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seldear organized the bsg_ficathon (master list). I wrote a backup fic for minerva_fan, who requested character/background pieces on Bill Adama and Kara Thrace.

Title: Necessity and Falls
Author: voleuse
Fandom: BSG
Characters: Starbuck, Adama
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: That, or concert of one divided.
Notes: No spoilers



i. Kara Thrace, then
to the wail,
the sexual wail
of the back-alleys and blood strings we have lived
still crying,
still singing


The morning after she fraks Rattler, Starbuck has breakfast with Boomer, while Helo tosses shreds of toast at her and laughs. For the most part, she and Boomer ignore him, even when he shimmies his hips past them when he gets seconds.

When a bit of buttered toast hits her on the nose, however, Starbuck reaches over the table and slams Helo's wrist into his oatmeal.

Helo squirms a little, because she isn't being gentle. "Sharon," he says, "a little help?" Boomer laughs.

Starbuck smirks, twists his wrist a little harder. "Something I can do for you, Helo?"

"I don't know, Starbuck." He smacks his lips at her. "If Rattler didn't wear you out--"

She releases him, rolls her eyes. "More like the other way around." She eats the last of Helo's toast, and manages to ignore him until her next shift.

*


It's a routine patrol, scan and sweep only, and not even a freighter out of fuel to liven up the hours.

In between the occasional bouts of comm chatter, she stays silent, looks into the void and lets it wash over her.

When it comes time to turn back, a fit of whimsy strikes her, and she rolls her Viper instead of curving round. It startles Flattop into a curse, but she laughs it off, revels in the tumble of black and starlight racing above her.

And then she remembers, Zak didn't even get this far.

She rights her Viper, flips an obscene gesture at Flattop through her canopy, and points her nose home.

*


Rattler smiles at her that night, over a lackluster card game and a half-full glass of ambrosia.

Starbuck snorts, and slaps her hand down. Full colors.

She sleeps alone that night, and she's happy.


now
Or else, cry.
On the body, when it is
laid out, see if you can find
the one flea that is laughing.


Starbuck eats breakfast alone, most of the time. Apollo's usually inspecting hatchway hinging, or shining his boots, or whatever a CAG does in the ungodly morning hours. And Helo--

For the most part, she tries not to think about where Helo's eating breakfast.

If she's really, really unlucky, a couple of nuggets will swarm to her corner of the mess, grin wide at her and try to, gods, be friends with her.

That's usually when she decides the coffee sucks, and she pushes her plate aside and stalks away.

*


There's a small part of her that thrills when the alarms start to blare, when she's just a step away from the hangar bay in her flight suit. She dashes in, jams her helmet onto her head, and when her Viper is flung out into battle, she has to stifle a shriek of pure adrenaline.

This jagged dance of enemy fire and shrapnel and momentum, this is what she's wanted, since the moment she first buckled into a flight simulator and dared her instructor to surprise her.

Sometimes she forgets, and she enjoys herself.

It's never for long. The screams are sudden and loud.

*


When she stops to think about it, Starbuck hates how efficient the funerals have become.

A recitation of scripture, a commendation of bravery. A few weeping comrades, and the chill when the airlock opens.

The old man always stands in the front row of the assembly, head held high with pride for his fallen children.

He never looks her in the eye on those days.


ii. Bill Adama, then
you sense the line
where the voice calling from stone
no longer answers,
turns into stone, and nothing comes back.


After the funeral, after Lee stalks away without a glance back, Caroline touches his elbow.

"He's wrong," she murmurs to him. "He didn't mean it."

"I know," Bill replies.

Except he doesn't, and when he looks Caroline in the eye, he realizes she doesn't, either.

When they say goodbye, later, she squeezes his hand. "He'll come around," she says.

They both know it's a lie.

*


On Zak's next birthday, he's on duty. He paces the CIC more than usual, and if anybody notices, they don't comment.

The hours are slow, as usual, and he half-idly wishes for a transport ship out of fuel, or a freighter with an imploded cargo hold. Something that would take attention.

But there's nothing. Just empty space, friendly chatter, and the process of going through the motions.

When his shift is finished, he finds Starbuck in his office. She has two cigars, two glasses, and a bottle of rotgut.

He sits behind his desk, and she slides the bottle over with aplomb.

"I figured," she says, "I might need this."

He nods, accepts the offering, and pours for the both of them.

She tells him how she first met Zak, twisting her ring behind her hand.

He tells her about Zak's first girlfriend, who he found out about three weeks after their breakup.

It doesn't matter that they've heard the stories before.

*


He doesn't call Lee, and Lee doesn't call him.

It bothers him, but he's not going to make the first move.


now
as empty space
must have bent
over the newborn planet
and smelled the grasslands and the ferns.


When Bill wakes to nothing but the chiming of his alarm clock, he counts it as a good morning.

Those are few and far between.

He drinks his coffee and pretends it's freshly ground.

*


When he starts his shift, Lee's just coming off. He takes the clipboard of rosters, scans it briefly.

"Any trouble, Captain?" he asks.

Lee shakes his head. "No, sir. Not even a blip on the DRADIS." He pauses, then continues. "There was a fight in the rec room. A couple of my pilots."

Bill nods. "And?"

"I sent them to the brig, told them to cool down." The corner of his mouth tilts in a way that might be a smile. "We can get them out, if we need them."

"All right." He turns his attention to the stack of communiqués awaiting him. "Dismissed."

Lee turns away, and Bill turns back. "Captain--"

"Sir?" Lee raises his eyebrows.

"Starbuck wasn't one of the pilots, was she?"

Lee chuckles. "Not this time, no."

"Good," Bill affirms, and he smiles at his son.

*


There's an accident on one of the smaller transport ships. A crewman dies.

He was in the military, decades ago, so the body is transported to the Galactica for the funeral.

Bill stands in the front row of the assembly, and listens to the priest mouth words now invalidated.

And he looks out into space, and hope strains his eyes.


###

A/N: Title, summary, and excerpts adapted from Galway Kinnell's Lastness.

Originally linked here.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
queenofalostart
Dec. 31st, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC)
And he looks out into space, and hope strains his eyes.

You done made me teary, girl.
voleuse
Jan. 5th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
peri_peteia
Jan. 1st, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
Oh this is fucking gorgeous.

You sort of amaze me, you know. You're like one of the few people who are prolific and also GOOD.

All right. I am done fangirling you now.
voleuse
Jan. 5th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
You have made me blush altgoether to much, lately. Thank you!
liminalliz
Jan. 1st, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)

Lee turns away, and Bill turns back. "Captain--"
"Sir?" Lee raises his eyebrows.
"Starbuck wasn't one of the pilots, was she?"
Lee chuckles. "Not this time, no."
"Good," Bill affirms, and he smiles at his son


OH I LOVE THIS! Excellent fic, omg!
voleuse
Jan. 5th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
Yay! Thank you!
wisteria_
Jan. 3rd, 2006 01:04 am (UTC)
Just *marvelous* work, V. :)
voleuse
Jan. 5th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
magic_8ball
Mar. 2nd, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
Well, I can see what brynnmck likes about your writing. It definitely flows well, and you have a talent for capturing the moment and the emotion of the characters, if that makes sense. I look forward to getting a chance to read more of your stories when I get some time.
moodfic
Mar. 6th, 2006 03:32 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
(Deleted comment)
moodfic
Mar. 6th, 2006 03:32 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you so much!
ancarett
Jun. 21st, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
Missed this the first go-round but caught it thanks to the crack_van rec. Lovely work. I adore stories that get into the character's backstory and you've done a great job for both of them, here.
moodfic
Jun. 22nd, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it!
dionusia
Nov. 19th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
Hi, I just wanted to say thank you so much for this story. I love the symmetry of these two finely drawn character studies -- it's a very dear favorite of mine.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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