Pairing: Number Five (Aaron Doral)/Jammer
Spoilers: Webisodes, third season through 3x04
Disclaimer: These characters belong to David Eick, Ron Moore and the Sci-Fi channel.
The first time Doral sees Jammer, the human is in an interrogation room, deceptively small behind the metal table and chairs. His wrists are bound with a zip tie, and he has the look of a caged animal.
The first time Doral sees Jammer, he doesn’t see anything special.
Doral neatly shuts the door behind him. He’s impeccable, not a hair, not a speck of dust out of place. “Sorry to keep you waiting,” Doral apologizes. He keeps his voice low, soft, non-threatening. “Have a seat.”
Jammer stays standing. Doral notes Jammer’s state very clinically. Pupils dilated, breath coming quickly – odd how the signs of terror, in humans, are so similar to the signs of arousal.
“What am I doing here?” Jammer asks, too quickly. “I haven’t done anything.”
“Of course,” Doral acknowledges. He removes the top from a container of juice, placing the bottle and the cap neatly side by side in front of the human.
Jammer, slowly, cautiously, takes a seat.
“Can I call you James,” Doral asks, snapping out the blade of a knife, “or do you prefer Jammer?”
Jammer inhales sharply at the sight of the knife. Doral takes Jammer’s hands in one of his and, with a neat flick of his wrist, cuts off the tie. “They weren’t supposed to cuff you,” says Doral, “Totally unnecessary. I apologize.”
Doral keeps his eyes on Jammer, observing the reaction (rubbing the wrists, zip tie wasn’t tight – psychological effect). Jammer doesn’t look at Doral, he looks away, to the right (making the point that his attention is elsewhere? –too afraid to look at Doral?), and his eyes flick aimlessly across the room.
“Gonna tell me why I was arrested?” Jammer asks, a rallying of righteous anger. (Not as much as there should be; however, as much as is expected from him.)
“You’re not under arrest,” Doral responds, as though surprised. “I brought you here because I wanted to talk about what happened at the temple.”
Jammer’s eyes flare; he almost speaks, and Doral knows he’s opened the right way. Direct; Jammer will believe, if not in Doral’s complete honesty, then in his lack of outright manipulation.
“All I know about the temple is that you blew ten innocent people to pieces,” Jammer accuses, his words coming quickly, sharply.
Doral feels his throat tighten. “Yeah,” he says, “it might be hard for you to believe, but we all feel sick about it.” It’s true; it was never the Cylon’s intention to subdue the human race. Not this way. “It’s tragic,” Doral adds. “There’s no other word for it. Centurions overreacted.” He looks up at Jammer, firm eye contact. “But I think if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that it wasn’t entirely our fault.”
“That’s bullcrap,” Jammer snaps.
“We have always left your temple alone,” enunciated clearly, emphasized, as Jammer looks away. “Never dreamed of sending centurions there—until someone decided to hide weapons in it.”
“We didn’t shoot those people,” Jammer insists, “you did.”
“True.” Doral cocks his head to the side. “And I accept full responsibility for that. But bringing instruments of death into a house of worship is a sin.” He slightly stresses ‘sin’, seeing Jammer’s anxious look. “Don’t you agree?” Doral asks.
Nervously, Jammer takes a drink of the liquid set out in front of him, and Doral knows he’s won.
“Think about it, James.” Doral uses his first name (reaction unnerved, shifty). He knows it’s time to bring in the darkest point: “Whoever hid those weapons in there must have known we’d catch wind of it.” He leans in. “Maybe they even leaked the information to us. Maybe they wanted it to happen.”
Jammer looks at Doral with wide-open eyes. “Why?” he breathes, and there’s something terribly alluring about the way he asks the question.
“Because some people are afraid of peace,” Doral tells him. “Afraid to stop fighting. Afraid of what they might be without it.” He takes a moment, he lets the silence stretch (Jammer’s gaze on the juice, not on Doral), and he continues, “But you’re not one of those people, are you, James?” Seperation, alienation from his group. “You’d like to put all this bloodshed behind you,” Doral presses on. “Get a place of your own, a farm, maybe. A wife, kids. A life.”
Jammer shrugs. “Who wouldn’t?”
“Well, it’s not impossible,” Doral responds. “It could happen. It could happen,” he repeats, “for you, for me. For all of us.” Inclusion, now; Jammer and Doral in the same category (Jammer’s eyes on Doral, now; no more pretense).
“How?” Jammer asks, the same soft uncertainty as his ‘why’.
Doral feels a shift in his certainty, but goes on anyway. “Individuals like you and I,” says Doral, stressing the similarities again, “have to be brave enough to demonstrate that there is a better way. Others are already doing it.” Doral gestures to the juice. “That juice comes from farms right here on New Caprica where Cylons and humans are working together. Growing things instead of killing each other.” A beautiful contrast (widened eyes, rapid blinking, his gaze at the bottle again). “The power grid is almost complete,” Doral adds, “so is the water system. Thanks to your engineering teams and ours.” Now the hardest part— “And when we can finally have human beings policing the streets instead of centurions, we will—…”
—but no, Jammer cuts him off, he’s already standing, chair scraping against the floor. “So, so that’s what this is all about?” Jammer’s voice goes frantic. “You want me to join the New Caprica Police?” And now it’s anger. “That’s never going to happen. I’m not a frakkin’ collaborator.”
Doral may have believed Jammer’s words, but something in the human’s mannerism catches him off-guard. The eyes; the eyes are all wrong. Jammer may insist—but something inside him resonates.
“I’m not asking you to be,” says Doral softly, looking up at him. “All I’m asking is that you help me prevent another tragedy like the temple shooting.”
As always, bring it back to the issue, the one thing Jammer can’t disagree with.
“How am I supposed to do that?” Jammer asks, bitter, sarcastic.
Doral finally stands. He moves forward, closer to Jammer, and the human backs up, until his back is almost against the wall. This is the time, the time when Doral invades his space, but not as an enemy. “Show this at the gate,” he tells Jammer, flashing a small key card, “then you’ll be able to see me right away. If you hear of anything that might lead to more bloodshed,” and he places the chip down on the table, “get hold of me.” He keeps it personal, between himself, himself and Jammer. “Maybe the two of us can stop more innocent people getting killed.”
Then slowly, deliberately, Doral pulls the door open and slips away.
He’s not wrong; Jammer will be his agent, trapped, without a single escape route—within a week.
- - - -
But, days later, Doral still remembers the look in Jammer’s eyes.
In fact, he can’t get it out of his head. The way Jammer stared at him, the way he pushed his chair back and stumbled angrily to his feet – at the mere suggestion of him becoming, as he said, a ‘collaborator’. Implying that the Cylons were still the enemy.
Doral sees Jammer all around him, and no amount of projection helps it. Every silhouette ducking into a tent along Doral’s path through the compound, every flash of white eyes as Doral turns a corner – it sends a spasm up the Cylon’s spine, adrenaline (not fright?).
Eventually, Doral is forced to admit that Jammer made quite a lasting impression on him at that interrogation. The ex-deckhand has become important to him; far more important than he has any right to be. The fourth night, when Doral wakes up with a half-remembered image of Jammer looking up at him (the look in his eyes not sharp and clear anger, but clouded with desire), Doral knows he has a problem.
First, Doral watches Caprica. He steps into the background, letting his fellow fives take over in the meetings, and he watches her. He sees how she behaves in front of Baltar, the way she looks at him, the helpless importance of their bond. Unable, unwilling to let go.
Is it love? Doral wonders.
He watches Leoben, through the hidden cameras in the apartment he shares with Kara Thrace. He sees the stalking presence of the Cylon grow more psychotic, and he sees the desperate, animal look in Kara’s eyes as she stabs him to death, yet another time. Doral turns away, nausea in his throat.
If this is love, he wants nothing of it.
When Doral starts watching humans and their bonds, he knows that his interest has stepped up to obsession.
And yet, he can’t seem to help it. Again and again he ventures out into the city (if it can be called such), strolling between the rows of tents, slowing at every glimpse of a husband taking a wife into his arms, of a mother cradling a child. He watches these, and they seem to have a strange purity to him, a purity he has never seen in all his life. Not even when looking upon the face of God.
A week has passed, and Doral has begun to lose hope. Doubtless the insurgency is already planning another strike, another weapons dump, another something by now. If Jammer were really going to betray his fellow humans, shouldn’t he already be reporting to Doral? What if Doral were wrong, what if Jammer wasn’t convinced at al, what if he went back and immediately told
No, no, Doral isn’t wrong. If he remembers anything correctly about that interrogation, it’s the look in Jammer’s eyes. That look, it’s desperate and anguished, and it’s true. It’s so true that Doral regrets it.
- - - -
When he sees Jammer, rubbing his palm anxiously, the chip clenched so hard in his hand the knuckles are white, something cracks inside Doral.
“Leave us,” he commands the centurions, and they obey. “Do you have information?” Doral asks, wincing at his tone. It’s the wrong approach; too direct, too sinister, and he knows it.
Jammer nods (fetching). “Yeah,” Jammer adds, a spasm of words (nervous).
Doral takes a seat, across from Jammer, as the human does the same. Another mistake. Equality has no place here.
“Tell me about it,” says Doral neutrally, hoping his unassuming tone will help, looking into Jammer’s eyes.
Jammer takes a shaky breath. He looks away, down and to the left, away from Doral, and Doral knows what he needs.
Standing, the Cylon moves closer to Jammer, perching on the edge of the cold metal table. “It’s all right,” Doral tells him. “You’re going to help us prevent further bloodshed.” He places a hand on Jammer’s shoulder. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Jammer jerks away from the hand; Doral wonders if it was his third mistake. Perhaps he should give this responsibility to another Five.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Doral repeats. He just doesn’t know what to say here. These humans, they dwell on the past so much, replaying it endlessly, over and over again. They agonize over their decisions, wondering what is right, what is wrong, and regretting their choices every time.
“Yeah,” breathes Jammer, and Doral sees Jammer’s eyes are red-rimmed. Not crying, but fatigue. Jammer doesn’t look at him.
“Talk to me,” and it’s not a command, but a request.
Jammer takes a breath again, and Doral knows, for certain, it was the right way to do it. “It’s ammonium nitrate.”
Ammonium nitrate; explosive. Damnit. “Where?” Doral asks. This can’t be it; there has to be a reason Jammer brought this to him.
Jammer lifts his eyes to Doral, and Doral knows there’s no going back, from this point onward. If Jammer stands now, if he leaves, if he retreats inside himself – Doral is torn, and he doesn’t know whether he wants the information (badly, badly, yes he does) or he wants Jammer to leave (don’t betray them, don’t give in to this).
“Underneath the grain storage tent,” Jammer spits out.
And comprehension dawns. “Across from the hospital,” Doral murmurs.
Jammer nods, shame creeping into his body posture. And how the regret comes, and Doral can’t stand it. He slips off the edge of the table, crouching in front of Jammer like a parent before a child (hears all the rules snap in his mind, like brittle bones) and he finds Jammer’s gaze.
Redder now; not just fatigue, but grief (sold something he’s never going to get back).
“Listen to me,” Doral says softly, and the openness of Jammer’s eyes does strange things to Doral’s stomach. “All we’ve done here is try to live in harmony.” The half-lie twists in his throat. “We want to live in harmony,” and that’s closer to the truth. “It can never happen, not if the insurgency keeps killing us.”
And Doral’s not sure who he’s trying to convince, himself or Jammer.
“Yeah,” Jammer breathes. “I guess.”
The crack inside Doral widens, and the rules of interrogation, they’re gone now. The rules that you follow when breaking someone, when re-forming them into the mold of your choice (makes them cold and angry forever) – it’s gone. Doral has come too close. He might have ruined Jammer, just by being this way. He should, by all rights, give this job to another one of the fives.
But he won’t.
- - - -
A week later, and Jammer has joined the New Caprica Police, as Doral knew he would. Doral doesn’t understand why he wants to visit the training camp (catch a glimpse) but at the same time he dreads it so badly he wonders if he’ll even be able to force himself to go (what if).
- - - -
The next time they see each other, Doral is within the stacks of raw materials outside the factory yard that serves to train the new human police force. Jammer is leaving the facility, and when he sees Doral, his pace slows.
“Is it you?” Jammer asks.
Doral raises an eyebrow.
“The five who, y’know,” Jammer explains. “Gave me the chip.”
“You don’t believe we’re all the same?” Doral asks.
Jammer eyes him carefully. “It is you,” he says. “I know it.”
“You can’t know that,” says Doral.
“I can,” Jammer returns. “Am I wrong?”
Doral holds his gaze for a moment, then shakes his head, dropping his eyes. Doral’s turn to look away. “No,” Doral admits. “You’re not wrong.”
“So, do you have a name, or am I just going to have to keep calling you ‘five’?” Jammer asks.
“Doral,” Doral murmurs. “Aaron Doral.”
Jammer nods, acknowledging, and leans against the stack of metal sheets next to Doral. “You came here to see me?” Jammer asks.
“No,” Doral responds, and he thinks Jammer can tell it’s a lie (when did Jammer become the interrogator?).
—a flash of projection, so quick that Doral can’t prevent it, and he’s in a chair, a hard metal chair, and he looks up; Jammer stands above him, a knife in his hand. There’s a delicate snick and Doral realizes there is a sudden release of pressure around his wrists—
—Doral snaps out of the projection suddenly, too suddenly, and the world pitches.
“Hey, easy,” Jammer says, catching Doral’s upper arm. “You okay?”
His subconscious is out of control.
Doral glances up briefly, a quick nod, intending to step back and out of Jammer’s space (out of Doral’s space), but Jammer doesn’t let go of his arm.
And in Jammer’s face, there’s a look that Doral doesn’t entirely understand (surprise? Shock? Disgust?) and Doral delicately touches his lips to Jammer’s, a kiss. In that second, Doral understands that this is exactly what he wants.
But then everything comes flooding back, and the two of them separate violently, as though the confiscated ammonium nitrate had exploded between them. “I’m sorry,” Doral mumbles, and he slips around the corner.
Jammer’s shocked face still echoes behind his eyes.
- - - -
It’s later, and the dreams are much more vivid now, ending with Doral gasping awake, a rare heat rising from his body. He’s confused, feverish and cold, and every part of him feels as though it fits wrong.
At the same time, the world feels bolder than it has since his first resurrection. He acts the same as before (Caprica looking at him strangely as he moves into a room), as smooth and cunning as he always has been, but inside he doubts.
At night, after the light in the sky has dimmed, Doral wanders out among the city. He hopes for a glimpse of Jammer; he hasn’t seen him since that brief touch between them. His pulse threads with a hunger he doesn’t understand.
As he passes Jammer’s tent, a hand reaches out and catches him, pulling him into the gap between this tent and the next.
“It’s you,” Jammer says.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Doral denies.
“Don’t lie to me.” There’s a sting to Jammer’s words.
The world moves into focus, and Doral realizes Jammer is standing quite close to him. “We shouldn’t,” Doral begins.
“Shouldn’t what?” Jammer asks.
Doral raises an eyebrow. “We’re in public,” he points out.
“So what?” Jammer asks.
“It may hurt your standing among your insurgency friends,” Doral says in clipped tones.
“My stand—?” Jammer looks at Doral in disbelief. He takes Doral by one of his perfectly coiffed lapels and drags him into the tent. Doral makes a startled noise as Jammer pushes him against a shelf, but it’s muffled as Jammer presses his mouth onto Doral’s, a proper kiss this time.
Jammer’s hands grip Doral’s jacket as he licks his way into the Cylon’s mouth; Doral lets his groan fade into silence.
Jammer finally breaks the kiss. “Don’t say you’re sorry,” he warns.
A complicated expression passes over Doral’s face, but he doesn’t speak. He can’t trust himself to, not with that strange tingling, beginning at his groin and working its way upwards. Arousal, he puts a name to it, and he feels himself flush.
Jammer’s lips are swollen a little, and he’s mussed. Doral sees the reflection of his own desire in Jammer’s eyes, and the sight is somehow completely unbearable.
This has changed everything, ruined everything – because now Doral knows he can change Jammer. He knows he can force Jammer into whatever mold he wishes, but now, now he doesn’t want to.
“You’ve ruined everything,” Doral sighs.
“So have you,” returns Jammer, and it’s equal.
Doral kisses the human again, reveling in the hunger. It’s entirely unlike anything he’s used to. He can’t get enough of it.
“Graduation ceremony tomorrow,” Jammer whispers.
“I won’t be there.” There’s a knot in Doral’s stomach.
There’s a pause, a shallow kiss. “I understand,” says Jammer, and Doral wonders how he could possibly.
“I should,” Doral begins. “I should go back to the compound.”
Jammer, reluctantly, steps back. He watches Doral leave with dark eyes.
- - - -
The following evening, Doral is pulled out of a reverie by a blast that makes the ground shake.
He runs (runs, not strolls) to Colonial One.
Inside, an Eight rounds on him. “They’ve blown up the ceremony!” she snarls, her anger not at him, though, and it’s as though he suddenly has no strength left in him.
Doral looks at her steadily. “Survivors?”
She nods. “We’ll have a count soon enough.”
And it’s anxiety, anxiety, anxiety until Doral can get into the compound, put his hands in the link and check the count, the list—
Please please no not now not like this
—he’s there, relief so palpable it hurts. He’s there, he’s uninjured. He’s fine.
- - - -
When next Doral see him, it’s after the raids, the arrests that picked up humans (how many). He’s slumped against cold concrete wall of the compound, and he’s alone.
Doral sits down next to him.
“Aaron,” Jammer says, and the sound of his own name surprises Doral.
“It was one of the fives,” Doral says.
Jammer looks up at him. “What?” he asks, uncomprehending.
“One of the other fives,” Doral repeats. “He forced Baltar to sign the warrants.”
“So what?” Jammer asks, bewildered.
How can he understand, Doral wonders. How can he understand the guilt of someone, someone just like you (there but for the grace of god) who does something so horrible?
“It’s the guilt,” Doral tries to explain.
“The guilt.” Jammer looks at the Cylon with hollow eyes. “The guilt?” He clenches, unclenches his fists. “Did you hear them screaming?”
And Doral realizes he doesn’t understand Jammer either, for all their pretense of manipulating one another. Maybe there’s just not enough common ground.
He walks away, leaving Jammer that way (hands covering his face).
- - - -
And he misses Jammer so badly.
- - - -
Then, it’s everything coming to an end. The world, collapsing and exploding, bursting into flame beneath their feet. The Cylon occupation is over; the insurgency attacks are too fast, too difficult to keep up with, and there’s live fire traded everywhere.
Doral slips out of the compound (underground) and into the streets of New Caprica. He ducks through the chaos (little enough to spare for another skinjob), and finds Jammer in his tent, throwing a few belongings into his pockets.
“The Galactica is coming,” he tells Doral.
Grief seizes Doral, and he understands. “We’re betrayed,” he murmurs.
“Yeah,” Jammer shoots back, “someone gave us the codes.”
Doral nods. Jammer stops, and looks directly at Doral. His eyes shine.
Somehow, (don’t understand) they cross the space between them and come together, lips to lips, tongue to tongue. One of Jammer’s arms slides around the back of Doral’s neck, and Doral tastes salt-water between them mouths.
In that instant, Doral understands everything. He understands everything and he wants everything (everything), he wants it all. A lifetime, an instant; he wants to feel Jammer give in to pleasure underneath him (bury inside him), he wants to lose himself under Jammer’s mouth, Jammer’s fingertips. He wants anything and everything the galaxy has to offer, so long as this human is with him.
And in that same instant, he knows without a doubt, that his and Jammer’s future was decided a long time ago. It was over, long, long before it had begun.
“How long?” Doral asks, against Jammer’s cheek.
“Half an hour,” and Jammer’s voice is so full it’s unrecognizable.
And Doral, filled with grief and anger (why us? Why this way?) lowers Jammer to the bed underneath them. Jammer, somehow, understands everything, and he slips Doral’s coat off, his shirt.
Then they’re naked, and it’s the most wonderful thing Doral has ever felt. Skin on skin, and Jammer’s touch is all over him (no time, no time). Jammer is beautiful and flushed, and when Doral reaches down, Jammer is hard, tossing his head against the pillow.
An explosion shatters something in the distance, and Doral strokes Jammer gently, feeling the human quake (like the ground) underneath him. Jammer takes Doral, too; and suddenly, Doral can’t think, can’t breathe. He only exists here, with Jammer, the two of them, in this perfect, lone moment, frozen in a world full of hate.
Jammer cries out when he comes and Doral silences him.
There’s an explosion of thunder above; the Galactica is in the sky.
When they have their clothes back on (no time), Doral turns to Jammer. “Get to your ship,” he orders, hating the words as they come out of his mouth.
“What about you?” Jammer asks, and Doral (he knows now) feels his heart break.
“Don’t worry about me,” Doral tells Jammer, anguish cracking his voice. He presses one last kiss to Jammer’s mouth. “Goodbye,” he whispers, and he escapes out the flap of the tent.
- - - -
It’s bare months later when Doral is captured (should’ve been an easy mission) and tried by the humans. He’s found guilty of murder (it was a five that shouted at Baltar; Doral is responsible, even if he isn’t he really is). He doesn’t even react until they tell him the sentence is death.
He still hasn’t seen Jammer, he doesn’t know how to go about asking. He’s not sure if these people who escort him everywhere (collar, chains, wristlets, anklets) would even listen to him.
He suspects they won’t.
Doral is on his way to the airlock (the cold of space for him) when he catches a glimpse, out of the edge of his eye, of
“Jammer,” Doral gasps out, winded. “Is Jammer alive? Did he get off New Caprica?”
His voice has desperation in it; he must know, he must know.
Doral’s stomach drops.
“He was executed,”
And it’s the end.
- - - -
They bring Doral to his knees inside the airlock. Doral closes his eyes—
—and when he opens them, he is on a spiny rock, a cold, treacherous sea crashing all around. He turns, looks up.
Jammer is there, higher up on the cliff, a lone figure silhouetted against the sun.
Jammer steps down, standing next to Doral. He extends a hand, touches Doral’s face—
“Any last words?” Admiral Adama asks, through an intercom. So impersonal, so distant.
—“They’re going to kill me.”
“I know,” Jammer says calmly—
There are tears in Doral’s eyes, tears on his cheeks.
—“Will you be there?” Doral asks. Pleads.
“I will,” and Jammer draws Doral in towards him—
“I’m sorry,” Doral whispers to the humans. “I didn’t mean it.”
—As they embrace, the sea leaps up, envelopes them in darkness—
The air rushes away, bringing Doral with it, casting him into the void between the stars.