A/N: Part of the beyondinsane Holiday Shiny Exchange over at LJ.
Disclaimer: These characters are not mines. I'm just playing with them for a little holiday fun.
Summary: She knew the body she rested against, though she had never woken so intimately twined with it before.
The steady thrum of life echoing in her ear and the contrast between the cool morning air on her back and the heated skin under her cheek pulled Kara from sleep. For a moment she felt absolutely at peace in the quiet of the morning, her fingers relishing in the feel of the broad muscled chest they caressed. But when she brushed the raised scar panic flooded her as memories of the previous night crashed down on her. She knew the body she rested against, though she had never woken so intimately twined with it before.
Her resolve had faltered last night and he had finally broken through. He had shown her a freedom and an intimacy greater than flying, even with him. Kara and Lee, Starbuck and Apollo, all had disappeared. There had only been StarbuckandApollo.
She'd wanted to take her time when he'd finally relinquished control to her, wanted to savor the feel of him inside her as she moved above him, the way his eyes had burned into her despite being hidden in midnight shadows. But the promise of the freedom she'd found only with him had proven to be a stronger lure. The sound of their tags clinking together had echoed in counterpoint to their ragged breathing as she'd shifted her hips and picked up her pace. In the end it had been too much and she'd flown free with her head thrown back to the night sky and only his hands on her hips anchoring her to the planet.
When he'd first hopped up and started yelling into the silence she'd been amused. After all, he'd told her he loved her before. She'd teased him about it, convinced that she was the only one affected. That, despite the flutter in her heart, he only spoke because she was the sister he'd never had. But the longer he yelled the more nervous she'd become. She'd almost choked on the words when it was her turn. I would have been simpler, cleaner to lie, but this was Lee. Nothing between them had ever been simple or clean and he'd deserved the truth.
"Kara Thrace loves Lee Adama."
And she did, even now as she prepared to leave him to wake alone in an empty field of dreams. She couldn't stay. Loving openly had never worked for Kara Thrace. She'd already killed a father and a lover. She could not deliver the remaining Adama men to that fate. Besides, she'd learned early on that Kara Thrace did not deserve to be happy. She had to do something to put the world back the way it was supposed to be.
The idea that came to her as she pulled on the last of her clothing was so drastic it would destroy him, destroy them, as surely as the Cylons had decimated the twelve colonies. 'But,' she thought as she studied his beloved face in repose, memorizing every detail for the harsh days to come, 'at least he'll be alive.'
Every inch of his body ached. Bruises inflicted by Helo were buried under the marks of her smaller fists. The only reason he hadn't collapsed to the mat was that she was in the way, her body and soul as bruised and battered as his own. Surprisingly she leaned on him as much as he leaned on her. In defeat and exhaustion they'd found a balance they'd never managed in action.
He'd understood exactly what she was doing, allowed her to goad him into the ring. Frak, fly or fight. Before New Caprica, they hadn't acknowledged the first option. Since then he'd been avoiding the second, which left fighting. The only viable way for them to test their relationship, to discover the strength of the tattered remnants neither of them had been able to relinquish completely.
He had tried to go easy on her, to minimize the damage, but Kara had had other ideas. She'd struck out; blasting away the restrictions he'd placed on their fight, as she'd broken every other rule guiding their existence. They had fought, as always, to a stand still, neither was willing or able to concede.
There was, he finally admitted even as he rested his head on her shoulder, nothing he could do. It was time to move on, time to go and find his wife. He gathered the last of his strength to pull away.
"I missed you."
Her words rocked him to the core, burrowing into the corner of his soul that she had long ago laid claim to. But gods, how did she expect him to respond to that? All of this had been her decision. He couldn't tell her that he'd come to hate her, almost as much as he loved her. He didn't want her to know that she was the reason for the burning ache under his breast bone that he'd tried to smother with food. But she was Kara and he would not be dishonest.
"I missed you too."
And he did even as they stood locked together in an intimate embrace, which was all the more real for its illusory quality. Maybe they could fix this, avoid making the same mistakes twice, three times. The occupation of New Caprica had broken them down as surely as the Cylon invasion had shattered humanity. 'But,' he thought as he pulled back to stare into her face, lined with blood, sweat, and tears, 'we are both still alive.'