His mind is screaming the statement into conscious thought, while the instinct of it is felt down into the marrow of his bones.
This is not his place.
This is not his time.
He does not belong.
The vast emptiness of space engulfs his floating form, but there are no stars, no nebulas, no galaxies to view. He can't see anything other than a reflection of himself in his helmet, his own blue eyes wide with fear.
He can barely remember what happened.
He remembers chasing after...
That can't be right. The floating seems familiar somehow, the deja vu is almost overwhelming, and he can feel it manifest itself into pressure on his chest. He thinks of the blackbird, of floating endlessly. No, that's not it. That happened. It isn't happening.
He was in his viper. Yes, that's it. His mark VII, not those old shoe boxes the others had to fly around in, though Starbuck was always so fond of hers.
Oh gods, Kara.
But if she's gone, if he'd seen her go, where was he? Did he not make out? Did he follow?
No, if that were true, there wouldn't be enough of him left to be thinking at all. Dark circles and ashes. We all fall down.
Just a pinprick in the distance but he sees it now, he can feel himself gravitate toward it, there's just the slightest pull. It's slow, so excruciatingly slow. He must be dying. He must be dead. He can see Dee weeping for him. He can see his father's anger at disobeying orders.
Yes, he can hear them.
"Apollo get out of there! Abort! Abort!"
Had he really disobeyed?
Maybe the pull was far too much to fight. Maybe he wasn't strong enough. Maybe the thought of losing her was finally enough to let himself go. Maybe...
The light is bigger now, almost the size of a pyramid ball. He's moving faster.
"I'm the CAG, it's my call."
His words. His voice. His hands move to his mouth but are impeded by the glass of his helmet.
Had he really said that?
He opens his mouth but no sound comes out.
"I don't trust myself."
Kara. Her words. Her voice. Is she here?
"So trust me."
The light is closer now, almost the size of a viper, waiting to engulf him.
"It's okay, just let me go."
But he didn't. He couldn't.
He remembers red, orange, and black.
He was swallowed by the black.
The light surrounds him.
He drowns in white.
When his eyes clear he is surrounded by walls and a ceiling. By carpet and furniture and pictures. He's surrounded by air, sunlight, and confusion. He spins around gathering his bearings, almost never realizing that his helmet is somehow gone.
What in the name of the gods happened? He was floating. He was lost. He was either dying or dead and now it seems like he has stopped by someplace for a visit.
He moves to the closest window and feels the sunshine on his face, sees a true blue sky above. He knows this place. Caprica City. Sharon and Helo, from what he remembers of their retelling of their adventures on the bombed out planet, was that Caprica City was a ghost town. The skeletons of abandoned buildings stretching out for miles, all left to rot.
What he sees out of the window is a city just the opposite.
This place, this time, it's alive.
He hears a door open somewhere and quickly checks his surroundings for an easy place to hide. Wherever, whatever this place was, he knows he doesn't live here. A second's hesitation is a second too long because a man, who looks vaguely familiar, strolls right passed him and never even notices.
Lee looks sharply at him. He has seen this man somewhere before. An old photograph maybe. One that had been kept so long in the back of a storage locker, and had been looked at so many times that it was brittle and worn.
The man makes his way to the corner toward a piano Lee hadn't noticed before. He briefly thinks of his childhood. Of his mother and forced lessons because she wanted him to do something, anything, else than dream of being a viper pilot.
Lee watches as the man gathers sheet music from the top of the instrument and tosses them into a briefcase. He pauses after he clasps the locks shut, and looks around the room, past Lee and off into space. Lee's brow creases in confusion. He is here. He is standing right frakking here. How can he not see him?
The look in the man's far off eyes is one Lee recognizes. It's the one he'd seen on his own father's face the day he left.
His breath catches when he realizes just who this man is.
And he also realizes that this is the day that he's always been aware of, but Kara has never spoken about. He is almost hesitant, her father. He seems to be second guessing himself.
A bouncing bundle of energy followed by a mane of blonde flowing hair bounds into the room. Right passed Lee, she too never taking notice. "Daddy, daddy!" She says with a child's delight. "Where you goin'?"
Lee smiles sadly as Kara's father places his hand on his daughters head as she wraps herself firmly around his leg. He smiles instantly, and suddenly looks guilty for the expression. He doesn't want to be happy in this moment. Not when he knows what he's about to do. He leans over so that he's eye to eye with his little girl.
"Out," he says. "But only for a little while."
Lee grimaces to himself. She hasn't learned what a lie sounds like yet.
"You gonna play your music?" She asks.
"Yes I am," he replies, gently moving her from his leg and kneeling down to keep the eye contact. "Now you behave yourself while I'm gone my little starbucker, and mind your mother."
Starbucker? Lee thinks to himself.
He taps the tip of her nose playfully.
"You're a special little girl Kara," he says, his voice thick with emotion. "I want you to remember that."
"I will daddy," she promises.
Lee's heart freezes in his chest. Kara looks so happy in this moment. So content. It kills him that, the little girl in front of him is about to get her first lesson in pain. And he now knows why it still hurts Kara to this day to talk about her father. It's as if this moment in her life has happened every single day since then.
He back peddles away from them, feeling very much the intruder on memories that aren't his. Memories he was never meant to see.
The sunlight grows brighter, melting away the images.
There's a tap on his shoulder and he spins around quickly to come eye to eye with a cruelly smiling cylon.
"Major Adama," Leoben says smoothly. "You do not belong here."
Lee's eyes grow wide.
Once again he drowns in white.