Kara steps into Laura’s office on Colonial One and the President is there waiting for her, a serious look on her face. Kara wonders why Laura finds it so necessary to hold meetings with each individual member of The Circle, especially when she has just regained office and must have a million better things to do than conduct follow-up sessions with a group which had already been dissolved. Nevertheless, Kara does admit to herself that getting off Galactica, even just for a couple of hours, can do nothing but good for her right now. It’s getting harder and harder to hold herself back every time she has an urge to get physical with any number of her fellow crewmembers, which is happening rather frequently nowadays. It could be a condemning stare or a friendly smile, Kara would like to erase both with her fists just the same. And at this moment all she can think about is what would happen to her if today, right now, she let herself slip and the frakking President of the Colonies ended up as her very literal punching bag. Kara pleads with the gods to let her keep it together just for these few hours; she can take action on a few of her peers back on Galactica instead and face far less severe consequences. She reassures herself by remembering that Laura is only interested in the charades of their jury of vengeance, not Kara’s personal life… unlike everyone else. Sometimes it seems like pushing her buttons is the only thing people are good for.
“Kara, welcome. Please have a seat.” Kara wonders if she will be Captain Thrace again by the next time they meet.
“Were you especially close to any of the casualties of New Caprica?”
“No, not really.”
“It seems that many of your fellow jurors did lose loved ones, and I can see why they would seek out some way to extract vengeance. I think we all wish we could do something, make somebody pay for the deaths of all of the Cylons’ victims.”
“Yeah, all those people…” Except Kara didn’t join The Circle for her dead friend or lover or brother, like Tigh and the others did. Her victim is still very much alive, still here, living inside her frakkin’ head. Kara feels the all-too-familiar burn of rage start to spread itself out from her stomach, but just tries to focus her energy on coming up with something legitimate to say to Laura.
When she finally brings her eyes up to meet Laura’s, it’s clear by the way Laura’s looking at her, looking in her, that maybe this isn’t just about The Circle after all.
This time, instead of feeling the urge to fight, Kara just wants to run.
“What happened to you during those four months in detention? What did he do to you?” Laura asks with too much pity in her voice. Kara squirms in the chair; she’s not sure why gravity’s hold is harder than usual to break. Figures that even gravity would be on the President’s side. And as her eyes search desperately for a place to look that’s towards anything but Laura, Kara can only think of one way out of this.
“He tried to get me to fall in love with him, or whatever it is those Toasters think they’re feeling. He treated me like his frakking mistress. I was sure I was losing my mind… the only time I felt anything at all was when I killed him. Six times, and he always came back with that sick smile on his face. Always ready to quote Cylon prophecy or tell me about some frakking vision he had about me,” Kara hears herself say.
She feels her face burning. Kara has no idea what Laura is going to say, but she is absolutely certain that if it happens to be the wrong thing, she really will snap this time.
She waits, but the room is still filled with silence. When Kara does finally glance at Laura, it’s just out of the corner of her eye because she can’t bear to see Laura seeing her.
“Can I go now?” she practically growls as she feels the heat coil up in her throat.
“No, I think you should stay. Kara, look at me,” Laura says as she stands up and moves around the desk, leaning back on it as she comes to a stop in front of Kara.
Kara’s face suddenly crumples as she forces herself to stare up at the older woman, and before she knows it –
“There was a kid,” she says as tears start to run down her cheeks. “Leoben said she was my daughter, and I believed him.” Kara chokes on her anger and lets out a sob.
“Oh my gods,” she hears Laura mutter softly, and Kara bursts out of the chair. But she can’t breathe, she can’t make it through the hatch, so she slams herself up against the wall and presses her face into the hull as she sobs.
“And I lost her, she was mine but then I lost her,” Kara screams to the metal, to herself. Somehow Laura is right behind her, and pulls Kara into her when Kara’s crying so hard that her legs can’t hold her up anymore.
And all Kara still wants to do is run, but instead she pushes herself into Laura as hard as she can, almost as if she were trying to break her way through Laura’s body. But Kara’s head is stuffed up with her gasping sobs and she lets Laura guide them onto a row of Colonial One’s chairs.
Kara desperately wants to calm herself down and leave the ship with whatever little dignity she has left, but she forgets her embarrassment as everything she’s been holding inside for months floods out of her and onto Laura’s dampening jacket. “Shh,” the President whispers into her ear, and she feels Laura’s hands on her back, rubbing from the small of her back all the way up to her neck and down again. “Kara, it’s all right.”
“No it’s not!” she cries into Laura’s shoulder. “I need her…”
Laura starts to rock their bodies slowly, back and forth, and Kara tries to forget that she’s with the President of the frakkin’ Colonies. “It’s okay, just take a deep breath. Take a deep breath for me,” Laura softly urges her. Kara focuses on Laura’s soothing voice and the rhythm of their movement, and finally her sobs lessen until she can breathe again.
She sits up next to Laura, whose hand still rubs small circles on Kara’s back reassuringly. “What was the little girl’s name?”
“Kacey… and she had little curly blond hair, and wide dark eyes like mine,” Kara answers, stray tears still running down her cheeks. “I never loved anyone so completely. And I’m scared I’ll never feel that again. Frakking Cylon bastard…!” she mutters through clenched teeth.
Laura smiles wistfully. “She sounds lovely.”
“I just miss her…” Kara says in a shaky voice. And when Laura delicately asks her what happened to Kacey, she is embarrassed to admit to herself how much she just wants to curl back into Laura’s lap. Kara takes a slow breath as images of her return to Galactica flood into her mind, and she hesitates.
And once again she feels Laura looking into her, and maybe the President really can read her thoughts because she pulls Kara back against her chest. Kara fights the urge to stiffen and instead tries to relax. She figures she should enjoy Laura’s surprising softness while she can; Lords know her own mother was never like this whenever Kara was upset about something – which happened to be most of the time, for some reason.
Kara exhales, and closes her eyes. “I saved her from Leoben when Sam and his men broke into the detention center, we ran off to one of the rescue Raptors, and once we got back to Galactica…” She trails off, opening wet eyes to see Laura listening patiently, like they have all the time in the frakking world. “There was a woman, she said Kacey was her daughter and that the Cylons had taken her. She even thanked me for saving her. And then they were gone.”
“Have you gone to visit Kacey? It might be a good thing for both of you… I wouldn’t be surprised if that little girl misses you just as much as you miss her.”
Kara’s chest tightens at the thought of seeing Kacey again, with her real mother. And it’s all so stupid, all of this, the way she lets it get to her. She really is letting Leoben win, Kara thinks as something inside her hardens.
“No, I think that’s the last thing either of us need,” Kara replies as she wipes away the remainder of her tears. “I should probably be heading back there…” Kara feels like she’s been on Colonial One forever, but she still takes a moment and tries to commit the feel of Laura to memory. They stand, and without one last look, Kara heads for the hatch.
“Kara.” She pauses in the threshold; the President sounds like the president again.
“You can always come talk to me, I just want you to know that. Even once you’re Captain Thrace again.”
Without turning around, Kara can sense the President’s small reassuring smile.
--- END ---