Pairings mentioned: Kara/Zak, Kara/OC Length: 1,000 Notes: This was written for bsg1000's current challenge of 'squee'. I'm not sure it's precisely happy, but, er. Here's hoping this doesn't read like every other Kara Paints fic. sigh. Title nicked from Kate Bush's Breathing.
Summary: She only paints when she's drunk.
by ALC Punk!
She's fifteen the first time she throws a glass of beer at a wall. Her eyes track the fall of the liquid down the concrete (she's drunk). Of course, she has to throw chits at the bartender to pay for the mess, and the bouncer throws her out anyway, but she doesn't care. She simply wraps the jacket closer around herself and prowls off.
She's still fifteen the first time she steals a set of paints (she's drunk, and Rola dared her, and she's Kara Thrace and she never turns down a dare) and slaps the colors haphazardly onto a wall.
The result is a mishmash of shapes, images that are half-formed, and 'frak' written 100 times in green.
At the age of ten, Kara remembers her mother locking her in her room without supper for drawing on the wall in the kitchen. She had to wash the wall bare-handed and hand a blister on her left thumb for five days before she popped it with a classmate's pencil. The girl who sat three seats over fainted at the sight of pus and blood.
By the time she's graduated flight school, she's actually buying her own paints. Sometimes they're the cheapest she can cadge (or slip into her pocket), other times, she's in the money and slapping down 10-20 chits a tube. They never last long, of course, because her canvasses aren't limited to square white things.
There's something ritualistic in standing in front of a blank wall (new apartment, and at least this one has a working sink) and slamming a handful of ocher at it. The splattered effect isn't quite what she wanted, but she settles, for now.
Other layers take residence over the months, until the original splatter (and the white of the wall) is long gone.
She never paints sober.
Bored one day, she stands in her apartment and contemplates the stacks of canvas. They're old, done with. There's no point to any of them really.
She carts them out to the truck, tosses the apartment key at one of her neighbors and drives off.
The bonfire lights the night; she laughs as the wood, paper, and paint crackle and burn into ash.
"Fire cleanses," Zak says sleepily into her shoulder.
"What? Didn't know you got philosophical after sex, Adama."
He sing-songs a line from a current pop tune, "Burn brighter than the sun..."
He's asleep before she can mock him again, and she figures that's just as well. Zak Adama can't carry a tune to save his life.
When she was twelve she kissed a boy in the alley behind the grocer's. There was graffiti on the wall, and he slobbered and dribbled down her neck until she got bored and kneed him in the balls. While he lay whimpering on the ground, she eyed the paint on the wall and wondered if you had to be angry to paint like that.
It's just a place to go, when she needs to blow off steam. The piles of crap get higher, and she thinks about taking out the garbage at times and never bothers until she can't walk through it.
The paint on the ceiling was the hardest, and she doesn't completely remember getting it up there (and thinks that might be a good thing, considering how drunk she had to've been). Sometimes, at night, she'll lie on the low table and stare up at it.
Ambrosia isn't cheap, but she makes a good living at the card table. And her flight school stipend covers most of the basics. It's still not enough for everything she wants, but Kara has never gotten everything she wants.
Her paints still eat into her profits, though, and canvas is expensive (and she can't paint more on the wall, not yet). She seriously considers stopping. Just throwing in the towel and dumping the apartment (the rats would love it if she stopped kicking them out).
But then she'll get drunk and find herself drawing figures in spilled alcohol. And it's better to destroy in solitude than in front of a crowd.
Less trips to the brig that way.
His name is Dave and he thinks she tastes like coffee and chocolate. She thinks he's drunk off his ass, but he's got good hands and she isn't averse to having them all over her until she's pinned him against a chair and yanked his pants off.
Unfortunately, he has less technique than her first kiss, and so she doesn't bother getting him off.
When she starts pulling away, he tries to stop her, but she's quicker (and sweat-slick skin isn't easy to grip). Besides, she still has most of her clothes on and she falls out his door, laughing giddily (it's the ambrosia talking).
She wakes up with orange and red smears on her arms and dried paint in her hair. Her jacket is stained worse, and she glares at it, like it caused paint to appear all on its own. It takes her almost an hour to clear the paint from her hair and skin, and she doesn't ever bother with the leather.
Besides, the new stains join the old ones, and the paint makes it more lived-in.
She thinks there is delineation. Before Zak, she only painted in reds and yellows. After Zak, she painted in oranges and reds and blacks, anger replacing boredom. And then she didn't paint at all.
Or maybe it was simply a matter of economics and lack of time to go planet-side.
It's just a jacket, it's just a place, they're just paints. She's convinced herself of this, believes to her core that this is not Kara Thrace.
So it's a shock when the world ends and she can't paint anymore. Her fingers itch and her belly clenches, missing the fire of ambrosia mixed with the almost-hysteria of creation.
She got detention and had to clean the wall with her bare hands, when she was fifteen.
Now, there's nothing but the rain.