Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Word count: 443
Summary: “Starbuck,” he says, pulling the remnants of a smile together from where they have scattered and shattered on his face, fixing them together as best he can.
It’s been a long, bad day at the end of a week of long, bad days and Lee knows that his mask was cracking the last time he gave a briefing. He needs to curl up in his rack and try to fall asleep without seeing the faces of the dead. He’s getting better at that, though less through callousness and more through cumulative exhaustion.
She’s sitting on his rack when he walks in, and just the thought of sleep has made his vision blur to the extent where he almost doesn’t see her, doesn’t see her bare feet planted on the floor and her head held between her hands.
“Starbuck,” he says, pulling the remnants of a smile together from where they have scattered and shattered on his face, fixing them together as best he can. But he’s a fighter, not a mechanic, and it feels cracked and brittle on his lips.
“Lee,” she says in return, lifting her head, and there’s a silent click as the atmosphere changes. Lee. She has ever set the tone of their conversations, but he is adept at adapting in the space between heartbeats.
So he doesn’t ask her what’s wrong, just slowly puts things in his locker and sends brief glances her way, taking in the despairing tension in the set of her shoulders and the way her eyes follow his hands, numbly, just for the sake of motion.
“Look, Lee, do you think –” Kara stands up and rubs at her forehead with three grease-spotted fingers. “Could we just –” and she looks uncomfortable, frustrated, like she’s trying to find words for something she’s not designed (programmed) to say, and he hates that thought for entering his head because it’s frakking insane, this whole atmosphere of dread and suspicion, and if he can’t trust Kara Thrace he thinks he’d rather be dead anyway.
He thinks all of this in the time it takes his body to walk to his rack, lie down, grasp her hand and tug her down. Her head slips under his chin with a sigh and she’s heavy and warm and perfect on top of him. His arms slip around and hold her closer.
The fingers of her right hand brush his neck as she shifts position slightly and fear and guilt run through his stomach in one awful electric ripple and Lee is so tired that his last coherent thought is: maybe I’ll wake up dead.
But Kara’s hair smells of grease and soap and no ghosts can slip between their bodies and haunt his sleep and he wouldn’t choose any other way to spend his last night alive.