At The End Of The World
by Käthe

Kara rolls her head to one side and grunts. "I miss your baby fat."

Roused from his relaxed state, Lee coughs when she pokes him in the side. "What are you talking about?"

"You used to be a good pillow, Lee. Now you're just hard and uncomfortable. Damn, PT."

Ah, now he understands. The warm Caprican sun warms his face as he laughs. "I think that's what they had in mind. I could mention your concerns; your comfort is essential."

This easiness feels good to Lee. In fact, he feels almost weightless. Exams are over as of this morning and now they have the rest of the day to lounge around, something so rare that Lee can't remember the last time he's been this free of responsibility.

Kara doesn't say anything, but pokes him again for good measure. She'd never admit it, but she needs this down time as much as anyone. It's one reason he's letting her be a brat.

"I'm going to be the top pilot in the fleet one day, they should care about my comfort."

She rolls off him and props herself on her elbows. Her eyes are sparkling, and Lee knows from past experience that she's up to something.

"What do you really need with this hard body anyway?" Kara smirks and waits for his response.

"I could ask you the same question. Before the guys knew you could kick their asses because you fought dirty, but now they know you can do it punch for punch."

Kara slaps her left bicep proudly. "They're getting smarter, I'll have to give them that."

"They're being observant."

The other guys have been observant lately, and it's been making Lee nervous. He doesn't trust them, and some small part of him doesn't entirely trust Kara either.

They're both silent for a moment. Lee stares at Kara and sees her face flicker. He's had these moments before, where the air pressure seems to drop and everything just stops as his heart beats louder and louder and his breath threatens to lock in his chest. He wants to say something, but the words aren't ready to come. And so the moment passes by; the only ones to speak are the birds singing in the trees.

Without a word, they lie back down as before, Kara's head resting on his stomach as she absently picks at blades of grass. Some time later a random impulse strikes and Lee reaches out, brushes the hair off of Kara's forehead. She lets him do it and never says a word, but if Lee was paying attention, and he always does where Kara's concerned, he would have heard her sigh.

 

Lee always thought funerals should be conducted in the rain, or at least in the bitter cold. But Zak's funeral fell on a beautiful day, clear and bright. Lee shook his head and clasped his mother's hand. Nothing about this would ever be right.

His younger brother was never meant to be a viper pilot, but that was all each of them had ever dreamed about. Their father was a pilot and he was proud and strong and everything a man should be -- viper wings pinned to his uniform. For the Adama boys, it was more than a future, it was their destiny.

Their destiny landed Zak in a premature grave, his only future a box and the rich Caprican soil, killed by expectation.

Lee had bitten his tongue when Zak got into flight school. His father might've been able to pull some strings, but he was sure Zak would wash out soon enough and then he could find a future on his own, not one of their father's choosing. Lee felt a little better when he found out Kara was Zak's flight instructor. Even when she hadn't spoken to him for a year, Lee could admit that she was the best pilot he'd ever seen, naturally gifted in ways he had only dreamed. Kara would teach Zak well, would take care of him until...

Kara looks miserable and Lee's heart bleeds for her. If things had been different...If things had been different Kara would not be standing on the other side of the grave holding his father's hand as her fiancÚ is lowered into the ground. If things were different, he'd be the one holding her hand.

The birds, who had been singing cheerfully throughout the service, cry out when the rifles fire their salute. Lee watches them fly away, wishing he could escape just as easily.

 

At the end of the world, Lee finds himself missing the warmth of real sunlight on his skin, the feel of real wind instead of recycled air, the teasing prickle of grass, and the sounds of genuine birds in the trees. The generated greenspace on Clound 9 can simulate many things, but Lee will always know that they aren't real.

The things that he had completely dismissed once upon a time have become all important now. Water, food...Coffee and sweets are little luxuries that are fast becoming larger luxuries.

Lee slips his hands behind his head and stares up at the sky, or what was supposed to be the sky on Cloud 9, one of the pleasure vessels left over from Before. He listens as Kara rattles off their security concerns for the upcoming summit aboard this ship. There were more than he cares to count and he lets his mind drift.

He had tried to escape his past, only to be reunited with it at the end of the world. He is learning to forgive any number of sins: Kara's, his father's, his own.

It is the end of the world and certain things are more precious than ever before. Zarek values freedom and a new way of thinking, and there are those still clinging to any shred of stability that remains. There are also those like himself, those that are learning to value what they'd always had, but had never fully appreciated.

 

Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix