The Game

by Crystal Wimmer

1,275 words / Rated PG-13

He watched her body move up and down in a rhythmic motion.  Up, down, up, down... the hypnotic motion held no bounce, only total control.  He could remember so many times when they had shared that motion, together as one.  Their bodies had been in total sync, never losing a beat, almost like a dance.  Muscles rippled and strained, breathing gradually deepened, and finally one of them would fall out, having lost the battle.  Normally, it was her.  It was one of the few things he could beat her at, not that they really kept score.  Except that they did - for fun - and he enjoyed it.  He enjoyed her.

Even this part of her.

He was hesitant to speak, to let her know he was there.  To speak would end his time of watching, and her body was a fantastic thing to see in motion.  Sweat gleamed on bare arms, her face was slightly flushed, and she looked... perfect.  But while he was many things, a voyeur wasn't one of them.  He couldn't watch indefinitely without her knowledge.

"This seems familiar," he finally said, allowing his thought to be verbalized.  Her reaction was instantaneous, and as he had feared she stopped her exercise. 

Her head turned towards him, one knee went down to the ground to support her as she stood, and then she moved towards him with gray eyes locked to his.  "Captain Adama, Sir," she said, her voice dripping with a sarcasm that many would have taken for dislike.  He knew her better then that.  Her hands were on her hips even as his own were on the bars of the jail cell.  It was safer that way.  She took another step towards him.  "Sorry I wasn't there to greet you with the rest of the squadron," she said.  "Did they kiss your ass to your satisfaction?"

Her face was totally straight; Lords, how did she do that?  As o often happened, he lost this little contest.  He might run her into the ground with push-ups, but verbal sparring was her specialty.  He tried to keep the game going a bit longer by breaking eye contact to look around the brig as though plotting an escape.  "So, what's the charge this time?"

She shook her head, the serious look still in place.  "Striking a superior asshole," she fired back.

"Ahh," he agreed with a nod.  "I bet you've been waiting all day to say that one," he observed.

"Most of the afternoon, yeah," she replied, and then she surprised him.  She broke first, if only in the smallest of ways, and he saw her smile.  He had won after all; not that they were keeping score.  "So, how long's it been?" she asked with a casual air that was anything but.  There was too much between them to ever be casual again.

"Two years," he told her.  Forever.

"Two years," she repeated, her words almost overlapping his.  She'd known damned well how long it had been.  Apparently their game wasn't over after all.  They had only finished round one.  "We must be getting old.  It seems like the funeral was only a couple of months ago."

That set went to her.  "Yeah," he said, looking away.  The funeral, the pain, and the ripping apart of all their lives.  As though he could forget the day...

"Your old man's doing fine," she told him, and there was genuine concern there.  Kara could be sarcastic and snitty on occasion, but he could read her honesty when he tried.  "We don't talk about it much," she admitted.  "Maybe two or three times a year.  He still struggles with it."

Kara, the fighter, still trying to make peace.  He wasn't ready for it now any more than he'd been ready for it then.  Some pain didn't come with a statute of limitations. She was shifting uncomfortably, as though she knew he couldn't accept this yet.  Hell, she knew him as well as he knew her.

"I haven't seen him," he said, cutting her off and avoiding her gray eyes neatly in the process.

But she was no longer shifting her body.  "Why not?" she asked.  He knew she didn't understand.  She had never understood.  For all that they shared - had shared - would share - she couldn't grasp the concept of not forgiving another.  They had been through this before, a dozen times.  It was one reason that they'd stayed so far apart for the last two years.  A game was one thing, but constant fighting was exhausting.  When he kept his face impassive - something his stomach most certainly was not - she looked away from him and laughed.  She wasn't amused.  "How long are you going to do this?" she asked with clear frustration.

"I'm not doing anything," he denied, once more unable to meet her eyes.  How in hell did she do that... he wasn't doing anything wrong.  He hadn't been the one in the wrong.  He wasn't why...

"He lost his son, Lee," she said, getting him to look back at her.  He didn't know how she did it.  The look there was almost enough to send him screaming from the room, but he wouldn't concede the game.  The stakes were too high, and he had too much to lose.

"And who's responsible for that?" he sent back, bitterness edging every word.

Something died in Kara's eyes; something that had been concerned and soft turned icy and blank.  Lee couldn't understand the change, but he could see it - feel it - and he wanted to make it right.  The problem was that he had no clue how to go about it.  "Same old Lee," she said quietly, making it sound like a curse rather than what it been years before.  "You haven't changed either."

"Same old Lee" had been a good thing then.  He stayed up all night studying - same old Lee.  He remembered her favorite ice cream flavor when ordering - same old Lee.  He remembered his mother's birthday when everyone else forgot – same old Lee.  When had it stopped? When had he begun to need to defend himself to this one woman.  "Zak was my brother," he informed her in no uncertain terms. 

"What was he to me?" she asked, her voice easy but her eyes showing that same dead look.  "Nothing?"

She knew better than that.  Hell, she had to know better; everyone had known.  He didn't want to win this way, not by sending her so low that she couldn't get back up.  She had loved Zak; he wouldn't let her believe that he felt otherwise.  Quickly he rushed to try to fix what he had just shattered.  "That's not what I meant," he said.  "And you know it..."

She didn't let him finish.  "You know what?  You should just go," she told him.  "I'm getting the urge to hit another superior asshole."

It was her final play, all cubits on the table.  She wasn't bluffing.  He looked at her for a moment more, seeing the pain she was trying so hard to hide.  He wanted to say something to take it all back, to make it better.  He knew anything he said now would only make matters worse.  In the years he'd known her, Lee had learned one thing about Kara.  If there was one thing he couldn't beat her at, it was cards.  Now he knew there was a second; he couldn't hurt her, not deliberately.  Not even to make a point.  He didn't have it in him.

So he folded.  Lee Adama turned his back and left the room, leaving the game behind him, and knowing very clearly that he had lost.  The only problem was that he wasn't sure she had won.  He didn't think anyone had.