Kara is stuck in the slow, sporadically gushing flow of Delphi traffic on a weekend afternoon, her elbow hanging out the open window of her monstrous four-by-four, when she sees the faded old poster for a movie called Black Swan in the window of a little movie rental store on a corner and then looks quickly away before she can remember.
The only time she has spoken to Lee Adama since the day of the funeral was more than four months ago. He was on the Galactica for the decommissioning, and she was in a brig cell.
It made it easier than it could have been to have the bars in between them. Otherwise she might not have been able to face him.
At some point that Lee couldn't identify his life has become strained at the edges, wanting to somehow break out of the confining and orderly shape it's been neatly folded into. Wake up at this time, report for briefings, call this person, perform this mission, wash his uniform. It is all so calculated and safe.
Every once in a while, late in the night after he's had a few or even first thing in the morning when he really doesn't feel like getting up for the same old shit, this gutsy little voice creeps out from the dark inside him and says do it. Do it do it do it do it. Until one day another pilot asks him if he's still thinking about applying for duty on base in Picon and without thinking about what he's saying he responds, "Actually I've decided I'm quitting the service."
His friend is so taken aback he thinks he's kidding at first. After Lee attempts to explain, he has to ask what made him get into the military anyway if it was never what he really wanted.
"I don't know," Lee says. "I guess with the kind of family I came from, it was just what was easy."
And this is a start. But he still isn't sure if he has completely figured out what it is.
She wakes up in the morning, showers and gets dressed and brushes her teeth with the sticking thought: I think I am finished mourning him. This is how she must define her life, the stage of it. Somewhere in the back of her head she keeps track of the time since she last got laid. She lets her hair start growing out a little.
It's been over two years now, but it is still inevitable that when she thinks of being touched at all she thinks of Zak because he was her last serious one. It is sometimes unbearable how painful this can be, shocking how much she can still want him when even the most primal and meaningless urge to feel another body brings her to remember all over again, but there is a part of her that doesn't want this to ever change. It is a way of holding onto him.
There is a certain reluctance to let go in grief itself, and something about acceptance and moving on that senselessly feels cold and inhuman. When the pain of separation is the only remaining connection to someone, it can be desperately clung to despite the misery attached to it. When she thinks about it as much as Kara ever thinks about these things, the idea of healing and progressing forward still seems somehow ridiculous to her. Because her love for him hurts so much now it is holding her back, she must sever herself from him and he must be forgotten because this is the way it works.
But what happens to him? He goes down, into the dark, buried forever, frozen in time, while the girl he was going to marry stays here and her hair looks different now and she no longer belongs to him. And she will be fine without him because that's how it works. And his brother...
This isn't the way it should be. She can't stop thinking that. Maybe for others who experience loss like this, yes. But she cannot help feeling like she has never suffered enough. And so she goes on with the constant hunger and desire, the inclination to have and to be again, that sits familiarly inside her and aches. With the kind of responsibility she must live with, she figures getting used to this is the most that can be expected of her.
I think I am finished mourning him. Whatever the frak that's supposed to mean.
Lee and Kara never ended up meeting during their years at the academy, but their social circles were always connected through several people. Including one Ken Cage who knew pretty much everybody and sends Lee an invitation to his wedding that he wasn't exactly expecting.
He knows Ken probably wouldn't even have thought to send him one if he hadn't happened to run into him a few months ago at a spaceport and mention during the twenty minutes they were shooting the shit that he was about to get married, and at first Lee doesn't think he'll bother going. But after he can't seem to stop thinking about it for a while, he gives up and decides to go.
Just like he predicted, the wedding is almost more of a class reunion, crawling with familiar faces from his old days. But it's not everyone. Even though he literally can't remember anyone he knew at the academy who he doesn't see somewhere in the room at the reception, he cannot get rid of the strong sense that someone is missing.
Then he actually hears someone say it at a nearby table where everyone is laughing over something. "...He has never let that go, but I swear to gods I didn't cheat. Kara Thrace was the one who knew how to frakking rob you at cards, but I wouldn't even know how."
It's too late to tune it out and Lee hears someone saying to her with a laugh, "Starbuck didn't cheat, you were just bad."
"Oh please, that girl was paying rent with what she won at cards. When she paid her rent, gods bless her..."
Lee traces lines through the condensation on his glass, suddenly feeling amazingly foolish for being here.