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Heal Me

By Crystal Wimmer

Word Count: 2,854
Date: 10/29/04
Series: Mini
Rating: T
Category: Challenge
Pairing/Focus: Lee, Kara
Warnings:
Summary: (based on the song by Gary Chapman)
Spoilers/Disclaimers:


I’m not sure how much more I can take.

I can’t tell at what point I will break.

But I can feel it coming on.

I can feel it coming on.

Kara leaned her head back against the headrest in her Viper. That had been too frakking close, she decided. She was sick of it. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. This time, it had been Lee losing his engines in the middle of an attack. Who the hell knew what could come next. They’d almost been killed, almost been left behind. Lee said she was beyond insane, but frankly that was the only thing keeping her from going truly crazy.

It had been a hell of a day. She felt like she’d been awake forever, but it had only been about thirty-six hours. She had no clue what she was running on. Adrenaline, probably, although she hoped not. If she was, she was headed for one hell of a crash. Truth be told, she’d already had more than one today.

It wasn’t easy to go from a brisk run around the Galactica to the middle of a war. She was feeling more than a little whiplash at the moment, and it wasn’t from their crash into the hangar wall.. She’d gone from the brig, to a Viper, to losing her best friend, to losing her world, to taking on the entire Cylon armada, to nearly getting herself killed saving a friend. She could barely make sense of it. But the day wasn’t over yet.

I’m so tired of planning my next fall.

I might lose my head and lose it all.

I can feel it coming on.

I can feel it coming on.

“How many did we lose?” she had asked.

“Eighty-five.”

The number still had the power to take the strength from her limbs, but that hadn’t been the worst of it. Over and above it all, she had lost one of the few people she truly considered a friend. Granted, they hadn’t been all that close of late, but the friendship had remained even after losing Zak – losing her fiancé – losing his brother.

His return from the dead had been one of the few bright spots in her day, and yet she was certain to lose him again. In a way, it might have been easier to die in space than to face what she knew was coming. And she had to face him. She’d told him the truth – as she had once told his father – and how she had to come to terms with her actions. His father had understood and had graciously forgiven; she didn’t think she’d bee so lucky with Lee. He wasn’t the forgiving type.

Yet compared to the loss of a world, what was one life? She knew the answer to that. It was everything. Everything she had wanted, and hoped for, and dreamed, and thought she had. It was everything she could lose – and had lost. It had been the end of her world.

She had rebuilt that world from scratch, a day at a time, over the last two years. And it was going to come crashing down on her. Yes, dying might have been easier. If she could have figured out a way to get Lee back aboard without saving herself, she would have done it. The cowards way out? Hell yes. She wouldn’t even argue that fact.

And I’m so sorry that I’m feeling so sorry for myself.

I want to stop this.

Finally getting her wind back, She reached up to pop the release on her canopy. There was more than a little smoke around her, letting her know how much damage she had done to the interlinked Vipers. And thankfully she had heard Lee’s voice on the wireless just before the jump, so she knew that he was alive if not well. It was the one thing she’d done right today.

Her own movement jarred her, emphasizing the lingering dizziness that followed a hyper-light jump. Normally she didn’t mind the sensation, but at the moment it was more than she could stand. She rested her arm on the slide of her canopy, and then put her head on her arm. She hoped fervently that she wouldn’t throw up. That would be the final humiliation. She wasn’t sure she could stand that much.

“Not one of your better landings, Starbuck.”

The voice startled her out of her illness, or near-illness as the case might be. She looked up to see messy brown hair – what little there was of it – and clear blue eyes. He didn’t look angry, though. If anything, that was a grin on his face. Reality seemed to be taking a turn for the absurd.

Life isn’t fair.

I don’t deserve this.

How did this start?

When will it pass?

“Yeah, well anything you can walk away from,” she muttered.

“Can you?” he asked.

She thought of being honest – of telling him no, she couldn’t – but that was more than she wanted to face. “Give me a minute,” she asked. Her stomach was churning, and she didn’t think it was either the less than perfect landing or the jump. What was making her ill was the certainty that she was about to lose her only remaining true friend.

But he didn’t yell, or scream, or do any of the things she might have expected. Hell, he didn’t even walk off and leave her there. He just stood quietly and waited for her to pull herself together. It was a long wait.

I want a chance

Though I may falter

Here at this alter

I dare to ask you to heal me, heal me.

“I’m sorry,” she finally said.

“For saving my ass?” he asked with a wink.

She shook her head. “For telling you. For not telling you,” she corrected. “And then telling you at such a lousy time. Your mind needed to be on flying, not on something that’s been over for two years.”

“It wasn’t over,” he said softly. “Now, are you ready to get down?”

She nodded. Tyrol and his crew weren’t anywhere to be seen, and the majority of the pilots who had made their combat landings were already out of the bay. There were a few stragglers, but none within hearing distance and none pulling up a ladder.

Still shaking, she climbed up and out of the cockpit, sliding down efficiently using the wing. Lee steadied her as she touched the ground. She was more than a little grateful for it, because she hadn’t realized just how little stability she had. “Thanks.”

He looked at her for a moment. “Anytime,” he said gently.

They walked together for a few feet, her legs wobbly and him looking stiff. She’d done a hell of a job on the both of them. “Why?” she finally asked.

“Hmm?”

With a deep breath, she dove in. “You aren’t screaming, or yelling, or walking off in that stone-cold silence that you’re so frakking good at. Why? I know you heard what I said; I know you care. It was my fault, Lee.”

“Do you want me to walk off?” he asked.

“Hell, no,” she said in exasperation. “But you’ve…”

“Done it before,” he finished for her.

“Yeah.”

“I’m not proud of that,” he told her.

“I didn’t say you were, but I can’t believe you’re going to let this go.”

He took a deep breath, and then stopped her with a hand on her arm. “Wait,” he requested.

As hard as it was, she stopped walking and faced him.

“I’ve lost enough today,” he said softly. “Zak’s been gone for two years. Now Mom’s gone, and most everyone else too. All I have is you and my dad. I really don’t think I can afford to hold a grudge any more than you could afford to get yourself killed without letting my dad off the hook.”

“Caught that, huh?” she asked, but she was a long way from certain.

“It’s over, Kara. Let it die; everything else sure did.”

There is a hope I don’t deny.

Deep in my heart I want to try.

I can feel it coming on.

I can feel it coming on.

The funeral lasted forever, or at least it felt that way to Kara. But the one thing that made the time bearable was the man standing at her side. He wasn’t holding a grudge, or punishing her for something she had never intended to do. In a way it made her feel worse than she had before. More than her own guilt, she’d had a self-recrimination that had served her well over the last two years. Without his anger to fortify that, she wasn’t sure what she was left with.

Watching the bodies of her friends – her shipmates – her comrades, she was faced with the realization that the world as she knew it was over. There would be no more going home on leave. There would be no more visits to Libra or Caprica. It was over. Everything was over. Standing before her was the entire world, so far as she was concerned. She had this, and she had a job to do – a fleet to protect.

She didn’t know if it would be enough. She didn’t know if she wanted it to be. Lee had been right about one thing; she hadn’t planned on living through the day. Whether by Cylon attack or in defense of her ship, she had planned to die out there. It was why she had broken a two-year silence; it was why she had needed to be sure that one father and one son didn’t lose each other over her. Enough had been lost.

And I’m so sorry that I’m feeling so sorry for myself.

I want to stop this.

“You’re quiet.”

She smiled at that. “Most everyone is,” she told Lee. It’s not exactly a day for song and dance. The world ended.”

“Most of it,” he agreed.

Then Lee reached for her and did the unthinkable; he tugged her into a hug. For the first moments she resisted the comfort, the acceptance that he offered. And then some part of her realized that he was right. None of them could afford to burn bridges. All they had was one another, and those few surviving friendships were to be treasured.

Her arms finally went around him, her face buried in the neck of his dress uniform. Lords, she was going to cry. It was all more than she could stand. The world was ending, and there were so many people who had deserved to live. Children had died, mothers and husbands and political leaders. Why had she survived? Why had she – the one person who had wanted the day to end in death – managed to come through it with a few bruises and a good friend. She didn’t understand. She needed to understand.

Life isn’t fair.

I don’t deserve this.

How did this start?

When will it pass?

The wait for Eloshia was long. She was the only priest aboard, and it had taken Kara more than a week to get time to see her. During that time she had slept little and had eaten less. Lee was complaining about her lack of enthusiasm – telling her how she had to set an example for the men – but most everyone was still in a shocked depression, so her unusually quiet demeanor went unnoticed by her shipmates. Lee probably wouldn’t have noticed if he hadn’t been looking for it, and as CAG it was his job to do so.

She hadn’t seen his father since the war had begun. His responsibilities were endless as the only military leader, and in the wake of the Colonies’ decimation he was all that was holding the fleet together. President Roslyn had her place, but she wasn’t yet really accepted as a leader. Until there was a formal election of some kind, Kara didn’t think she would be.

It took her more than a few minutes to explain her way out of quarters so that she could make the appointment, but she didn’t dare miss it. And yet as she entered the makeshift chapel, she had no idea what she wanted to say. She didn’t really want to confess – she’d done that – and forgiveness had been received without even asking.

The problem was that she couldn’t forgive herself, and she needed to get past it. But should she get past it? Shouldn’t she have some type of punishment for ending one life and jeopardizing another? Was that the reason she had lived when so many others had died?

I want a chance

Though I may falter

Here at this alter

I dare to ask you to heal me, heal me.

“You look tired,” the priest said softly. “What troubles you?”

Kara took a deep breath. “Do the Lords forgive?” she asked softly.

Eloshia’s head tilted to the side in a questioning gesture. “Forgive what? The Cylons?”

Kara shook her head. “No. Humans,” she corrected. “When we… do things that cause harm. Do the Lords punish us, or do they fogive?”

“I cannot speak for the Lords,” Eloshia said gently. “But I must ask you, can you forgive?”

Kara shrugged. “I usually do,” she admitted. “Some things go beyond forgiveness, though. This isn’t something minor. I hurt somebody and then I lied about it, although it was more a lie of omission. And then I finally admitted it, but it was for myself and not for him. I didn’t want to die with it on my conscience. Only I didn’t die,” she said with half a smile. “And he doesn’t blame me, but…”

“You feel he should,” the priest concluded.

Kara only nodded.

“Then you are asking the wrong question,” Eloshia said quietly. “Whether or not the Lords forgive, that is not what you need. You must ask yourself if you can forgive.”

“I don’t know,” Kara admitted.

“Let us look at this from another perspective,” Eloshia decided. “If another had done this, would you forgive them? If they admitted it, and were truly sorry, could you forgive?”

Kara thought about Lee, and how much she had hurt him. She thought of his father, and the open forgiveness she’d found there. “I would have to,” she finally decided. It was the truth; she could hold nothing against them. Whatever happened, she knew they would never deliberately hurt her.

“Then provide yourself the same courtesy,” the priest recommended. “Our world has changed around us. We have enough enemies without making them among ourselves, or with ourselves. No, the Lords do not issue punishment commiserate with our sins. We do that ourselves. So then, if we issue the penalty, it is also our responsibility to decide when a sentence is adequately served.”

“I guess so,” Kara said, her voice barely above a whisper. “But when is the punishment enough?”

“When we are truly sorry for our actions.”

Kara looked up at the priest. “I was sorry immediately,” she told her. “I’ve regretted it since the moment…”

“Then I would say that your punishment has been served, and many times over,” the priest advised. “It is time to let go of it, and move on with your life. There is no room in our world for old wounds. There are far too many new ones to manage.”

“Yes, Eloshia.”

“Go in peace,” the priest said softly. “I believe you’ve earned it.”

Heal me. Won’t you heal me?

Kara was halfway back to quarters when she ran into Lee. “Hey,” he said with a smile, and for the first time Kara realized just how genuine that smile was. It stunned her, given what they had been through in the last week.

“What’s up?’ she asked.

“For a change, not much,” he said, his smile fading to a wry grin. “I have to make a flight over to Colonial One though, to take care of some diplomatic nonsense. You wanna ride along?”

Neither of them had been in the air since their less than glorious landing a week before – the Galactica was relying on sensor scans because there weren’t any Vipers that were remotely intact. As he probably was, she was getting stir crazy. “I’d love it,” she admitted. “As long as you don’t mind the company.”

He smacked her on the back and grinned. “You’re tolerable,” he admitted. “But I’m flying.”

“Right,” she said, and her tone was enough to widen his smile.

He took a few steps away from her as she watched, realizing that he had forgiven her. Completely. There was no anger in his voice, no resentment. The only one who had been bearing a grudge against her was… her. Lee finally realized that she wasn’t beside him. “You coming?” he called out.

Kara gave a nod, finally allowing herself to smile – really smile – back at him. “On my way, Boss-man,” she said as she took a few jogging steps to reach his side once more.