Disclaimer: Obviously not mine despite my dreams.
Note: This takes place after Starbuck has gone off to get the arrow. There's not an exact time but it's probably before she actually lands and all the excitement begins. Starbuck thinks about what she left behind and why she is who she is. The next chapter will be Apollo doing the same.
Kara Thrace was the infamous Starbuck. And if she wasn't infamous yet, she new it was only a matter of time. She was the best pilot out her. Not only that but she could out drink, out swear, and out play any of the others on the ship, guys and girls alike. That kind of thing could get a person a good name. So could her pastimes. She had a weakness for cigars and a good romp in bed. Her image was a hard shell, someone you don't cross, rash, and a good time. Yes, she wouldn't change who she was, despite the mistakes of the past.
And she really did believe that most of the time. It wasn't until she would sneak a glance at him, those rare times when they weren't screaming at each other that she would find another truth—there was one thing she would find herself wanting to change. During these rare times she would wish she had the willpower to break down the wall that had seemingly built itself after Zak's death.
Sometimes she would secretly watch him out of the corner of her eye and feel her heart beat even faster against those walls until the pain was just too much. This new desire to break those walls scared her. People died when Kara let them in. She made mistakes.
The two of them had never made any sense, even as friends. He lacked the ability to just let go and have fun and she lacked almost all the qualities he found important in a person. There was no reason in the whole frakking universe that she should find herself in this situation. But then she wouldn't have bet on the Cylons coming back and destroying everything either. Despite all her rationale, she still dreamt of him at night, still said an extra prayer to the Gods before he flew.
In fact, she was often rocked by just how much she wanted this man. She had slept with Gaius in an attempt to prove to herself that she didn't want Lee, she just wanted a nice warm body. Of course that had backfired drastically. Now she could no longer deny that it was only Lee that she wanted. And only Lee that she would never allow herself to have.
He was the CAG. Despite the hard time she gave him, when they were out there together, fighting side by side, she willingly put her life in his hands. And he put his in her hands where she would defend it with a ferocity it seemed only Apollo could bring out of her. Yes, she trusted him with her life. And on that slim chance that he faltered, because he was only human, all that would be lost was her life. Kara had learned long ago that there was pain worse than your own death.
The wall around her heart prevented her from feeling that pain again. And it frustrated her to have to feel pain in order to prevent a bigger pain in the future. When they were together she would have to goad him into a fight because anger was an emotion she knew how to deal with. Lee could give as good as he got when it came to her. And that anger would make him keep his distance for a while and while distance didn't help with the longing it did make it easier to breathe when she wasn't breathing in his scent.
He had been so angry with her before she left. He was so angry and it made her feel so guilty that she had just hauled off and punched him. And he punched her right back. And she felt even worse because that passion, albeit in anger, was threatening to break through and swallow them both up. At that moment she knew that the wall had failed and that if she could still love him after he punched her in the face then it was only a matter of time. So she took the president up on the mission to Caprica not to save them all but to save him. Because the last time Kara gave herself away so completely she had destroyed more than one life. It was a mistake she would never make again.