During the time that Lee was attending War College on Picon, Kara was establishing her niche on the Galactica. Six months after she arrived, her main competitor for Galactica's Top Gun got married and transferred to the air base on Gemenon. She held the title undisputed after that.
Just like on the Triton she found herself drinking more than she did when she was teaching on Caprica and playing cards more often. The arrogance of being the best Viper pilot crept into the way she dealt with a lot of things. But one thing she was careful not to do was let anyone get close to her. She and Karl maintained their friendship, but other than him, she didn't make an effort to get close to anyone else.
She completely avoided any kind of romantic attachment.
Every three or four months Commander Adama asked her to have dinner with him. They talked about what was going on in the ship, about flying Vipers, and ultimately they talked about Zak…and Lee. The commander would often reminisce about his sons when they were growing up, and that usually meant both of them. Reading between the lines from several of their conversations, she decided that the Old Man felt guilty about how little time he'd spent with them when they were young.
Sometimes he would talk about the accident. He'd finally seen the official report and knew it was classified as Pilot Error. Kara didn't need an official report to tell her what she already knew. Zak had no business in the cockpit of a Viper. He wouldn't have been there if she had washed him out on his last check ride like she should have done.
It was agonizing for her to listen to the commander talk about how he shouldn't have pushed the military as the only career choice for his sons. About how in the end it had cost him both of them.
She had trouble looking at him during that part of the conversation.
He always ended their evening by saying to her, "Thank you for joining me for dinner, Kara. We'll do it again sometime." And in three or four months they would.
Her relationship with the XO, Colonel Tigh, got no better. It had actually gotten worse. Several times he had the alcohol-induced bad judgment to bet too heavily on a losing hand of triad, and she'd taken his cubits too smugly. Because he was a superior officer, it was the only way she could get back at him for the steady stream of barbed comments he sent her way.
That was until she found out about his wife. One day she knew he would push her too far and she would spear him with a comment about his promiscuous wife. From the moment she found out about Ellen Tigh's infidelities, she waited for the perfect opportunity.
To her surprise Jared called her seven months after she'd called him to apologize. He was back on Picon by then, having finished his work on the Atlantia and following that the Columbia. He was working for the Defense Department integrating some new software into their mainframe systems.
The first time he called he was getting ready to take some time off. His boss had rewarded his hard work during the last year with an all-expense paid week at a small resort on Picon's South Bay. Jared wanted her to join him. She did. It felt good to get away from it all, wear a bikini, swim in the ocean, feel the sun on her face, relax and drink and have an uncomplicated physical relationship with a guy she liked a lot but didn't love.
Although Jared talked several times about his stint on the Atlantia, he never talked about Lee and she never asked.
One time he started telling her about his work on the mainframes, about how he had some doubts about what the new software was for, but she stopped him. When he began speaking about routing messages and packets and firewalls, his language was beyond her comprehension.
She told him that his mouth could do better things than speak geek to her. Being the smart guy that he was, he quickly got her message. He was more than happy to show her how well he understood it.
They talked occasionally after that, and she saw him again eight months later under similar circumstances. His boss had given him a week at the same resort. It was a lot cheaper, Jared told her, than paying him extra for the sixty and seventy-hour weeks he usually put in.
She finally asked him why he called her. Surely there was some girl he knew who would be glad to come on a trip like this with him. His answer didn't really surprise her.
"You look a hell of a lot better in a bikini that any of the other women I know."
"What are you trying to do?" She grinned at him. "You think I'm going to sleep with you just because you flatter me?"
He blushed. "A geek like me can hope, can't he?" He was twenty-eight now, but he still looked like a kid when he smiled at her.
There was only one part of the whole week that was difficult for her. After dinner on the last night they had gone to the outdoor bar, a thatched hut with the pool on one side and the beach on the other. They had several drinks and danced to a steel-drum band. Toward the end of a slow number as her body was pressed against his, she whispered in his ear at the same time he did the same to her. Room.
They were both laughing as he took her hand and they left the dance floor together. She had to get this while she could. There was no telling how long it would be until the next time.
An hour or so later, he was sleeping and she took the remote control and turned on the television. Flipping through the channels she found a concert being broadcast live on one of the music stations…a group that she remembered from her high school days, Beggars and Choosers. She left it there, leaned back against the pillows and listened to songs she had first heard when life was much less complicated for her than it was now.
She was starting to doze when she heard the song. She opened her eyes. The male and female lead vocalists were singing to each other, the camera close on their faces, their voices blending perfectly.
Every time my heart beats…You must hear it saying…Just how much I want you…Just how much I care.
Kara was completely unprepared for the rush of emotion. Damn, oh damn.
She was back at the Academy in Lee's arms, dancing with him, kissing him, wanting him. She closed her eyes for a moment in an attempt to control the pain. When she opened them, the singers were dancing just like she and Lee had done, closer and closer. Damn, oh damn.
The song ended. The two singers were still holding hands and everyone in the audience was on their feet, clapping and whistling and shouting. The rest of the band bowed, the vocalists did the same. He raised their clasped hands for a moment and then brought her hand to his lips and kissed the top of her knuckles. Damn, oh damn.
Kara turned off the television and got out of bed. She took one of the fluffy complimentary robes from the back of a chair and quietly opened the sliding glass door that led onto the small patio facing the beach. She sat down in one of the chairs at the glass-topped table and watched the moon rise, watched it slowly turn the ocean and the sand to silver.
Some emotions were beyond words, beyond even tears.
Sometime later she heard the door behind her slide open. Jared put his hands on top of her shoulders and gently massaged them for a moment.
"I'm sorry I can't be him."
"Whichever one you want to be with now, the dead one or his brother. I don't guess it really matters, does it?"
"No, Kara. It's okay. I knew from the beginning what this is to you. It's okay. You never lied to me, never tried to make it more than it is. I'm grateful for any time I get to spend with you. Anything else is my problem to deal with."
She breathed slowly in and out, eyes dry, wanting to say something to him but unable to find any words.
"You want to be alone, don't you?"
She nodded and a few seconds later the door closed behind her.
On her way back to the Galactica the next day, she rubbed the ring on her thumb and wondered if she would ever hear from him again.
She and Karl went back to Caprica for Marie's wedding since they were both in it. Karl was a groomsman and got to wear a tuxedo that looked great on him. She was a bridesmaid and had to wear a strapless pink dress that made her feel practically naked.
Over the three days they were there, she stopped herself a dozen times from calling Connelly. Even after more than a year she still felt the pull, the desire to see him and be with him, but she knew she couldn't. Not after what had happened the last time. Better not stir anything up again. It wasn't fair to either one of them.
She and Karl had lunch with Carolanne Adama the day before the wedding, and she found out officially what she already knew was probably the case. Lee and Gianne were engaged. She hadn't thought by now that it would bother her as much as it did.
She drank too much at the wedding reception and late that night took one of the groomsmen up to her hotel room. The only thing memorable about the encounter was what he said to her when he was leaving the next morning.
"Just for the record, my name's not Lee."
Some things you don't even try to apologize for.
Lee sat in his Viper on the runway at the Caprica Air Base. He was waiting for clearance to begin his launch procedure. It finally came.
Lee repeated the instructions back to the tower. In fifteen minutes he had cleared the atmosphere and was on his way to the Galactica.
Two years and it was now down to a couple of hours before he would see her again. Of course that meant seeing his father as well. Maybe that's why he wasn't in a better mood. And maybe the fact that he had slept very little the night before was contributing to his raw emotions.
Before this day was over he wanted to see Kara and talk to her. He didn't know exactly what he was going to say, but he wanted to find out if they stood a chance. That's all he wanted, to know.
He punched the Galactica's coordinates into his navigation computer, switched on the autopilot and sat back for the ride.
On the Galactica several hours later, Kara paced in the brig. Lee was on the ship now. She could almost feel him. What would she do if she saw him? Congratulate him on his engagement? Could she honestly look him in the eye and do that? Nope. She knew she couldn't. She'd have to avoid that subject altogether. What to say to him? She'd just have to wing it. That is if he found his way to the brig, which she doubted he would.
She was a bundle of nerves. Nothing had gotten her in this kind of state in a long time. She couldn't sit still. She finally dropped to the floor, put her feet on the bunk and started doing pushups, counting them off to herself. One…two…three. She was up to thirty when she heard his voice and felt her heart start pumping even harder.
Lee could hardly believe how much the sight of her was affecting him. It was like they had never been apart. It's always been about us. His knees actually felt weak but he was damned if he would let her see how much the sight of her got to him. He placed his arms against the bars of the cell and struggled to control his feelings. His heart was beating so hard she must be able to hear it, how much he wanted her, how much he cared.
He thought of that long-ago day at the Academy when he'd gotten her out of the brig, and he said the first thing that came to mind.
"This seems familiar."
Kara couldn't stop the smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth. He had made the effort to find her. At least she wasn't hung over this time. She got up slowly and jauntily approached the bars of the cell. He looked so good, so damned good. It was like they'd never been apart. And there was no ring on his finger yet.
She unfolded a small bit of the hope in her heart, leaned closer to the bars and to him.
She was sure, really sure, that if he listened hard enough he could hear her heart beating, telling him just how much she wanted him, just how much she cared.
Author's Note: There you have it Fellow Shippers, my take on the Lee/Kara backstory. I wrote this prior to the end of the series when a different backstory became canon for them so much of this story now becomes AU, but at the time I was writing, it seemed like it could plausibly have happened the way I have imagined.
I've tried to weave into my story the little bits of canon that we actually knew about them prior to the drunken episode we were shown in the Daybreak II flashback. The way the characters are played from the Miniseries onward just seemed to scream "we have history," and not just the near-miss that occurred when they first met according to the series.
I always had the impression that Kara had not known Zak very long, having just met him when she became his flight instructor, whereas she and Lee went back much longer. His comment to her near the beginning of the Mini, and one I've quoted above (This seems familiar) would indicate he'd seen her in the brig before, and in KLG1 when he confronts her after she sleeps with Baltar (Oh, it is just like old times, Kara, like when you got drunk and couldn't keep your hands off the major…). Certainly that didn't happen while she was dating or engaged to Zak. (I hope!) Also her comment to him just prior to that (Cause I don't owe you anything…) Why would Lee think she owed him anything in regards to sleeping with another man? So despite the fact that the show's creators later said their "first real kiss" occurred in 'Unfinished Business', I prefer to believe their romantic history predates that moment.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all of my wonderful reviewers who gave me such positive feedback and encouragement during the writing of this story. You helped unleash a monster as I have continued writing about the BSG world of Kara and Lee in addition to this story.
For those of you who were not happy with their series ending, please check out my story Siren's Kiss which is AU and begins much earlier in their lives. It is followed by a sequel, The Torches of Other Worlds which expands the story to include the Cylon homeworld. Both stories are now complete.