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 fifth story in the 'Hide and Seek' series, following Water, Act of Contrition, You Can't Go Home Again, Six Degrees and Flesh and Bone.
SPOILERS: Everything up to Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
Laura was up in 'the core' above CIC waiting for a report from Commander Adama on Dr. Baltar's Cylon detector. She was watching Adama carefully. His behavior had been erratic. As much as she wanted to ignore them, Leoben's words rang in her ears. 'Adama is a Cylon.' If this Cylon detector was ready, she somehow had to convince Adama to be the first one tested. It was the only way to give herself peace of mind.
Even with most of her attention focused on the Commander, she still found herself scanning the area for Kara. She had been avoiding the young woman, not knowing what to say to her. When she had asked for the recording of Kara's interrogation of the Cylon, she hadn't known what to expect, never having listened to an officer questioning a prisoner of war. There wasn't much opportunity for that experience as the Secretary of Education.
Kara had seemed in control, for the most part, until she had dismissed the guards. Laura had heard the Cylon describe in detail what he could do to Kara -- ripping her skull form her spinal column. She had heard Kara's unworried reply. Then she had only heard the sounds of a struggle and her mind had tried to picture what had occurred, although she knew that her imagination likely paled in comparison to what had really happened. She had heard Leoben whisper something that she couldn't quite make out, but she was familiar with his tone. A shiver had run down her spine as she had recognized the same conspiratorial whisper she had heard in her dreams. With relief, she had heard the sounds of guards rushing in and had known the physical confrontation had been over.
As the interview progressed she had heard the fatigue and frustration in Kara's voice become more pronounced. She had then listened, with a sickening mixture of horror and fascination, to the water torture. When the Cylon, gasping for air, had, in one stark, halting speech, laid Kara's secret bare for all to hear, she had listened carefully, her heart breaking. She hated to think of Kara suffering at all, let alone suffering at the hands of the one person who should have cared for her and protected her against harm from the world. Laura could not quell the anger that had started to rise and, for the first time in her life, she had consciously wanted to physically hurt another human being. Mothers were supposed to guard and love their children, not be an instrument of abuse.
After she had calmed down, partially soothed by the knowledge that the woman responsible for Kara's suffering had likely already died in the initial Cylon attack, she had tried to imagine what such a betrayal might have done to Kara. She had thought about the conversation they had had in the bar that night on Caprica.
+++"Kara, you're a lovely young woman -- and I stress, young -- I am flattered by your interest, but I am old enough to be your --"
"Don't. Don't say it. Age is a relative thing."
Laura laughed softly. "Perhaps, but there must be someone in this establishment that interests you. Someone closer to your own age."
"No doubt, but there are also plenty of people my age who are far too old for me -- and too young, but the only one who interests me, in this establishment, is you." Kara raised her hand to forestall another protest from Laura. "I'm not trying to realize some creepy mother fantasy. Fantasies involving my mother usually include bloodshed, actually."+++
Laura wasn't sure what to do with the knowledge she now had about Kara's younger life. Leoben had clearly implied that Kara had been abused by her mother and Kara made no attempt to deny it. In fact, the anger in Kara's voice and her immediate action to punish him confirmed everything that had been said. Knowledge of Kara's maternal relationship made Laura wonder what such a young , vibrant adventurous woman saw in an ordinary, predictable, significantly older woman like herself. Their age difference had always troubled Laura and now she had to wonder if Kara was looking for some kind of maternal substitute, and yet, as hesitant as she was, she was consumed by the memory of the kiss they had shared aboard Colonial one's shuttle.
Although it was clearly something they had both wanted, longed for, her new questions about Kara's motivations clouded her mind. In fact, she was now angry with herself for allowing the kiss at all. She had been castigating herself about her lapse of judgment for the last several days, but despite her mind's best intentions, she couldn't seem to control her body's innate response to Kara's mere presence. When the kiss had happened it had seemed so right -- so natural, but later her analytical mind had kicked in and she had reminded herself that nothing should happen between the two of them. Of course, Laura's heart wanted nothing more than to lock herself away with Kara and indulge themselves until they were both exhausted, which made it all the more imperative she avoid seeing Kara until she was ready to tell her that they could never be what they once were.
"Well, well, well. What do we have here? Hot date, Captain?" Kara asked when she saw Lee buttoning up his dress uniform as she entered the locker room and began stripping off her orange jumpsuit. She had been working on the Raider and, as usual after being aboard the smelly thing, really needed to bathe.
"I wish. I am having dinner with my father, the President and Colonel Tigh."
The zipper on her jumpsuit stopped its journey as Kara's hand froze when Lee mentioned Laura. She took a second to compose herself before saying, "Wow. That sounds....excruciating."
"No doubt, especially considering the 'special guest'."
For the second time Kara stopped what she was doing, this time giving Lee her full attention. "What? Where the frak did she come from?"
"I don't know. Something about being in a coma."
"You sure she'd not still in it? She'd have to be to go back to Tigh."
"Down, girl. What? You want her for yourself?"
"Bite your tongue. Been there. Don't want to go back. Ever."
"Yeah, well, I can't believe you went there in the first place. Wish me luck."
"Luck. Tell her I said 'hi'. I meant the President, perv," Kara clarified at Lee's amused look. "And don't forget to hide the booze."
"Will do. Later." Lee paused and looked Kara up and down before saying, "You smell." He barely missed being hit by a slimy orange jumpsuit on his way out.
After Lee had left, Kara leaned against her locker and closed her eyes. Laura was onboard. In fact, Laura had been onboard several times and had never so much as tracked her down to say hello. Kara didn't know what to think. Laura had enjoyed that kiss -- she had wanted it. She had said so. But since then, no contact, and Kara had no idea what to make of it all. She hadn't wanted -- really wanted -- anything in a long time. She had learned to stop wanting. It only led to trouble and heartache. Her track record in the romance department was shitty at best. Every time she let herself care about someone the relationship ended up falling apart, which is why she had shunned the thought of any relationship that lasted longer than a few hours. Until now. Kara could only hope it would be different this time. This time she had made a choice against her native instinct -- taken a leap of faith. She only hoped Laura would be there to catch her.
'Trust me' Laura had said. With a sigh Kara realized she had to do just that.
"By the way, Kara sends her best."
Laura graced Apollo with frozen smile. "Does she? That's very kind." Guilt rushed through the older woman at the thought of Kara knowing that she was onboard the Galactica and hadn't made an effort to see the pilot. She knew she had been sending the young woman mixed signals and that Kara would, undoubtably, be confused by her behavior, but Laura still hadn't garnered the courage to break things off with the beautiful blonde. She returned her attention to her dinner for a moment before she couldn't resist asking, "How is the Lieutenant?"
Lee seemed surprised by the question. "She's fine. She seems a little distracted, but, then again, she's been trapped inside that slimy Raider for days. With the intel we're getting from our wounded bird, she seems to be close to getting the Raider's FTL drive up and running."
"That's excellent news." Her focus was drawn by another bout of drunken laughter coming from the Tighs. She shared a grimace with both the Adama men at the couple's behavior and returned her attention to the matter at hand. If Ellen Tigh was, indeed, a Cylon, she was beginning to think they had a chance at winning this war after all.
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