What we did talk about though, was motherhood, and conceptions thereof. Somehow, a full two hours talking about bilogical impulses to be a mother, and the way that one responds physically to holding a tiny baby in their arms has filled me with the tick, tick, ticking of my own insistent imperative to procreate, and I'll say this: if ever it was clear that our bodies do not neccesarily want what is most sensible, this is an instance of that. But since my ovaries are all 'Woo! Babies!' I have decided to bring you....*drum roll* more Cylon Baby Daddies! (Or, The Brave Little Toaster and Her Two Daddies and definitely not Antietam, no matter how much I may wish to call this that, because doing so would lead to me being shanked so hard by lyra_sena).
On the flight deck, people talk. In the mess, people talk. In CIC, people talk. On Colonial One, people talk. Outside of Galactica and the President, nobody knows about Hera - where she's from, who her mother was, what she is, what she might be. Every four days, either Galen or Helo takes her to see Doc Cottle, who looks her over and says the same thing every time, "Healthy, but what do I know, I'm no pediatrician," and then they take her to the President and the Admiral and they present her check up, and the Vice President looks it over and studies Hera. They unwrap her from her blanket, and hand her over to Baltar, and Helo stands not a hair's breadth away, watching as every inch of her is catologued again for the people in the room. The President will always mention adoption again, and Galen will calmly tell her that they're all right, and Helo will pick up the baby, and Galen follow him out the hatch.
The first time, it got heated, and Helo and the President ended up nearly yelling until Galen and the Admiral stepped in, so now, mainly, Helo doesn't say a word.
It gets hard to take care of Hera on the flight deck, when Helo's out flying in the CAP. He holds her in one arm and directs Cally and the rest of the grunts with the other - burps the baby and reams out the idiots who keep trying to replace the wrong valve on Starbuck's Viper, and all the while, there are mutters. There are stares. Nobody's really sure what to make of the baby.
Sometimes Galen isn't so sure either, even if he is changing her diapers, and rubbing her warm back, and feeding her from the bottle that Cottle somehow managed to put together, or watching her sleep, or wiping drool off her pale, round cheeks.
He's always liked babies. Middle child in a big family, son to a priest -- he spent a lot of his childhood around newborns and toddlers and he's always been good with them. He's always enjoyed watching them, holding them, taking care of them. It's not hard to talk to a baby; he figured that out when he was really small. You can say whatever you want to a baby, because it feels almost like they understand you -- like they can understand somehow. When his oldest sister had her first child, he spent a lot of time helping out -- but then, everyone did. It wasn't like this, it wasn't like he was responsible for her.
And sometimes, when he's holding Hera, he wonders why he is responsible for her. He hated her before she was born, or almost did, because he knew it wasn't fair -- he knew it wasn't right, but when he saw Sharon's body rounding out with a baby that wasn't his, there were times he'd been so angry he'd hoped, wished, that she wouldn't give birth. That something would happen, that the baby would --
But Hera's in his arms now, and Sharon's gone. It's as simple (and even when he's trying his hardest to keep it simple, he knows that's a lie, he knows this is a hell of a lot more complicated) as that.
At first, it had been a duty. Almost a way of punishing himself, of punishing Helo, too, because this could have been his baby, and somewhere, maybe, he wanted Helo to remember that.
It's different, now. It's been different for a long time, and he holds Hera just to hold her. Just to feel the weight of her against him. He lies on his rack for hours, Hera gurgling on his chest and waving her little fists, and he talks to her. He tells her the stories his mother used to tell him about the Lords of Kobol, about mythology. He tells her the story of the Cyclops, and the raging seas of Kobol, and the hunt of Artemis and Apollo and how constellations are heroes. He tells her about his family, and how his mother had white, white hair even when he was little. He talks to Hera about things that he never even told Sharon, after the Cylon attack -- about his nephews. He calls them her cousins.
Galen wanted to have children with Sharon. He wanted to get old with her, and raise a lot of dark eyed, dair haired babies who would smile wide, cake smeared smiles in family photographs. He always wanted to be a father, and somehow, he is. When he looks at Hera, he can see Sharon sometimes, but he can see Helo, too.
He can't see himself in her, and there are nights when he turns his face to the wall beside his bed and listens as Helo comforts Hera in the dark, and he thinks I shouldn't be here and this isn't mine. He wonders what it would be like if he hadn't stood up next to Helo, if he hadn't said, "I'll be there to help," if Hera had been passed into the open, waiting arms of some big eyed stranger, looking for something to love, someone to take care of, someone to remind them of something they had once, and he thinks, Maybe that would be easier.
Maybe it would be. Maybe if Hera wasn't there, crying and fussing and smiling and sleeping beside him, tucked beside his ribcage and his arm, he would forget that he was broken. Maybe he'd be able to fix himself.
Except that now, even when he sees Helo holding her, he gets anxious. His hands feel unspeakably empty, his chest cold. In the morning, when he wakes the first thing he does is press a secret kiss to the wisps of dark hair on her forehead, and he can stand the day before him. He can stand the doubt, and the fear, and the black that surrounds them all - he can face things. He feels less hollow, and she's so small to make him feel something so big, so unexpected.
She's not even two months old, and Hera is the love of Galen Tyrol's life already. So when people stares, he stares back. When people talk, he pretends not to hear; it doesn't matter what anyone says. Not the Admiral, not the President, not Cally, not Starbuck, not anyone, because no matter how hard it is. No matter how tired he is of waking up night after night, of fighting Helo about the right way to hold her when feeding her, of changing diapers every hour on the hour, it doesn't matter. Hera matters. She's his daughter, as much as she is Helo's. As much as she is Sharon's, and he holds her, and he thinks, this is our child, the three of us, and he thinks Sharon would have liked that somehow. He hopes she would have.
Previous snippets here and here.
I'ma need either a Chief or Helo icon if this keeps up; can't have my two sweet fathers being under-represented.