Title: Something in between
Word Count: 2.601
Characters: Adama, Lee
Date Posted: 11/03/2006
Story Timeline: Season 1
Spoilers: Season 1
Warnings: Character Death ... in a way; this was written for a Challenge: Lee died at the Battle of Ragnar. The Challenge was how his death would effect Adama and/or the fleet.
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the TV program Battlestar Galactica are the creations of SciFi, RDM, DE and many others and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended by the author. The ideas expressed in this story are copyrighted by the author.
With heavy steps Adama walked towards Racetrack and Boomer. He would congratulate them for their successful mission of destroying a Cylon basestar. He should be happy about that. Thanks to them they were now able to rescue their stranded crewmembers from Kobol. But he wasn't. He had stopped being happy about anything the day Lee had died at the battle of Ragnar. He usually could put up a good façade and pretend to be happy. But not today. Because today Laura Roslin and Saul Tigh had died because he had given a wrong order.
He should have never sent Saul to Colonial One. He should have talked to Roslin, he should have brought this to the attention of the Quorum. But instead he had decided to terminate her presidency and stage a military coup. Not because she had made a mistake or a bad decision. But because she had taken his only remaining child from him. Maybe Kara wasn't related to him in blood, but in every other aspect she was his daughter. And now she was gone. Following the President's order to a mission back to Caprica that was doomed from the beginning. He didn't think he would ever see her again. He was all alone now. His family was dead and even though he was still alive, he felt dead inside.
When he had reached the two pilots, he looked at them for a moment. They looked so proud and young. They had their whole life ahead of them. But what life was that? Running away from the Cylons? There wasn't really anything else left for them to do. But they didn't know that yet. They still believed he would lead them to earth. If they only knew … He forced himself to smile at them.
“Congratulations to both of you. You carried out a very difficult and dangerous mission. I'm proud of you. Thank you.” He said quietly. He hoped he had been able to hide the bitterness he was feeling from his voice.
“Thank you.” Racetrack replied. Smiling she shook the hand Adama had offered her.
“Thank you, Sir.”
Adama saw Boomer raising her arm. She would take his hand any second now and he would give her the same smile that he had given Racetrack. But instead of shaking Boomer's hand, he suddenly felt an excruciating pain in his chest. He felt himself falling backwards and before he hit the ground his world went black.
Confused Adama stared at the picture in his hands. It was a picture of his former wife and his two sons. They were all dead now. But why was he holding the picture? What was he doing with this picture in CIC?
Then he remembered the pain in his chest and when he looked around himself, he wasn't in CIC anymore. He was in his quarters. How did he get here?
“You're not really in your office, you know that, right?”
Startled Adama turned around. That voice … it couldn't be. “Lee?”
Adama could do nothing but stare at the man in front of him. He looked just like his oldest son. But Lee was dead. He had died over two months ago. Two months, one week and three days. He was painfully aware of every single day since he had to watch his son die at Ragnar.
“How did you get here? I thought …” He couldn't say the words. He couldn't say that he had thought his son was dead.
“That I died?” Lee finished for his father. “Well, I did. I'm dead.”
Adama thought about that for a moment. If Lee was dead and he was here talking to him … The pain in his chest came back to his mind. “Am I dead?”
“No, you're not. But close to it. You took two bullets in the chest. Direct hits. You'll have to fight hard to get out of this one alive.”
“How did I get shot?”
Again Adama didn't know what to reply. Why would Boomer shoot him? There was no reason. Except … “She's a Cylon?”
Adama needed a moment to comprehend what Lee had told him. What Lee had told him … gods, he was talking to his dead son. “So if I'm not in my quarters, where am I?”
“Good question. This …” Lee looked around the room. “… is something like a place in between. I'm sure there is a name for it, I just don't know it. I never was the religious type.” Lee chuckled. “I guess I should have believed it a bit more. Most of the stuff turned out to be right.”
“So … you … you're in the afterlife?”
“Yes. And I have to say, this is a lot better than running away from the Cylons. I guess I was the lucky one from the two of us.” Lee said grinning.
“Don't even say that. You … you had your whole life ahead of you. You were too young to die.”
“I'm not the only one who died too young, Dad.”
Adama could feel the desperation rise inside him again. “You still blame me for his death?” He asked. His voice was barely above a whisper.
Lee let out a small laugh. “I wasn't referring to Zak, Dad. And no, I don't blame you anymore. Actually, I stopped blaming you before I died.”
“I got some more information. Let's leave it with that.” Lee shrugged.
“Kara.” Adama said quietly.
“Ah, so she told you. I wondered if she'd ever find the courage.” Lee said smiling.
Adama stayed quiet for a moment, thinking about the woman who was like a daughter for him. “Is she dead?”
“Not that I know of. I haven't met her here yet, so I guess she's still among the living. Although that doesn't mean much. Kara and I were always good at avoiding each other. It's likely that doesn't change only because we're dead.” Lee grinned.
“Don't talk like that.” Adama said in a pain filled voice.
“Like being dead is just some casual thing that happens. It's not casual. You weren't supposed to die.”
“Dad, everyone dies. I just died a bit sooner than expected. That's just the way it is.”
“Life wouldn't be such a mess right now if you were still alive. The fleet … or what's left of it … it's falling apart The President is dead … Saul … and it's all my fault. I keep asking myself if it had been anything different if you had been here. You were always the voice of reason.”
“Too bad you only discovered that after I died. So, you killed Roslin and Tigh? I didn't know they were that annoying. Well, Tigh maybe, but Roslin seemed rather reasonable. What did you do? Airlock them?”
“I didn't kill them myself.” Adama shot an angry look at his son. The way he was making a joke out of everything was rather annoying. And it wasn't like Lee. His son had always been too earnest. But not having to worry about anything anymore seemed to have changed that. His thoughts went back to his son's question. He still hadn't given him an answer. “I might as well have pulled the trigger though. It was my orders that killed them.”
“You just have to accept the consequences of your actions and live with them. Isn't that your philosophy?”
Adama looked surprised at his son. “I can't even remember telling you these words.”
“I can. I was fourteen and got grounded for staying out longer than you and mom had allowed me. That's why I couldn't go on a date with Kathy Michaels the next day. I was very devastated then.” Lee laughed. “Well, I was fourteen. I'm over it now. I lived with it.”
“I don't know how I can live with that. They're dead and now I'm in command of what's left of the fleet. I never asked for that.”
“You always say what's left of the fleet? I take it there aren't that many ships left?” Lee asked quietly.
“No, not really. One third of the fleet got destroyed after the first week when the Olympic Carrier reached the fleet and their nukes exploded.” Adama remembered how he had screamed at Kara over the comm to destroy the ship. She couldn't do it. They hadn't been sure if the civilians on board were already dead and Kara just hadn't been able to kill over 3.000 innocent people. And her wingman, some inexperienced pilot he couldn't even remember the name of, had followed her example and they had let the Olympic Carrier pass and reach the fleet.
“One third, that must have been hard.”
“Yes. Kara never forgave herself. And when even more ships got destroyed because I couldn't stop looking for her on that damn moon … I think that maybe that's the reason why she followed the President's order. She felt like she owed it to the fleet.” When Adama looked up he met the questioning eyes of his son. Of course, Lee didn't know about Kara being stranded on the moon and his frantic search for her. “Kara was missing. And I couldn't leave her behind. I knew the Cylons had found out about our position, but I couldn't leave her. Not after losing you.” Adama let out a small chuckle. “The Cylons found us after the second day. They destroyed another five ships before we could destroy them. We stayed too long. If we had known only a few minutes earlier ... Kara was coming to us in a Cylon Raider. We almost killed her. Hot Dog had already taken a few shots at her before he realized it was her. She wasn't even allowed to fly after that and she still took that damn raider.”
“She's like a daughter to you. It's only understandable that you couldn't give up on her.”
“It would have been easier if you had been there. But to know that without Kara I would have lost everyone I ever cared about …” His voice broke and he needed a moment to regain his composure. “And now I have lost her anyway.”
“She might come back.”
“From a Cylon occupied planet? With a hurt knee from her crash on the moon and shot wounds from Hot Dogs attack because he thought she was a Cylon? Not even Kara is that lucky.” Adama let out a frustrated sigh. “But I guess I don't have to worry about that anymore.”
“I was shot. Two bullets in the chest? I guess I'm as good as dead.”
“I wouldn't give up on you so easily, Dad. And this fleet still needs you, especially now that Roslin is dead.”
“She's dead because of me. I have done nothing good for this fleet. If I die now …”
“Oh come on, Dad. That's not like you. William “Husker” Adama never gives up. So Roslin is dead and you need a new XO. Big deal. Just get them to elect a new president and promote someone to Colonel. Problem solved. You don't have the luxury to dwell on the past. You have to look ahead in the future.”
“That's easier said then done. And who would be the new President? Baltar? He's probably dead too. That only leaves Zarek and I don't trust him.”
“Maybe you're lucky and the people don't trust him either.”
“They'll trust him more than me. Ever since he got shot – on my orders – and ended up as a cripple, he's the fleet's hero. He shows up in his wheelchair and everybody loves him.”
“Why did you order someone to shoot him in the first place?”
“He had taken several hostages on the Astral Queen ... It was a bad call. I should have listened to Roslin.” Adama let out another frustrated breath. “You're right. Being dead really makes you the lucky one of us.”
“You can't die, Dad. You still have to bring the fleet to earth.”
“There is no earth.”
“Yes, there is. Kara is going to show you the way and you'll bring the fleet to earth.”
“How do you know that?” Adama looked questioning at his son.
“I just do. It's hard to explain. Once you're dead, you're going to understand. But you will have to wait a few more years for that.” Lee walked a few steps to his father. “It's time to wake up now, Dad. Kelly is doing the best he can, but he's not really qualified yet to command a battlestar.”
“He's got the highest rank after you now. You should make him your XO, I think he'll be good at it.”
“I don't want to wake up.”
“You're afraid of the reality?”
“I'm afraid of never talking to you again.” Adama whispered.
“Nothing's forever, Dad. We'll see each other again.”
“I wish I could be certain of that.”
“You can be. We're all here, Dad. Mom, Zak, your parents … We're waiting for you and that won't change only because you'll live a few more years.” Lee gave him a warm smile.
Seeing his son smile, only made this harder for Adama. He hadn't seen his son smile for so long. “I don't want to go.”
Lee didn't reply anything to that. And Adama knew that he didn't have a choice. He might have made mistakes in the past, but the fleet was still there and he still had a job to do. He wasn't convinced that he would lead the fleet to earth or that he would see Kara again, but he knew he couldn't stay with his family yet. He looked at his son and after a moment he pulled him into a tight embrace. “I love you, son.” He whispered.
When Adama opened his eyes again, he was blinded by a white light surrounding him. It took him a moment to adjust to the brightness around him, but eventually he recognized where he was. He was in sickbay. He closed his eyes again and tried to remember his dream. Lee had been in it ... The memory brought a warm feeling to his heart. Lee had forgiven him. His mind told him that it was only a dream and that he just wished for Lee to forgive him, to love him again as a father. But his heart told him that it was true. Somehow he had been able to talk to his son one last time. And he had finally said the words he should have said a long time ago.
He opened his eyes again. Lee had told him to concentrate on the future. And their future was earth. He knew what he had to do.
“Commander, it's good to see you awake.”
Adama turned his head to the side and saw Cottle standing next to his bed. “Doc, I need to talk to Kelly.” Adama was surprised how hoarse his voice sounded. He wondered how long he had been out.
“You still need to rest. Let other people do your job for the next few days.” Cottle tried to keep his patient calm. He knew Adama would want to get back to work as soon as possible and he knew that in his condition that wasn't the best thing. But he also knew his Commander long enough to know that no one would stop him from going back to work when he wanted to.
“I can rest when I'm dead. We're going back to Kobol.”