A/N: The last part of this story. Thanks to everyone for the reviews so far and particularly to StarryEyedGlimmer who's comments caused me to think about this part - and double it in length! Please review and let me know what you think about this and the story as a whole.
Chapter 5: Possession.
It had been forty eight hours since Lee had last seen Kara, a very long forty eight hours. It had been a busy couple of days as the final push to get Joe's ready before the opening ceremony had gained momentum, followed by the opening night attended by a vast amount of the crew. Lee had been right it had been just the morale boost the crew of Galactica had truly needed and the reception by all those who'd attended was rapturous. Lee had felt immense pride at seeing the smiles on everyone's faces as they'd realized just what it was they were seeing. There had been a queue around the room to get drinks from the bar and Joe was run off his feet all evening; never had the man been so happy – at least not since before the Twelve Colonies fell anyway. They had done a roaring trade that first night and Lee was a little worried there wouldn't be enough alcohol to last the first week, never mind any longer.
Lee had noticed one absence from the opening night though. Two if he counted Kara; who'd ended up having to cover someone's shift in CIC at the last moment, disappointing them both a great deal as neither Dee nor Sam were going to be there so it would have meant they could spend the time together. The other missing party was Galen Tyrol, who the whole crew would owe a great deal to over the coming months. Lee was determined he should partake in an evening at the bar as it would be thanks to Tyrol and his team that they'd continue to receive the alcohol that was apparently very needed. With this in mind, he'd gone to see the Chief on the flight deck and found him crawling under the belly of Hotdog's Viper working to repair the damage it had incurred in another skirmish with the Cylons. "Chief, I thought you'd be virtually finished by now."
The Chief pulled himself out from under the Viper and wiped his hands on a cloth as he rose to his feet. "I'm just finishing up. I wanted to get this repair done before I left for the day." He turned back to face the ship. "It's not like I'm exactly desperate to get back to quarters anyway." He muttered; loud enough for Lee to hear though.
Lee smiled, "Well, if that's the case, I may have just the solution for you."
"Oh yes?" Tyrol had a blank expression on his face. He obviously had no idea what Lee was talking about.
"You weren't at the crew gathering last night, were you?"
"No. I had to get back to Callie and Nicky last night, Nicky was running a fever yesterday and we'd both been up all night the one before that. There was quite a buzz about whatever it was this morning, but I've spent most of the day either in sickbay with Nicky or crawling under several Vipers. Did I miss something?"
Lee smiled. Was the Chief in for a surprise? "Come with me, Galen. Just wait until you see what I have to show you." Tyrol nodded and followed Lee from the flight deck and down the corridors; trying to work out what the CAG was up to. The Chief was getting more bemused as they continued to walk, there seemed to be many more people milling around than he would normally expect to see in this area of the ship. Everyone seemed to have smiles on their faces, especially when they saw his current companion; after a couple of minutes, Galen was more confused than ever; even more so given his lack of sleep over the last few days.
Finally rounding a corner, Galen saw a sign with the word 'Joe's' written across it which caused him to raise an eyebrow at Lee in question. A question Lee ignored; just urging him to carry on moving towards Joe's. They walked further and he found they were walking into a bar. "You've got to be kidding me." Lee shook his head and led the man across to the bar.
"Hey, Joe." Lee beckoned the bartender towards them with a wave of his hand and a smile.
Joe walked towards them, knowing who Lee's companion was even though they'd never met. Galen Tyrol was one of the Gods as far as Joe was concerned. "Chief Tyrol, welcome. Any friend of the Major's is a friend of mine, which means you get the good stuff." A quick smile was flashed in their direction. He quickly pours them a drink each before walking away to serve someone else.
"Thank you very much. Don't mind if I do. I'm not going home tonight, so…" Galen quickly picked his glass up and took a sip.
Lee glanced at the Chief quickly, wondering if things were as bad for the Tyrol's as they currently were for the Adama's. "Why? You and Callie have a fight?"
"You didn't hear us? I figured we could have sold tickets." He looked at Lee; amusement obvious on his face. He raised his glass and proposed a toast. "Er, to marriage. Why we build bars." He downed his drink quickly. Lee did the same, both wincing as the alcohol hit the back of their throats. It was definitely the good stuff.
"Yeah." Lee looked left and right, eyes settling on the person he was looking for. "Joe!" More drinks soon appeared. And it wasn't long before the two of them had consumed a lot of alcohol.
Lee staggered into his quarters, trying to quietly shut the hatch behind him and failing miserably. He was drunk. Actually he was more than drunk, he was absolutely blasted. The alcohol Joe had given him was lethal stuff and he knew he'd be suffering in the morning. He saw his wife wasn't asleep anyway and immediately felt the tension overtake the room as they geared up for another fight. Maybe he wouldn't have to wait until the morning before he began suffering. Lee decided to bite the bullet and spoke first. "You're up late." She shook her head as she watched him meander his way to the locker and hang up his uniform jacket; fumbling slightly as the hanger fell from his hand on his first attempt. She turned her attention back to her paperwork. "You know, the Chief says hi." Lee said; a smirk on his face.
"He one of your new drinking buddies?" She couldn't hide the disgust from her voice; and the disappointment. She'd expected so much more from Lee than his current behavior was showing. Her disdain for the bar had grown over the weeks as it had pulled him further away from her; which was something she didn't think possible. It was increasingly difficult for her to believe Lee could get any further away from her and yet he seemed to have managed it with ease. It was more than the bar though that was coming between them; she knew what the real problem with their marriage was; or Lee's problem with it anyway. His problem seemed to be with his wife; or maybe it was the fact she wasn't a certain blonde pilot who seemed to hold his attention much more than she ever could. They both tried to hide what was going on between them but it was so obvious. They were doing a lousy job of hiding it from her or Sam and part of her was beginning not to care anymore. It didn't say much for the state of their marriage.
"You know, I would invite you but you made it very clear it's not your thing."
"No. It's your thing and that's not what I was asking." Suddenly she was very tired; tired of having her husband treat her as if she didn't matter and tired of having the same discussion over and over again.
He knew what she was asking and he wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of replying. The tension in the room was getting to him and he was suddenly very tired. Of course that may also have had something to do with the alcohol… "I have a briefing at 0500."
"Are we still on for dinner tomorrow?" There was a hint of hope to her voice and yet he could tell she was preparing herself to be disappointed by him once more. Dee wasn't sure why she was so desperate for them to go through the pretense that their marriage was okay but somehow she kept hoping that if she believed enough that everything was okay then it would all work itself out. She just had to get Lee to believe that now as well.
He sighed, knowing that for once he would have to do the right thing; however much his heart was telling him not to. Apart from anything else he'd been hoping to see Kara tomorrow – another missed opportunity. "Yeah."
She smiled slightly and he tried not to wince at the look he saw on her face. He tried to concentrate on the conversation but the last few days were finally catching up with him and exhaustion was taking over. "Cos I already switched watches."
"Sure." Why she continued to carry on talking was beyond him, he'd already agreed to meet her. What more did she want? Unfortunately he had a strong suspicion he knew exactly what it was she wanted and Lee was determined she would be disappointed. Lee just wished she'd stop her inane chatter.
She paused for a few seconds, wondering if she should really push the issue. She just had this suspicion he'd let her down again. Let's face it; it wouldn't be the first time. "It'd just be nice for a husband and wife to occasionally…" she finally looked at him and noticed he'd fallen asleep. So much for that then. "Forget it."
Kara walked into Joe's. It was only the second time she'd been there; having missed the opening night as she'd had to spend an extra shift in CIC. It'd been extremely frustrating at the time as she'd been looking forward to seeing just what it was Lee had been doing for almost every waking moment since returning from the algae planet. She'd been able to go there the second night it had been open and she'd marveled at what he'd achieved with such a small team of people. It was obviously just as appreciated by the rest of the crew as well as the bar had been packed when she'd arrived and it was little different tonight as she walked through the entrance again. As she'd done the night before she quickly scanned the room; looking for one person; always the same person. Lee.
The night before he hadn't been there and she'd had to fight the disappointment again at not seeing him but there were other people for her to talk to and drink with and she'd had a good time. She'd enjoyed the alcohol; it was nicer stuff than they'd been drinking for many months and had the added benefit of not be algae flavored. Last night she hadn't been able to stay very long as she had the early shift the next morning. More bad luck on her part today as she was on the same shift again tomorrow as well. She'd been frustrated by the fact Lee still hadn't been there when she'd left last night. Today she hadn't seen him since the briefing first thing that morning and before that it had been when they'd met the day before the bar had opened. She wished more than anything she could see him; she wanted to feel him hold her in his arms. She wanted him to make love to her; slow, gentle tender love.
Now as she looked around the room again she saw him near the far end of the bar. She couldn't help the smile that flew to her face as her eyes met his. His eyes shone and a similar smile was on his face and then she saw a flash of guilt ebb onto his face; washing away the smile as quickly as it had appeared. She wondered why he'd be feeling guilty but soon knew the reason as she saw his wife standing right next to him; gazing adoringly at her husband. Her heart fell and she knew her emotions would be written clearly all over her face. She was still staring into his eyes and he was watching her just as intently.
Karl appeared at her elbow and she was grateful for the distraction as her heart was pounding as a result of the feelings she was experiencing. "You okay, Starbuck?" His voice was quiet but she easily heard his question and the subtle questions that weren't being asked.
"I'm fine, Karl." She looked at him, a broad smile on her face, "Do you want a drink?"
"Sure." They both walked over to the bar; automatically steering clear of the Adama's and she ordered them a couple of drinks each from Joe. They stood at the bar, their backs to it as they watched the people in the room. Kara looked at Lee every few minutes; it wasn't that she wanted to see him with Dee but she couldn't help staring at him as they sat eating a meal at a table on the far side of the room. Lee was facing towards her and Dee had her back to the bar which Kara found a relief. Karl kept up a steady stream of conversation and she sort of paid attention to what he was saying, adding a yes or no in what she hoped were the appropriate places.
Karl could tell she was hardly listening to a word he said but carried on the pretense. He could see she was staring at the CAG and could see from her face she wasn't particularly enjoying being in this room. She'd been relatively happy since they'd left the algae planet; even when she'd had to go through some of the worst few days she'd ever had to face after her hands were so badly injured. Karl had been keeping an eye on her for months now; ever since she'd rejoined the crew after her New Caprica experience with Leoben. At times she hadn't wanted him interfering in her life but eventually she'd realized he was just being her friend. He'd seen the developing relationship between her and Lee as it began just after the dance and hadn't commented on it to her or anyone. The affair was a foregone conclusion as far as Helo was concerned; it had been predestined to happen ever since she'd rushed into marrying Sam Anders. In the usual way Starbuck ever approached anything; she'd made a decision that would affect the rest of her life before she'd really thought it through. She'd known Lee for more years than she'd known Karl and yet she'd rushed into marrying a man she'd known barely five minutes when everything was pointing to a relationship starting between the two pilots. She'd seemed happy when they'd first married but after the Cylons took hold of the planet and she'd been taken hostage, Karl hadn't been the only one to witness her misery when she returned to Galactica after the exodus.
Most of the pilots had seen the rows that frequently happened between the two and they weren't the only ones who were fighting. Times had been tough ever since the Fleet had left New Caprica. After the dance though, things lightened a little in Kara's demeanor. He'd suspected then that something was going on between the CAG and his lead pilot. He'd seen the subtle looks they'd shared in the Rec room; and the sometimes not so subtle heated stares as well. He'd noticed the times when they'd both been missing; when no one had been able to find them or explain their absences. Karl had also seen how miserable she was when Lee was down on the planet during the Algae mission. It was during this time his suspicions were confirmed and he'd been more than willing to force the situation so the two of them could spend some quality time together. Both Lee and Kara were his friends and he wanted them both to be happy. He knew them both well enough to know this would only happen if they were together; he just wondered how long it would be before they came to realize this as well.
Kara was feeling so miserable. This wasn't how she thought she'd be spending this evening. She wished she could force herself not to look at him. She didn't want to see him with his wife; she hated that woman with such passion. There was nothing about her she liked. Mostly though she resented her being with him and the fact it was all her fault only added to the feelings of self-loathing she had. If she hadn't left him that morning on New Caprica; if she hadn't panicked and run back to Sam; things could be very different now. She could see Lee look at her every now and again and she wondered if he was feeling the same way. Part of her hoped he wasn't – because she wanted him to be happy and if that meant he wanted to be with Dee and not her then she'd have to learn to live with it. Somehow. It wouldn't be easy though.
She turned to face the bar and downed the last of her drink. "I'm gonna call it a night. I've got early shift tomorrow." Karl watched her face and nodded at her in understanding. She turned and started to walk out of the bar, looking at Lee again as she moved quickly out of the room. Lee watched her go as well and Karl turned his attention to him once Kara slipped out of sight. It was really disappointing as far as Karl could read it; Lee seemed as unhappy with the way things were as Kara obviously was. Karl couldn't understand why they refused to change the misery they were both wallowing in and just get together. Sure, it would be difficult initially; it would be uncomfortable for the whole crew as the two marriages tore apart but Karl was sure the rewards of the two pilots being together would soon be felt by all. It sure as hell would beat all this sneaking around. He looked at Lee again and saw the tense atmosphere between him and his wife. Anything had to be better than the mess they were all currently in.
Kara walked slowly down the corridor. She hadn't really needed to leave as early as she had but the thought of watching him for another hour or two, sitting there closely with his wife was too much for her. She could feel her throat tightening as the emotions began to overwhelm her and she swallowed; trying to push them back down where they belonged. She had no right to feel this way; he was a married man and she was someone else's wife. She shouldn't be feeling jealous about the fact he was spending time with his wife rather than her. But she was. She was jealous. As she neared the pilots' quarters she finally admitted she wanted Lee to herself; she didn't want him to be with anyone else. She thought back to their argument on the algae planet and knew she'd had the perfect opportunity to get what she wanted only she hadn't realized then that it was what she wanted. For some reason Starbuck and not Kara made her presence known; and it was Starbuck who'd replied to Lee's question. She could've had him but there was a small part of her psyche that just wouldn't let her have some happiness.
She was about to walk into quarters when an idea came to her. It wasn't the perfect solution but it would at least give her the opportunity to stop thinking about Lee; for a little while at least. She turned and walked further down the corridor. She found what she was looking for and lifted the handset from the wall. The call connected straight away to the CIC. "Can you put me through to the Rising Sun?" The line clicked and her thoughts drifted to a time when she'd gone over to that ship several years ago. It was meant to be a simple night off duty but turned into one of the worst nights of her life – and she had several to compare it to. It was the night she'd shot Lee; the night she almost killed a second Adama. It was also the night that made her realize just how much he meant to her. She'd known there was something between them before; hell she'd worn a dress for him on Colonial night and she'd called out his name when she was being frakked by another man but even then she'd just thought it was lust – nothing deeper than that. Seeing him falling to the ground as the bullet struck his shoulder had seemed to happen so slowly and yet it had also passed in a flash at the same time. It was the moment when she'd been forced to realize her feelings for him. She'd wanted to go over to him and tell him she was sorry; tell him he meant everything to her but something held her back. Dee had been there that night as well and she'd also been there in Sickbay whenever Kara had shown up to see him. And Kara had gone to see him a lot. Many more times than she would've done if he was just someone she lusted after. Of course Lee didn't know she'd been there; she'd made sure of that. Even now he still didn't know.
The handset crackled to life as the call was connected to the other ship and she asked to be put through to her husband. Their conversation was short. It wasn't conversation she wanted and Sam knew that. It wasn't what he really wanted either but there was something about this call that tugged at his nerves more than usual. Sam ended the call with the promise to get a flight over to Galactica the following night. He loved Kara a lot and yet there were times, like now, when he hated her in equal amounts. Sam knew what was happening between Kara and Lee and part of him couldn't blame Lee for loving his wife. He understood it because he also felt the same way about her. He'd noticed the looks the two of them shared ever since the first time he'd met Lee. He would have to be blind not to see it. Even the first time he'd met him it had been obvious. They'd been in the pilot's quarters and both of them were a little drunk; celebrating the successful rescue mission from Caprica. Lee had walked in and he was about as uptight as any officer could ever be in Sam's opinion. There had been disdain on Lee's face and Kara's taunts had done nothing to ease the situation; the tension had really peaked when Kara teased him about his relationship with the woman who was now his wife. Sam should've known then just what would happen between the two pilots but he'd been so wrapped up in his feelings for Kara, he hadn't noticed. Sam shook his head as he made his way back to the Pyramid game he'd been playing. Despite everything he was still going to go to Galactica the next day. She may not love him; he wasn't even sure of that these days; but the sex was great even when she was hardly participating – which had been an increasing occurrence recently. Maybe it was time he asked her where this was going. Maybe it was time this ended; he just wasn't sure it was what he wanted anymore.
Lee walked into the gym and found Kara there. He'd been looking for her in various places around the ship and he was pleased to see there wasn't anyone else around. Finally they were alone. He shut the door and dogged the hatch quietly. Now they wouldn't be disturbed. He walked over towards her; fairly sure she hadn't noticed him enter the room. He undid his jacket and pulled it from his body, dropping it to the floor leaving his body just covered by his tanks. As the buttons hit the floor, Kara looked up; pausing from hitting the punchbag and holding it between her gloves. She smiled at him the instant she realized it was him. "Lee."
He walked over and stood next to her and kissed her sweaty forehead. "Kara." She leaned forward and placed her head on his shoulder. "I'm sorry about last night." He added quietly.
She shrugged. "It doesn't matter."
"It does matter, Kara. I don't ever want to see you look hurt like you did last night. I wanted to be with you last night more than anything. I wanted it so much and being with Dee was the last place I wanted to be."
"I've missed you a lot over the last couple of days. I thought I'd finally get to see you last night. It hurt to see you with her. I know it shouldn't, but it did."
He pulled her into his arms and they stood that way for several minutes. "You can see me now, if you want to." He whispered against her hair.
"Is it what you want, Lee?" The last few days had made her lose her confidence slightly.
"Yes." His voice was husky as he spoke and a pulse of desire hit her hard.
She pulled away from him slightly and he looked at her with concern. She lifted her hands and rested the gloves against his chest. "Show me." She whispered.
He didn't move for a fraction of a second before he stepped forward and pressed his lips against hers. His mouth was so soft against hers she became quite lightheaded as the tenderness he was showing had an effect through her. He pulled her arms deliberately around his waist, knowing there was little she could do with them until he took the gloves off for her. Lee wanted to prove to her how much she meant to him. The last time they'd been together it had been more about controlling her; dominating her, if you like. This time he wanted it to be different. He wanted it to be tender, gentle and heartfelt.
When the kiss ended they stared at each other and she smiled at him shyly. "Do you want me to take your gloves off for you?" He asked. She nodded at him and in turn, he took each hand in his and removed the glove surrounding it, carefully unwinding the bandages around each one. Once the hand was unwrapped he bathed it with kisses, caressing it with his mouth in the way he'd wanted to be able to do ever since she'd crashed the Raptor. "Cottle has done such a good job with this one," he said softly as he inspected the left one with his lips.
Once her hands were free she cradled his face in each one and moved in for another deep kiss. A kiss Lee returned with as much passion as she gave. His tongue was in her mouth and she hummed as it brushed against hers. "Make love to me, Lee." She barely whispered.
He smiled against her mouth as he resumed kissing her. Her hands moved to his pants and her fingers nimbly opened the fastenings and pushed them down his legs. Lee forced off his boots and then pulled his feet from his pants. He pulled her towards him and she could feel his arousal squashed between them. His length was straining against his underwear and her desperation to feel him in her increased astronomically.
He stepped back and her heart fell a little; a hint of rejection threatening to push away all of her previous desire. His hands moved to her shorts and soon she was feeling the cool air hitting her bare skin as he removed them and her underwear. His mouth had gone back to kissing her; this time concentrating on her neck and shoulder. He bent forward slightly and lifted her from the floor; an arm sweeping her legs up under the knees. He stepped towards the bench press and laid her gently on the cushioned surface. Lee wanted to be in her so badly now but held back a little, determined to take this slower than they usually did.
He rose back to his feet rather than crouching at her side and he quickly removed his underwear. She watched him intently; her eyes shifting to look at his cock as it sprang free from its confines. His tanks were pulled over his head and he strode back to her. Her sports bra was the only barrier they had remaining and both worked to pull it from her body.
Kara had expected him to be as forceful with her as he'd been last time but he was being so gentle it brought tears to her eyes. This was just what she wanted and needed. He knelt at her feet and tugged her gently down the bench. It wasn't long until two fingers were pushed gently into her. Lee bent forward and kissed her stomach as his hand moved within her. Her back arched off the bench as desire shot through her. She licked her lips; trying to find some moisture and failing miserably. "Lee…"
Lee glanced up at her and he faltered slightly as he saw her lick her lips. Another throb of desire swam through him and he began again to kiss her softly. His need to be in her was so strong now. He pulled his lips reluctantly from her and also removed his fingers from her too. She moaned softly in disappointment and looked at him; wondering what he was doing. Lee rose to his knees and his cock was at her entrance. He stared at her intently and he took a deep breath as his desire reached another notch higher. Ever so slowly he pushed himself into her, feeling her encouraging him in as eagerly as he wanted to be there. Again she arched her back off the seat as her need was finally met. His groin met hers and for a moment time seemed to stand still. He was finally home; just where he wanted to be; where he wished he could be forever.
Lee's hands gripped her hips and he began to move in her; the pace as slow as he could force himself to go. She tried several times to increase his speed but he wouldn't let her control what he was doing. She sighed each time he pushed back into her and the small sound made his heart swell.
Kara wanted to touch him; she needed to be more involved in this. She shifted slightly, raising her body up onto her forearms. He looked at her, "Are you okay?" he asked, softly. She nodded before holding a hand out towards him. His movement stopped and a hand reached for hers. Once he'd taken hold of her hand she used it to pull herself upright. Her free arm snaked around his neck; pulling his head towards her so she could kiss him deeply. They were both moving slowly against each other now; Kara having realized this was how she wanted it as much as Lee did. Lee pulled her from the seat and onto his lap; reveling in the contact he now had with her. Each stroke within her felt incredible. His emotions for the woman currently residing in his arms were escalating as the seconds passed. Gods how he wished he could convince her to leave Sam.
Kara pulled her mouth from his and rested her head on his shoulder, shutting her eyes as tears threatened to pour down her cheeks. This was amazing. She felt closer to Lee now than she ever had. Sex with Lee was always good; the only thing she could clearly remember from the night on New Caprica had been the overwhelming memory that it was fantastic. Each time since this affair had started had only reaffirmed that. This time though was so much more than ever before. She'd been so eager to go fast when this started; loving the intensity that always gave her but she'd quickly realized that wasn't what Lee intended or wanted. At first she'd tried to change his mind and when he stopped her from doing so she was initially upset, wondering if he didn't want her anymore. Hard and fast had always been what she was known for. Slow and gentle was more his wife's style and that bothered her a little. She quickly grew to appreciate the way this was. Now she was sitting on his lap, moving slowly in tandem with him she knew this was what she'd really wanted. She'd wanted this closeness to him and maybe showing him she could be this way would be beneficial to her as well. Maybe it would help him agree to what she wanted.
His hands were tracing gently up and down her back; feathering his fingers across the delicate skin he'd come to cherish. He could feel she was close to coming and he was in the same position; just as near to completion as he could be but he wanted this to last. Hell, he wanted this to last forever. No sooner had he thought this and his cock pulsed within her; shooting his seed deep into her. Kara cried out softly against his shoulder and she clenched around him as she leapt over the edge with him. His hand moved to her head and cradled it in his palm; his mouth kissed her hair as he continued to throb in her. He groaned as he felt her body pulling him into her. "Gods, Lee. This is so good. I needed this so much. I needed you so much."
Her words increased his desire again and her fingers ran through his hair; nails scratching at the surface of his skull as he pushed into her again deeply. He couldn't speak straight away as he battled the emotions she'd just sent shooting through him. He swallowed several times as she began to move against him again; spurred on once more by his movement within her. "Lee Adama loves Kara Thrace," he whispered into her ear. It was enough to send them both over the edge again; a smaller peak this time for them both but a peak none the less.
She lifted her head from his shoulder and moved so she could look into his eyes. She could see the emotions deep within the blue whirlpools before her. She bit her lip; feeling similar emotions growing in her. "Kara Thrace loves Lee Adama as well. More than she's loved anyone in her whole life. I don't want you to ever forget that, Lee. Never forget it."
He stared at her; scared by her words as it sounded very much like a goodbye to him. He didn't want to believe it; he'd thought things would be different this time. He looked into her eyes and hoped for a second he wasn't misreading the emotions in them. He wanted to believe what she'd just said but he wasn't sure he did. She seemed to change her mind on a daily basis and he wasn't sure he'd ever truly believe her unless she ended things with Sam. Lee kissed her deeply; trying to tell her just how he felt about her. He stopped moving within her now and she pulled away from him a little. "I won't ever forget, Kara. Whatever happens between us, I'll always remember that you loved me."
"I'm just being realistic, Kara. We both know this won't last forever."
She got to her feet; pulling off him and hurriedly began to get dressed. "Are you trying to turn this into a fight, Lee?"
"No, Kara. Fighting is more your style, not mine." He wasn't sure what he was doing. Why was he pushing her away? This wasn't what he wanted. In fact this was the last thing he wanted.
She was going to cry. She knew it. She just needed to get away from here as fast as she could so she didn't have an audience when it happened. "Get dressed, Lee." He was watching her carefully as she pulled her clothes rapidly onto her body. "Either you get dressed, or I'm going to walk out of this room while you sit there for any crew to see in all your glory." She swallowed as she pushed the tears away a little longer. "I don't know why you're pushing me away, Lee because that's not what I want but you've got your wish. I'm going to go now. See you around, Lee." She started to walk to the hatch and he quickly got to his feet. For a second she thought he was coming after her but he was only taking heed of her words and was now quickly putting his clothes back on. She strode out of the room and down the corridor; eager to get away from her best friend. She found a supply closet nearby and quickly moved through the entrance to it. As soon as she shut the door, she slid to the floor as she surrendered to the emotions she'd been valiantly battling for the last few minutes. She pulled her legs up to her body and huddled in a ball as her body began to shake and tears coursed down her cheeks. She wished she could pretend she wasn't in love with Lee but she couldn't. The fact she could smell him on her skin as she sat there wasn't helping her quickly fraying emotions.
Lee stared at the exit to the room after she'd left it. He was still dressing; automatically going through the motions of normality he was so used to portraying. What had he just done? She was right he had pushed her away and he wasn't sure he knew why? Even that thought was a lie as he knew it was because he was scared he'd get hurt if he let her get too close but the reality of the situation was she was already close enough she'd hurt him whatever they did. He didn't want to lose her and he knew he probably just had. He'd pushed her back towards her husband; the guy he'd been desperately trying to like; an attempt that almost worked as long as he pretended he wasn't Kara's husband. Sam would never be a friend though; it was just Lee doing his best to maintain a civil atmosphere between them.
Kara and Sam were in the pilots' quarters, sheltered in the depths of her bunk with the curtains shut from the rest of the room. They were sitting at opposite ends of the bunk having just got dressed after their 'get-together'. Kara was trying to remember why she'd thought it'd be a good idea to call him over, it wasn't like she'd wanted to see him; not really; at the time though she'd had an itch that needed scratching. She'd been lonely after seeing Lee at Joe's and yet not really seeing Lee. She'd realized Lee wasn't available so she'd gone for second choice. She smiled as she realized how she'd just referred to her husband. Second choice; just how she'd referred to Dee at the dance all those months ago. Now though it just reminded her of what she'd just lost; the smile falling quickly from her face. The time with Sam was nothing in comparison to earlier with Lee. She swallowed quickly as memories of their fight urged back into her thoughts. The bottle of ambrosia swung from her hand, having taken a swig from it a couple of minutes earlier. She turned her focus back to her husband, wondering just why he put up with her. "You're being awfully accommodating."
"Is that how it looks to you?" His face was hidden from the light and she couldn't see it to measure what he was feeling.
She smirked, trying to decide if she was trying to frak him off or not. She might as well, she'd already lost Lee tonight. "Your estranged, two timing bitch of a wife calls you up for a quickie and you hop on the first shuttle. I'd say yeah."
He stared at her. Something seemed off with her tonight. Her mood seemed to have changed since she'd called him the night before. He didn't speak for a minute as he continued to look at her in the small amount of light pushing its way through the gap in the curtain, "I've been thinking about some stuff, Kara."
She wasn't sure she wanted to know where this conversation was going but knew it was too late to back away from this now. "Yeah, like what?"
Sighs, "I… what that crazy skin-job Leoben said about you and your special destiny. Now what if there's something to that?"
Definitely didn't like where this was heading. Talking about Cylons wasn't her conversation of choice. Especially considering the frakked up day she was having. "Kara Thrace and her special destiny? It sounds more like a bad cover band, Sam."
"Think about it though. Why did I survive all those months on Caprica; waiting for you to return if I was just going to walk out on you. And you, did you go through that hell, locked in that fake house with that fake husband just so you could ditch me? I don't think so. Now when I think about it like that…" He paused for a second, staring at her face, trying to see if he could work out what she was thinking; if he had the guts to ask her the question he really wanted… needed to know the answer to. He swallowed quickly. He had to ask it, he needed to know; for him. Even though in his heart he knew what her answer was going to be. "Do you love him?"
His question stunned her. She hadn't been expecting that; and she certainly wasn't sure she knew how to answer it. "What?"
"Lee, Kara. Do you love Lee?" He had resigned himself to her answer; was expecting it and sat looking at her as she thought about what he'd just asked. What was taking her so long; the answer was obvious. He knew it. Hell the whole fleet probably knew it. He wasn't a complete idiot; despite how his wife treated him. He knew Lee loved her; it was written clearly across his face each time he saw him. Sam understood how he felt. It was very difficult not to love her. You'd be a fool not to. And Lee was no fool. He wasn't sure he was ready to hear her say that she loved him back though.
"Gods, Sam." Silence. Finally she spoke, her voice quiet but he heard every word as if he'd been hit over the head with a hammer. "Maybe. I don't know." That was a lie. Really she wanted to say something more along the line of 'Yes, yes… YES!!' but memories of how Lee had reacted earlier made her not want to lay her emotions out before her again.
"Then you got to go to him." Sam wasn't sure what it was that made him say it. He was officially calling time on their marriage. A decision that was possibly long overdue. Somehow he'd always known it would end like this and he'd guessed it would be him to take the final step not Kara. Despite all her bravado; she was more vulnerable than she cared to admit. Lee would be good for her. He'd challenge her and she'd let him; something she'd never let Sam do. Sam was convinced they'd have a long future together; despite the risks they were forced to take regularly because Starbuck and Apollo always had each other's backs.
She hadn't expected him to say that either. She'd thought he'd put up more of a fight for her, not push her in the direction of his rival. "Sam," she shakes her head, thinking about what he'd just said to her. She'd never thought Sam would give in like this but then she'd never thought Lee would give in as easily as he'd done earlier either. Having said that if he was in the position Sam was in; maybe things would be different. It was redundant for her to think that way now; he'd made his decision and she was going to have to learn to live without him… or Sam apparently.
"I gotta get going. This was fun." She pulled him back into the bunk as he moved past her and kissed him. "I love you." He murmured before he again turned to go. She watched him begin to leave, pulling back the curtain to reveal the bunk to the room. She pulled on his arm as he was about to leave and gave him a soft kiss; a gentle and tender goodbye. She felt him slip something into her hand as he kissed her back, before hurriedly leaving the room. She watched him go, ignoring the looks on the faces of the others in the room as they stared at her. She was sure they'd know exactly what had just happened and they'd easily be able to read the emotions written over her face. A few of them would probably think it was just the loss of her husband she was mourning but really it was the loss of her best friend and lover she was most upset by. Finally she looked down to her hand and saw her tag; the one she'd left with Sam on Caprica, hanging from a chain, similar to the one she had round her neck. She closed her eyes and inhaled sharply at the impact of his action fought with those she was already feeling.
"I thought you were off duty."
Lee could see where this was heading before he'd even spoken. Another row. She'd been pushing for a big one for days. Even the dinner the previous night had been difficult. There'd been several stilted silences and even when they'd spoken they could hardly manage any real conversation. They daren't talk to each other while they were out because both knew it would end in a row and neither of then was prepared to do that with an audience. The thing was Lee didn't want to have a row now. He was still trying to comprehend what had happened with Kara earlier. He really needed a drink. "I am. I'm just gonna stop by the bar for a little while."
"If you're going to see Kara, just admit it." Her tone was sharp and accusing.
"Look I told you, there's nothing going on." It was almost a lie; but technically wasn't given the row the two of them had had earlier. In fact that was probably one of the most truthful things he'd said to his wife in the last few months. He was sure things were over with Kara but he didn't want to end up being alone. Even being with Dee was better than being with no one; maybe. He wasn't so sure these days. The silence and the fights were wearing a little thin and Lee just tried to avoid it all as much as he could. It was no way to live.
"You both told me. Lee won't cheat, he's too noble." She was mocking Kara, he knew it but he couldn't say anything. "The only problem is it's all a crock, isn't it…"
He'd had enough. There was only so much he could take and finally it was too much. After the events of the last few hours he was teetering on the edge of a precipice; his emotions fraught as he was now having to face up to the fact he wasn't going to have her. The most galling thing though was this time it was his fault and not hers. He turned his attention back to his wife. All he got from her were accusations and, yes alright, they'd been justified as it turned out but he wasn't going to admit that. For the first time in a very long time, Lee hit back. He wasn't going to be the doormat Dee relied on him being. It was time he finally stood up for himself. He may be in the wrong in this situation but she was at fault just as much as he was. He needed her to realize that. He decided it was his turn to accuse her of some things. "Do you know what the problem is? The only problem is that you don't trust me. That's it. And this is just your own frakking insecurities talking. Same as always. I mean right from the get-go… I… the very first morning that I proposed, I mean… you know what, forget it. This is… this is frakking pointless."
For several seconds the room is silent, neither moved as they stared at each other sternly. She looks away first and sighs. He turns; worried that if she were to look at him again; she'd see the truth in his eyes. She'd see how fragile he was feeling. "No, you're right." He turns to face her. "I did see this coming. And I was naïve enough to marry you anyway. And you want to know why, Lee? Because I loved you. I loved you so frakking much. I thought I was lucky. That's right. Lucky… that I could have you for just as long as you or Kara would let me."
"Dee… come on." This was painful. It was only adding to his pain. He just wished it would all end. Her voice was getting on his nerves. Most things she did these days managed to do that but this was even worse. The silences he usually hated so much were suddenly more than welcome.
"It's not a marriage, Lee. This is a lie. You want to be with Kara? Go ahead; I won't stand in your way. It's over."
He swallowed quickly. That was unexpected. She was letting him go just as he'd lost Kara. The Gods had an ironic sense of humor. She turned and started to walk out of the room. Suddenly losing her seemed something he wasn't sure he wanted as well. "Where are you going?"
She turned to look at him one last time, before leaving the room. "I'll come back for my stuff later today; when you're on shift." Her eyes held tears in them as she looked at him for the final time. "Bye Lee." She walked out of their quarters and Lee wasn't sure how he felt; stunned more than anything else. It had fast become a frakking spectacularly bad day. He was alone and when he thought about it now; he realized he was relieved. It suddenly didn't seem quite as bad as he'd thought it would be. The real problem was he'd probably ruined everything with Kara and now he had the opportunity to be with her. Could he take the next step he wanted to so much? He wasn't sure. More importantly would Kara let him? He was fairly sure he may have burned that bridge as well. He needed to think about it all. And thinking was what he was good at.
It had been an odd couple of days. Lee had avoided Kara for well over a day since Dee had moved out. He'd used the time alone to think about things and he'd made some decisions. It actually hadn't been that difficult for him to not see her as she'd seemed to be just as determined to avoid being in the same room as him as much as she could. That seemed to have changed now though as Kara had finally cornered him as he was walking back to his office from CIC. For the first time since the dance they were uncomfortable with each other and Lee wasn't sure he liked the feeling. She wouldn't look him in the eyes and he needed to see her face to try and judge what she was feeling; to ascertain if he had a chance with her. She'd started talking a couple of minutes ago, but she'd been rambling ever since. He'd lost the thread of the conversation shortly after she'd begun as she spiraled from one topic to another and he tried once more to work out what she was talking about. "What are you saying?"
She knew she'd lost him pretty much instantly and she took a deep breath; trying to build up the courage to say what she'd been trying to say since she'd finally managed to find him. It had taken a lot for her to come and see him; the last time they'd spoke was still in her thoughts. She'd thought about little else ever since; that and how she could try to get him back. She'd realized before the day had even ended she was going to fight for this. Actually she'd been thinking about how to say this ever since the conversation with her husband just days earlier. She released her breath gently and then spoke slowly to him, her voice echoing in the room. "If I leave Sam, will you still leave Dee?"
Time seemed to stand still as her words reverberated around the room. He wanted to believe her, he really did but could he? Much as he wanted to; his previous hesitation was high in his mind. He knew he needed to vocalize it. They were going to get no further with this if they didn't start talking to each other and listening to what the other said. "My Gods, Kara. You know, how do I know that tomorrow you're not going to pull another one eighty. I mean these are our frakking marriages we're talking about. It's not some stupid dogfight we can just jink our way out of." His breath was coming in gasps. He couldn't believe he'd just said that to her. Once more he was acting like an idiot. He should be grabbing the opportunity as it was offered to him on a plate. Why was he finding it so difficult for him to believe her? Was it just that he was scared she'd hurt him again or was it something more than that?
She couldn't believe the disappointment she felt at his words. "Think about it, Lee. That's what you're best at." Her voice was a little bitter as his response had hurt her more than she thought it could. She was stupid for letting this hurt her again. She should've known it wouldn't work out. She turned and started to leave the room.
He reached for her and grabbed her hand in his, pulling her back towards him. "I don't need to think about it." Her eyes rose to his as he spoke. His grip was tight on her hand and his eyes were a steely blue that shook her to her core.
"You don't?" Her voice was quiet; hesitant.
"No. I know what I want."
"You do?" She could hardly breathe as she contemplated just what that was. She was scared to even think it could be good news. She started to prepare herself for the rejection she knew was probably imminent.
He pulled her closer and she began to hope, just a little, that everything would be alright. His other arm went around her waist. "I want you. I always have done and I always will. I thought you'd have realized that by now. I was stupid yesterday. I panicked. I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt you." As soon as he'd finished talking, his mouth was on hers, softly kissing her, lingering to explore her mouth as she opened it to him. He moved from her mouth, across her face, edging nearer and nearer her ear. "What made you change your mind? You seemed so opposed to it the last time we spoke about this."
She decided to finally open up to him and reveal more than she usually would. "I've been thinking about it ever since the algae planet. I think I realized then that I didn't want to lose you." She stopped speaking taking a steadying breath, "I thought I'd be okay with things being the way they were before but I don't want to share you. I don't want Dee to be the one who gets to go to bed with you every night. I want to wake up in your arms every morning and not feel guilty for doing so. I… I want you, Lee, more than I've ever wanted anything else."
"Wow." That had been more than he'd expected from her. Each word she'd said pushed the fear he'd been feeling into recession. He kissed her again; worshipping her mouth with his; hoping it was enough to get her to forgive him for the way he'd behaved days before.
"So you'll sort things out with Dee then?" There was hope in her voice; hope she tried to tamp down in case she just got disappointed again.
"That won't be a problem." He looked down, slightly ashamed of what he was about to admit. "Dee left me the day before yesterday. We had one final row and she decided she wasn't what I really wanted. It turns out she knows me better than I thought she did. I'd been edging towards making this decision ever since the dance but when she went, it was a relief. All I've done since she left was think about everything and I knew she'd made the decision I wasn't prepared to make."
"Why weren't you?"
"I was scared I guess. I didn't want to push you away and risk losing you altogether. When we'd talked about it a bit on the algae planet, you seemed really against it, so I knew I would have lost you for sure. Then I almost lost you completely the other day by pushing you away from me. I don't even know why I did it. It wasn't what I wanted to do."
She smiled at him. "You're going to have to try harder than that to lose me, Lee. I'm going to fight for this as hard as I can. I might have balked at the idea initially but once I knew what I was doing and what I'd be losing, it was an easy decision. The other day just made me realize more how much I want this; how much I want you." The kiss was soft and gentle and they soon got caught up in the moment.
Lee reluctantly moved away from her and pushed some of her hair from her face. "We should go and see my dad; we need to tell him about this before he hears it from someone else." A worried expression washed over her face. "What's wrong?"
"Do you think he'll be okay with the two of us?" She looked really worried and Lee couldn't work out why she would be.
"Of course he will." Lee smiled at her tenderly.
"I'm not his favorite person, Lee. I haven't been since New Caprica."
"Kara, he's forgiven you. Gods, he probably loves you more than he loves me. Don't worry about it." He kissed her softly on the end of her nose.
"Aren't you worried about what he'll say about you and Dee?"
"A little, but if he wants me to be happy then he needs to get used to idea that I won't be with Dee. If I'm going to be happy, I'm going to be with you." Kara blushed at his words.
"We'd better go then, before one of us changes our mind."
"Well now that you mention, I can think of one thing I'd rather be doing." There was a smile on his face.
She took his hand in hers. "Later, Lee." He playfully pouted before her, hoping she'd relent. "All good things, comes to those who wait, didn't your mother ever tell you that?"
She released his hand and ran from the room at a jog, knowing he'd soon follow her. Sure enough he was soon just behind her and he lifted her over his shoulders as she shrieked with laughter. He carried her down the corridor before placing her tenderly on her feet and they walked quickly towards his father's quarters. Facing the future together and knowing things would be better from hereon in.
A/N2: Ta Da! Like I said at the top of this epic - please review.