Title: Are like shooting stars
Don't own them; just borrowing.
The sky is a cunning master, calling her back sweetly every time she tries to stay away.
through Lay Down Your Burdens II
For Lady Fest '10. Prompt: Battlestar Galactica, Kara Thrace, On nights like these I could fly up to the sky above me/Like Superman I would change the course of earth below me

The first time they let her into a cockpit in Basic Flight, she's in love. All that power under her, over her, surrounding her, the instruments humming under her hands...She falls hard and fast and there's no bringing her back. She logs more hours in the sims than half of her class combined. The first time she breaks atmo and she's free up among the stars is the same way. It's an out of body experience, heady and addicting – and at the same time, she's so in tune with her body, with the way the Viper is just an extension of herself; she thinks, this. She could do this for the rest of her life and be completely satisfied.

They talk about her, she knows. Starbuck, the rogue pilot, fraks everyone in sight and would frak the Vipers, too, if it were at all possible. Her classmates are all a bit afraid of her, afraid of the way she loves flying so fiercely and completely. She's gonna get killed up there one day, are the whispers when she leaves the locker room, but she doesn't care. She's got nothing to prove to them.

Later, it's what Zak can't understand but desperately wants to. It's what draws her to him, really, time and again: the way he catches up with her after class and asks, awe and longing in his voice, tell me what it feels like, up there. She takes him to the highest building at the Academy, breaks them into the locked-off stairwell leading to the roof. Laying on her back next to him she stares up at the stars, then grabs his hand, rolls over on top of him, and shows him exactly what it feels like, up there. She's too in love – with Zak and with the sky – to realize this, ultimately, is what will kill him.

Even after he's dead, she can't stop flying. Her first love. She can't let go. Sometimes she feels like a whore to it, a traitor, but the sky is a cunning master, calling her back sweetly every time she tries to stay away. So she just gets even, flying higher and faster and harder. At night she tastes the metal and stale air of the cockpit and dreams in dizzying pitches and yaws.

When the Cylons bomb the hell out of the Colonies, it's just another excuse to fly. She no longer has ties to the destroyed planets below, so she fights to defend the stars, the deep reaches of space where she's always felt the most at home. And they still talk about her, call her reckless and stupid and rash, and she still doesn't care. She fraks and fights and flies, and she's still dizzyingly in love with the power and the freedom of it all.

Grounded on New Caprica, she tries. She tries for Sam, and to spite Lee, and for any other stupid reason she can think of. But at night, she feels the restlessness in her, and she still dreams it: the dark expanse of space, the humming metal of her Viper around her, the beckoning stars. She wakes, aroused and aching, and turns to Sam. Let me show you what it feels like, up there, she wants to shake him awake and say.

Instead, she slips out of bed, walks to the highest point in this godsforsaken city, climbs to the top of the wounded, grounded Astral Queen. She pulls her heavy coat around her and lays back. Metal under her, stars above her, she closes her eyes and dreams she's flying.