Felix received George on his sixth birthday, as a gift from his grandmother. He’d declared his bicycle to be his favorite present that year, but whereas Felix quickly grew out of the bicycle, George managed to stick around. Felix couldn’t remember why he named it George, if there was any reason at all, but clearly remembered the way his grandmother smiled when he hugged the elephant and announced its name to his whole family.
When his grandmother died when he was in high school, he’d brought George to her funeral. He knew how silly it must have looked to see a sixteen year old carrying a stuffed animal, but for Felix, nothing else in the universe could have made him feel like a part of her was still there with him.
George didn’t have a tail, simply a few grey stitches, where one had been. It had fallen off when he was nine. Felix almost always had George with him when he was around the house, dragging him behind by the tail, like another child would with their blanket. His parents had warned him that he might end up pulling the tail out if he kept carrying it like that, but Felix hadn’t listened. He cried the day it fell out. His mother didn’t chastise him, simply wiped his tears and stitched up the hole in George’s backside. In time, he got over the missing tail, dragging George around by an arm or an ear instead, until middle school, when it wasn’t cool for boys to have stuffed animals, and George was simply relegated to the bed.
George also had a pink stain on his left ear. Felix had spilled grape juice on it when he was eight. The stain had faded in time, from a deep purple to a light pink, but it was still visible, forever there, like the missing tail, as a sign of Felix’s deep affection for George. He’d brought the elephant to his grandfather’s house for the weekend. It was the first time he’d traveled to another planet without his parents, and George had come along to keep him from getting too scared. His grandfather thought it wasn’t right for a boy to be playing with stuffed animals and didn’t seem too thrilled with Felix for bringing one. But after Felix had spilled the juice, his grandfather took George and cleaned him before even touching the grape stain carpet.
Felix hadn’t brought George to Academy. Nothing would get your ass kicked faster than being seen with a stuffed animal, and Felix didn’t want to end up at the bottom of the food chain early on. But when it was time for him to leave to his station on a battlestar, George was the first thing Felix packed. He didn’t know when he’d see home again, and even then he knew it wouldn’t be for a long period of time, and the thought of leaving George behind hadn’t even crossed his mind. George was more a piece of home than any photograph or knick-knack he could have brought. There was hardly a memory Felix had that George hadn’t been right there with him.
George was what led Felix to become friends with Dee. Felix had been cleaning his locker when the fresh new officer arrived. George was sitting on his bunk, and Felix hadn’t been quick enough to draw the privacy curtain to prevent it from being seen. Dee hadn’t laughed at him like the other officer who saw it did, but rather pulled out her own collection of ceramic elephants. They started to talk after that, each sharing stories about their respective elephants, until Dee had to report for duty.
On New Caprica, Felix kept George in his desk drawer. In the days when he yearned for the attention and respect of Gaius Baltar, the last thing he wanted was for the doctor to find out he still slept with a stuffed toy. Once the cylons showed up, he kept George hidden for fear they might take it away once they found out it meant something to him, like they had with the press secretary’s glass vase that had belonged to her great-grandparents. He hadn’t had the time to grab George during the Exodus, and he thought he’d lost him for good. So when Tory Foster showed up on Galactica with his stack of things he’d kept on Colonial One, George on right there on top of it, tears of joy came to Felix’s eyes.
After his voice had gone from all the singing, George became the rope that kept Felix hanging on. Felix didn’t feel so alone in the world when he held his childhood friend. The elephant, after all, already knew what it was like to lose a body part. Felix just wished it was as easy for him to be stitched up and go on as normal. His mother would’ve wiped his tears and told him everything would be alright. The stains of his blood would fade with time, until only he remembered just how they’d gotten there in the first place. He’d meet new friends who were amputees just like him and after a while, he’d wonder how he ever lived his life any other way. But losing a leg wasn’t that simple, few things in life ever were. The one thing that was, was George, there through it all, the one source of comfort that never wavered, no matter what the circumstances of Felix’s life. He was the string that tied Felix’s life together.
Now as Louis sat alone after the mutiny, clutching George to his chest, the matted fur soft against his skin, he finally understood just why the little elephant had meant so much to Felix.