Exaggeration and Blank Verse
Sins Lie Unatoned
Battlestar Galactica
Horatio Hornblower
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series

I broke through the trees and there in the night
My father's house stood shining hard and bright
The branches and brambles tore my clothes and scratched my arms
But I ran till I fell, shaking in his arms
My father's house shines hard and bright
It stands like a beacon calling me in the night
Calling and calling, so cold and alone
Shining 'cross this dark highway where our sins lie unatoned
~ "My Father's House," Bruce Springsteen

The CAG gets a private bunk-- they call it privilege of rank. The privilege of rank is that they leave you alone, alone, alone with your heart pounding in your chest and an ache like your blood's going solid in your veins.

Galactica's lights aren't automatic, the rules are that nothing is automatic here, and so Lee is in the dark, and it hurts, his chest hurts from breathing and feeling his heartbeat, his stomach hurts from the screams he can't allow himself to make, his soul hurts from being alive when she isn't. He ought to be used to it by now. Everything you touch dies-- your love is a poison, your love is a disease.

Alone in the dark, his heart beats and beats and he wishes it would stop, that saying his heart is broken could be the same as the Chief saying the Vipers are broken-- that they are stopped are dead are still. He wants to be still. He wants the blood to stop moving in his veins, the air to stop in his lungs. He wants to be gone, like they are gone. Zak-- Mother-- Kara-- everyone who loves you--

The door opens, but he lacks the strength to look, he can only curl on his side, making himself small in the dark cool room, small in his grief. He has rank, he has a duty, he has honor to think of-- but he has nothing left that is his. He thought that he had trained himself years ago not to cry, but tears run down his face now, silent and warm on cold skin. He shakes and he cries and warm arms wrap around him, ease him up from the bed, draw him close to a body.

He knows that this is his father, Father holding him as he cries, and though his eyes are closed his mind is a jumble of images that mean Father. Vipers cutting the sky, soft grey uniforms that smell like safe, eyes and hands and steel jaw. He hears Father's voice in his memory-- Kara was family-- and the last word echoes over and over in the thudding of both their hearts. Family. Family.

Zak still and white on a slab in the morgue, ugly slashes and burns marring the cold meat of his torso, the antiseptic smell burning Lee's throat as he confirmed the identity of the body. Family. Kara broken and tangled in the wreckage of her Viper on an alien moon, left behind to freeze and fall to dust. Family. His mother looking up from her garden when a flash of light appeared on the horizon, wondering at the shadow crossing the sun.

Father is cradling his face now, and Lee looks up at him, the last of his family. Kindred, blood and choice, love-- they were bound together still, the last either of them had, all that was left to call family, family, family--

Father is kissing his face gently, kissing the tears away, and Lee can feel the same trembling running through both their bodies, the horror of losing everything in the universe but one. Worse by far than losing it all, because the threat of losing this last thing is an icy fearful pain in their hearts. He feels Father's heartbeat along with his own, where their chests meet in their huddled embrace, and he closes his eyes again, still weeping, Father still catching his tears. He knows, knows on a deeper level than thought, down in the blood and bone where they are bound, what Father sees when he looks at him. Ghosts of Zak and Caroline in his face and eyes, shadows of Kara in the engine grease on his hands, the Fleet-trained tilt of his head. Father carries less in him-- echoes of Zak only-- but through Zak Lee can imagine the others, the rest of his family gone. Lost because they loved you. Everything you touch, everything you love, everything dies--

Father's kisses are faster, more desperate, moving to cover Lee's mouth and silence his sobs. Slowly they slide down to lie on the bed, Father's body a shield between Lee's and the cold. The press of their bodies against each other, the awkward slide of their hands are the blind fumblings of those alone in the dark, seeking comfort and warmth and proof of life in the wasteland. Your love will kill him too-- your hate has kept him alive this long, but he's the last, the only, and you don't hate him anymore--

Their tears mingle together in the dark with the sweat from their bodies moving together, their fumbling for pulse and breath and heat. Lee thinks of Kara, wild pretty Kara lost for her love for all of them, for Adama men who can only kill and die. He thinks of Zak, laughing bright-eyed Zak who carried the sun in his smile, who could warm Lee's frozen heart with a look. He thinks of his mother's gentle hands. He remembers Father kissing her, and Zak touching Kara when he thought no one could see, and the way Father's hand had rested on Kara's shoulder at Zak's funeral. All tied together, tangled up in knots of blood and death and choice and love. Family, family, family.

Flesh of flesh, blood of blood, heart and soul and pride and joy and love, dust and ashes and ghosts. The words echo through Lee in the spaces between his heartbeats as they move together, shards of glass flying through his mind, melting away in the poison he doesn't mean to spread. He's killing his father with every touch and the guilt and fear cut away at him inside, but he can't stop. This is the only thing he has, and all he can do is thank blind and shallow Gods that he is not, not yet, alone.

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