Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: 18+ Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll... Okay, not the last. VIOLENCE.
Pairings: Kara/Anders, Kara/Zak Spoilers: Everything through Home part 2.
Length: 2,000+ Genre: Angst, speculation, hurt/comfort.
Notes: Again, this would be musicforcylons's fault. More explanations at the end.

Refractory Illusion
by ALC Punk!

She's in the head alone, standing under the shower spray (as hot as she can stand it). Her mind drifts back to Caprica, to Anders and a smile touches her lips. There has to be a way to get the Old Man to agree to send a rescue back (she promised, she said she'd go back). People, living people, not Cylons, are there, and they need help.

And it has nothing to do with the way he makes her feel.

She snorts, then closes her eyes, tilting her head up as memory drifts across. The way he looked at her, the feel of his lips on hers---her fingers unconsciously trace the second scar on her belly.


The sound of her name pulls her out of it, and she stands for a moment, trying to decide if it's disorientation, or if someone is there.


Her fingers twitch on her belly, and she looks down and sees the perfectly straight line and flinches. Her hand moves to the wall, flattening. Ok. Think happier thoughts.


This time she snorts, calls, "Who's there?"

Nothing. Again.

All introspection gone (she doesn't do it often, anyway), she quickly finishes scrubbing herself and rinses. There are things she needs to do, plans she has to make. And voices she has to ignore.


Four nights later, she comes back from CAP and drops into her bunk.

"Kara." Lips drift across her cheek.

Jerking upright, she stares around, but there's no one there. Just to be certain, she rolls out and stands. Nope. Everyone's either asleep or gone.

Figuring she's hearing things, she throws herself back in the bunk. She doesn't fall asleep immediately, but she doesn't hear a ghostly voice calling her name, either.



This time, she's awake, walking down a corridor--and there's no one around. Kara glares ahead, determined to ignore the voice.

"Kara, stop."

You're dead. Saying it aloud would give whatever the frak this is some sort of power. She reverses her course and heads back to the mess. There are people there. People talking and laughing, who will drown out the voice of the dead.


She gets drunk on the last of her ambrosia stash that night.


"Kara, I'm real."

She spins in the corridor, nearly runs into the hapless marine who was walking towards her. "Shut up."

"Sir?" He looks scared.

"Never mind. Carry on. Whatever."

Kara stalks past him and heads for the gym. Maybe she can pound the voice away. She's feeling antsy enough after her last meeting with the Old Man--he still doesn't think it's feasible to launch a rescue mission to Caprica. Her skin misses Anders.


"You can't get rid of me this easily, Kara."

A flicker of movement from the corner of her eye, but she refuses to acknowledge it.

"I'm just as real as you are."

"You're dead." Shit. She's talking to a ghost. A smirk touches her lips. "Dead and I killed you, so frak off."

"No." Movement again, and Zak Adama is standing close enough that she can feel his breath on her cheek. "You have to believe, Kara."

"I don't believe in ghosts."


She kicks at Helo until he moves over enough and crawls into his bunk with him. He doesn't ask why, and she doesn't stay the entire night.

Zak doesn't make an appearance.


Cottle glares at her, "You were supposed to be here two weeks ago, Lieutenant."

"I was busy, Doc."


His exam is quick, and almost cursory. He pokes at her scars, takes a sample and looks in her eyes and ears. "You're as healthy as you can be. Get the frak out of my infirmary."


She sucks the smoke in from the cigarette she lifted from Cottle, and stares up at the ceiling of her rack.

"You can't ignore me forever."

Yes she can.


In or out of the cockpit, Starbuck has a reputation. It starts growing, the more times she shares a bunk with Helo. They don't have sex (they have, in the past, but that isn't what this is about). She thinks he'd call her Sharon, anyway.

She doesn't want to know what she'd call him.


"Lieutenant Thrace."

Kara looks up from her coffee and eyes Dr. Baltar.

He shifts, looking uncomfortable. "It's been brought to my attention, Lieutenant, that you're not exactly yourself."

"Oh? No, I'm myself." She stands and smirks, "I'm just a barrel of laughs, Doc."

"I'm afraid you're not."

"Whatever." Kara turns and stops, trying to decide why there are two marines standing there.

"I'm afraid, Lieutenant, that you'll have to follow these men to the brig."

"What?" A laugh bubbles out of her.

"Your test, Lieutenant, came back positive. I'm afraid to inform you that you are a Cylon."


They hadn't listened to her.


"Are you sure, Doctor? Your test has failed once before."

Baltar shifts, looking through the bars at her. "I'm sure, Commander. Lieutenant Thrace's bloodwork is positive--she is a Cylon."

"I don't see how it's possible," Tigh murmurs, but he doesn't seem to care whether anyone notices.

The Commander stares at her through the bars, and it's Caprica and the betrayal of Earth all over again. And Zak. She tries not to choke on her breath.

"I told you you couldn't ignore me forever."

Yes she can. "I'm not a Cylon, sir."

"That remains to be seen."


"I know what you're going through."

Kara looks up and finds Dr. Baltar watching her, one hand on the bars of her cell. They haven't thrown her in the chamber with Boomer yet, though she thinks that's only because the Old Man isn't fully convinced--hopes that's why.

"You want to believe he isn't real." He continues, as if she asked a question. "That you're hallucinating, that he's a product of your mind under stress."

"Listen to him, Kara. He knows."

"Yes. Yes I do, actually." A tilt of his head and his eyes half-close. "I've got a lot of experience in this field."

A hand touches her cheek, and she refuses to turn her head to look at him. Zak Adama is dead, and she is not a Cylon. "Doc, I don't know about you, but this heart to heart has been very educational. Really."


They put her in with Sharon two days later.

"I'm not a Cylon!" But her shout has less energy behind it. They don't believe her.

"Of course you're not a Cylon. You're special." Boomer sneers at her, one hand cradling her belly protectively.

"So tell them that."

"You think they'll believe me, Starbuck? I'm nothing but a Cylon."

Kara stares at her and turns away, prowling around the cell, trying to find a way out. There is none.


"You know, I wasn't supposed to fall for you." Fingers thread through her hair, and she closes her eyes, pretending they're not there. "You're the special one, the golden girl. I wasn't supposed to be anywhere near you, but I couldn't help it."

"I'm not special." The words slip out in a whisper, and she gives up on not talking to him (Sharon ignores her, most of the time).

"You'd be surprised. Leoben knew that you had potential, and the others..." He pauses, "But you're not ready for that yet."

She wonders if the Old Man has sent people back to Caprica yet.


They let them shower every few days--can't have your prisoners stinking, even if they are Cylons. The marines stand guard and watch them. Kara stopped caring about people looking at her when she was nineteen and the captain of the lacrosse team frakked her in the locker room.

"Assholes." He sounds angry.

She ignores him (it's easier, when there's more than Boomer around), lathering efficently, while wishing she could stand there for hours with hot water pounding down on her.

"Frakkin' assholes. Kara, why don't you tell them to frak off, why are you just letting them stare?"

She turns, tilts her head up and sighs softly.

"Time's up."


"I'm not a Cylon." She's lost count of the times she's said it.

The Old Man sighs, and she wishes she could touch him through the glass. "Kara."

"I'm not a Cylon, sir. You know that. You know me." She's not going to cry. Not again. But she's so tired, and Zak won't stop touching her hair. It takes all her willpower not to shove him away.

"You tell 'im, Kara. Cranky old bastard."

"The results have been double-checked dozens of times, along with Boomer's." He sounds weary. "I'm sorry, Kara."

They start the tests to discover Cylon endurance the next day.


"Monsters." Zak's pissed.

Kara doesn't know what she is. The tests started with tissue samples, hair samples, blood, saliva--anything Cottle and Baltar could think of. Then they moved on to physical things.

With her child, Sharon is too delicate for the more strenuous tests.

But Kara now knows that it takes the same amount of pressure and weight to break her arm that it does for a human.


Sharon's beginning to show, her abdomen distending, her cheeks gaining weight. She caresses her belly, as if it will protect the child she carries.

"How long are they going to keep you here?"

Cylon bones mend in about the same amount of time human bones do. Kara wriggles the fingers of her left hand, wonders if the fracture will prevent her from flying again. Just for an instant, then she drops the train of thought (she'll go mad if she doesn't).

Zak sits next to her, nudges her knee. "C'mon, Kara, you have to have an escape plan by now."

The bandages on her right arm cover burns and needle-marks. They're being very thorough in their catalogue of what makes a Cylon tick.


She's stopped saying she isn't a Cylon.


"You don't exist," she tells him.

Helo came to visit Sharon, and talked a little with her. And she feels a little more real now.

A snort from her bed, and Zak tilts his head to look at her. "Are you so sure?"

"Very sure." She crosses her arms and looks away.

"And yet you're talking to me."

"Frak you."

He's suddenly there, leaning into her, pressing her into the wall. His hips rock against hers. "Been there, done that, and you taste better than ambrosia."


"Who were you talking to last night?"

Kara shrugs, moves onto her back to do sit-ups (her skin hurts where they've taken more samples and tested to see how well it burned). "No one."

"I'm hurt." His hands hold her ankles.

"Right. Whatever." Sharon sounds bored. "It'd just be nice if you keep it down. Some of us don't like hearing other people masturbate."

"Frak you."

"No thanks."


Her ears are still ringing from their sound levels test when Helo brings her a visitor. Even through the glass she knows Anders doesn't want to talk to her. But she's so happy to see him. "They went back for you."


She smiles, puts her hand on the glass, feeling giddy (it's been months since she felt giddy), "I didn't, I didn't think they would--Adama never said, and then, then..."

He just looks at her, then shakes his head. "I can't do this."

The phone is in Helo's hand a moment later, and Kara feels something inside of her break. "I'm not a Cylon."

"Kara..." Helo stares at her.

"I'm not a Cylon," she repeats, louder. "Damnit, Karl, I'm not a frakking Cylon!"

Her fist hits the glass and she doesn't notice her finger breaking.


Cottle sedates her.


There are fingers moving through her hair, and a soft voice soothing her. "It's all right, Kara. Everything will work out. God--God loves you, Kara. He says you just need to hang in there. He has a plan."

"Frak God." She jerks away from him, from Zak, and stares around the infirmary.

"Good. You're awake." Cottle checks the IV and then looks at her. "I've been looking through your medical history."

"I'm not a Cylon," she says, but the words are dull again.

"No, you're not."

It takes her thirty seconds to register his agreement, then she sits up too fast and the room spins. "Doc?"

"You're as human as I am, or I don't know human biology," he replied crisply. "Lay down, Lieutenant."

She complies, because she can't do anything else. "Doc--how?"

"It seems Dr. Baltar's little contraption doesn't work. Unless half the people on this ship are Cylons." He takes her pulse and smiles. "And we know they aren't."

"Told you." Zak strokes his hand through her hair again. "Just a little longer."

Something shivers down Kara's spine. "Doc?"

"Go back to sleep, Lieutenant." He pauses at the foot of her bed, and smiles again. "You're a very special young lady, you know."

The shiver goes down her spine again, and Kara tries to sit up, tries to get up. This is wrong. So very wrong, "Doc, I--" The room spins again, and she realizes he doped her again. "I'm not tired, I'm not..."


Zak is curled next to her, arm across her waist when she wakes. She shifts and gently touches his arm. It feels warm and real; alive. "You died."

"I got better," he murmurs sleepily, then kisses her cheek.

There's something, something she's supposed to know, to remember. But Zak is kissing her neck, and she's trying not to be loud and attract attention, here in the infirmary. The bones of her left arm twinge for a moment where the pin was put.

"I'm not a Cylon."

"Nope." His fingers slide across her belly. "But I am."


Further notes: So, um, MFC and I were discussing which Adama was a Cylon, and it hit me that Zak could be. And then I got the evil idea of putting a Zak in Kara's head (I have a thing for them, apparently). So, er. Yes.