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BOK, BSG-style. Julianne is seeing Lloyd. Lloyd is seeing Julianne. Too bad they're not in the same room when it happens.





They call lights out and it’s the best and worst thing he can think of happening.

She vanishes.



*****



She’s back, the next evening.

On the one hand, there’s the fact that he’s obviously hallucinating. On the other hand, there’s the irresistible impulse to speak to her.

He’s so, so glad he’s between cellmates.

“Do you care for her?”

He doesn’t have an answer.

“Do you know what it is to care for someone?”

He takes a deep breath. “Twice now,” he says, softly, quickly, “both times in the evening.”

“Have you ever been loved?”

“I'm guessing you're either hypnagogic or penduncular.”

She laughs. “Oh, Doctor, no. No.” Her voice is low and lovely. “You're not narcoleptic, and there's nothing wrong with your brain. No lesions, no epilepsy.” She leans down, and he can see everything shifting under that purple sheath of a dress. “Your mind,” she breathes, “is perfection.”

There's a split second where he wants to believe in her.



*****



The thing that’s worst for Julianne, the thing that hurts the most, is how easy it is to start leaning on him again. To let him sit in the passenger seat of her car, as if it's normal. To share a bed with him again, as if he might still be some kind of real.

He calls her brave, and beautiful.



*****



Something wakes Lloyd up. Fingers, trailing across his skull. A hand on his chest. A body in the bunk with him.

He snaps up, gasping, hits his head.

“Careful, Doctor, careful,” she coos, sitting up beside him, cupping his cheek with her hand. “Are you all right?”

“No,” he says, “no, I'm not all right.”

“I didn’t mean to frighten you,” she murmurs. She strokes his face while she talks. “You were just so peaceful, sleeping”

He stares at her.

She leans closer and, oh God, she smells like Julianne’s perfume. “Do you think I’m beautiful?”

He takes a shaking breath. “I’ll find out what you are. And then you’ll be gone.”

Her face twists with rage.

“Shut up,” calls someone from an adjacent cell.

He looks away and she’s gone.



*****



“I have,” he says, very softly, staring at the bunk above him, “accepted that narcolepsy is unlikely. Same thing with epilepsy.”

“Doctor,” she is lying next to him again, running a hand through his hair, “it hurts me when you talk like this.” She’s barefoot this time.

“I find schizophrenia unlikely, but not impossible,” he continues. “Nothing in my family medical history suggests Parkinson’s. I still think the best bet is peduncular hallucinosis, probably caused by lesions-”

“Do you really believe everything can be explained by such cold rationality?”

Lloyd pushes himself up, half sitting, half lying on the bunk. “I think the world is rational. I think it can understood.”

“I’m not rational.”

“You. Are. Not. Real.”

She looks at him as though he’s slapped her. For a moment, he thinks she might cry.



*****



He accepts that there is something wrong in his mind, and that she is going to be with him until he finds it and fixes it. All he has to do is not react to her too obviously. The only real trouble is finding a way to get a CAT scan without endangering his place at Maybelle.

She starts following him during the day. It’s deeply unnerving, at first. Then he gets used to it.

Then it gets worse.



*****



He’s watching a poker game. He has been so, so good about not joining in, but he can’t stop watching. She’s standing at his side, which seems to be her favorite place. Her hand is on his arm. She turns toward him, brushes her lips against his ear. “Deal in,” she whispers.

He shivers, shakes his head. Her fingers tighten. It’s painful. He looks at her, frowning. She shouldn’t be able to hurt him like, should she? He knows he knows the answer to this- “Join the game,” she says. It’s not a suggestion.

He does it. He’s actually afraid of what she might do if he doesn’t.

“Lloyd,” calls Shea, “Lloyd, what are you doing?”

“Playing poker.”

“Are you nuts?”

She leans on him, arms around his shoulders, breasts pressed against his back. She tells him when to call, when to raise. He tries very hard to breathe normally. He can’t even bring himself to ask the other players how many “flop sweat” jokes they can make before they get bored of their own voices.

Every sane thought in his head tells him to deal out while he still can, but he doesn’t.

He keeps winning.

He draws a crowd.

He keeps winning.

The other players fold, first one, then another.

She kisses his cheek, his neck, whispers call, whispers check. He waits for the other shoe to drop.

He wins.

“See,” she murmurs, standing, rubbing his shoulders, “I told you.”

“Yeah,” he says. He tries to stand up.

She pushes him back down into his seat, hard. “Now give it back,” she says.

“What?”

“Who are you talking to?” Says one of the men still seated at the table.

“I said,” she digs her fingers into the back of his neck, “give it back.”

“What’s up with you, Lowery?”

“Keep it.”

“What?”

“The pot. Whatever you bet. Take it back. I don’t want it.”

“Are you insane?”

“You know, I think I might be.”



*****



She won’t stop smiling at him.

“That wasn’t-” He breathes in, blinking into the dim light. “That was-”

“Are you searching for a rational explanation, Doctor?”

“Luck. It was luck.”

She sits beside him on the bunk, takes his hand. “Luck isn’t rational.”

“Oh, great. Great. Are you the champion of rationality now? Is that how this works- I want logic you do poetry, I do poetry, you do logic?”

She laughs. He wants to hate that laugh but sinks into his chest like- “That’s not how it works, Doctor Lowery. I’m glad you’re looking for an answer outside of logic. But you’re wrong about luck. There was no luck involved.”

“No? No, okay.” Keeping his voice low is increasingly difficult. “You tell me what it was.”

She smooths the hair back from his forehead. “Love.”

“Lo- Fantastic. This is completely insane.”

“No it’s not, Doctor Lowery. It’s divine. It was my love for you. God sent me to love you. To guide you.”

“To- Oh my God. Oh my God. I have completely cracked. I knew it. I knew it was going to happen someday, I-”

She takes his face in her hands, shakes her head. “No, no. Doctor, how can you deny the evidence I’ve given you? That game- Have you ever in your life won like that? You put yourself in my hands I guided you.”

“No.”

“God worked through me and I guided-”

“There is no such thing as God.”

Her hands tense. The smile fades from her face. “God loves you, Doctor Lowery.”

“No.”

“God loves you.” There is nothing sweet or soft left in her voice. “And he has sent me to guide you.”

“Guide me to what?”

“To see the shape of things to come.”



*****



He comes so, so close to telling Shea. He needs to tell someone.

“Do you really think you get to stay here if anyone knows you’re seeing a,” she sighs in his ear, “a very particular version of your most vulnerable co-worker?”

“You are sick,” he hisses at her.

“I am trying to help you,” she says.

“You’re doing a great job of it.”

“Do you love me?”

“No.”

Her eyelids flicker; her lip trembles for a moment. “But I love you.”

“You’re not real. You can’t love anything.”

“I do love you. I feel it, I ache with it- If you loved someone so much it hurt, wouldn’t you want to know they loved you too? Wouldn’t you want to know if she-”

“Stop.”

“Love opens the way to forgiveness, Doctor Lowery. God wants to forgive you. He wants you to love and be loved.”

“Please stop.”



*****



He wants so badly for a case, for a riot, for anything. Anything to break this rhythm.

“Pray,” she whispers. She slides her hand along his thigh. “Pray.”

“No.”

“Trust me. Open yourself to something beyond your senses.”

“No.”

She digs her nails into the flesh of his inner thigh; even through the fabric of his jumpsuit, they feel like claws. “I can make this so much worse for you.”

“God-”

“Lowery! Work-release van’s here. Hurry it up.”

She laughs, nips his ear. “I told you.”

“Coincidence,” he murmurs.

She gives him a particularly pouty glance. “You don’t really believe that.”



*****



Julianne stops for coffee. She’s gotten so much better at things like this in the past few months. She doesn’t want to give Lloyd Lowery all the credit, or any of it really, but she knows forcing herself to ask people for the time has helped. It’s helped a lot.

She doesn’t want to think that Other Lloyd has played a role at all, but she feels brave, just opening the door of the shop. That’s not a word she would have used to describe herself two weeks ago.

She’s standing in line when it happens.

She smells cedar. She hears a song the radio shouldn’t playing. She bites her lip, shifts her feet. She is fine, she tells herself, she is going to be just fine.

The man in front of her says something to the cashier. The woman blushes. He turns around.

“Good morning, Julianne.”

She freezes. She can’t tell if he vanishes or walks away.

“Miss?” The cashier is looking at her, almost smiling. “Miss, do you know him?”

“Uh- Know who?”

“Guy in the suit? Cute blond?”

“Uh, no.”

“Oh. I should’ve asked for his number.”

*****
(Part V Coming Soon)

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
_tehshush_
May. 13th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC)
I'm a lurker so I often neglect commenting unless there is something that desperately needs fixing; however, I feel the opposite of this fic. I love a lot of the stories posted for BoK, but this is definitely my favourite (no offense to other writers, as I've read every single story posted and I enjoy them too). I adore the idea of realistic hallucinations which affect their emotions, and I love that the people they see are so realistic that they can feel and smell them. That last part definitely intrigued me, and I am really looking forward to the next chapter. Thank you for sharing your story!
claro3
May. 13th, 2011 05:55 am (UTC)
Oh, my! Thank you; I'm quite flattered. <3 Do be less of a lurker, love. :D
kaibosh
May. 13th, 2011 09:37 am (UTC)
PEOPLE CAN SEE HIM PEOPLE CAN SEE HIM PEOPLE CAN-

Right no I am calm and this must be quick because I'm off for breakfast pancakes, but no reason I can't elaborate later. Basically, damn. I liked the focus shift to Lloyd here after the drop at the end of the last chapter, that helped balance things and bring us up to the same point with both of them. It's only going to get better from here on it, it seems, which is saying something quiter considerable given the standard so far. But then, it's you.

I love the contrasts here. Other Julianne is, no other word, a bitch. She's glorious, though. Strong in an entirely unflattering but entirely seductive way. She reminds me of a harpy, what with the constant references to claws. Other Lloyd is...hmm. Scar? xD

I cannot wait for part four. This is perfect and you are perfect and everything is wonderful.
claro3
May. 13th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, technically a violation of the BSG rules, but shit, I'm just borrowing, not obeying!

Purple Julianne is a freaking psycho, no doubt. Haha, Scar. Ahahaha. Maybe.

Next part soonish, hopefully still brain-melty.
canadiankitty
May. 15th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
*squeaks* I... don't know if I can form words for this...

Okay so first off I love you bringing in the cylons religious beliefs. All the scenes between Lloyd and Not!Julianne I couldn't help but picture Baltar and Six. It's uncanny!

Also I found it interesting how accepting? Julianne seems of all this while Lloyd is resisting. Julianne knows something isn't quite kosher but she's rolling with it. Lloyd keeps pushing back. Their reality would suggest it to be the other way around. Lloyd almost longs/pines for her while she seems to know he's present... but not really? That almost makes sense... anyway, I love that about this story! When things happen with the mind, things get unpredictable!

Also... did someone see him? like HIM?!? Or was that a coincidence? OMG!

...oh look at that, I can form words...
claro3
May. 15th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC)
Oh, I adore you.

AHHHHH the religion thing! One of the things that I really liked about BSG was that the "Cylon" religious beliefs are... Basically just Abrahamic. It's a little New Testament what with the "God is love" riff, and the whole thing with angels/demons/messengers is very much a part of a lot of real-world religions/religious sects, so I feel like I have the freedom to bring in some of the mysticism without feeling totally beholden to BSG canon. I mean, she could be this independent entity telling him things that are true, or things that aren't true but she believes, or things she wants him to believe, or she could be a genuine hallucination getting her lines from the cultural stew Lloyd has been simmering in all his life. All equally valid interpretations as things currently stand, just like they were once upon a "Kobol's Last Gleaming." After all, "Angel of God" is kind of a garden variety brand of crazy, isn't it? Goes right along with "there's radios in my teeth" and "the CIA is watching me."

Oh, I have all kinds of answers for that second paragraph, but hopefully Part V will make things a little more... Fleshed out.

Ha! That is the question of the hour. ;P
allysue08
May. 16th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
I just want to say that I basically adore this story. It's very interesting. I love the concept. I must admit I've never seen BSG, I know, I'm lame. So, I'm taking everything as very new, and it's brilliant. I'm captivated and cannot wait to see more, please say there will be more soon!

Thank you for sharing your story :)

Have a great day!
claro3
May. 16th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, thank you! Reviews like this from people who don't know BSG; it makes me feel like I'm doing something right. :)
ladycat713
May. 22nd, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
I haven't seen BSG since the first one when Starbuck was a man but this is still completely intriguing.
claro3
May. 22nd, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, excellent! Thank you.
la_la_lanne
May. 25th, 2011 12:05 am (UTC)
I read the bottom over like five times and was like "WHOA WHERE'S MY MIND I THINK IT BLEW AWAY" either way, you did awesome. I am patiently wait for V *folds hands in lap and crosses legs* just silently waiting for five . . .
claro3
May. 25th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
Ha! Mission accomplished. Part V by Sunday, I think.
quidoristid
Feb. 16th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
Find friends with benefits and Be Naughty! Go Here dld.bz/chwZH
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )