At The Battle, With Faithful Arrows
by tahlia

On the day that Laura Roslin dies, nothing else in particular happens. It is as quiet as her passing; Kara has a bad hand at cards in the Ready Room and everyone knows it, she breathes cigar smoke into her lungs, and then the Old Man's voice rattles through the speakers on the wall and everything else goes silent. Galactica herself takes a moment to grieve.

That night, she can hear Lee whispering in his bunk. Kara hears most of their pilots: whispering, imploring, letting go. Roslin goes to the gods on the prayers of the entire fleet: 'Lords of Kobol, hear our prayers.'

On Galactica there is a memorial; on Cloud Nine there is a wake. It is simulated night; Kara has wandered away from the ballroom. The grass on the luxury liner almost feels like the real thing. Kara remembers the real thing: remembers the way dirt smells and rain feels; the brightness of distant, unfamiliar stars; the taste of adrenaline in the back of her throat and her heart beating rapidly; the rushing in her ears. All of these earthy sensations are inexplicably linked to Laura Roslin.

Lee is outside, too, though she doesn't notice at first. He is tucked under a stone overhanging across the lawn, and what Kara sees first is his cigarette, flaring orange for a second and then disappearing into darkness. He is leaning against the column, staring up at the actual stars and no doubt tracing the outlines of the ship's hull. His jacket hangs open and there's an empty bottle on the ground. She knows it's not the first.

"Kara," Lee starts, with the cigarette in his mouth, but there's nothing else.

She takes the cigarette from between his lips. "Lee." She drags on it long, feeling smoke burning in all the right places in her lungs. Everything rushes to her head and she is light for a split second. She tastes traces of ale in the sweet. Then she throws it down, stamping its light out with her boot.

"The hell--"

"You looked like an idiot. Someone had to stop you."

It's not meant to be a joke; Lee doesn't laugh. He just stares at her, not being one for many words lately. Kara slides her arm into his, not lingering on the thought that his expression is as stoic as his father's since Roslin died, and says that it's time to leave.

There is a guard at the entrance to the hanger bay and she is saying something negative about open alcoholic beverages, but Lee pushes past her without a word and Kara turns to shrug apologetically. Except for the part about being sorry. The sergeant doesn't pursue them.

Knightmare pulled the short straw for Raptor rotation tonight; he salutes, eyes the bottles swinging between their fingers, and turns casually back toward the front. The ride back to Galactica is almost entirely silent, with the only sound coming from their empty bottles rolling on the floor and into the side of the shuttle when they land.

Her ears pop as the pressure outside equalizes. She needs to fly. Today they were supposed to test the Blackbird's FTL drive; today, no one can look at that ship.

The hallways bend and wind and blur a little between the hanger deck and their racks. There aren't any faces, no bodies twisting to see who's come in to the bunk; everyone is either on duty or on Cloud Nine. Everyone, except for them.

Kara removes her boots and her jacket, but she doesn't want to sleep. Lee is pacing the length of the bunk, far more restless than she is; suddenly he stops and slams his fist into a locker. The sound is muffled slightly by the pressure still in her head, but not enough.


He looks to her expectantly. In the aftermath of this first display of emotion in almost four days, his face is blank. He's not seething; he's not angry or upset or in denial or in the least bit guilty. The eulogy he read at the memorial was unbroken and steady, not marred by emotional pauses or moments of reflection or a change in tone (when his father started speaking off the cuff).


"How's your hand over there?"

The glance at his hand is brief. "Fine," and his voice is calm. Too calm. He has completely shut himself down.

It makes her sick. "You know what? Frak you," she mutters.

When she tries to leave, he stops her. Physically places himself between her and the door. When she puts on her hands on his chest to shove him aside, he catches her wrists and holds them on either side of her head. "Out of the way, Lee," she warns, not willing to acknowledge that she hardly has the advantage in this situation. On his right hand, his knuckles are red.

His movements are aggressive; he moves and knocks her off balance, forcing her backwards. Her head collides with the locker behind her at the same time that he kisses her. Lee wants to frak her and make everything all better, but it doesn't work that way. It's not that she couldn't - there is desire in her belly, and she opens her mouth to him, yes, with an arm around his neck and her fingers in his hair - but it's not that easy.

This time, it's easier to push him away from her. He stays there, though, dangerously close. Completely invading her personal space. That's supposed to be her.

"Lee?" she whispers, despite being completely alone.

He inhales sharply. "Yeah."

"Say something." There is a faint humorless smile on her lips.

And then his voice is a whisper, too. "It's the end of the world, Kara."

She breaks.

The kiss is an afterthought, because her hands are bunching under his tank and pushing forcing him out of his uniform jacket. His hands are moving down her body; her rack is closer, and when she tugs on his arm in its general direction he complies. He is above her, pushing down her pants; she squirms out of her own tank; he pushes into her and she grabs his shirt to keep him close.

When they're done, she sleeps practically on top of him, on account of space. His arm is around her waist, and her hand is pressed into his chest. There are voices in the hallway; Kara manages to slide the curtain closed just in time (or maybe she doesn't, she isn't quite clear).

Tomorrow is Blackbird's FTL test.


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