Characters: Lee, Kara
Spoilers: For 'Sine Qua Non'
Summary: Lee's worried about his dad, and now Kara knows his real name...
Lee waited for the jump in Galactica’s observation lounge. From that viewpoint his father’s raptor was only a tiny dot among the other ships, but his trained eyes easily picked it out. He stood there in almost complete stillness, gaze tightly fixed. He wanted to keep his father in sight as long as he possibly could.
He was so engrossed in his vigil that he didn’t even notice someone else entering the observation lounge until a familiar voice spoke beside him.
“I thought you said goodbye already.” Kara was smiling, but her eyes still held the anxiety she’d shown on the flight deck.
“It’s tradition,” said Lee, smiling back. “When I was a boy and he went back to the fleet, I always used to watch his car until it was out of sight.” His breath skipped a little as it always did now whenever he saw her, in amazed gratitude that she was actually here, living and breathing, that he could talk to her and touch her again. Part of him – maybe most of him - still couldn’t quite believe it. It was certainly something he’d never take for granted again.
Kara looked out of the window, quickly spotting the raptor. “It’s good to keep up traditions. Shall we see him off together?”
She sounded hesitant, so Lee responded quickly. “Of course. Unless you’re needed on the flight deck-”
“No. I took care of everything I had to do there, so I thought I’d come and find you.”
Because I wanted to see if you were all right. Lee knew what she meant, even if she didn’t actually say it, and it touched him, especially with everything else she had to deal with at the moment.
“How did you know I was here?” he asked.
Kara turned to look at him with a grin that was pure Starbuck. “Well, the escort of marines waiting outside the hatch just might have given it away, Mr President.”
Lee flushed. “I’m still not used to that yet.” The constant shadow was definitely one of the downsides of his new position. “I tried to argue that I’m quite capable of defending myself, but the Quorum insisted.”
Kara’s grin broadened. “Do they follow you everywhere?”
“Even into the head?”
Lee sent her a long-suffering look. “Kara, try to remember you’re not twelve.”
“I’m so sorry, Mr President.” Kara hung her head in mock embarrassment and Lee had to bite hard on his lip to keep from laughing. “I stand rebuked.”
“Shut up, Starbuck.” Lee happily played along with his role. He’d missed her teasing him so much.
“Is that an official order, Mr President?”
“Kara, stop calling me that!”
Kara looked up at him, with a wicked expression on her face that told Lee he’d just walked right into a trap. “I’m sorry. Would you prefer Leland?”
Frak. Okay, maybe he hadn’t missed her teasing all that much.
Lee braced himself. “So you were listening to the ceremony.” He’d been hoping vainly that she’d missed it.
“Of course I was!” Kara looked indignant. “I’m only sorry I couldn’t be there in person.”
“So you could tell me my fly was undone?” Kara and official ceremonies were never a good combination.
“Unfair, Adama. I never use the same joke twice.”
Lee grinned at the opportunities that little comment opened up. “You want to bet on that?”
“No, no.” Kara backed down rapidly. “Anyway, stop trying to change the subject, Leland.”
Lee winced, and she laughed. Gods, how he hated that name.
“How the hell did you manage to keep that quiet from me all these years anyway?” Kara asked, with a note of respect.
“Stealth. Guile. Natural brilliance.”
“Pure dumb luck is more like it. I can’t believe Zak never told me,” she said, sounding hurt. “He was usually quick enough to dish the dirt on you.”
“I bribed him. Must have cost me several hundred free shots of ambrosia over the years.” Lee smiled reminiscently. “Worth it though.”
“I’ll say. I mean…Leland? It sounds like an off-road vehicle. Or a construction firm. Why the hell did the Old Man saddle you with that?”
Lee’s gaze returned to the raptor. “I must admit that’s one thing I can’t blame him for. Mum picked it – it was her maiden name. No-one’s ever called me that though.”
Lee looked round warily to see Kara wearing her most evil grin. “You dare,” he said, doing his best to sound threatening.
Kara chuckled. He hadn’t seen her look this relaxed and happy, so like her old self, since she returned. “Or you’ll do what? How exactly are you going to stop me, Apollo?”
“I’m sure I’ll think of something,” Lee shot back, and for a moment it was as if they were really Apollo and Starbuck again.
The announcement to prepare for the jump interrupted Kara’s reply. It was odd to hear
“Time to go.” He turned back to the window and his father, his fear and anxiety returning in full force.
“I tried to stop him, you know.” The words spilled out of him abruptly. “I said everything I could think of to convince him to stay.”
“I know you did.” Kara’s voice was quiet, all teasing fled. “But you couldn’t have stopped him, Lee. We both know how stubborn he is.”
“We do.” His voice shook slightly, and he felt Kara’s hand slip over his, clenched tight on the edge of the window.
“He’ll be all right, Lee. The Old Man always comes through somehow.”
“You can’t know that.”
“No, but I believe it.” Her voice held a serenity that startled him. It was never a word that he’d associated with her before. “He’ll come back, Lee. After all, I did.”
I know. And that was why he was so scared. He’d already had one personal miracle; what right had he to another? He couldn’t be so lucky twice.
“Try to believe it, Lee.” Kara's fingers tightened on his hand. “I know it’s hard for you, but try.”
He didn’t believe it. But he remembered what he’d said to Romo, about choosing to hope, so he turned his hand to grip hers.
“I can’t believe it, Kara. But I have hope, and that’s enough.”
He felt the beginning of the jump, time starting to stretch, and Kara’s grasp anchored him as he kept his eyes fixed on the raptor until it disappeared from sight.