Title: This Transparency
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Here we are at last, alone, without loneliness.
Notes: S1, no spoilers
Between patrols, meetings with the president, and two ships rioting over, of all things, soap, Lee doesn't see Kara for more than a week.
He doesn't realize he's missed her until he turns a corner and almost collides with her.
He stumbles, and she puts a hand on his elbow, steadies him. He stammers an apology, and she laughs, brushes her hair out of her eyes.
Her hair's getting longer, he notices, a few ragged strands catching against her face.
Unthinking, he reaches out, stops an inch before he touches her skin. She's warm, and he draws his hand back.
"I'm late for a card game," she says suddenly, startling him.
"Oh." His eyes drop down, and he reviews her clothes, sweats and a sweater, the zipper pulled low, down to--
He closes his eyes, longer than a blink should be.
"Care to join me?" Kara asks, and Lee opens his eyes, takes in her smile, slow and insinuating.
He shakes his head. "Can't. I'm meeting with Tactical in half an hour."
"Suit yourself." She taps him on the chest, pushing him back a step.
It's all he can do to not watch her swagger away.
The next afternoon, he finds himself with a rare, unscheduled hour. He's tempted to spend it in his rack, but decides his Viper could use a tune-up.
On the way to the hangar bay, he passes the ready room, and when he hears Kara's voice ringing out, he slows.
He doesn't want to interrupt her lecture, or distract the nuggets, so he pauses just outside the door's threshold, hidden from her gaze by the rows of new pilots.
Today's lesson is on maneuvers in battle, flight formations in particular. It's basic tactics, and he finds himself tuning it out, letting himself be lulled, instead, by the rhythm of Kara's speech.
She speaks at a harsh clip, faster than she does in regular conversation, but he likes the way her voice dips when she's making a point. The way she stifles a laugh when one of the students masks a question with a joke. The way the room rings with brash confidence when she dismisses them for flight prep.
When the room stirs, he slips away. He feels embarrassed, but he couldn't explain why.
At two in the morning, Lee expects to have the gymnasium to himself.
When he walks into the room, however, he's heralded by the thud of the heavy bag slamming into the wall.
He watches it swing forward, then back, and between those slow accelerations, he glimpses Kara.
"Hey," he greets.
"Hey." Her leg lashes out, kicks the heavy bag one more time, then she hops back. "You're up late." She wipes the sweat from her brow with her forearm.
"Couldn't sleep." He holds up his own boxing gloves. "Guess we had the same idea."
She sets her gloved hands on her hips. "Well." Her gaze travels from his head to his toes, and back again. "Up for a round?"
He raises his eyebrows at the challenge. "With you, Starbuck?" He dares to smirk. "Always."
She paces across the room, halts in the center of the makeshift ring. "Come on, then." Hits her gloves together and bounces on her toes.
He steps onto the mat. "Give it your best shot." He raises his fists, focuses on her stance, instead of the sweat beading against her collarbone.
Kara strikes almost immediately, but he's ready. He parries her jab, ducks back and circles.
She laughs. "Afraid I'll ruin that pretty face?" Feint, feint again, hit to the shoulder.
"Aw, Kara." He shuffles sideways, double-taps her in the ribs, then again on the chin. "You think I'm pretty?"
She bares her teeth and dances around him, lets loose a flurry of blows, each of which he manages to block.
Except for the last one, which lands squarely in his stomach. He doubles over, expects her to back up, give herself space to draw her arm back.
Instead she steps forward, too close. Her ankle hooks around his, and they fall, a tangle of limbs.
"Ow," she mumbles, and she sits up, tugging off her gloves, grinding her elbow into his hip in the process.
Lee winces, props himself up. "I never thought you were graceful, but--"
She smacks him on the chest, and he laughs, but her palm is still spread against him, the pressure of her weight slowly easing him back down.
When his back hits the mat again, Kara leans over him. A lock of her hair falls forward, brushes against his cheek.
A thrill of something, maybe fear, maybe something else, courses through him.
Then she's up, out the door, and Lee lets out his breath like a sigh.
It's two days before he sees her again, without a roomful of crew or the vacuum of space between them.
It's mid-morning, and he's just finished a patrol. He stops by the rec room before hitting the showers, hoping for a cup of coffee.
She's there, alone, seated at one of the tables. Instead of a deck of cards, however, she has charts and clipboards set in front of her. She glances up, briefly, as he enters the room. "Captain." Then she returns to her paperwork.
He leans against the hatch, watches her as she scribbles on one sheet, then jabs her pencil at another, checking sharply. She's caught her bottom lip between her teeth, and when she's not writing, she's twirling the pencil between her fingers.
She looks up at him again. "Something I can do for you, Lee?" A smile hovers around her lips, but doesn't quite settle there.
He shrugs. "Just wanted a cup of coffee."
"Coffee's on the other side of the room," she points out.
"Right." He doesn't move. "Thanks."
She watches him watch her, taps her pencil against the tabletop.
"How are the classes going?"
She raises her eyebrows at the segue. "Fine." She pushes aside a few forms, picks one from the pile. "I have a couple more ready for the rosters."
"Yeah?" He stirs from his spot, finally, and shuts the hatch. Shrugs off her look and takes the paper, skims over the names. "Not bad. I'll work them into the schedule."
He puts the paper back in the stack, placing a hand on the back of her chair as he does.
She smells warm, and a little like engine grease. He leans closer.
"Coffee, right?" Her chair scrapes back as she stands, and he stumbles back. "Sounds like a plan."
She strides across the room, unscrews the lid from the carafe. Turns her back to him as she pours.
He follows, takes the cup she hands to him. He drinks the lukewarm liquid slowly, watches her over the rim of the cup as she settles against the wall. When he finishes, he sets the cup on the table, ambles over to Kara.
He braces his shoulder on the wall, inches from hers, and smiles.
He remembers, suddenly, being thirteen, and asking May Sanders to go with him to the Feast of Ceres. She was nothing like Kara, small and dark and shy, but he feels just like he felt then, right before she said yes.
The tip of Kara's tongue darts out, flicks against the corner of her mouth. He tries not to stare, but does anyway.
"Lee," she starts, his name almost an exhalation of breath.
He gives up all pretense, stares unabashedly. "Yeah?"
"Would you just," she stammers, and it startles him into looking back into her eyes.
"Would you just," she repeats. She breathes deep, her breasts barely brush against his chest. "Just, please--"
He doesn't recognize her, right at this moment. The lines of her face are softened, her eyes are wide. He frowns, doesn't answer her question, because he doesn't know who this Kara is. He can't guess which way she'll jump.
The moment drags on too long, and Kara blinks. Bites her lip, and the Kara he knows starts to seep into her eyes again. The Kara that would never let him get this close, the Kara that will turn away in two seconds if he doesn't do something.
He panics, lunges, and his forehead bumps hers as he bows his head. She yelps, and he mumbles, "Sorry, sorry," before tilting his head and pressing his lips against hers.
A/N: Title and summary adapted from Pablo Neruda's Sonnet LIV:
Luminous mind, bright devilOriginally linked here. Linked on beyond_insane. Linked on bsg_creative.
of absolute clusterings, of the upright noon--:
here we are at last, alone, without loneliness,
far from the savage city's delerium.
Just as a pure line describes the dove's curve,
as the fire honors and nourishes peace,
so you and I made this heavenly outcome.
The mind and love live naked in this house.
Furious dreams, rivers of bitter certainty,
decisions harder than the dreams of a hammer
flowed into the lovers' double cup,
until those twins were lifted into balance
on the scale: the mind and love, like two wings.
--So this transparency was built.