Pairing/Characters: Kara/Lee, Paul, Caroline
Summary: This body has probably never left solid earth, but every muscle in her feels like it could take to the sky in a Viper cockpit on sense memory alone.
A/N: Happy, happy birthday shah_of_blah who requested this little follow-up to Did I Fall Asleep?
Wasn’t even two days before they had to clear out; LA wasn’t safe, anymore. Not like they’d really be safe anywhere.
City of Angels, her ass.
“Want me to take over?” Lee holds a cup of stale convenience store coffee out to Paul.
His hands reek of gasoline as he accepts it and his reply is thick with sleep. “I’m fine.”
“Sorry,” Lee replies, rubbing the bridge of his nose. “I meant to say ‘Give me the keys, I’m driving.’”
There’s a click as the gas pump turns itself off, tank full, and Paul sets the nozzle back into place with too much finality. “I don’t think so.”
There was a time when he would’ve fallen in line and said yes, sir as he handed over the keys; but they are not those men anymore. Lee watches as Paul downs his drink, grimaces, and tosses the paper cup into the garbage.
“You’re going to fall asleep at the wheel and kill us all before the Dollhouse has the chance to.”
Paul isn’t listening; his gaze travels over to the sedan, maybe to check and make sure that Caroline is still asleep in the front seat, Kara in the back, before locking onto Lee like taking aim at a target. “I’m not going to trust these girls in your hands.”
Lee balks. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“I don’t know what happened between the time we left and the time Bravo brought you back… but something… something isn’t right.” His gaze is painfully scrutinizing. “Like how all of a sudden your accent is gone and you just wave it off saying I wouldn’t believe you. And what about the way you were all over Bravo,” he pauses, corrects himself, “Kara in the bar the other night. Seems a little sudden.”
Lee folded his arms over his chest. “What exactly is it that you’re accusing me of, Ballard?”
“It’s not unheard of… they’re just Dolls right? They don’t fight back, they don’t scream. They don’t—”
Lee’s fist all-too-satisfyingly connects with Paul’s jaw, sending him stumbling back before he recovers and swings a retaliating blow. And part of it makes Lee smile, the stubborn loyalty, even as he wipes blood away from his split lip.
“What?” Paul snaps.
“You think this is a joke? I want a damned good reason for all of this in the next five seconds or—”
“Does the name ‘Sharon’ mean anything to you, Paul?”
He freezes. His face a mask of calm as wheels turn in his mind, but it looks like he’s adding two and two together and coming up with five. “You’re not the first person who asked me that. There was a woman…” His brow furrows and he opens his mouth to continue, but nothing comes out. He tries once more and comes up empty. On the third try he manages, “Does this have something to do with that whole ‘All this has happened before’ thing?”
It hits him like a lightning bolt. How the frak did Paul Ballard know that phrase?
Lee Adama never believed in the gods, and Lee Josephs had never set foot in a church in his life and for the first time he can remember it makes sense.
“I saw a sign for a motel on the next exit. Maybe we should stop for the night.”
Paul’s lips remain set in a firm line as he reaches his hand into his pocket, pulls out the keys, and tosses them to Lee.
She’s gotta give credit to the desert—the stars are amazing. Couldn’t even see the damn things in all that LA haze, but out here it’s like the sky is on fire. Kara reclines against the windshield of the sedan, enjoying the view from her perch on the hood.
The night sky from Earth.
She can remember the first time she saw it.
Or can she?
“Hey.” Kara looks over to see Caroline striding towards her across the parking lot, stepping in and out of pools of light. “Getting kind of crazy-making in there, huh?”
“And that’s why I’m out here,” she replies as she turns her gaze back up to the night sky.
Caroline climbs up onto the hood and the metal threatens to bend under the weight of both of them, but manages to hold strong. “The guys started out talking about whether or not to head straight to the Dollhouse Headquarters in Tucson or crash in Phoenix for a while. Then they started going on about that past life and science fiction bullshit.”
And it’s enough to make Kara laugh, long and loud, until it burns, until she’s drowning in it, until she’s gasping for the dry desert air, and Caroline, and all thirty-eight of the people inside of her, are looking at her like she’s as crazy as she feels right now. “Are you okay?” she asks, sounding like she’s already looking for an escape route.
“Sorry,” Kara coughs, trying to compose herself. “Sorry. I, uh… yeah. I’m fine.”
And for a while they both watch the stars.
“You’re not like me.” Caroline rolls onto her side, propped up on one elbow and looking at Kara. “No one opened up your head and dumped in a whole bunch of people. Which, trust me, hurts like hell. And Lee said they lost your memories so… what’s going on in there? You said it yourself, you’re Kara Thrace… so who is she?”
She’s someone who died a long time ago.
Kara curls her fingers, one by one, into a fist and uncurls them again with just as much care; it certainly feels like it’s her own hand. But it’s not. This body isn’t hers, this life isn’t hers. This body has probably never left solid earth, but every muscle in her feels like it could take to the sky in a Viper cockpit on sense memory alone.
Someone else owned this body, someone she will never know shared this soul, and for some frakked up reason, the gods thought it would be a good idea to set those memories off and bring Kara Thrace back into the universe.
She stalls. “I remember… the Dollhouse… feeling like I was…” Her fingers curl again, nails digging into her palms. “I was stuck beneath the surface just… watching these things happen to me.”
“But what about before?” Her voice is pointed, edgier. Gods, did Caroline just not know when to back the frak off? “You’re a force to be fucking reckoned with; I’ve only known you for three days, you can’t tell me there’s no before. What’s it like?”
She breathes. Looks up at the night sky. This body must have watched those stars before. “It’s like getting a second chance.”
People have to have this, Kara. Trust. Your word and my word. We don't have this, then we really are no different than the cylons.
Do you trust me?
With my life.
In their dark motel room, she forgets.
She forgets to wonder who she is, why she’s here, because it just feels right. She claws at his back as he moves inside her, whispers her name in her ear, moans against her lips, assuring her of exactly who she is. And she is assured because she trusts him, and that is the one only thing she is completely sure of.
For a moment she thinks that maybe, just maybe, instead of a punishment; this might just be the gods’ apology.
And then she can’t think of anything.
Sleepy and sated, she can’t even bother to untangle herself from him, so they lie together in a heap, as his thumb traces just under the inside of her elbow.
“What?” she sighs out.
For a moment, Lee doesn’t say anything. Then he grins. “I can’t get used to you without tattoos.”
She glances down at his thumb and the words that no longer mark her skin and she’s glad to belong to herself for once. “What do you propose I do about that?” she asks as she props herself up on her elbow.
“Well, I was thinking…” He presses a kiss just beneath her ear. “When we get to Phoenix…” Another two on her neck, “You could find a tattoo artist and get something right…” His tongue licks a long line across her collarbone. She shudders. “Here.” He looks up into her eyes grinning. “Maybe a heart with ‘Kara Thrace Loves Lee Adama’?”
She grins and rolls over on top of him, lips hovering just over his, “Right, and you can come with me and get ‘Personal Property of Kara Thrace’ tattooed across your ass. How does that sound?”
The day after they arrive in Phoenix, she has one—rising from the ashes across her shoulderblade.