She gasps underneath him. Short shaky breathes spreading across his shoulder like a spider's web. Her nails dig little paths into his back, mapping their long drawn out journey to this moment. To their final consummation of a relationship that played its part in a triangle for far too long.

Kara nips at the skin between his neck and shoulder blade and he hisses softly into her ear, the small sensation of her teeth sending more electricity through his already buzzing body. The sheets bunch underneath his grip and the slight shift of her hips has him clawing at them just a little harder.

That's what she commands him in a whisper and he almost wants to say 'yes sir' if it wouldn't be so completely inappropriate in such a position. He works his rhythm faster, her nails digging into him to the point where he thinks she'll draw blood any minute now, and he wonders if that's her intention.

Screaming an expletive into his ear rather than his name is not something that should be a bother, but even now, with him getting one of the wishes he's had since the day they met granted, there's a hint of disappointment in his movement that goes unnoticed by her.

Her legs wrap around him, drawing him in closer, deeper. He's drowning in the ocean of Kara Thrace and no conscious thought or survival instinct has him ever coming up for air.

She moves her hands from his back, tracing her own map of him, up to his head and drawing him into a kiss and takes what little breath he has left away.

She's getting close, her muscles contract the slightest bit around him, and he knows he's not far behind. Breaking the kiss she pulls his head down even further into her neck whisper screaming words he can't decipher, and this time when she swears into his ear there is no disappointment, just few precious seconds to prepare himself for his own eruption.

When they collapse onto the bed, bodies shifting slightly against each other in the sheets, she doesn't look at him. Nor does she kick him out like he had anticipated, only tries desperately to catch her breath.

He reaches for her hand and stills mere inches from it, the small space feeling like miles between them, and can't bring himself to close the gap.

"Kara," he says softly.

She doesn't reply, only bites part of her bottom lip and turns her head toward him. There aren't words because honestly, there doesn't need to be. He sees that she's not sorry about what they've just done, and really, that's all he can ask for. Because despite the fact that he knows he's wanted exactly this moment for so long, the guilt at it being so soon is crawling like a spider to the forefront of his mind.

Her hand is the one that closes the gap, their fingers barely touching, in an echo of affection.

He wants to say 'I love you,' but he knows it will ruin everything.

/\/\/\/\/\

When he first gets the news he's out on CAP practicing high speed turn backs with his wingman. A private message comes through the comms and he tells Sideswipe that he's going to break formation.

Admiral Nagala has orders for him to leave CAP early and report to his office immediately. Lee's first thought was that someone in the CIC is playing a joke on him, a little something to rile up a newly promoted Lieutenant.

When he lands on the deck, Atlantia's chief is waiting for him with a grim look on his face. Lee feels an unsettled confusion begin to worm its way through his body and he suddenly knows that whatever is going on is far from a joke.

He asks the chief is he has any idea what's going on, and the only reply he gets is that it's not his place to say.

The unsettled feeling morphs into something cold and hallow and the only thing Lee knows for sure is that it must be something exceptionally bad.

The Admiral immediately offers a hand to Lee once he walks into his quarters, and he feels dumb stuck, as well as a little angry, for whatever might or might not be happening.

"Have a seat," the Admiral says, and Lee sits. "I hate to have to be the one to tell you this."

"Tell me what?" Lee asks, preparing himself for the worst. Fear of being demoted back down to junior grade so quickly after promotion. Worry, that his father took it upon himself to ruffle a few feathers over his oldest son being stuck in such a rank for so long. Hope that nothing had happened to his mother or Zak.

"There's been an accident," the Admiral continues grimly.

Lee's first thought of this little tidbit is of his father. That there was some horrible malfunction on his battlestar and he's laying in a fleet hospital somewhere bleeding out. His second thought is that his mother could have been in a car accident. Caprica City traffic is well known for its hazards and he thinks of some reckless driver ignoring a stop sign and plowing right into her. His third thought is of his brother and barely passing flight school, and a sudden dread that the third thought is most likely the correct one.

"Your brother was participating in practice runs on the base at Delphi," the Admiral delivers grimly. "They still don't know what exactly caused his bird to go down, but I'm afraid to say… I'm sorry Lee, he didn't make it."

Lee grips the edges of the chair, feeling his knuckles go white, hoping to the gods that he doesn't have the strength to actually break the Admiral's furniture.

Dear gods no, he thinks, fighting back tears in front of his superior officer.

Not Zak.

/\/\/\/\/\

Kara's fingers play with the buttons on his uniform. She's hesitant to actually slip it through the small opening, despite the fact that she's the one leading him toward the bed. She looks at him with tear drenched eyes, and part of him, the part that everyone around him sees, wants to back off. This is a bad idea, that much is clear, and he's not entirely sure he is that person who can just dive into whatever is about to happen without a second thought.

But Kara focusing on him, as if it's really him she wants, blurs any line he fears he may be crossing.

The button pops open, and she looks him in the eye, as she goes for the one beneath it. Then the next one, and the next, and the next. Pulling his uniform away from his shoulders she leans in closer, her lips floating a teasing touch across the exposed skin.

It's slow, the process of undressing, and it isn't anything he like expected. It's not wild. It's not hungry. She doesn't appear to be doing this for the quick frak like he's seen her go for so many times before Zak.

Her touch is soft, her fingers hesitant as they explore his arms, moving across his chest and up to his chin. It's an illusion of tenderness. She traces the line of his jaw, moves to hand to cup his cheek, and pulls his head down slightly to kiss him.

He can feel his heart suddenly is his throat, and when she pulls back he wants to tell her how he feels. How he's felt since being introduced to her at flight school those few years ago. Her head falls against his chest, and her hands wind themselves around his hips and to his lower back.

The shaky sigh he feels against him makes him swallow back all the words he wants to say. Kara is Zak's girl. Zak is dead. And that means from this day on, she will always be his. So he keeps it to himself, and will do so forever, if he has to.

So Lee holds her, and starts to say that he can't do this, that it isn't him she wants, and it isn't right they're even letting it go this far. But she cuts him off with another kiss and starts working the lower half of his dress blues off of him.

It's the kiss that makes Lee throw any hesitance he might have in letting himself want this as much as he does. In allowing it to happen.

Her lips melting into his isn't a promise. It isn't a possibility of what if, or what could be.

It's just the kind of kiss where two souls start asking each other questions.

/\/\/\/\/\

He'd been given a week long pass and a seat on the first shuttle back to Caprica.

The sun is almost unbearable when he disembarks and he sighs and remembers why he hates Caprican summers. The humidity is so strong that when you walk down the streets it feels more like you're wading through a heated mineral bath, rather than trough the air.

Seeing the old house again is like a kick to the gut, because the mountain of Zak memories he's had in his head since the second he received the news, comes collapsing in an avalanche on him.

He sees himself running around the front yard with his little brother on Zak's fifth birthday. The two Adama boys both have vipers in their hands, making gun noises with their tongues, and shooting down squadron after squadron of cylon raiders.

He sees himself teaching his brother how to tie a tie, for the first dance he had ever worked up the courage to ask a girl to, when he was in junior high. He sees Zak struggling three or four times before finally getting it right.

He sees himself shaking his brother's hand when he arrives home on leave from flight school, saying how proud he was of him for graduating.

He sees the shock on his own face when Zak tells him he's applied for the academy and will see him there as a first year.

Zak's room is exactly how he'd left it. The mint green walls covered in various band posters from shows he'd gone to in the city, a few old toy vipers resting on a bookshelf, and a stack of pyramid balls wedged between his bed and the wall.

Lee isn't sure why, but he opens his brother's closet and grabs his colonial scout uniform. It had been Lee's last year when Zak was finally old enough to sign up. Their mother made damn sure they were in the same troupe together. He thinks of their lone camping trip, and the incident with poison berries, and smiles sadly to himself.

It's the simple piece of old clothing that causes the floodgates to open.

That's where his mother finds him when she arrives home. On Zak's bed clutching that uniform in his hand.

"Oh my boy," his mother cries into him. "My dear, sweet, gentle little boy."

And Lee knows these descriptions are better suited for Zak.

But he doesn't have the heart to correct her.

/\/\/\/\/\

The paintings catch his attention once they hit the bottom of the stairs. The giant blue circle that's surrounded by other various designs and a short poem he takes the time to read. It causes a flare of emotion inside him and he reaches out a hand to place his fingers upon the words. He knows it's about Zak.

"I miss him," he whispers to himself more than to her.

He can feel her eyes on him as he reads. He had no idea she was ever capable of such creativity, and he wants to ask, turning at meeting her eyes he knows she would tell, but this isn't the time for such questions.

She moves closer, a slow hand reaching toward him, a finger catching one of his belt loops and gently pulling him toward her.

He wants to say her name. He wants to ask if she's sure about this. He wants so many things, he doesn't know what the frak he's doing, and just follows her along.

The emptiness is a song sung between them, each knowing the words, and each waiting for the chorus to cry out.

Lee had watched her drink or frak the pain away several times over back in flight school. Never once die he think he'd be one of those boys being lead back to the therapy session of her bed.

"Please," she says so softly he isn't sure she's said anything at all.

She's just using him to fill a void. This he knows. But the same void inside of him is also begging to be filled.

She hums softly, waiting for him to sing along.

/\/\/\/\/\

This is your fault, his minds screams, across the casket to his father who is standing in full dress uniform fighting back his own tears.

Lee's anger is sudden and horrible and if he didn't have to be the shoulder for his mother to cry on, there would be words and venom flying over the priest's prayers for the dead.

Zak wasn't cut out for the service. He wasn't fit to wear the uniform. He never even should have made it into flight school.

But no, Commander Bill Adama couldn't bear to see that both of his boys wouldn't be able to carry the torch, bright and blazing with glory, across the colonial fleet.

Lee stares daggers at the old man.

That should be you in the ground, he thinks. That should be me. That should be anyone else by my little brother.

Lee swallows and attempts the fight the anger, but it's all consuming in his mind and heart, and he knows that if he doesn't find a way to calm down it will surely eat him alive.

He looks over to Kara, standing next to his father. How that standing arrangement came about he will never know. She's pale, and shaking, and barely holding it together. The look on her face tells him that she wishes it was her in the box instead of Zak.

She doesn't look back at him. She can't. Her eyes are focused so deeply on the oblong box in front of them, Lee wonders if she can see right through it.

The soldiers standing off to the side of the funeral party are called to attention.

When they begin to fire their salute for a fallen comrade, Kara flinches so deeply, it's as if the marines hadn't fired into the air at all, but rather had taken aim square at her chest and pulled their triggers.

Lee looks away from her at that moment, knowing his insides feel the same.

Once the coffin is lowered, and she places a hand full of dirt down into the hole, Kara can't hold into together any longer and takes off running.

Lee wants to chase after her, but his mother collapses against him, and he stays because that's what good boys do.

/\/\/\/\/\

When she opens the door she doesn't ask how he found her. She doesn't wonder why he took the time to look her up in the military registry for a current address so he could chase her down, all the way to Delphi, like he'd wanted to after the funeral.

She just stands there in a pair of old fatigues, covered in paint, and reeking of cigar smoke. He opens his mouth to say all the things he thought he would have said to her had she stayed that day, but her eyes well up, and she falls into him as if he's some kind of safety net.

He kisses the top of her head, fighting back his own pain, and trying his best to absorb hers.

In all the time he's known Kara Thrace, broken, empty, and alone are all adjectives that could be easily associated with her. Upon meeting Zak it seemed as if all those things could be washed away in the pure love the younger Adama could offer her.

This is different somehow.

It's all consuming. It's epic. And if it isn't alleviated somehow, she will surely die from it.

This kiss is one of desperation.

She tastes of smoke, acrylics, and incredible soul crushing loneliness.

The kiss is a mistake.

It shouldn't be happening.

He knows it is Zak she sees behind closed eyes and that is wrong on so many levels.

But he still lets it happen.

Because broken, empty, and alone are all adjectives that can be associated with Lee Adama now too.