Kara had been doing her best to organize the papers on the next class of nuggets for the past hour. In a way, she was actually happy to have this annoyance. It was nice, sitting in the middle of the planning room, while she did the job that she was good at. No more of that fraking CAG nonsense. She hadn't been lying when she said she never wanted that kind of responsibility.

She had about twenty candidates from Pegasus. They were people ingrained in the military who had never thought they could be pilots but had served their colony in other regards. They had promise on the level of the first class of nuggets she had formed on Galactica. She couldn't wait to get her hands on them.

A shiver went down her spine as she remembered the words Admiral Cain had said to her earlier that day. "The people you love have tried to convince you that you're something you're not. You have skills but no ambition to do what has to be done. A girl like you could never fit into their world, and if the Cylons hadn't attacked, your precious little family would have thrown you out onto your ass. You're a reject, Lieutenant. You always have been. I tried to give you a shot, but you didn't even have the courage to take it. Someone like that has no place leading anyone into battle."

Those were the words Admiral Cain had said to her earlier that day. Kara had tried to shrug them off, but it was hard. Cain's little outburst echoed the thoughts that rang through her head every morning. For years, she would wake up and ask herself if today was the day she would get someone killed again, if maybe her mother was right and she really was nothing but trouble.

The thoughts had died down during her time on Pegasus. For some reason, she had forgotten all the things her mother beat into her when she was little. Like everything in her life, that change seemed to filter back to Lee. He would stare at her from across their cell when he thought she wasn't watching, and suddenly Kara felt capable of doing anything. She had no idea how he gave her such confidence without even saying a word.

The buzz had lasted for a full week on Galactica before Kara figured it was about time for her to do something stupid. She woke up that morning and decided it was time to confront Cain. She had to know what the Admiral had been planning before Adama and that lovely little toaster took her down. It was the only way she was going to be able to kill the guilt that Cain had planted in her head. She had to know if everything that happened to Lee was because of her.

It had been a mistake. Cain didn't offer up one thing she wanted. She had just reminded Kara of all the things she had finally let herself forget. Her words were meant to dig at Kara and destroy any sort of progress she made towards healing.

It was a testament to Lee that those words had fizzled to nothing in the past few hours. The sting had been familiar, yet for some reason, she could finally accept that they weren't true. She wished she could thank him, but that would defeat the whole 'avoid him at all costs' tactic she was currently implementing.

Sighing, Kara filled in the last few names and pushed the paper away. She would take it down to CIC later for the Commander's approval. Her face immediately blushed at the thought of William Adama. She had actively avoided him since he found her naked in his son's bed. He probably wanted a better explanation as to what had happened between her and Lee, but she couldn't do that right now. She couldn't even come up with an explanation to herself. She had no fraking clue what had happened between them. All she knew is they couldn't go back.

Memories of what the two of them had gone through on Pegasus had been running through her mind for a week now. She hadn't been able to pick out that one defining moment when everything shifted until just that morning. Hours of rationalizing and rethinking her decisions had left her with only one answer as to why she found herself constantly thinking about Lee now that they were back home.

Lee had put his life on the line to protect her. Since the Cylons turned their world upside time, she had spent every waking moment making his life hell. She pointed out what a horrible CAG he was in those first few weeks, and he had the grace not to hold it against her when it turned out he was born for the job. Her own emotional shortcomings constantly made him lose his cool time and time again as he tried to fix her in some way. She abandoned him to a Fleet that didn't really understand him and judged him for being the person he was simply because she had gotten restless. Shame was starting to be a common theme to her feelings for Lee.

All this she had done and he still felt the need to protect her. More than that, he wanted to protect her.

He was the first man Kara had ever met who guarded her with his life. Her father had done all he could before life got too hard and he chose to run. Helo had been her friend and drinking partner since their days at Academy, but she had never once opened up to him. He didn't even know that she needed protecting. Zak Adama had been just the opposite. He healed a part of her that was broken with his determination to make her open up about anything and everything. After Zak's death made her whole world crumble, his father had stepped up to watch over her. William Adama had done all he could to keep her alive the two years she had served under him, but he had never put himself in the danger that Lee did.

Kara had never thought she'd be the type of girl turned on by having a man to watch over her. She had always considered that rather weak. Yet here she was, completely turned on by the fact that Lee had been willing to give up the small amount of life he had struggled to gain over the past few months.

Because of that, she felt the need to protect him. Case in point, most of the pilots in her squadron on Pegasus had found themselves assigned to the long shifts that stretched past the regulated twelve hour maximum, a restriction long established by the Colonies. She had just fed the XO some of her prizewinning bullshit, and most of the frakers who had hurt Lee ended up pushed to the point of exhaustion. She wasn't even going to get into the embarrassed pilots who ended up in sickbay with injuries they refused to explain. For once being a woman worked to her benefit.

Kara's fingers reached out to roll her pen from one side of the table to the other as her thoughts shifted to "safer" topics. Such as the fact that her body was still tired from the little joy ride Lee took it on seven days earlier. That man had played her body like a musical instrument. She could still remember how blissfully well she had slept for those few moments before their discovery.

She wanted to look forward to more encounters like that, but she had known coming back on Galactica would kill any further possibilities of getting one on one time with Lee. The lead flight instructor could not frak the CAG. They had their jobs to perform and regulations to follow. Their time on Pegasus had been a small fluke, a way for the gods to reward them for the pain they were experiencing.

Kara hated to admit it, but she wouldn't mind being in such a shit hole of a ship if it meant she could still explore whatever was going on between her and Lee. At least that way she wouldn't have to focus on how out of place she felt.

Galactica wasn't how she remembered it. The pilots and crew had been giving her funny looks for days now. It was their subtle way of trying to figure out if Pegasus had changed her. There had been rumors about the pilots' behavior on the other ship, and for whatever reason, people thought she had turned into some type of abomination.

Kara wished like hell she could talk with Lee. He would have a rational explanation as to why people thought she could be such a monster, and he would know a way to make everything better. It wasn't like it would be hard to track Lee down. Cottle put him on immediate bed rest the second they showed up, and he had been in sickbay ever since. She only had to walk down a level and over a couple corridors.

"You're too much of a chicken for that, Thrace," she hissed at herself, flinging the pen across the room.

She had expected her feelings for Lee to die down now that things were back to normal. Their relationship had been entirely physical. It shouldn't be that hard to go a few days without hearing his voice or touching his skin. She had lied to herself at first, told herself she had gotten used to taking care of Lee and that it was hard to let someone else watch over him. There were too many holes in that theory, and it fell apart immediately. She knew Doc Cottle was the best at his job, and yet she still worried for Lee.

Kara pulled the nugget roster back in front of her. She really wasn't sure about the last few candidates. Her eyes rested on the area in the room that was set aside for the CAG to do his paperwork. If only Lee were here, he would give her his opinion on this roster and together they could make the right decision. Then, maybe she could finally help him properly break in that desk.

"Frak. Don't think about that," she scolded. Her mind shifted to the fairly safe memory of all the times she and Lee had done their paperwork side by side. Usually those restlessly boring nights ended in something stupid like a paper clip fight or a verbal disagreement about which pyramid team would have won the Colonial Cup that year if only the Colonies hadn't been devastated.

No matter what changed between them, Kara knew they would still have moments like that. The only problem is there would always be a painful twinge in her heart when she thought of what could have been. She would have to cut out all physical contact with Lee if she was going to keep this thing under control. That meant keeping their encounters to a minimum, at least for the first few months. For some reason, that little detail saddened her more so than the idea of losing a good frak buddy.

Kara sighed and lowered her head into her hands. It had been easier to lie to herself when they were on Pegasus. Back then, she actually believed the things she told herself. Her relationship with Lee was just a fraked up response to the attempts by the pilots and Admiral Cain to break her down. Being back home on Galactica, she knew better. There was something more to it.

Kara stopped beating her head against the desk for a moment and decided there was no way to deny it any longer. She was halfway in love with Lee already, and they had barely even begun.

"And now we're over," Kara whispered into the desk. "No more fun in my life."

"Are you enjoying yourself?"

Kara's head snapped back up as soon as she heard Lee's voice, and she tried to smirk to cover up her surprise. "You know how it goes. Paperwork and I don't get along." She leaned back in her chair and gave him a once over. He was leaning up against the hatchway as if it wasn't that big of a deal. Lee was so fraking infuriating sometimes. "When'd Cottle set you loose?"

"It's been about half an hour. My father sent me down here to see you."

"You've seen the Old Man," she said, nodding her head, "and he sent you down here to see me?"

"He specifically requested it."

"I guess he had some choice words for me, right?"

"Not exactly." Lee pushed off the hatchway and walked over to stand in front of her desk. "I did tell him what we went through. It helped him understand…"

"…that his son was fraking the woman he considers his daughter."

"Nice, Kara," Lee said, rolling his eyes. "I can always count on you to find the roughest way to say something."

Kara glared at him before turning her attention back to the papers on the desk. Lee leaned down to take a look. "New class of nuggets?"

"I figured I should just jump right back into the thick of things. That way it won't feel so odd being back on Galactica. It's kind of strange having lived in such an extreme environment and then being thrust back into normalcy. Plus, everyone seems to want to know what it was like, and as you know, I'd rather not talk about it right now. I just want to start training nuggets. It's something I can immerse myself in so I don't have to focus on the things that are going to change. I'm not saying there's much that will change, but you know there are regulations and all. I've never been one for following regs, but I can see where you were always coming from now. Things are a lot clearer." Kara groaned and slammed the papers down onto the table with a bang. She hated when she rambled, but having Lee standing only inches away was disrupting her focus. "Why are you here, Lee?" she blurted out after a moment.

He looked shell shock for a moment at her sudden outburst but quickly pulled himself together. "Well, two reasons really. One, my father wanted me to relay some news. It seems Admiral Cain is going to be out of commission for a while so personnel is stretched thin in the Fleet. The Old Man's had to get creative in filming up the hole left behind by the incident with Cain and our transfer back to Galactica."

"Why should I care? I'm just going to settle back into training the nuggets while you take care of the Air Group.

"There's a problem. According to Cottle, it's going to be about a month before I can take on the CAG position. On my recommendation, my father's appointed you to be my temporary replacement."

Kara's mouth dropped open. "You fraking bastard! You know I hated being the CAG."

"Sure, you hated it, but you were still pretty damn good at it." Lee shrugged. "Plus, there's no one else. Don't worry, Kara. I'll be here to help you."

"But I have this new class of nuggets all ready to go! What the frak am I supposed to do now?"

"It's not like I'm dead. For one month, I'll be doing the paperwork and planning for both the CAG and the flight instructor positions. You'll just have to help me with a little bit of the lecturing. The nuggets will only be in the first stages of training for most of your time as CAG. You should be able to bounce between keeping the Air Group running to helping with the nugget flight runs. Trust me, Kara. It'll work."

"You put a lot of thought into it."

"Well, it's a bit of a hike down here," Lee said, glancing around the room. "Who ever had the idea to put this place so far away from most of the other areas?"

Kara watched him for a moment before clearing her throat. "Fine. I'll accept being the temporary CAG. Now what was your other reason for interrupting me?"

"I wanted to show you something," Lee said. He grabbed Kara's wrist and pulled her to her feet. As soon as it was clear she was too startled to fight him, he closed the last bit of distance between them, slid his fingers into the loose hairs at the back of her head to keep her from pulling away, and claimed her mouth with his own. Kara had barely a second to realize she should be fighting him before all thoughts were thrown out of her head.

Lee smiled against her lips when Kara's hands automatically gripped his tanks. He used the shift in momentum to push her back onto the desk just as her lips grew suddenly soft and parted to give him more access. He wasted no time slipping his tongue inside with a hot, searing stroke that stated his intentions in a way she couldn't misinterpret. He was throwing down a claim on her, body and soul, for as long as she would let him.

His fingers danced along the edge of her tank for a moment before he dared to slip inside. He cupped her breast in the palm of his hand, and he could feel himself already beginning to lose control. This was what he had been yearning for the past two months. Skin on skin contact with Kara was his idea of heaven.

Lee felt her pulse quicken as he kissed his way down to the curve of her neck. She let out a small moan when he bit down lightly on the sensitive skin. His fingertips found their way to tease lightly over her nipple, soothing away the pain with pure distraction. She responded immediately, bucking against his touch for a moment before groaning and pushing him away. Kara pulled herself to her feet and shook her head. "This is a mistake, Lee. We should not be doing this."

"I like to think following your heart is never a mistake."

Lee had the pleasure of watching her resolve melt for a second before her defiance came rearing back up. "We cannot do this. You're the CAG.'

"No, you're the CAG," he corrected.

"Fine. I'm the CAG. There are military regulations against this type of thing. Besides, I don't think your father would appreciate his son taking advantage of me on top of a briefing desk."

Lee stood up from the desk and took a step towards her. Kara immediately backed up. She wasn't sure why, but she knew she had to keep Lee away from her if she was ever going to figure out which way was up again. In retrospect, she should have known better. Everything Lee did had a purpose behind it.

Within seconds, Lee had maneuvered her exactly where he wanted. Kara was pinned against the wall with no way out. "You know we don't have to do this on a desk. You pick the place."

Her eyes rolled back as he dipped his mouth to nibble on her ear. She could feel him playing at the end of her tank again. "Your fingers are all healed up," she said, stating the obvious.

"And now that you've noticed that key detail, I suggest you pick a place for this to happen if you don't want to have a public audience."

Visions of Lee taking her forcefully on a table they had planned so many missions around made her go weak in the knees. She would never make it through another briefing again without seeing that vivid image. "You wouldn't."

"If it was what you wanted, I would," he growled.

Kara moved her hand up to her mouth to hide the tremor of lust that suddenly came over her. She felt him shift to pull her hand away, and before she knew what was happening, his mouth had opened to softly take in one of her fingers. She stared in awe as he sucked lightly on the tip before moving her hand deeper in. Kara could feel the gentle pressure of his tongue, and a million inappropriate thoughts slammed into her. Taking her hand back, she pushed him away. "Lee, we can't be doing this."

"Fine. If you refuse to pick a spot, I will. Senior officers' quarters. Between you and I, I think we have enough rank to pull to make everyone magically disappear."

She was about to protest again, but Lee had grasped her wrist and was already dragging her out of the briefing room at high speed. "Slow down," she hissed.

Lee turned to look at her over his shoulder. "I have been sleeping next to you for ten weeks now. Five of those were spent with broken hands that kept me from touching you. My hands are healed. We are doing this."

Kara wished she could say Lee's sudden aggressiveness was pissing her off, but the flare of desire in the pit of her stomach wouldn't let her lie. "This is wrong on so many levels," she muttered as Lee pulled her past a group of deckhands. She knew there was probably some damage control in her future for this one, but the prospect of having Lee so keyed up for her was holding the worry back, at least for right now. This was beyond insane.

Lee pushed the hatch door to the bunkroom open and smiled at the handful of pilots inside. "Everyone out. I just got out of sickbay and I think I deserve a few hours undisturbed rest." He turned to see Kara hanging back at the edge of the hatchway, looking inherently sexy and completely guilty at the same time. He knew that pilots would probably pick up on the fact that he had just asked for some time alone with his lead pilot and temporary CAG, but right now he didn't care. His hormones were in control of the show.

Most of the pilots filtered out without a word, but Helo took his time gathering up the things off his bunk. Kara took the moment to slip over to Lee's side, and he could see right away there was something important on her mind. "What about the Old Man? He's going to get word of this, and there's no way he's going to like it."

"For starters, my father has no right to be the deciding voice in my love life." Lee's eyes trailed to look over at where Helo was still struggling to pick up the deck of triad cards he had been playing with. If he didn't know better, he'd think the Raptor pilot was taking a long time on purpose. "I make my own choices, Kara, but I'll admit it's nice to have him on my side."

"What do you mean?"

"He told me that if we kept this private, he wouldn't say anything."

Kara looked at him in disbelief. "What the hell did you say to him, Lee?"

"I told him how this thing between you and I started." Lee paused. He wasn't sure if he should be telling her all this right now. Kara tended to scare rather easily, and he really didn't want to frak up this lapse in rationality they were about to give in to. Thinking it better to not say any more unless she asked, Lee went back to staring at the lone pilot left in the bunkroom.

Lee could feel his anger bubbling up as he realized what Helo was doing. All of the pilots knew what they were bearing witness to the moment he had burst into the bunkroom. Helo probably knew the best what a mess Kara was about to get herself into, and he was doing the only thing he could as a true friend even if Kara didn't realize it. Because hormones be damned, Helo was doing his best to give his old friend a way out of it if she wanted it. It would be a admirable trait if it didn't piss Lee off so much. Couldn't he see that Kara wasn't running away? At least not yet, Lee corrected. He figured he had a good sixty seconds to sweep her off her feet. Otherwise, she was going to bolt on him. Therefore, the quicker he got Helo out, the easier this would be.

"I doubt the story of our vacation on Pegasus convinced the Old Man to let us break regs," Kara pointed out, bringing Lee's thoughts back to his father. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't let this subject drop. William Adama meant more to her than almost every other person in her life. She couldn't give in to this knowing she would be hurting him. "Your father might have a soft spot for me, but I don't think that's enough."

Her hand slipped into his without a word, and he felt his last reserve melt away. She was trying to do the right thing for the first time in her life, and he knew how much it must hurt. "No, it didn't convince him. So I just explained that I had no intention of giving up how you made me feel." Lee smirked. "He came around."

Kara wasn't surprised to feel a sudden urge to slam Lee up against the wall and take him right then and there. He had actually stood up to his father. Their relationship was on pins and needles still, and as much as he denied it, Kara knew that a reconciliation with his father would mean the world to Lee. Yet he had risked that in order to fight to keep whatever was between them. Lee had given her something she had never wanted, never expected, but something she was insanely pleased with all the same. He had actually made her feel worthy of him.

Her eyes fell on Helo as he finally reached the hatch. He really was a great friend. "Karl?" she called out, making him turn around. "You missed me, didn't you?"

"What do you want?" he said, narrowing his eyes.

"I think our dear Captain deserves at least a solid six hours of rest. The next shift change sounds about right, doesn't it?"

Helo gave her a smirk. "I can keep their eyes away, but I can't guarantee anything about their ears." With one last wink, he was out the door.

Lee looked at her in confusion. Maybe she was knew more what was going on around them than he gave her credit for.

Kara smiled at him for a moment and then shrugged. "Helo knows me too well. There was no way I could get him to believe you and I aren't fraking after you marched in here and demanded privacy." She walked over to flip the lock on the hatch before sliding back to wrap her arms around his neck. "Besides, now we have someone to help us cover whenever we need a little alone time."

He didn't know when, but something had shifted in Kara. She wasn't fighting him anymore. He found it terrifying in a sort of primal, satisfying way. "So I take it we're going to need someone to cover for us quite often?"

"Oh yeah," she whispered, her hands moving under his tanks. His muscles moved and flexed underneath her touch, and dampening her bottom lip with her tongue, she dared herself to go lower. In all her encounters with Lee, she had never really had the time to enjoy what was in front of her. Right now, she wanted to do just that.

Kara shifted to the side, leaning more fully into Lee, and her knee slipped snuggly between his thighs. Her hand was still continuing its journey lower as she leaned in to lightly tease the curve of his neck. She took a deep breath, intoxicated by the sheer masculinity of his scent, and sighed. "Gods, Lee. This is such a stupid thing for us to be doing," she whispered.

Lee was about to tell her he didn't care when her hand finally pushed past the barrier of his sweats. Kara's hand curled around him, caressing him from base to tip, and he groaned roughly into her mouth. She had done this type of thing, teased and touched, with over a dozen men over the years. It was her secret weapon, knowing where and how they liked to be touched, knowing exactly what to do to get what she wanted. The goal had often varied from a quick, frantic release for herself to something as simple as an hour or two of not remembering where she had gone wrong. It frightened her to realize all of her normal, selfish intentions didn't apply to what she was doing. Her only goal in being with Lee had absolutely nothing to do with herself. All she wanted, all she would ever want from now on, was to see him smile.

She met Lee's eyes as her hand continued to stroke him. The normally crystal blues were amazingly dark, full of desire. Those eyes scared her almost as much as knowing how different this was going to be than all the other encounters.

"I want to return that gift you gave me on Pegasus," she growled, pulling away from him. Lee's eyes widened with desire as he understood what she was offering. Kara smirked. This was going to be as much fun for her as it would be for him, and damned if she wouldn't see him smiling down at her by the end.

Dropping to her knees, she pulled his sweats down off his body as slowly as she could. All she wanted to do right now was push him down into a bunk and ride him like there was no tomorrow, but she knew she had to have more control than that. For all she knew, this was it. This was the one and only time they would both be weak enough to give into the urge. She had to make it count.

Kara ran her hand along the length of him. Her body shivered when she once again realized that this was nothing like any of the encounters she had in the past. She had never felt this open before, so willing to put herself on the line for someone else. If his hand wasn't gripping her shoulder so hard, she would be completely terrified. Lee was supporting her like he had always done, silently, a pillar of strength for her to lean on even when she was willing to take the fall.

When the anticipation got to be too much for even her, she teased him with a soft, swirling lap of her tongue around his swollen head, and Lee felt the memory of this moment imprint itself upon him permanently. He had never considered this type of thing a gift. It had always been something mechanical, just another checkpoint on the road to release. It was crazy, but half the time he felt like his partner was doing it only as a means to convince him to stay for the rest of the ride. Like everything else he had ever believed, it was a different case with Kara. He wasn't blind. He knew she had done this type of thing before, but he also knew it had always been less of a desire, more of an obligation. As his body tensed against her surprisingly tender touch, he knew this was much more than just a simple thank you.

Kara felt Lee's grip on her tighten when she opened her mouth and took him in as much as she could. His knees buckled slightly in response, and she found herself wanting to take him in more, to get deeper. This whole thing was frighteningly new to her, and yet she was already taken by how intoxicating it could be.

Incoherent sounds of need caught in his throat, and Lee realized he was already on his way to finishing this little game. Maybe someday when they had more time, he would let her finish this. For now, he had other things in mind. He knew the vulnerability she was offering him just like he knew that Kara was not the type of girl who showed that side of her easily. It was hard to look into her eyes with their reflection of childlike innocence and not want to offer his life for hers. He had never been an insanely protective person. It was only when it came to her that that side came out.

Lee pulled Kara up off the floor and brought her body in close to him. "You are wearing far too many clothes right now," he whispered, doing his best to calm his beating heart.

Kara cocked her eyebrow at him before stepping forward to pull his tanks over his head. Lee was about to suggest that she had misheard him when she ripped her own tanks over her head. His desire to joke caught in his throat along with all of his breath as he took in the sight of her. He had been right to think her a goddess.

His reaction to her, like always, was immediate, and it made Kara's knees go weak. The look on his face flashed predatory as he pulled her up into the air and flipped her into the nearest bunk. The violence of the move made her shiver with the knowledge that it was she who was causing him to lose control. Lee had been a rock since stepping foot on Galactica. He was guarded, wary of life, a picture of the kind of soldier you should strive to be. He was everything Kara was not, everything she could never be. Feeling her back connect roughly with the mattress showed her it was all a façade. When it came to the things in life which made it real, he was identical to her.

His eyes stayed locked on hers for a few minutes as they both struggled to catch their breath. The jolt slowly wore off, and it was all Kara could do to wrap her legs around his waist and hang on for dear life. She had only seen that look in Lee's eyes once in their time together. They had been sharing dinner at the request of Zak. He wanted his brother and his girlfriend to try to come to an understanding before they ripped each others' heads off. They had been arguing that night, like usual, only it was slightly different. She couldn't help but feel like they were leading up to something dangerous, and it alarmed her so deeply that she had stood up from the table. Without a word, she walked out on Lee that night. She went home to Zak, like she was supposed to, like everyone expected her to, and she had probably the best sex of her life. That was something for which she would feel eternally guilty, not because it was so horrible to Zak but because it was so wonderful for her.

Lee had let something loose inside of her that night, and now it seemed she had done the same for him.

He covered her breasts with his hands, whispering something, anything, nothing as he bent his head to scatter warm, moist kisses along her cheek. The kisses dropped down to cover her chin, her neck, her collarbone. He paused at the fullest part of her breasts where he dragged his mouth against the creamy smooth skin. Kara whimpered and thrust her hands into his hair. She was so caught up in the feeling that she didn't notice his fingers sliding her pants down until they were halfway off her body.

Lee looked up at her. "I've wanted to touch you for so long, Kara. It's been killing me."

Kara was about to urge him to get a move on it when she realized that wasn't what she wanted. For the first time in years, she didn't want this to be hard and fast. She wanted to draw this out, really feel what was happening between them. She wanted to give Lee free reign of her body and see just how great this can be.

There goes that halfway nonsense, she decided. I'm all the way in love with you now, Lee. Frak

Oblivious to Kara's thoughts, Lee continued his slow investigation of her body. His fingers slid around and over her nipples, teasing her so much she couldn't help but buck against him, before they continued down her body until his fingers met heat. She whispered softly to the gods to give her a moment's pause to let herself regain some semblance of control, but it wasn't meant to be. Lee pushed one finger into her slowly at first, and when that wasn't enough to satisfy him, he added another. Her inner muscles clenched around him, and he pressed in a little deeper. The only thought in his head was a glimpse of the future. As his hands worked her to the point of exhaustion, he could only imagine what this would feel like when he was thrusting himself into her.


The sound of his name falling from her lips made him want to push her body down into the bed and roughly take her without apology. He wanted to hear her screaming out again and again. He wanted to possess her, to mark her in a way that no other man had and prove that this wasn't a mistake.

Instead, he found the voice of reason buried deep within himself. Losing control would only rush whatever was happening between them, and that was exactly what he did not want to do. A smile broke across his face as she moaned his name again, moving her hips slowly against his fingers. She was the only one who could make him want to pray to the gods. Her beauty and her stubborn pride were the only things he could bring himself to be thankful for. Each night, when Kara was whispering her long devotions to Aphrodite and Artemis, he in turn looked to Apollo and Athena to whisper only a few words. He never thanked them for sparing him from death nor did he curse them for taking away his chance to be free. He simply asked them to protect and care for the little bit of family he had left. Lately, he had begun to use Kara's name when asking for their protection.

Knowing that now was not the time to think of religion, Lee inched his lips down to dip his tongue in her navel for a brief moment and then continued his journey downwards, pausing only to give attention to the almost-healed bruises on her hips. He decided that someday he would ask her why their time on Pegasus didn't leave her traumatized. There was something in her past that kept her strong, and as much as he feared knowing what that was, he was dying to know even the darkest parts of what had made her turn out the way she did. He would take anything she offered.

His mouth finally met his fingers at her center, and the slow, searing stroke of his tongue against her flesh caused her to tremble underneath him. He parted his lips, breathing in the damp heat of her flesh, then stroked his soft, wet tongue over one delicious crest. He worked her slowly, with precision, before sucking the rest of her deep inside his mouth.

Soft, mewling sounds of pleasure came from deep in her throat and he increased the pressure and friction of his tongue. This was how it was meant to feel. The relief he had given her on Pegasus had been great, providing the release they both needed, but what was happening now was about so much more than tension and release.

Kara rolled her hips forward to give him better access. She could feel the same emotions she had just gone through only minutes earlier vibrating back at her through his touch. The urge to have Lee deep inside of her as her climax pushed her over the edge consumed her, and she brazenly widened her legs for him.

She could feel herself begin to lose focus, and it was clear if she didn't do something now, she might never get to feel him inside her. Lee had already demonstrated that he would be happy just to be able to touch her. Her fingers twisted tightly in his hair, and she pulled his mouth away from her, forcing herself to push back the sudden cold created by his absence.

With one last, defiant lick that made her whimper, Lee shifted away only to fasten his mouth to her own, kissing her aggressively. His body ground against her, and a desperate hunger rushed through him. "I have to get inside of you," he panted against her ear, echoing her very thoughts. "Please."

Hearing Lee beg her for something they both wanted so bad took her close to climaxing again. Kara opened her legs wider to him and gave a small nod of permission. She moaned softly as he rested himself between her thighs.

Lee tried to grasp the enormity of what she was about to let him do. They had been dancing around this very point for far too long. Each moment with her felt more and more like a dream, the kind that would seem more like a nightmare if he woke up to find none of it was true. He wanted to remain strong. He wanted to show her just how much he needed to protect the parts of herself she was offering up to him. Yet his body was fighting his every move. He knew how much was riding on this very moment and how dangerously close he was to ruining it all. He needed a moment to regroup.

After a moment, Kara noticed Lee's hesitation. She could feel him pulling away, and her eyes flew open in confusion. "Is… is something wrong?"

Kara had seen the look on his face before. It was the way he stared at her when he knew no one was watching, like he wanted her so bad but he knew there were too many things standing in his way. There was disappointment in his eyes, and she feared it was because of her. Only one thing was for certain. If he changed his mind now, she wouldn't be able to hold back the tears. He had fought so hard to get her to this point, and somewhere along the line, she had given in to his determination. When imagining this very moment, she had always expected him to come to his senses as soon as they were done. She never expected the return to reality to come so soon. She hadn't even felt him inside her.

"I… this…" Lee tried to catch his breath and hold his desire down. "This isn't the way I wanted to do this."

Kara pulled herself up. "What do you mean?"

"I wanted to do this perfect for you, to give you a reason to let me do it to you all over again, but I can't."

"I understand," Kara whispered, shaking her head. The tears were right on the edge, and she felt one fight its way free. She hated when she was so weak.

His heart broke as he watched Kara try to stay strong. He knew where her thoughts were, and for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why she insisted upon feeling so unworthy. Gods forgive him, it only made him want her more. "No, you really don't understand."

The look she sent him was so full of hope and fear that it ripped his heart in two. Like always, he was fraking things up between them with his stumbling and stammering. Why couldn't he just say what he wanted to instead of beating around the issue?

Lee stood up. This was a critical moment for him, and he knew there was no way he could explain what was happening inside of him while she was lying underneath him. He needed distance to figure out how to reassure her without scaring her away. His feet met the cool floor, and he knew it had been a mistake. Something shifted inside of him the moment he lost contact with her. He was only a few feet away and still he missed her.

"If I did something wrong…" she started softly.

Those words crushed his last doubt, and he reached down to grasp her wrists. He knew his touch was rough, but he didn't want to be apart from her any longer. So what if he wouldn't find the words? It was through actions that he had always been able to get through to her.

Kara let herself be drawn in close and wondered if this was Lee's answer. Her body rested against his, and the coldness that had seeped into her bones slowly faded away. He let his forehead sit against hers for a moment before speaking, "I want you so much, Kara. It's been killing me the past few weeks, wanting you and yet needing to wait until it felt just right. The only thing that kept me from losing my mind was being able to imagine how perfect I would make this for you. I wanted to make this slow and drag it out for as long as you let me, but I can't control myself. I can't go slow with you."

Kara's face lit up in uncertainty. "What are you trying to say?"

Lee paused a moment, taking in how great it felt to have the length of her body up against his. He had been imagining this exact moment for weeks now. The fit was agonizingly right. There was no way around it. This was going to be a quick, fierce ride. No force in the universe could change that.

"I'm saying wrap your arms around my neck and hold on," he ordered, his voice low and rough.

Kara did as he asked, entwining their bodies on a more intimate level. His hands smoothed over her bottom and gripped the back of her thighs. Their eyes locked as she settled in against him, and she saw the disappointment and fear melt away from his eyes. Her heart made a small leap and then Lee was lifting her, spreading her legs apart and tilting her hips up to him. He pushed into her in one long, relentless thrust that had her gasping for air and him growling deep in his throat. Locking her legs around his waist, he forced his way deeper.

Lee moved inside her, slow at first but quickly gaining speed and force. Her fingers clenched his shoulders as she held on tight, and her head fell back against the lockers behind them. Her expression of rapture was so beautiful, Lee wished he could make this moment last forever. He would give anything to erase the pain from her eyes, and yet he didn't have the restraint to give her what she so desperately deserved. Her hips moving to counter his thrusts was too much, and his body instinctively picked up the pace. She felt so perfect to him, fitting into the hole in his heart he hadn't even known was there. The climax burned through him like wildfire, building inside of him until the pleasure mixed with the pain, and he drove to the hilt one last time before the orgasm slammed into him

When his mind finally came back after what felt like an eternity, he cursed himself for losing control. He had gotten the release he wanted, but he had forgotten to bring her along with him. Like most things in his life, he had fell painfully short of his own expectations. He could only imagine what she was thinking. "Kara," he whispered, still holding her up in his arms. "I'm-"

Kara pushed a finger to his lips and smiled. "That… was fraking good," she purred. Her finger ran its way up and down his lips for a moment before she leaned in to taste him.

Lee let her have control over him for a moment before pulling back. "But you didn't even-"

"Doesn't matter," she interrupted. "You did, and realizing I caused that was probably more satisfying than half the orgasms I've ever had." She laughed as she felt him harden where he was still deep inside of her. "Though I'm taking it you're a perfectionist and won't settle for what just happened?"

Lee shook his head. Kara had always been the type of girl to have an encounter and then immediately want to move on. She didn't stay to talk about it, and she certainly never asked for more. Yet there was a hint of promise and hope underneath her words. The way she was smiling down at him and the gentle pressure of her hands caressing his bruised lips made his heart soar.

Kara moved in to nibble on his bottom lip before sighing. "But I guess you're probably tired by now."

With any other woman, he would have been exhausted by now. With Kara, he figured he had at least a few more rounds left in him. "You are going to be the death of me," Lee explained as he moved their still joined bodies back to her bunk.

Kara gasped when he finally withdrew from her. She had already forgotten what it felt like to be two separate parts, and the sudden reminder made her want to cry. He immediately silenced her with a kiss before the negative thoughts could take over again.

Kara couldn't believe the desire he was still radiating. He had gotten his release only a minute earlier and yet he was still looking at her as if he wanted to devour every inch. She gasped as he shifted to flick his tongue across her breasts, causing her to grip his shoulders and whimper. He wasn't being gentle this time but was raking his way across her, shifting from one breast to the other.

The barriers were still broken between them, and they were like an uncontrollable force. If she didn't watch herself, the fire between them would consume her. She hadn't realized how much trouble she was in until the prospect of letting herself be consumed suddenly seemed like a good idea. His teeth nipped at her, and Kara could feel herself shamelessly rocking against his body. Good gods. She was already craving him inside her again.

"Lee," she said, her voice nothing more than a plea. She was begging for him again, and she didn't even care.

He took a moment to pull back and drink in the sight of her, lying beneath him. She was still on edge from what happened before, and for some reason, he felt the need to torture her a little before responding to what he knew she desperately wanted. Like all things with Kara, he wanted to be on even ground. He inched down the bed, trailing kisses, until his lips met her center again. It fascinated him, the way she responded to his touch. No one had ever made him feel like this before, and it was all he could do not to beg her to let him stay with her forever. Instead, he focused on what she was offering to him now and pushed forever far from his mind. He grazed her cleft with his teeth before swirling his tongue against her. The response was instantaneous. She quivered, her thighs clenched against his arms, and then she was unraveling, screaming as the intense orgasm raged through her.

Lee wasted no time in moving back up her body so they were face-to-face. Holding her gaze as she struggled to catch her breath, he sank into her welcoming heat in one long, smooth thrust. The perfection of being inside her again made him shudder.

Kara's hands were all over his body, urging him to go deeper. Her hips rolled against his, and he had to tighten his jaw to give into the temptation of taking her hard and fast again. "Not this time," he whispered in her ear, giving it a slight nibble. Her lashes fluttered closed on a protesting moan that vibrated against his chest. "Kara." He waited a moment until he felt her grip on him loosen. For once in her life, Kara was not going to have to hang on to happiness as if it was fighting to slip away. He was going to show her he wasn't going anywhere. "Don't shut me out. I want you to be with me this time."

Her eyes opened slowly to gaze up at him through a haze of passion. What he saw staring back at him was a reflection of his own emotions. There was a longing shared between them that squeezed at his very soul. He had always known he would do anything for Kara, but never in his life could he imagine he would love her as much as he did in this very moment.

His body took notice of the change in him, and he began to move slowly, lazily within her. Kara's body embraced him, meeting him stroke for stroke, as she felt all her defensive walls shatter. This was more than just a much needed release. This was a total breakdown of everything she had been forced to push away. He was giving her agony and ecstasy in each thrust as his body slid from just barely touching her to being buried as deep as he could go.

Kara had never felt the tension build so slowly. Her body was betraying her by pushing itself to counter Lee's thrusts. This drawn-out speed was fraking with her head, making her want to scream in frustration. It was almost unbearable, and yet she didn't want it to end. Lee felt so right inside of her. His hands roamed her body freely as he did his best to worship every single inch of her. He would never get over how tightly her body was clamped around him. They moved as one person, both drowning in the sheer heat of their longing.

Before long, they were both tumbling together in a slow burst of warmth. Lee couldn't take his eyes off her as she came against him, and his own orgasm soon took hold. The intensity of the moment stole his breath, made his pounding heart skip a beat, and utterly drained him. He had given his all to this woman beneath him. He just hoped it was enough.

Lee collapsed onto the bed next to her and before he could think to bring her in close, she was already cuddled against him. He felt her lightly kiss his chest and then she had settled her cheek against his body. "I think we still have a few more hours here," Lee pointed out. He wasn't sure what point he was trying to make. He just felt it needed to be said.

"Still?" Kara said before she reached out to shut the curtain on the bunk and then smiled down at him. "You know, this kind of reminds me of our time on Pegasus. It's all cozy."

Lee chuckled lightly and pulled her down to him. He had no clue how he was going to be able to stay apart from her ever again. "You know, we really are going to have to thank Admiral Cain when she gets out of sickbay. I mean, true, you were almost sexually assaulted and I almost sustained permanent injury to my hands, but at least something good came out of it." Kara cocked her eyebrow at him in question. "We know my pilots weren't wrong. We are pretty fraking good together in the sheets."

Kara's mouth turned up in a grin. "How the hell are we going to keep this hidden, Lee?"

"There you go again with the jumping straight to the future when there's still the present to enjoy," he scolded.

"I'm trying to be serious. We have been on Galactica for a week now."

"A week in which we have seen neither hide nor hair of each other," he pointed out.

"You cannot tell me your thoughts weren't consumed by me, Lee." Kara paused for a second, wondering if now was the right time to be saying these things. They were on such shaky ground. In the end, she figured she might not have another chance. It was either tell him now while they were still wrapped up in their cocoon away from the outside world, or let the fear and doubt of the world they lived in keep her silent forever. It wasn't much of a choice when she really thought about it. "You were the only thing I could think about since your father found us on Pegasus, Lee. I thought about you. I dreamt about you. I even found myself talking to you even though I knew you weren't there."

Lee's eyebrows raised in surprise. Was she actually admitting she might be just as obsessed with this as he was? Was that even possible? He didn't have time to ask her as she started right back in on analyzing the reality of the situation. "No one cared about us on Pegasus. What you and I had was just a common occurrence, two pilots frustrated with their jobs taking it out on each other behind closed curtains. On Galactica, it's different."

"Exactly," Lee said, sliding his arm behind her body. "On Galactica, the pilots respect us. They know who you and I are. They know what we mean to each other. These men and women know our skill in the cockpit and out. They follow our command not because they've been ordered to but because they believe in our ability to lead. I know these pilots. They couldn't care less how much you and I love each other because in reality, nothing has changed. We are still going to be the ones keeping them alive day to day. Our ability to do that wi-"

Kara's fingertips fell on his lips. "Did you just say something about how much you love me?"

"I think I said how much we love each other."

"There's a difference?"

Lee smiled at her. "There's a big difference. But I don't think we need to get into that right now. We'll wait until we're on more stable ground."

Kara decided that was probably wise. It still terrified her, though. "So you really want to do this? You're willing to sneak around with me for months on end, never really being able to touch me in public, knowing that the only time I can spend with you will be closed up in this bunk?"

"Sounds perfect to me." Lee winced when she frowned at his words. "Just like when we were on Pegasus, I will take you any way I can get you. If that means only being with you a few minutes of every day, I will do everything in my power to make that time memorable."

"You sure know how to make a relationship of quick fraks in equipment closets sound heavenly."

"If that's all I can get, then I'll make it heaven." Lee's hold on her tightened. "There's just one thing. I want you to know that this is not going to be a constant string of quick fraks. It didn't start like that, and I won't let it end like that."

Kara could feel her heart tighten. She had never seen Lee so determined about anything. He wasn't going to let her slip away this time. She figured it was about fraking time. She had been waiting to find someone unwilling to let her get away with her usual bullshit. I should have figured it would be Lee, she decided.

She trailed her hand up and down his chest, letting his words sink in completely before letting Lee know where her thoughts were at. "There's only one problem. You see, I happen to like quick fraks in public places."

Lee chuckled. "I wasn't ruling them out. I was just saying we didn't always have to be fraking in empty corridor or a Viper cockpit."

"A Viper cockpit? That's not even possible!"

Lee smirked at her. "I'd be willing to give it a shot if you are."

"Not right now. You've exhausted me for the second time this week. I have no fraking clue how I'm going to deal with being the CAG and having you in my bed."

Lee let her quiet acceptance of what he was offering wash over him. She would be rather vocal about the stresses this relationship would add to her life, but they both knew she really didn't care. They were traveling down this road together, and she couldn't deny that she felt just as much as he did. It was insane, but Lee really did feel the urge thank Admiral Cain for demanding he and Kara transfer to her command regardless of what her reasons were. "I'm glad you let me protect you, Kara," he whispered against her hair before kissing her lightly.

"Me, too," she mumbled, her body snuggling in closer to him. "Now how about you and I get some sleep together since we don't have to be on guard for at least a couple hours?"

"Sounds perfect." Lee shut his eyes and silently thanked all of the gods for what they had given him.