AUTHOR: Laura H
CATEGORY: Lee/Kara, sex, angst
SPOILERS: S1 & 2
CONTENT WARNINGS: implied sex and sexual references (like it'd stop you reading!)
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, just borrowed.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: The beta'd version. Huge thanks to vaudevilles for her excellent beta.
Sometimes he thinks of dolphins when they‘re flying the CAP, the way they swim, circling each other, spiraling through the blue. He thinks of dolphins and then laughs because it reminds him of the tacky commemorative plates you can - could - buy from the gift shops at the Picon marinas. The kind that offer the promise of keeping your trip alive forever in your memory and on top of your TV. Lee knows that Kara would laugh at that kind of sentimentality and tease him, but he also knows that she had one of those plates hanging on her bedroom wall back on Caprica. A remnant of the last ever trip she took with her father. He knows this, but he would never tease back.
This is another thing, among many, that they will never speak of.
So he thinks of dolphins, they way they leap and swirl, one emerging from the water just as the other sinks below the surface. He thinks of dolphins and smiles because he likes the image.
Kara bounces the ball and listens to the satisfying thunk-thunk-smack as it hits the floor, hits the wall and then rebounds back into her hand. She likes the repetition, likes the predictability. Like her heartbeat, it keeps her breathing.
Thunk-thunk-smack. Three sounds, like three syllables, three words. Words that she hasn’t been thinking about since he said them yesterday, that haven’t been repeating and resounding in her head, until she feels like she can’t breathe. As if she’s so deep under the ocean that she’s surrounded by darkness and can’t see which way’s up.
So instead of thinking about that, Kara comes here, to the locker room, to be alone. She bounces her ball and listens to the sound and hopes that his hand doesn’t steal in and take away her distraction. She hopes that he doesn’t spread himself across the bench behind her in a way that makes her not want to look because it brings temptation to which she can‘t let herself succumb. And especially she doesn’t want him to tell her that he’s her friend and that he loves her. Because this she’s known all along.
And still she did the things she did.
The last thing Lee thinks of before he falls asleep at night is Kara’s face. While others count sheep, he counts the number of times he saw her smile that day. Recently the count hasn’t been so high. He knows that something happened when she was back on Caprica and wonders how much it cut her. Then he thinks about the people she met there.
There was a man. That much is certain and he can’t quite decide how he feels about that. The shame of his irrational outburst before she left still burns in his gut and he doesn’t want to revisit that. And besides its hard to feel jealous now when she looks so broken. The spit and fire that used to be her fuel seems to be all spent and sometimes Lee longs for a flash of that old rage, just so he knows she’s still living. But day after day his hopes go unrealized and all Lee can do is talk. He’s already asked her what’s wrong three times and three times she’s smacked him down. He accepts that she doesn’t want to talk to him and maybe never will.
He knows he’ll ask again.
Kara drives her bare fist into the canvas of the punch bag with a dull thud and longs for the flesh on flesh resonance of a leather one. Her gloves lie forsaken in the corner of the gym because she doesn’t like the way they cushion her hands. She covets the sensation of each blow, wants to feel the impact as her knuckles collide with cloth, knowing that tomorrow her hands will be stiff and sore. But she needs this pain and so she keeps punching. Its not enough though. Like an unfulfilled orgasm, the sensation builds until its almost there. Almost. But no matter how much she pushes she can’t make it over the edge.
Eventually her knuckles are red and swollen and Kara has no choice but to stop, unsatisfied. She tries to breathe, swallowing air like water and sinks slowly to the mat, slinging her arms across her face. Sweat trickles through her hair and pools in the hollow of her throat. When she swallows it cascades down her neck.
And suddenly she knows that she’s stranded. She can’t move because there’s no where to go and she isn’t sure how to send out a distress flare.
So she lies there. And waits to be rescued.
Lee sometimes doubts his sanity. He’s torn between his constant need to second guess his every decision and his frustration at the inability to trust his own judgment. But this is nothing new. He over thinks things and maybe thing that will never change. But standing here, bracing his arms on the open door of the gym, Lee actually thinks that he may have lost it completely.
Kara knows he’s there long before she hears the intake of breath, but she takes refuge behind the arms shielding her face. She knows he’s there, but doesn’t want him to know that. When he moves though, she has no choice but to acknowledge his presence.
“You want something, Lee?”
“Not a thing.” But his voice is taut and she doesn’t quite buy it.
“Your hand is bleeding.”
“Gloves were too tight.” And she knows he’s not going to buy that.
Kara hears him walking towards her, until his feet are visible through the crook of her elbow. He breathes again, and it sounds heavy, like its an effort, like he’s the one that’s been fighting the canvas bag and something about the sound makes her want to look.
When she does she wishes she hadn’t.
He knows he’s drifting and he’s powerless to stop. His legs feel slow and heavy, but still he moves them, until he’s standing on the mat next to her. Sweat droplets cling to her bare midriff, until her breathing shakes them free to trickle down into the shadows at her back. Lee tries to breathe and finds he has to force it.
That’s when she looks up at him.
Kara wants to make a joke and make him smile. Then maybe they’ll spar for a while and trade barbs and punches until they’re exhausted. Then they’ll hit the showers, retreating to individual cubicles and individual bunks. A joke is all it would take and they could surface, gasping, from whatever this is that's suffocating them. One forms in her mind but dies before it reaches her lips. She swallows and hopes she doesn’t choke.
When he stretches his hand down to her a part of him hopes she doesn’t take it, because he doesn’t know what should happen next. So he stands there with his hand extended and closes his eyes when she grasps it.
They’re standing at the door to the rack and Kara has to take a moment to try and figure out how they got there because she can’t remember walking. Lee stands at the hatch, his back to her and his hand gripping each side of the jamb as if he’s pushing against something. The muscles in his shoulders tense and flex and she can’t look away. So they float there, on the threshold, neither of them moving, both just treading water.
Then he speaks and the sound is strange; muted and unreal.
But she doesn’t because she knows she’ll drown.
During the walk along the corridor Lee knows that he’s out of control. A current is carrying him, too strong for him to resist. Only when he gets to the hatch of the bunkroom does he manage to slow himself down, but he refuses to think too much, because thinking will bring an end to this and he knows he doesn’t want that. But as they stand here frozen between the corridor and the rack he realizes that not once has Kara pushed him away. The realization urges him onward
And he waits to see what she’ll do.
Kara tries to back away, knowing that stepping through the hatch tonight has a new meaning. But she’s stuck in a vortex and its sucking her downward. She stops, battling to quell the rising panic in her chest, until suddenly the panic’s gone, replaced by calm. A crystal clarity that tells her to stop swimming against the tide.
Her hands reach up and grip his arm, turning him towards her. His head still hangs like he’s scared to look up, so she tips his chin with her hand. The sheen she sees in his eyes startles her and she pulls back. But its too late now. They’re too far out and the shore is a long way away.
Lee dips his head towards her, but instead of kissing her, his lips drop to her shoulder and his tongue grazes along her skin, tasting the sweat that dried there. Kara twists her head and catches his earlobe between her teeth, her hand reaching down past the waist band of his sweats, before they both realize they’re still standing in the walkway. The hatch to the bunk isn’t so far away anymore and they sink towards it, gray cotton joining the gray metal of the floor.
Later, he strokes her back while she sleeps, then wraps his leg around hers to stop her drifting.