Written as an Livejournal prompt. The prompt was as follows:
Rating: as nasty as you want it
Squicks: easy answers, easy insanities, excessive mush
Prompt: Kara needs to deal with the aftermath of Leoben's torture & Laura wants to help
*Authors Note. Unbetaed as always. Enjoy.
Kara brushed a long, blonde strand of hair behind her ea,r standing uneasily in front of the President's doorway. Two armed men stood at rigid attention on either side of the entrance, neither giving her a second glance as she waited to be called in. Kara found herself wishing she had gotten her hair cut before she had made her way to the Colonial One. Standing in front of the President's door, beyond which she knew was a well dressed, sophisticated woman, she felt shaggy and unkempt. Hardly the mindset she wanted to be in to meet with the President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol.
It didn't matter that she had seen the woman at what were arguably some of the worst points of Roslin's life. On Kobol, hiking through non-stop rain and dense green foliage, all of them water logged and haggard, the President a few steps from death's door. Then again, after the election and subsequent colonizing of New Caprica. Roslin had been down in the dirt with the rest of them, pitching tents in the mud and waiting in line for the precious rations that never seemed to stretch as far as they should.
Even at her worst, Roslin was ever a step above the rest of them, the ultimate authority figure. Whenever she met with the woman, Kara felt as though she was back in school and being hauled off to the principal's office. Though, given the President's former calling, Kara figured that really wasn't far from the truth. She supposed that was why being summoned by the President always made her nervous.
Kara didn't like feeling nervous. She lived for the fight. Lived to sit in her cockpit, taking out the toasters one raider at a time. And being nervous in the cockpit, especially a Viper, -where the slightest twitch could send you careening through space in an uncontrolled spin- was never a good thing. If you were lucky, you'd only end up offing yourself. If you weren't, your frak up would get your squad killed.
Yeah, nervous for Kara was usually bad.
But -just for now- nervous was good. Nervous was something other than the all consuming anger that had been steadily building within her. Something other than the fog of permanent frustration that she moved through, that followed her and affected her every move. A bad day was no longer cause for cursing. It meant over turning chairs and punching mirrors. Bad food was cause for lingering temper tantrums. A bad look? Gods help whoever had thrown it her way.
If Kara thought about it, really thought about it, the fog had rolled through even before the Cylons had arrived on New Caprica. Sure, the toaster takeover had intensified it, made it grow, given it reason, but it hadn't been the Cylons that had started the fire of rage that simmered in her guts. It had been shortly after Baltar had taken power.
Even thinking the name brought a sneer to Kara's lips. A scientific genius with the mental stability of a rabid dog and the political prowess of a terrorist. Actually, she took that one back, Zarek was far more politically ept than that idiot had ever been.
Baltar had ordered the settlement on New Caprica and with it summarily dismissed the hope and goal that had pushed humanity through its darkest hour. All the lives lost in the search for Earth: Crashdown, Elosha, countless others, were suddenly meaningless in the face of Baltar's 'executive decision'.
Kara shook her head, trying to dispel the dark thoughts. The bastard was dead anyway. Her main regret was that she hadn't had a chance to shove a shank into his throat the way she had with Leoben.
Hearing the creak of the door, Kara took a step back to give the person leaving room to move. She nodded minutely at the woman, the President's new aide. Kara thought her name was Foster or something.
She supposed the woman wasn't actually 'new', she had already been around for the better part of a year and half, longer than Kara had known the kid Keikeya. One day, when meeting Foster didn't remind Kara of the earnest boy with a bullet in his chest, she might not be the new girl.
"The President will see you now," the aide said, stepping to the side to allow Kara entrance. Twitching her combats into place, the blonde walked past her in to the office of the President, resting easy in front of the woman's desk. She was surprised to see Roslin not in a suit but a rumpled shirt, the sleeves rolled up to the elbow as she scribbled furiously on a piece of paper.
"Madame President," Kara said, shifting in place. A dark head looked up, glasses perched low on an attractive nose. Recognition quickly replaced annoyance and the older woman stood offering an enigmatic smile to Kara.
"Captain Thrace." Roslin pulled off her glasses, folding and tucking them into the 'v' of the baggy button down shirt. She casually dropped her pen to the desk, walking around to stand near the pilot.
Had Kara had more than a split second to realize what was going to happen, she may have reacted differently. If her mind had a moment to process the arms reaching out towards her, the way his had, the President may have well ended up on her back. But, Kara's shock halted all cognitive thought and by the time she had registered what the frak was going on, the President had wrapped strong arms around her.
It took a few moments before she relaxed into the hug, tentatively placing her hands on Roslin's back. The feeling of calm that descended on her as she settled into the embrace was perhaps more shocking than the hug itself. It was the first time in four months Kara had felt safe. Comforted.
When Sam had tried to touch her after the escape, all Kara could think was that all men felt the same. Whether they were Cylon captors or human husbands, it didn't matter. His touch had felt like an assault and shehad to sharply tamp down on the instinctive desire to lash out at him like an animal.
Everything about Roslin was different and in that difference Kara found safety. From the contrast between soft breasts and muscular chests, silk shirts and rough linen, grips that were meant to hold up and support rather than cage and contain.
"Thank the gods you're alive," Roslin said her soft voice rustling the blonde hair near Kara's temple. Kara felt the woman tighten her hold and responded in kind, leaning her head in the crook of the President's neck inhaling the scent that was distinctly Roslin's.
She remembered it well. It had been imprinted in her mind since their attack run for the tylium almost two years prior. In what had been a knee jerk reaction to a successful operation, Kara had pulled the woman into a hug and inadvertently sealed Roslin's scent in her brain. Her mind, for whatever reason, in that moment of jubilation, had correlated the smell of the President with that of victory, of hope.
Even after all the hell they had been through Roslin still smelled the same. It was good to know that some things were constant, even if it were only trivial things. Kara needed the constancy now, when all else was up in the air. The Colonies could be destroyed, the Adamas could abandon them, but gods damn it all, at least Roslin still smelled like victory and hope.
The pilot sighed and felt the embrace loosen, Roslin seeming to take it as a sign that Kara had reached the end of her patience for the physical contact. The President stepped away her hands remaining firmly clasped on Kara's biceps, thumbs rubbing gentle circles across the fabric of olive green combats.
Roslin looked directly into Kara's eyes surprising the blonde with the depth of emotion she could see emanating from the older woman. The pilot knew that she and Roslin shared a connection. The woman was supposed to be some kind of prophet and Kara had acted as her vessel. Hades, she had dragged her ass back to Caprica for her, disobeying direct orders and nearly getting herself killed in the process.
But Kara wasn't certain that justified the honest happiness she could see shining in the President's eyes.
"When you disappeared…" the President paused and turned her head slightly, her eyes focusing on some point in the distance. "I… We feared the worst."
Kara barely resisted urge to bark out a humorless laugh. No doubt the President assumed death was the worst. Kara knew better. Death was a cake walk, a companion she had been with since the moment she had first sat her ass in the cockpit. Death was a reprieve.
The worst had been hearing explosions in the distance and never knowing if it was rebel fighters taking out toasters or Cylons capping her crewmates.
The worst was waiting for someone to rescue her and then wondering if she hadn't been rescued because there was no one left to come for her.
The worst had been an anxious feeling in the pit of her belly that, even if she managed to get past the inner gates, the guards, the walls, she would have nothing to escape to.
The worst had been sitting there, in an apartment vaguely reminiscent of her own, having to play house with a skin job who just wouldn't shut the frak up. Every time she had taken Leoben down it had been as much to have some peace and frakking quiet as it was revenge for everything she was enduring. It had been torture in itself to listen to him and his constant spewing of his religious bullshit, like he was some frakking prophet himself.
'One true god', what a croc.
She could have lived with it for a time, had lived with it. At least the food had been good and she could break the monotony of it all with more clever ways to kill the skin job. She had even gotten used to his twisted little head games, his declarations of love, his constant attempts to get into her pants. It was just one more thing to prove herself against, to survive, and if Kara's childhood had taught her nothing else, it had taught her to be a survivor.
It had been Kasey that had broken her. Kara had seen in the little girl all her hopes to erase the past, to prove that she wasn't her mother. It had been Kara's chance to show she had it in her to care for someone more than herself, teach someone to be a good person, nurture a life.
Kasey had been her last hope when Kara had finally accepted she would never see freedom again. Her only chance to tell another of the glory of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol and the great Battlestar known as Galactica. To ensure those who had been lost wouldn't be forgotten.
And it had been taken from her.
All of it.
"Are you alright, Captain?" Roslin asked, coupling the question with a gentle squeeze of Kara's arms to bring her attention back to the present.
"I'm fine," she answered. A lie, she knew the President could tell it as well, but the older woman said nothing. "I… I'm glad you made it off New Caprica as well Sir."
That, at least, was the truth. When she had been black bagged, dragged out of her tent and thrown into the detention center she had been certain that any other heavy hitters would have been taken with her. The, then former, President most of all.
Of all her fellows, it had perhaps been Roslin that Kara had feared for the most. She had thought the Cylons would have killed her first, put the final nail in the morale of the people. To lose Laura Roslin would have been to lose the person who had orchestrated the evacuation of the civilian fleet, the person who had legitimized their hope for a new home with the Thirteenth colony. Personally, Kara thought Roslin's death would have been the true end of humanity, even if it took a little longer the kill the rest of them off.
She had been shocked to realize the Cylons, who bore no qualms about doing away with anyone, save perhaps Baltar, had actually allowed Roslin to live. She'd nearly fallen off her bunk when she heard the woman's voice over the wireless the day of the Second Exodus, proclaiming that they were resuming the search for their new home.
"You seem to have a habit of coming out of impossible situations, Captain," the President said, once again pulling Kara from her thoughts. "I'm certain it irritates the frak out of the Cylons so please make sure to continue doing so."
Kara offered a small smile and nod at the comment, the President mirroring her.
"Well, I'm certain you have many other things to do. I just wanted to check in with one of the fleet's champions, be certain rumors of your survival weren't just that." The President reached a hand up, cupping Kara's cheek and smiled softly at the blonde.
On impulse Kara leaned in, taking the President into another hug, needing to feel the contact of another body, one that didn't make the animal in her growl in discontent.
"You're a brave warrior, Captain Thrace." Roslin's arms fell easily around Kara's midsection. "I'm proud to know you."
Kara felt the woman pull away slightly before soft lips touched her forehead. And, for one moment, Kara felt like a knight from the old scrolls, dashing and proud to have been bestowed with such a gracious gift as the honorable lady's kiss.
Kara held the embrace for a few moments more, imprinting it in her mind, hoping to use it to quiet the anger in her soul when it all became too much. Finally, with an embarrassed clearing of her throat, Kara pulled away.
"I should let you get back to your work, you seemed busy," Kara said, taking a definitive step out of the President's reach. Sensing that whatever moment they had shared had come to a close, Roslin nodded and adjusted the rolled up sleeves of her shirt.
"I'm in the midst of deciding what I should keep from Baltar's fling with the presidency," she said, motioning towards her desk where she had been jotting down lists of files.
"Let me know if you need a hand airlocking any of his crap."
"I will," the President said with a nod. Kara turned to leave, her steps halted by the President's voice. "Captain?"
"My door is always open."
Kara looked at the woman, seeing if not herself then at least a kindred spirit. While Kara had wondered whether humanity was surviving the occupation, Roslin had seen all she worked for crumble before her eyes. They had both suffered, both been victims of the Cylons in one shape or another. Both survived to fight another day.
"Thank you, Sir." Kara stepped out of the room with a final nod at the President. She headed back to the Galactica feeling minutely though inexplicably better.
Nothing had changed, no problems had been solved. The haze of resentment towards those that had left them behind to stew in captivity still remained. So did the bitterness of her experience, of having to breathe the same air as a skin job, of knowing the joy of being a mother only to have it ripped from her. Kara could still feel the animal lurking just below the surface, ready to pounce upon anyone or anything that threatened her.
She would still overturn chairs, throw temper tantrums, drink until she was blind.
But, Roslin was alive.
They were alive.
And every day above ground, or not out an airlock, was one more day to blow toasters out of the sky and one jump closer to Earth, to home.
And Roslin still smelled like victory and hope. And maybe, when the memories of New Caprica faded, and the beast within her went back to sleep, Kara Thrace would remember what exactly those words meant.