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 first story in the 'Hide and Seek' series.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Laura Roslin was brought out of her thoughts by the dull thud of a full glass being placed in front of her. She looked up at the bartender, confused. "Excuse me, but, I didn't order this."
Laura turned around to identify her benefactor. In front of her stood a woman in her twenties, wearing a worn leather jacket splattered with paint. Her stylishly unkempt shock of dirty blond hair obscured her eyes and a rakish smile graced her full lips.
"Laura," she replied, grasping the young blonde's extended hand.
"Nice to meet you, Laura."
"And you." Laura paused for a moment, taking in the now almost predatory smile on the other woman's face. "Thank you for the drink."
Kara nodded. "You look like you could use some company."
"Yeah. And so could I. So I figured it would be mutually beneficial to introduce myself."
Laura ducked her head and shook it slightly to rid her mind of the temptation that stood before her. "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 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. Nor am I looking to act out a longstanding 'ruler-wielding schoolmarm/naughty student' fantasy. Not that I haven't had them. I just happen to think that you are a beautiful woman, alone in a bar, and I'd like to get to know you better."
Kara grinned triumphantly as a soft smile appeared on Laura's face. "So, now that that's out of the way, what is it you do for a living, Laura?"
A full, throaty laugh escaped from the older woman's mouth and she said, "I'm a schoolmarm, actually, although I haven't wielded a ruler in quite some time."
Kara joined her in laughter, saying, "That's a shame."
"And what do you do, Kara?"
"I'm a pilot. I've been instructing at the base here in Caprica City for a while, but I'm being posted to the Galactica. I leave tomorrow."
"It can be."
"Are you any good?"
Although it seemed impossible, Kara's flirtatious grin became wider. "I'm very good."
Laura flushed slightly at the young woman's implication. In an effort to move the conversation to safer ground and regain her composure, Laura asked, "The Galactica is one of the oldest ships in the Fleet, isn't it? Wouldn't you rather go somewhere else?"
Kara shrugged. "Commander Adama is a...friend, I guess you could say. He requested me." As Kara paused, Laura saw a cloud pass over her features. "And I owe him...." Kara shook her head and the cocky grin returned. "Besides, I'm tired of teaching nuggets the difference between pitch and yaw, so..."
"So, you're something of a schoolmarm yourself, then?" Laura asked with a smile.
"I guess you could say that." With a wicked gleam in her eye, Kara leaned in and whispered, "And I have a pretty powerful ruler."
Laura felt a shiver run down her spine at the intimate position she found herself in with the young pilot. Before she could think better of it, she found herself whispering back, "Yes, but do you know how to wield it?"
Kara pulled back slightly to look the older woman in the eye. She ran her index finger down the bare flesh of Laura's arm, leaving a trail of goose pimples in its wake. "I haven't had any complaints, but I could always use another opinion." Kara smiled as Laura closed her eyes.
Laura opened her eyes to find her assistant looking at her curiously from the other side of the table that served as her desk. She straightened in her chair and folded her hands in front of her. "I'm sorry, Billy, what were you saying?"
"I asked if you wanted another opinion on the food stores needed to supply the Fleet?"
"Uh, no, thank you. I'm sure Dr. Baltar's estimates are as accurate as they can be."
"Will there be anything else?"
"No, thank you, Billy. That will be all."
As he turned to go, he looked at her quizzically and asked, "Are you alright, ma'am? You seem a little flushed. Should I call the Doctor?"
"No!" the President of the Colonies said too forcefully. "No, I was just thinking of something and drifted off a little. I'm fine."
"If you're sure?"
"I am, but thank you for your concern."
As the door closed behind him, Laura released a heavy sigh.
Seeing Kara Thrace at the memorial for those souls lost in the initial Cylon attack had brought back memories of the night she spent with the unique woman. By the widening of her eyes, Laura could tell that Kara had recognized her as well. They had locked eyes for a brief moment and Laura was sure that they were both thinking of Kara's last night on Caprica.
Laura had been in that bar seeking a brief respite from the stress of watching her mother slowly wither away as breast cancer ravaged her body. She had not intended to meet anyone that night, let alone someone as intriguing as Kara Thrace. She had found herself acting completely out of character as she had not only actively flirted with the young woman, but had gone home with her for an night od surprisingly gentle and satisfying lovemaking. The evening had been profoundly fulfilling and what should have been a fleeting moment of physical comfort had, somehow, been forever imprinted on her consciousness.
Laura had found herself thinking about the brash young woman often over the intervening months. When she had only been the Secretary of Education. When Caprica was still thriving. When she had the luxury of thinking about something other than continuation of the human race. Though time had passed since the encounter and, indeed, life as they all knew it had been forever changed, she knew she would never forget that evening eighteen months ago.
As much as she wanted to, she would never forget Lt. Kara Thrace.
Kara Thrace sat in her rack cursing the Gods. She had just lost all her cubits to a science geek who is, by all reports, a stark raving lunatic with a penchant for talking to himself. 'Focus, Kara.' She had been distracted since she had been ordered to fire on the Olympic Carrier, possibly sending thirteen hundred civilians to their deaths. From the fly-bys the ship appeared to be empty, but she couldn't be sure. She would never be sure. Going without sleep, jumping every thirty-three minutes, taking the stims to stay alert enough to fly, and then having only a brief respite before the explosions in the water tank had all combined to take its toll on the young officer. Although, if she were completely honest with herself, she had been feeling off since the memorial service. Since she had seen Laura Roslin. President Laura Roslin. 'Frak me.'
In honor of her last night on Caprica before being posted to the Galactica, she had hit the town. She wanted to say goodbye to her home world in style. She wanted her last night there to be memorable. As the old adage goes, 'be careful what you wish for.'
She had watched the older woman at the bar for most of the night. She had seemed deep in thought. There had been something about the way the brunette carried herself that was fascinating -- the delicate curve of her wrist as she lifted her drink to her lips accentuated a grace and nobility that was altogether out of place in her surroundings. Kara had also sensed the weight of crushing responsibility that sat squarely on the older woman's slightly hunched shoulders. Although she hadn't known the specifics of the woman's burden, she had recognized her state because she had seen it in herself in the mirror every morning -- the haunted look of being trapped by circumstances you couldn't control, but for which you, ultimately, felt responsible.
So Kara had sent over a drink and began a conversation. Laura's disbelief that Kara would be interested in her had been, actually, quite charming. In point of fact, Laura was not someone that Kara would have typically been attracted to, but there had been something about the older woman that called out to her -- so much so that Kara had eventually brought Laura back to her apartment.
Since Zak had died, she hadn't brought anyone home to her bed, having mostly settled for urgent, sticky fumblings in dark corners of alleys, club restrooms or in cars. Kara had instinctively known none of those options would have been good enough for Laura Roslin, so, without hesitation, she had let Laura into her cramped, cluttered apartment. By doing so, she had let Laura into her life.
The night they had spent together was not the hard, rushed, lust-filled encounters to which Kara had grown accustomed in the six months since Zak had died. It had been soft, unhurried and achingly tender. She had felt herself open up to this woman. They had talked about the circumstances that brought them each to the bar that night. Laura had talked about her mother. Kara had talked about Zak, and a small amount of weight had been lifted from both their shoulders. Then, with exquisite care, they had made love until both were exhausted and their demons were purged, if only for the night.
When Kara woke the next morning, Laura had been gone. In place of her body, there was a note thanking Kara for a special night and urging her to be careful in the cockpit. Kara had smiled at the naive sentiment, knowing that being careful wasn't in the job description of a fighter pilot, even in a time of peace. She had surveyed the empty half of the bed with a sadness that surprised her. She had expected to be relieved, but, when the light of day revealed an empty apartment, she had been, instead, filled with a longing for the connection that had been established in the darkness.
Kara knew she would never forget Laura Roslin. She didn't want to.
Sequel Act of Contrition
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