Word Count: 645
Pairing/Focus: William, Lee
“Commander?” Captain Lee Adama calls in the empty and silent quarters. While he is in uniform, Lee always makes it a point to address his father as an officer. It is expected of him. To be a man, and not only a Colonial but the very best of them.
The hatch stands open and his father is not there. It looks like Lee is going to get off easy for the moment. No royal pasting of his ass for disobeying orders, no point-by-point analysis of what a well-trained Colonial officer would have done. He turns to leave and sees a picture on a side table.
It is an old picture that Lee has seen many times over the years -- him, his younger brother Zak and his mother. His father always has a copy with him. In the picture all of them are so young and so alive. Lee picks it up. His mother looks 20 years younger, and he and Zak are just kids. Then it hits Lee. Of the people in the picture, he is the only one left alive. Loss pulls him down like a black water whirlpool.
Lee does not hear his father’s approach until the man stands only a few feet away. Looking up, Lee’s eyes burn with sorrow.
Familiar with the scars on his father’s ravaged face, it takes him a moment to realize that there is more -- a dirty white bandage and a trail of dried blood. The usually immaculate uniform is filthy. But his expression … Lee had seen his father that happy only once before -- when he’d been given the Galactica command.
Commander Adama sees the picture in Lee’s hand, and since he is Lee’s father he knows the signs. Lee is on the edge of tears, weighed down by loss. “I’m sorry,” Adama whispers. He has lost too, but he has also regained. For the moment his joy outweighs his sorrow.
Just a few minutes earlier Adama had killed … he pounded in the brains of a thing that was not a man but looked like one, a Cylon. And it had felt good to kill that which had killed his son.
But his son is not dead. Adama has the son back. His oldest, his beautiful boy that Adama had once held when he was still red with the blood of his mother’s womb, his tiny mouth screaming an ardent hello to the universe. So long ago. Yesterday.
Lee puts the picture down and turns quickly. “I, uh, gotta go.” He tries to walk past, but Adama stops him with one hand. He has to touch him, he has to hold him close, hold him in his arms once again.
Lee realizes that he must leave quickly or his father will see him cry -- see him soft headed and soft hearted. He needs his father’s respect.
The hand on Lee’s arm stops him and he stares. It is not like his father to touch. Then he sees the older man’s expression. And it is soft. His father’s eyes are on Lee’s face and then quite suddenly a pair of strong arms are around him.
And Lee is a child again and he doesn’t have to be a man any more. He let’s go of adulthood, his captain’s bars and the war. He just remembers that his father loves him. And that he loves him too. They hold each other together. They have lost everything else.
Then the hug is gone and Lee’s father doesn’t quite look him in the eye. It is as before -- the Commander and the Captain. But it is not quite the same. It will never the same. Zak’s death still lies between them and Lee’s rage is still there. But his father loves him. He’d forgotten. He will never forget again.