|never fight about money (never marry a youngest child)
Zak pursued her.
Lee didn't run from her, but he watched her, at the academy and after, with the kind of calm detachment Kara didn't need from the man she was frakking. She was a year younger than Lee, and two older than Zak, and Bill Adama - Commander Adama - had looked at her like she was the daughter he hadn't actually had, until she broke his heart.
Standing in the Commander's quarters on the Galactica with the world coming down around their shoulders, he wouldn't look her in the eye but she could read his face clear as she'd always read Zak's, could still read Lee's - Kara knew a broken heart when she saw one.
She'd been walking around with a cracked and patched-up heart beating in her chest for years, after all.
Zak pursued her, and she let him, because she was tired of being alone.
After Zak, but before the Galactica, there was Helo - and if she'd asked him, he would have said after Sharon, the first time, back at the Academy, and before Hera, there was Starbuck, or maybe he would call her Kara, like he had in bed - not that they were anything romantic, but they were always friends.
Helo drank a lot back then, but so did she, and if anyone had hauled them in and shouted improper conduct in their faces, Kara would have laughed.
Nothing improper about the smell of sweat, liquor, sex on Helo's skin, her face pressed against his neck and his hands leaving bruises on her hips; nothing but comfort, some laughter sometimes, and release.
She missed that, sometimes, when Lee was looking at her sideways and the Commander wasn't looking at her at all. Helo was uncomplicated. Everything else has been so complicated since.
She frakked Lee once, just once, and they never talked about it again. Zak died two weeks later, and Kara hadn't gotten around to telling him, because she couldn't figure out how - she could corner a Viper out of a dogfight better than anybody in the fleet, but there were instructions for that, there weren't instructions for confessing that you'd drunkenly frakked your boyfriend's brother - and after Zak.
Lee was a big girl sometimes, and he wanted to talk about it after Zak's funeral. He wanted her to tell him that everything was going to be okay, wanted her to tell him that she could just pick up the pieces of her life and get on with things.
Kara had shattered her own life into a parody of grief, and she knew it - she wasn't going to tell Lee jack shit just to make him feel better.
Helo said that Anders was the right place, right time, but Kara knows better than that. The first time Anders shoved her to the ground, playing Pyramid, Kara knew that he could go up against her and not break, like Zak, or like Lee, or be something that wasn't what she needed, like Helo.
Kara stopped making promises a long time ago, when she figured out she couldn't keep the ones she made, but she means it when she says it to Anders.
She'll come back.
She says to Helo, let's go home, and home tastes strangely on her tongue, because the Galactica is home but then it isn't, either. Helo is home; Helo is almost a stranger now, but he has been her friend for years, and he is home. Anders is home. The tiny piece of hope she's got now is home.
Anders is worth coming home to.
She doesn't understand Helo and Sharon; she loves Helo but she doesn't understand how he can say love in the same breath as Cylon.
When New Caprica goes from a fantasy to a reality, Helo starts to crack, to crash and burn, and Kara's spent a lot of time picking up other people's pieces over the years, she doesn't have time for it anymore. She's always prided herself on being able to pick up her own pieces - she picked them up after Zak, and after she left Anders with nothing better than a promise she didn't think she could keep, she picked them up on the Galactica, eventually, and now.
She doesn't have time for other people's pieces; she's not Captain Thrace anymore, she's not Starbuck, she's just Kara, and Sam is sick and she's scared, really scared, for the first time in her life.
She can't understand how Helo can love something that scares Kara half to death.
Kara can't keep Sam in bed, like he should be, and even when she manages to get him there, she sits beside him, his skin burning with fever under her fingers, and she's frozen. She sits beside Sam and holds his hand and counts backwards in her head, all the kills she made in the cockpit of a Viper; every kill a time she was immortal, couldn't die, couldn't be beaten.
New Caprica is supposed to be something better, a fresh start, and Kara just feels beaten down and lost, like even with Sam she still can't figure out who she is.
When she slides into bed with him at night, he wraps an arm around her waist and presses his mouth against the back of her neck. You're safe, he says, we're safe.
The Cylons are gone, she's got Sam, she's safe.
It doesn't feel right in her head, or in her mouth when she says it out loud. We're safe, Sam says, and then he kisses her and she almost believes it for once. Before the world turned ugly on them, Helo had once said, drunk, Love's supposed to be enough.
She finds Sam playing Pyramid when he's supposed to be in bed, and she gets him up and home and says, Love's enough, right?
Sam says, Of course.
Then the Raiders come, and the world falls down again, and love's never going to be enough for her.
author's notes: 1000 words on the nose - 150 words for each man; 400 for kara herself. title and summary - except for the bit about men that kara frakked, of course - from mason jennings, "love is wicked".