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Shawn Carter

Word Count:2106 (CHP 1)
Date: April 2005
Rating:M for extreme violence and language
Category: Relationships
Pairing/Focus: Lee, Kara
Warnings: This is not for the queasy of stomach. Uh, eventually anyhow.
Summary: A rare trip down to a planet rich in oxygen and vegetation for a few of the weary crewmen ends in tragedy when the group is ambushed and the survivors are taken prisoner by the Cylons. While Starbuck struggles to keep them and herself together, Apollo and the rest of the crew organize a daring rescue in a mission that is about more than just the lives of a few soldiers but rather that of the entire Fleet.
Spoilers/Disclaimers:Timeline: Takes place about six months after the mini-series. Spoilers up to the end of Kobol’s Last Gleaming Part Two. This splits off from that point. Resolutions of that arc will be dealt with in this but the story does take place after that.
Notes: I’ve been working on this for several weeks now- on and off- I’m hoping by posting parts of it(I have the next few done), it’ll force me to get off my arse and keep working on it. I think it has promise but please be patient. It might start a bit slow but I swear I’m trying to lay everything out.



Chapter One

He turned slowly, his body aching just a bit, shoulder tingling with discomfort but not exactly pain. A voice in the back of his head warned him of the danger he was in, begged him to be cautious. It needn’t have bothered however because he simply wasn’t able to stop himself from taunting her, “Harder, you’re pulling your punches.” He smirked at her, momentarily enjoying the flash of annoyance that burst through her. He took a quick jab at her face but she ducked it easily, dancing to her left, bouncing gracefully on the balls of her feet.

She snorted derisively. “I never pull anything.” She paused and then added in a haughty, “Sir.” She tossed off a couple of rapid punches, one hitting the side of his face and the other missing completely. He grinned at her and jumped away, his legs gliding under him in an almost rhythmic cadence as he moved to avoid her blows.

“Then you must be getting soft,” Captain Lee Adama retorted, ducking his head and thrusting out with his balled right fist. The blow glanced off her padded face, just barely clipping her chin as she jerked to evade him. He could swear that he heard a soft growl rumble up from her throat. “And slow. You’re getting slow.” It was his turn to throw out the insults but the handsome young CAG who went by the call sign of Apollo had never exactly been what one would call slick with the seamless comeback. He would have to make do with finding ways to push her buttons.

Luckily that had never been much of a problem for him. More like second nature really.

“Problems Lee?” Kara Thrace chided, punching out with her right fist. The hit smacked into his stomach, momentarily doubling him. It wasn’t painful so much as surprising but he didn’t have long to dwell on it before she followed up with a hard kick using her left leg. It connected solidly with his knees causing them to buckle. He tumbled forward and hit the mat with a loud thud.

“Boxing,” he reminded her, exasperation in his tone. “Not kickboxing.” He looked up at her grinning face and shook his head. He reached out and tapped her left foot with the heel of his hand. “No feet involved.”

She pulled off the protective headgear and dropped it. “Oops. Guess I forgot.” She moved so that she was standing directly over him. “You look kind of good down there.”

He sighed. “You’re impossible. Now stop being an ass and help me up.”

She rolled her eyes but acquiesced and dropped a hand down to him. He didn’t need it, certainly being strong enough all on his own. But then again, that wasn’t the point and they both knew it.

He gripped her hand hard and yanked. She should have known better, should have expected him to do it and yet he still caught her enough off-guard to bring her down atop him.

She looked down at him from her position indelicately sprawled over him, limbs sprayed haphazardly about. She laughed, the sound echoing against the bulkheads and returning back to them moments later.

“Why Captain,” she drawled. “Something you wanted?”

He blinked and shook his head, amused by her bravado. She wasn’t exactly flirting and yet in some ways that was exactly what she was doing. For her it was like playing a game of Pyramid; always find a way to throw your opponent way off, even if he’s got full colors and you got squat. She was a pro at Pyramid and not too bad at flirting, even when it was harmless and not exactly intended.

He studied her for a long moment, eyes tracing over her features, from her solid jaw line all the way to the small scar just above her eye. He saw another slightly longer scar on the edge of her shoulder. Both had come from her time on Caprica. He resisted the urge to reach out and touch her face. He’d been doing that a lot lately, the denial part at least. Best not to think about that.

Control and all that.

“Nope,” he said with a quick laugh, spinning her so that he was sitting atop her. He took her arms and pinned them over her head, gripping her wrists just hard enough to be forceful but not cause her any pain. “Just reminding my pilot who’s in charge.”

She narrowed her eyes at him, the green flashing darkly. The ace pilot who was called Starbuck by the rest of the fleet was notorious for being a control freak and it really didn’t matter if it was friend or foe who was trying to take it from her; she’d fight back just as hard against either. “Hey Lee?” she purred, the tone not so much sweet as predatory in nature.

“What?” he asked cautiously, gazing down at her. They were dressed identically in sweats and gray sleeveless tees. Her short blonde hair was plastered to her forehead with sweat but it was the large devious grin flying fast across her face that was drawing all of his attention.

If he allowed himself to think that way, it was almost beautiful.

He closed his eyes for a beat. Control. Always control.

“You should really have the Doc check that out. Looks like it hurts,” Kara said suddenly, drawing his attention back to her smirking features.

He blinked. “What?”

She lashed out hard with her right foot, catching the toe of her sneaker against his crotch. He hissed and then whistled in pain, releasing his hold on her as he doubled over in pain. “Frak,” he groaned, bringing his open palm down and cradling his more sensitive regions. “Frak, frak, frak.”

She leapt to her feet, her laughter surrounding them. “You may be the CAG but I’m always in control.” She bent down to whisper in his ears. “Starbuck,” she said, eyes dancing.

“Yeah, got that.” He paused and then added, perhaps foolishly, “Kara.”

“Got another round in you?” she prompted, still smiling. He could tell that she was playing with him, daring him to do something that they both knew neither was really all that interested in. Still, it was a challenge.

Best to just ignore it then.

He looked up at her and shook his head, eyes still narrowed in pain. “Let’s try this again…”

“Okay,” she grinned, offering him a hand. This time he took it and let her drag him to his feet, wincing just a bit as the fire racing through his groin buzzed upwards through his body, sending red neon lights a’ flashing in his brain.

“You’re such a pain, Thrace.”

“You love it, Adama,” she cracked, grinning wildly at him. She bent over and swept up the protective headgear into her hands. “You know I hate these things.”

“Because they might keep you from getting your brains bashed in?”

“Like you could,” she retorted, reaching for a towel and sweeping it hastily across her sweat-drenched brow.

He took the towel from her and repeated her action before tossing it over one of the metal racks. “You’re right,” he said with a smile. “I’d have to find them brains first.”

“Them brains? You taking talking lessons from Helo these days?”

Apollo rolled his eyes. “Well as much fun as this has been, I’m due at a meeting with the senior officers in twelve minutes and I still need to spend three in the shower and…”

“Two in the head?”

“Pleasant,” he sighed. Without really thinking about it, he moved his left hand down and cupped his crotch, trying to ease the uncomfortable aching. When he glanced over at his companion he saw her smirking at him, more than a little pleased at her handiwork. “Real pleasant as always.”

“Not really a denial,” she teased. And then quite suddenly she yawned, sliding a hand indelicately over her open mouth.

“Rack time?” Lee queried as they started towards the door. He rolled his shoulder a bit, ensuring that it wasn’t tightening up on him. A fight in the mess hall a few days earlier with a Marine suffering from cabin fever had left him with a mildly dislocated joint. Luckily it was feeling much better now but it was still quite tender.

“Yep. Hopefully more than an hour. That’d be good,” Kara replied, eyes drifting over his body. She watched him stretch for a few moments and then satisfied with the amount of movement, diverted her gaze. He was her friend and she tended to worry but their workout on the mats had proven to both of them that he was healing just fine.

And proven the same to him about her presumably.

He frowned. “Still not sleeping well?”

She shrugged, somewhat relieved to have her train of thought about him disrupted but also more than a little annoyed by his question. “I’m fine.”

“Kara,” Lee admonished, “It’s been like this for going on three weeks and I’m still not sure why.”

“Lee, you’re acting like an old biddy again,” Kara said with a disgusted snort.

“Maybe so,” he admitted. He squared his shoulders knowing that he’d have to come at this not as her friend but as her CAG. That was how it always had to start with her and then once he could find a way in, then he could return to being the concerned pal. Yeah, nothing easy with Kara. “But better that than have one of my pilots fall asleep at the switch.” He paused and then added in a half-assed, “Makes me look bad.”

She turned to look at him, her face a mask of carefully controlled emotion and yet he could tell that something was bothering her. Whether it was just because he knew her that damn well or because it was his job to know when his pilots weren’t quite right he wasn’t sure. That said, the one thing he was certain of was that something had crawled its way up and under her skin and was hanging on for dear life. And for once, it wasn’t him. “Just…dreams,” she finally muttered in response, dragging an arm over her brow and brushing away beads of gathered sweat. A careful inspection of her revealed just how pale she was, how terribly exhausted she appeared to be.

“More like nightmares,” he corrected, his frown deepening into genuine worry. “Not exactly a secret with the way you’ve been waking up lately. You want to tell me what they’re about?” He gazed down at her, his blue eyes cutting through the height difference between them and penetrating right into her skull, almost like he was trying to dig around inside her brain. Which of course knowing Lee, was exactly what he was trying to do.

He saw her expression tighten and immediately knew that somehow he’d pushed her too hard, too fast. Which was bizarre in that he’d barely said much of anything at all and had just begun probing to find out why she’d been averaging less than two hours of sleep a night. She’d been compensating with naps during the recent abundant downtimes but that wasn’t helping to remedy whatever was the overall problem.

And Kara as usual wasn’t about to do a damn thing to help him out on that one.

“Nothing,” she said quickly. “Don’t you have a meeting in something like ten minutes now? You’re severely cutting into your…”

“Don’t even say it,” he warned her, shaking his head in amazement at her brashness. With the way she spoke, it was often very easy to forget that Kara Thrace was more than just a crack-shot pilot.

She was also one hell of a woman.

At least his eyes told him that.

She sure as hell didn’t act like one.

And maybe indeed that was why they were such good friends.

She wasn’t like other women. She was…

“Apollo?” she whispered suddenly, lifting her body up so that she was on her tiptoes, her mouth next to his ear. “You’re thinking again. Lords only knows what about but right now you have nine minutes left. I wouldn’t bother bringing a newspaper if I were you.”

He turned and glared at her. Or at least tried to. It wasn’t terribly successful and ultimately all he was left with was a sigh of resignation as he watched her swagger down the corridor towards the pilots’ barracks.

He glanced up at the clock and sighed again.

Seven minutes.

Nope, no newspaper.

Then he laughed.

She always got in the last word.