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03 May 2007 @ 11:48 pm
Fic: A Dance of the Mind (Battlestar Galactica)  
Pairing: Gen, some Billy/Dee
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine.
Notes: Written for smercy  for the Ficathon at billykeikeya . Prompt: Billy is a Cylon, either good or evil. No Billy/Roslin sex.

-  -  -

Twenty-seven minutes.

 

His mind feels fuzzy, thick with fog or cotton or sludge, enough that his head is heavy and it takes all his effort just to keep upright, not to sway or stumble or fall. He is so tired…he’s never been this tired, not ever, not ever.

 

“Billy?”

 

Billy blinks, once, twice. His eyes want to stay glued shut. “Yes, ma’am?” he manages, his throat rasping.

 

Shouldn’t it be time he gets his second wind? No – Billy almost laughs at that, hoarse as he is. His second wind has come and gone. It’s time for his fifth. Maybe sixth. Maybe more –

 

“You were saying…?” she prompts him.

 

What was he saying?

 

Thirty minutes.

 

He looks down at the paper. “Update on the headcount,” he reads, disconnecting his mind from the words, just taking them straight from his eyes to his mouth.

 

Gods…he wants to sleep, just for a little while, just a nap, maybe.

 

Thirty-two minutes.

 

“Prepare for FTL jump,” comes the pilot’s voice, twisted with fatigue. President Roslin’s hands clutch a little harder on the armrest of her chair; Billy can’t find it within himself to move.

 

~*~

 

Billy wants to protest. He wants to tell Laura Roslin that she’s wrong to depend on him, that he’s not qualified for this. He barely got the job of assistant to the Secretary of Education, for gods’ sake, he’s not remotely capable of working as the President of the Colonies’ assistant, not during a huge emergency, not during the crisis of the entire human race.

 

He just can’t do it – his mind phases in and out, which may be the fatigue and may be the shock. He can’t seem to focus his eyes on a piece of paper, much less his mind on anything important.

 

And yet…

 

When he opens his mouth to say something, nothing comes out, not even when he has the words framed in his mind.

 

You need to find someone more qualified. –there is no one more qualified.

 

I can’t do this. –it’s not about you.

 

Please, I’m about to go crazy. –we all are, Billy.

 

And he forges on.

 

~*~

 

Eventually, he supposes, there’s a point where you can’t get any more tired. You either sleep or you die, medically speaking, and then his body will just collapse. Then he’ll get rest – barring that, if the Cylons stop coming, if they stop returning time and time and time again, then – then –

 

Thirty-two minutes.

 

“Prepare for FTL jump,” and Billy has a brief, disorienting shock of déjà vu. He tips his head back against the seat and lets the world bend around him.

 

He ends up in the bathroom – the head? – without any real memory of how he got there, staring his dark-eyed, pale face in the mirror. There’s a sheen of sweat, and Billy tries to remember what he was just thinking, what got his heart pounding so hard it feels like it’s about to jump out of his chest, but he can’t quite…can’t quite focus.

 

Cylon, he thinks, and his heartbeat calms.

 

When he returns to his seat, across from President Roslin, his hands are shaking.

 

Billy never gets too far down the stack of papers before the next jump. It keeps piling, piling, piling – more things for the President to think about make decisions on, but she has to know about them before she can deliberate. And he’s been going in order, order of receipt, because that’s the only way he can think to be fair.

 

But then…a paper slips into his hand, and he thinks now, now, NOW.

 

He glances over it. Someone wants to talk to the President – matter of urgency – he can push it to the top of the stack. He notices Gaius Baltar’s interruption, the panic in his eyes that he can’t quite disguise – but he’s not sure that the President notices. And he keeps quiet about it. Even though he wonders, there’s something that makes the words, the thoughts die before they ever reach his throat.

 

He doesn’t notice, though, that the world seems to be a little clearer and his hand doesn’t tremble quite so much.

 

 ~*~

 

Things happen too fast and they happen too slow. The days slip by, through his fingers, so dizzyingly fast that he can barely grapple with it before it’s gone, forever. But every once in a while, there’s a moment that drags into eternity, hooking its claws into memory long after it’s gone.

 

Cylons look like us now.

 

Oh, gods.

 

~*~

 

The pilot makes Billy nervous. He has a thoughtful frown and a gaze that penetrates too far. But the nervousness – it’s different. It’s not quite what Billy expect – he remembers the nervousness, the anxiety he used to suffer before a debate tournament, the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, the slickness of his palms, the clumsiness on his tongue. But this? When the pilot comes near, Billy’s vision clears and his skin is unbearably sensitive, the very movement of the air scraping along exposed nerve endings. It hurts, and he’s nervous, but it makes him think clearly.

 

“Are you all right?” Roslin asks him, on day, after the pilot leaves.

 

“I’m fine,” stammers Billy, with a half-smile. But he’s surprised to find that he’s not startled at the question – he expects it, and the stammer isn’t real. It’s an affectation.

 

Roslin doesn’t look convinced, and Billy retreats into the bathroom, the one place he can be alone. When he sees his reflection, a half-memory sparks to life – dizzyingly bright lights, and the coldly comforting smile of that pilot, Sharon Valerii. Boomer.

 

Billy rubs his temples. He doesn’t know why he’s imagining her smile – he can’t be remembering it, he’s barely ever interacted with her. He’s not attracted to her, anyhow. He likes Dee; of course he likes Dee.

 

Gods, he feels dizzy. Not that great, really. He should ask the President for a break, maybe see Major Cottle.

 

The memory is gone, then, dancing elusively just out of his grasp. He feels better, though, refreshed.

 

~*~

 

Billy doesn’t ever remember his dreams. He doesn’t find that weird – a lot of people don’t remember their dreams. He sleeps lightly, easily, and he’s never all that tired. Not since the Cylons stopped coming, every thirty-three minutes.

 

Sometimes, though, he surfaces in the middle of the night sweating and ravenously thirsty, and it takes two or three glasses of water before he can calm down enough to drop back to sleep. His spine is always uncomfortable, then, weird and hot, like a glowing ember all down his back.

 

One night, he thinks he sees it actually glowing, physically giving off light, in the mirror behind him. But when he spins, heart pounding, the flash of adrenaline still fresh, and examines himself more closely, he doesn’t find any hint of it.

 

It sits with him, though. He doesn’t forget.

 

~*~

 

He hates the pilot. Hates him with a burning fury. His vision is clouded, his hands clenched, knuckles white, barely gasping for breath. The anger is so strong it hurts, so strong it’s overwhelming him, swamping him, stamping out everything good inside him—

 

Billy gasps and chokes, the first sound he hears in the echoing silence his tiny room aboard Colonial One. The world starts to refocus, and Billy breathes, inhales, exhales. Slowly, slowly the world fades back to grey, the pounding strength burning from his muscles, leaving a sheen of sweat and limbs trembling so badly he can barely stand.

 

Billy falls onto the bed, and he shivers, convulsing his entire body. It takes effort to unclench his hands, finger by finger, and unwrap them from around his chest.

 

Billy’s eyes fall to his palms, and he yells, cries out, jerking off the bed.

 

The slick red is half-dried, gluing his fingers together, and suddenly the copper tang fills Billy’s nose like a poisonous fog, pooling at the base of his throat. His first thought is to look for the site of the injury, but inside, he knows there isn’t one. This isn’t his blood.

 

This isn’t his blood. And he doesn’t – he doesn’t remember

 

Billy begins to shake.

 

~*~

 

They find the pilot the next day, his eyes wide and open, sprawled awkwardly in a pool of his own blood. The rumor runs over the ship like a shockwave, with words tossed around, batted from mouth to mouth. Words like ‘sabotage’ and ‘Cylon’, and ‘traitor’.

 

Billy doesn’t deny it to himself, but – but, he doesn’t admit it, either. Nothing about this feels real. He’d say it’s like a dream, but he doesn’t know what a dream feels like. But it’s not real; it’s definitely not real. He’s held in some kind of in-between state, where he’s Billy Keikeya, personal assistant to the president, a little clumsy, friendly, good at what he does – but he’s also killed a man. And neither are true, but neither are false, either.

 

In the semi-darkness of the observation port, Billy holds Dee close. She fits into his arms, lithe and beautiful, and he’s not sure how he could ever let go of her.

 

She looks up at him, the glint of light just barely showing the frown drifting around her mouth. “Did you know the pilot?” she asks.

 

Billy’s stomach sinks. “Not very well,” he tells her.

 

“Then why are you so down?” She hitches herself upward and brushes a kiss across his mouth.

 

Billy smiles. “I’m not,” he lies, and he lets her tuck her head into the crook of his arm.

 

~*~

 

Billy wonders if it’s a mental illness. Disassociative identity disorder, maybe. But why, why would he have any reason to kill the pilot? It wasn’t as though the man was a threat to him, endangered him. In fact, during the frantic run from the Cylons, his FTL calculations kept the ship going. There was no reason, no reason at all for Billy to have killed him.

 

Except…

 

~*~

 

Billy wonders what he would hear if he talked to Sharon Valerii.

 

The commander is in the infirmary, dying; the fleet is gods know where, and the President is in jail, and all Billy can think of is going to talk to Boomer. Because she tried to kill someone, and maybe…maybe she would know what to do about it. How to tell if Billy is really a Cylon.

 

Billy shudders.

 

“Billy,” says Roslin.

 

“What is it, ma’am?” asks Billy, dutiful again, immediately.

 

“Billy, I,” and she stops. It’s the prelude to a Conversation, and Billy devotes his full attention to her. To the President.

 

~*~

 

Eventually, Billy doesn’t want to see her anymore. The answers she can give him aren’t anything foreign to him. Not anything he can’t figure out on his own.

 

Billy Keikeya is a Cylon.

 

The idea doesn’t fill him with the kind of dread that it might have. In fact, it feels natural. Easy. It’s the truth; he’s a Cylon. Time to accept it.

 

He even thinks he’s doing okay. Dealing. Until one night, he shakes awake, and his cheeks are wet, his pillow soaked, and he can’t stop shaking, can’t stop choking on his own breath. He sobs his frustration into the pillow – why does it have to be him? Why does he have to be a Cylon? – and falls asleep without resolution, without peace.

 

The next day, he starts remembering.

 

~*~

 

“Hey, what are you –” The pilot’s mouth drops open in shock. Billy’s hand is clasped around a wrench, the contents of a computer half-spilled across the floor – code in streams, disrupt the flow, divert the right way and someday, someday – and Billy doesn’t hesitate.

 

“You’re a Cylon,” accuses the pilot

 

There is no noise; the knife slides in smoothly. He’s sharpened it for that purpose.

 

~*~

 

The knife is under Billy’s mattress. When he pulls it out he stares for a long time. He imagines himself dumping the knife with the waste, sliding it under someone else’s mattress, disposing of it, but in the end, he just hides it, back where it came from.

 

~*~

 

“Stay close to the Secretary of Education,” says Eight. “She’s far enough in the line of succession that she may be a problem.”

 

Eight smiles, and her laughter echoes.

 

~*~

 

After the memories, come the compulsions.

 

Billy will leave a door open instead of shut; he’ll write down a key code on a slip of paper and drop it in the middle of the hallway. He’ll switch the papers that Roslin has to deal with, consistently dropping one or two to the bottom of the stack. He’s practically invisible in this office – the work that he has to do is always done. No one ever questions the why or the how anymore.

 

The compulsions…he’s helpless to disobey. They’re just things that he has to do.

 

Only one thing in his life is still untouched.

 

~*~

 

Dee seems hesitant, withdrawn, but her skin is still warm, and she still fits into the crook of his neck.

 

“How’s your job coming along?” she asks him, craning her neck upwards.

 

“You don’t want to know,” smiles Billy.

 

“No,” she says, the corner of her mouth curling, “but I like hearing you talk.”

 

“Well, in that case,” and she settles back against him again.

 

It’s perfect, just perfect.

 

~*~

 

Sharon – the other Sharon – defected from the Cylon side. Probably. Billy has his doubts, personally, but she seems to be honest enough for the human side, and he has the sinking feeling that her original mission has probably gone straight to hell.

 

She defected, though. She defected, which means she must get urges, and she must not follow them. She can resist them. And for what? For Helo’s love?

 

Billy wonders if Dee could ever be that for him. If she could ever be the center of his world, enough for him to abandon what he is.

 

He has trouble getting the words out when he asks her – it’s just the debate ring, he apologizes, but, but, but—

 

“Billy, I can’t marry you,” she blurts, her eyes wide.

 

And it hurts.

 

~*~

 

Billy, I can’t marry you.

 

It was his last chance.

 

Can’t marry you.

 

He’s not enough to fight this, not on his own…he does more and more, and he’s not sure what he’s doing, what he’s affecting, and he’s afraid that someday the Cylons will catch the fleet and kill them all and it will be all his fault.

 

She doesn’t love him – she doesn’t –

 

She’s with Lee.

 

Billy can feel death the instant before it happens, and he steps towards it with a smile on his face.

 

The bullet has no bite; it doesn’t hurt. Dee cries over him, shrieks, but it’s no good.

 

Billy dies with hope on his breath.

 

~*~

 

Stretched out, parsecs wide, then compressed, chomped suddenly down into a tiny, tiny space—

 

Billy gasps, inhales and coughs, hacks as though his lungs are trying to climb out of his body.

 

“That’s it,” comes a woman’s voice, “breathe. It’s all right.”

 

Billy looks up, and straight into the eyes of the reporter. D’anna Biers. Only it’s not her.

 

“You’re safe now,” the Cylon woman says. “You’re with us.”

 

Billy shudders, his body going limp in the pool of milky-white.

 
 
 
mymatedavemymatedave on May 4th, 2007 08:17 am (UTC)
*shudders*
eradicating evil was always on my to-do list: billycerebel on May 4th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah...kinda creepy, isn't it?
orangey sodapopsmercy on May 4th, 2007 09:57 am (UTC)
well, I absolutely love this.

I think I've read it three times through and I pick up on more details each time.

I'm going to need to take a little while longer and get a better review back to you.


but I need to say that I particularly love the ambiguity of his motives.



(I will make you as many billy icons as you want for this.)

the fic was fantastic.
eradicating evil was always on my to-do list: billycerebel on May 4th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
Hehe. Yeah, after I read the prompt, I just started thinking of it as "Billy is a Cylon", then I looked back after I finished and I'm like "hmm...wonder which prompt it is that I actually wrote."

And awesome! I realized when I was posting this that I only have one Billy icon, and that's not cool at all.

Thank you :D
Ariestessariestess on May 6th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC)
Oh wow! That was a fascinating look into Billy, particularly with the old theory that he's a Cylon. I really liked this, liked how you worked in so many variables of things we've both seen and assumed on the show. Great job!

Is there any chance I can link to this on the BSG page over at Frisked & Conquered?
eradicating evil was always on my to-do list: billycerebel on May 6th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Sometimes I do wish Billy were a Cylon...because his death felt really random. I know it was because of contract problems, but still. :(

And, absolutely -- go ahead and link :)
A.j.: happyaj on May 9th, 2007 05:32 am (UTC)
Oh, man, this is lovely. I really, really adore it. (Sorry, I took so long as I had to.. y'know. Finish mine. *shame face*) Still, this is just awesome. Oh, Billy. Oh, Billy.
eradicating evil was always on my to-do list: billycerebel on May 9th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad that you liked :)
sheepfairy: bsg - we're here to invade your worldsheepfairy on May 20th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
Ahh, poor Billy! He's always getting the short end of the stick. And I really like the way he compares himself to Boomer, and how that just makes him more confused. The murder scene was genius, and the writing as he tried to figure out what was happening was just perfect.
eradicating evil was always on my to-do list: billycerebel on May 21st, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
Thanks! Billy and his confused Cylon-ness and his confused Billy-ness. *sigh*