Out of the Black
A Battlestar Galactica/Firefly Crossover
Oneshot: Making Up For All This Mess
Title: Making Up For All This Mess
Summary: "Kara. I think it's a trap." "No shit."
A/N: Many many thanks to the amazing taragel who really helped me get this piece polished up. Cookies if you find the Chuck reference buried in there. Title is yoinked from the song "Run" by Snow Patrol.
There are thirty minutes in each day that Kara sets aside for herself. At 1730, Helo comes into the bridge and takes over the controls. She ducks down the stairs to the crew quarters that she alone inhabits, tosses her clothes on her bed (or nearby, wherever they land is fine), and slips into the private shower she has all to herself. Kara felt a little bit guilty that everyone else had to duke it out over the few stalls in the passengers' head, but this is her only time to be alone. The only time her brain doesn't have to constantly take stock of engine troubles, food shortages, Alliance vessels on the scanner, or cortex broadcasts.
Turning on the hot water, she steps under the spray and feels the sticky sweat that covers her trickle down and disappear through the drain in the floor. Heaving a sigh, she turns her face up into the stream and runs her fingers through her hair, feeling a little bit cleaner already. Groping absently for her soap, she discovers the mere sliver that remains and makes a mental note to grab some more next time they have the luxury to get supplies, whenever the frak that might be.
It has been months since the rescue mission and supplies wear thin. She works up what little lather she can and tries to scrub the thoughts away. Running the soap over her left bicep, she glances down at the black ink standing in sharp contrast against the pink of her skin. Kara traces the circle beneath the wing and shuts her eyes.
She's done the denial and the isolation. The day it happened, it hadn't even sunk in, whether it was the adrenaline or the injuries or just plain old numbness, it hadn't felt like Sam was gone. Then there was the week she shut herself away from everyone-especially Lee-and that quickly morphed into anger--especially towards Lee. She'd spent about a month's worth of sleepless nights in her bunk where she'd retraced every footstep, every bullet fired, every word spoken to see if there was something she could have done differently.
Now there is nothing left but the mind-numbing depression. She's better at hiding it than she expected--except for these thirty minutes every day in the shower when she can forget that everyone is depending on her and just be alone with her grief.
Ten minutes before dinner, she turns off the water and wrings out her hair letting the water drip from her skin. She doesn't have a towel to wrap around herself, but she doesn't need to worry about being disturbed. Or at least she doesn't usually have to worry about being disturbed. But today when she opens the door, she sees a figure stooped over her desk, flipping through her log. "Lee!" she yelps, skittering back behind the hatch, poking her head out. "You're not supposed to be down here."
"It's nothing I haven't seen before." His words are teasing but there is a seriousness beneath them that tells her he hasn't come down here just to gawk at her nakedness.
"Hand me my clothes," she says, gesturing towards the bed. "What's going on?"
She watches as he crosses the room, gathering the garments up. "We've got a buyer for the scrap metal."
"That's good," she says as he hands her the clothing. She shuts the door behind her and calls out as she shimmies her panties up her legs. "So, what's the problem?"
"The exchange. We're having a difficult time staying one step ahead of the Alliance as it is, so we can't really dock at any major port. I've made arrangements to meet with our buyers on Athens; they gave us the coordinates for the exchange."
"Okay." She steps out of the head just as she zips her khaki shirt shut. "Here's what we do. We get Helo to drop us and the goods off an hour before the trade; I'll have my shiny little walkie with me, and when I give him the signal that the deal's done, he'll bring the ship back planetside and pick us up."
"Whoa, wait, you want him to leave us there while we deal?" Lee asks as she walks over to her nightstand, grabbing her brush and running it through her damp hair.
"They could take one look at our pretty faces and realize they're sitting on a lot more money than they could get from some old junked seats. Last thing I want is them boarding us and finding everyone. We may be wanted, but people are still terrified of the cylons. A bulletin came up yesterday, there was an Eight spotted on Lilac; she was shot by a couple of yokels." Kara sets the brush back on the nightstand as a period on the sentence. "Any other disasters topside?"
"Well, FTL's still shot, Sharon and Caprica can't seem to get it operational again; it seems like Liam's caught the flu or something-- can you believe Ellen is the one who is breathing down my neck about getting in touch with Dr. Tam on that one?" Lee chuckles. "Gaeta and Baltar are still working on purging some of the bulletins about us from the Cortex; Dad and Laura are pretty caught up in their research on the Unification War." He ticks off each note on his fingers. "And Hera has discovered the joys of banging pots and pans in the kitchen"
"So, same old shit?" Kara gives him what she hopes is a convincing smile.
"Pretty much." He smiles back. "Oh, and Tigh's on kitchen duty tonight."
Her expression fades into a more honest grimace. "Nothing on fire this time?"
Kara tugs her hair back into a ponytail as Lee deals the next round of cards. The gritty wind stings at her face and the sun beats down mercilessly. Perhaps sitting in this godsforsaken desert for an hour isn't the best idea she'd ever had, but if they get the money, it would be worth it. She picks up the five hexagonal cards that lie in front of her and casts her first glance at Lee before looking at her cards.
"Bet's to you," he mutters.
"Alright," she says, arranging the cards in her hand. "I open with dish duty for the next week."
She watches as a light smirk crossed his lips, but waits to hear the tone in his voice. "I see your dish duty…" and there it is; Lee never did learn how to bluff. "And I raise you… moving down to the crew quarters."
"What's wrong with your room, Lee?" she grins as she studies her cards.
"Sound… travels." He grimaces. "My room's right next to Dad and Laura's."
"I know there's another free room up there."
Lee groans. "I don't know if being in the bunk next to Gaius Baltar would be any less mortifying. I think we should rename the ship The Rutter or something."
" 'Rutter'? You pick up that slang in your fancy law office on Ariel?" She grins.
"You'd be surprised at the mouths on those people." He casts a sudden look towards the horizon, raising a finger to point out a cloud of dust rising in the distance. "I think we've got company."
Kara collects the cards and shoves them in her pocket, hopping off the crate just as the land speeder pulls up and three men pile out of the vehicle--the last of whom clutches a briefcase in his hand. She watches as the driver's eyes scan the pair before settling on Lee. "You Lee Adama?" he asks, stepping forward. "I'm Ferris. We spoke about the scrap."
"They honest goods?" the second man asks, circling the crate with the hawkeyed glare of a hungry vulture. "Don't want no illegal salvage. Doesn't look good for our image."
"They're good." Kara glances over at him. "Just some metal we had sitting around. Figured it could do someone else good… for the right price." She flicks her eyes towards the man carrying the case. "You good on your word?"
"Ma'am, we're honest men," Ferris says, taking a step towards Kara. "If anyone out here seems dishonest, it's the two of you. Asking to meet in the middle of the desert like this? Sounds like you're a pair with some secrets to hide."
"Ya'll look familiar," the vulture man says, as he steps up behind Lee.
Kara rolls her eyes and turns back to Ferris. "The scrap's good. That should be all that matters."
"Do I have your word?" Ferris asks, extending his right hand.
"Yeah." She nods and grips his hand. "You've got my word."
No sooner than skin meets skin, she slides her hand to the small of her back, reaching for the pistol hidden there. Kara pulls the hammer back and raises the gun to his face, only to feel the quick snap of a cuff around her wrist.
"Kara." Lee's voice says behind her. She turns to see Lee with his hands caught behind his back by vulture man. Even better, briefcase guy now has a pistol trained on each of them. "I think it's a trap."
"No shit," she calls back as Ferris flashes a sheriff's badge in her face.
"Kara Thrace, Lee Adama. You're under arrest for more charges than I can possibly recount under this here sun. Believe it was round near 37 last I checked." He pries the gun from her hand and yanks her arm behind her back.
Another gust of gritty desert wind blasts against her as Ferris shoves her towards the vehicle. "That some kind of new record?" she smirks.
She figures out relatively early on that if you just smirk when they hit you it really pisses the hell out of them. There is no clock in the room, but by her guess this so-called interrogation has been going on for a little bit over an hour. Licking a bit of blood off her lip, Kara offers a challenging glare up at the sheriff, who proceeds with the exact same line of questioning he's been fruitlessly pursuing since he took them in.
"Fine." Ferris sneers. "You don't wanna talk to me, you don't have to. Feds'll be here soon enough to take you off our hands." He looks over at Vulture Man—by now she's learned his name is Zhou—and nods his head. Zhou grabs Kara by the shoulders and pulls her to her feet, shoving her out of the room.
"I'm going, I'm going," she grumbles as he leads her back to the holding cells. Pulling the door open, he pushes her inside—hands grabbing a bit too low— and slams the bars shut. She casts a glance towards Lee sitting against the wall in the next cell over. His eyes track Zhou until the man disappears from sight.
"What did you find out?" he asks.
Kara slumps against the wall, her shoulders dropping. "Ferris keeps the keys on his belt next to his gun." She bends down and steps backward through her legs bringing her hands, though still cuffed, to her front. Glancing over at Lee, she sees he's done the same. "And he's left handed."
"When's he on guard duty?" Lee asks as she sits down at his shoulder on her side of the bars.
Kara leans her head back against the wall and glances around. "Probably not for another hour." She pauses. "It's been a while since I've been locked up. I almost missed it." Her tone is dry and flat and Lee misses the humor hidden in it.
"Sorry about getting us into this mess," he says, reaching through the bars to the best of his ability, trying to wipe away the blood from a cut on her cheek.
"Congratulations, Lee." She smirks. "You found the good guys. Why am I not surprised?" She elbows him through the bars and drops her voice to a whisper. "If I had to break out of a rathole jail with anyone, it'd be you, Apollo. No question."
He gives what sounds like a contented sigh. "Well, I have to say, I'm feeling a lot better since Starbuck's shown up." Her eyebrows knit together, but before she can ask, he continues. "She's better at planning things than the person who's been faking her way through the past three months." Lee turns to face her. "You can't fool me, Kara."
She nods, her mouth turning into a sardonic smile. "Well, good for you. Guess that's Lee 1, Kara 0." She blinks and the grin drops. "Or maybe it's Kara 2, Dead guys, 0. A real killer record, huh?"
There's a silence and Kara doesn't dare meet his eyes. Then she feels his hand close over hers. "You're not responsible for what happened to Sam."
She can't bring herself to say anything else-- about him or about Zak. She draws her hand back and stares up the corridor, watching as Zhou paced by.
Lee's the one who breaks the silence. "For the record, the answer's no."
"What?" She rolls her eyes towards him in exasperation.
He smiles at her. "You're not losing another today."
And for the first time in a long while, she genuinely smiles back at him.
"Hey! Anybody! Get your frakking ass over here!" Kara shouts, just as Ferris passes the end of the corridor. Rolling his eyes he strides down the corridor towards the holding cells.
"What do you want?"
"Something's wrong," she says, looking up from where she kneels by the bars between her cell and Lee's. "We were talking and he just… passed out. I don't know what happened!" She casts her gaze back to Lee's body, lying against the grimy floor, chest rising and falling in an erratic pattern.
"Move back," Ferris barks as he unlocks the door to Lee's cell, stooping over to take a look at him.
As the sheriff looks Lee over, muttering to himself, Kara bites down on her lip. She knows exactly where to apply the pressure on her left thumb to break the bone just below the finger. Muffling a pained squeak as it snaps she's able to slip her hand out of the cuffs and slip it through the bars.
Moving quickly, she slides Ferris's gun out of the holster. Scooting forward to gain some leverage, she brings the gun down against the back of his head, knocking him out cold. As the sheriff's body crumples against the bars, she looks down at Lee. "You've been holding back at Triad. You're a better bluffer than I thought."
As his eyes open, they fall on her hand. "What did you just do?"
"It's a little trick Jayne told me about," she smirks as she frees the keys from Ferris's belt and unlocks Lee's cuffs.
Hands freed, Lee takes the keys from Kara and opens up her cell. "Think he's got the keys to his land speeder on this?" he asks.
Stepping out of the cell, she slips the gun under her waistband, against the small of her back. "Come on, let's get out of here."
Heading up the corridor, Kara ventures a wary step around the corner and find the main office unattended. Thank the gods for piss poor towns like this. She snatches her walkie off the desk and turns back to Lee. "Coast's clear." Lee trails her down the hall and out the side door where the vehicle that had taken them in stood completely unattended.
"Ready to test your theory?" She asks, climbing into the passenger's side of the speeder, while Lee hopped into the driver's side. She draws the pistol once again, covering the backside of the vehicle as he fumbles for the ignition key.
"Hurry it up," she hisses as Zhou appears in the doorway.
"You gorram sons of bitches," he draws his pistol. "Ya'll make me sick. Lettin' them ruttin' cylon freaks loose on the 'verse. Iffin the Feds didn't want you so bad you'd've been dead the minute w-"
Kara ends his tirade with a single bullet to the leg "How about you shut the frak up 'til you know what you're talking about?" she shouts and fires another bullet. "And that one was for grabbing my ass."
Lee lets out a laugh as he finally gets the engine to roar to life. "There we go!" he says and speeds off down the street, back towards the desert.
Kara turns around in her seat, feeling the wind against her face. "Lee…" she says softly.
"What?" he asks.
"Do you actually know how to drive this thing?" She can feel herself pressed back against her seat as the vehicle accelerates.
"I am clearly a bad influence on you," she deadpans, sliding the walkie out of her pocket. "Helo, Starbuck. Do you copy?"
Where the frak are you guys? Helo's voice comes over the pipeline.
"Had a little run in with the local law," she says, glancing sideways at Lee. "We'll be at the rendezvous in thirty."
"What're you doing up?" she hears him ask from the open hatch. She looks up from her notes to see Lee carrying a mug in either hand as he steps toward her.
Kara sets her pen down and leans back in her seat. "Trying to figure out our next move. We're out the cash and the scrap, now." Her gaze narrows slightly. "Not to mention a land speeder."
"Hey, that was not my fault," he says, setting one of the mugs on the dash in front of her. "The sandstorm compromised my field of vision and-"
"You didn't see the giant frakking boulder right in front of you." She smirks as she listens to him laugh. "You should've let me drive."
Lee gestures towards her left hand, now wrapped tightly with white bandaging to keep the thumb set properly. "Not like that."
"Right one still works just fine," she says, reaching out for the warm mug and raising it to her lips. She takes a moment to breathe in the warm jasmine. "There's no way we're going to last out here if we keep screwing up like we did today. I'm thinking it's time we get a lesson from the professionals," she muttered before she took a sip. "Mal and his crew have been pulling crap over on the Alliance since before the attack on the Colonies."
Lee murmurs something in the affirmative as he glances out into the black surrounding them, his mug clutched between his hands. She studies him over the top of her mug, watching the broad grin forming on his face. She arches an eyebrow at him. "I'm afraid to ask."
"I just… I sort of…" Lee shakes his head, keeping his gaze fixed out at the stars beyond them. "I had fun today."
"Fun?" she snorts.
She catches a bit of a twinkle in his eye as he glances down at her. "Are you telling me you didn't?"
Kara wrinkles her nose, but a smile tugs away at the corners of her lips. "I don't know if I'd use the word 'fun,' but it was definitely one of the more exciting days I've had in a while." She sets the mug down as she rises to her feet. Turning to face him her lips hovers inches from his as she smirks. "Just promise me our next date will involve fewer broken bones."
Lee grins as he slips his arm around her waist. "I'm not sure I can promise that."
His breath tastes like jasmine, she thinks. Kara closes her eyes and wraps her right arm around Lee as he closes the distance between them. She feels herself relax against his touch, leaning deeper into the kiss. "I missed you," she whispers against his lips again.
"I missed you too," he whispers back, running his fingers through her hair. "I missed you too."