Word count: 1218
Notes: A short & sweet piloty piece set some time after 'The Captain's Hand'. I am almost certain that I was drunk when I wrote it. You can tell because I abuse parentheses and italics.
dagian (to dawn)
If he fills every second with responsibility, with an allotted task, then he can pretend quite easily that the day is normal. (Maybe he'll try pretending that the day is a real day, that he'll be up all day with the rising sun and that there is a horizon for the sun to rise over and - )
He's humming and his XO is looking at him strangely. He nods, moves to point something out on the latest position chart, and swallows down the silly song. It slinks back down into his chest and stays there, painful, beating in time with his heart.
He's actually managed to push the day's significance so far to the back of his mind that when he reaches his quarters at the end of a double shift and sees Kara hovering awkwardly outside, the first word to spring to his lips is why? But in the next second the silence has invaded and he's remembered: Kara standing there in her uniform (like now) and saluting (like now) and that flash of don't push me in her eyes, drowning, subdued.
"Commander," she says, and her mouth quirks just enough.
"Captain." He opens the hatch and steps through without checking that she's following. Of course she is. And of course she's wrangled her way onto the Pegasus on this day of all days and of course she's exactly the way he left her.
"How've you been, Lee?" It's off key, but it's a start, and she doesn't sound angry.
"Tired. Long day," he says, because a very long time ago they swore that they would never say fine to each other. She's broken that promise a hundred times. He never has.
"I...yeah," and she sits down in one heavy motion, eyeing the bottle on the table that tells him his subconscious must have remembered, this morning, for just long enough. "Well, are you going to pour me a drink?"
And right then she sounds so much like Starbuck that he almost laughs. Instead he pours her a drink, and pours himself a drink, and sits down in the big stiff chair that makes his back ache.
"You could have -" and he stops that one, because it sounded like a peace offering in his head and it's about to come out sounding like an accusation.
"Not this year," she says quietly, tilting the glass so that the light dances in amber arches on the ceiling. "I figure I should share my anniversaries between Commander Adamas."
She's smiling, asking him to accept the awful joke and not dig deeper, so he doesn't. (Not audibly.) He knows that despite everything he's the safer option, because she doesn't feel obliged to fight for his approval and if he were to drive her to tears she would never, ever let him see it.
He lifts his glass.
She lifts hers.
They drink to Zak.
It takes three drinks to dissolve the past six weeks, but eventually Kara has kicked off her boots and is sprawled out on his couch, making insulting remarks about the decor with a grin on her face, and he's so relieved that he could kiss her.
"Pity to waste a decadent piece of furniture like this, don't you think?" She beats her feet against the cushions in a lazy invitation.
"Mmm." He's happy to just watch her. She has faint shadows under her eyes.
Her feet stop. "Lee Adama," she says sternly.
He's out of practice.
He raises his eyebrows and drains his glass, and walks across to sit carefully and precisely on top of her legs. Kara gives a pleased and tipsy shriek and fights her ankles free, giving him a few kicks in the side for good measure before sitting up.
"Moron," she says in a voice that's dry, dehydrated by alcohol, and leans in to hug him tightly. She smells like Galactica's regulation soap, which smells like a florist that someone has vomited in; smells like whiskey and skin and home. He slips his arms around her and takes a few deep breaths before he notices that her heartbeat is skidding and her fingers are bunching and unbunching in the fabric of his jacket.
"Frak," she says in an odd voice.
Her hair is smooth, perfect, but he brushes it down anyway in slow soothing strokes. "Hey. Kara. Hey."
She shivers, tightens her arms around him until his ribcage aches, and says nothing at all.
"Gonna miss my ride," she says, leaning against the hatch. Her uniform jacket is in one hand, and she doesn't look as drunk as she should.
He nods and finds his gentlemanly instincts propelling him over to open the hatch for her, which is strange because those instincts learned pretty damn quickly to shrivel up in disgust in the presence of this woman. That's the first clue. The second is the song humming silently about his lips, rising from his throat, and the third is the fact that she's standing directly in front of the hatch wheel.
"Thanks for coming," he says, quiet. Wishes there was a way of saying the same thing in more words, because he doesn't want to feel the distance between them stretch out again, not yet.
He waits for the polite reply or the clever comment; is still waiting when she lets her jacket fall to the floor (later he'll call her out on that) and pulls him in and kisses him, confidently, as though she has every right in the world.
One, two and her eyes fall closed.
It's almost too perfect, the soft taste of her and the rhythmic rush of home, home, home, but he knows better than to ask questions. He takes what he can, right now. He waits for her to pull back and snap at him, overcompensating for guilt with anger in the fine Kara Thrace tradition. But just then her hand finds the back of his neck and pulls him in even more firmly, her lips making contact and then breaking it and then making it again, almost indecisive, almost as though they're having a conversation and she's reading his lines for him.
It's not an altogether unfamiliar sensation, in that.
"You done?" he asks finally, feeling a strange tension as the muscles of his face rearrange themselves into a grin for the first time in over a month.
"Don't rush me, Apollo," she mutters, and plants a final kiss on his mouth that's wet and juvenile and catalytic: the grin becomes an incredulous laugh, which becomes another grin. Kara's face is open and bordering on smug and just a little bit - the tiniest bit - scared. It takes him a moment to recognise it.
"All right?" It's not prefaced with are we or are you and it doesn't really mean either. He prays to nobody in particular that she'll understand.
Kara brushes back the same strand of hair three times and then lifts her eyes to look at him. He tries to decide if she's smiling.
"Just tired, you know. Up all day," she sings, and she's horribly off key, and her heartbeat is talking to his and it's patter-pat - with the rising sun - the sound of footprints and falling rain.