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Shadowing Through

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Dec. 16th, 2012 | 07:55 am

Title: Shadowing Through
Rating:
PG-13
Pairing: Kara and Lee
Length: 2700~
A/N: No real prompt. No beta. Kind of sweet.




“I want to explore,” Kara leans past the stone with the ancient sign for Scorpia aglow at the top. Everyone else has faded into the background. Lee doesn’t think about where they went. His father, the president, Helo and his cylon are shadows compared to Kara, returned to his orbit.

“We can’t go any further, Kara,” Lee tells her. “This is just a projection. A map. Not really place. I bet if you go too far you end up back in that room with all the statues.”

“Maybe,” Kara answers. “But we’ll never know if we don’t check it out. Come on.” Her hand swings through brushing the back of his hand like she’s going to take it, drag him along. Instead she goes running past the obelisks and into the darkness. Lee gives chase. He would follow her anywhere.

As Lee predicted they end up in the anti-chamber again and again until it’s a game between the two of them. Starbuck and Apollo. Everyone else can prepare to get back to the fleet and the pressing matters of survival rather than linger in the god-made map to Earth, but Kara and Lee continue their game. Laughing, tagging, making the most of this respite. Living this moment.

Then Kara yelps in pain. Lee’s half way to the ring to monoliths but whips around in time to see her being swallowed up by the grass. “Kara! You all right?” he calls.

“Yeah. Yeah, fine,” she yells up from below the level of the grass.

Lee turns back for her, scoops her up and carries her back to the mouth of the cave. Kara kicks and hits at him the whole ride. She lets out squeals that fall somewhere between genuine annoyance and a continuation of their game as they exit the Tomb of Athena, return to the glowing green world of Kobol.

“I can walk from here,” Kara insists, rolling out of his arms.

She only gets three steps before she falls to the dirt. At first it looks like she tripped. Lee edges forward trying to preserve her dignity. Kara doesn’t move, doesn’t protest when he drops down next to her brushes the hair off her face. She’s completely passed out.

Lee carries her back to the raptor. He’d carry her all the way to Earth too so they could explore the real thing. On the return trip to Galactica his mind is racing, guessing at things that could have happened on Caprica. Cylons and nuclear fallout. Anything. Everything. He should have stopped her from going. Shouldn’t have hurt her and made her leave.

*** *** ***

Lee paces in the hallway outside sickbay until Doc Cottle is done checking Kara out. Then he sits next to her bed with his ears open so he can hear Cottle give his father the rundown on Kara’s condition. A bullet wound. Broken ribs. Sprained ankle, stressed by lack of medical care. Same for her knee. The right one, of course. And some other inexplicable incision, possibly from some kind of exploratory surgery. And like the bullet wound, infected.

It nearly makes him gag. Lee flings himself out of the chair next to her bed and through the grey steepled corridors of Galactica. He searches the bunk rooms. The officer’s mess. The rec room. Finally ending up in the gym on C deck where he finds Helo. He was there on Caprica. He’ll know if anyone does wht happened to Kara there.

Panting hard from his run, Lee watches the lanky ECO as he pumps his arms up and down under the bench press. Watches until Lee can see the man as Kara’s friend instead of the cylon lover.

“What happened?” Lee demands. “On Caprica. What happened?”

Helo doesn’t respond. Finished his rep and slowly rolls to sit up on the bench. He wipes his face, his neck and drops his towel back into his lap. Lee edges further and further into the room, sweaty and dank. When he reaches the machine, the other man speaks.

“It was worse than awful. You can’t even imagine,” Helo says.

“No, not good enough,” Lee grits out.

His whole body is beginning to shake, and Lee lurches towards the taller man. The one who’d win in a fight, but reality doesn’t stop Lee Adama right now. This is more important, and he trusts that Helo will back down, tell him what he needs to know.

“I can’t, man,” Helo backs towards the wall, shaking his head. “It… It’s not for me to say.”

Lee pauses a moment, considering, then goes for it. “I can get you some time with the… your… I can get you some time in the brig if you can fill me in.”

The words in hang in the air. Lee shifts ever so slightly and hopes Helo doesn’t pick up on his suddenly flash of vulnerability. This is the only thing he has to offer and if it doesn’t work he has nothing.

“Ok,” Helo nods, motions for Lee to come closer, and the two men fade into the back corner of the gym, sit down on the benches and stare at each other for a long, long moment before Helo begins, “I don’t think there are words to… Desperation maybe. It’s more awful than anything I’d ever even dreamed. Worse than a movie because it didn’t end.

“When I… we found her, Kara was fighting with one of the blonde cylons over the Arrow of Apollo in the museum at Delphi. I don’t know if the cylon knew or cared what Kara was after. Only wanted to stop her so it was a fight to the death. Kara won. Threw the both of them off a second story balcony. Thought they were both dead. But Kara won…

“Took something out of her, nearly dying on that dead planet. And then Sharon stole the raider. She came back later, saved us, but right then we were never getting off Caprica.

“We hid out for a while in her old apartment. Some place I didn’t even know she had in Delphi. We talked. She told me things in that place that I never knew before.” Helo’s head snaps so he’s facing Lee. “Things that I realize now meant she was giving up. That we were going to die there.

“And then we found the resistance. The Caprica Buccaneers of all people. And Kara had something to fight for and with,” he pauses again, looks Lee up and down until the CAG in a little uncomfortable and then goes on. “And she found someone, too.”

“Oh,” Lee breathes as he catches the none-too subtle hints the other man is dropping. Kara confessed to Helo the way she confessed to him, about Zak, about him. Lee sucks in his lips and nods for Helo to go on.

“It was like she made peace with the idea of dying on that rock, made it meaningful. But a couple days later we were ambushed. She got shot. The cylons took her… Took her to this place, a hospital for breeding. A farm they called it. For breeding, I don’t know, human women with the cylons, I guess. She risked her life to get out of there.

“But there was something else. Something she wouldn’t say, but I could tell by then that there was something more. I don’t know. She got out of there. And Sharon came back with the heavy raider. We couldn’t take everybody… not the whole resistance. So Sam, he promised to stay to take out the farms for her…”

“And she promised to go back,” Lee says. “Frak.”

“So you feel better now?” Helo asks. “Now that you know?”

“Wasn’t about that,” Lee snaps.

Although right now he’s not sure what it’s about, if he ever really knew. Everything’s been tipped, now. Kara and pain and guilt wrapped up in the middle of it all. Closing his eyes he sees her sleeping in sickbay, in a dingy cylon hospital. At least now antibiotics pump through her instead of the gods only know what from the cylons.

“Than what is it about?” Helo replies.

Lee shoves himself up from the bench and stomp away without answering. The anger and confusion inside of him still growing out of control.

*** *** ***

It’s the middle of the night shift before Lee gets back to sickbay. Maintenance schedules and a boring four hours of CAP have done nothing to calm his nerves. Seeing Kara there, tucked into gray blankets doesn’t help either.

In fact, Kara makes it worse.

Regret and frustration pool in his gut. Visions of her with some other guy cloud his attempts at reason, and before Lee entirely realizes what he’s doing he’s slamming his fist into the wall over and over. A nurse passes by, mumbling something about not seeing the patient if he’s going to act like that.

Lee keeps his eyes trained on Kara though. Her eyes flutter open as he’s being dragged away. She stares, seeming to match his anger with imploring disgust. Or maybe it was simple sleepy confusion. Lee gets the distinct feeling he’s not going to know for a while.

*** *** ***

Cottle doesn’t ban him from sickbay, but Lee doesn’t go back. He spends the next day and a half avoid everyone in the cramped closet that he uses as an office, trades for the midnight CAP and doesn’t sleep. Can’t. Hasn’t since they returned from Kobold. Every time he close his eyes he sees some new horror.

Visions of jealousy quickly trade for cylon torture. He pictures the blonde one that Kara interrogated and Roslin airlocked. The creepy man who Kara prayed for directs the experimentation, seeing Kara as the ultimate prize among the women in the cylon collection. He’s read the reports. The Leoben knew things about Kara. Things Kara doesn’t tell freely.

I’m your friend and I love you.

His own word come back to him. Word he doesn’t say often either. That’s important.

His mind and body are clouded by a lack of sleep. He know he should go back to his bunk. Get some rest before he talks to her, but Lee Adama makes his way back to sickbay in the early hours before he needs to fake his way through the morning pilots’ briefing.

Kara is awake this time. Lying in her bed, staring up at the ceiling the same way she did after her came back from the red moon. She saved herself then too, but not like this. She vibrates with more than her usual energy. It’s desperate. Lee thinks he gets it.

Sliding into the seat next to her bed, Lee speaks without warning, “I’m sorry. About all of it really but…”

“Don’t, Lee. Doesn’t matter. If it ever did, it’s…”

“It’s not. It’s not too late, Kara. It doesn’t have to be.”

“It is,” she insists. “Frakkin’ Helo…”

“I bribed him if it helps,” Lee offers with a tinge of humor that falls flat as soon as the words leave his tongue.

“No, it does not,” Kara retorts.

“And he didn’t…” he tries.

“He told you enough,” she snaps back.

“Yeah, he did. He told me enough that I get it, ok? I get it.”

“And what do you get, Lee?”

“That… that I don’t get it,” he says firmly. “That you saw things, did things that I can’t imagine. And you don’t know what to do with. But what I said on the Astral Queen stands. I’m here to listen no matter what you have to say. No matter…”

“I know you, Lee. It matters.” She replies, small and kind of sad, turning her attention to a thread hanging off the edge of her blanket. “Everything matters with you.”

Lee nods. He’s been trying to deny it to himself, but Kara saying it out loud makes it real. Makes it true and unavoidable. He sucks a breath in through his nose, ready to pick up and leave when Kara begins to speak again.

“I told Helo… a bunch of things… When we were holed up in my apartment. All the memories of that place. Like I had to exorcise them.” She’s still playing with her blanket, pulling at the worn spot until she’s made fringe, but she keeps talking.

“I knew he wouldn’t think anything of it. That he’d listen all night long. Laugh at my stories. Wouldn’t ask any questions when I got to the hard parts. I told him about Zak, why he died, why I loved him. About the painting on the wall. And that poem. How I almost lost my commission until your dad reached out and saved me.

“I couldn’t tell him about you.” The way Kara whispers those last syllables, he might be the only secret she has left.

He doesn’t know what to say so Lee Adama simply stays in Kara Thrace’s silence. Patiently almost hoping.

“So, yeah,” she starts again. “I met someone. Samuel T. Anders, captain of the Caprica Buccaneers. And I frakked him. And I promised to come back for him. And I don’t know what any of it means. Not really. Because…

“Because they did something to me. The cylons, in that frakking hospital. I don’t know what. Only that I didn’t want anyone else to know. ‘Cept Cottle does now because it also made me sick. But I thought… I thought…

“I thought I was going to die and when I didn’t…” She stops suddenly, looks up from the frayed edge and slaps her hands down dramatically before going on. “Gods, Lee, I’ll just frak it up. Like I always do. Make one more promise I can’t keep. I can’t do that. I can’t keep doing that.”

She holds his eyes so strong it almost hurts so Lee slips his hand, the one he punched the wall with, around hers and squeezes. Then Kara gulps adding, “But I did, and now… Now I don’t think I can. I keep thinking about that place, the Farm… and those women hooked up machines, begging to die… I couldn’t save them. Maybe I can’t save any of them.”

“What if I helped you? What if we did it together?” Lee offers. It pains him to say the words, to go back for Kara’s lover. He’d have done it for Zak though. If Zak had been alive for the end of the worlds, he wouldn’t hesitate to save him for Kara even at his own expense. And that makes Lee believe this is the absolute right thing to do, despite the growing rip in his heart.

Kara shake her head, her eyes focused on their hands lapped together on the gray blanket. “No, I can’t ask that of you. Not of you. I just have to admit that I frakked up. Again.”

“We could. You and I. We could do anything if we wanted,” Lee interrupts. For the first time, Kara smiles, almost chuckles, but she still shakes her head. “You know we could.”

“Maybe,” she says finally. “But that’s not… That’s not the promise. When we were in that cave, that projection, under those stars… I made a promise to the gods of Kobol or maybe the gods of Earth that I would make sure you got there.”

Lee doesn’t know what to say to that. It’s too big for him. To be the guiding light for the most lost soul he’s ever met. He wants to say no, that he can make it on his own, but he can’t. Not because he doesn’t believe that he needs her. Because he wants to desperately to believe that she needs him.

“And I can’t frak up that promise. Not a promise I made to the gods. Not a promise for you.”

At the end Kara smiles that beautiful, perfect smile. The thoughtful, determined one. The one he always believes. He laces their fingers together, and she clasps back. Like she’s pulling him off on their great journey. To Earth. Together.
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Comments {15}

Call Me OneTrack

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from: callmeonetrack
date: Dec. 16th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
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UGH. KIDS. So sweet but also so frustrating. YOU CAN HAVE THIS!! YOU CAN!! Bah. I want to just shake them!! lol.

I really liked that you kept Lee's hatred for the cylons intact. I actually love that part of his personality and it gets whitewashed in fic far too often. His deal with Helo because he needed to know about Kara was really meaningful I think.

And I love their end conversation even though I want to throttle Kara completely. hee.

And eeep! Lee picks her up and carries her. I have such a kink for that lately. Not sure why!

Edited at 2012-12-16 08:06 pm (UTC)

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kdbleu

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from: kdbleu
date: Dec. 16th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
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Lee carrying Kara was kind of where this whole thing started, actually. Him feeling responsible for her, which turned into her feeling responsible for him.

I'm glad Lee's cylon hatred worked. It's one of those odd characteristics that I can have a hard time with. Not so much because I think it's totally out of character but more that it's used unevenly in canon so it can be hard to use naturally in a fic. Not sure that entirely makes sense, but it became kind of the heart of the story for me. (And it's what got me thinking about hosting a DPP week.)

I wanted to throttle both of them at the end. *shakes head*

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Call Me OneTrack

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from: callmeonetrack
date: Dec. 16th, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
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I do love the thread that they will take care of each other because that's what they do. <3

I think they actually keep Lee pretty consistent on not liking the cylons nor wanting to accept them/work with them, until his hand is forced? It's not touched on that often unfortunately, and there are large gaps, like how he comes to accept Sharon/Athena, etc. But I appreciate that even as late as A Measure of Salvation (I think that's the title)--he's ready to airlock all of the cylons infected by that virus because there's no resurrection hub around. (I actually really like that working as an example also of him doing the smart thing instead of the "right" thing, hmm.)

I think the cylon sympathy was far greater in the show than it would've been in a real life situation, at least until Zarek and Gaeta mutiny.

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kdbleu

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from: kdbleu
date: Dec. 16th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Working with Athena vs. A Measure of Salvation is kind of what I mean by uneven. I agree that Lee was pretty consistent though in his hate and that the show was much more sympathetic to the cylons than be would realistic. I actually really like the idea of showing the reconciliation between the humans and the cylons, but the rate at which that happened never worked for me.

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Call Me OneTrack

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from: callmeonetrack
date: Dec. 17th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
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Unfortunately I think Ron and the writers' fascination with/love for the cylons was transferred to the characters too frequently/easily/rapidly, especially as the show progressed.

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kdbleu

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from: kdbleu
date: Dec. 17th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)
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Definitely, their enthusiasm for the cylons didn't translate for me, for a number of reasons but the unnatural pacing and lack of believable motivation in many cases is a killer.

They also, I think, fell prey to the fact in TV the creators don't have control over the amount of time a story is in. So the pacing can be very stop and go. I was thinking about this just the other day in fact, that most shows (although BSG is a notable exception) are too slow for me in the beginning, but final seasons tend to be the opposite, in a huge rush to get all the ends tied up. BSG is a noted example of this for me, though I will admit the annoyance is heightened not only by the pacing change but the mystical elements/deus ex machina seeming cheap. :(

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embolalia

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from: embolalia
date: Dec. 16th, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Awwww! They're so sweet when they're sweet :) I love the little moments you've found here of them playing in the grass and her confessions to Helo - I'd never really considered that might have expected to die there, so that was really powerful. Lovely!

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kdbleu

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from: kdbleu
date: Dec. 16th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!

I don't remember now where the idea that Kara thought she was never get off of Caprica, but it's always stuck with me. In part because it seems so plausible.

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Ariana

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from: onlyariana
date: Dec. 17th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
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Very sweet. I loved the image of them playing in the tomb. I loved it so much! It just took me to a happy place. I love that Kara played until she literally dropped. So her! Lee carrying her (all the way to Earth!) was swoony. Great job. So happy to read this.

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kdbleu

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from: kdbleu
date: Dec. 17th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
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I love the idea of them playing in the tomb too. Can't you just see everyone else rolling their eyes and wandering off?

Thank you!

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scifishipper

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from: scifishipper
date: Dec. 21st, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
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This is wonderful. As always, I love the push-pull of their relationship, but mostly, I love how spot-on Lee's reactions are. He's jealous and angry and guilty and runs instead of facing Kara. I love that. I also love that she still talks even though she knows it will ruin them.

“I know you, Lee. It matters.” She replies, small and kind of sad, turning her attention to a thread hanging off the edge of her blanket. “Everything matters with you.”

This line is so perfect and so emblematic of the problem. These things always matter to him and he can't let them go.

Wonderful work, Kate! <3

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kdbleu

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from: kdbleu
date: Dec. 22nd, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
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Thank you so much.

It's interesting that with some distance I can be a lot more honest about their faults. It's not that I wouldn't fix them if given a chance, but the integrity of their flaws is just as important as their reconciliation.

I actually couldn't stop Kara from talking there. It was kind of funny, and she was totally wrecking things. And Lee wouldn't help her out. *shakes head*

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rdave1

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from: rdave1
date: Dec. 28th, 2012 01:26 pm (UTC)
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Awww! You crazy, crazy pilots! I love the little time they got on Kobol to be normal and care free almost child like in their play. They both would carry each other to Earth physically, emotionally and any other form. Lee is right, they can do ANYTHING together, anything! Wonderful job!

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kdbleu

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from: kdbleu
date: Dec. 29th, 2012 12:08 am (UTC)
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They would carry each other anywhere.

Thank you so much!

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kdbleu

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from: kdbleu
date: Jan. 2nd, 2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
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They could do anything. They would have.



thank you for reading.

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