Author: JMNY8 PM
Kara's recovery from the Exodus doesn't go as smoothly as people think. Canon through Torn, AU after Chapter 1Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort - K. Thrace/Starbuck - Chapters: 5 - Words: 8,604 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 25 - Updated: 02-10-13 - Published: 09-12-11 - id: 7376206
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I own nothing from Battlestar Galactica.
For about thirty seconds, everything was okay. She had her daughter, Sam was by her side, and she was back home on Galactica.
It didn't take long for it all to get ripped to shreds. A woman came and took Kasey away- and though everything inside Kara was bursting to stop her, to get her back, she couldn't because she had no right. This wasn't really her daughter; she was just another one of Leoben's lies. That was when it sunk in- he had won. He finally broke her. He wasn't even around anymore, but he still had control over her.
Standing on the hangar deck, she could feel azure eyes on her as she started shaking, but knew he wouldn't do anything. The second she felt it pass, she slipped away amid the cries of "Adama! Adama!" Sam's attention had also been diverted, for which she was grateful. Still trembling, Kara snuck off the hangar deck. The ship would be crammed with people all over soon, and there was no way Kara could handle that. She moved through the ship without pausing until she got to a rarely-used storage closet. It was crammed almost to the brink with boxes and files, but she didn't care. She closed the hatch behind her and climbed, shoved, and grappled her way to an empty pocket before sinking to the floor. Even if someone did come in, there was no way anyone would see her. Hidden and alone, Kara pulled her knees to her chest and sobbed. She would never truly be free.
She channeled her despair into hate and anger over the following days. Saul Tigh, once her nemesis, seemed to be the only one as broken and angry as her. Night after night they sat together drinking the pain away and trying to push their rage and vitriol onto others, anything but succumb to the hollow sorrow that filled them. When she wasn't violently angry, she was completely withdrawn into herself, silent and dark.
Days had passed since the return, and Lee had yet to see Kara outside duty times. To be fair, he was avoiding her, but when she wasn't on duty, in her rack, or drinking and sewing dissent with Tigh, she was nowhere to be found.
Lee was pulling a shift in Dogsville when his heart caught in his throat. She was there, standing in the shadows, watching- what?
Her shoulders tensed as soon as he looked over, as though she knew he was watching. Hell, maybe she did- they'd always had a sixth sense about where the other was, at least until- those thoughts were stopped in their tracks. They had to be. Lee looked back over with bitterness and anger in his eyes. Those were the only things she had left him. Without them, there was nothing to stop him from taking her in his arms and- once again, his sense of self-preservation kicked in and he stopped his train of thought. He didn't care that she was over there. He didn't give a damn about what she could be looking at with such pain and loss in her eyes. He didn't care- he couldn't.
She didn't flee from him, but something in the chaos of people made her eyes widen in fear and made her run out into the corridor. Cursing his curiosity, he made for the shadowed area she just vacated and wondered what she saw- what was going through her head.
Not that he'd ever been able to understand her. He had no idea why she'd slept with Baltar on Colonial Day when she had expressed only a mild dislike for him prior to the event. He didn't know why she'd gotten into altercations with nearly every superior officer she'd had since her Academy days. He definitely didn't know what in the gods' names had caused her to marry Anders only hours after declaring her love for Lee to the stars. Damn- that thought wasn't supposed to pop up. He pushed down the despair and hopelessness until only rage remained. He pushed that down next and dragged his curiosity back to the surface. Anyone watching wouldn't have figured he even contained all these emotions. His face was masked by the hard expression of military discipline that he had mastered since childhood.
He stared out into the throng, trying to see what Kara would be so enraptured with- and so scared of. There were some men arguing loudly over the living area place markers. If the fight escalated, he'd have to get involved. A man and his wife were sitting on their bunk, trying to share a quiet moment amidst the ruckus. A woman was kneeling down before her child as the little blonde girl threw a tantrum. Some teenage boys lurked among the rows, clearly looking for trouble. Nothing that he could imagine Kara taking an interest in. Giving up on the search, he decided to deal with the irate men before continuing his patrol. They stopped fighting soon after he made his presence known, and he moved into the next aisle.
"Kawa! Kawa! Kawa!"
The young girl hadn't stopped her tantrum, but now Lee was close enough to hear it. It sounded like she was shouting for Kara, but she couldn't possibly be- he must have misheard.
"I'm trying sweetie, but I don't know who your friend is." The woman looked around briefly at her neighbors, making sure they weren't bothered by her daughter's cries. Her concern was endearing, considering the fact that the roar of people crammed all around them ensured absolutely no quiet for anyone.
The mask threatened to slip as he choked down a gulp. It still didn't necessarily mean anything, but now his curiosity would not be denied.
"Excuse me," he started. The woman's eyes grew wide as she stood, picking up her squabbling child as she faced him and took in his uniform.
"I'm sorry sir; I'll take her somewhere less crowded until she quiets down."
The military had obviously made an impression upon the civilians already.
"No, no, wait." The woman had started to run off before Lee could get a word in edgewise. "I just-" he felt like an idiot. He couldn't just ask who these people were and what their connection to Kara was. Especially since it hurt too much to even say her name. "I just wanted to ask if I could be of any assistance." He finished lamely.
"Oh- it's nothing. My daughter, Kasey, keeps asking for someone I don't know." She was confused at his interest in their family squabble, especially with so many other people in need of real help all around.
Lee shifted his focus to the little girl. His heart ached slightly as he thought of Paya, and more when he thought of the child he had abandoned on Caprica when he left Gianne.
"Hi Kasey, I'm Lee. Could you tell me who you're looking for?"
Kasey's only response was to bury her face in her mother's neck, effectively hiding from Lee. He'd always had this affect on children; part of the reason Gianne's pregnancy announcement had frightened him so much.
"All I know is that her name is Kara, and she's pretty. I think she might be a part of the military, because Kasey keeps asking about Vipers." At this, Kasey perked up and looked between her mother and Lee. "Play Wiper! Wiper! Wooooo!" Kasey stuck her arms out in an imitation of the planes and was back to squirming.
Lee still had no clue what the connection was between this child and Kara, but it was now clear that this is where Kara's attention had been. Seeing how mother and child were struggling, he decided to intervene.
"I believe I know who you're talking about. Captain Thrace-" hopefully they couldn't tell how much his throat tightened saying that name "is bunked in the officer's bunkroom on B-Deck." Mission done, he started to leave.
"Thank you, umm…" The woman paused, obviously fishing for his name. He didn't want Kara to know of his involvement- know how much he still cared about her- so he merely said, "You're welcome" before walking away. Now that thoughts of Kara had taken seed in his mind, he knew he would be hard pressed to get them out again. He felt the bitterness boiling up as he tried harder not to think about her.
A few hours later found Kara and Lee on duty together. Kara started to get reckless in her bird. It was typical for her to try to shake things up and bust out the ballsy moves, but even her flying had gotten as brash and uncontrolled as her attitude. She was tempted to take Lee up on his offer to airlock her- it was probably the only thing that would ever stop the pain.
She almost did run to the airlock after Julia brought Kasey up to see her. They had no idea that Kara had been watching over her, making sure she was safe and happy. They had no idea that every time seeing the child with her mother was a fresh blow, reminding her that she was still Leoben's captive. They didn't say who told them where to find her, but she cursed out half the crew in her mind for merely being possible culprits. Kara sent them packing, not ready to face her demons head on. It was one thing to torture herself by watching them from the shadows, but actually interacting with Kasey and her mother was a knife straight to the gut, leaving her bleeding out for hours. After Julia took her daughter away, Kara ran with no destination in mind.
This wasn't where she expected to end up. Kara sat holding her knees to her chest at the foot of the couch. She felt the other woman's eyes on her. After so much time in that dollhouse, she didn't know how to be around real people anymore.
The second the hatch started to open, Kara bolted, shoving past Helo in her haste.
"Kara? Kara!" he debated running after her, but decided against it for the time being. He entered his room to find his wife sitting at the table, pensive and confused.
"What was that about?" His tone was soft and concerned as he walked over to Sharon. After hearing Kara rant about all the frakking toasters and glare towards his wife's direction more than once since the Exodus, he was worried what purpose she had in seeing Sharon.
"I have no idea. She practically broke the door down, and just sat on the floor. I figured she was waiting for you, but…"
"Did you talk to her?" Sharon gave him a look- even before she got this bitter, no one talked to Starbuck. Except maybe Helo or the Adamas, but now she was blocking Helo out, and he doubted either of the Adamas even tried. Helo knew that they both worried themselves sick over her while they were away, but between the Old Man's busy schedule and the blatantly obvious spat that she and Lee had gotten into, it was unlikely that either had yet taken the time to reach out to the woman they once called family.
"I asked if she needed anything and she told me to shut up. She just sat there for an hour and a half."
Helo frowned, considering his wife's statement. He understood Kara Thrace better than most, but sometimes she was a complete mystery to him. Now that she was back from months under the thumb of a Cylon regime, he was unsure if she would ever let him past her defenses again- or anyone else. It was no secret that she sent her husband away to the Rising Star, though he didn't know if the split happened before or after the Exodus. No one from New Caprica liked to talk about what happened, so outside of official debriefs Helo was going off of limited information. One thing was certain- this was not the Kara Thrace they remembered.