PHD #279: Elder Sister
Elder Sister
Summary: Maggie comes to Leyla with a question. Things end up going in a very different direction.
Date: 21 Dec 2041 AE, backscened to 2 Dec 2041 AE
Related Logs: None, except for vague references.
Leyla Quinn 
Pilot Berths
The battlestar's pilots call this place home. Bunks line the walls with grey curtains to cover their sleeping areas. Lockers sit between each pair of bunks and a round metal table sits in the center, furnished with simple but comfortable steel chairs. A hatch at the rear of the room leads to a communal head.
Post-Holocaust Day: #279

It's a quiet night, one Maggie has waited for where Bran is off doing something and Leyla is not. Often, it's the opposite way around, since Bran has stuck 'close to home' with Maggie so often off her feet, and he practically having moved into her bunk. But he's not there, and Maggie's waddled over to the side of Leyla's bunk, politely knocking on the outside metal edge…"Sweet Pea, you awake? You home?" She whispers gently.

Sweet Pea is indeed awake, and in residence. But she's not in her bottom bunk. Rather, she's in the bunk atop hers, which, since she arrived, has been empty. Lately, however, it's been commandeered. After a fashion. The captain of the MV Elpis, and erstwhile raptor pilot, Payback, he of the skillful flying that saved both his and Bran's life, seems to have picked up a rack in the berthings, courtesy of Sweet Pea. His name's on the bunk, and, as Leyla pulls back the curtain to reveal herself in the midst of adding linens and sundry to the bunk, it's clear she's setting it up, despite the fact that in all likelihood the man will never use it. But that's not the point. He flew with the Harriers and saved one of their own. That makes him family. One of their own.

That makes Maggie blink. She looks up in the direction of the suddenly far more homey looking bunk that she's used to being empty. It just makes her smile, "Hey, didn't expect you up there? Expecting company?" The middle aged, pregnant pilot quips out gently. She looks a bit sheepish to have interrupted. "I… I can't come back another time, if you're busy. Just wanted to pick your brain about something."

Leyla shakes her head, looking down at the flat sheet she's in the middle of unfolding. It takes special skill to be able to make a bed in a breadbox. A skill any military member who's spend enough time in these racks ha acquired, "Oh, no. It's mostly just ceremonial. But I thought he should have a room in the house." Cause that's what families do, they live together. "Let me come down, I have time."

"Sure. I… I won't bother you too long, I promise." Maggie's almost been shy around Leyla, since the night she drug off the woman's best friend for a casual frak that turned anything but casual as of late. The older woman's ankles really aren't happy with standing if she doesn't have to, so she heads back to the table and pulls over the nearest chair, swinging it around to face the bunk so she can lower herself back and down into the thing. It's not a comfortable motion to watch, her center of gravity mostly nonexistent these days! But she makes it down. "…So… I gotta favour to ask you. I'm certain you know Sam's birthday is coming up and I'm… lost on something to get him."

Leyla waves a hand in Quinn's general direction, as she climbs down from the top bunk to settle onto hers, linens left in a pile to be handled later, "You're never a bother, Jugs, you should know that." There's quiet patience as she waits for Quinn to settle herself. One of the downsides to having never been pregnant yourself. You don't really know, from personal experience, how horrible it is, "Well, what sort of gift are you looking for? I mean besides the one you're carrying already." No, it might not be Bran's bun in Maggie's oven, but try telling him that and he'll probably punch you in the face. Yes, he's that protective of the LSO.

A thankful sort of smile crosses Maggie's face as the woman assures her it's no issue. "Thank you anyway." She states heartfully. Settled down, she looks a bit more comfortable. Her fingertips lazily rub across her side, a somewhat subconscious motion that is both out of a strange soothing of the babe and attempts to ease aching tendons. "I… I'm not certain if the baby -quite- counts… but yes, other than that. I guess the main thing is… accessible. I don't know what sort of books he likes, if any… or poetry.. scents… Drinks… we're so used to living without here, forgetting the things we once liked… I don't even know what those things might -be-."

"Of course the baby counts. You're giving him a chance to be a father. And I know that's something he cherishes. Something I think he might have given up on, after the end of the world. It doesn't matter the baby didn't come about in the usual way." Leyla considers, as she pieces together what she knows about the man, "Well, he's very religious. Ares, I believe. And Hephaestus. To tell you the truth, I never much looked into that. I'm not a believer." Completely the opposite to Bran, indeed. "He loves history, and anything mechanical. He used to be aviation warfare systems technician, before he went to OCS. He draws alot, even when he thinks nobody notices. I know his supplies must be getting low."

Quinn actually seems rather surprised as Leyla speaks about the baby like that. Apparently, Maggie had never known. "Really?" She asks in quiet shock about the fact Bran actually -wants- to be a father, he's not just taken some sort of noble pity on her. It brings her smile about just a bit easier, "That… huh… that's good to know." And then the thought is shaken off so she can move on to the more physical gifts she can possibly hunt down over the next few days. "Mm… those are all quite good ideas. I think I can get the pencils and paper fairly easily, at least. I'll have to start doing hunting." Maggie smiles wide to the woman. "Thank you. I owe you. Big."

"I know most people watch those Taurian Dramas and they think we're all like that. And mostly we're not, but in some ways we are. For most of us, I suppose the ones who keep more of the traditional ways, like Sam and I, family is important. It's why we wear the traditional tatau, why we go through the pain and scarring and the risk of getting our tatau." Leyla makes no attempt to reveal more of her own tatau than what is already visible, as she's dressed in her shorts and tank tops, so most all of her legs. "It's why the traditional greeting of one Taurian to another gives not only our name, but who we came from. So that we don't forget what came before us. So that we respect that and know that when the time comes, we will not go with shame. But those stories are nothing without the hearts and minds of family to carry them on. Believe me, that child is a treasure." But as Maggie moves to more physical things, so too does Leyla. "I think I've been lucky that I've done quite a bit of the salvage runs, especially on Aerilon, I could probably help you figure out who has what. If you want to get him the pencils and paper. There might be some religious icons out there as well."

Quinn listens earnestly to the quiet, passionate lesson in Taurian culture. She really didn't know, not all of that. For the first time in a while, her smile actually eases a touch. The baby has always been a miracle, but she's also been worried about the burden she'll be. To hear it put that way is a quiet relief. A bit of honour. "Well…I…I'm glad he'll have a chance to pass on the tradition. I'd be honoured… will be honoured, if he's willing to take things that far." Maggie whispers, more material things actually now just forgotten. This is far more important. "I… I might not be Taurian myself but… I do know how important family is. It'd be good for this baby to have family." Her fingertips rub a bit more against the side of her belly, where a little heel is digging in nice and deep against her womb. One of those little motions where her tank tops even show the faint outward denting.

"You know, it's really too bad you can't talk to the baby." Yes, foot is showing through belly. "You could have her put her hands out and fly the raptor for you." Since that would be the only way poor Quinn could reach the controls comfortably now. But she does return, quick enough, to more serious topics, "There is no shame in being from another place. We all came from somewhere else, from Kobol, the stories tell us. Perhaps, in that long ago, we were all the same people. Only time has caused us to drift apart. What matters is respect, being willing to respect people and the traditions from which they come."

Quinn glares down at the foot, mostly used to it but it doesn't make any more -comfortable-. It's really rather UNCOMFORTABLE. And weird as hell. "I don't know, I think she's got the idea that her feet are stronger or something right now. Determined to kick her way through, come hell or high water." Maggie grumbles quietly, rubbing her fingertips against that little heel. But yes, back to grown up conversation. "…Kobol, aye…" She breathes out, just thinking about it for a few moments. Not nearly so skeptical as she used to be. "I always hated tradition growing up. Couldn't wait to get away from it. Now… well, I guess we all get nostalgic as we get older. Still, I will be honoured to learn yours. If… if Sam wants to take things that far."

"Sam Bran has never been a man to make commitments lightly, or to take them so. Not in all the years that I've known him. But if you'd like to learn a bit more about our traditions, you could certainly ask him, or me. I think it might make him happy that you were interested. I'm told, that like many of the Brans, he is a born storyteller." Leyla shifts, folding her legs beneath her as she settles back in on her bed, "How much longer now, before the baby comes?"

Quinn tilts her head a touch, a bit more interest in her muddy green eyes. She gives Leyla a small smile. "I'm certain Sam is… but… I'd be curious. About your story. Whatever you'd be willing to tell…" Maggie narrows her eyes, actually forcing herself to think about a more coherent question. As she's thinking, the due date question is answered quietly, "Six week or so… By the chart, a little bit more, but with my age… doc would be happy with the baby cooking another month." She admits, trying not to sound worried or ashamed. And then the question does hit her. "What's your favourite tradition?"

"I'm not sure that my story would be all that interesting. I'm from Derry, in the Black Country. As far as I can recall, or I've ever been told, we've always lived there. We never had much to do with the revolts or uprisings that made Tauron so infamous, mostly we stayed close to home, working the factories there. Except my grandfather. He was the only member of his generation to get any sort of real education. He did pretty well too, ended up an engineer at Delphic Industries." Which Quinn might or might not recognize. They were one of the largest weapons conglomerates during the first war. "That's how I got into Academy. He called in some favours." It's odd, but as dedicated to the history of the Aydins as Leyla is, "I don't really know what you'd find interesting." Certainly no one's really ever asked her before.

The woman's story draws a bit more of a surprisingly understanding smile from Maggie's freckled face. "Huh…I suppose the more…different people are, the more alike they could be. My family was much the same. Country folk, though we were farmers. My grandfather also was the one to make something for himself. Fought in the first cylon war… Inspired me to run off to the academy as soon as I could." And here Maggie sits today. Still, the thought of their stories being so similar is a strange comfort. "…And, I find the woman sitting before me interesting. That's why I ask about -your- favourite tradition."

"Perhaps if we had not been brought up in Derry, we might have been farmers. People who needed strong hands and strong backs to get through the days." Blue collar is still blue collar, whether you're tilling a field or making shirts in a factory, "Well, my favourite tradition, in my family, is called just….Welcoming. Our stories tell us that where we came from, we were people of the sea, born out of it and lived with it, traveled across it, until we came to Tauron. When a child is going to be born, the mother will usually travel, if she can, to the closest body of water. When the baby is born, they're taken to the water and bathed in it, so that they can feel the sea on their skin, so that it can be one of their first memories." Leyla pauses, considering, "It's not as easy now as it once was. Mostly now, a small basin will be used and filled with salt water. There's not much water around the BC that's not polluted."

Maggie settles back, shifting onto the chair in attempts to get more comfortable. It's not an easy thing, not on the hard chairs around the shared tables, but she'll do what she can. It's like settling into hear a story. The chosen tradition surprises her a bit — it seems Leyla is full of shocks for the elder Maggie — but it warms her too. "…That… that's certainly a lovely memory to have. I know some of my younger siblings were born into water, to help with the pain. Your way seems far more… elegant." She chuckles to herself. "If… if you would be willing, and the doctors wound not mind, I do not suppose you would… Sit over a welcoming for me? And Sam, of course.."

"Why don't you go and lie down, Maggie? You don't have to be sitting up just because I am. I can always find an empty bunk opposite you to take over for a while. There's no reason for you to be hurting." Leyla hops up off of her own bunk, to make room. No point in having the other woman trundle all the way back down to her bunk. "Some women do that too. But it's not the same as the sea." And certainly trying to give birth in salt water would be a major ouchie. Surprise, at Maggie's request, that much is evident, "No, of course not. I'd be happy to. I will see if I can get translate the songs for you that go with it." A beat, "Unless you can sing in Taurian."

Quinn laughs a bit more, "No, no… I do not know Taurian, but if you have time, I'd be willing to learn? IT's the least I can do, to honour your culture properly…Our culture…" Her fingertips rub across her belly as she states that last piece. The baby was going to be half Taurian, come hades or high water it seemed. She tiredly laughs at the thought of being uncomfortable. "Yes… the bed might be nice, but that would require getting up." Something she's reluctant to do. But, slowly and surely, she scoots forward to the edge of her chair. It's easier if she gets a rocking start from the very edge of the chair.

"I will teach you the old songs. And the language as well, if you want to learn it. There is one song you might like…that Sam might like." Once Leyla sees Quinn getting ready to get up, rather than allow the woman to move herself, she steps forward, to wrap her arms around Quinn, and offer her support, "Let me help you, Elder Sister." Tradition is a strange thing, with the Aydins. Still, as she tries to help Quinn move over to her bunk to lie down, she begins to sing. She's no great voice, but there's something about taurian that seems to make up for it. That, or she's just sung the song enough to be able to carry the tune.

Paurangi te ngakau e hine
Moemoe wairangi te wairua,
Maranga ma tangi hau ora
Tiro pei kata aroha irunga

Muri muri hui hui o u kape,
Kere kere aroha i runga
Maranga e hine kua rongo he rangi
Kahore he pouri e kore e taea e te aroha.

Once in Taurian, and then again, not sung, but recited in Standard.

Beneath a tree, stricken with love, I crept
Weary and lost, alone I slept
Rising in hidden sweetest murmurs
Gentle breezes peep and smile

Softer than silence o'er my brow they played
Wafting love's incense to my soul
Calling "Awake fond one, the heavens are glowing
There is no darkness love cannot light."

Quinn normally wouldn't be fine with such assistance, Maggie having been very adamant about getting around and being quite on her own no matter how pregnant she is. But the tradition and the gentleness behind the offer is something she can't refuse. She keeps that smile, accepting the help up. It's really just leverage to get up onto her feet that she needs, and then she's waddling the few feet to her bed and gingerly taking the assistance to get back down. She listens to the song, her eyes almost heavy with relaxation to hear it. But she's supposed to be learning it, not dropping off to sleep. So, after a few moments, she repeats, "Paurangi te ehn-akau e hine, Moemoe wairangi te wairuay…" She's got a few things wrong, but over all, it's a good first attempt.

Indeed there's nothing in Leyla's manner that says 'you can't' or attempts to lessen Maggie's independence, it's simply…what a younger sister does for an older one. Once Quinn is settled onto her bunk, Leyla finds an empty bunk, one of too many, to settle into, pushing back the curtain. There's even a faint smile, as she listens to the first attempt that, what is by rights, a tongue-twisting languages, filled with sounds and inflections that do not exist in standard. "A good beginning, we will practice a bit more when we are both better rested. The baby takes quite a bit out of you."

Quinn grumbles slightly, "Mm.. maybe… I… I didn't meant to be crawling into bed like this…" But damn, she was tired, especially now that she was done. Her body was telling her how lovely sleep was, how great her pillow felt, and how the two hour wake up call from her bladder was going to come too damn soon. "Thank you, Leyla… truly. Thank you. Not just for the suggestions." She forces her eyes to stay open long enough for her to say that rather adamantly. The whole night had been far more than she could have ever wished.

"Once day, it will all seem like a dream you dreamt, Maggie. And your daughter will be here and so will Sam. So enjoy the dream while you can, and sleep. I will sing you another song, I think I know one that you might like." Leyla remains where she's settled, perhaps to watch over, perhaps to sing, to make certain that Quinn does indeed drift off to sleep. "You are welcome, Margaret, born of the Quinns of Aerilon."

Quinn might tear up in sentiment alone if she wasn't quite so exhausted. As it is, a sweetly sad, warm smile ghosts across her lips as her green eyes drift shut, head buried down against her pillow. She settles in for that song, but will no doubt be unconscious by the end of it. Dead asleep and so happily comfortable.

Kua tae mai te wa, he we he nga mo tatou
E tata koe ka matangi, ki runga o moana nui
Kei wareware ahau e koe kia a tou maha ra
Ko konei au tari ai, kia hoki mai koe a taihoa

E tangi ra e kare, kua tau a matariki
Kai ake te aroha i roto, ana ma koe ki tawhiti.
Mate-ariki koe e kawa, kia tae ki tou Tauranga
Ko konei au tari ai, kia hoki mai koe a taihoa.

This is the hour, for us to say goodbye.
Soon you'll be sailing far across the sea.
Do not forget, but, remember me.
When you return, you'll find me waiting here.

I love you dear, but duty calls you now
How I will miss you, when far, far away.
God guard you dear, and guide you safely home,
When you return, you'll find me waiting here.

(second translation for log only. Maggie was already dead asleep.)

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