"They're coming back." Kara's voice was flat and barely audible above the wind outside. It didn't sound like she even believed her own words.
Lee, the contents of the instrument panel spread over his lap, said nothing. He tried not to think about it. "Of course, he'll come," he finally muttered. "You're here. Remember?"
She gave a short bark of mirthless laughter. "You really don't have any idea, do you?"
He sighed. "Kara, I don't really have time for this."
"He cares about you, Lee, he's coming for you."
"It'll take time, though." Lee tucked his hands into his armpits to warm them before continuing his attempt to rewire the shorted panels. He knew he could fix it if it wasn't so damn cold. He could barely move his fingers for more than a few seconds at a time and the cold wasn't being kind to the instruments.
"Don't be so pessimistic."
"I'm not being pessimistic. I'm being realistic." He blew on his hands again and tried to get back to work, but he couldn't get his hand around the screwdriver. "Frak!"
"I'm telling you. They're coming."
"Yes, and who knows how long that's going to take." Lee tossed the screwdriver aside, disgusted at himself. They were both going to freeze to death long before Galactica's search party arrived. If they sent one.
Lee knew his father would look for him and Kara, but he also knew how familiar he was with their chances of survival. This wasn't like being stranded without oxygen and they weren't going to find a source of heat like she's been able to find the Raider. It was try to fix it or nothing.
Kara was apparently realizing how serious things were, too, because she didn't have a reply to this beyond a quiet, "They'll come."
"Well, in the meantime," Lee murmured, "I'm going to try to get us some life support back." He tried to grip the wires again but they seemed to be frozen in place.
"I wish you'd come over here. It'd be warmer if you did."
"Yeah, and if I get this fixed, we'll be able to get out of here."
"Lee." Her voice was sharper then. "If you won't even talk to me now…"
"Why? You were just saying we weren't going to die."
She was quiet. "How long has it been again?"
"Four hours." He debated trying to fix the wires again, but no, it was too cold. There was no way he'd get anything to move.
"Please come back here," she said softly. "You need the blanket."
The blanket did sound like a good idea, as awkward as it would be to get close to Kara. Maybe they wouldn't have to talk.
Moving slowly due to the stiffness in his joints, Lee headed for the back of the Raptor and curled up beside her under the blanket. It did feel a good
They sat in silence for a long time, listening to the wind howling outside. Lee imagined the ice crusting over the Raptor's hull and thought that even if the system that controlled the hatch were operational, they probably wouldn't be able to get the door open.
"Listen, Kara," he said quietly.
"If we don't make it, I just want to say..."
"Don't," she said sharply. "Don't." Her words were barely audible because her face was hidden by the blanket. "Don't say it if you're only going to say it because you think we're going to die. I don't want ti hear it from you, not if you wouldn't say it normally."
Lee felt punched in the gut. He had to say it, needed to say it. He'd gone too long not saying it and he didn't know how he could bear to just freeze to death and not say it.
"All I wanted to say is sorry," he said, and she tensed against him.
"Sorry? For what?"
He thought back to that time on the table, that final, horrible betrayal of his brother. "Everything."
"You don't get to apologize," she murmured. "Because I had as much to do with everything as you did and I'm not apologizing. Life's too short to have regrets."
"You don't have any regrets?" He was aware his voice was shaking, teeth chattering.
"I can't," she said thickly. "Can't stop and think about them, can't let them get to me."
"I don't--" He stopped. What was his life, if not full of regrets? Gianne, Kara, Zak, his father, the law... even Dualla, he could have handled better. Unbidden, his shoulder began to ache. Only a few weeks had passed since then and while he was back on full duty it still hurt in certain moments.
Like when he was cold.
"So, you don't regret shooting me?" He tried to laugh but it only made his teeth chatter.
She was was quiet. At first he thought she'd fallen asleep (never worse, he wouldn't let himself think it), but finally, she said, "I'm sorry about it."
"I know." On a whim, he gently brushed his lips to her temple. "I didn't mean to bring that up. I'm sorry."
"There you go apologizing again." She laughed. "You always do that when you're not the one at fault."
"Well, someone has to take responsibility."
"Not you, not for everything."
They let that lie a bit until Kara murmured, "I can't sleep."
"We can keep talking. 'Til help arrives."
She looked up at him and smiled. "So now you're optimistic?"
"Yeah," he admitted. "I am." He wasn't sure if he was really optimistic about their chances at rescue or if he just wanted to be able to tell Kara what he wanted to say.
She must have read his mind because she said, "When we're back on Galactica, tell me. Not before then."
He laughed. "Okay. It can wait."
"Good," she said, snuggling next to him. "Because I'll hold you to it."
They were both quiet—it was perhaps warmer not to say anything and just stay under the blankets. Lee was conscious of their closeness, but there wasn't anything he could do about it—they had to keep warm; that's what it was about. Nothing more.
When the next morning dawned and rescue came, Lee felt like he was dreaming.
"Come on, guys," Helo's voice was saying. "Help's here. Let's get you back to Galactica."
Kara and Lee followed him listlessly, their minds only on the waiting warm Raptor ahead. Lee wasn't even conscious of the Chief's crew headed for their downed bird, trying to salvage what they could.
"So," Kara said, her voice sounding dry and cracked, "what was it you were going to tell me?"
"Huh?" Lee's attention was on the thermos of coffee someone had handed him.
"I didn't want to hear it last night," she said, a hint of mischief in her eyes. "But now, if we're going to be okay… if you're still willing to say it, I'd like to hear it."