Word count: 1144
Notes: Another written-into-the-update-box fic from my main LJ that I am reposting here. I realise that Leda did this structural concept first and did it better, but I only remembered that after the fact and eh, this was fun anyway :)
"Five minutes," he says into her ear as he's walking past. He's in a hurry; he pushes her aside, his hand on her arm. Nothing peculiar when viewed from the outside, but the tips of his fingers are cold from the podium and they slide up under the sleeve of her flight suit with insolent ease.
"Five minutes?" she says, five minutes later, in the officer's quarters. Kicking a civilian's blanket out of the way. "CAP is in twelve. Well, seven."
He ties someone's towel around the hatch wheel in a vicious, careless knot. "Don't care."
She starts to smirk. "Apollo -"
"Shut up, Kara," he says, rough, and pins her hands up above her head.
She licks something pretending to be chocolate-flavoured off her fingers and wonders if she could start a triad game for the last of the puddings because frak, this shit is good. Crammed full of artificial colours and sugar, sliding cool down her throat.
He's sitting with his hand in his wife's. (Her ring hand. Not his. Kara traces Dee's slender brown finges with her eyes for a moment before looking up.) There's a warning in the way he frowns at her, but there's something else in the wideness of his eyes. Dichotomy of the facial muscles and oh, she's got him, whole and entire.
Her heart is thudding very loudly in her ears but she can't stop; she slides another finger into her mouth and dares him to look away first.
"I have to -"
"Of course you do."
"Don't start." He covers her mouth with one hand. He's very close, leaking heat into her own body and still breathing a little unevenly. She doesn't need his skin across her lips to remind her of what he tastes like, what it feels like to pull blood to the surface just above his perfect collarbone and laugh in his face when he curses her. "Just don't start, Kara."
His dogtags taste like blood as well, worn metal with his name on it, slicing open her tongue. Blood and scars and marks of possession; she'll take what she can get.
What would be nice, really, what would be nice, would be telling him to stay and then drinking the guilt from his lips when he pleads duty. His hand is holding the words in.
So she bites down.
"We've been lying here for a long time, Kara," he says. When he smiles like that he's so beautiful that her heart pounds. It doesn't pound for long, though; she feels gorgeously gelatinous, like she could melt into the fabric of space itself and spin amongst the stars.
"I like the gym floor," she tells him. "Very comfortable."
"I see." He takes holds of her wrists and slides her hands down, gently, slowly, until they lie on either side of her head.
"All I have to do is kick," she reminds him.
It's hard, resisting the challenge in his raised eyebrows, it's always hard resisting a challenge from him. But if she shifts just so then there's another square inch of their skin in contact and there's his breath catching in his throat and his hips pressing her down, hard, harder.
"We'll see," she whispers. It could be a promise.
"I told you, I'm not just deserting her."
"Frak that, Lee." Anger working its way through her, scorching dancing flames of it, and she has to keep moving or she'll choke on the fumes. Heat and reflex. The past rises up behind her eyes and tries to blind her. "Frak you. Seeing as that's all I'm good for. Should I tell her that?"
His chin jerks like she's got him on a string, like she's the one in control of this frakking parody of a love story, like if she pulls hard enough all of his limbs will lift into the air and tangle. She feels a stab of triumph and keeps going.
"Should I ask her why her precious husband needs to frak another woman every other day? Should I ask -"
"Stop it!" he yells, and shoves her against the racks. He's stronger than she is and she feels something give way in her shoulder - gasps before she can help it, and watches his face collapse.
"Shit. Kara...shit." He spins around and punches the wall, hard enough that she winces in sympathy.
Now they've both been bruised. She feels a bit better.
"Nothing broken," Cottle says. "Just dislocated. What the frak were you doing, Lieutenant?"
"Fell," she says. The doctor looks decidedly unimpressed, but she's not elaborating. "Just...shove it back in place, or whatever?"
"Hold on, hold on," he grumbles. "Let me get some painkillers so you don't wake the dead with screaming."
She doesn't want to look at Lee but she needs something to focus on that isn't the pain in her arm, so she steels herself and does it. She's almost surprised by the expression there.
"Lee." Dee sticks her head around the door to the infirmary. "Your father wants to see you."
"I'm on my way."
She watches him lever himself out of his chair, watches him touch Dee's back with a red-knuckled hand.
They must teach a class in war college about the confusing nature of contradictory tactics. Lee kisses her so slowly that she might believe anything is true - might believe they'll find Earth before everyone she knows is shot out of the sky, might believe humanity is worth the things they've done, might believe that the gods have forgiven her, might even believe she's worth loving when his hand is lying against her cheek like that - but his other hand is undoing her pants and slipping inside and frak, it's fast, good, yes, that giddy warmth shooting down to her knees and tripping her up.
"Cry out," he tells her, and twists his fingers.
She throws back her head and feels her hair catch in the metal rivets but she's biting her lip - tasting blood, like metal, like surrender - and she's strong, gods, she might hate herself for coming back to him but she's stronger than this.
Just this one thing, she thinks, give me just this one thing.
The cry is raw in her throat but she swallows it and ignores the ache.
"You haven't won yet, Apollo," she whispers.
"You keep changing the rules, Starbuck," he whispers in return, and they smile on the same stroke of his thumb (same throb of his pulse) and just for a moment she sees a future that leaves her breathless.
He presses forward and kisses her again and it's building, spreading, but she can hold it back for just -
just one more -
The future is in her periphery, and she's laughing as she dissolves.