This will be a series of stand-alone stories which deal with the choices that the characters on Battlestar Galactica have made throughout the first half of the second season (I'll be posting in as much of the order of the season as I can). I want to explore what would have happened/changed if things had gone differently. Some of the stories will be angst, some will be shippy, some will be funny. There will be different pairings throughout. Don't feel like you have to check out each one to understand the others. All I ask is that if it intrigues you, then give it a try. Hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!

There are pivotal moments in one's life where if you take the wrong path everything may change. Those changes may be for the good or for the bad. The possibilities are endless.

Helena Cain looked down at papers spread out in the table in front of her. These were the files that told her everything she needed to know. These were Adama's men.

"I want these two," she said, pushing two of the fattest folders towards the man on the other side of the table.

Colonel Jack Fisk swallowed before reaching out to take the files. He followed Admiral Cain without question but only because he had this insane desire to keep himself alive. Whichever people she had selected to come to Pegasus, he felt sorry for their souls. "Captain Lee Adama?" he exclaimed upon reading the first name. "But isn't that the Commander's own son?"

Cain nodded. "That's why Adama will not fight my decision. His son should never have been under his command."

"He's Galactica's CAG, though, sir. Isn't it going to hurt the ship to have such a high profile leader taken from them?"

"You're presuming Captain Adama is good at his job, Colonel, but I'll disregard that assumption." Cain cleared her throat as she looked down at the folders still in front of her.

Fisk took a deep breath before continuing, "And Lieutenant Kara Thrace?"

"I've looked over her file. She's the type of pilot no officer would want under their command. She's disrespectful to her superiors. She's reckless in the air. She's impulsive on the ground. She has no feeling for being part of a team."

"So then why do you want her?"

Cain's lips turned up in a playful smile. "Because she's all those things and yet Adama clings to her. Kara Thrace is either one hell of a pilot or the Commander is in love with her."

"How is that your concern?" Fisk said. He knew he was taking his life in his hand by asking so many questions, but for once, all he wanted to do was understand. Something made Admiral Cain tick. There was a reason she could command so many men without one thought of dissention. He had to know why. "If the Commander is that enamored with her, he won't let her go. If it's the other way and she comes to Pegasus, the pilots are going to destroy her."

"If that was true, I would have just selected her to switch postings." Cain shook her head. "Everything I do is for a reason."

"Captain Adama?"

Cain tapped the two files. "There's something there. It doesn't spell it out for us, but trust me. Thrace and Adama are hiding something."

Fisk nodded and pulled the two files under his arm. "You're in for a fight."

"It will be worth it. Adama doesn't want to give up the control regardless of military precedent. He will get to the point where he wants to overthrow me."

A light bulb went off in the XO's head. "But he can't do it if it means hurting those two people."

"We all have a weakness, Colonel."

"If that is true, then what is yours, Admiral?"

Cain smirked at Fisk's audacity. She had a feeling this XO was going to last a lot longer than the previous one. "My abhorrence of arrogance." She pointed to the files. "Get me those two pilots, and let my crew take Adama's golden children down a notch or five."

Kara slid her curtain shut and tried to tune the world out. It was eerily quiet on this ship. There should be pilots up even if it was the middle of the night. There should be laughter over a triad hand gone wrong or screaming between partners about a landing that was a little too tight. Someone should be grumbling that this is the first second they had to sleep and why wouldn't anyone shut up. It shouldn't be this quiet.

She missed Galactica. She missed her home.

Both she and Lee argued with the Old Man for about ten seconds before realizing he was seriously going to let them be reassigned. Then they had simply saddled up and done their duty. The Commander couldn't have known Pegasus was like this though, Kara decided as she turned to face the wall.

Earlier that day, Kara had watched one of the few women pilots be called up in front of everyone in the pilots' briefing room. It was an informal meeting by the CAG, trying to keep his people informed about what was going on with the Pegasus-Galactica merger. Half the pilots weren't even there. Kara hadn't been paying that much attention. She was only there because Lee was busy flying another stupid Raptor run and he had begged her to listen to what this jackass Captain Taylor had to say.

The meeting's premise was a lie. None of the pilots cared too shits about how Galactica was going to impact them. It was clear Pegasus was top dog, and that's all they needed to know. Instead, the meeting had evolved into a test of manliness. The CAG seemed to think that this Lieutenant Grace Scott was slacking on her duties.

Kara had sat up at attention, just waiting for this Scott chick to get pissed off at the words being thrown at her. Hitting superior assholes was probably discouraged on Pegasus, too, but rules were made to be broken. No self-respecting woman would let herself be called words like cunt and whore just because she got a few landings wrong.

Kara had been about to get involved herself when Taylor reared back his fist and hit Scott with all his might. It froze Kara in place. She couldn't move, couldn't even say one word, as he proceeded to punch and kick the living shit out of the Raptor pilot.

The man sitting next to her must have noticed how shaken she was. He let out a chuckle and leaned over to explain to her. Lieutenant Scott had lost sight of her duty a few months ago back before the attacks. She had fallen in love with some insignificant crew member and forgotten what Cain was asking of her. Grace Scott had gotten pregnant and asked to be taken off rotation. She had had a miscarriage a few days later. Kara didn't have to listen to know the rest. This little meeting was conducted with the sole purpose of reminding the crew their duty was not to be taken lightly. The CAG wanted to be clear on that point. They were at war, and war didn't leave room for mistakes.

Kara pushed the tears from the corners of her eyes and sighed. She wasn't stupid. She knew that most of the crew on Pegasus was male, and it hadn't happened that way by chance, either. There was a calculated feel to the people she lived with, almost as if they had been hand selected. She could feel these men watching her everywhere she went. A woman like her attracted attention. She was the only female Viper pilot on the whole Battlestar. It was only a matter of time before she was in Lieutenant Scott's position.

She was so deep in her thought, she didn't hear someone slip past the curtain until they had their hand firmly on top of her mouth. She fought the urge to laugh. She should have been expecting this. From the gossip she heard, the boys on Pegasus thought nothing of taking something by force if they wanted it bad enough. Clearly, they were not above rape.

Too bad the idiots hadn't taken the time to realize Kara Thrace wasn't the type of girl to let that happen to her.

Kara took a deep breath in preparation to hit this guy where it hurts when she finally picked up on it. He had always smelled like sandalwood and lavender. It was such a grounded scent, all warm and effortless. Her body relaxed against him, and Kara reached up to pull his hand away. She twisted her body to face him and smirked. "Hello, Captain."

Lee smiled back at her. "I've always wanted to sneak into your bunk."

For just a moment, Kara let herself relax in his arms. Her guard had been up non-stop since they had been posted to Pegasus days earlier. She hadn't realized relief from that constant tension was so close at hand. "What are you doing here, Lee?" she mumbled into his chest.

"I heard some guys joking about what happened at the pilot briefing today. I thought you might be a little shaken up," he explained. "Plus I've been doing some thinking."

"Thinking is never a good thing for you," she pointed out.

Lee laughed loudly, and Kara jumped to hold her hand over his mouth. "Quiet, Lee. Do you want the rest of the bunkroom to hear you?"

"Actually, I do." When her face lit up in confusion, he tightened his hold on her. "I want them to know I'm sleeping with you tonight. I want them to know that I'll be sleeping with you every night from now on, too."

"This is news to me," Kara grumbled. "When did you decide you wanted to frak me?"

"I never said anything about fraking, though I probably wouldn't say no to the idea."

Kara sighed. She had a feeling she knew where this was coming from, but she would love to hear him admit to it. "All right. Enough joking, more explaining."

Lee shifted so that he lay on his back with Kara tucked in protectively at his side. "Just like Galactica, most of the people on Pegasus already think we're fraking. I figured that might not necessarily be a bad thing."

"I get what you're doing, Lee, but why are you doing it?"

Her body rose up as he took a deep breath before answering. "I'm scared for you, Kara. You're the toughest woman I've ever met, but I think this ship could break your strength if you keep trying to do fight it on your own. I refuse to lay two bunks away while someone takes advantage of the new situation and slips into your bunk to show you who's boss."

"Are you asking me if you can protect me?"

"I'm offering," he replied. "If everyone thinks that you and I are fraternizing, it might cause us trouble in the long run, but I think it will make people think twice before hassling you."

"Because you would beat them up if they mess with your girl? How sixth grade of you, Lee!"

"It's their own stupid fault that I have to ask you to do this," he pointed out. "If the people on Pegasus weren't so blind, they would realize that I'm rather protective of you regardless of whether you're keeping my bed warm or not."

She pushed away from him and sat up in the bunk. "Lee, you're not my CAG anymore. I'm not your responsibility."

Lee slid his hands behind his head. "That's why I can do this. Here on Pegasus, we're just two pilots. No one knows about our baggage." He locked eyes with her, and Kara could feel her heart skip a beat. He knew what that look did to her. "Please, Kara. I'm not above begging."

"Bastard," she muttered. The length of her body fit right back in against his, and Lee's arm came down to gather her close. "I'm only doing this because Pegasus is so damn cold."

"Got it," Lee said, trying not to grin too widely.

As the silence washed over her again, Kara was willing to admit it wasn't so eerie now that she had company. She would never truly understand why Admiral Cain had requested her transfer to a ship that didn't need her expertise, but at least she could be grateful that Cain had dragged Lee along with her.

"This feels familiar," Lee whispered.

Kara had vivid memories of every time she and Lee had had intimate contact like this, and she knew for a fact that they had never been this close before. She hadn't allowed herself to get this close. So how he could find this familiar was beyond her. "Please explain."

"You know, everyone seems to forget I had a life before I came to Galactica," he said abruptly. "I wasn't just sitting in my bunk, twiddling my thumbs, when I wasn't in the air."

It surprised Kara to realize he was right. She had never really thought about his life before he showed up on Galactica for its decommissioning. She had a home and friends here on Galactica. Why had it never occurred to her that he might have the same on Atlantia? "Would you tell me about it?" Kara asked quietly.

"Well, I was one of their better pilots, and I guess Admiral Nagala took a liking to me. I flew a little differently back then, less by the book. I don't know why, but I always felt the need to push my boundaries when I was in the air." Lee shut his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. "Gods I miss being able to fly like that."

Kara didn't know what to say to that, so she just kept quiet and watch as the emotions passed over his face. She had never seen him show that much regret before.

Lee cleared his throat after a minute and continued, "I was the person to beat at the triad tables on Atlantia and it seemed like I always led the charge on the bars when we got leave on Picon."

"I don't ever remember seeing that side of you, Lee," Kara whispered.

"That's because you and I never talked when I was assigned to Atlantia."

Kara nodded. That was a regret she had always had. When Zak had died, she pulled away from everything that made her feel alive. That included Lee. She threw herself into her job on Galactica as soon as Commander Adama finished with the reassignment paperwork, and she never looked back.

"I changed when Zak died," Lee admitted. "I lost a lot of the control I worked so hard to have. You wouldn't have recognized me."

"I shouldn't have pulled away."

"You couldn't have changed anything." Lee sighed. "I think that was my first taste at what it could be like to be a pilot without being William Adama's son. I did what I wanted and didn't care who noticed. Conner always said she had never seen me happier."


"Lieutenant Conner Beckings, call sign Griffin . She was my wingman…" Lee's voice trailed off. He knew he wanted to be telling Kara this, but he wasn't sure if she wanted to hear it. "…and my girlfriend."

Kara took a second to absorb the information before calmly asking, "So she was another person you lost during the attacks?"

"No. Conner died about a month before the Cylons destroyed the Colonies. There was an accident when we were on a routine escort mission for the Academy. We were flying a transport full of second year students to their practical test on the Battlestar, and I decided to show off a little. I was doing a single Aquila's Run."

"Frak, Lee. An Aquila's Run is near impossible without a partner."

"I felt like trying."

"I bet it was magnificent."

Lee shook his head. "It was stupid." He paused for a moment before continuing. "I guess Conner couldn't help but watch, though. She cracked her wing into a shipping checkpoint, and there was nothing I could do. Her ship went up in flames right in front of my eyes." He looked over to see Kara gaping at him. "I guess that's why you never noticed a change in me. Killing someone can make you think twice about taking foolish risks."

Silence hung between them exactly as Lee expected. Kara's arm slip across his stomach and her grip tightened as she tried to process what he was telling her. "I can't believe I never asked you about those two years we were apart."

"It's okay. It's not like I've been volunteering the information. In case you didn't notice, I've been a little closed off the past few months."

"I noticed," Kara said with a laugh. "You'll have to tell me more about Atlantia when there's time."

"I will." Lee let out a yawn and smiled at her sleepily. "But for now, I'm way too tired. It's time to shut up and let the Captain sleep."

"You do realize that this little charade could get interesting quite fast," Kara whispered.

"I've thought about that. I don't think it's anything you and I can't handle."

"You say that now, but it's going to get to the point where they're going to demand proof." Kara blew her hair out of her face as she smiled up at him. "I'm not so sure you can handle that."

"Shut up and go to sleep, Lieutenant. I still outrank you so consider it an order."

She gave him a mocking salute before dropping her head back onto the pillow beside his. She still missed Galactica, but it was nice to know a little bit of home had come with her.