A Battlestar Galactica story
by dirty diana
For Pouncer in Yuletide 2004. Mad beta love to Serial Karma.
Kara shivers when Lee touches her.
"Frack." He's scolding her. He's always scolding her. His words prick her goosebumped skin, and she presses pale hands flat against the floor of the shuttle.
"You're freezing cold. Why didn't you say something?"
"Why?" she asks him. "What would you have done, started the engine with your brain?"
He only looks at her. His eyes are bright, almost the only thing that she can see in the dark. "Take my blanket," he says.
Her fists stay stubbornly closed, underneath her own blanket, tugging on the fabric of her jumpsuit. "No."
"I'm not taking your blanket," she tells him, and manages to sound almost angry, and maybe it's just the cold, and the hunger that's draining her energy. "You need it."
"Lieutenant," he says roughly, "take my fracking blanket."
He hardly ever gives her orders.
"Tell you what. We can share."
She notices. "Scared of sitting too close to me?"
"Yes," he says, and throws it at her.
She glares. Takes it. Her teeth still chatter.
"I always hated advance scouting."
"Someone has to do it." Logical, reasonable, like always.
She shakes her head. "That explains what I'm doing here," she says. "What are you doing here?"
"Someone had to keep an eye on you."
"I would have moved twice as fast without you. Been back on Galactica, smoking a stogie, long before the engines blew."
He presses bloodless lips together tightly. "I would have thought you'd be out of cigars by now."
She's been rationing, just a little. He's changed the subject.
Kara saw Lee's eyes when they started to lose thrust, blue to black, light to darkness without pausing.
Zak's eyes were almost the same, almost identical but not quite. The same colour, the same shape. Except that Lee's eyes were more fragile at the edges, the pale shadows of someone that thought too much.
"We're going to die," she says.
"Maybe," he answers.
He hardly ever lies to her, either.
He doesn't answer when she calls him.
He doesn't answer, and in the dark she can't tell if he's breathing.
"Apollo. Lee. Come on."
He opens his eyes, and looks at her. It takes him a moment to focus.
"You were sleeping," she says.
He shakes his head.
He says nothing when she crawls across the frozen shuttle floor, the fastest she can manage, and ends up beside him. She stretches the thin thermal blankets across both their bodies, curls in beside him. The tips of his fingers are cold and barely responsive. Further up, his palm to the inside of his wrist, warmth still emanates, blood pulsing.
"How long do you think it'll take them to come look for us?" she asks.
He doesn't answer her.
"Apollo." The walls of the Raptor swallow the sound of her voice, taking it away from her, into the dark.
"I'm awake," he murmurs. His breath gently touches her earlobe. "Depends how long it takes them to decide we're not coming back."
"We were due two hours ago," she says.
"Yes. We were."
"Do you have to move around so much?"
She shrugs. Her fingers still tap restlessly against the ragged edge of the blanket, beating no particular pattern. It's getting difficult to move. "I'm not good at waiting around."
"No kidding." His voice is deep and ragged. He's tired.
"Screw you," Kara answers. Her chest hurts when she breathes. She's ready to fight.
"Just don't move so much," he tells her, and then he's quiet.
Kara loved Zak.
She didn't mean to say it aloud.
"Is that your way of telling me that you'd rather freeze to death?" he asks her.
She can see out the starboard window, to the stars millions of miles in the distance, to the planet that's just a dot beneath them, drifting far out of the reach of its gravity. She can't feel her fingers. "Maybe."
"You're a pain in the ass," he tells her, and moves closer. She can hear the blood that's rushing just above his collarbone.
"Yes, sir," she murmurs, half-teasing. It's not the worst thing he's ever said to her, not even close.
For nearly two hours, they don't talk.
"What are you thinking about?" he asks her.
"Flying," she says.
"I was," she protests.
"I know you were."
She remembers the first time she went up. She'd had no idea it was really so cold in space. The blood rushed through her brain, g-forces tugging on her skin, and making her dizzy.
She loved it. The stars were dots, dancing in front of her eyes. You only ever fly in three Vipers, her instructor had told her once. The one you train in. The one you crash in. And the one that you die in, still tied helplessly to space. Except that this isn't a Viper, and she is no longer flying.
"What are you thinking about?" She throws the question back to him, meaningless.
"I really want to sleep," is all that he says.
She moves closer to him, without thinking about it, just looking for something that's warm, and she still can't feel her fingers. "So sleep."
He has to think about it.
"Just for a bit. I'll wake you up."
He doesn't respond when she calls his name, her voice thin and brittle with cold. He doesn't answer when she pokes him gently in the shoulder, and so she elbows him harshly in the ribs, and waits for him to open his eyes.
Zak was the same, she thinks, and watches the outline of Lee's eyelashes against his cheek, the gentle rise and fall of sleeping. The same eyes. Wouldn't wake up for anything.
For a second, she's back on Caprica, in a warm bed with dirty sheets.
"Awake," Lee says finally. He takes one surprised breath. "Your turn."
Kara blinks. She's weighted down with cold, tired of looking at the dark. "I'm fine."
"Captain," she parrots back at him, and puts her head on his shoulder.
He shifts his body, surprised and restless. Then immediately he's sorry, an apology out loud, for crimes that they haven't committed yet.
"I can't sleep if you don't stop moving," Kara tells him.
"Funny you should say that," Lee answers, but he's still now, still as stone.
When the darkness overtakes her, Kara dreams of flying.