A/N: I've finally finished another fic - so will now start posting it. This has taken me ages to write (I started it when I got stuck with Release). I began it shortly after the end of Season 3. The story follows the arc from Unfinished Business through to Take a Break from All Your Worries. I saw Unfinished Business and was really excited at the prospect of Kara and Lee being together... and then it sort of fizzled out into nothing. This is my take on what could (should) have happened. I hope you like it. The title of the story is from a line Dee says in the extended version of Unfinished Business. There are five chapters to the story (one for each episode in the arc) but I've had to break some of them down in many parts.
Chapter 1: Finishing Business.
This was all kinds of wrong. She knew that even when she heard the hatch close behind him as he entered the room. They'd be hurting so many people, never mind what they'd do to each other. The propensity to hurt each other had never been something they'd lacked in all the time they'd known each other. What they were about to do was wrong, she knew it and he sure as hell did too; but that didn't mean it wasn't going to happen. They were both here and she could only take that as a good sign. When all was said and done, she didn't care about the consequences. She needed this; she needed him.
Since her return from New Caprica things between them had been difficult. She almost laughed as she realized that could possibly be classified as about the biggest understatement in the history of the Twelve Colonies, but nevertheless it was true. She'd often seen loathing written all over his face each time he'd had the misfortune to be in her presence since the Exodus. She wasn't sure she blamed him either. What she'd done to him all those months ago was nothing short of cruel. She hardly understood it herself; how could she expect him to comprehend what she'd done.
Of course her actions had dire consequences on their already strained… relationship, for want of a better word. She didn't completely regret what she'd done; that she'd hurt him, of that she was sorry but regretting marrying Sam was something she just couldn't make herself do, even now. How could she? He was a wonderful man who cared for her deeply, as she did for him. Their time together when she'd first met him back on Caprica had really affected her. If she hadn't got together with him during that brief time, she knew things would've probably been different between her and Lee. She remembered when she'd told Lee she was hung up on Sam. That evening was when things between the two of them truly changed; again. She'd managed to hurt him that night as well.
And now here they were. Possibly about to make another change to their… whatever it was; it would be far too difficult (or maybe it'd be too easy) to put a name to it. Maybe it was beyond definition. She could feel his presence in the room, even though she had her back to him. She'd always been able to sense when he was near. Even though he'd entered the room and they probably both had a pretty good idea what they what was about to happen, Kara knew he was giving her space; he was leaving any decision about down to her. He probably thought she was going to run away from this; again. Would she? Even she wasn't sure.
She slowly turned to face the object of her thoughts. He was leaning against the hatch he'd just closed. She could see a bar had been dogged through the handle; they weren't going to be disturbed. Her eyes moved to his face. It was marred with bruises; the result of the dance just hours earlier but even with the mess to his face he looked better than he had in a long time. It managed to make his face all the more attractive somehow. There was a cut above his left eye resulting from a right hook during the fight with Helo. The cut on his right cheek… well, that had been all her.
Of course, he'd done his damage to her as well; it certainly wasn't as a result of her bout with Hotdog. Lee'd broken her nose and she was now sporting the beginnings of two black eyes. It certainly added to her looks, she thought acerbically. Looking at his face now though, there was an intensity to it that told her he didn't seem to mind. No, his face definitely didn't look bothered at all; in fact it looked anything but.
Foreplay was the word that sprang to mind as Kara thought back to their fight. There had been tension between them as soon as he'd noticed her arrival. He was already mid-fight with Karl by the time she came to the dance and he hadn't seen her straightaway. It had been a while before she was aware of him as well. She was just making her way down to the action when she realized it was him in the ring. It was with a predatory stare that she'd looked down at him, taking the opportunity to appreciate the view of the two men doing battle with each other; it was a sight to behold. She needed to get closer in order to be nearer to him. She stood at the side of the ring watching both men as they continued to circle around each other, relentlessly throwing punches. Watching him, she'd been captivated once more. She made a joke to Athena as she stood there; at his expense naturally; a quick jibe about having to roll him into the ring a couple of months ago. Kara hoped that covered the fact she was staring at him; still appreciating for the first time in such a long while just how good he looked. A small frisson of something she tried not to dwell on made its way through her as she'd watched him. She'd been distracted from the sight briefly as she noticed the Admiral and his daughter-in-law enter the room and make their way to the edge of the ring. She tried to quell the wave of dismay she felt on seeing his wife looking at him much the same as she was. Both women were the same in many ways, both wanted what they didn't have. The only difference being Dee was a hell of a lot closer to getting it than Kara was. And it was only Kara that was to blame for it being that way.
Everything between them seemed to change once Lee's fight with Helo ended soon after. Kara had tried to encourage him to get up when he was knocked down by Karl and they'd stared at each other after he'd fallen to his knees, but the fight was stopped by Cottle anyway. Kara's eyes followed him as he made his way to the box at the side of the room; a smirk easily evident on her face. A smirk that disappeared as she realized he was about to retrieve his tags and leave. She walked over to him, getting close enough she could almost taste the sweat on the surface of his skin. She said something she knew would hit the mark, she could even remember what it was now but it worked very effectively. He was pissed off, Kara could tell just from the way he was standing and she knew that somehow she was to blame for it. But then, when wasn't it her fault? Everything she did seemed to piss him off one way or another, especially in the last few months although even she knew he had more than enough reason to be angry with her. The conversation they had as they stood there just pissed him off further; somehow though she had managed to get him to stay. She was further pleased when after she'd put her tags into the box; laying an open challenge at his feet, he replaced his, dropping them directly on top of hers as he continued to stare at her; the look on his face intensifying the heat that had already built between them and was beginning to take over the whole room.
"Lee," she spoke for the first time since he'd entered the room, taking a couple of tentative steps towards him, starting to make her way across towards him. Her words faltered along with her steps, as she realized she had no idea what she wanted to say. Where to start? Shifting slightly from one foot to the other she tried to work out what to do. She didn't want to frak this up and chances were she was about to. In the biggest way possible.
The corners of his mouth lifted in the smallest of smiles as he studied her before him. He pushed away from the wall and took the few steps to stand in front of her; very close and yet not close enough. She stared at him, an uncertain look on her face that he found strangely enticing. "Kara," his voice barely a whisper, "I really did miss you, you know." He pulled her into a hug reminiscent to the one they'd shared at the dance, as he echoed the words they'd both said just hours ago.
"I'm sorry, Lee." It was a lame apology but all she could come up with. She wasn't even sure if he knew what she was apologizing for; but then she was entirely convinced she knew either. It was a step in the right direction though. She wrapped her arms around his body, trying to bring the two of them even closer to one another.
They stood that way for several minutes, just reveling in the closeness. Eventually they pulled apart, though still remaining close to each other. His arms, which had been wrapped tightly around her body, loosened and gradually slid down her back until each of his hands held one of hers. He stared into her eyes, his thumbs gently traced circles on the back of her hands. His face was clouded with emotion and he seemed to be struggling to find words just as much as she was. She still really didn't know where this was going. She hoped it would go a certain way; truly she did, but she was also scared at the prospect of it doing just that. Scared of rejection; scared of losing the one thing she needed more now than she ever had; scared of not being in control. More than anything though she was scared that once they started down the path they seemed destined to navigate; there'd be no turning back. They'd been here before, it hadn't worked then and she'd come very close to losing him completely. They just seemed to have repaired some of the damage caused all those months ago; did they really want to risk losing everything all over again? Could either of them cope with losing the other some time in the future?
Lee seemed to come to some resolution before she could as he tugged on both her hands, pulling her further towards him. His mouth moved to meet hers and electricity sparked between them as both gave into the passion that had been building for such a long time. Building for a lot longer than either of them would ever admit. She kissed him back in earnest, finally giving in to the inevitable and realizing it wasn't anywhere near as difficult as she'd thought it would be.
After some time the kiss ended and they reluctantly pulled apart, staring deeply into each other eyes as they both fought for air. Lee raised one of his hands and brought it to her face. He caressed her cheek as she continued to stare into the piercing blue eyes before her. Both of them were struggling to rein control of emotions that were threatening to overwhelm them. Again his words were barely a whisper when he spoke, "What are we doing, Kara?"
"I've no idea. Making everything real complicated again." She paused. "Do you want this to stop?" As soon as she uttered the question she mentally kicked herself. What was she thinking; what possessed her to ask that? She was frakking this up, just as she'd anticipated. She was worried about what he'd say; how he'd answer. Did she really want to know? She was fairly sure she didn't, because she knew in her heart what he was going to say. She knew this wasn't how Lee behaved. He was better than this. He was a married man and he wouldn't do this to his wife. She'd just given him the perfect opportunity to get out of this and she hated herself for it. She looked away from him, scared to see the rejection of her that was sure to be written all over his face. She stood there for a while; waiting for him to say what she dreaded to hear; but at the same time desperate for him to say something to fill the empty void that was taking over the room.
Lee looked at her, absorbing what she'd just asked him. He could see she'd regretted saying it as soon as she'd spoken; could see her starting to withdraw from him. He was more than aware she was expecting him to answer with a positive response; that he'd say he wanted this to stop. For just a few seconds he thought he was going to as well. But could he really say he didn't want this? This was Starbuck. It was Kara. The woman that was embedded so deep in his heart he wasn't sure he knew how to function without her. He'd experienced that for many months in recent times and to put it frankly he'd barely survived it. As a result he'd also made the lives of everyone else around him pretty miserable at the same time. He'd known what was likely to happen when he'd entered the room and he still came. Yes, he was married and he loved Dee but she wasn't Kara. Kara had put it so eloquently earlier; Dee was second best and always would be. The way he felt about Kara was far too difficult to put into words but he'd always, on some level, felt this way about her and he couldn't see that ever changing. Even after everything she'd done to him.
He continued to look at her as she stood there in front of him. For the first time he truly saw the changes that had been evident in her since she'd gone down to the surface of New Caprica. She'd cut her hair since she'd returned to the Battlestar and she now looked more like the Kara he remembered when he'd first arrived on Galactica, but there were subtle changes. She appeared harder than she'd done before she'd moved down to the planet; the hardness was counterbalanced by a vulnerability that shone through. Most people probably wouldn't see it; but he knew her so well. He couldn't begin to imagine what she'd gone through down on the surface, although he knew with certainty she'd been through a lot. He knew little of what had gone on down on New Caprica but he knew she'd been held by the Cylons for the length of the occupation. And he was more than aware of the Cylons infatuation with her, one of them more than any other model. If he was being honest with himself, and these days that didn't happen very often, he really didn't want to know how they'd suffered; how she'd suffered. He'd purposefully avoided reading any of the details of those few months. He wasn't sure he could handle finding out about the pain she'd gone through; he felt his own guilt at what had happened begin to gnaw away at him. It was his idea to leave them behind; to run from the Cylons when they'd first shown up. He'd left everyone to suffer the consequences of his decision; left her at the mercy of the enemy.
She wasn't the only one who'd changed. The year spent above the planet had changed him in more ways than one. He'd had the command of his own ship; only having to answer to one man. When he'd first been put in charge of Pegasus, he took command with a certain amount of reluctance, but as the months passed he had become more confident. Led on by a desire to be respected by his then dwindling crew, he'd spent the time learning to deal with the responsibilities that had been thrust upon him. He never considered the prospect of leaving the military; of living on the planet; it just wasn't an option that entered his mind, which seemed ironic thinking about it now. He'd only joined the military because his father had wanted him to. Well that and so he could fly. Yet he'd always resented it so much because it'd stolen his father away from both him and his brother for so much of their childhoods. When the war first began, being in the military was something Lee hadn't really wanted. He was on the verge of quitting and then the Cylons attacked and everything changed. After that leaving wasn't really an option; they'd needed all the pilots they could get. So it seemed he was more like his father than he would care to admit, recent times had definitely shown that. However since the exodus he was struggling to fit back into the current command structure. He was no longer Commander of his own ship having sacrificed it in order to retrieve people from New Caprica and to ensure the escape of Galactica and he was now back to being just the CAG and he had to admit he was finding it much more difficult that he'd thought he would.
His hand instinctively moved once more to her face and he caressed the curve of her cheek, seemingly never growing tired of doing so. His fingers moved strands of her hair back from her face as he moved closer to her. "I don't want this to stop." Her head spun to look at him, fear washing over her face at his words. The temperature of the room seemed to increase slightly as their eyes met once more.
Tears came to Kara's eyes as the impact of his words filtered into her brain. He wanted this; he wanted her. After everything she'd done to him, he still wanted her. Their lips met once more, both of them battling the other once again, trying to retain control of what was happening. The battle was no different to the one they'd had just hours earlier, although slightly less bloody. The effect of it was little different as well; it was the healing of a wound that had been carried between its two protagonists for many months.