Title: Saying what you mean, meaning what you say
Rating: R (but only for some hands-on kissing)
Spoilers: Everything up to "Home, Part 1" – it's kinda AU/what-if after that
Summary: Lee kisses Kara and tells her he loves her. If she won't let him take it back, what's a pilot to do?
Disclaimer: I don't own it—Ron does. He's fairly good at sharing, although when he takes them out to play he NEVER puts them back the way I want. But since he owns them—fair and square—I guess I'll let it go.
A/N: This fic has helped to jump start another of my stalled fics. I'm not sure when it'll be done, but rest assured it's in the works!
Lee could barely stand still. He hadn't been this excited since the night before his tenth birthday when he'd been promised a state-of-art mountain bike.
Of course, his father had forgotten and sent a note of apology, but Lee could still remember the anticipation of going to sleep the night before, dreaming of that bike.
What he felt awaiting Kara's imminent return was nothing in comparison.
The way she'd disappeared, the way they'd left things … it had haunted Lee in the days she'd been gone. Haunted him to the point where his dreams now consisted of his father, lying bloody and dying on the console of CIC or Kara, lying bloody and dying in his place. Both images sent a chill down his spine. He shivered.
But she'd returned. Her voice had filled the comms on the Astral Queen and Lee had felt his heart lift. His shoulders didn't bear the weight of the remaining colonies anymore or the guilt of pushing her away. Now all he felt was relief that she'd come back: whole, safe.
He wanted to think he could fix what he had broken between them with just a few words of apology. Wanted to think that she'd step off that ship and smile at him and all would be forgotten. He knew it was a pipedream. Kara didn't forgive or forget that easily and that was okay. He didn't deserve it.
His breath caught in his throat as he saw her. His eyes met hers and she did smile and Lee thought he might cry out with joy. Instead, he simply met her outstretched arms in a hug and squeezed once before pulling away far enough to kiss her.
Even as his lips pressed against hers, he had no idea what he was doing. Kara seemed just as confused and while he registered her flippant remark, he wanted to grab her cheeks and kiss her again—really kiss her, like he meant it. Because he did.
But before he had a chance, before he could tell her he was sorry, before they could start to mend what was injured between them, he caught sight of Boomer rounding the corner and everything went to Hades.
She just kept staring at that damn pyramid ball and Lee had the sudden and irresistible urge to puncture it, deflating it completely so she could no longer bounce it incessantly against the wall.
But she'd carried it back with her from Caprica, along with that damned Arrow the president was so keen on and so Lee would respect that it was Kara's and it seemed to be important to her. Maybe if he respected it, she would give him the time of day.
That didn't seem to be the case. Despite his delicate prodding, it appeared the silent treatment was all he could hope for at the moment. With a sigh, Lee turned to her, trying to get her to look at him, trying to get her to do anything other than stare.
"I'm your friend and I love you." Oops. That had not been what he'd planned to say. She didn't seem to take notice, so Lee just plowed ahead. "If there's anything you wanna talk about, anything you wanna get off your chest, then I'm here for you. Anyway ... whenever you wanna talk, just let me know."
Again, nothing. With another sigh, he rose and headed for the door, his steps extra slow in case she changed her mind and decided to confide in him. He realized he had a better chance of sprouting wings and flying his way to Earth, but he was an optimist to the last.
"What was that middle part again?"
Kara's voice stopped him mid-stride and he turned to regard her. "What do you mean?"
He caught the teasing glint to her eye just before she asked, "Did you say you love me?"
Lee Adama had lectured Kara Thrace on quite a few occasions; Apollo had even yelled at Starbuck on quite a few more. He was fairly certain that in between mocking him and teasing him and disobeying him, she hadn't once paid attention to anything he'd said. Except for now.
Frak. He laughed nervously and knew he was screwed if she really wanted to pursue this. "Well-"
"Lee Adama loves me."
"No, what I meant was-" Gods, it killed him to even pretend it wasn't true, but Lee's bravery died in the face of Kara's twinkling smile.
"No, seriously, very sweet. You love me."
Yes! He wanted to scream it at her, wipe that damned smirk off her face with a little dose of the truth. But something held his tongue and again all he could do was chuckle.
"No, you love me. You can't take it back—there's no take-backs."
Don't I know it? Lee had been trying to take back his heart from Kara Thrace since the day he met her. But she held it firmly in her grasp and Lee was powerless to possess it.
"You're dreaming it, Kara." There, that wasn't denying, just deflecting. Lee turned, hoping he might get a chance to flee from her all-knowing gaze and adorable expression.
"You love me."
Lee kept walking. There was no way she'd take him seriously now. Not after the kiss this morning that she had pulled away from far too quickly for his liking; not after his rushed admission of feelings that she seemed determined to tease him about mercilessly for the rest of their days.
"You're dreaming it." He was almost out of the room.
"You love me."
And he was free, out in the corridor and away from her enigmatic smile that pulled him in at every opportunity. Away from her sparkling eyes that, while laced with a sadness he could not hope to fully understand, were still full of love and warmth.
Gods, he really did love Kara Thrace.
Lee wondered if she'd ever let him tell her and not make it a joke.
Kobol was cold, wet and rainy. And dangerous. Elosha's death aside, the grass was slick beneath their feet making walking on even ground slippery while scaling hillsides made of mud was downright treacherous.
Lee tried to get comfortable, tried to find the one position that didn't leave a root sticking into his back or his leg resting on a damp pile of leaves, but he had yet to find it. He really hated being this cold. It was unnatural and he had no idea how any one could get even a little rest under these circumstances.
Of course, then there was Kara. After they'd finished cleaning their guns, she'd simply grabbed her roll, offered him a smile and snuggled down to sleep. He swore he heard her snoring softly within five minutes. He hated her a little for that.
Giving up lying on his right side, Lee released a heavy sigh and rolled onto his left only to be confronted with two huge hazel eyes. "Hey," he whispered, more than surprised to see her staring at him—he hadn't heard her stir even once.
"Hey." All Lee could see of her was her face and blonde hair, the rest of her body wrapped tightly in her bedroll.
Noting the slight look of distress in her eyes, he inched closer and asked, "Are you okay?"
She offered a small shrug, all but invisible with her shoulders covered by the blanket. His concern mounting, Lee scooted over all the way, erasing the twelve-inch distance between them. Propping his head on his hand so he could really look at her, he hoped he wasn't pressing his luck. "What is it?"
She bit her bottom lip and Lee couldn't believe how hesitant she was. Balls-to-the-wall Starbuck never acted liked this. He remembered her reluctance on the Astral Queen, remembered the hollowness of her eyes as she'd stared at that pyramid ball and he suddenly wondered if there wasn't more about Caprica he should know.
"I'm sorry." Her small whisper startled him from his thoughts and Lee focused on her once more, brow furrowing as he didn't understand. She elaborated. "About your dad, being shot. I'm sorry I wasn't there."
Lee's eyes closed of their own volition as that thirty-second scene played once more in his mind. That memory was never far away, no matter how hard Lee had tried to banish it over the past week.
The feel of Kara's cold hand resting on his forced his eyes open. She was staring at him so intently, with such regret it made his heart ache.
Turning his hand so he was now holding hers, he admitted, "I wish … I wish you hadn't left." He couldn't believe the extent of his confession. "I really needed you."
Shock widened Kara's eyes for a moment, before she quickly pulled her hand from his and turned slightly to stare at the canopy above them. After a prolonged pause, she said, "I had to. The president asked for my help."
Lee felt a familiar anger rise in his gut. "Right. The president asked you to go on a suicide mission, so you just jumped into a ship and flew straight into enemy territory." His ire required him to move, so Lee sat up, wrapping his arms around his torso to trap some of his precious body heat.
Kara, obviously angered by his words, matched his posture, and shot back, "Well, considering you punched me the day before, I figured you wouldn't mind if I disappeared."
His breath caught in his throat. She was right; he had done this. He had pushed her away. He hadn't wanted to believe in the days she'd been gone that anything besides Kara's own sense of martyrdom had led to her disappearance. And maybe it had—to an extent. But the fact was, Lee's actions, his ridiculous jealousy, his violence had contributed to it.
He had no idea how he'd have felt if she actually hadn't come back.
"I'm sorry," he murmured, eyes studying the ground, unable to look at her. "My actions that were day were unforgivable."
She was silent for so long, Lee thought she might have fallen asleep sitting up. But looking to her again, he saw that she was staring off into the night, lips twisted in a grimace he recognized. She was fighting back her emotions, trying to keep it together and he could see what a struggle that was.
Uncertain what to do, Lee acted on instinct. He moved to her side, placing a light hand to her shoulder. She flinched slightly at the contact, but then slowly, turned to meet his gaze.
Her eyes glowed in the moonlight, tears she wouldn't cry clearly visible. With a sniffle, she wiped at her nose and tried to shrug it off. "I'm fine."
When Kara waited a beat and then turned once more to face him, he knew she was faking.
Kara didn't understand why or how Lee Adama could read every one of her moods like a flight manual. Zak hadn't a clue when she'd been telling a lie or glossing over some painful memory and the Old Man certainly couldn't tell when she was full of bluster and bravado.
But Lee Adama—frakkin' Lee Adama—could look at her for a minute and know exactly what was running through her mind.
It made her want to hit him.
"Lee." She really didn't want to do this now. She didn't want to explain that she felt guilty about Anders; didn't want to admit that his little admission of love only twelve hours before had thrown her entire world off balance. And she certainly didn't want to tell him that she couldn't sleep because she kept dreaming about Caprica and the Farm. "Not now, okay?"
She sighed. She'd known it wouldn't be that easy.
"If not now, when, Kara? Don't you think we've avoided each other long enough?"
She mustered the courage to face him, knowing his blue eyes might render her completely speechless. They were amazing, those eyes—they held a depth and range of emotion Kara had never seen in another living person. From one look, she knew if Lee was angry, sad, frustrated, tense, annoyed, happy.
Right now, he was doing his damnedest to convey how much he cared about her. It wasn't as if Kara had missed it before. But it seemed that every time Lee looked at her like that—every time the corners of his eyes crinkled and his mouth turned up in the hint of smile—every time she seemed to be wrong. Colonial Day was the perfect example. Just when she'd thought they were going to start something, he'd handed her off to Baltar and it was done.
"I've never avoided you," she shot back, refusing to believe again that Lee was actually making her any promises. Staring out into the forest, she added with a hiss, "You're the one that pushed me away."
"Right, because sleeping with Baltar was supposed to endear you to me?" She could hear the anger lacing his tone and she smirked. She'd knock those lovey-dovey feelings right out of him.
"Maybe if you'd been a man," she accused, gearing up for a really good insult. "I wouldn't have had to go home with somebody else."
She saw the wheels turning behind his eyes, could almost see the steam coming from his ears, as he sputtered, "If I had—"
Kara cocked her head to the side, waiting for him to finish, goading him on and was completely surprised when, instead of erupting, instead of yelling or punching her as she had expected, he simply hung his head and sighed.
Staring uncertainly at him, Kara scrambled for something else that could rile him up. She needed him angry and on guard so he wouldn't get these crazy notions in his head that he cared about her—that she was anything more than a screw-up.
With one more sigh, Lee finally raised his head and despite herself, Kara inhaled sharply at the look of pure distress in his eyes. "Kara, this has gotta stop," he breathed, reaching for her hand. She tried to pull back, tried not to make this any more intimate then it had already become, but he refused to let go.
"Do you ever wonder why we keep lashing out at each other?"
His thumb was rubbing gently along the backs of her knuckles and it made Kara's heart flutter deep in her chest. Forcing herself to focus, and praying she could keep her voice steady, she countered, "Because I hate your guts?"
"Kara." It was a plea this time and Kara closed her eyes against the sound. She was coming undone right now, this second, and she didn't know how much more resistance she had left. She had to stop this, had to think of how she could turn Lee away from her. "I meant what I said on the Astral Queen."
Oh yes, her universe was spiraling out of control. Taking a deep breath, she reopened her eyes and shook her head once. "We can't do this."
Kara thought fast. If she could end this, once and for all, then she might be able to keep a semblance of her control. She could not let Lee Adama any farther into her heart than he'd already managed. She couldn't believe that he might love her—that she might love him—because it would make her weak. And Starbuck was many things, but never weak.
And then she knew what to say. "I met someone."
As Lee pulled away from her, she knew she'd gotten it right.
"What?" His voice was barely more than a whisper. "Where?"
His reaction was not what she was expecting. After a moment of silence, Lee burst into laughter and he wouldn't stop. She shushed him, worried he might wake the others, and he obliged, slapping a hand over his mouth as he all but vibrated with giggles. Kara stared at him in disbelief, watching as his eyes actually filled with tears and he doubled over, clutching at his stomach. Quickly moving from baffled to annoyed, she waited for him to finish.
"Oh, Kara." He wiped the tears away and looked at her with a wide grin on his face. "You have told me some good ones, but that—"
"I'm serious, Lee." His expression sobered in a second. "His name is Sam Anders. He's the leader of the resistance movement on Caprica."
A deadly fire burned in Lee's eyes as he held her gaze. "The resistance movement?"
She nodded and explained. "Helo and I ran into them about three days after I landed. They gave us a place to stay, some weapons and knew where we could find a ship."
"So, what? You slept with him out of gratitude?"
Without thinking, she raised her hand and slapped him hard. Lee took the hit, rubbing his cheek for a moment before looking back to her, the same cold expression on his face. "He's also the same mother frakker that allowed you to get captured."
"We were in the middle of a firefight, Lee. It was every man for himself. You know how that is." Kara kept her jaw clenched, her expression hard. She would not let Lee see how much his callousness had hurt her. Or how much of a struggle it was for her to pretend Anders meant more to her than he did.
"I wouldn't have let it happen," he boasted petulantly, puffing his chest out.
"Oh sure, the all-mighty Apollo. He who can do no wrong." Kara shook her head and glared at the forest.
"Hey." Lee forced her eyes back to his face and spoke each of his next words with conviction. "I wouldn't have let them take you."
I know. She wanted to tell him she believed that, she believed that had he been there to watch her back she would have returned from Caprica plus one arrow and minus two scars, but she couldn't. If she admitted it, then he'd know how she felt.
Instead, she simply stared at him, trying her best to keep her expression stoic, trying to pretend she didn't want him to hold her or tell her again that he loved her. She knew if he said it enough, she'd believe it.
Despite his initial anger, Lee's face slowly softened and he stared back, his eyes tracing over the curve of her cheek, her lips, down her neck. She could feel his eyes on her like a caress and she shivered slightly. Even as she moved to pull her bedroll tighter, Lee inched closer, the back of his hand running down her cheek, forcing her to look at him. She really wished she didn't have to.
He stared at her for a moment more and then shook his head. "You don't care about Anders, Kara."
She opened her mouth to protest, but Lee kept talking. "You don't. You might have slept with him for a few days, but you don't love him, I know it."
"How can you say that? How can you just dismiss what I'm—"
"Because you run, Kara." He cupped her cheeks in his hands, getting closer until they were only inches apart. Kara bit her lip and stared at him. "This is what you do. You needed someone on Caprica, I get that. I can only imagine how horrific it was. And I'm glad you had someone. I wish it had been me, but …" Lee trailed off taking another deep breath, before he continued. Kara couldn't speak, could barely hear over the pounding of heart.
"But what I feel for you and what I think you feel for me goes so far beyond frakking." He searched her eyes and leaned closer and Kara could feel his warmth. She had a sudden irrepressible urge to reach for him and never let go. "This is about need, Kara. I need you."
Kara couldn't actually believe he'd said those words. She felt her stomach drop to her feet as she saw sincerity shining in Lee's eyes. She had never thought anyone would ever need her—how could they? She was a screw-up. What did she possibly have that they couldn't get somewhere else?
Drawing in a shaky breath, she shook her head slightly and breathed, "No you don't."
He actually smiled at that, and lifted one hand to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. "Yeah, I do."
"Lee." She knew what would come next and she had to stop him …
… but he just kept going. "And you need me."
He said it with such finality, Kara didn't know how she could deny it. She knew it was true. She had needed him from the day he'd stepped foot on Galactica. If he wasn't flying her wing, CAP was a dangerous place; if he wasn't next to her in battle, she wasn't so confident she'd come back; if he wasn't beside her in a firefight, she worried a bullet might find its mark. And if he didn't look at her, talk to her, share a laugh with her at least once a day, her whole world would implode.
"I don't." She forced the words out, barely able to hear them over the pounding of her heart. "I don't, Lee."
He didn't yell or shout or even frown. He simply smiled wider and leaned down to kiss her. "It's okay to admit it, Kara," he murmured, his lips next to hers.
She sighed heavily and her eyes closed of their own volition. She gave in for that moment, letting him kiss her, letting herself kiss him back. His lips were soft and warm and pressed against hers with longing and Kara wanted this. She knew it was selfish and a monumentally bad idea, but Lee Adama was incredibly hard to resist.
Kara reached for him, her hands clutching the front of his jacket and bringing him closer. Lee obliged, his lips never leaving hers as he parted his legs and pulled her tightly in between them. Now, she was surrounded by him—his scent, his warmth, his body holding her and she knew it had to stop. She wanted Lee, she truly did, but she couldn't stand the thought he'd wake up, very soon, and realize he didn't want or need a screw-up like Kara Thrace.
Bracing her hands against his chest, Kara tore her mouth from his, turning her face to the side, so his searching lips met her cheek. "Lee." She hated how breathless she sounded—or how much she really just wanted to keep kissing him. "Lee, stop. We have to stop."
"What's wrong?" She had the slight satisfaction of hearing him struggle for breath. At least she wasn't the only one affected.
"We can't do this." She forced herself to move away from him, but with an iron grip Lee locked his arms around her waist. With nowhere else to look, she was again confronted with his eyes and her heart stopped for a second in her chest. "Lee, please." Don't make me do this.
"Kara, I love you." His gaze never wavered, his voice never hitched, his touch never loosened. "I wasn't kidding around the other day. And I'm not now. I love you and knowing that I could have lost you—" He did take a moment now, and Kara watched in fascination as a layer of tears coated his eyes before he managed to blink them away. "Trust me, Kara, everything that's happened really changed my perspective."
"So, what? I'm a pity frak. What happens when your perspective changes again?"
She watched his face cloud with confusion and it would have been cute under any other circumstance. "It won't," he stammered, his eyes searching hers. "Kara, it won't."
"Because you love me?" She spat the words, trying to get a reaction, trying to get the reaction.
But he refused to pull away. "Yes."
He stated it so simply, as if it were the most logical thing in the world to fall in love with your most insubordinate pilot, and, oh yeah, your dead brother's fiancée. "No, you don't." Too tired to argue anymore, she simply bowed her head and whispered, "You don't love me, Lee and you certainly don't need me."
"Kara, I can't begin to explain to you all the ways that isn't true." She felt his finger slide under her chin and he tilted her face back to meet his. "And nothing you say is going to get me to take it back."
She gritted her teeth, unwilling to let this be the thing that finally broke her—after Caprica, after Anders, after that frakking farm—how could this take her down? "How about the fact that I don't need you. That I don't love you." She searched his eyes, praying this would work. "How about that?"
He stared at her for a full minute and then shook his head. "Nope, because it isn't true."
Kara wanted to cry. Dropping her head forward, she fell against his chest and squeezed her eyes tight so as not to let any tears escape. "Lee. Please."
She took deep breaths, releasing her sighs in heavy shudders that must have telegraphed how close she was to falling apart, because instead of pressing the issue further, Lee brought one hand up to stroke through her hair, while the other rubbed her back gently.
And the pure tenderness of his touch simply made her want to cry more.
He rested his cheek to the top of her head and she felt more than heard his next question. "What are you afraid of, Kara?"
She swallowed hard, a ball of abject fear lodged securely in her throat. Admitting she was afraid was almost worse than actually being afraid. "Nothing," she murmured sullenly, unable to help the tear that leaked from the corner of her eye.
"Come on," Lee chided, tugging lightly on the tips of her hair. "What is it?"
He wasn't getting it out of her that easily. "Nothing, all right?" She raised her head quickly, turning away from him and wiping hurriedly at her cheeks. "Drop it."
"Kara." He took her hand again and damn if she didn't revel in the warmth of his skin on hers. "What do you think will happen?"
"Oh, I don't know." She was angry and defensive and Lee had pushed too hard. So she was going to push back harder. "That you could die, that I could die. That the Cylons will find us and blow us apart. That our existence ended the day of the attacks and all of this is a cosmic joke. Pick your worst nightmare and add it to the list!"
Panting hard, Kara stared at him, daring him to prove her wrong. How could he? She had spoken every truth, every fear she held, except one. That having Lee beside her was the only thing that made it all worth it—and the only thing that truly scared the crap out of her.
"Any of those things could happen," he said finally, his voice soft, his hand back against her cheek. His thumb rubbed a path along her cheekbone and Kara's body subconsciously leaned towards his comforting presence. If he noticed, he didn't comment.
"Then how can you think this is a good idea?" She wanted to know. She wanted an answer. If he made it compelling enough, she might just give in. Every part of her wanted to—her heart, which had become Lee's long ago and her body, which had desired Lee Adama from afar for far too long—but her mind would not let go. Her mind would not rationalize away all the very real—and imagined—obstacles she had created.
With a faint smile, Lee leaned towards her and brushed a kiss to her lips, before guiding her head to his shoulder and holding her close. "Because being without you is the worst nightmare I can imagine. Because being alone when you could be with the person you love, the one person you need, the one person you want, is just ridiculous when any of those things could happen."
Gods, she was tired of being alone. Tired of pretending she was strong and tough and didn't need anybody. Tired of pretending that Triad games played for the junk were fulfilling. Tired of pretending she didn't wish Lee was hers. Tired of pretending she didn't want him—didn't need him.
"Kara." Lee's soft voice brought her back to the present. "What are you thinking?"
With her face pressed into the skin of his neck, her body soaking up the warmth of his, her senses surrounded by Lee, she was only thinking one thing. With a sigh, she wrapped her arms around his waist and murmured, "That this feels good."
Lee's low chuckle vibrated from his chest into hers and she smiled softly at the sound. "We're going to be okay, you know?"
With a small snort of derision she pulled back and eyed him skeptically. "Are you kidding me? We're never going to be okay. We're two of the biggest, emotionally-stunted frak-ups I've ever met."
He frowned. "Kara, I—"
She pressed her fingers to his mouth, silencing him before she leaned forward, their lips a breath apart. "But you're right."
His frown turned to confusion and Kara felt him tense around her. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was a feeling she was intimately familiar with … but not this time. Keeping her eyes on his, keeping them open, she kissed him, soft, sweet and only closed her eyes once his had fluttered shut, his hand cradling the back of her neck as he deepened the kiss.
It was even better than before, if that were possible. Sitting so close she felt safe and secure in her little "Lee bubble." The thought and image it conjured brought a small laugh to her lips and as her mouth opened, Lee's tongue plunged inside, finding hers, stroking against it, making her body sing.
She felt each lick, each touch as he kissed her harder, deeper. Pushing herself onto her knees, Kara ran her hands up his shoulders and into his hair, holding his head steady so she could plunder his mouth just as readily as he had hers. Lee let her, a small, urgent groan sounding from the back of his throat and making every nerve in her body light with desire.
It seemed impossible that this might be happening now. That she was sitting under the stars with Lee wrapped around her, his mouth on hers, his hands on her skin. She felt happy for the first time in a long time. She was unaccustomed to it sure, but Kara was determined to meet any new experience head-on—even the good ones.
Kara jumped slightly when Lee's cool hands found their way under her tanks and spanned her rib cage, bringing her closer. Her body pressed against his and as she continued to kiss him, sucking his lower lip into her mouth, she pushed him back. He lost his balance, hitting the ground with a slight thud, her weight landing on top of him.
"Ow. Are you trying to knock me out, Starbuck?" he murmured, tangling his hands in her hair and dragging her mouth back to his.
She grinned against his lips and renewed her kiss with passion. "Not yet, Apollo."
He laughed lightly and she felt his lips turn up in a smile against hers. As she pressed harder against him, determined to feel every muscle, their hips came together and Kara's aroused body glanced over Lee's erection, causing them both to gasp.
"Okay, okay, we gotta slow this down," Lee murmured. With reluctance, Kara pulled back knowing he was right. They couldn't very well go at it with the president sleeping no more than ten feet away.
As Kara sank against him, dropping her forehead to his chest, he leaned forward and pressed a kiss against the top of her head, breathing deep. "Gods, I wish we didn't have to."
"I know." She took a few more deep breaths and then rolled off him and to the side. Away from his body heat, she was suddenly chilled and she didn't like it. She felt exposed and raw and she didn't like that either.
"Hey, where are you going?" She felt Lee's hand reach for her, and as he tried to bring her back to his side, she came willingly. Resting her head in the crook of his neck and shoulder, she wrapped one arm around his chest, while wedging one leg between his.
Soon, she felt the familiar weight of her bedroll covering them both and Kara sighed. His arm around her shoulders was comforting and she liked the feeling of being protected. She'd never admit it of course, not even under penalty of death, but she did.
"What do you think's going to happen tomorrow?" he whispered softly, his lips against her forehead.
She shrugged. "I don't know. We make it to the tomb, use the arrow and find the toy surprise."
He laughed again and she smiled knowing she had caused the happy sound. "Gods, Kara, don't leave me like that again."
She couldn't make that promise and he knew it, just as he couldn't make the same promise to her. Their lives were not their own, not when they were on duty. They both had pledged that service to others was worth more than their own existence. And it was an oath they would uphold—no matter the personal consequence.
But right now, no one was watching and no one was in danger and they weren't on duty. So they were going to have this moment. And hopefully, more like it.
Kara wasn't certain if Lee was asleep, so she called softly, "Lee?"
Lifting herself up on one arm, she stroked his cheek lightly waiting until his eyes had opened to her before continuing. "I won't take it back." His features clouded with confusion and then understanding as she added, "Don't let me take it back, okay? No matter what."
He nodded slightly and then kissed her softly. "We're going to be okay, Kara. Just sleep."
With a sigh, she again snuggled into his side, molding her body to his and finally slept.