To die or not to die... that is the question. Whether it is to be in this story or some other...

Denise was right... I can not leave you hanging. So, I respectfully submit the conclusion for your approval and apollo-gize for playing with your emotions.

Sigh... Wasn't he just AWESOME tonight? (There is of course no doubt to whom I am referring, right?)

Previously:

His father again smiled. "You did. You did good, Lee. You did real good." Adama agonized over this reply, his dream happening in real life.

Lee shook his head ever so slightly and whispered. "No, I don't think I won." Lee's head slumped backward. Adama cradled his son tighter and spoke to him.

"Lee! Lee, listen to me. You won! You won! Stay with me, now. Do you hear?" Adama's voice held panic. Kara arrived at the side of the men she loved and braced herself for the worst.

More blood trickled from Lee's mouth. His eyes opened just a tiny bit. "Is that an order, Sir?" The voice was quiet and yet sounded harsh from the blood.

Adama smiled. "Yes, Captain. And no mutiny is allowed. Do I make myself clear?"

Lee offered his father a small grin. "Yes, Sir. No mutiny." He was quiet and drew in several strained breaths.

"Lee?" There was a command tone to his voice. Adama didn't want his son to be quiet. He needed to know he was fighting.

Lee coughed. "I got it. No mutiny."

Kara Thrace stared at the two most important men in her life in utter disbelief. Lee was dying and they were kidding around. "What are you two, frakin' idiots?" Only Kara Thrace would dare say such a thing to her commander and CAG.

Lee's eyes slid open once again and he met his father's eyes. Both men chuckled.

The medics rushed in and pulled Lee from his father's arms. As Lee lay on the ground having his injuries assessed, his good hand grabbed at the soil. It was obvious the examination was hurting him but he refused to cry out. Bill Adama reached over, despite the glare of the medic and grasped his son's hand. He felt some of the tension and pain Lee was feeling swell into his own arm. For the first time in a long while, he felt needed by his son. It felt good.

Many hours later, Lee was stable and resting in the Galactica's medical facilities. Doctor Cottle had assured the anxious father that Lee would make a complete recovery. He took one last look at his son, still asleep after surgery. Despite the ugly bruises that marred his skin, his expression was that of the little boy Adama had once watched sleep. He had forgotten how life assuring that was. He somehow doubted Lee would tolerate him looking in on him sleeping on a regular basis anymore. He couldn't resist the urge to run a few fingers across Lee's hairline, pushing a few errant strands back into place. Something else Lee would have never let him do, had he been awake. He'd forgotten these fatherly impulses once existed in him.

He walked out to the waiting room where Kara and Laura Roslin waited. Kara spoke first. "Is he really ok?"

Adama smiled reassuringly. "He will be. I need to take care of a few things and I'd rather he not wake up alone. Would you mind sitting with him?"

She smiled at him sarcastically. "Oh, come on, Sir. Why do I always get the crap duties?" She didn't allow for a response. She blew past him and headed through the door he had just exited. Adama smirked at her departure. She didn't know it was a plot to keep her under medical supervision as well. She had, after all, blacked out during her battle.

Adama shook his head slowly. Then remembered the president was present. "Madame President. I know we have a lot to talk about and work through. We still have the issue of the arrow and Kobol as well, but I know you've been through a lot today."

She interrupted him. "We both have."

He nodded. "Exactly. I'm tired. As I said, I have a few things to check on and then I would like to be with my son. Can we meet another time?"

She smiled. "Yes, of course. I agree." She was thrilled to see his support of his son. She feared she had destroyed an already fragile father / son relationship by her dependence on her "Captain Apollo."

Adama laughed. "That might be a first." He muttered under his breath.

The president turned to leave, but stopped at the door. "Why did you come to Kobol after us?"

Adama said nothing.

"You saved us…" She waited a beat. "Again."

Adama looked back over his shoulder. "He saved you." He also waited a beat and added. "Again."

She shook her head, knowing she had lost. "He was amazing today."

Adama said nothing, but nodded. He went to CIC to check in. Everything was in order and he spoke with Tigh for a few minutes, detailing his plan. After a quick shower and shave, Bill pulled open a drawer on his desk and removed the letter wrapped with Lee's tags. He carefully unwound the metal string and pulled open the letter.

Dad

I am leaving to join the President. I still don't see why this has to be about sides. I am now and always have done what I thought was best for the fleet. It was never about choosing her or you.

Unless you desire that I spend the rest of my life on the Astral Queen in a cage, I
hope you will accept my resignation. I will not continue to be a thorn in
your side.

Perhaps I can prove that it is still possible to be a man, even if I no longer have the wings of a Viper Pilot.

Lee

Adama sucked in his breath. Lee's words hurt, as they so often did. He had never meant for his sons to feel as if they had to follow his path. It was one of the many mistakes he had made as a father. Lee was a natural leader. Anyone could see that, even if Lee didn't always see it in himself. He knew Lee resisted the instinct to a degree, perhaps because deep down, he really didn't want a life in the military. Perhaps Lee would end up being the political leader who would shape the future of humankind. Adama knew he'd still be proud of him. He knew his task was to prove that to Lee. He grabbed the tags and a book from the shelf and returned to Lee's bedside.

Several hours into his vigil, Lee began to stir. Adama sat up straighter in the chair and rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he rolled his neck. He hated admitting he was getting old. He studied his son's face as his consciousness struggled to reassert itself. He watched as his mouth twitched and his good hand absentmindedly came up to swat at the nasal cannula bringing him oxygen. Adama smiled, remembering the same feeling so recently. It wasn't long before the eyelids fluttered open to reveal slightly dull, confused eyes.

"Dad?" Came the croaking voice, music to his father's ears.

"Rest easy, Son. You're gonna be fine." He held Lee's head up gently and offered him water, which was readily received.

Lee's eyes scanned the room. He knew he was on Galactica and it somewhat surprised him. "I didn't think I'd ever be welcome back on board."

"Don't be stupid. You're my son."

"Am I still?"

There was something uncertain in Lee's tone. Was it fear? Doubt? Hope? "Always." Adama smiled. "And my CAG."

Lee's forehead wrinkled in disbelief. "I resigned. I mean… I mutinied. Even Tigh said it. I'm not fit to wear the uniform."

Adama dangled Lee's tags in front of him. "They're yours if you want them."

"But Colonel Tigh…"

"You two are going to have to get through this." He did feel remotely guilty, knowing he was now subjecting his friend to not only Starbuck, but possibly Lee as well.

"Like you and I?"

Adama looked down at the sheets and mumbled a quiet, "yes." He straighten back up and met Lee's gaze. "But if you don't want the job, you don't have to take it."

Lee looked confused. Was his father telling him now not to take it? He groaned inside. Nothing would ever change with his father.

"You're good at whatever you do, Lee. I know, whatever you decide to do, you will give it your best and it will be important. It's who you are. I do know that you don't need viper wings to be a man, a good man."

Lee was stunned. He had no words to reply to his father. These were the most honest words they'd ever exchanged. The moment threatened to overwhelm him. He looked away from his father.

Adama panicked. He feared yet again, something he had said was being taken the wrong way. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement on the sheets. Slowly, Lee's hand rose up and took the tags from his father's hand. Adama let go the tags and looked at his son, who turned to face him.

Lee couldn't stop the yawn that escaped his lips or the cringe at the pain the movement caused. "I think it might be a day or two before I can resume my duties."

Adama smiled. "See that you don't dally. You've got a lot of work to sort out."

Lee tried to laugh but it hurt too much.

Adama sobered up. "You need to rest."

As Lee prepared to sink back into oblivion, he saw concern etched in his father's eyes. "I told you I wouldn't mutiny again." His voice was getting very sleepy.

"And you kept your word."

A small grin formed on Lee's lips, despite the fact that his eyes had already closed. "And I did win today."

Adama grinned. "Yes, you did."

"Even though I kept my contr…"

The final sounds might have been blurred by sleep, but Adama got the message.

"Yes, you did."