Later, in the space of quiet that followed, he had time to reflect.

Lee Adama lay quiet in an unexpected place, hoping that the curtains surrounding the bunk would stay closed. He lacked the enthusiasm to return to where he considered home - the officers' quarters he shared with his wife. There would be no questions, no recriminations for him there - at least not of the obvious kind. If he met her eyes, she wouldn't have to say a word, and neither would he. Even now, perhaps everything had already been said.

I missed you.

Even now, with the distance between them closed by bruises and cuts, blood and punches, the work of 15 minutes drawn into hours of physical pain hardly touched by painkillers and ice, Lee knew that "missed" barely even touched the surface of what each had felt. His life and Kara's had been twined together for almost as long as he could remember - horror and love, friendship and suffering, commitment and betrayal matched together in so many ways.

He had missed her, and she him, if only because he needed what she brought to his life. Warily, Lee stretched his legs out toward the bottom of the bunk, careful not to disturb anything around him. He wanted to hold onto this peace, and not disturb the rare circumstances that allowed it. He wanted only these few moments to hold onto, the calm before the storm. They might be all he would receive.

He couldn't be stupid about this. She had returned to him, but for how long? And in what form? Kara Thrace was a law unto herself, the example of redefining the universe to suit her own rules of what that universe should be. He would play a part in it only to the extent that Starbuck felt he should, and then the barriers would go up again. Lee could work at assaulting them, forcing them to crumble piece by small piece, but they would always be established by her rules. Not his.

So in this passage in between, he would settle for what he had, knowing that sooner or later it would collapse. It was why he would lie here now, the curtains closed on this small bunk, content for perhaps the first time in a year and a half. He allowed himself this time, ignoring the past and the future, allowing on the now to affect his thoughts and his happiness. The bitterness had gone, replaced by a sense of comfort he thought would never come again.

He stretched again, but this time, he disturbed the universe surrounding him. Lying quietly at his side, Kara let out a low groan.

"You have to go."

"No, I was just stretching."

"No, Lee. I mean, you have to go."


"Because if you don't, we'll frak this up more than we already have." This time, she shifted, and he could feel her breath soft on his face. With a soft sigh, he opened his eyes to find hers bare centimeters from his own.

"And this is the closest we've come to fixing it." The depths in her eyes, Gods ... he could see the walls building already. He could see her arguments, one by one, beginning the construction of what was still in shambles in around them. This new construction, it would be on her terms - as always, as it could only be.

But he could, perhaps, make the details - the decorative curves and waves - respond to his touch. Softly, he placed his his fingers on her mouth, forestalling her arguments.

"Not tonight." With hope, he grabbed onto the peace around himself, and conveyed it to her, begging that she would, for just once in her life, accept it. "This is for us. Not for anyone else, and not because of anyone else. I don't want to go, and you don't want me to. Not now."

For a long moment, there was silence. And then...

"And what about tomorrow?"

Gods, how could he answer? Any solution required a level of complexity he didn't want to tackle. Judging by the tone in her voice, neither did she.

So he reached out beyond that, and held onto the words he had utter earlier.

I missed you too.

He had. And he did. And he would again.

But not now.