I tilt my head, noting the growing confusion on the other man's face and watch as he struggles free himself of the covers.
I see patterns. I've always been able to. Now I pause and wait to see the fear focus in Anders' eyes.
"I know you... gods. The ships!"
My lips quirk in response to his gasp. I study him closely. I want to truly see the things and people that are important to her. I want to share in the sense of belonging. So I study...
"I ask again... where's Kara?"
I study anything, everything to do with her and this man is most definitely Kara's. I can understand it too. Anders' is perfect for her: handsome, loyal, brave and happy to put up with her shit. He's what she needs. He's interesting...
Troublingly, as I focus intently into the depths of his face I find there is a blankness of my vision; a veil covering my mind's eye. I parry with it but can't shake the odd resistance. I don't understand and I feel light headed as I try. Taking a mental step backwards, I get one thing though - this man is more than he seems. Something within him is different, a familiar note I can't place or get a fix on. Mind mind whispers that it's a forbidden secret. There is a mystery behind his fevered eyes...
I shy away and almost forget.
Yes, I understand why she's chosen this man above others. Why even after been beaten within an inch of her life and getting imprisoned at the farm, there was not a moment's hesitation in her about wanting to get him back. She'd crossed the galaxy to save him for he was hers.
Caprica. I'd been disturbed to find out what had happened to her there, especially as I'd already informed the other models about my sense of her. I thought they'd understood that if she was caught, it was to be left to me to speak and deal with her. The thought of Kara caught alone in that room with the Four... my heart thumps even now. I'd railed at the Ones about not being permitted by vote to get off the baseship and go to her. I'd been angered that there were no Twos on Caprica to be able to take her away for me either.
I breathe out. I am calm.
That was then and this is now, and if there is one thing I know it's patience. It's all about the patterns, and with all patterns, eventually they have to repeat themselves. All this has happened before, it will all happen again.
In the time it has taken me to think this, the man has started to shake and his skin greys further as he challenges his body to move. Anders very clearly loves his wife and he's fighting to make a stand for her. I can tell he's devoted and wants her. That he'd follow her. I guess it's impossible not to - I share the sentiment. As I look into his deathly pallor, seeing his valiant stand, I really do understand Kara's choice.
A smile creeps over my lips again.
It does not mean that I have to let it stand.
I lean back, gently resting against the frame of the tent enjoying the moment. For the first time in many months, I can rejoyce for she is near me. I can smell her here. I can pick up her scent mixed in with the sick sweat running down her husband's body. She embodies that which is earthly woman and the divine.
"I don't know any frakkin' Kara!" Anders yells, finally getting to his feet. The mucus and swelling in his lungs makes him breathe hard as he struggles to bring in enough air past the muck to support his movements. I'm astonished at drive of the man, marvelling at the effort he's put into simply rising. He looks mean and even sick, he looks hard. He waivers, taking a step closer. But he's no threat.
"Of course you don't."
I project my mild calm around me and it settles my body further, balancing the apprehension and excitement. In an idle movement I pull the gun from its strap as Anders lunges towards the knife on the box serving as a dresser. In quick succession, I dart forward and slam the handle into his temple before he can reach the weapon. The tall, dark haired man drops and I catch him as he crumples into a heap. I bear him no true ill. I understand as he does that Kara needs men. It's who she is. It's how her body and mind work.
Gently, I smooth his hair away from his bloody temple, making sure the wound is not serious. This is a new beginning, just like Caprica Six and Boomer have decreed; a human and cylon world where we all live together. So nice. I don't care for what the rest do. None of us Twos have committed ourselves to this so called union of creators and children, but we'll do our part in the human, cylon relations... just on a smaller, more individual scale. My brothers follow me and recognise the need to find her.
Yes, this is the way. Besides, New Caprica will not work. The humans will not accept this, and if I leave her with the others - I smile - she will cause trouble. I know her better than she knows herself.
I move back from Anders and to the side of the entrance, just out of sight of the flap. Outside is all panic and screams as the humans wonder if there is any way out. There is only one way out for Kara, and I will show her the way.
All I want is to hold her again. Feel my hands against her neck, but not like before, in threat to her life. Gently this time, slow and soft. I feel for her and she will love me.
I've seen it... seen a child, a whisper and a kiss.
The tent is unpleasant, cold and damp, but all I need to do is wait. Starbuck will be back.
Let me stop, gods let it stop. I'm awake, I know I am so please, please let it stop...
Darkness, peace. I can feel sleep dragging at me.
Rest. I can't, need to get out. Something's wrong.
It's alright. It's fine… it's only that deceptive time between waking and sleep that rock the body with adrenalin and fear. You've read about it before. Relax. It's my mind playing tricks. I know this. I do. I've dreamt it and felt it before. I know I'm awake. I can see. The familiar but strange surroundings are hidden in shadows. My eyes are open. I can see. I need to move, to run. There is something here... with me…
It's a dream Kara. Only a dream… just wakeup you silly frakker and it'll all be fine!
I'm awake. I'm lying flat. Yes, can feel the firm secure panel of the bed beneath me.
I am awake. Safe. Warm.
Who's there? Hello? My mind asks the questions but my throat is locked tight with sleep. There is... something there...
I'm so hot. Sweat between my breasts, at my temples... I taste salt. Too hot. I need air.
Stop, no... get away!
My insides are crawling. I'm gonna be sick.
I am awake. My eyes are open. I blink. I did. Again and again. I must stay awake. Blink rapidly. I can control this. I do the tiny action again and then focus on the terrible things that are hiding at the edge of... that creature, it's dancing away each time I try to look closer. Just out of sight - search for it Kara. I look but really it's not there. It's just a dream. The shapes filtering in through the open window are just my fears.
I am awake.
I want to scream. Did I? Gods! Sam, Lee - help! Let me scream, please? I called out, didn't I? I'm sure I did, I feel like I've screamed so many times.
Let me go!
It's a dream, Starbuck. One of those stupid frakkin' waking dreams. Breathe, right, we know what it is. Most likely slept in a funny position. Just need to not nod off again. Keep awake and wait for it to pass.
We've a long day ahead of us. Pause... Where did that come from? It's not my voice.
Awake. Just a few moments more Starbuck, we need to let the paralysis of sleep relax and stop holding our body in this prison. We, I need to let go. A ghost of humour tickles as I talk to myself, shaking myself alert again, to drop once more.
I hear rain... nothing but the rain.
Sam, Lee, Admiral? Anyone?
Be calm, blink. Is anyone there?
Pain in my head, dust in my mouth.
Please, someone please get me away? Lee, there's something there in the shadows, a presence trapping me here in this body, in this bed and in this room. This place.
I don't belong here.
Sam, honey, I'm stuck, please hear me moan and wake me up?
Frak it Starbuck, it's just a dream. Stand and fight back, then make the nightmare frakkers sorry! Yeah, that's right. I grin.
That's it. Run through the fantasy. Track 'em, line 'em up and shoot 'em down. Your Viper mark.
Where's my wingman? Apollo? No, he's not here... he's angry with you, us. Frak, me. Think straight. It's okay, I'm gonna sort it out. We always do. Lee will always be there. Starbuck and Apollo. But don't you remember... that night a year ago? Warm from his body, cold from the night. Morning and realisations?
It's all too much. Too traumatic.
I am awake or is it a trick? Have I moved or am I still stuck asleep?
Morpha or Ambrosia this time? Perhaps I'm sick? My throat does not work. Sickbay? It's okay. It's okay. Find higher ground, wait for the SAR.
Am I even alive?
I'm falling. Down, down onto a red whirling moon. No, just onto a bed, idiot. Cotton and wool.
But they're watching. They're waiting. They're all waiting at the end of the bed, under the bed. Under my clothes and in my skin.
I moan. I moaned. I know I did! I can hear it this time. An audible moan and my ears hear the sound. Was it real? Did I make that sound? If I did I am awake. I can escape. Can get out and hunt down those nightmarish things that just waiting to pin me and take me.
My fingers, I can feel them. Pain. No momma no! Consecutive fractures, each finger broken in the same place. Painful blood running through sleepy cold veins. Sensation.
I am awake, really I am. Breathe deep.
Fist, make a fist - there, yes! I clasp hands into fists. Breathe, calm your breath Starbuck. Breathe... but not so harsh a breath. Call out.
I moan and it's louder this time, attention seeking and vital.
I am alive.
A blurred shape moves swiftly and carefully into my line of vision and a gentle hand brushes damp hair from my face.
'Kara, don't fight. Don't fight. Nothing's going to hurt you.'
My vision clears. I am truly awake. My fist moves of its own accord but although well aimed, it's weak. Drugs and sleep. No, no! Get up Starbuck. Fight.
'Don't fight,' the cylon whispers and pushes my pathetic attack back. I stare into Leoben's face.
I remember now. Sam, the tent... the weakness as I couldn't breathe. Then waking again in the strange red light aboard the baseship. Leoben was there. I fought. The centurion crushed my hand... the scratch of a needle. Sleep.
Fear gets you killed and anger keeps you alive.
'Let me go.' I manage to get out now. He presses my arms down with a firm grip.
'Just rest, Kara. You're home and safe and it's where you will stay.'
His face is bare inches from mine. He looks content, confident, but I don't belong here.
'Don't fight,' he repeats.
I cannot help but look him in the eyes; he's not going to let me go. Our roles are reversed, like he told me. All this has happened before.
Gone is the sympathy I felt by that airlock.
I am awake.
Lords, please help me?
It's fascinating to watch her as she tries to hide her thoughts. She might be a good card player, but when it comes to real emotions, they run all over her. I can see that she's almost on the verge of shaking with rage and stress at the confinement. She isn't going to take being locked up well but it's necessary. It's one of the phases that needs to be got through before she'll come round as I hope. As I've foreseen.
She just needs time.
Time. It has only been a month since we found the radiation signature left by the destruction of the fleet ship and only as much time for Caprica and Boomer to convince the other models to live with and make peace with the humans on this planet.
Two weeks since the take-over plan was formed and then set in operation. Two weeks of monitoring the general wireless and the military waves through the disruption of this planet's atmosphere to know that both of the battlestars were undermanned and hulking over this world like useless umbrellas.
Ten days since I learned that she wasn't on Galactica. Its amazing what one can learn from listening to CAP discussions. Then there was that personal call from father to son where the older asked to younger to make amends with her; the call which confirmed my dream where she was married.
Nine days since I'd taken a Heavy Raider down onto the other side of the planet, and let it drift to ground to lose the signals. Hitchhiked in under the cover of darkness and found her tent. Watched as she lay there curled up beside her husband, then followed as she'd left him sleeping to go drinking with other men and women. Watched as she'd started some alcohol induced kiss before breaking it off to stumble unfocused back to an unlit tent where Anders still lay. She'd stripped off her wet muddy outer things and crawled in beside him. I doubt she noticed that he was awake, waiting.
I've thought of nothing but her since being dragged out of that airlock by the vacuum of space. I'd been prepared to die then and wasn't afraid. My soul had been my only concern. But she'd delivered me and I was saved. Downloaded, I'd woken up on a Resurrection Ship surrounded by my brothers. They'd seen what I'd seen and we all knew to wait until the time was right to find her again.
I can't believe it's only been a week since we arrived and Galactica and Pegasus jumped away. It seems so much longer as so many things have happened in that short space of time.
She'd wrecked the holding cell on the baseship and hurt herself in the process. Her head and fingers got cut when she'd tried to run past my brother only to be stopped by the hard chrome of a centurion. I'd not wanted to drug her again, but we or I, couldn't be with her all the time, and so I'd decided that it was the best way whilst we and the centurions sorted this place out within the new Detention Centre.
It's been just three days since she resurfaced here in our home.
Since then she's been more controlled, more deadly. I'd not needed to download since the airlock incident but in the past week I've had to do it twice because of her. I'd not underestimated her, just not been careful enough about the innocent objects she could turn into something altogether more deadly.
'Kara, listen. It's going to be uncomfortable for you if you don't change or wash. I realise the implications of this environment to you, but I assure you that I will not touch you in any way that you do not first engage.'
I tilt my head to assess her response. Despite her stillness, I know she's listening.
'I'm not going to leave, but neither will I intrude upon you.'
'Put a lock on the door first,' her voice is low and in check, 'Better yet, let me go.'
'We've discussed this and my answer is still the same. I need you to understand who you are. I refuse to let you waste your life and what I can be to you. For you.'
Her eyes flash dangerously and she looks gleefully murderous.
'God you stink... do you remember saying that to me Leoben? Well perhaps now I truly do.'
I can see it makes her happy to act out and not play along.
I grin at her.
'I already knew your voice before I met you. From your correspondence with Galactica during missions. I also know the smell of dead Raider, which is what I smelt on you that first time. The smell injects deep into skin and you were swallowed by it. Kara, I instantly knew who you were. I followed the saga of you being trapped on that moon and The Admiral and his son's desperate search to find you. I felt your amazing return. I knew you... know you. I see what you are. You have a destiny beyond all this, Kara Thrace,' I whisper. I know my voice holds an entreating quality. I want to be strong before her but I find she effects me in ways I cannot help. Instead of fighting the instinct, I go with it and aim to soften the hard set to her face and jaw with a look. It's one filled with empathy for her suffering.
And of course, she takes it the wrong way.
'Enough! I'd sooner take my chances in there than listen to this drivel, so frakkin' drop it,' she spits as she storms past me to the bathroom. The rapid movement of her body stirs the dust motes in the air and the apartment tingles from her presence.
With her hand on the handle she speaks and her tone is clearer now, in a voice sharpened with menace, 'Come in and I'll throttle you with my bare hands.'
I drop back into my seat as if intimidated by her threat.
Throttle me... I know she would before long and I can't help grinning at the thought.