Breathe

She can't sleep, and she knows why.

On New Carpica, in that place…she listened at night. At any moment, he could come in, he could open the door and climb into that bed – so soft – and do all the things Kara knew he wanted.

He didn't. Leoben never came into her room at night, and there's a small place in the back of Kara's mind that's grateful for it, but then she thinks the fear was almost worse. It felt as though a finger was hovering just over her skin, as though the violence he'd restrained so well was going to burst forth at every moment.

And she couldn't move. Where in normal circumstances she'd have run down Galactica's corridors, sparred with Helo, blew up half a dozen Raiders…she had to sit still. She had to be quiet, and well behaved, and not…move.

So, Kara can't sleep.

She has her rack, a few square feet of solitary space in the pilots' room, but it isn't enough. All around her, there are people moving, coming on and off shift, washing and teasing and getting drunk on Ambrosia, and she can hear them all the time.

Used to be, all the noise, all the people, was one happy reminder that she was surrounded by life. That whatever else the Cylons had taken and murdered and twisted into their mangled imitation of life, on Galactica people were still breathing and laughing and fracking and drinking. That's how it's supposed to be.

She hasn't asked Cottle for sleeping pills, yet. She knows she will – it's this strange competition she has with herself, how long can she hold out?

The answer is, not long. She's off Vipers, so all she can do now is wander the corridors or have the Chief indulge her with some busy work. Tyrol is always happy to provide, and there's plenty to be done, but it doesn't do much to keep her from thinking. And Kara doesn't want to think.

If she thinks about Leoben and…she wants nothing more than to howl and curl up somewhere, and there's nowhere private enough for a break down.

She's tried prayer, but now, more than ever, they seem like fragments of words. The Gods hear her, but they hear tired, banal phrases, that do nothing to sum up her plea or her plight. This one's on her – she has her own way out of the forest, find her own way back to them. If she can.

Sam is gone – she doesn't know where. She didn't ask, and Kara thinks that's the one good thing she's done. She doesn't want to hurt Sam, ever, and if she's around him, she surely will.

She used to have a place on Galactica, friends, people who loved, despite all her ways. Now…Lee can't forgive her, but she knew that. She never expected him to, and she knows there isn't a single reason why he should. Helo is…busy – all the time. That's to be expected. He's the XO, he has a wife, he does not have the time to convince her to talk about things. Admiral Adama…better not to think about that. Some thoughts are more dangerous than others.

The only one who looks at her as though he knows what happened is Gaeta, and that is intolerable. She can't stand Gaeta and his clear eyes, can't look at them, can't forgive him for knowing the things he knows, and so Kara never looks at him. She walks the other way, and Gaeta thinks she still hates him, and there is no way for Kara to explain that isn't true.

Then one day she saw Kasey, and there's something in that little girl…Kasey loves to touch Kara. She plays with her, with the buttons of her uniform, with her fingers and nose. She climbs onto Kara's lap and holds her arms out to be hugged, and Kara has no idea why. Yet, when she feels Kasey's clean skin, her soft little body, and her bright eyes light up upon seeing Kara's face, something comes loose, and she feels as though she might fall to pieces.

It was after just such an encounter that Kara made her way back to her rack, and actually managed to fall asleep, nearly a week after shed been grounded. She slept for…she didn't know for how long.

Waking up was…a shock. She started forward, almost sitting up, and had to take full seconds to realize where she was. She wasn't in Leoben's room; Hotdog had just knocked over a chair and Kat was yelling at him for it.

But panic doesn't vanish all of an instant, and she was still sitting there, willing herself to stop gasping, willing her heartbeat to slow down, when she realized that Lee was staring at her. She'd been so caught up in convincing herself that she was back on Galactica, that she'd barely noticed her surroundings.

He keeps staring at her, and Kara wants to punch him, wants to hit him, but it's work enough to breathe, and she can't even say anything. She's just hanging over the edge, her hands clutched in her tanks, waiting for him to say…whatever it is he has to say. She's sure there'll be something.

Yet, Lee can still surprise her, sometimes. He keeps staring at her, his eyes so cool and hard that she might quail before him, if she still had that in her. He waits until people are starting to notice, starting to look uncomfortable, and then stands up, sharply, walks to her rack and yanks the curtains closed. A moment later, he's telling Kat and Hotdog to knock it off, and then he is gone. Kara doesn't know where.

She tries to sleep again, and it comes, restless and uneasy as it always is.

Too long a sacrifice, can make a stone of the heart. That's what she thinks of when she sees Lee's eyes.

Author's Note

My first Battlestar Galactica fic, so be gentle. Part of the last sentence is a steal from WB Yeats' poem Easter 1916.