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Fic: Aftermath (Hoshi, R) - Part 1 of 2 - millarific
millarific
millarific
Fic: Aftermath (Hoshi, R) - Part 1 of 2
Title: Aftermath (Part 1)
Author: millari
Characters: Hoshi, Gaeta, Caprica Six, Tigh, Adama, Seelix, implied Baltar
Genre: Slash
Pairing: Hoshi/Gaeta
Wordcount: 7,539 of 11,625
Rating: R (for one sexual situation)
SPOILERS: Through Season4's "No Exit"
Warnings: None
Summary: Louis Hoshi has lost the man he loved. More than that, he's lost his innocence.
Beta: I had a lot of help with this one. Thanks to usakeh, daybreak777, mab for cheerleading and on the fly feedback. Thanks to wyrdwritere for the final beta, and for unwittingly inspiring this story with his excellent ficlet, "Repairing the Damage"
Author's Note: This fic was written for Round 12 at ficfinishing. Huge thanks and love go to all the folks there for their highly recommended encouragement and useful techniques.

Louis Hoshi sits alone in a holding cell, his eyes wide with fear at the frequent sound of gunfire. He counts the small recessed lights that border this ten-by-ten cell. Then he counts the cheap, pressboard wall tiles. Then he tries the raised pattern of bumps in the metal floor, but he always loses track. It’s all just a trick to try and keep himself from going insane anyway.

One of the last things Felix said to him a few days ago was, “I’ll protect you.” Now, Louis understands what he meant. Except Adama and Tigh, all the other senior staff are in one cell, while Louis has a cell to himself. They both knew that most of the CIC had already figured out about Felix and him, even if Tigh and Adama hadn’t. Felix must have worried that the other senior staff might turn on Louis while in their cell in some way, imagining him to somehow be in on the plot.

It occurs to Louis that at some point, Felix is going to come down here and ask Louis to come back to the CIC and do his job, but for Commander Gaeta. He can not bear the thought, because that will mean Felix will have done the unthinkable. He will have killed the Old Man.

If he does that, Louis doesn’t know if he can ever look Felix in the eye again.

At the sound of another barrage of gunfire, much closer this time, Louis thinks of how Jaffe was suddenly dead on the floor, and the Old Man and Tigh were cringing away from the Marines’ gunfire so suddenly unleashed. Even as he was yelling at them that he was taking over the ship, they’d looked amazed to realize that Felix had had this in him. But then, so had Louis. Was this the purpose for which the universe had shown Louis the way to Felix’s Raptor? So Felix could lead a mutiny? So Louis could watch him in horror as Felix shook his crutch at his trigger-happy Marines and screamed at them to hold their fire?

He wonders for a terrible moment how long it will be until this all collapses into utter chaos and no one is in charge, and it’s every man for himself.

His watch says it’s been four hours since he was led out of the CIC at gunpoint.

He goes back to counting more things in his cell. Another hour passes this way, the gunshots receding and becoming less frequent. Louis decides it must mean that Felix has gotten things under control now. That means he will come down here. Louis doesn’t want to think about what it’ll mean if he’s wearing the Admiral’s pins.

Louis flashes back to the sight of Felix in that Raptor, surrounded by dead bodies and covered in blood, eyes unfocused with hypoxia.

Are you all right? It had been the first question out of his mouth even with all the corpses. He’d been so focused on getting Felix back that he hadn’t really been able to see anything but him at first. He’d chattered at him in ecstatic relief, in overjoyed laughter.

Felix hadn’t said anything at all.

His lips had been blue with cold when Louis had kissed him, and his body had felt like hugging a dead thing. Felix wouldn’t really answer him. He just pointed to the ground mutely until Louis realized that he was pointing to a bloody scalpel on the Raptor floor.

Another hour of nothing but scattered, distant gunshots passes, and Louis begins rehearsing to himself what he is going to say to Felix: This is insanity. You have to stop this, right now. You’re a good man. Please don’t stop being the man I fell in love with. If you’re angry, and you’re looking to change things, this isn’t the way to do it.

Felix never comes, though. According to Louis’ wristwatch, it’s almost eleven hours before anyone remembers there are people in these cells. When the door opens, Louis is surprised to see not Felix, but Lee Adama, who enters with that unconscious swagger of confidence that once made Louis pine hopelessly for him on the Pegasus. All that observation taught him a thing or two about the man, and as soon as he sees the man’s taut, grim expression, Louis fixes a desperate gaze on the ceiling tiles and starts to count them again, the salt of tears stinging his eyes.


***


The Old Man in the CIC inspects him with obvious suspicion. Lee’s gruff tone and brusque manhandling make Louis feel more like a convict on furlough than a loyal soldier being restored to his rightful post. No one has said a word to him about Felix, even though he begged Lee to tell him something, anything about him the entire way here.

Louis starts to walk over to his post, but the Admiral’s gravelly words cut him off in mid-stride.

“Mister Hoshi,” he growls, “You’re now our man on the DRADIS.”

Louis blanches at the idea. “Where is Felix?” he blurts out, unable to restrain himself from asking, even though he knows he should take his cue from Lee Adama’s refusal to discuss the matter.

“Is Felix…” He pauses, then corrects himself. Speaking hesitantly, he adds, “Is Lieutenant Gaeta…dead? ”

Adama just looks away in disinterest, already on to the next thing. Louis looks around the CIC and sees flickers of pity on the faces of people who played cards with him just last week, but now won’t look him in the eye. Desperate, Hoshi’s gaze whirls around, searching for a friendly face.

“He’s in the brig, Son.”

The last place he expects to find refuge is with Saul Tigh, the mean drunk of the CIC, but then, Louis remembers that this is the man who advocated for him to the Admiral when Louis wanted to go looking for Felix’s Raptor.

The man’s words are harsh, but delivered with a soft expression, in a low growl that is barely an undertone. “He won’t be leaving it again. Not until they execute him.”

Tigh must see the tangle of conflicting emotions on Louis’ face, because before Louis can say or do anything, the XO folds his arms across his chest and stares him down.

“He made his choices, Lieutenant,” he says quietly. Adama is off in another part of the CIC, apparently having decided to let his XO handle this. “You need to make yours, right here, right now.”

“I can’t do this, Colonel,” Louis whispers. “I can’t sit in his seat. It’s not right. Felix didn’t do this for his personal gain..”

“You’re on thin ice around here,” Tigh leans in, “on account of having been so…intimate with the traitor. No one’s completely sure what you knew and didn’t know,” he confides.

Louis’ eyes widen in shock. “Colonel, I swear, I had no idea…about any of this.”

Tigh pulls back. “You’ve been given a command by your superior officer. What are you going to do about it?”

Numbly, Louis nods and changes his path over towards the DRADIS. He falls into the chair, his eyes on the endlessly whirring parabolas on the screen, but really, the entire Cylon fleet could show up right now, and Louis doubts he would even notice them.

For the first hour, he just sits there not really processing anything except the image he’s created in his own head, an image of Felix sitting on a bed in the brig, scratching idly at his leg, waiting for death. Every now and then, Louis’ fingers reach out to trace along the letters of Felix’s unmistakably neat handwriting. There are little notes taped everywhere at the DRADIS station that Louis never noticed until today – Felix’s little compulsive reminders to himself about procedures, codes, crucial coordinates. Some of it is actually helpful right now, since Hoshi can barely think straight, and it doesn’t help that it’s been almost a year since he learned to man the DRADIS during the long stretch while Felix was on New Caprica.

He mostly sits silent and morose at his station, thankful now that no one seems to wants to meet his gaze.


***


Not long ago, Louis Hoshi traveled halfway across the universe at faster than light speed to rescue his soul mate from certain death. Yet there is absolutely nothing he can do to stop Felix’s execution.

The Admiral won’t even let him see Felix at first. It is only when Louis visits the Admiral a second time that Adama suddenly softens, but only under the nagging influence of Saul Tigh, who to Louis’ surprise, intervenes yet again on his behalf.

He gazes at Louis with a pitying expression while the Old Man is on the phone giving Louis’ clearance to the brig marines. When he is dismissed, Hoshi salutes them both smartly, knowing it’s expected of him, and truly feeling gratitude for their indulgence; but that doesn’t mean he isn’t feeling ill inside.

As much as he wouldn’t have agreed with Felix’s mutiny had Felix told him about it beforehand, Louis still feels gutted every time he sees the Old Man and his Cylon XO standing side by side, as united as ever.

He has no idea what to make of Tigh these days. At first when he’d heard the XO was really a Cylon, he’d felt shock and revulsion, much the way he imagined Admiral Cain had felt when she found out that she’d been working side by side with the enemy. But then, the Cylon programmer had been more clearly an enemy, hadn’t she? Cain must have in some way been grateful that the Cylons fought back in the end. It made things cleaner. It was hard to know how to feel when a Cylon was taking Louis’ side in the CIC and helping him convince the Old Man.

What would have Admiral Cain have thought of this turn of events?

She probably would have applauded Felix.

Adama halfheartedly releases Louis’ salute and takes another swig of ambrosia as Louis turns on his heel and walks out the hatch.

She’d have shot the both of them, he concludes, and then she’d have given the ship to Felix.

He walks towards the brig feeling like he’s going to retch.


***


Louis can’t believe his ears when the Marine returns from inside Felix’s cell.

“I don’t care what you think he said,” he retorts. “Let me in that cell now, Sergeant.”

“I’m sorry, Sir,” the Marine says with an air of throwing up her hands, “but the prisoner doesn’t have to see you if he doesn’t want to.”

Doesn’t want to?

He feels his strength beginning to crumple.

“You must have misunderstood him,” he protests in bewilderment. “Does he even know it’s me out here?”

“I told him, Sir,” she replies neutrally, her eyes impassive.

“What did he say when you told him I wanted to see him?” he asks, still not trusting the Marine’s judgment. After that ordeal on the Raptor, he and Felix could have whole conversations, complete with nods and vaguely appropriate mumbled responses from Felix, before Louis would realize that Felix hadn’t really heard a word. Who knows what Felix really understood?

Sgt. Tilden’s eyes dart back and forth under her helmet. Her reply is halting at first; then it comes rushing out, as if she’s dying to get it over with.

“If you really want to know, Sir, he said I was to never allow you in to see him. He also asked me to tell you not to come back.”

Louis feels almost literally flung backward. Felix is going to let them kill him without even saying goodbye? But the Marine’s expression is one of dead certainty, and there is nothing to do but acquiesce. He has always acquiesced to Felix, he thinks in frustration.

He’d waited patiently while Felix worked through the scars of New Caprica, saying hardly a word all those nights he returned from his shift for a promised date, only to find Felix laid out in his bunk, plastered and morose, chain-smoking those skinny little cigars that Louis always hated. For months, he’d let Felix frak him, because he’d understood that Felix had gone all that time on New Caprica feeling completely out of control of his own destiny, and then when he got back, everyone on the ship acted like he was lower than dirt, and so for just once, Felix just needed to feel like he was in control of something.

He’d watched quietly as Felix slowly learned to relax his guard around him. Through actions, not words, he gave the capable officer he’d admired and fallen in love with permission to fall apart when it was just the two of them. He’d said nothing whenever Felix jumped like a startled rabbit because he hadn’t heard Louis behind him. He’d acted like the random bursts of unexplained tears were no big deal, something to be expected. They were, he’d figured, if you’d gone through when Felix had gone through. He’d heard about men who came back from New Caprica in worse shape, and he tried to count himself lucky. He’d told himself that Felix desperately needed the downtime if he was going to keep it together in the CIC.

“My job is the one thing I’ve got left,” Felix had told him with that strained, high pitched note of distress in his voice that always made Louis cave, even though he wanted to say, but you’ve got me.

He’d even been forgiving the day when Felix had found him in the Mess to break up with him, only to show up in Louis’ rack six hours later in a drunken stupor, trying to retract everything. By then, the rumor mill had been flying through the ship and Louis knew.

Gaius Baltar had returned to Galactica. And in just one twenty-minute interrogation, the man undid all the calm it had taken Felix months to achieve.

Louis remembers lying on his rack, Felix’s figure looming over him, the ash from Felix’s skinny brown cigarette teetering perilously over Louis’ half-naked body. He’d listened to Felix’s slurring, shame-filled apology and took him back, thinking maybe they’d finally hit bottom at that point and things would get better.

Adama never asked Felix to have anything to do with Baltar again, and for a while, things did get better. But then the trial happened, and the Felix he loved went away again. He became aloof and defensive. The ambrosia and the cigarettes reappeared to mock Louis, now that he finally understood their symbolic meaning.

When Felix announced he was leaving on a classified mission, Louis had almost broken up with him. He knew intellectually that it wasn’t Felix’s fault that he couldn’t tell him about it, but the mission somehow was the final item in a long list of Felix’s secrets that Louis was sick of waiting to learn. He hadn’t even realized how sick of it he was until Felix told him he might not be back for several months.

He had told himself that he’d wait to break up until Felix came home, because he didn’t want to send him out into the black on that kind of note. But then, the night before he left, Felix had just blurted out the mission as they were falling asleep. Louis had woken up from half-sleep with a start and found himself soaked in Felix’s worries about being on a ship with Starbuck for who knew how long, on a mission based on nothing but what Felix referred to “Kara Thrace’s migraine map to Earth.”

Louis had taken the sudden confession as a sign that Felix was trying.

“It’s a wild goose chase,” Felix confided. “I’m only going because Helo asked me to.”

“You volunteered?” He couldn’t keep the frustrated disbelief out of his voice. “When are we ever going to be together? You know, without all this…”


But then Felix had reached out to caress Louis’ face, with such gentleness and affection that it’d felt like having the real Felix back for the first time in weeks.

“I’m thinking it’ll be good for us,” Felix said. “I can’t imagine I’ll be doing much on this idiotic mission. There’ll be nothing but me and space and empty time to work this out on my own.”

Louis melted at the rueful shame in his partner’s eyes.

“I’m so sorry for what I’ve been putting you through, right from the beginning,” Felix said. “I promise I’ll be better when I get back. I won’t burden you with it any longer.”

He waved away Louis’ reassurances.

“No, seriously. I promise, okay?” Felix put an arm on his shoulder. “ You deserve better, Louis.”


But then Felix had returned home with a bullet in his leg, and it was the same emotional rollercoaster ride all over again, except this time, Louis was angry too. Angry at Anders for killing what was finally going to be their chance at some peace. Angry at Starbuck for never even checking up on Felix. Angry at Adama for pushing it under the rug, but most of all, angry at Felix for refusing to stand up for himself.

“What’s the point?” Felix had cut him off bitterly. “You really think he’s gonna punish Starbuck’s husband?”

Louis leaves the brig, his loneliness as boundless as an empty universe. The recycled air in Galactica’s hallways is always warm and stale from overuse, but today, Louis shivers the entire way to his rack.

When he gets there, he walks into the bustling room and closes the hatch behind him. Something about the determined way he heads straight for his rack without greeting anyone sparks an awkward silence over the room until Louis draws the privacy curtain across his bed. He counts the voices, one by one, as they filter back into nervous chit chat and then quickly, devolve into banter and raucous laughter.

He waits until the voices are good and loud before he gives in to silent, heaving sobbing.


***


They don’t let him attend the execution, but there’s nothing they can do to prevent Louis from standing outside the airlock hatch. He needs to hear the sound of the bullets firing, or somewhere deep inside, he’ll never really believe Felix is gone.

When he wakes up at 0330 hours so he can have time to get dressed and mentally prepare himself for what’s about to happen, Louis realizes how inexpressibly angry he still feels – angry at Adama for showing no mercy, angry at the Cylons being implacable machines, angry at Felix for getting himself into this irrevocable mess.

And it hurts to be angry at Felix, because he’s angry at Felix for doing the kinds of thing that had attracted Louis to him in the first place – that fire in him to stand up for what’s right. How can he be angry at Felix for that?

But he is. Because Felix, the frakker, isn’t even letting him say goodbye.

When he hears the muffled sound of the guns going off in the airlock, he just stares blankly at the blastproof door for several minutes.

When it opens, the first person to come through the doorway shocks Louis to his core – Gaius Baltar.

He is not dressed as Louis might expect – in the priestly robes he has taken to wearing these days – but in a rumpled pants and jacket like Louis’ own BDUs back in his locker. Baltar’s outfit is more rumpled though. In fact, the entirety of Baltar looks rumpled as he scurries right by Louis without acknowledgement. The man looks like he hasn’t slept the entire night.

Colonel Tigh comes out next, not saying anything, but he puts a brief hand on Louis’ shoulder – clearly meant to comfort – then walks on without a word. Before he can really absorb this though, the Admiral is there.

“Mister Hoshi,” he says simply.

Louis feels the instinctual pull to salute him, but stops himself.

“Sir?” His voice is a strained echo of its usual self. This man just killed Felix, his mind repeats over and over. Felix is dead.

Felix who wouldn’t even see you before he died, another part of him interjects.

None of this feels fair, so for now, he focuses on something smaller, more manageable.

“Sir, why the frak did you allow Gaius Baltar in there?”

He deliberately selects the obscenity, knowing that right now, he can say anything, as long as it isn’t the words Felix’s execution. None of them want to say it or hear it. For Louis, those words don’t even yet go together plausibly. He thought hearing the shots would work, but no.

Adama reaches out a closed fist towards Louis’ hand, then opens it.

“I don’t pretend to understand Felix Gaeta’s motives anymore,” he exhales as he drops an object into Louis’ waiting palm. He clutches Louis’ wrist with the other hand, as if to support himself for a few seconds. The whiff of ambrosia on the man’s breath outrages Louis (it’s only 0430, and the man just presided over an execution), but he’s distracted by what the Old Man has just implied.

“Felix wanted Baltar there?” But immediately, the image comes to his mind – Felix drunk in his rack, smoking those skinny little cigarettes. Shaken, he looks down at the objects Adama has placed into his hand – Felix’s dog tags. The thin metal has turned ice cold from being in the airlock. It’s a shock against his warm, perspiring skin.

“If they give you any comfort, you should have them,” Adama pronounces. His tone is quietly confident on this issue. It’s such a different tone than Louis is used to hearing lately from the Old Man. He realizes he’s already gotten used to the Admiral sounding drunker and more debilitated in the CIC than Tigh ever has.

“Baltar wanted them,” Adama growls, “but the last thing I’m gonna do is give that container rat an excuse to rile up the malcontents in Dogsville.”

It takes Louis a few moments to realize what Adama is talking about: Felix’s mutiny. Baltar could use the tags as a badge of honor to connect visibly to Felix’s revolt, gather even more followers around himself. Would Felix have wanted that?

Louis will probably never know. He’s spent his entire relationship with Felix carefully peeling away accumulated pain, fear, and bitterness, certain that underneath, the real Felix was waiting for him. But had that Felix ever been there to begin with?

“Please, Sir.” His strength breaks down quite suddenly. “I want to see him. Just for a few minutes. Please.”

Adama stares at him a long moment, his thoughts unreadable. Finally, he nods to one of the Marines, who gestures at Louis to follow him.

He gets there just in time to see the Marines carrying Tom Zarek’s lifeless body by the arms and legs towards the launch tube. He’s known all along that they’re going to airlock Felix’s body afterwards, but seeing them getting Zarek’s corpse ready makes the prospect so suddenly, sickeningly real that he has to turn away. Felix narrowly escaped the airlock once, he thinks bitterly, but it got him in the end.

Cottle, in his familiar white lab coat, is bent over Felix, confirming his death. For a confusing second Louis is transported to all those times he showed up early to pick Felix up from sickbay. Louis wonders whether Cottle is remembering too, because when he feels Louis’ presence behind him, he turns around and looks a little startled.

“Louis,” he says automatically. He gets up from the floor and steps away. “Go ahead, Son. I’m finished here.”

Louis bends down next to the body. He had somehow expected Felix to be splayed out on the floor like an animal hit by a car, but in fact, the body is quite neatly crumpled on the ground, as if Felix had merely passed out. A Marine comes by and hovers near them, clearly impatient, but Cottle waves him away testily. “Give us a minute, Captain please.”

Louis doesn’t see the man’s reaction, but he hears the boots shuffle off and looks up at Cottle gratefully, unable to speak.

“Don’t worry about it,” Cottle says, reading his thoughts. “Gods know if anyone has the right to be here…” He pauses, as if unwilling or unable to finish.

“Go on,” he finally says. “Say your good-byes. Make your peace as best you can.”

Cottle stands just far away enough to give Louis some privacy, but close enough to protect him from the anxious Marine. Louis falls to his knees in front of Felix’s body and forces himself to look, telling himself, you’ve seen dead people before; you’re a soldier; you can handle this.

Louis has seen his own XO shot in front of his eyes on the Pegasus, but this does not prepare him for the shocked expression frozen on Felix’s face. Did some part of Felix hope to the end that this was somehow going to turn out to be a cruel trick to punish him, that death would be snatched away in the final milliseconds? It was the kind of optimism Louis had loved about him – the inextinguishable belief Felix carried with him that people were good, that everyone deserved a chance.

He isn’t ready for the dull, lifeless, cloudiness in Felix’s eyes, a dullness he’s startled to realize he’s seen once before – in Canis’ eyes.

Louis had been twelve when his parents finally put the dying animal to sleep, the dog he’d had since his earliest childhood memories. When he concentrates, Louis thinks he can still remember the warm panting smell of Canis held tightly in his arms. He’d whispered soothing assurances to him the whole time while the vet administered the euthanasia. He wouldn’t stop even after he was told that Canis was gone.

Inexplicably, it is this memory that finally destroys Louis. Hot tears roll down his face without warning, dripping ignominiously onto Felix’s bullet-punctured uniform as Louis kneels over him. They are like little black needle pricks next to the dark red blood stains the Marines have put into him.

Even though the lifeless body is heavy and already turning cold, Louis does his best to pick Felix up in his arms. He cradles his head and shoulders in his lap, stroking his thick curls over and over again like he used to in bed sometimes, when Felix would wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. Except right now, it feels like Louis is the one trapped in a nightmare.

I loved you, Felix. He plants a kiss on his lover’s forehead, which is quickly turning cold. More than you could understand or appreciate.

He wipes away unwilling tears with a balled fist still holding the dog tags Adama gave him. It is a completely futile gesture.


***


“How are they treating you, Meg?”

Racetrack greets him with the beaming smile of someone who has been very suddenly lifted out of a crushing monotony.

“Louis!”

Margaret Edmonson’s excitement at seeing him is a welcome change from the awkward treatment he gets back on Galactica these days.

He notices how skinny she looks behind the bars of her cell. Even algae is rationed pretty thinly nowadays, and Louis imagines that prisoners on the Astral Queen get even less than everyone else.

He realizes only now that he’s come looking for answers she may not even have.

“What the frak are you doing here?” she teases with tomboyish affection.

“Are they treating you okay?” he stalls, not sure how to start this conversation.

“Oh, you know,” she says breezily. “Lots of exhausting work, shitty food, the occasional card game. Not all that different, really.”

Louis must look shocked, because her face goes sober.

“Nah, seriously, I’m okay, all things considered. This ship was Zarek’s little kingdom for a long time, y’know? His name still means a lot here,” she explains. “So they treat us mutineers kind of like heroes.”

That surprises Louis. The angle had never occurred to him.

“It’s worth a few extra smokes and a few places forward in the lunch line now and then anyway,” she quips good-naturedly.

She’s so calm. “Aren’t you even just the least bit angry?” he asks, incredulous.

She shrugs. “Sure, I’m angry. But I was angry before too, about the Cylons, about losing my family, my home. Where has that gotten me? At least now I don’t have to pretend to have hope when I don’t, just to keep everyone else’s morale up. At least now I don’t have to act like I think we’re ever going to find a place to be. None of the people who were locked up in here before the Attacks ever expected to see sunlight again, so they never had any hope to begin with. It turns out to be kind of liberating.”

She lights up a cigarette, even though he’s never seen her smoke before. She offers him one, but he shakes his head.

“I hear they executed Felix,” she says quietly between drags. “It must be hitting you pretty hard.”

He still doesn’t know where to start, so he just begins randomly.

“Nobody talks to me anymore.”

Her eyes widen. “On Galactica? Seriously? But you didn’t even know about the mutiny! How can they hold it against you?”

“Meg,” he says quietly, “I was hoping you could tell me why Felix never gave me a chance to join him?”

“Would you have?” she asks pointedly.

He looks away. “I don’t know anymore.”

“Yeah,” she says softly. “I don’t think Felix knew either.”

She pauses. “I remember being surprised that you weren’t in on the plan. I asked him about it once.”

“What did he say?” he pounces, startling her.

“He avoided the question.”

Louis’ eyes fall with disappointment. She knows no more than he does, and she’s the only person left alive that he knows well enough to ask.

“I bugged him about it though,” she continues hesitantly, as if wanting to please him. “I told him he should include you, that you guys were a team. You know I always rooted for you guys to get together, right?”

He nods, remembering their conversations on that Raptor when they were looking for Felix. “Yeah,” he says with a nostalgic half-smile. “You were making book on us.”

She grins a little more comfortably now, taking another drag off her cigarette and runs her fingers absently through her own dark brown hair, lost in memory. “Yeah, but it was never about the money. You guys were so obviously interested in each other.”

“What did Felix say?” he reminds her sharply, to stop her reminiscing. It’s only been four days since they killed Felix. It still hurts too much to hear her.

She nods, like she suddenly understands.

“He said something like, 'Louis convinced Adama and Tigh to let him take a Raptor into the black to find me, with absolutely no clue where I was. Does that sound to you like someone who’s given up all hope?’”

Louis winces. He can just imagine Felix saying something like that. He can hear just the kind of buried frustration that would be there too.

“You know,” Racetrack continued. “That was the first time I actually asked myself, ‘Is that why you agreed to this takeover?’ Then I realized Felix was right. I’d really given up.”

She takes a last drag from her cigarette and exhales it forcefully above her head.

“You know,” she adds suddenly, “I’m kind of glad they put me in prison.”

“Really?” Louis says, swallowing his surprise.

“Yeah.” Her voice turns soft, distant. “I can’t imagine going back and having to look at the people I knew on the other side. A lot of people died.”

The spent cigarette butt drops to the cell floor and she crushes it out with her boot heel.

“I’m not a mind reader, Louis, but I think maybe Felix knew that he’d be executed if the mutiny failed, but that they would let you live.”

She gestures around at the dimensions of her cell.

“You saved his life,” she says bluntly. “Do you really think Felix wanted you to have to live out the rest of your days in a place like this?”


***


Louis returns to his bunk from another uneaten meal in the Mess, wondering why he bothered. He rarely feels hungry anymore, and the algae molds aren’t fooling anyone.

The officers’ quarters are still devoid of people when he makes it back there. So there is no one to hear the little gasp in the back of Louis’ throat at the sight of the black plastic box with yellow and black sealing tape sitting on his neatly-made bed. It’s barely been two weeks. He’d thought with all the things Galactica was facing lately, he wouldn’t have to deal with this yet.

There is no note, no explanation with it, but Louis knows exactly what the box is - Felix’s effects.

He stands in the middle of the room for a long, silent moment before he sits on his bed next to it, his hands touching it gingerly at first, as if it has some malevolent power inside he’s afraid to release.

A wallet-sized photo of Felix rests on top of the box.

It’s an official file photo, one from before Louis knew him, from before the Attacks, he’s pretty sure. He’s in his dress grays, down to the sash with all his commendation and rank pins. He looks serious, but Louis recognizes the excited grin just behind his formal expression. Whatever ceremony this was marking, the camera managed to capture the glint in Felix’s eye. Clearly, this had been some event in which Felix had taken much pride.

He remembers the way Felix smiled at him on his way out the door to that Raptor. That godsdamn, frakking Raptor.

Only one night after he rescued Felix – the last night they spent together, in fact – Felix had been all over him in bed.

“But you were just on that Raptor,” Louis protested, aghast. They’d waited so long to have sex because of New Caprica. It seemed odd that after having to kill someone in cold blood, even a Cylon…

“Are you sure you want this?” he insisted. “Now?”

Felix nodded vehemently, though Louis thought he could see something not quite right in his eyes. He seemed a little manic under his growl of desire.

“I want you, Louis. Is that so hard to believe?”

“Well, no, but I…”

“I want you now, Louis,” Felix pushed. “Tonight. Not tomorrow night, not next week. I want you now.”

He could tell Felix would keep at this until he got what he wanted. And the kisses he gave Louis on his forehead, neck and lips were gentle and loving. Felix’s body – usually so tightly wound – was soft and pliable, truly open to Louis in a way that he found intoxicating.

So he kissed him back, grinning at the welcome sensation of Felix’s erection against his thigh. Felix’s kisses trailed down his collarbone. His hands seemed everywhere. Louis let go of the nagging feeling inside.


They had frakked that night face to face, staring into each other’s eyes. Felix had held their gazes locked together while he’d pumped slowly, surely into Louis, holding him tight to his body. It was like he’d wanted the sex to last as long as possible. They had climaxed almost at the same time, their orgasms claiming them with shivering, hard-to-keep-quiet cries.

“I love you, Felix,” he whispered. When Felix didn’t reply, Louis looked down at him and realized that Felix had fallen asleep, in a deeply relaxed slumber that was so rare for Felix, Louis wouldn’t think of waking him.

The sound of his own hand fiddling absently with the handle to the box startles Louis to consciousness. It’s a banging, angry noise that irritates him, and he rises up from his bunk in one swift, frustrated motion. Standing before the sealed box, his fists balled at his sides, Louis stares at the box a moment, then strides out of the room, leaving the thing unopened on the bed.


***


Joe’s is noisy with people when he enters, and that’s just fine with Louis. He plans to get blindingly drunk, in a way he hasn’t been since he first tried liquor as a teenager.

Felix is gone, so there is no one left for Louis to stay sober for.

In truth, Louis has never been much of a drinker, not liking the loss of self-control. But after Felix’s injury, Louis stopped drinking altogether. Felix had already been a drinker when they had started dating, but since losing the leg, Felix had drank more and more, on top of morpha, and Louis had figured one of them had to stay sober for those times when Felix would be too far gone to use his crutches reliably.

Even now, in the chattering cacophony of the bar, he can hear Felix’s voice in his ear as they’d make the long walk down Galactica’s hallways from a night of ambrosia and Triad.

“Oh sure, now they bother to care,” he’d tell Louis, too smashed to see the irony in his own complaints as they’d hobble all the way back to the racks, Felix turning Louis into his living crutch.

Felix had finally got the attention of people on Galactica, although it had taken him singing at the top of his lungs in the middle of sickbay.

Not that it had been a great form of attention – mostly pity for the guy who had lost half his leg to a frakking Cylon. Their pity had come mostly in the form of ambrosia shots during card games, no charge, no strings attached; worst of all, Felix had known it, but took their pity anyway, then complained about it afterwards.

“All that ambrosia and the frakking thing still itches.” His knee twitched randomly with phantom pain.

Louis forces himself to put away the memories, and walks up to the bar. As soon as he can get Joe’s attention, he orders two ambrosia shots, straight up. He downs them both, wincing at all that burning in his throat, then gestures immediately for another two. He sits with his head bowed, his shoulders hunched over.

He’s well into the fourth shot when he hears a familiar voice above him.

“Long time no see, Lieutenant.”

Louis stares at Lee Adama through a fog of surprise and increasing drunkenness as Adama pulls out a stool and sits next to him.

“Major Adama,” Louis acknowledges, not knowing what else to say. He notices the words are just slightly difficult to get out crisply. He’s already too drunk and too off-duty to bother saluting.

“Well, actually, it’s Mister Adama,” the man corrects him, and Louis suddenly remembers that the man isn’t his superior officer anymore.

When Louis takes too long to reply, Adama adds uncomfortably, “I don’t usually see you in here. Are you alright?”

Louis blinks at him for a long moment. He’d trusted this man once, hadn’t he?

“No,” he admits, taking a last swig of the shot glass in his hand and immediately works on getting Joe’s attention again, a convenient, silent excuse. He doesn’t want to talk to one of the men Felix was trying to overthrow. “I’m really not.”

Adama’s voice is clearly uncomfortable at Louis’ brush off.

“I was surprised to see you outside that airlock the other day,” he begins again, his voice neutral and cautious. “But then I guess I shouldn’t have been.”

A moment passes and Louis takes the shot from Joe, holding it in his hand.

“That was a very brave thing you did in that Raptor,” Adama adds.

Louis is glad to have another ambrosia shot in his hands to play with. “It wasn’t bravery,” he confirms the question he knows Adama is circling around. “Felix and I were…” he pauses, realizes he doesn’t know how to end that sentence anymore. “I couldn’t live without him.”

The words come out of his mouth before he realizes what he has just said, and he turns away quickly, his eyes stinging with tears that he absolutely refuses to shed in this noisy, makeshift place full of anonymous chatter.

“I’m sorry, Louis,” Adama says. Louis thinks it’s the first time that Lee Adama has ever said his name.

Up until now, Louis has been thinking that he’d would be absurdly grateful for sympathy from someone, anyone. But coming out of Lee Adama’s mouth, losing Felix is made concrete all over again, and Louis realizes it is the last thing he wants. It only makes him frustrated and angry.

Joe puts a shot down in front of Adama as well and Louis realizes that he doesn’t think he even saw the man ask for anything. Now that Lee Adama is a Quorum member, does he get his ambrosia for free, he wonders?

“What is it like having a Cylon in the Quorum?” he asks suddenly curious. He’s not even sure where the question comes from, it’s just something to ask.

Adama blinks in surprise, then shrugs. “Well, what is it like in the CIC?”

The question thrown back at him surprises Louis. He stops and truly considers it.

“Weird,” he finally says simply, with little emotion. “It’s weird.”

“Yeah,” Adama says with a grim, not-quite-smile as he takes a swig of his own drink. “That’s a good word for it,” he says, trying it out for size: “Weird.”

There is a long silence between them before Adama speaks again.

“Have you put him up yet?” Adama asks suddenly.

Louis just looks at him, utterly confused.

“Gaeta,” Adama explains, then seems to correct himself. “Felix. Did you put his photo on the Memorial Wall?”

Oh.

“No, not yet,” he says automatically. It’s a white lie. He’s not sure he’ll put Felix’s picture up there, because if someone tears it down, he might just fall apart completely.

Adama snorts at nothing in particular. The violent sound of it reminds Louis a bit of the man’s father. Louis turns to really look at him and realizes that Lee Adama has put away a few drinks himself.

“Frak,” the man mutters. “Do you know they’ve got Cylons up on that wall these days?”

Louis has purposely stayed away, so he hasn’t seen that.

“Turns out they’ve been putting their dead up there ever since they lost the ability to resurrect.”

He pauses, and Louis wonders why the hell Adama is bringing this up.

“I suppose Felix wouldn’t want to be put up on a wall next to Cylons, would he?” Adama opines, eyes gazing dully out into the crowd, where they both see clusters of Sixes and Eights and Twos scattered throughout the bar, looking for all the world like humans sharing a few congenial drinks after work. Louis supposes that’s what they are, except for the human part.

One of the Eights is drawing something on a cocktail napkin for the other people at her table – mostly other Eights, a few Twos, but a few humans too. They are all too engrossed to notice the way he and Adama are staring at them.

“Do you think they ever get lonely now?” Louis asks.

“Lonely?” Adama, says, his brow wrinkling in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“They didn’t used to think of themselves of individuals, right?” he says, wondering if he’s misunderstood Felix’s few stories of working on New Caprica. “Now they’re giving themselves names. How can you not be an individual when you’ve got a name?”

He hears his tongue lisp slightly over the word individual and gets a glimmer of how drunk he must seem to Lee Adama right now. He doesn’t care. He’s distracted with wondering what it’s like to see oneself as an individual for the first time.

“I’m not making sense,” he says finally.

Adama shrugs back. “Yeah, me either.”

The two drink in moody silence for another minute.

“I miss him,” Louis blurts out.

If the man’s surprised, he doesn’t let it show, but he pauses a little too long in his answer.

“That’s understandable,” he says gently.

But Louis realizes he doesn’t want it to be understandable and rational, because it isn’t. It’s messy and awkward and he hates how Felix left it all in his lap, and didn’t even say goodbye. Adama’s neutral tone only makes the feeling worse somehow.

“I gotta go.” Louis snaps up before Adama can react, and feels a wave of dizziness. He didn’t think the drinks would hit him that fast. He steadies himself more or less, wobbling only slightly as he moves away from the bar. He doesn’t want Adama to say something that will make him feel obligated to stay.

Once he has his footing, he practically runs out of Joe’s, leaving Adama and the chattering, screeching revels behind him. It rings in his ears like the sound of metal grating against metal, the shouts exploding in his ear like bullets leaving a rifle.

Link to Part 2

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Comments
prophetkristy From: prophetkristy Date: April 27th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Awwwww, Louis! He's making me sniffly more these days than Felix is. (them saying goodbye in YFL9 hit me harder than the execution.)

I love how you convey all the conflicting emotions he has! I can definitely see that he'd be confused and angry as well as mourning. Also the wierdness that is Tigh being almost nice while Adama is the drunken bastard.

I also like the description of the photo of Felix. I got that same impression from it too (that he was grinning behind the formality)!!

I did notice a few contradictions: Racetrack says she hear Felix was executed yesterday, but later in the same scene Hoshi thinks about it having been four days. (FWIW, it would seem more relistic if he went to visit her 4 days later. Hoshii may not have been trusted enough to leave the ship earlier than that.) And Hoshi leaving an uneaten meal that he shoveled down his throat.
millari From: millari Date: April 27th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, thanks for reading! I know this was a lot to take on given that it was such a morose fic. And thanks for the heads-up on the continuity errors. I shall go and fix them. Just goes to show how many edits this fic has gone through. :P You have very sharp eyes. May I ask you someday to beta a fic for me?

Tigh really surprised me in this fic. He kept being so nice to Louis! I think it was the influence of the webisodes, plus my annoyance with Adama during this time period. You're lucky I didn't get in any snark about him staring drunkenly at the Cylon goo!

Thanks for the feedback. It's much appreciated.

prophetkristy From: prophetkristy Date: April 29th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would be honored to beta! :o) Reading a fic before it's released? Where's the downside there?
wyrdwritere From: wyrdwritere Date: April 27th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I took that to mean that it was the previous day that she had heard of Felix's execution, conveying a sense of how cut off she is in prison.

But that's probably unrealistic. She'd probably hear about it almost immediately. Oops.
prophetkristy From: prophetkristy Date: April 29th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also a possibility I thought of...I actually wasn't going to say anything until the uneaten meal thingy twigged me.
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