Title: A Touch of Grace

Disclaimer: Not mine; not for profit.

Author's Note: This was written for a prompt (Kara takes ballet as part of her pyramid training) on the livejournal community karathracelives over a year ago. I recently rediscovered it and decided to publish it here.

Frak that.

Kara respected her coach, she really did. After all, he seemed to be the only person in the school—hell, the city—who was willing to put up with all her shit. But in all honesty, she liked him best when he was tossing a ball in her direction and blowing the whistle.

That whole 'team' thing had been going pretty well for her too, considering. She didn't have much (read: anything) to compare it to. But when she couldn't find anything familiar in her teammates, she realized that they all shared one thing: a common sense of physicality and love for this leather ball that fits in one hand.

So things had been going well. Until Kara found herself in her coach's office, throwing every dirty look in her vast arsenal at him. She ripped the brochure in half.

The trouble started when he pulled her aside after practice and told her a scout was coming to the championship game. Said the scout was coming for her. And asked her if she wanted this. Kara had wanted a lot of things in her life, but she wasn't used to them being packaged this way—with a steady gaze and a helping hand.

"A ticket out of this shithole?" she said as soon as she recovered from the shock. "Count me in."

She had a lot of work to do, he said. Couldn't win everything by flying by the seat of her pants.

She was fine with that. Didn't exactly expect a pyramid scholarship to be handed to her free of charge. Of course, he neglected to mention what all this work would actually entail. Just told her he wanted to show her something from the tape of their last game. He froze the screen on an image of her shouldering past a defender, ball firmly tucked against her body. And then he handed her the brochure.

"Frak that," she said when she read the title and saw the cover with its half a dozen smiling, brainless-looking girls in tutus.

"I'm serious," her coach said.

"But come on," she said, waving at the screen, "I won the ball!"

"You did, against that idiot of a defender. You're better than him. But if you want to play—really play—you've got to be better than better. A defender worth his weight would have caught you here," he rewound a few seconds, "when your step was too short and you nearly stumbled."

Kara stared at the image of herself, then her coach's face. And she ripped those stupid girls with their stupid tutus right down the middle. She found it very satisfying and thought it communicated her feelings very well.

But her coach just pulled a second copy out of his desk drawer and said, "I've got plenty more where that came from so don't waste your time."

She crossed her arms and waited. He sighed.

"You've got power. You've got speed, and you've certainly got nerve. What you need is flexibility and," he paused, "grace."

Frak. That.

But he was persistent and a few days later she found herself in a ballet studio wondering how the frak she got there.

The shoes were torture devices, she decided. At least no one had told her to wear a tutu (yet). Kara was fully prepared to shred the damn thing if anyone dared give her one. She was the tallest girl in the class, she hated all the others, and the instructor just kept sighing when Kara continually refused to stand on point and frakking twirl.

She swore her coach to secrecy on the whole thing, and lied to her teammates and her mother about where she was going three nights a week. So nobody would see her perform with the class, and that was just the way she liked it. Anyway the dance instructor decided to join all of her 'little ballerinas' on the big night, conveniently taking the spot right in front of Kara—probably trying to block her from the audience's sight, that bitch.

Kara didn't know that her coach was in attendance. And she certainly didn't know that he was filming her disastrous debut. Though if she had known, in retrospect she couldn't say that she would have done a damned thing differently.

He gave her the tape the night she won the title and her shot at freedom. She should have burned the damn thing. She didn't even know why she kept the frakking thing, especially after her knee. She didn't bother to ask while she was in the hospital, but Kara thought with a dark humor that ballet was probably no longer an option; the Twelve Colonies were spared that atrocity.

But the details like "how" and "why" didn't matter. What mattered was that the evidence made it to her locker on Galactica, and she wasn't prepared for Helo's snooping or his sticky fingers. And she certainly wasn't prepared for walking into the ready room one day and finding her entire squadron staring, transfixed—

And there it was. Insipid girls dancing to insipid music as the camera zoomed in on one figure in the back row just in time to see her rise up, perfectly on point, twirl and drop the instructor with a flawless roundhouse kick. And to think her coach wanted her to work on grace.

But the coach and the instructor and the studio were long gone. All that remained was this: a room full of fighter pilots and her moment of glory, immortalized on tape.

Frak that.