Fandom: Battlestar Galactica (both versions)
Thanks: To maharetr and zebra363 for beta-reading.
Disclaimer: No canon was injured in the making of this fanfic. No corporate profits were injured either.
Summary: Three things that never happened.
Note: There's also now a wonderful remix to the last of these stories, "Grounded": Prayers Are Said (And the People Rest Remix) by lyra_sena.
All the Ways of You
Kara slides into the bunk next to Lee, wriggles into the sleep-scented dark and drops a silent kiss on the bare nape of Lee's neck.
"Mmmm," murmurs Lee, rolling over, still mostly asleep, one leg scissoring between Kara's, a hand draping over Kara's waist. "What's the time?"
"Bedtime," Kara whispers, her lips only a breath away from Lee's.
Lee closes the distance, her mouth opening against Kara's, slick and hot and soft, the way it only ever is when Lee's not quite awake.
Kara slips her hand down, down, over the gentle swell of Lee's belly, into the nest of covers. She slowly works her way into Lee's pants, into another hot, slick mouth that sucks her in.
Lee moans, and pushes her breasts against Kara's.
Kara thrusts her fingers into Lee's cunt, slow and steady, in and out, and Lee scrabbles at Kara's singlet, the sheets, everything that's separating their skin. Then there's sweet friction, nipple against nipple, the giving curves of hips and thighs moving and rubbing against each other in the timeless motions of love.
"Gods," Kara breathes against the sweat-dewed plane of Lee's jaw, "I love everything about you."
"I love everything about you, too," Apollo says, pushing Starbuck up against the turboflush partition.
"Like what?" Starbuck asks, unsnapping Apollo's belt, letting it fall to the deck with a thud.
"Like the way you taste," says Apollo, biting the smooth skin just beneath Starbuck's ear, then tonguing it gently.
Starbuck turns his head to give Apollo better access, while still managing to pop the buttons on Apollo's pants and thrust them down over the swell of his ass. "What else?"
"The sounds you make just before you come," says Apollo, sliding his hand under Starbuck's shirt and thumbing a nipple.
"I think that's my line," says Starbuck, voice no longer even. He pushes Apollo away and falls to his knees. A rough, desperate sound comes from deep in his throat the moment his tongue makes contact with the head of Apollo's cock.
"Oh, Gods," says Apollo, looking down at Starbuck's lips closing around his shaft, "and I really, really love your mouth, Starbuck."
"Oh, Gods," says Apollo, "I can't believe the things you do with that mouth, Starbuck."
Kara smirks and puffs a smoke ring across the card table. "You don't know half the things I can do with this mouth, Apollo."
"Something for which my heart is eternally grateful," Lee says, waving at the smoke. "Not to mention my lungs, circulatory system and tastebuds."
"Can you two please stop with the innuendo long enough to bid?" Crashdown demands. "I'm on duty in twenty minutes."
"I don't think so," Starbuck replies, taking another toke on the cigar. "It's part of my strategy, and I never frack with anything that works this well."
"No lucky streak lasts forever," Apollo says, pointedly, "and the day yours ends, you better believe I'm going to be there to see it, up close and personal."
Kara's smirk transforms subtly into something lazy and anticipatory. "I just bet you will, Lee," she says. "I just bet you will."
The More Things Change
The stars performed a slow kaleidoscope outside the canopy of Starbuck's viper. The view was monotonous, offering no distraction.
Starbuck sighed impatiently, wishing for a pack of cards. Anything to help pass the time during the endless wait for Apollo to pull his finger out and come to the rescue.
Starbuck really hated waiting. Mostly because it always ended the same way...
...with obsessive worrying at her memories of being with Zack.
...with obsessive worrying at his memories of being with Athena.
The worst thing, Kara thought, was not knowing how it would have worked out with Zack.
It had lasted such a brief time and ended so spectacularly badly.
And she was left with all these unanswered questions. Would they have been happy? Would they have fought? Would he still have loved her once he knew all her faults?
Would Kara really have been able to live with the same person, day after day after day? Or was she, as she secretly suspected sometimes, in the dark reaches of the night, too fickle for so much commitment?
The worst thing, Starbuck thought, was knowing that nothing would have made it work out with Athena.
It had lasted such a brief time and ended so spectacularly badly.
And he was left with all these unanswered questions. Why hadn't they been happy? Why couldn't they stop fighting? Why couldn't she still love him once she knew all his faults?
Why hadn't Starbuck wanted to live with the same person, day after day after day? Was he really, despite the secret yearning he only admitted to in the lonely reaches of the night, too fickle for so much commitment?
And then there was Lee.
It was easy to see aspects of Zack in Lee, like a ghost flickering under his skin.
She and Lee were such good friends, and Kara couldn't help but wonder how much of their friendship was because of those similarities... and she couldn't help but consider how long she and Lee had managed to remain friends, despite everything... and she couldn't help but wonder if that meant it would have worked out with Zack after all.
Yes, it was all too easy to see aspects of Zack in Lee. In fact, sometimes they were so alike it scared Kara a little, suggesting things about her sexual programming that she really didn't want to know.
And then there was Pol.
It was easy to see aspects of Athena in Apollo, like a doppelganger flickering under his skin.
He and Pol were such good friends, and Starbuck couldn't help but wonder how much of their friendship was because of those similarities... and he couldn't help but consider how long he and Pol had managed to remain friends, despite everything... and he couldn't help but wonder why, in the end, that had made it harder, not easier, to work things out with Athena.
Yes, it was all too easy to see aspects of Athena in Apollo. In fact, sometimes they were so alike it scared Starbuck a little, suggesting things about his sexual programming that he really didn't want to know.
Because in the dark lonely reaches of the night (or when there was nothing to do but wait for rescue, while the stars spun, slow and monotonous, outside the viper's cockpit), it was hard not to let the thought surface that, just maybe, she'd chosen the wrong sibling.
Because in the dark lonely reaches of the night (or when there was nothing to do but wait for rescue, while the stars spun, slow and monotonous, outside the viper's cockpit), it was hard not to let the knowledge surface that, just maybe, he was too afraid to choose the right sibling.
The radio crackled to life.
"Wakey, wakey," Apollo said, sounding weary and more than a little worried. "Time to come home, Starbuck."
Starbuck paused for a moment before replying. Watching the stars spin. Pushing away the memories.
Suppressing the shiver of warmth caused by Apollo's voice.
Then, trying to inject some devil-may-care nonchalance into it, Starbuck said, "What took you so fracking long, Apollo?"
"Why?" Apollo responded, the smile of relief clear in every word. "Did you miss me?"
"Sure," said Starbuck, watching Apollo manoeuvre his viper so they were spinning in tandem. "You're all I fracking thought about."
"Do I even want to know?" Apollo asked, laughing now. "How much is it going to cost me?"
"What do you think? You know I won't rest until I have everything you have."
As though in response, the grapple shot out and attached to Starbuck's viper with a clang.
"Is that all?" Apollo said. "It won't take you long then. You've already got most of it."
The stars had already stopped spinning.
"Apollo," Starbuck replied, eyes closed to block out the view, "you really have absolutely no fracking idea."
"I can't believe we're here," Kara says, falling back against the grassy hillside, her face tilted towards the sun, eyes shut.
"I can't believe we're obsolete," says Lee, staring at the vista stretched out before them: park, trees, kids kicking a ball, a dog chasing a stick, and, beyond that, cars flashing in the sun, the rising towers of the city, the distant curve of the bay. "I thought we'd be K.I.A. for sure."
Kara cracks her eyes open and squints up at Lee. "You always were a pessimist."
Lee laughs, his face suddenly younger as the etched-in stress lines fall away. "Maybe. But I'm really, really glad to be proven wrong."
"You should be used to it by now," she says, and closes her eyes again, returning to her sun worship.
Lee smiles fondly down at her.
A tiny smirk hovers at the corners of Kara's mouth, as though she can sense what he's doing. She pats the grass between them.
With a sigh he lies down next to her, so close they're touching: shoulder to shoulder, elbows spooned, his knuckles against her thumb. He stares up at a drifting cloud for a while, fascinated by its slow evolution from one shape to another.
"What are you going to do?" he asks.
Kara shrugs. "Become a bum, probably. The only thing I'm good at is flying."
"And teaching," Lee points out. "Once they've adapted our viper technology, they'll probably need someone to train their pilots."
"Yeah," Kara replies, voice full of false nonchalance. "The Commander mentioned something like that."
Lee snorts and jogs her with his elbow. "I should have known you'd be all over it."
Kara grins and casts him a brief side-long glance. "What about you?"
"School," Lee replies.
Kara turns her head until they're almost nose to nose, her eyes wide with surprise. "Really?"
"Well, I've been thinking," Lee begins.
"Uh-oh," Kara mutters.
Lee ignores her, "about studying Earth law. The way I see it, sooner or later Colonials are going to get into trouble, either through culture clash, or just..." he waves his hand, "you know. The usual trouble-makers. Then they're going to need counsel, someone who can help them with the local legal system."
"And that someone's going to be you?" Kara looks slightly boggled.
"Why not?" Lee asks, with a hint of defensiveness. "My grandfather was a lawyer, you know. Dad's dad. And I've always been interested in social policy. If you paid attention to anything other than flying, you'd know that." He pokes her shoulder. "Why the frack do you think I took the liaison job with the President?"
"Okay, good point." Kara rubs her thumb against Lee's knuckles apologetically. "I'm sure you'll be great at it, Lee. I just tend to forget about that idealistic streak of yours. There's not much space for it in a cockpit."
"Yeah," Lee says, relaxing against the grass again, mollified. "That's the thing I've always hated most about the military."
Kara eyes him speculatively. "I can't imagine you out of uniform. Gods, you'll have to wear a suit!"
"The joys of being a civvy," Lee says, grinning. "There're other perks too. Like not getting shot at on a regular basis. Not having to live in barracks. And my personal favourite, not being in a chain of command."
Where their arms are touching, Lee can feel Kara go tense, but all she says is, "I see you've given it some thought."
"Yeah." Lee pulls back just enough so that he can roll over onto his side, facing her. He reaches out and gently traces a line down the side of her face. "It's kinda weird thinking about not being your commanding officer anymore, Starbuck."
Kara's not looking at him, her eyes wide open, staring up at the sky. "Yeah."
When Lee's finger reaches Kara's jaw he changes direction, drawing a line beneath Kara's bottom lip. He halts when he reaches the middle, pressing gently against the plump swell of her mouth.
Kara abruptly sits up, and Lee's hand falls back onto the grass.
She sits very still, golden in the sunshine, her hair ruffling a little in the inconstant breeze.
Lee collapses onto his back, frowning at the tense line of Kara's neck. "Frack."
Kara says nothing. She might as well be a statue. But just as Lee opens his mouth to apologise, she says, "You're just full of surprises today, aren't you?"
Then she's moving, and at first Lee thinks she's turning to face him, getting ready to give him a piece of her mind, but she keeps right on moving after she's turned around, rolling onto her knees and shuffling towards him. He just has time to take in the unfamiliar expression on her face, before she's right by his side, lifting one leg and straddling his hips, sitting down on him, groin to groin, her hands coming to rest on his chest, pushing him down hard.
Her face is deadly serious when she speaks, so close to Lee's he has to blink to keep her features in focus. "I really loved Zack." Her fingers are pressing bruises into Lee's flesh.
He remembers the expression she wore the day of Zack's funeral; her blank-faced devastation.
"I know you did," Lee says, as his hands tentatively come to rest on Kara's hips. "I loved him too. I'd give anything to have him back."
And then she's kissing him, her skin sun-warmed against his, her teeth clamping on to his bottom lip, biting just hard enough to hurt, her body heavy, shivering beneath the desperate clutch of his palms, pressing him down against the unfamiliar-smelling earth and the crisp, pungent grass. Lee kisses back without thought, without intent, caught up completely in the moment, sliding his tongue against her teeth and into her mouth, and it's so perfect when Kara makes a breathy moan, as though she's always wanted this, always wanted him, so fracking perfect, that Lee knows, with every atom of his being, that he's finally come home.