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There was light.

There were bombs, and there was death, and a woman in a red dress. A false prophet, and the stars, and water so clear it was like looking through glass. There were spaceships, and there was war, and a planet full of blue and green, and so, so much light.

So much life.

So much life.

Abby awoke slowly, limbs heavy with sleep and eyes still drowsy. She was in Marcus’ room; she was in Marcus’ bed, in fact, and the man himself lay facing her with his bearded face buried into his pillow while the soft, dark curls of his hair sat in a state of mild disarray. It had been ages since she’d seen him so at peace, even if it was with the aid of the IV attached to his arm. She felt her own move a little as she brought her hand out to smooth down his hair gently.

She was still a little drugged. She knew that. It was keeping her from feeling the searing pain of the now-closed incision at the back of her neck, and when she let her fingers drift down the curve of Marcus’ skull to feather down the back of his neck, she felt a matching series of fresh stitches there, too.

He’d come for her.

The City of Light was a hell she’d never known before. A place of bright, gleaming glass and blissful unawareness, where she was free to float through the buildings and always-green grasses to take in the warmth of the artificial sun as she pleased. And Abby had hated it. There, where peace existed at the price of humanity, Abby had lost all memories of the moments of her life she cared about most -- her lowest moments, her worst ones, the ones that stung and pulled and ripped at her heart, but made her stronger for having experienced them. ALIE took them from her and made her into a drone so that she could do as she pleased with Abby’s mind.

Raven was there for a while, until she wasn’t. And then Clarke was there, and somehow in the commotion of two AI worlds merging Lexa was, too, and then Marcus. Marcus, who had willingly tied himself down next to Clarke and ingested the key to the City of Light so that he could bring Abby back.

And he did. And Clarke came back, too, with tears on her face and a goodbye from Lexa on her lips. And everyone else who had been trapped there slowly came back to life. They got their pain back. They got their memories back.

But Abby didn’t just come back with her own. She’d known it the moment she opened her eyes and found her hand clutched tightly in Marcus’, and her brain and spoken a different name to her for one fleeting, terrifying moment. He wasn’t Marcus, he was someone else...and then he was Marcus again, opening his eyes and rolling his head to meet her own with a look on his face that told her he was seeing someone else, too.

“She had glorious hair.” Marcus sleepy voice murmured.

Abby flicked her eyes to his face and saw him smiling at her softly, definitely seeing her this time, definitely seeing Abby .

“She did,” Abby agreed, letting her stalled hand continue carding through his soft hair once more. “You did.”

“Didn’t get to keep it, though.” Marcus moved closer to her and Abby happily let him slip his arms around her to bring them together, their legs tangling and noses brushing, the scratch of his beard tickling her skin as she lay their foreheads together and nuzzled against his cheek.

“Mm, you made up for it this go around.”

Marcus hummed quietly and let his hands wander up under the back of her shirt to lay his palms flush against her skin.

“Why did ALIE have them, Abby?” Marcus asked. “Why did she have those memories?”

“I don’t think she did.” Abby had thought about this while slipping in and out of consciousness and come to a few conclusions of her own. “I think she accidentally unlocked them. Maybe we always had them.”

“Are we them? Are we us? I still feel like me, but then there’s this...other part, and I think it’s her.”

“I can feel him, too.” Abby pulled back just enough to be able to meet his eyes while they talked. “And I still feel like me. I think they’re a part of us. They’re who we used to be.”

Which was insane if she thought about it too hard. They’d just finished dismantling the Grounders’ version of “reincarnation," and yet here they were, finally home after a harrowing journey back from Polis, and suddenly the world was much bigger than it had been before. Suddenly, impossible things were real. They should be used to that by now, but somehow this one was much harder to contextualize. An AI? Sure. This? Not so much.

“I suppose it would sound pretty counter-intuitive to insist reincarnation isn’t real.” Marcus began to trace circles against her skin as he talked.

“He would have scoffed at that.” Abby closed her eyes for a moment. “Or I would have, I guess.”

The slow touches continued. He was more tactile this time -- more touch starved, more willing to connect with every part of her and ground himself in the reality of her. That used to be her wheelhouse. She would reach for him, for her, and gently, almost chastely hold her. But then, the almost Victorian way they’d fallen into each other made sense for those people. For them, for the them that existed now, it was more about clutching on tightly to each other and never, ever letting go, because life took and took and took, and decorum didn’t matter much when death chased them like a shadow.

“I loved Lee,” Marcus said abruptly, and Abby opened her eyes to meet his amused gaze. “But I think I’m happy Clarke came out more like Kara.”

“She tried to shoot you!” Abby laughed, joy welling up in her from a place that wasn’t entirely her own. “You never agreed on a damn thing.”

“I did shoot at her,” Marcus mused. “I was sick and dizzy on Chamalla, and I am ashamed of how bad her aim was.”

Abby smiled.

“I guess we didn’t agree on a whole lot in the beginning, either.” Marcus admitted, brow furrowed as he pondered.

“Which us? That us, or this us? Because I hate to break it to you, Marcus, but we might be following a pattern of behaviour here.” Abby smirked. “Though you promoted me this time.”

“She’d be so torn on us not trying to throw the vote against Pike.” Marcus settled in deeper and sighed. “I think she’d find our lack of pomp and circumstance about passing the Chancellorship back and forth delightful and blasphemous at the same time.”

“How is it you came out a military man with her in there?” She asked, and she kept her voice light, but she really, desperately wanted to know why the Admiral lived inside her and not in the soldier lying in front of her.

“Maybe to honour you.”

Abby’s eyes filled with tears. She looked up at Marcus, stunned, not understanding the grief crashing over her in violent, crushing waves, not quite ready to comprehend that some things about their lives hadn’t been in their control.

They’d become themselves. They were themselves. But there was an ugly thing like fate in their deck of cards now, and it was impossible to ignore. Especially when their stories were so tightly entwined -- past and present, personalities and morals mirrors of each other, with the same feeling of rightness between them that felt old as time.

Sine qua non.

“We were in love,” she whispered her revelation, cradling his cheek in her hand. “You loved me and I loved you.”

Marcus ducked his head down to place a kiss into the centre of her palm. His eyes were teary, too, the drops slipping down to wet the pillow beneath his head. Abby leaned forward and kissed away his tears.

“Did you live well?” Marcus asked after she’d pulled away to settle herself back on her own pillow, still facing him. “After I was gone, were you okay?”

Abby lifted the hand that she hadn’t slid from his cheek to his chest to wrap her fingers around the ring hanging from her neck. The chain pulled a little at her stitches, and she found she didn’t care--she welcomed the pain, embraced it, felt grateful that she was able to feel it at all.

“I buried you with my ring.” Abby closed her eyes and saw rolling green hills and impossibly bright blue skies, and a rocky grave tended to with infinite love and care, surrounded by newly grown flowers and grass that sloped up to a small, rough-looking cabin. Tears spilled anew at the sorrow the image brought forth. “I watched over you for as long as I could before the ground took me. I never left that spot. I built the cabin there, Marcus. It wasn’t quite what you imagined, but it was ours. It was always ours.”

Marcus’ breath hitched. Abby met his eyes and let out a full sob as memory after memory of the loneliness and longing took her over. William Adama’s pain was old, so very old, but in her it was fresh and new, like she’d lost Laura Roslin mere hours ago. It felt like when she’d lost Jake, like when he’d been ripped from her life via Laura’s favourite means of execution. In the future--if they got that future, if they got to keep these precious memories--Abby would chastise Marcus for holding onto that particular predilection of the woman she loved.

“Abby,” Marcus whispered, reaching for her and pulling her against him, not caring about the IVs still in their arms, not caring that she was shaking and stiff against him. He pulled her in close and tucked her under his chin and rocked her as Adama’s grief poured out of her like the rushing river she used to hear behind the back of the cabin.

“I always had hope we’d meet again.” Marcus spoke after some time, still holding her close and speaking softly with his chin propped against the crown of her head. “I used to dream of a shore where everyone I’d lost was waiting for me to join them. I wanted it to be real. That I’d wake up one day on the deck of a ship and wait for you on that shore.”

Abby calmed. Adama’s grief was still sharp, but she was letting it fall gently down again, letting his memories rest while she gathered her own back. She huffed out a small laugh against his chest.

“Well, you did end up on a ship of sorts,” She murmured. “And we landed on the shore of a lake.”

Marcus chuckled then, too, the rumble deep in his chest sending happy reverberations through her. Abby smiled and buried her face farther into him.

“Hope is everything.” Marcus said, kissing her hair. “Never give up hope.”

“You are my hope,” Abby admitted, quietly. “You were his, and you are mine.”

Marcus lifted her chin. She met his shining eyes and smiled at him, feeling fit to burst with emotion that was solely her own, but shared by Adama, too.

“I love you,” he said.

Abby leaned forward and kissed him, parting only far enough to whisper against his lips.

“About time.”