Exaggeration and Blank Verse
Blood Will Tell
Battlestar Galactica
Horatio Hornblower
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series

No one tells the CAG he can't take a Viper out if he wants to.

No one tells a shaken, worried son that he can't take a flight to clear his head.

These are possibly the only two ways that it's good to be Lee Adama right now.

If Chief Tyrol had a brain in his head, he'd realize that it might not be the best idea to let a man whose wrists are still raw from handcuffs take a precious item like a Viper for a spin. Or a man of questionable mental state, much less both in one body. But nobody on Galactica is thinking too clearly right now.

"How fares Zeus?" Zarek asks with expansive, excessive sympathy when Lee lands the Viper in the Astral Queen's shuttle bay. "Does the king of the gods still walk among us?"

"He's stable," Lee says, yanking the sealant collar off of his neck and throwing it to the floor of the Viper cockpit along with his helmet. "He's the doctors' top priority."

"And the traitor? The...Cylon?" Zarek grins, and as much as Lee wants to punch his teeth in, he clenches his fists and doesn't move. He came here to talk to the man, not be beaten senseless by all his followers for daring to lay a hand on him. Again.

"She's in the brig," he says briefly, digging his nails into his palms to hold off the memory of Lieutenant Valerii's face when the gun hit the deck, the blankness giving way to horror- sleeper agent, she didn't even know what she was going to do- the warm blood on his clothes and hands, once someone freed him...Only 24 hours ago? Or a lifetime?

"A godslayer is a rare thing," Zarek says, half-smiling, walking in a lazy circle around the bay. Lee remains still, head bowed, fists clenched. Seeking the control he lost a day ago, a lifetime ago, when he blew up at Kara, and hasn't been able to find since. He's in free-fall, and there's no bottom in sight. "It must take great strength."

"She's a Cylon," Lee says, relaxing his hands as he feels blood welling up in his palms. "It's just good programming."

"Still." Zarek shakes his head and takes a seat on a stack of crates, studying Lee with frank, open curiousity. "What brings you here, little god?"

"What is your fixation on that?" It's a dodge, a ploy, a nonadmission to avoid the question he doesn't want to answer.

I'm here because you know who you are, and I want to know how that feels. You know yourself- because you made yourself- and I'm fast becoming nothing- I'm falling and I'm scared-

"It amuses me." Zarek shrugs. "You're bleeding, Captain Apollo."

He looks down at his hands, at the red stains forming on the floor. "I know." He feels the itch of bandages under his flight jacket, holding together the split skin of his arms. "Been doing a lot of that lately."

I was a brother, then I wasn't; a friend, and then I wasn't; I almost wasn't a soldier anymore and soon I might not be a son. You made yourself, Tom Zarek, I read your book...but it didn't tell me how...

"I assume you gave blood for your father." Zarek nods, clasping his hands in front of him. "I also assume that's not all you mean."

Lee feels a grin twist his face, and he knows it's feral and frightening, but he doesn't try to stop it. He's become increasingly convinced, the more he considers it, that he can't fool Zarek, that the man somehow sees inside of him. Sees the hollowness, the non-self. "Opened a vein. Looked for the Cylon inside."

Zarek nods thoughtfully. Not shocked, not horrified; he does see the truth. He's a wise man, in his madness. "Did you find one?"

"Valerii blew half her face off and no one saw the difference. The sleeper agents...they blend right in. They don't even know." He shivers a little, despite himself; he knows that Zarek's cold eyes read every move. "There's no way to know."

"Why are you here, Captain Apollo?" Zarek asks again. "You think I have some kind of answers?"

"You know things," Lee says, and his voice comes out like a little boy's, lost and hopeless. "About people. At least, you act like you do."

"I'm merely a man, little Apollo. You're the god."

"I'm not a god," Lee says immediately, his anger wavering into fear before it ever reaches his voice. "It's just a stupid nickname."

Zarek smiles, and it's as cold as his eyes, amused and satisfied at seeing something break. "Knowing who you are is the first step to true knowledge. And knowing what you are not...is the first step toward that." He slides off the boxes and leaves the bay, still smiling, not looking back.

The doors hiss closed behind him, and Lee Adama stands beside his Viper, with his blood on the floor, alone.

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