The locker room is empty. The only sound he can hear in the vast room is the echoing sounds of him tying his shoelaces over and over again. He hates new game shoes. They take forever to break in properly and you want to get at least two practices worth of wear into them before you even think of playing with them in a game.

He's going to kill Zak. Despite their mothers constant warning to keep their hands off of each others things, the youngest Adama boy just had to 'borrow' Lee's favorite pair of game shoes and take them out for a little joyride on his four wheeler just because he thought they were cool. Then he has to go and get the right one caught in the drive chain. When he'd brought them back looking like he'd dropped them into an industrial grinder Lee went ballistic. Didn't Zak know anything about players superstition? Hadn't he learned that being good at anything, especially winning took constant preparation and repetition?

Caroline Adama had been less than thrilled when Lee had showed her the jagged remains of his footwear and told Zak that she wanted every bathroom in the house cleaned by the time she got back from getting Lee a new pair. He couldn't help but smirk at the dejected look on his little brother's face at his punishment.

He undoes the knot again, and moves to retie, his thumbs and fingers getting tired of the same old motion. Sure all Zak had to do was scrub a few toilets, but Lee has to go out into that gymnasium with these stiff uncomfortable clown shoes and try to play the first game of the season feeling very uncomfortable. Not the best way to start a title defense.

Sighing loudly he lets his foot drop from the locker he had it perched against and stands up from the bench throwing his arms side to side, working out the last of his body's stiffness. He hates how nervous he gets before games. How his stomach seems to drop from his mid-section down into his new shoes.

He hears a door open on the other side of the room and can only guess it's one of his teammates sent in here to see what's taking him so long.

"Adama " A strong female voice shouts. "You in here?"

Lee grimaces to himself and quickly puts on his left hand glove. Guess coach decided to come after him herself.

"Yeah coach," he shouts, his voice bouncing off the tile. "Just doing some last minute equipment checks."

"If you want to fiddle with pads so badly Lee," Coach says in a gruff tone. "I could drop you from the team and make you equipment manager."

He slams his locker closed and jogs over to where she's waiting impatiently for him, shrugging in defense of his tardiness. She just shakes her head at him, and swats his back lightly with her play book.

"C'mon kid, we got a game to win."


Lee falls onto his place on the bench, his breath coming in and out in mad gasps. He doesn't know what West Athenian High had done to improve their team so much since last year, but their aren't laying down and taking their beating like they used too.

Coach is screaming about more effort. More sacrifice. The score is a lot closer than she wants it and she wants some frakking goals now.

"We're the Caprican City High Admirals for the gods sake " She yells.

The West Athenian Pirates were push overs last season and she'll be damned if they make fools of them on opening night. He takes long gulps of the boost elixir the teams drinks and waits patiently for his chance to get back in the game.

"Adama," Coach says kneeling down and getting in his face. "I want you on thirteen out there." She twists and points at the kamikaze opposing player who has scored four goals on them already. "Bump her, push her, tackle her, tell her a story for all I care, just don't let her near our goal again you got me?"

"Got it coach," he replies as he hops off the bench and back onto the court.

He runs right up to number thirteen and shadows her behind her left shoulder. Her teammate tosses a pass her way and Lee ducks under her arm and intercepts the ball, pivoting on his right foot to spin back passed her and takes off for their goal. Thirteen doesn't give up so easily and he can feel her catching up to him before he takes a flying leap over another Pirate and slams the ball in the goal.

He's about to raise his arms in celebration when thirteen crashes into him from behind and sends him sprawling to the floor. The ref blows his whistle and Lee knows she's going to get a penalty for hitting him after the play was over. Turning over onto his side he looks up into the face of number thirteen and she's grinning down at him with such confidence on what he thinks is a pretty face, he feels his breath catch.

"Hope you enjoyed that," she says huskily. "It won't happen again."

The ref comes and leads her away to the penalty zone before he can reply, but he can't help but grin. This was going to be a good game after all.

It doesn't happen again. He doesn't score another goal as long as Coach keeps him on this knock around, crazy energetic, number thirteen. After fifteen minutes Lee wants desperately to take another seat on the bench. She doesn't slow down, she doesn't let up, and for the past few plays she has let her hands go places most pyramid players try to avoid contact with during the game. And anytime he's looked at her like she was crazy she would only laugh, try to dance around him, and get the ball.

Two minutes to go and they're still battling back and forth with each other. Lee gets the feeling that her coach had said nothing to her about keeping on his guard the entire game. Her hands kept telling him that the decision is all hers. He gets the ball and is quick to release it to a forward crashing the opposing goal, and it puts them one up on the Pirates. He smirks at number thirteen and she mouths 'frak you' to him in return.

Coach calls a quick time out and he makes his way over to the bench desperate for a drink. He chugs down half a bottle of elixir and pours the rest over his face. The team huddles in a circle around the coach and her clipboard while she discusses the final play she wants executed to keep them ahead. Lee tries to focus on her instructions but he finds himself drifting to thoughts of the girl he'd been sent to guard all game. He turns his head to look over to the opposing bench and sees her looking right back at him.

Coach slaps her clipboard against his chest.

"Pay attention " She shouts.

Lee turns his attention back to the plan, but he already knows his role. Keep thirteen from scoring. He can feel some of the places on his body where her hands had been and realizes most of them are probably going to bruise. Easier said than done.

The huddle breaks up and they move back onto the pitch waiting for the ref to drop the ball. Lee moves into position in front of her. She's smiling at him as if she knows how this is going to play out.

The ref drops the ball and the Pirates win the draw. Lee tries to block her hand when he sees that her teammate has every intention of tossing her the ball. She surprises him when she slips right under his arm and barely catches the ball with the tips of her fingers. Using her momentum from her skid on the court, she bounces up from one knee and tears off toward the goal.

Lee curses under his breath and swiftly follows. The others aren't going to catch up to her, and the rest of the Pirates are doing a good job blocking those who could. He moves faster than he remembers himself being capable of and jumps off his feet, wrapping his arms around her waist and twisting their bodies so that they crashed to the floor in a slide, instead of landing in a painful thud.

He underestimates their momentum and they go crashing into the goalpost with such force they knock it over end and send it skidding into a section of the bleachers. The crowd gasps in shock and all Lee can think of is that, in the movement of the slide, she had somehow ended up completely on top of him.

Her laughter is infectious, and her pure enjoyment of the situation has him sharing in the humor of the moment and matching her smile. She looks down at him and for a second she's sweaty and smelly, and he thinks that he's never seen someone so beautiful. "Are we having fun yet?" She asks, still laughing.

Her body shifts slightly atop him and her smile is so bright he wants to kiss her.

"What's your name?" He asks instead.

"Kara Thrace," she replies, lifting herself off of him, and offering a hand to help him up. "Remember it. I'm going to be on your ass all season."

He takes her hand and pulls himself up, finding it so easy to match that smile of hers.

He will remember it well.


He doesn't know what he was thinking when he told Zak and his mother that he would meet them at home. That he'd get a ride with one of the guys because he had to stay after the game and help out the equipment manager because he'd skipped practice one day last week. His mother didn't quite believe him, especially when he was the one who had made the game winning play to keep the Pirates from tying the score and sending them into overtime. She had an uncanny knack for being able to tell when he wasn't being completely honest with her. Still, she had said alright and left him behind.

A few of his fellow students who are still lingering around the gym eye him curiously as he waits outside the visitors locker room. He hopes one of them doesn't get the idea to actually ask him just what it is he's doing because he's not entirely sure what he'll say. All he knows is that he didn't want to leave tonight without seeing her again.

The double doors spring open and the Pirates file out one by one and head toward the bus waiting for them across the street. As soon as he sees her "Hey Kara," comes out of his mouth before he even thinks of it.

The rest of her team regards him with guarded looks but keep moving. Kara however, stops and turns toward him, smiling as if she'd expected this.

"Something you need number seven?" She asks cooly.

A part of him warms at the fact that she took the time in all the madness of the game, she took the time to notice what number he wore.

"Lee," he says. "My name is Lee Adama."

"Nice to meet you Lee," she says, causing something to stir inside him at the way her tongue flicks when she says his name.

"I... Uh..." Damn. He wishes he thought this out better. He always thinks things out down to the last excruciating detail. He's curious to know what it is about this girl that is suddenly making his mind go blank.

Kara smirks, waiting for whatever words that are jumbled up in his head to finally find their way to his mouth. One small concession he can take from his bumbling is that, by the way she keeps smiling at him, she must find it cute somehow. Even if only in a pitying way.

"This weekend," he finally manages to get out. "What are you doing this weekend?"

"You asking me out Lee?"

"Um... yes?"

Oh gods Lee, he thinks. Way to make it sound like a question.

But it only makes her smile grow wider, and he sees the glint of something in her eyes that would scare other guys to death. It intrigues him.

"I'm going for a run," she replies.

"Want some company?" He says, inwardly cringing that once again, words come out with no thought behind them.

"I go for five clicks," she says in a low voice, taking a step toward him. "You know what a click is?"

He nods.

"Think you can handle it?"

She takes another step closer and he can feel what little brain function he actually has in her presence melt away in such close proximity.

"What am I saying?" She goes on, looking him up and down like a predator. He's never felt so much like prey. "Look at those legs on you."

He looks down and his own limbs, swallowing audibly and making her giggle.

"You could keep up with me couldn't you?"

He can only nod dumbly. This girl, man was she something.

"You're lucky you're so pretty," she says running a finger across his chest. "This stunned silence could be such a turn off."

"Hey Thrace " One of her teammates calls from a window on the bus. "Quit fraternizing with the enemy and get your ass moving "

Kara waves a hand dismissively behind her, her middle finger gesturing to them to have some frakking patience, and moves in as close as she had been when they were laid out on the court together. She grabs a pen from her pocket and takes his hand, scribbling some numbers into the palm.

"Keep up with me," she says looking into his eyes and daring him not to.

She doesn't wait for him to respond and turns away to head for the bus. He waits until he sees her get on, and the bus pulls away, to finally look at the ink scrawled across his skin.

"That went well," he says to himself.


When he calls her the first thing she asks is what took him so long. He laughs and that little ice breaker is what finally lulls him into a sense of verbal comfort with her. That and merely hearing her voice carried over a phone line rather than delivered from lips he can't get his mind off of, also helps ease the overaction of his mind when it comes to her. He can actually participate in conversation.

They make plans to meet on the hikers trail in Spartan forest and that's where Lee finds himself waiting with boost elixir in hand, nervously shifting back and forth in his jogging shoes.

What if she doesn't show? He thinks. What if her flirting and touching was all part of some elaborate plan to distract him, so that West Athenian could finally win the championship this year? What if she just took pity on his bumbling, but wasn't really interested in a guy who can't form a coherent sentence around her.

He shakes his head as if the motion will drive all the self doubt from his mind. He has to watch himself. He's starting to think like Zak.

All his insecurities wash away when he sees her making her way up to the trail. He feels his jaw drop open the slightest bit as she comes into view wearing incredibly short shorts and military style double tanks. Her skin looks nothing short of silken divinity and he wonders how it would feel under his lips.

With that thought knocking his mind into the x-rated zone, he takes a quick seat on the bench. There's no need to embarrass himself before he ever even tries to talk. She smiles as she steps up to him and he wordlessly hands her the bottle of elixir he'd brought for her.

"Aren't you thoughtful?" She teases, her voice like honey.

"Always come prepared," he says lightly. "I don't think there are any drinking fountains five clicks in."

"Were you a colonial scout as a kid or something?" She asks. "Oh gods you were " She exclaims when he doesn't answer. "That's so cute."

He looks at her incredulously.

"No really," she insists.

He laughs lightly and thinks it alright to get up from the bench.

"You need to stretch out a little, or are you already prepared?" She teases.

He doesn't answer, merely smirks at her and takes off down the trail, leaving her shouting 'hey ' behind him. She catches up quickly, which doesn't surprise him. What does is the fact that she doesn't slow her sprint. It's not hard for him to keep up, but after a couple hundred meters he feels the burn begin to form in his lungs and legs and he realizes that she isn't remotely thinking of pacing herself. She plans on going five clicks full taught.

The possibility of putting his body through such rigorous conditioning during the season is one he's never considered, but thinks that with his lack of social communication in her presence, he's glad the exertion means no talking.

Another few minutes and he thinks that he might just have to drop from exhaustion, not caring if a sudden collapse would hamper her opinion of him.

Finally her strides start to fade, and her feverish pace lets up a little. He has the chance to look over to her and sees powerful arms and legs still pumping with effort. Sees the slightest sheen of sweat that somehow makes her body glow. He moves his eyes forward to the trail, knowing that if he let this train of thought keep rolling, his body will give out completely.

She slows to a jog and he silently thanks the gods that her tank had finally run empty. Stopping to lean against a tree she bends over, catching her breath in deep gulps of air, and it takes all he has left in him not to fall at her feet. He quickly rips the cap off of the elixir and chugs most of it down.

When he finally catches his breath he looks over to her to see that she's looking right back, that glint of something dangerous back in her eyes, and before he knows it she's kissing him.

He thought about this so much in what little time he's known of her existence. But the reality, the feel of her lips and her skin pressed against him far exceeds anything his imagination could have come up with.

She breaks off the kiss and he finds himself fight for breath all over again.

"You kept up," she says. "Impressive."

Then she gives him that smile, and he knows she's going to be the death of him.


They casually walk along the trail, making their way back to the start, slowly asking typical getting to know you questions. She tells him that she was born on Caprica, but had done short stints of time on most of the other colonies. Her mother used to be a marine and had a bad habit of getting reassigned a lot. He tells her he'd lived on Caprica most of his life, and that he understands how it is to have a parent in the military, but his Dad made sure he and his brother stayed put through all his reassignments.

She asks about his brother and all he can say is "you'd have to meet him." Zak operated on his own level and Lee never could quite define him. He asks about her family and she tells him that it's just her and her mom. Something about the way she cuts off the sentence tells him that's all he's going to get from her in that regard so he lets it go.

Eventually the conversation falls onto the one thing they know they have in common. Pyramid. Kara, admittedly, is a die hard C-Bucs fan even though they are really pissing her off with all the cellar dwelling they've been doing lately.

Lee hesitates to admit he's more of a Picon Panthers fan.

"But you're from Caprica!" She shouts as she punches him in the arm.

He rubs the spot of contact and shies a foot or so away from her, smiling that they're getting along so well.

What kills the casualness of the conversation is when he tells her she can blame his father for being a Panther fan and she jokingly threatens to set him straight should she ever meet him. Lee stops dead and tells her in a clipped tone that it probably won't happen because it's been years since he's seen his father, and that liking the Panthers is one of the few things Lee can't find a reason to hate him for.

His face flushes when he looks over to her, and curses himself or letting so personal slip out so soon. For letting it slip so easily. His mother had always been concerned with him because he always wanted to be the one in control. Zak was left to run wild and be as free as he wanted to because level headed Lee would always be behind him to take care of whatever mess presented itself. He wants to know what it is about this girl that simple conversation just turned into something far beyond casual.

He thinks she's going to walk away from him now. The look on her face is one he can't read. He thinks that he might have just blown the chance at something special. Turning away he stares off at a tree waiting for the goodbye he just knows is about to come.

Instead he feels her hand on his shoulder and he turns back to her, and her eyes, the things he sees in them gives her away. She knows exactly how he feels because she's felt it too. He starts to ask but all of a sudden they're kissing again.

The rational part of Lee's mind is telling that they are moving entirely too fast. They've only just met. Her barely knows her. That they are different sides of the spectrum in so many ways. They live on opposite sides of the city. They are on opposing pyramid teams. And lords knows how many other things he hasn't found out about yet.

Her arms wrap around his neck and he feels all logic and reason fade away.

He knows he can do without them when he's with her.