NOTE: A little 'what if' AU. The colonies were never attacked, and Lee and Kara haven't spoken since that scene in the brig.
As the gathered group of suits surrounding him irrupts into laughter, he smiles politely, not caring for the joke as he cracks
As the gathered group of suits surrounding him irrupts into laughter, he smiles politely, not caring for the joke, cracking his knuckles and counting down the minutes in his head. The part of the job he hates, sitting with potential clients, many of whom are rich pompous gasbags, who usually do nothing but pat each other on the back for being the most important men in the Colonies.
In a ritzy restaurant he would never set foot in of his own accord, he grins and bares his way through schmoozing, swallowing back the bitter taste of dishonesty on his tongue. It's not a matter of right or wrong here, there's no evidence to defend, or motive to question. It's just a direct order down from the boss himself, something he still holds a respect for even if he'd stopped taking them from an Admiral long ago.
People like him.
It's not a forced trait, or a practiced one, just something that comes naturally though he can't quite remember when it actually started. It had never been that way when he was younger.
He was a leader of men.
Something he knows, pompous gasbag or not, is what most cliental are looking for.
Once it's over, the company expense account properly charged, he loosens his tie as he walks down the street. The sudden need to wash the bad taste from his mouth, he heads straight for the first bar he sees, one that he knows doesn't have the slightest chance of attracting the type of person he's trying to shy away from.
Half the lights are out on the sign, something about a nest, as he walks through the door. Once at the bar he asks for a beer and a shot, slamming the bright green liquid quickly, and instantly chasing it with the nice cold brew.
A throaty chuckle catches his ear, as he tilts the glass further upward on his lips, turning to his right to see the familiar seal sewn to shoulder of a fleet officer. His eyes travel across the top of the familiar blue uniform, following along the lazy ponytail of blonde hair, and finally land on a pair of mischievous brown eyes.
He sputters into the beer, not his finest moment, as her laughter breaks into a cackle. He pulls away the glass and wipes the liquid dripping from his nose, almost smiles despite the flush of embarrassment, the sight of her stirring something long dormant inside of him.
"Lee Adama," she says lifting her own glass to him. "As I live and breathe."
It's been too long, forever his mind shouts, since he's seen her.
Since those cell bars stood between them and he walked away feeling angrier than he had since the box holding his little brother was lowered into the ground.
From the look of her she hasn't changed much. Still keeping her hair short, unruly one could say, lips still upturned in a challenging smirk. He notices the Captain pins on her collar almost immediately, the same ones he'd given up, thinking that she must have calmed down somewhat to get a promotion he knows she'd never buck for.
The smile he feels stretching across his face is the first real one he's had all night, and it takes most of his self control just to keep from hugging her.
"It's good to see you Kara," he says instead.
It makes her laugh again, his diplomacy, the obvious way in which he keeps himself still. He can almost hear same old Lee roll off her tongue, but she just clucks instead and takes another sip of her drink.
"What brings you to Virgon?" She asks once she swallows, causing his eyebrow to raise the slightest bit. She never used to be one for small talk.
"Business," he says, looking away as her eyes move up and down him, taking in the suit.
"I can see that."
"Pleasure," she says lifting her glass to her lips again.
This time he does laugh, and it's like they've never been apart, easily falling back into the old habits. As long as they didn't settle on any heavy topics, they both might get out of this night alive.
He looks around, sees nothing but haggard older men leaning over their respective drinks, not talking to anyone.
"Slim pickings in here wouldn't you say?" He starts, turning back toward her, giving the same once over she just had, then: "You wear your uniform for pleasure?"
She looks down at herself.
"Only when I get stuck in some frakking scheduling meeting that carries several hours over what they promised it would." She looks around the bar. "Slim is being generous."
Something in her eyes, it makes him nervous.
Like he's shaking her hand again in that first meeting with his brother so many years ago, despite the smiles and pleasure to meet you, somehow knowing it would all come crashing down one day.
"Meeting?" He asks, simultaneously clearing his throat and further loosening his tie.
For a second it looks as if she's not going to answer him, her glass empty, she signals the bartender back over.
"The new Viper school of advanced flying tactics is going to be based here," she answers once her glass is full again. "I've been offered a position."
His thoughts fall back to one of Zak's letters. How his brother raved about his crazy ball-busting, yet incredibly hot, flight instructor. The one who pushed his buttons, never took any of his crap excuses, got him to worker harder than he ever had before.
Her eyes on in him, somehow he knows she's thinking about him too, gaze falling down into his beer, the silence heavy on their shoulders.
"So you're a suit now?" she (thankfully) changes the subject.
"Nine to five."
Her grimace is comical, hissing loudly through her teeth, and shaking her head as if she's disappointed.
"Needed a change," he shrugs.
She takes a long slow pull of her drink, eyes still playful, a notable curiosity glazing over them.
"Never thought the great Apollo would get tired of the skies."
"It wasn't that," he starts to reply, stops, finding no words he can use to get her to understand. No way to explain that he'd just grown tired of it. Of being his father's son, of everyone in the fleet looking at him that way no matter how much he proved his worth on his own. That a chance visit to his grandfather answered the question in his mind of whether he should just quit.
He opens his mouth again but she throws up her hand.
"You don't have to tell me."
"Business on Virgon," she murmurs, trying to lighten the mood again, leaving him to wonder just when she became a glass half-full personality.
"I live here actually," he replies.
"Became a lawyer and left Caprica, my my my, just when I thought I had you all figured out."
He laughs, runs a hand through his hair, and waves the bartender over for a refill. Silence again, but not awkward, comfortable yet still with a feeling of his teeth on edge. The calm before a storm.
"I saw the old man a few days ago," she tosses out, probably to see if he'd bite.
His hands tighten unconsciously, old familiar pain in his chest, he breathes into his glass before taking a big gulp.
"Asking what he thought about you teaching again I assume."
"He's always watched out for me," she says quietly.
"That makes one of us."
"Are you ever going to for-" She cuts herself off, looks away quickly then right back, leaves the question hanging.
It's not about his father.
The thought pops in his head, the way she's looking at him, the way it seems to consume her. He's seen the same look in many people on the witness stand. There's something he doesn't know about how his brother died, why she so adamantly defends the old man. A truth he may never know, hidden away in the recesses her conflicted gaze the feeling that short of a catastrophe, she will never tell.
Watching her, watching him for his reaction, he forcefully holds his tongue. Rather than have this conversation end like their last one, with five long years of silence between them again, rather than interrogate her until she tells him what he wants, he lets it go. Keeps the blame with his father because it's been there so long, is so familiar, he just lets it lie.
"No," he says.
"So, going back to teaching?" He asks, his turn to try and lighten the mood. "Thought they'd never be able to pull you from combat duty."
She looks a little sheepish, another surprising change in demeanor, leaving him to wonder just what the years had done to her. Before she was all over the place, fire and ice at the same time, everything if life a joke or a challenge. Now, well, he doesn't know what to think.
"Made me an offer I couldn't refuse," she offers.
His eyebrows go up.
"Take it or ship out," she says, forcing a laugh. "Couldn't say no exactly." Then softer: "It's not like I know anything else."
"Never thought you'd settle down," she says suddenly.
Something in his chest freezes, wondering when she would ask. Not quite pointing at the ring outright, but knows her well enough to get the meaning. He starts to twist it around his finger, almost wanting to hide his hand away in a pocket, before looking back to her awaiting face.
"Are you happy?"
He doesn't hesitate.
"Anyone I know?"
"Maybe," he concedes. "You served on Galactica at the same time."
This piques her interest, leaning toward him with a devilish grin, as she starts rolling off names to which he just shakes his head. She goes through a few petty officers, two nurses, a couple of knuckledraggers, and laughs delightedly when he blanches at her suggestion of Boomer.
"She was just a kid when I met her," is his response.
"If it's Felix Gaeta, that's perfectly alright too. In fact I always kind of suspected."
"You're hilarious," he responds drolly.
"Come on tell me," she prods.
He purposely takes a slow sip of his beer before saying: "Maggie Edmondson."
For a second her face is blank, repeating the name quietly to herself, rapidly flipping through the personnel files in her mind.
"You married a Raptor jockey?" She asks tone incredulous.
"Two seconds ago you thought it was Sharon Valerii," he defends.
"Yeah, but I wasn't serious. When did you two even meet?"
"She was reassigned to Atlantia after the decommissioning," he replies. "Gave me a run for my money in triad, as well as an earful of why I was shit at the game. Sort of hit it off from there."
"If I remember correctly," she starts. "She was a real pain in the ass."
"She can be," he chuckles. "Remind you of anyone?"
Outside of the bar they're both unsure of just how to say good-bye, standing stiff and awkward, the comforting affect of alcohol slowly dissipating.
"We're on the same colony now," she offers. "Don't be a stranger."
He wants to laugh.
"As if we ever could be," he replies tone serious, her response a faint smile.
Taking that as his cue, he backs away and turns around, almost takes a step when he hears her call his name softly.
She's in his arms before he even realizes, clutching wildly at each other, heads buried in respective shoulders. It's been so long, so much distance between them, and in an instant it's like no time has passed at all.
He thinks of one rain soaked night, shortly after his brother's funeral, Kara drunk and miserable clutching onto him as if he could save her from falling. Even now, knowing they've gone opposite directions, in every which way, whatever it is between them will always be there.
All of this has happened before, he thinks suddenly. And all of it will happen again.
He's never believed in the gods, thought them cruel and childish, but in the moment with Kara pressed so close he can't help but concede to their penchant for cycles.
"Stupid frakker," she mumbles against him. "Missed you."
He squeezes her tighter.
"Missed you too."