timeframe: after klg.
rating: not naughty
with thanks, as always, to claira. this is not for sloane.
I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.
Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.
Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.
- Pablo Neruda
Doctor Cottle thinks the Commander will recover, and he's the doctor, not Lee, so Lee takes him at his word. He leaves his father's side for the first time in three days, and the relief that hits him as he sinks down onto his bunk is just as great as the guilt. He rests his elbows on his knees and lets his head drop.
His father is alive, and he's not going to cry.
He lifts his head, and Kara's bunk is opposite him, and it's empty. Her bunk is empty, and soon it will be inhabited by a person who is not Kara. The bunk to his right is also empty, and that hurts too. In spite of. Because. Especially.
He might cry, after all.
He's tinkering beneath Kara's viper when a pair of feet come to a halt beside him. He ignores them. He tries not to think about who he's going to assign it to next, but it's comforting, in a way, to think of it as 'next.' After all, if he can lose Kara, he can lose any pilot.
"Captain?" Cally's voice drifts down to him.
He keeps ignoring her, keeps his hands busy, and eventually Cally walks away.
Even when there's a new name painted across the side of her viper, he knows he will always read 'Starbuck.'
"Captain," says Racetrack from behind him. He looks over his shoulder at her. "We're going to play some Triad, if you want to join us."
He walks out.
"Sir, you need to eat," Cally says.
"I will, thank you Specialist Crewman," says Lee, and when she speaks again he ignores her.
Later, when Lee sticks his head out from under the viper, there is a cup of cold soup beside the nose. There is a film of congealed fat on the top, and he thinks it might be pumpkin. He smiles and takes a sip.
It's horrible, and he grimaces.
Kara liked pumpkin soup.
It takes him three weeks to notice what a shit he's being. He's not sure he cares.
He jumps out of his viper without waiting for the ladder, and lands hard. It's becoming a habit. Cally holds out her hand to help him up.
He doesn't accept, but thanks her for the soup.
She smiles, and he wonders why she keeps trying. He's not especially nice.
He watches Kara's viper leave the hangar, an unfamiliar helmet in the cockpit ready to launch, and he fights the urge to be sick.
"Prosna's been gone three months now, and it still hurts," says Cally. When he turns to face her, her eyes are focussed in the distance. "And it's still the Colonel's fault."
She gives a tight grin, and he watches her leave.
He keeps watching long after she's gone.
His father is moved back into his own quarters, and Lee is so grateful that he helps.
"Lee," his father stops him before he can leave, "we need to talk."
"I know," Lee replies, "but can we wait until you're better? I'd hate to hit an invalid."
His father laughs.
Lee stumbles across Cally in a hallway, and he's off duty and she's off duty, so he kisses her.
She leans into the kiss and he lifts a hand to her hair, but then he realises what he's doing and breaks away.
"I'm sorry," he says, and retreats before he can see the look in her eyes.
He jumps out of his viper without waiting for the ladder. He crouches down, and as he rises, says to Cally, "the left thruster's frakked." She lets him finish his sentence before she slaps him - she was always polite like that - and then motions for him to continue his report.
Cally rests her hand on his arm for a moment.
He lets her.
"I heard a rumour," says Tigh, "about you and a Specialist Crewman. Care to elaborate, Captain?"
After a long silence, he meets Tigh's eyes. "No," he says, very carefully, and keeps watching his father's XO.
His father's XO.
His father has an XO because his father is still alive, and the man in front of him is worthless. Useless.
Tigh looks away first.
Lee rests a hand on Cally's shoulder as he talks about the repairs that his viper requires, and strokes the skin on the back of her neck. She smiles, but pays attention to the viper.
He doesn't care what happens next.
Lee's in CIC when a raider pops into existence within the fleet. It darts in and out of ships, and makes a beeline towards the Galactica.
Tigh calls for the alert fighters to be scrambled, and a code one is called.
"Incoming transmission from the raider!" Dee yells above the commotion.
A voice comes over the comm. "Galactica, Starbuck. Do you mind?"
Lee's stomach drops.
He wonders if Cally will be there to help Kara out of the raider.