Word Count: 1,658
It was a clear day on the planet that they had named Hope, so many years ago. Hope, because they had never found Earth, had always known in the back of their minds that they would never find it. Still when the Raptor patrols had found this planet after five long years of flight, and four since they had last seen the Cylons, they had named it hope, and stopped their headlong flight. Galactica, the grand old bitch herself, still stood guard orbiting around the single great moon in the nine planet system. The city of Eden stood as some would say majestically in the background, and yet it did not hold the single eye of the figure that walked slowly up the path. Face carried scars that every veteran that had served on the Galactica knew by heart.
Kara gave a sigh, and ran a hand through hair that had long since lost any hint of its original color, and was now a simple stark white. She blinked back a sudden burning in her eyes as she came to a halt at the gate before her, the gate that opened into the Military graveyard. As tradition had been back in the Colonies the markers of civilians who had died were kept separate from those that had fought and died to protect them. Intellectually she knew what lay behind them, but even when they had asked her to dedicate the site, she had refused. Too many memories she had told them, too many markers for graves that were unfilled. She would go, she had said, when she had accomplished something they would be proud of.
The group behind her, she knew, was that accomplishment. She turned and looked at them, faces that held such small traces of those that she missed with all her heart. The seven children her body had borne and given life to were grown, and in the oldest cases growing old themselves. It was a sprawling family, and one in which she took comfort in the long dark nights when the loss was so much harder to bear. A wife, a husband, family though they had only been married in, where already missing from that group. Life is loss, Saul had told her once, and learning to look past loss to treasure what you still had.
They had, and she had a gaggle of grandchildren to smile upon, though most of them did not wear smiles this day. Kara knew that they sensed the mood she was carrying with her, a miasma cloaked around her shoulders. She knew she should be proud of the group, and she was, it was only that today she felt the loss even more harshly than since the loss. Kara gave them a grim smile, and a wave of a hand before she turned back to the gate. She pushed it open slowly and caught her breath as it revealed to her for the first time what was behind it.
Seven hundred graves so far, lined up in perfect rows, with perfect spacing. It stretched before her, the rows drawing the eye to the middle of the gravesite, and to the monument erected there. Four figures stood proud and tall in stone as they would never again stand in life. Kara knew that there was a movement to make it five when she passed, but she had taken steps to make sure such did not occur. Her monument would continue living after she was gone, and a simple marked stone was good enough for her.
"Mom, you alright?" Kara gave a weak smile as the hand of her eldest child jolted her out of remembrances that were not as bright as the day she had them in. The smell, the pain of those first few days had come flooding back to her all of a sudden. Kara gave a slight nod and straightened again.
"Sorry Ash, I got carried away by a memory." Kara squeezed her daughter's hand lightly before looking back at the life sized statues made from gold shot white marble. "It is just that I didn't expect them to be so perfect. Seeing them like that again… well it just brought back old memories."
Kara stepped forwards making her way through the standing stones until she stood before them. This time the burning in her eyes would not be blinked back, and she stood with silent tears streaming down her face. She could feel the rest of the family gather behind her, and it was with trepidation she decided to continue with the rest of what she had thought to do this day.
The blade she brought from her pocket was old, perhaps the oldest thing from the Colonies, a blade of black glass and time worn antler. It was of a faith older than that of the Lords of Kobol, at least as Kara's mother had taught her. So much of what that wandering woman had tried to instill in her child forever was gone, gone on the wind of memory like everything of that people.
"I'm not sure I'm deserving of this… but mother said it was always respectful to ask, and to offer when there is a reckoning needed to be done. You… you four I owe something to, something more precious than my own life, for the sacrifices you made for me." Kara could hear her own voice crack and waver in the last sentence but she carried on anyways, looking into stone faces for a trace of acceptance. She could hear, could feel the confusion of her family behind her, and it was only the pain in her voice that kept them from stepping forwards. "Bill… Bill you were a father to me, and kept me alive, loved me when I thought the whole world had forsaken me. I cost you a son, took his life from your hands and yet you forgave, even if you did not forget, and treated me as the daughter you never had. Lee… you were my brother. I know you wanted more, and at times, gods, at times I was willing to let you have it just as long as it would bring that smile to your eyes. I always did love you Lee, just not in the way that you wanted. You died for that love so that I might live to find my own. Kylen… you kept me alive through yet another loss, even when your own was as great. I asked so much of you in those first few years after, leaned on your shoulder even as I shouldered the load of Captaincy, something I had never wanted. You gave and gave, and I always asked and asked for more. I thank you for all that you gave me, all that you allowed me to have."
Kara swallowed the lump in her throat hard as she stepped forwards to the last figure. Even now she could feel something rushing wild in her blood with the flow of emotions and of memories. She touched the cold stone face with the tender hand of a lover, the hand that she had never truly ever touched him with while he was alive.
She remembered the eyes, the eyes that after she had lost Bill, after she had lost Lee, had simply known how she felt without asking. The arms that had held her when she needed it, even though she had more than once struck out against him moments before. Kara remembered that one searing sacred night of life when had moved around, over, inside of her. She recalled wistfully that heated rush of his seed that had swelled her belly with child.
"Saul you were my love that I learned too late. I said I hated you when you died… and yet it was not the truth. I loved you then. I hated the fact that I would never feel your arms around me again, hated the fact that I would never have you in my bed to try for another child. Mostly I hated myself for never telling you that I welcomed you into my heart." Kara traced the wrinkled lines of the face before her, and rested her forehead softly against the statue's. Before she straightened again, and ran the stone blade across her hand just hard enough to draw the few drops of blood needed. "I tried to live a good life. I've a family now, one that wouldn't be possible without all of you. I've tried to make all your sacrifices mean something, tried to be what you all saw inside of me. You'll have to forgive me, because I've forgotten most of the words."
Kara stepped back as the wind picked up, seemingly from nowhere, swirling the few leaves inside the graveyard as it swirled around her. She could hear the startled, almost frightened cries of her family behind her as she whispered softly.
"By this fuil, let you have sagrid my cherished friends."
Within a moment they were there, walking out from the statues that looked so much like them. Kara felt her eyes grow wide as the ghostly figures moved among her family, turning to keep her eyes upon them. She could see the surprise on the faces of the living, the joy on those dead as they ruffled hair of people that looked so much like them. It seemed like forever, but it was bare minutes before they began to fade away. Barely felt arms wrapped around her one after another. Kara could only dimly believe that they were real. If it were not for the looks on the faces before her she would not have believed it possible.
"You did good Kara, I miss you." The soft words, in his grating harsh voice lingered in her ears for days, and the wonderous looks her family gave lasted for months.