.

He dragged the brush along the wall, as straight as he could. There was a clanking behind him, and he turned, smiling, brush out to hand to the Centurion.

But he was on Scorpia, not the Colony, and there were no Centurions here. No Cylons besides himself. The clanking was someone tripping over a bucket in the hall—the faint “frak, who the hell left ….” coming through the closed door testified to that. And there were no brother centurions to draw out the lines with geometric precision, to insist on straight borders and bright colors.

Daniel turned back to the wall. He didn’t need to sketch out the mandala, really, it was simple enough and there was something to be said for artistic license. He traded the small brush for a larger one, dipped it into the red paint, and approached the wall again. He roughed out the red as a base coat, a circle light in the center where the blue would go atop it and heavy in a ring around that, and feathering out again where the yellow would go atop that. He began to hum as he worked—some of the others found it distracting, but there was no one here to mind, and it filled the silence.

After a while—he could never keep track of time when he was working, and there was no datastream here for him to tap into if he cared to know how long it had been—he stood back from the wall, studying his work, projecting a thin layer over top of it to judge what it would look like when the other colors were added. “What do you think?” he asked, turning—but there was no one there, and the vague projection of a brother Cylon dissolved into nothingness when he looked at it square on.

Daniel was utterly alone. No brother would ever help him with this work, or judge its beauty. It had been a month since he arrived, and no one had come for him. He was starting to wonder if anyone would. What had that bastard John done to them? He’d never painted alone—this was not how it was supposed to be. No Cylon should ever be alone. He felt the lack of his brothers and sisters with physical force, a pain that could not be located by physical means nor left behind by killing this body and waking up in a new one. (And what if he didn’t wake up in a new one? The first model had always been most interested in resurrection of any of the Eight; what if they’d done something to them, what if that was part of their conspiracy? What had they done to him, and what had they done to their parents and brothers and sisters? What if Daniel never saw any of them ever again?)

His breath was coming in great heaving gasps. He couldn’t see clearly. Panicking, he brought his hands up to his face. It was wet. Tears, he realized. He was crying. So this is what grief feels like. God, please let this all be a dream. Daniel wanted nothing more than to wake up back home on the Colony, surrounded by his family.

But God wasn’t listening, or if he was, he wasn’t answering.

Daniel thrust his brush in the blue paint bucket without bothering to clean it first. He slapped it on the wall in long, angry strokes, covering up the red, the mandala, not caring that he was flinging paint everywhere.

***

And how would he do it, anyway? Walk in front of a car in the street? Humans survived that, sometimes. Cylons were tougher. Poison himself with cleaning chemicals? Buy a knife and stab himself with it?

Maybe he was just a coward.

***

The bar next door needed a cleaner, too. Daniel was thorough and cheap, he overheard his boss say. He could use the money, and something to take up his time. Anything was better than wandering aimlessly around town in his off-hours with nothing but his thoughts for company.

It wasn’t in as bad a shape as the bar he lived in, Daniel found. That wasn’t saying much. How could the Humans stand it? Why did they spend so much time and money in such filthy places, so wasted they probably wouldn’t even remember it the next day? What was wrong with them? He started with the bathrooms, to get the worst out of the way.

***

There was a piano, shoved out of the way against a back wall.

He noticed it the first day, of course. But he was too busy, trying to get the new place in half-decent shape. And he didn’t like to ask for things. These Humans had no reason to give him any special favors, and outside of one or two at the shelter, didn’t seem inclined to grant any. After a few weeks, they gave him his own key to the building and the security code so they didn’t need someone there while he worked. (The manager was quick to tell him it didn’t work on the storage room, the till was emptied every night, and the bartender always checked inventory before opening.)

“Right,” Daniel said, adding the key to the ring that held his only other key, the key to the bar he lived in. They were the first two keys he’d ever had; there was no need for locks among Cylons. All were brothers and sisters, and there was no need to fear or be suspicious. At least, that’s what he would have said before John dumped him on Scorpia. “Mind if I play the piano, some, while I’m here?” He slipped the keys casually in his pocket, only then looking up with a casualness he hoped looked genuine.

“Sure,” said the manager. “Long as you don’t disturb anyone.”

“Thanks,” Daniel said.

***

Daniel ran his fingers over the keys. Real ivory; the texture was slightly different, still smooth, but uneven. Perhaps it was worn, countless fingers leaving a groove indented in the white and black keys. Judging by the scrapes and dings, it was old enough.

He found middle C, pressed down. Winced at the squawk he heard. It was badly out of tune, and probably hadn’t had a very good tone to begin with. The tuning he could figure out; he had perfect pitch and could probably improvise the equipment needed. It would take time. He opened the top.

***

“What’cha doing?”

Surprised, Daniel looked up. “What?” It came out … not what he was expecting. His throat was dry. He realized, thinking back, that it was the first words he’d spoken in four days.

The bouncer looked at him, arms folded. Daniel didn’t know his name.

“I’m tuning it,” he said. He swallowed a few times, then reached over to the glass of water he’d left on a nearby table, taking a sip and rolling it around his mouth, feeling the moisture seep in to his tissues. “Is that a problem?”

“No, I already know you’re not hiding anything in it—I checked.” He shrugged. “And that’s left over from whoever owned the place last, maybe even a couple owners ago. Only reason it’s still there is the boss isn’t willing to pay to have it moved out, and there’s no room for it anywhere else. I’m just curious. Why are you spending so much time on it?”

“Time, I have,” Daniel said. “It keeps me busy. And if I can make it sound half-way decent, then I can play it.”

“Fair enough.” The bouncer wandered away, and Daniel looked at the clock. Almost time to open—time for him to leave. He closed up the piano carefully, the battered and stained wood sticky in his hands.

***

He lay in bed, pillow over his head, half-projecting, half dreaming. Piano chords danced in his head, drowning out the bass thumping through his floor.

***

Once the piano was playable, he cleaned faster. Now that he had something to do, there was no point in drawing it out to waste time.

***

He didn’t really play songs, much. Anything he knew reminded him either of home or the bar. Daniel closed his eyes and let his fingers wander over the keys, going where they would.

***

He didn’t notice when the owner of the piano’s bar came to listen to him, but she must have, because she called him over one day as he was finishing his work.

“Your name’s Daniel, right?” she said, leaning against the bar.

“Yeah,” he said. Hers was Song, he thought; he’d never spoken to her directly, before.

“You know how to play real songs on that thing?” She nodded to the piano, tucked against the wall.

Daniel shrugged. “What do you mean, real songs?”

“I mean, the kind of stuff people want to listen to while drinking. Think you can do that?”

Daniel kept his reaction hidden; she could deny him use of the piano. Still, as far as he could tell, Humans listened to the most moronic, asinine stuff he could imagine while drinking, and he could probably play it one-handed and blindfolded. “If I had the music, sure,” he said.

“Now, here’s the thing,” she said, putting her hand on her hip. “I can hire a cleaner off the books, and ain’t nobody gonna look twice. An entertainer, now, is another thing. And you don’t have any ID, or at least none you’re willing to show. So here’s the deal. I know people, people who could get you a brand shiny new set of papers, so real-looking even a Caprican police detective wouldn’t spot the fake.” She smiled, with more aggression than humor. “But things like that cost money, as you will appreciate. So here’s how it would work: you sign a three-year contract, with a good salary for a piano-player. I get you the papers. Your salary goes to pay for them, and if you skip town before the three years are up, well, the people who made those papers would be very unhappy not to get their money’s worth.” The smile was dropped. “And you wouldn’t want to make them unhappy.”

“So I’d be working for you for free, is what you’re saying,” Daniel said, skeptically.

“No. You’d be working for me to get the papers. You can live off what Marty pays you to clean his place. And at the end of three years, you can go wherever you want and never have to mop up other peoples’ piss again.” She spread her hands. “Personally, I think it’s a fair offer.”

“How long do I have to think?” Daniel said.

“A couple days, maybe,” she said. “Except, don’t take too long. I might change my mind, get rid of that thing all together.”

“Right,” Daniel said. Message understood.

***

The next day as he was scrubbing the urinals, Daniel asked himself if he could possibly stand to do this for another three years. Surely, surely John would be taken care of and he would be found, by then.

But what if no one ever came for him? What if John had killed them all? What if he was stuck here among Humans for the rest of his life? If he ever wanted to get a different job, he’d need the ID. How else could he possibly get one?

Besides. If they came for him before the three years were up, that contract wouldn’t matter. Song’s friends couldn’t possibly reach him among his brothers and sisters.

***

“This is not my name,” Daniel said through clenched teeth.

Song didn’t bother to look up at him. “I asked if you wanted me to make something up. You said yes.”

“I thought you meant a last name. I already have a first name.”

Song sighed, leaning back. “Look, sorry to burst your bubble, but Daniel is a really weird name. Whatever you’re running from, whatever reason you have for needing new identification? Keeping a name that distinctive is stupid, because it’s memorable and easy to track. So I picked you something new, that was close to your old one, something artistic that’ll look good on a sign.”

“They’re not close,” Daniel spat out. “They start with the same letter, that’s about it.”

“Then you should have been more specific on what you wanted, shouldn’t you?” Song said matter-of-factly. “I think you’re crazy if you want to change it, but if you’re set on it, I can go back to my friends. Only, changing it will cost money, now that everything’s done. You willing to add another year to your contract?”

***

The first night he played piano at Song’s during open hours, he hated it. Not as much as cleaning, true, or lying on his cot with his pillow over his head, but he’d much rather be out wandering the streets or playing on his own time. The songs were just as bad as he’d thought, and since he didn’t know them yet, he had to play close attention. And while a few people had dropped money in the glass sitting on the stand next to him (none of which he got to keep, as per his arrangement with Song), nobody seemed to be actually listening to him.

(Well. On the other hand, that last meant that once he’d gotten familiar with the music Song had given him, probably no one would notice if he threw in a bit of improvisation to keep from going nuts.)

And he was still fuming over the name on the identification Song had gotten him, the name that was now prominently displayed outside the bar.

***

After that, Daniel’s life fell into a holding pattern. He played at Song’s most nights, he went back to Marty’s and slept, he cleaned up other peoples’ booze and piss, and then he either wandered or played piano until it was time to change for work. (Song had bought him nicer clothes to wear while performing, but he wasn’t allowed to wear them any other time.) He started to lose track of how long he’d been on Scorpia; nothing ever changed.

Well. He memorized the songs in the books he was given, and started improvising a little, which made that a little less mind-numbingly dull, and people started listening, sometimes, which stroked his ego, a little. And once people started coming in just to hear him, Song started giving him half his tips, as incentive. But those were slow, gradual changes, and didn’t help to mark the passage of time.

Sometimes he wondered if this life among Humans was some kind of bizarre nightmare that he had yet to wake from.

Sometimes he wondered if his life before was some kind of dream he had woken from.

***

“Bar’s closing early, tonight,” Perry the bouncer said as Daniel wandered in, adjusting his shirt.

“Yeah? Why?” Daniel asked.

“First day of Saturnalia,” Perry said, frowning. “Lose track of time, have you?”

“I guess,” Daniel said. “Not much reason to pay attention.” That was a lie; the Colonial year was still largely unfamiliar to him, so he should have been paying more attention, not less. Sloppy, sloppy.

Perry shrugged. “Well, Song does melt her stone cold heart slightly for Saturnalia and give us early closing for the duration. And a small present.”

“Are we supposed to give her presents?” Daniel asked, dismayed.

“You kidding?” Perry said. “This isn’t regular Saturalia presents, this is instead of the bonuses she’s too cheap to give. Andrew sometimes gives her a card, that’s about it.”

“Good to know,” Daniel said. “Thanks for the warning.”

***

Daniel kept playing after the customers had left, as Song counted the money and Perry and Andrew locked up the booze. It was early (for his normal routine, anyway), and it wasn’t like he had anyplace else to go.

Song swung by, and hung around to listen for a minute before tossing a package on the table. “Happy Saturnalia,” she said.

“Thanks,” Daniel said with a nod, without stopping. “Happy Saturnalia to you, too.” The words felt wrong, on his tongue; there was no Saturn to care how his feast days were kept or celebrated. But Daniel didn’t want to stand out.

“We keep the same schedule for the rest of the feast.” Song turned and walked off, grabbing her coat from the bar and heading out the door.

***

He waited until he was safely alone in his own room before opening the present. Some form of small electronic device, though he wasn’t sure what, and a small cartridge with a picture of a piano on it. Daniel turned it over in his hands, reading the title: Classics of the Scorpion Symphony, as performed by Kimani Ellway. Side one: Nomion’s Third Piano Sonata, Parker’s First Symphony, the “Zeus Overture” from Birth of the Gods, Sing a Song of Stars by Jaffee …

Music. He turned over the device: it had a primitive speaker grille, about on par with the abysmal technological level the Colonies seemed to fetishize. It took him a few minutes to figure out how to open the player, the cartridge containing the tape, place the tape in the player, and turn it on. Daniel tensed as he pushed the “play” button; it was almost impossible not to get his hopes up at least a little, despite what he’d heard so far of Colonial music.

It started slowly, with strings. Simple, unadorned, haunting. And then the piano, soaring above, harmonies dancing in and out.

Daniel lay on his bed, eyes closed, listening with every cell in his body. He didn’t move until the music had stopped, until the tape had clicked off, and the silence of a deserted building threatened to overwhelm him. He raised a shaky hand to his face, to rub his eyes. It came away wet.

He hadn’t known Humans were capable of beauty.

***

Daniel’s fingers itched to try out some of the music he’d heard on the tape, but he’d already gotten yelled at once tonight for “screwing around while the bar’s open.” So he stuck to the mind-numbing songs he was supposed to play, and forced himself to be content with sneaking things in here and there.

It gave him time to look around the bar, and watch the Humans make idiots of themselves.

A blonde in a short dress sat a few tables away from his piano, drinking slowly but steadily and to all appearances absorbed in the music. He’d seen her before—she’d come in the first time as part of a group of enlisted Marines, all still in fatigues and covered in grime, determined to drown out the music with sheer obnoxiousness. The next time she’d come in cleaned up and in civilian clothing, and he almost hadn’t recognized her. He remembered her mostly because she was one of the few who genuinely seemed to want to listen to him play.

He’d never made eye contact with her before. Apparently it was enough to make her get up from her seat and drape herself over the piano.

“Hello,” Daniel said neutrally, keeping his eyes on the music in front of him. He was supposed to be nice to customers, when they wanted to talk. Didn’t mean he had to encourage them.

“You’re way too good for this dive,” she said. “You can really play that thing. How’d you end up here playing decade-old technopop?”

“Thanks,” Daniel said wryly. “Sometimes life’s a bitch.” And sometimes you get stabbed in the back.

“Ain’t that the truth.” She took another sip of her drink. Virgon Brew, probably, from the color and smell of it. Imported. A cut above the stuff most people in here were drinking. “So, you don’t want to tell me your story, how about your name?”

“It’s on the poster outside,” Daniel said shortly. “I thought the Marines at least made sure their people could read,” he made a guess at her rank, “Corporal.”

“It’s sergeant,” she said. “And I read it. But it’s polite to introduce yourself when you meet someone. Even in bars.”

“Fair enough.” He almost said ‘Daniel,’ but Song had been clear: whatever he wanted to call himself outside of work, on her time he was the person advertised out front. Instead of the repeat, he took the coda to the end, finishing with a flourish before looking up. “Dreilide. Dreilide Thrace.”

“There, now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?” She stuck out a hand. “I’m Socrata.”

(no subject)

Date: 2010-02-27 10:45 am (UTC)
tielan: (SGA - teyla)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Okay, so I know TPTB said that Kara wasn't Daniel's daughter, and I'm pretty sure this has been done before, but I really enjoyed this story.

Lovely layers to it; Daniel's anger, the echoes we can see through to Kara, and the differences between Cylon and Colonial - far deeper than mere body physiology or chemistry.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-02-28 12:08 am (UTC)
ext_61669: (Caprica and D'anna)
From: [identity profile] emmiere.livejournal.com
:D

I love it!

My preferred canon is a place where this is true so I'm so happy someone has written it! And it's such a completely plausible addition too with all the small details about Daniel learning to live on a human world, especially hearing that music for the first time.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-01 09:07 am (UTC)
lyras: (BSG Kara OMG!)
From: [personal profile] lyras
Now I can finally tell you how much I loved this story. It really taps into my personal canon, but you've explored Daniel's POV much more thoroughly than I would probably have got round to myself, so thank you for writing this!

I love all the "cylon think" details, and the fact that it takes Daniel so long to orient himself. And I loved the fact that music is pretty much all that keeps him going. Also, the hints about the future and Kara were wonderful. And of course, the ending - a perfect place to finish.

I wanted to remix this, and if I hadn't been pinch-hitting perhaps I would have done, but I'm a little glad I didn't. I don't think I could have done it justice.

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