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Spooky Little Children

By Caleigh Hayes

Word Count: 3,445
Rating: K
Category: Relationship
Pairing/Focus: Lee / William Adama
Summary: Set approximately 24 year Pre-mini: prequel to Homecoming, Apollo’s Oracle and Sensory Rush

When I arrived at the Original Traveler’s School there were already about ten cars in the lot. I have an appointment with Dr. Isolde Grady, the school’s director. I’m not looking forward to this meeting or the pre-school graduation to follow. After being in space for two years I want to have Lee to myself and finish my trip home to Picon to be with Selena and both my sons.

When Selena told me that she was leaving Lee with the Machree’s so he could finish preschool, I thought it was unnescery. But Selena feels that Lee has benefited from the school. The Lords know Selena has gotten the support she needed to deal with Lee from the school.

As I make my way toward the school buildings I run into a small dark haired boy sitting alone rocking back and forth. He looks too young to be on his own.

”Hello, I’m Captain Adama, Who are you?” I ask.

“I’m Benny. You’re Lee’s Dad. You don’t know that Lee is special. You’re going to take him way. You won’t protect him. You’ll take him then you’ll leave him,” Benny says with certainty.

“Benny, I’m on my way to see Dr. Grady do you think you could show me to her office?” I ask. I’m hoping to get this child some supervision by asking him to show me to the Administration building.

“Okay, if that’s what you want?” Benny says as he gets up and heads toward the school buildings.

When we’ve covered about half the distance to the building we are met by Lizzie. Lizzie is a tiny girl with big brown eyes and long curly chestnut hair. She is clutching some kind of stuffed animal. “Hi Benny, Hi Captain Adama. Lee’s with Fay.” She says.

“Hi Lizzie,” Benny replies.

“I’m on my way to see Dr Grady. She’s expecting me.” I say.

“You are going to take Lee away. You should go to Lee. Lee needs to know that you will love him after the Lords take Zak away,” Lizzie says.

“No one is going to take Zak away. Lee knows I love him,” I reply. I’m wondering where the adults are. These children need supervision.

“Lizzie would you like to help Benny take me to Dr Grady’s office?” I ask hoping to get Lizzie some care too.

“No, I’m going to talk to Fay,” Lizzie says as she turns and walks into the woods.

I call out to her but she doesn’t respond. I decide that I better keep going with Benny. Benny and I turn a corner in the path. I see yet another child. He is blond with green eyes. He has been crying.

“Alex, don’t cry,” Benny says hugging Alex to comfort him.

“The new Cylons will destroy us. Without Lee, I will be lost. Why do you have to take him away?” Alex asks.

“I’m sorry I know he is your friend. But Lee belongs with his family. His mother, brother and I miss him,” I say as gently as I can. “Alex, come along with me.”

With the two boys in tow I find the administration building. Miss Ann the children’s senior teacher is delighted to see two of her charges. It appears that she has a mutiny on her hands. Her class is finding it hard to be separated.

“I saw Lizzie on my way in. She said she knew where Lee and Fay were,” I say.

“Oh, excuse me Captain Adama. I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Ann Fisherman your son’s teacher. Everyone calls me Miss Ann,” she says. “Dr. Grady is expecting you. Her office is own the second floor. Second door on your left.”

As I mount the stairs I think no matter how bad Lee’s headaches got, he was always a happy child the next day. He always was well behaved. These children seem disturbed. Lee doesn’t belong with them.

Isolde Grady comes out to greet me. Once seated, she wastes no time letting me know that Lee is an exceptional child and needs an education that can only be provided at this school. I promise myself that I will listen politely. Selena considers this woman a good friend.

“Captain Adama your wife as told me that you are not convinced of the validity of the Original Traveler’s Syndrome. I won’t try and convince you about OTS. What I want you to consider the challenges Lee faces? Although his growth over the last year has been very encouraging, he remains small for his age. He is intellectually gifted and he suffers painful debilitating headaches if he becomes over tired or is over stimulated. In order to maintain his health both physical and emotional Lee needs a controlled environment,” Dr. Grady says. I’m listening and nodding to indicate that I understand her.

“Lee’s height is now at the 47th percentile and his weight is at the 25th percentile for his age and sex. Avoiding stress and eating five to seven highly nutritious small meals per day is responsible for Lee growth,” Isolde informs me. “The school provides three of the daily meals plus two naps in a sound proof room that can be darkened to encourage rest.”

Isolde says, “Lees suffering is episodic, but the pain he feels is profound. Any concerned parent should want to spare Lee the pain his attacks cause. Lee hasn’t had an attack at the school in over a year. The school is prepared to cope with an attack if one should occur. Finding another school able to handle Lee’s environmental needs will be very difficult.”

“Like all of his classmates Lee is intellectually gifted. Lee has extraordinary math, spatial, and analytic skills. Lee is already reading at middle school level. His comprehension of facts is excellent. But emotionally he is only slightly above his chronological age. Selection of reading material and appropriate discussion must be customized to his needs,” she continues.

“Captain Adama, If Lee was placed in a standard classroom he would be both the smallest and the brightest in class. Do you really want to condemn him to being constantly picked on?” She challenges.

“The children always have at least one staff member with them; their classroom and nap room can be monitored.” She turns on two screens that show the nap room. We see five sleeping children. It seems that Miss Ann has found her charges and put them down for a nap. Each child has his or her own mat and throw. She identifies each of Lee’s classmates. I distressed by the position of the children. They are clustered together. Lee’s mat is in the center. Fay’s mat is next to Lee’s. Alex and Lizzie mats are perpendicular to my son’s with their heads but up to the free side of Lee’s mat. Benny has his mat so its side is next to Lee and Fay’s heads. Fay has her hand on Lee’s shoulder. Each of the other children is within arm’s reach of my son.

“Don’t you think the children should be encouraged to sleep further apart?” I ask.

“They find comfort in one another. They all get a better rest if we let them cluster,” Dr. Grady replies. “Just look at how much the other children love Lee.”

“The schools staff and the benefactors of the school understand that your military career requires your family to move. I am very pleased to let you know that full scholarship has been arranged for Lee. The Machree’s are prepared to take care of Lee during the school year. You should know that Mrs. Machree doesn’t work and that she has a full time housekeeper and nanny. Lee knows the family well. I can guarantee that Lee will receive the best-customized education and a loving home environment with every advantage.” She says believing that this is an offer too good to turn down.

”Dr. Grady, I’m looking forward to being with my whole family. I know this is a generous offer but I do not want my five-year-old son attending school on a different colony.” I say shocked.

Dr Grady sees my distress and promptly ends the discussion by saying, “Captain, of course you will want to discuss this with Selena. You have plenty of time to make up our minds.”

When Dr Grady and I arrive down stairs I hear about the agenda for the graduation. The children have prepared a surprise. After the children have finished their nap, they will present their surprise. Dr. Grady will give a short speech and the children will receive their diplomas. The children have made a short video, which will be shown at the end of the ceremony.

The adults will be served coffee while the children finish their naps. Dr. Grady introduces me to Dan and Sarah Machree, Lee’s host and hostess for the last three weeks. I’m disappointed that they have left Lee’s things at home. It means an extra stop for Lee and me. They in turn introduce me to the other parents. They all seem pleasant enough people. They are all on message; their child and Lee need a special environment and education to cope with OTS (Original Traveler Syndrome).

I know that Selena believes this theory. I know theses people have been very supportive of her as a working mother on her own. I’m aware that there is a history of low birth weight, slow growth and superior minds in my wife’s family. Selena has a very superior mind herself. I’ve been told that I have some genetic markers in common with other great viper pilots. I can’t explain how Selena’s mother and Aunt Lena seem be walking weather stations. I think that genetic profiling is wrong. Lee is different not like these children.

The children are awake. I’m thankful to escape this coffee clutch. As soon as Lee sees me he bonds into my arms for a big hug. I can see that he have grown substantially. He’s wearing white shirt, blue slacks and matching vest. Shiny black shoes, matching belt, a wristwatch, and a black cap compete his outfit. Selena had always had a great eye for clothes. The clothes fit him perfectly. The shade of blue is a color his mother prefers because it highlights their shared blue eyes and pale complexions. Lee looks healthy, happy and sharp.

The children have flowers for the mother’s and the teachers. As they give out flowers I notice that Fay’s pinafore is made out of the same material her shoes and belt are very similar to Lee’s. Oh Lords they’re dressing them to match. Fay, Lizzie and Benny have flower garlands in their hair. Alex and Lee go for the flowerless butch look. I take charge of the flowers meant for Selena. Dr. Grady’s schedule is thrown off as Lee jubilantly introduces me to his friends. His friends are shy, polite and spooky. When I’m introduced to Fay Machree She tells me that she is Lee’s girl friend, which is kind of cute.

When Lee formally introduces me to Benny, Benny warns that Zak shouldn’t fly vipers. Apollo and Starbuck are the viper pilots. I don’t know any pilots with those call signs.

Lizzie wants a promise that I’ll tell Lee I love him and kiss and hug him regularly.

Alex wants to give me advice on when the Cylons come back. Wouldn’t you know it one of the only people I meet who thinks the Cylons will return is one of theses disturbed children.

Dr. Grady gives an uninspired but thankfully brief speech. Dr. Grady calls each child up by name and each receives a small commemorative scroll. The children stand together so their pictures can be taken as a group.

The video starts out simple enough, each child says thank you to their teachers and says what they like best about the school. Things suddenly get high tech with graphics and background music. The children have decided to show off what they have learned.

Lee’s section is straightforward but spectacular. He has used mathematical calculations and a graphics package to animate a pair of vipers. The vipers fly around a sun creating a slingshot effect to increase their speed. They fly through a Cylon Basestar’s landing bay; the combined missile strikes from both vipers from within the basestar’s defenses cause a chain reaction, which destroys the Cylon vessel. Lee has gotten the basic physics correct and his rendition of a Cylon Basestar and its landing bay is the best I’ve ever seen. A viper II would not stand up to the kind of punishment caused by that increase in speed. The second problem with Lee’s simulation is finding two pilots with enough skill to pull off that maneuver. If I had a ship that would take the punishment I think I could handle the job but I’ve never served with a second pilot good enough to pull this off. I’m awe strike that my little boy could put this together.

One section shows the fruit trees on the schools grounds growing and maturing season by season, suddenly the school grounds destroyed as if by an atomic blast. There is abstract art and music and poems, which make no sense. There is an odd sequence that shows a series of pictures humans with a picture of a Cylon Centurions between each one. There are references to Kobol, Earth, ancient mythological god and gambling terms all thrown in together. The video runs about twelve minutes. Part of it’s sweet just what you’d expect from young children, parts are beautiful, parts demonstrate amazing intellectual or artistic ability, and parts are very disturbing.

Dr. Grady says, “That’s lovely children thank you so much. The ceremony is now officially over. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday. I hope to see you all at the beginning of next term.”

I‘m happy that I’m going to be getting Lee out of here. Lee needs to be with his parents and his brother.

Lee and I stop by the Machree’s to get Lee’s luggage. Fay wants Lee to stay. Sarah and Dan Machree were clearly disappointed that I declined their invitation to dinner and to spend the night. Fay takes Lee out the garden for one last look. Dan tells me that Fay and Lee have a private kissing place. They are saying goodbye. Dan offers to travel to Picon to pick Lee up, if it would make it easier on Selena and me. The nursery guest room was clearly decorated for a little boy. The playroom was organized for two, including two very high-tech looking PCs.

I remember Zak fantasy that Fay and her parents wanted to steal Lee. He has repeatedly warned me when I’ve talked to him on the phone that they didn’t want to let Lee leave. He has always been possessive of his brother, but over the couple of months Selena has told me that he has been hostile toward Fay. The only reason Zak hasn’t hit Fay is that Lee kept himself between them. Zak has hit Lee several times in his attempts to get at Fay. They have a room decorated for him and a computer ready and waiting. Zak is right these people want Lee.

Dan Machree sees the look on my face as we pick up Lee’s luggage.

“Will, I know you love Lee. I’ve seen his attacks, they’re gut wrenching. But when Lee’s not sick his a regular little boy. You can talk him. He plays. He laughs.” Dan pauses uncertain. “I put the swing set in the backyard shortly after Fay was born. She never used them. She either showed no interest or was fearful. Last year I came home a little early. My little girl was on a swing laughing. The only thing different was that Sarah had agreed to watch Lee for Selena.”

“Fay and Lee are good friends. Doing new things with a friend can turn fear into excitement,” I reply.

“It’s not only the swing. Fay can’t put ideas together. Lee listens to her. Somehow he sees a pattern. He asks her a question about what she’s said and she responds. She’s encouraged. She’s motivated to focus in on one set of ideas. My little girl is having a conversation. She’s improved in school. Will you have no idea what this mean to Sarah and me,” Dan says.

“I’m glad to hear that Fay is improving. I appreciate that you have a much tougher time than Selena and I,” I say.

“Will, you don’t understand. Fay’s improvement is dependant on Lee. Fay is able to repeat the things she’s learned with Lee. But she still losses focus and nothing the school or her mother and I have tried replaces what Lee gives her. (Pause) After three weeks of being with Lee all the time. Sarah and I have had a taste of a normal family life. We’ve been able to go out to brunch. Lee sits and eats. Fay sits and eats. Fay sees something that upsets her. Lee can talk to her. Find out what’s going on. We can calm her down. We go back to eating. If I ask them to wait Lee holds her hand. I can go get the car. Lords Will, Lee even told Fay that they had to give grown ups a chance to talk. He explained that her mom and dad are girlfriend and boyfriend. It’s been a special time for us. (Pause) All I mean to say is that Lee is more than welcome to stay with us.”

“Thanks Dan I appreciate your offer. What you just described sounds very much like Lee and his younger brother Zak. Zak has found this separation very difficult,” I reply. Dan looks at me like ‘you just don’t get it’, but he says nothing more.

Downstairs Lee, Fay and her mother are waiting. Fay is holding Lee’s arm with both of hers. Sarah Machree has a daypack ready for Lee.

Sarah explains, “The bag has snacks for Lee for the plane Lee, you need to remember to eat your regular snacks and take your naps. Your mom told me that the military spaceport and transport do not serve meals.” To me she says, “You need to feed Lee a hot dinner, breakfast and lunch.”

“I’ve also packed a sweater and a throw so Lee will be warm and can have a blanket when he naps. Lee, you should wear your navy sweats, light blue tee and sneakers on the plane so you will be comfortable.” She says with concern.

I’m surprised that she hasn’t issued a written set of orders. Lee kisses Fay goodbye. Mr. And Mrs. Machree get hugs. Dan and I stow Lee’s stuff. A few waves later, I escape with my son.

After two years I’m anxious to have Lee with me. I’m pleased to see that he has grown. Lee is looking forward to staying at a bed and breakfast with me. To him Pizza is great dinner choice. Lee is happy that I have a planet side posting. He wants to see me every day. Leaving Caprica, moving to a smaller house and leaving his friends is hard but having me home is worth it. It’s just what every warrior wants to hear from his son. As always Lee is fascinated by my tales of space ad flying. Now I can talk about the science behind the ships and flying. Lee will understand.

Once we reach the B&B, Lee is anxious to demonstrate his independence. He can take a bath, brush his teeth, and change for bed. I need to be around for safety when he’s in the tub. I move a chair so he can reach the sink. He is neat and organized with his things. I’m glad that he is self sufficient, because I don’t know the evening routine for a five year old. He goes to bed easily, happy to sleep in the bed next to mine.

When we go down to breakfast, I notice that Lee charms our host and hostess. Without his more outgoing brother to outshine him, Lee’s smiles and big blue eyes delight them. He needs to kneel on the chair to reach the table but he has damn find table manners for a little guy and everyone knows that Lee’s Dad is a viper pilot and a CAG.

I’ve got Lee safe with me. I’m on my way to Selena and Zak. I’m a very happy guy.