DISCLAIMER: Battlestar Galactica is the property of Glen A. Larson, Sci-Fi Channel, R & D TV, Sky and NBC Universal.
SERIES/SEQUEL: This is the fourth story in the 'Hide and Seek' series, following Water, Act of Contrition and You Can't Go Home Again.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Well, it would seem that you are exactly where I left you."
Kara couldn't control her annoyed sigh as she recognized the identity of the person speaking to her. "Am I running for office and no one told me, because I seem very popular all of a sudden."
Laura pointedly ignored the pilot's petulant tone. "I'm told they're not having much luck with the Cylon Raider."
In truth, her conversation with Apollo had been more about Kara than the Raider. He was worried about his friend. 'It's not like Kara to give up like this. I even had Colonel Tigh go talk to her. I figured she'd be up and around just to spite him. It didn't work -- nothing has. It's like she doesn't want to get better.'
"I've heard all I want to hear about that frakking Raider. They'll figure it out," Kara replied curtly.
"Why aren't you down there helping them?"
Kara pretended to think. "Well, I know there's a reason, wait, don't tell me. Oh, I know! I can't walk, let alone fly."
Laura shrugged. "You couldn't walk the last time you flew it."
"That was different," she said defensively.
"It just was," Kara mumbled. She knew she was being childish, but since Doc Cottle was refusing to give her anymore medication, the pain in her leg left her feeling helpless. The last time she had been hurt she had worked her ass off in rehab, fighting through an incredible amount of agony, and it still hadn't gotten her back on the Pyramid court. She was afraid if the same thing would happen this time -- that no matter how hard she worked she would never see the inside of a Viper again. If she couldn't fly, what good was she to anyone?
"Kara, you can't stay in this bed forever."
"Maybe I just need to rest. Did you ever think of that, Madam President? I have been working non-stop since this whole frakking thing began. Fighting the toasters. A person can only do so much before they just need a break. I think I've earned it."
"There is not a person in this Fleet that hasn't earned it, Lieutenant. Unfortunately, we don't have that luxury. The Cylons will continue to hunt us and the only way we are going to be able to stop them is by understanding exactly what it is we're up against. You have given us the opportunity to do just that. By bringing that Raider back, you have given us a very valuable tool. The only one who seems to be able to understand that tool is you, but you can't look past your self-pity long enough to see it. Lieutenant Thrace, you are a pilot and an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Start acting like one."
Kara turned fiery eyes on Laura. "Is that an order from my President?"
"No. It's a request from your....." Laura's voice softened as she trailed off.
"My what?" Kara asked, wanting to put a name to what their relationship, if that's what you could call it, was.
"I don't know," Laura admitted with a frustrated sigh. She shook her head to dispel any thought of the relationship that was developing. She couldn't think about it right now. She needed to focus on getting Kara back on her feet. "Kara, you are a brilliantly talented young woman. I know that facing this injury again is difficult, but you overcame it once. I know you can do it again. We need you."
"It's gonna hurt," Kara said, looking down, her voice breaking.
Laura's heart lurched at the desolate note in Kara's normally vibrant voice. She reached out a hand and brushed Kara's hair back behind her ear. "I know it will and I wish I could do something to help, but you can't give up. I can't let you. You're too important to the fleet." Laura moved her hand to Kara's jaw and gently drew the woman's head up so she could look in her eyes. "You're too important to me. So get it in gear, Lieutenant Thrace. Time's wasting. You don't belong in the infirmary," Laura finished with a smile.
Kara really looked at Laura for the first time since she had walked in the room, noticing how tired the older woman looked.
"Maybe I don't belong here, but you look like you might. You look exhausted. Are you OK?"
Kara remembered the urgent wireless call she had overheard that morning. Doc Cottle had gottten a call from Colonial One asking him to come to the ship immediately because the President had collapsed. The young aide sounded almost frantic and the doctor took off like her was on fire. Kara didn't know the cantankerous old man could move that fast.
When Doc Cottle had returned, he had seemed more grumpy than usual. Kara had asked him how Laura was, but he had only mumbled something about not having the sense the Gods had given a gnat and had stalked into his office. Not knowing what had happened to Laura was, undoubtedly, contibuting to her stormy disposition.
Laura froze for a moment before answering, "Yes. I'm fine."
Kara nodded, unconvinced. "So fine that you keeled over on Colonial One?"
"I was here when Doc Cottle got the call. Billy sounded pretty panicked," Kara pressed.
"Billy worries too much. I'm fine," Laura protested quickly.
"Are you sure?" Kara asked quietly.
"Yes. I had a touch of the stomach flu. It was nothing," Laura replied, looking at the floor.
"OK." Kara was disappointed. Kara knew Laura was hiding something. She had hoped Laura would tell her what was wrong, but knew that she wouldn't -- at least not now. Since pushing Laura probably wouldn't do any good, Kara decided to lighten the conversation. "So, did you come all the way over here just to kick my ass?"
"Partly," Laura smiled, relieved Kara was letting the subject of her health drop. "I'm also going to the brig to see Dr. Baltar and kick his ass."
"Right. I heard about him. Ass kicking day, is it, Madam President?" Kara asked with a grin.
"It would seem so, Lieutenant Thrace," Laura replied, grateful to see the familiar light return to Kara's eyes.
Kara nodded before her grin broadened. She wiggled her eyebrows and said, "So, I'm important to you, huh?"
Laura reached out again and softly stroked Kara's cheek as she said seriously, "Against all better judgment, Kara, yes, you are."
The women were silent for a moment before Kara said, "Well, don't just stand there, Madam President. Make yourself useful and hand me my crutches."
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