letterstonorah: (kara knocking one back by mammothluv)
[personal profile] letterstonorah
Title: Duly Noted but not Accounted For
Author: letterstonorah
Pairings: Kara/Lee
Rating: NC17
Summary: AU (but the 12 Colonies are still the 12 Colonies). A funeral brings Lee back to Caprica to see an old childhood friend; he proceeds to angst. 
Warning: Canon-consistent mentions of abuse (no portrayal). Underage sex (18 yrs old & 17 yrs old, depends on your state (or country?) I suppose). Lee being a serious angst bear. 
Word Count: 6600
Disclaimer: Not mine, obvi

Author's Note: Not betaed because I've been equal parts excited to post fic and nervous. Sometimes, if I don't get things out IMMEDIATELY I will never post them. Self-consciousness rears its ugly head. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH SECRET FIC I HAVE THAT I'M TOO EMBARRASSED TO POST? Alas. 

As usual, comments greatly appreciated.

Any woman still in his bed by morning has overstayed her welcome. This is not the man Lee wants to be. This is the man Lee is.

He doesn't think about Kara when he's frakking them. He can't. He won't. The women he takes home are people, with lives and families and jobs and passions and beliefs. He will not deny them that dignity by treating them as substitutes.

In their arms, he can for a few godsdamned minutes forget about Kara Thrace. He always says their names, moans them loudly. It's his favorite kind of defiance. It's a 'frak you' to her.

Last night he'd been with a woman named Janna Miller. She crawled out of bed before Lee woke up.

When his alarm clock buzzes, 6am, Lee pretends the still-warm pillow is Kara. He's not perfect. He's not a saint. He takes the pathetic victories he can. He fools himself into happiness, into a reality where she is next to him.

Gods, he's too old for this. She's been gone for so long now. Move on, Lee. Move the frak on.


The office is already loud and busy when he arrives, packed with partners and interns and assistants and paralegals. It's one of those mornings where he's infinitely thankful for his private office, where he can shut the door and lose himself in documents and phone calls.

Lee is a lawyer, which means he reads about shit, writes about shit, and talks about shit. Sometimes, he cares about that shit, and sometimes, he doesn't. Generally, he's more fascinated by the abundance of typefonts available on his word processor than by the cases he's working. How can there be so many ways to form the same letters? Stranger still - handwriting. Even if one thousand people were to scribble the exact same sentence, none of the notes would be identical.

Kara had the most distinctive way of writing as a child - clipped and coarse, her 'A's like the bow of a sunken battleship.

You write like a pirate - Lee had told her, even though he'd never, in fact, seen anything written by a pirate. It just felt piratey, like it'd been written during a siege in the Picon Sea. You do everything like a pirate. Are you sure you're not a pirate?

I wish I was. A space pirate to be exact. A buccaneer. She'd said it staring up at the blue sky, arms outstretched to the side, her smile wide, silver braces around her teeth.

A fountain pen made things easier. Lee had given her one of his on her twelfth birthday, and suddenly her twisted letters transformed into beautiful looping, leaning curves. There was an ancient quality to the calligraphy, like the typeface that might be found in one of the original copies of the Scrolls - still hard to read, but gorgeous and otherworldly.

He has saved a number of notes from her:

dear leland. you are my best friend. i love you very, very much. happy 10th birthday.


your favorite space pirate - the swashbuckling, alien slaying, treasure hunting, cosmic buccaneer, the amazing, STAR-BUCK! (see what i did there?)

ps. i was thinking since i have a pirate name now, you should have one, too. how about 'lee'? i think it sounds more piratey than 'leland'.


lee - mr. tauro looks like a goat, no? and is that why you're so focused on his lecture? you look constipated. lighten up. come to my place tonight & i'll teach you everything you need to know. you know i'm smarter than you, right?


your pirate.

lee - not gonna go to the dance after all. don't mope. please just go without me. and you can't show up at my house tonight, okay? i don't need you to play white night. have fun. you can borrow my flask and spike the punch. should spice things up a bit. i'd just bring you down anyway.


ps. your mother will be thrilled! "oh, you mean that little vixen harpy whore who called me a raging cunt with no soul isn't going to the dance with you? you don't say."


lee - i could barely read your last note it was so frakking neat. it hurt my eyes. the lines were way to godsdamned straight to be readable. but i heard the news from zak. CONGRATULATIONS. i knew you'd get in because you're you. meet me during your free period in the closet in the science lab? let me congratulate you good & proper.


lee - i'm not gonna be at your going away party. i just can't. don't be pissed at me. besides, my mom's off her frakking rocker lately. i don't think she'd let me go (heh, not that i've ever let that stop me).



lee - no. just no. don't even think about it. you ARE going. we're not even talking about this. i don't even know why i'm honouring this whack ass idea with a note. you've always wanted to go to virgon u, so that's where you'll go. caprica's law program sucks balls in comparison. and isn't it you who is always bitching about wanting to get off this frakking planet? "blah blah blah, woe is me i because i'm stuck in this shitty ass high school with shitty ass kara thrace" (okay, so maybe i embellished a little bit). well, here's your chance to do something about it! i didn't put up with your kvetching all these years so you could wimp out at the last moment because of some noble ass ideas about love. trust me. i'm not going anywhere. me & caprica are like THIS. you're meant for brilliant things, you know? and if you say another word about staying here, i'll cut off your nutsack my damn self. they accept twenty people in the whole godsdamned colonies. twenty. remember how pissed we were when judge marin swung the vote effectively legalizing search and seizure without a warrant (or even probable frakking cause!!!!)? you gotta train up to be his replacement so you can make the right decisions. don't frak up this opportunity. it's like you're trying to be me or something. :p



These notes and a few pictures are the only physical evidence of her existence. Not a day passes that he doesn't look at them, read them, pray to them.


Anger works. Anger gives him purpose. Anger gets him out of bed. Lee holds on to grudges out of neccessity. They are his livelihood. He will never forgive Kara, ever. She left him. She left him. She left him.


He dreams of her again tonight, no surprise there. He worries that he's forgetting her face. More and more, she appears in his mind not as a body or a person, but as a ray of scorching light, numbing his corneas, forcing him to blink his lids shut.

He awakes sweating and tosses the sheet off him. Tonight Lee's alone, thank the Lords. Flipping on the television in his room, he turns to the 24-hour news channel, letting the troubles of the Colonies distract him and lull him back to sleep. Everything's fine. Everythin'gs good. Everything's normal. Tomorrow he'll hit the gym early, wear out his body, and grab a coffee with some of his colleagues before work.


What childhood game doesn’t begin with a circle? With sweaty hands? With a stupid frakking song? With heartbreak?

Artemis & Apollo is one of the more cruel ones in Lee’s memory.

Children stand side by side around ‘the hunt’, the unlucky girl or boy who joins the game last. The two kids who get to be Artemis and Apollo chase after this center person whilst the children in the circle chant a song. The hunt may only escape if one of the kids in the ring trades places with her. The same is true with the hunters; anybody who wants a chance to do the chasing can raise her hand and switch with either Apollo or Artemis, the game continuing on endlessly. Usually, kids enjoy being the hunt for a bit, screaming and running from the hunters before trading places with someone else when they get too tired.

But no one ever switched spots with Kara. She ran around and around, the different hunters never catching her, the kids laughing as she became more and more exhausted.

When Lee dwells too long on all the wrong choices he’s made, he can barely stand up.

Why didn’t he trade places with her? He thinks if he can answer that question, his life will make sense.


That his mother is the one to alert him of the news feels ironic somehow, though he isn’t sure why.



He hasn’t heard from her in ages, not since shortly after Zak died, not since she’d slid off the wagon, landing firmly on her ass, not since begging her to go back to rehab, volunteering to pay for it.

“Do you remember that girl you used to play with? Kara, was it? Kara Thrace.”

Lee inhales, swallows, his body unnaturally still. “What’s wrong?”

“Her mother has just passed,” says Carolanne.

And it’s not right, but Lee feels so relieved. Kara is fine. She is alive.


In his earliest memory of her, she is flying. Her legs pump out on the rickety swing, the chains lurching, the rusted metal frame protesting. There is blood, he thinks, and bruises on her skin. Wisps of blonde hair frizz out from the confines of her two Gemenon braids, going every which way. Wild child is what Lee’s mother would come to call her, one of the nicer names she had for Kara. There was also trash and filth and miscreant.

Lee still rememebrs what Kara wore that day—a pyrmaid jersey for a team he didn’t recognize, the fabric drooping almost down to her knees, obviously meant for someone much larger. For bottoms she had on blue jeans so washed of color they were nearly white. He would never forget her brown, laceup shoes nor the mismatched, colored socks that poked out of them. That was the day he realized not every kid’s parents bought their clothes from the same store Lee’s mom bought his, and maybe there was something unfair about this.

“What you staring at?” she asked, breathless.

Too entranced to answer, Lee kept watching, so sure she would flip over the top bar of the set.

When the swing was at its highest point, the girl disappearing into the bright sun, she jumped off, landing right in front of Lee. You want me to give you a push?—she’d asked, gesturing to the swing.

He’d bolted away, running the whole two miles back to his neighborhood.


Lee pops a Xanax before boarding the ship. He is going home. He is going to see her.

A man with long hair and pale skin sits next to him, legs outstretched. Lee knows that he's going to be a talker, something about the way he smiles when he takes his seat. Lee puts on his headphones, takes out a book from his briefcase - a revisionist historical novel in which the Ha'la'tha won the Tauron Civil War. It isn't his favorite by the author, but is certainly passable - and obviously preferable to talking to the man beside him.

"Good book?" the guy asks.

Lee pretends not to hear.

The man taps on his shoulder. "I said - good book?"

"Yeah," Lee says, hoping that's the end of it, knowing that it's not.

"What's it about? I'm been looking for some new books to read myself."

Lee sighs, slipping his headphones off of his ears until they're slung around his neck. "It's about a woman who leads the Ha'la'tha into a victory against the the Tauron government."

"Ah, so fantasy," the man smiles.

Lee turns the page.

"You from Caprica?" he says.

"Yes," says Lee, and he doesn't know how he could possibly be any more curt, be any more direct with his signals.

"My mom was from Tauron, you know," says the man, "fought with the Ha'la'tha, too - quit and fled to Caprica after some bad shit went down, though I don't know much about it. She never talked about what happened to her, and she died last year, so I guess I'll never know the truth of it. Me? I can't stand war of any kind. Brings out the worst in people, you know? Nobody is kind during war. Nobody gives anybody the benefit of the doubt. Everybody feels free to be their own personal worst. I think something happened that really screwed up my mom good, something that changed her. But I don't know. I wasn't even alive yet. What do I know?"

Lee listens, closes his book. "Your mother sounds like a very brave woman."

"She had to be to raise me," he says, laughing heartily. "By the way, I'm Charles."

Lee extends his hand. "I'm Lee."

"And what were you doing on Virgon?"

Lee shifts so he's facing the man, letting himself be drawn into the conversation. "It's my home. I'm returning to Caprica for a funeral."

"Shit man, sorry. Who died?"

"There's this girl I once knew - anyway, it's her mother. Cancer."

"Caprica's a long way to go from Virgon for a girl you once knew."

Lee turns, facing the seat in front of him. "I've got family on Caprica, too. I'm making a trip out of it."

"Uh huh," says the man. "When was the last time you saw this girl?"

Lee had been eighteen, she seventeen. That was, what, twelve years ago? He'd packed his bags for university fully intending to wait for her, but she didn't write back, didn't return his phone calls. When he returned home for Solstice break, she'd just - disappeared. Her mother was tight-lipped about the whole thing, revealed nothing, said Kara just ran away for no damn good reason. Who does that? Just goes away? No note. No letter. Lee'd been sure something had happened to her, had been furious when the police refused to investigate.

But when Zak died the next year in a car crash he'd received white flowers and a note.

lee - i'm so sorry to hear about your brother. he was a sweet kid & i know how close you were. take care of yourself, okay? no self-destructing allowed. you're too good a person for all that. i know it probably means shit, but i miss you a lot. i can't believe this happened. if you need me i'm going to be in town for a few days. i'm staying at this address - 51024 Leto Valley. don't tell anyone. we can talk or whatever.


Lee had been too angry to go see her, not after she'd frakking abandoned him, left him thinking she was dead or worse. That was the last letter he'd ever received from her.


They frakked for the first time in the backseat of Kara’s muscle car whilst Zak stood in line for concert tickets not two hundred meters away. The three of them had been taking turns in the queue.

Rain fell, soaking the hundred or so fans already in line hours before the ticket booth even opened. Kara’d just done her time, Zak relieving of her duty, and she jumped into the transport shivering, strands of chin length hair clinging to her cheeks, to the back of her neck.

“Frak, Kara, you’re soaking wet,” Lee had said, removing his jacket to give to her.

“That’s what he said,” said Kara, grinning, throwing the umbrella into the trunk. She peeled off her wet sweater, revealing a thin, white tank-top underneath, and Lee remembers having had to physically restrain himself from growling. Gods, it wasn’t fair to need something so badly.

“Here,” Lee said, handing her his jacket.

She took it, but threw it in to the trunk along with her sweater and the umbrella. “Take off your shirt,” she demanded, still trembling from the cold, droplets of water falling from her neck down to her chest.”


“Body heat,” she explained, “I’m frakking freezing.” Next she removes her shirt, braless underneath.

"Frak," Lee said, taking off his own shirt, and he'd known for a few months this was where things were heading. They'd made out too many times to count, her perfect lips an addiction he couldn't shake, the promise of her tongue sliding against his one of the few things that got him through the day. His hands had grazed the smooth skin of her back, tummy, thighs before, but it always stopped there. He was so afraid of ruining everything, of saying or doing the wrong thing.

But right now, with her top naked in front of him, Lee knows with reasonable certainty that he's going to make Kara scream his name tonight, make her body stiffen and shake for him, and he doesn't give a frak what it ruins, if their frakking blows up the whole godsdamned Colonies.

He leaned forward and pressed his body on top of hers, her head knocking back into the transport window. She slid down, reached her head up to kiss him. Her moaning and her writhing, her sensitivity to his every touch - nothing in the worlds could get him going like she did. In seconds she was already desperate, from cold and shivering to hot and kinetic before Lee even knew what was happening. He couldn't tear his lips from hers even if he wanted to -- not that he ever would. Her mouth was magnetic. Her skin was so easy to sink into, to drown in.

She pushed his head down to her neck, and he gladly drew his tongue along the visible vein, eliciting shudders from Kara. There wasn't an inch of her he didn't want to taste, so he moved down, worshiping her body with his mouth. He lavished her chest with wet kisses until her reached the soft, plush skin of her breast. He licked the rounded sides, working his way to the center, causing Kara to arch her chest up in what Lee could only surmise was the most beautiful gesture in the entire universe.

He took the hard , rough skin of her nipple into his mouth, causing her to cry out. Lee 's erection was painfully hard inside of his jeans, even as he rubbed himself against Kara's inner thigh, relieving the pressure as best he could. He felt Kara's hands mess with the buttons of the trousers, her fingers grazing his length through his briefs. Frak, frak, frak. He'd done this before, was far from being some naive, virginal flower, but gods, was it supposed to feel so godsdamned electric? Kara pushed her hips up, jerking herself off against his now naked dick. His tongue moved from her nipples, up her chest, back to her neck, til he was inside her mouth again, the heat of her lips sending all the blood in his body rushing to his cock.

"Help me," she said, sounding nothing like Kara at all, the voice too whimpering. Lee realized she was trying to unsnap the button on her jeans, and he lent a hand. Lee pulled down her jeans several inches, her white underwear darkening as they became wet.

Positioning himself that he was right over her, his dick a centimeter - if that - from her, he stopped.

"Lee," Kara begged.

"No condom," he said, coming to his senses, the choppiness of his breathing surprising him.

"Just. Move," she said, arching herself into his cock, her wet panties sliding against his hard length.

"Frak, Kara," he said, sliding up and down, essentially stroking himself off with her underwear. Her hands wrapped tightly around his neck, pulling him down into another kiss, and her hips were jerking insanely fast, her body possessed.

She was trying to say something but was completely incoherent - nothing coming from her lips but raspy, high-pitched moans, steadily growing louder, more guttural. He rocked against her, determined to hold on, even though he swore he was seconds from losing it. Lee slipped three fingers from his free hand underneath her panties, pushing them into her all at once. That did it. With a few more thrusts of her hips, her panties sliding against his cock as she road his fingers, she let go, her body juddering as she called his name. His name on her lips finished him, and het let himself go, pulling up slightly so his come fell against the bare skin of her belly.

"Love you so much, Kara," he said into her neck, their bodies both wet.

"You sure?" she asked. "You promise?"

"I swear it."

"Good," she said, nibbling at this shoulder.


Staying with his mother is not an option, so he grabs a room in a hotel not far from he and Kara's old stomping grounds. Gods, they'd been inseparable. 

That first day he met her was the last time Lee ever ran from Kara. She didn't go to his school. At the time, he'd been a student at Galileo Prepratory, a private school in downtown Caprica City. After his mother would pick him up, force him to eat a snack of peanut butter and apples, he'd jet off to the playground to play with Kara. It was strange how the houses changed so quickly, from pristine, white two-stories to small, chipped, falling-apart duplexes. You should come to the park by my house - Lee had said. Kara seemed skeptical - You sure I'm allowed there?. Lee dragged her toward his bike. It's a public park! Come on! The jungle gym beats this one by ten miles. He stood and pedaled as she sat on the seat, her arms wrapped around his waist, her head resting against his back.

She'd gotten into a fight immediately, duking it out with a boy twice her size, at least three years older than her. He'd called her trousers 'highwaters' for the way they stopped just above her ankles, way too small for her. For that, she swiped her leg against his knees, causing himt to stumble back. Even with flooding jeans I can still beat your ass - she'd said. Lee had never heard anyone his age swear before, and looking on as Kara towered over the older boy, he suddenly  felt liberated. Ass - he muttered, then for good measure - frak, piss, damn, hell, shit, ass, ass, ass, ass.


He wanders the streets of Crescent Moon Park, not admitting to himself that he's looking for her. On the corner, a gangly teenager with braces loiters, and Lee thinks - nothing really changes. Kids are still selling drugs on the same godsdamn block, the expensive transports rolling up to get their gear, before promptly heading back to the side of town where the tax dollars actually reach.

Lee's not prepared to see her house, looking exactly the same as it did the first time he ever saw it, when he was nine and Kara was eight and his mother refused to let her into their house. That was the first time he asked her about the bruises. She'd said - Being a kid doesn't make you stupid, Leland. You know where they're from. Now come on. I'll show you my room.

Plastic toys are strewn about the front yard - a kiddy pool, a bike with training wheels. Somebody opens the front door, and Lee's breath catches, but it's not Kara, just some woman with a sleeping toddler in her arms, dressed in a waitress uniform.

"You lookin for somebody?" she asks, spotting him, frowning.

"No," he says. It's a lie he's used to telling.

When he makes it to the playground - Kara's playground, the one where he'd first seen her - he sees it's been turned into a pyramid court. The dilapidated swing set is long gone, probably deemed a safety hazard. The tears that come when the full weight of its absence hit him are unexpected. He wipes them off with the back of his hand and turns to run, not stopping until he's back at his hotel.


He can't frakking help himself. He goes to the pub they used to sneak in, buying ambrosia with fake id's that didn't really fool anyone. He goes to the toilets, enters the stall where he'd once knelt, his face lost in Kara's thighs, his tongue inside her, thinking he could do this all night and never get bored. By some miracle, the etching Kara had made is still on the wall: K & L = Artemis + Apollo, bcuz frak being the hunted.

A thousand memories wrap around him, and he's not sure if the images are comforting or suffocating him.

He cannot shake this woman, though he thought for so long he could. He'd even fallen in love with someone else, a military officer named Anastasia who made him smile and laugh. She left him for another man when she realized his heart belonged to someone else.

Back at the hotel, he collapses into the bed. He should go see his mother. It's been too long. But he's so very tired of always being disappointed.


The funeral is at the temple Kara used to go to as a child. Lee knows it well because she dragged him there all the time. They played hide and seek in there. Later, having outgrown such games, they would feel each other up in a confessional booth, giggling as they zipped themselves up, a priestess chasing them out.

He parks his rented transport and takes a swig from his flask - or rather, from Kara's flask. It's the one she'd given him to take to the dance the night she bailed on him, the one she'd never reclaimed. He swallows the bitter liquid, letting it scald his throat and chest. He's been doing a lot more of this lately, and the realization just makes him tip the flask back more, pouring more of the whiskey into his mouth.

He pockets it, turns off the engine to the car, and slips out, slamming the door behind him. His mother, wrapped in a dark purple shawl, wearing black gloves, stands on the steps.

She's thinner than Lee remembers, her hair starting to gray, the lines that were once faint now more deeply etched into her face. They lock eyes and are both still for a moment. Lee's the first one to make a move, walking up to her, joining her on the steps. "I wasn't sure you'd come," she said, her eyes shining, too bright, unshed tears making them glassy.

"Why are you here?" he asks. It's not an accusation. He's genuinely curious. The only person she'd hated more than Kara Thrace was Socrata.

"Because I hoped you'd be here," she says, shrugging, her voice faltering. Tears fall quickly down her cheek, and Carolanne grabs onto the hem of Lee's jacket to steady herself. He rubs his hand along her shoulders, then her back, before pulling her in close, the scent of her smacking him off kilter, so achingly familiar.

"It's good to see you, son," she says, pulling back. "Part of me thought I'd never get to hold you again."

"Are you doing okay?" he asks. "Are you - "

"I'm not drinking," she says, "though you seem to be. Do I need to be worried?"

He smiles. "I hardly think you're the most appropriate person to stage the intervention."

She laughs easily, wiping the wetness that's accumulated at her eyes. "Well, your father, then? He's here."

Lee had been in touch with his dad sporadically over the years, an email here and a voicemail there. Still, it was surprising that he'd leave Galactica for this. He barely knew Kara at all, certainly didn't know what she meant to Lee.

"Shall we go inside?" asks Carolanne. "It's chilly."

Lee nods, putting a hand around his mother's back, walking with her into the lobby area of the temple. People dressed in black and military dress grays wander around whilst a man hands out programs. Lee feels her before he sees her, a firm hand around his arm, pulling him up from underground, saving him from drowning. 

Lee turns, and there she is, the last twelve years of his life suddenly rendered meaningless because this, this moment, this is when he starts to live again. Her eyes are red, presumably from crying, and gods, she's - twenty-eight now? Twenty-nine? She's more magnificient than he remembered, the subtleties of her face the most splendid sort of geometry. Her hair is tied back into a short ponytail, and she wears a short black dress, form-fitting, revealing every beautiful curve of her body.

"Kara," he says, but it comes out only a tone or two above a whisper.

"Hi, Lee," she says, and she pulls him forward until their chests are touching, her head on his shoulder. She wraps her arms around his back, and Lee does the same, and they are squeezing each other tightly enough to leave marks beneath their clothes.

"I actually only came here to tell you how much I hate you," Lee whispers, his nose buried in Kara's hair.

"I know," she says. "That's why I grabbed you first. I knew not even your grudge-holding abilities could win out against my death grip."

"Gods, Kara," he says.

"Don't let go of me, okay?" she says. "Not yet. Be angry later. I promise I'll let you. Just - not now. Not right now."

Lee is pretty sure he will never let go of her again.


Kara doesn't have a place planetside, so Lee invites her back to his hotel to 'talk'.

Talking quickly dissolves into kissing, which even more quickly dissolves into the hardest frak Lee's ever had. He makes her come three times before he even thinkings about pushing himself inside her, determined to leave his mark, to make her want him, to make her stay this time. He fraks her with two fingers as he tongues her clit, her body bucking up into him, out of control. He rubs her off as he talks dirty to her, then teases her for an hour with hot, lazy kisses, driving her so crazy that slipping one finger into her drives her over the edge.

He lies back on the bed as she sucks him off, driving her hips against his leg, her slit hot and wet against his skin. Gods, he needs to be in her. He grabs her shoulder and tugs her off his cock, pulling her up. She hovers above him for a second, smiling, anticipating, like this is what she's been waiting for all godsdamn night - or if she's anything like him, the last twelve frakking years.

She sinks down onto him, and the look on her face is ecstasy. Lee knows he must look the same. She's impossibly hot and tight, clenching around him, and he's glad he's already made her come three times, because as she moves up and down on top of him, her back arched causing her breasts to fall beautifully, there's not a chance that he's lasting even another minute.

"So close," she says, riding him, her fingers digging into his shoulders. Lee drives himself into her hard, knows that she's likes it fast and rough. His hands squeeze her sides, causing the skin to go red, then she's moaning, her body going rigid. The look on her face pushes him to release, and he comes inside her.

She lies on top of him for several minutes, breathing contented sighs. "Nice talk," she says.

Laughing, Lee plays with Kara's hair, taking in every new detail of her body. More scars - although when he'd last seen her she'd already racked up quite a few. Her hair's shorter now, and she's filled out some, no longer the skinny, waifish girl he remembers. Her body is lean with muscles, her stomach flat and toned.

"You're amazing, Starbuck," he says, kissing her neck.

He feels rather than sees her smile against his chest. "No one's called me that in years."

It stings, even though of course she doesn't mean it to. The reason no one had called her that in years is because she frakking disappeared. Lee slides from under her and puts his legs on the floor, finding his briefs and putting them on. Next he puts on a clean t-shirt, some sweat pants he packed.

Kara follows suit, though he can't bring himself to look at her. Her clothes lie in various piles in the room, her panties and shoes by the lamp, her dress by the door, her bra lost in the sheets. She dresses quietly, finally putting on her jacket and heading for the room door.

"Where the frak are you going?" Lee asks.

"I thought - "

"You thought what, Kara? That I wanted you to leave me? Again? A-frakking-gain?"

"We had our fun," she says. "A nice reunion. Now back to the real world. To your life."

Lee walks up to her, leans his hand against the door frame. "How could you think for even a second that's what I wanted? You left me, Kara. You. Left. Me."

"And it was the right thing to do!" she yells, her calm, cold compulsure finally slipping away. "You wouldn't be where you are now had I stayed."

"Be where, Kara? Alone? Miserable? Missing you?" 

"Successful. Happily married. Doing what you always dreamed of doing. You know what I've been up to for the last twelve years, Lee? When I ran away from Momma - "

"First of all - I'm divorced, but it's flattering to know you've been checking up on me. Second, why in gods names did you run? I would've stayed with you. I would've protected you from her. I practically begged you to come with me to Virgon. I was on my knees."

"You were eighteen years old. Eighteen frakking years old. We were kids. Babies, practically. I wasn't going to let you ruin your life for your high school girlfriend. Who's to say I even wanted all that shit anyway? University? Marriage? A fucking labradoodle? Frak that. That's not me. Never will be."

Lee walks away from the door. If she's going to leave, fine. He can take it. Isn't that what he's been doing the past decade? He settles into a large, soft chair, pours himself a hefty drink.

"So what do you want, Kara? Clearly not me."

She shrugs, leans back against the wall. "I don't know what I want now. I've been out doing my space pirate thing. Turns out the government sort of looks down on that, though. Seizing freighter ships and stealing the goods? They don't like that."

"Oh, really?"

"Really. Served time. Thrice. I did what I do best - frak things up. Got to say, it was a hell of a lot of fun, though."

Lee takes a sip of his drink, letting the liquor settle him. "You could've told me you were going. I wouldn't have tried to stop you."

"First of all, that's a frakking lie. That's exactly what you would've done. And secondly, you think I planned it? Like I wanted to leave my home and everyone in my life I cared about? I was dying there. I couldn't take it. I had to get away from her. One night I just snapped and left, but she had eyes everywhere, friends in high places. The worlds are pretty fucking huge, but it's like I could always feel her breath hot on my neck, her feet on my heels. I don't know. I didn't want you to worry. I was seventeen. I was stupid."

"You were my whole life," Lee says. "I've loved you since I was eight years old."

"Maybe that's not a good thing. Maybe it's stupid for your whole life to be wrapped up in anyone else, especially someone like me."

She joins him on the chair, sitting on the arm.

"You're what I want. If you don't feel the same way, I'll deal, but don't try to tell me it's not okay to want what I want. Losing your hurt more than losing Zak. Do you get that? Gods I miss him, would give anything to have him back, but you were sort of my reason for getting up in the morning. You're it for me, Kara. Maybe it's pathetic. And you, Kara? Do you want me at all?"

She moves her hips on the arm of the chair, facing him. "Yeah," she says, voice small.


"Yeah," she says, louder this time, nodding.


There is so much to regret, but Starbuck won't let him. He's boosting her up over the gate of the old neighborhood pool, locked down for the night. Once she's over the fence, he follows her over, her arm helping to pull him up. Kara strips her clothes down to her underwear and jumps in. Lee gets down to his briefs, cautions in a foot, then shrieks away. "Frak, that's cold," he says.

"You want me to give you a push?" she asks.

She hoists herself out of the water, trapping her arms around his waist. They fall in together, pushing each other underneath, pulling each other back to the surface.


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