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This Is Not Goodbye

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A new planet, a new life. A kiss that tastes like goodbye in the enclosed space of a tent. The two of them, standing, side by side in a verdant field with a blue sky behind them to rival the color of his eyes.

Words passing through the air between them. Words that mean nothing to him after Kara tells him she isn’t coming back. He’s not sure he believes that and her sad smile seems to tell him she doesn’t quite either, but is making an effort to look like she does. Everything she is saying to him is too final, too unlike them to be correct. Despite that, he makes an effort to look like he believes every word of it, that he accepts she is leaving him for good. Whether it’s for her sake or his, he doesn’t know. He’s not sure if it makes a difference.

---

Somewhere down the line, Lee Adama grew accustomed to watching Kara Thrace leave. He had seen her back turned toward him, moving in the opposite direction more times than he could count, and still it never seemed permanent. Not even now, when Kara had vanished into thin air as soon as he turned his back. Of course it stung, knowing that she had left him alone once more, but there is something inside him that tells him that this recent disappearance isn’t it, that this field is not the end. For some illogical reason, he believes that feeling, despite every rational part of him arguing against it. If there is one thing Lee knows about Kara Thrace, it’s that she always finds a way to come back to him eventually.

The first time, on that red moon ages ago. Caprica, twice. New Caprica. The Demetrius mission. She even came back from the dead to return to him, so why stop now? A more realistic man—perhaps a stronger man, Lee often muses—would have called it the end a while back, if not now, but Lee clings to the idea that her departure is not going to be any different than the other times she had left him behind, desperately waiting for her return.

After all, they are Starbuck and Apollo, inseparable; the strongest of magnets. Or maybe just Lee and Kara. And that would mean that one couldn’t leave without the other, wouldn’t it?

---

Lee had long defined himself by his logical side, always thinking rationally and realistically, choosing to act based upon what he could break down and prove. Kara Thrace was the exception to that rule.

It seems she always is.

But now it seems that for once his heart is winning that continual struggle between it and his brain for dominance. Ironically, this is the one time making his choice based on logic rather than emotion—by giving up and believing what’s in front of him rather than holding onto this blind hope and setting himself up for the disappointment of a lifetime—would probably be the easier of the two.

It appears that Lee Adama can never make the easy choice, even when the way he is going to spend the rest of his life depends on the choice he makes. It’s almost humorous, and not at all at the same time.

---

Lee opens his eyes for the first time since he turned around to see Kara gone. The scene is still the same as when he closed them—grass waving gently in the same wind Kara disappeared into, sun shining brightly on this planet full of life. There’s still an empty space beside him. Suddenly he remembers the conversation they’d had the first time they had met, so many years ago on Caprica, and the words rise up in his throat in one last attempt to end their journey here.

You won’t be forgotten.

The words never make it past there, though. Lee can’t manage to push them out, to put a lid on everything they had—and still have—by speaking words so definite, so final. He knew he could never forget Kara Thrace, even if he wanted to for a second, and every part of him was certain she was not staying away forever.

Lee Adama has never identified himself as a man of faith, preferring what is right in front of him to blind trust in the unknown, but he has always believed in Kara, and that’s all he needs this time. He takes in a deep breath and stands up after sitting in that field for what could have been minutes, days, months, or even a lifetime.

“This is not goodbye,” he whispers into the wind, then sets off in the direction of the mountains he declared he would climb what seems like so long ago.

---

Weeks after Kara’s disappearance in that long-gone field, Lee is more reliant on faith than ever. Days after days of waking up and traveling the land without Kara’s return has worn on his once unwavering belief. Doubt has wiggled its way in and taken up residence, making him think, every so often, that all this is nothing but a cruel, cosmic joke that someone out there finds entertaining. Nevertheless, it’s those remaining bits of faith that keep him living instead of merely surviving. He still knows, however deep inside him, that whatever that was in the field all those weeks ago, it hadn’t been goodbye, at least not the everlasting kind.

---

As the months trailed on, Lee could feel something change. Whether it was in the way the wind blew, or the sunshine getting brighter and sharper, or a change in the waves on the beach he had taken up residence on, he couldn’t tell. He knew it was there all the same, and that it had something to do with Kara.

Now, she feels even closer with every passing day. At times, it feels like she is standing right beside him, or looking over his shoulder as he plots out the day’s explorations, or whispering in his ear as the wind rushes past him. The sensation is enough to prove to him that all his unreasonable hope had not been for nothing after all. Lee can tell he won’t have to wait much longer for Kara to make her reappearance.

She might not be physically there yet, but her vanishing so many nights ago had not been goodbye. And in the end, that was enough.