Dee stared straight ahead to where Pegasus floated majestically against a backdrop of diamonds scattered over pastel clouds of cotton candy. She smiled at the whimsical picture her mind painted. The enormous ship, bigger even than Galactica, was to be her new home. She didn't know how she felt about that or about how things were going to be between her and Lee now that she was officially transferring to his ship. To complicate things further, he'd greeted her with a very definitive and very public kiss when she'd arrived to take him back to Pegasus. Lee Adama would upend her world again, if she let him; it would be the latest in a series of upendings that had begun nearly two years before.
He sat beside her now; she felt him looking at her. He had been talking, telling her about… something. She wasn't sure what, and she felt a little bad about that. She attributed her lack of attention to that kiss he'd laid on her groundside, not that she was complaining. Her smile, initially ignited by the totally inappropriate imagery that had struck her at the sight of her new home, stretched a little wider. It had been a damned fine kiss.
Slowly, Dee became aware of the growing silence. It wasn't that she hadn't noticed when Lee had stopped talking so much as she realized that he seemed to be waiting for her to say something. She pulled her gaze away from the beauty of Pegasus in her element and turned toward Lee. Her smile faded at the look on his face, a potent mixture of hope and fear and longing and of something that looked almost like self-loathing, if she were to try to put a name to it.
"I'm sorry, Lee. What did you say?"
He swallowed hard, looking down at his white-knuckled hands, his grip on the Raptor's controls so tight he had cut off the flow of blood. Dee's pulse began to race, her heart to beat harder in her chest; the sensation was not altogether pleasant. She wasn't entirely sure she wanted him to repeat the question; for she was positive he had asked her something, although she couldn't have said what to save her life.
Lee looked up from his hands, back toward Pegasus, which didn't seem to Dee to be getting any closer now, where before their approach had seemed far too fast. He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye then back to the console. He flicked a few switches, punched a couple of buttons, and then turned to face Dee. She knew from the heads up display that he had just put the Raptor on autopilot.
Leaning toward her, Lee took both of her hands in his. Dee knew her eyes were open too wide and she just had to hope that she didn't too closely resemble a deer caught in a hunter's scope. Lee's hands were ice cold and she couldn't remember a time when she'd seen him so nervous. His fingers tightened around hers and he smiled, the expression a little bit forced, but still genuine.
"Anastasia Dualla, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"
… blink …
The ring, his class ring, feels like a weight of pure lead, pulling at her, dragging her down.
"I love you," Billy says, his voice so earnest, his eyes never quite meeting hers after that initial glance, when he'd slid the ring onto her finger. "I've loved you since – since the first day I met you. I mean, you were half naked, granted..." He laughs, gives her a sheepish grin, but still won't meet her eyes. She hasn't said anything, can't say anything. It's as if her mind has simply shut itself off. "I know that I kind of blindsided you with this, okay? I mean, it doesn't have to be tomorrow. We can take our time…" Billy's voice trails off and finally he looks at her, really looks at her, and his nervous smile fades into burgeoning hurt.
Dee's mind starts working again, spinning at break-neck speed. She cares about Billy, she does. She likes being with him, talking to him, laughing with him, but it isn't enough. She's no more the one for him than he is for her, only he just won't see that. She's always known that he was more serious about her than she was about him, but it hadn't seemed to matter.
Not until now. She twists her hands in his, pulls off the ring that suddenly seems to burn her skin and presses it into his palm, closes his fingers gently over it.
"Billy, I can't marry you." She says the words as kindly as she can, but she fears that isn't very kindly at all. It hurts her to say them, to cause him such pain, but better now than to give him false hope. "I don't know how else to say it. I'm sorry."
… blink …
Blue eyes drilled into her. Lee still sat leaning toward her, waiting for her to say something, but she had no words to give him. Near-hysterical laughter bubbled under the surface at the irony of it all – the former communications officer unable to communicate. She ruthlessly pushed the laughter down; if she let it out, she would shatter.
Something had happened last night, after she'd gone back to Galactica to pack. Something had changed.
… blink …
Lights and faces and buildings fly by in a blur as she whirls and twirls, laughing, giddy with the night breeze – real air, not canned – and the celebratory atmosphere. She smiles as she changes partners in the reel, one after the other, hand to hand. Felix and Layne and Brendan and Hoshi and Lee and half a dozen others she doesn't know. And Starbuck.
Starbuck with her blond hair flying around her laughing face. Starbuck who catches Lee's attention and holds it with no intention of letting go. And as the evening wears on, Dee finds that it's harder to maintain her smile, there's less to laugh about, until she realizes that she's just tired. So tired. And with that realization, she tells Lee that she's going to go up and pack her things, that she'll be back for him in the morning. Tells him to enjoy himself.
To his credit, his attention never once strays to Kara Thrace and Dee thinks that maybe it was all her imagination. And, too, there's Sam Anders. As she stands with Lee, she hears Anders laugh and glances over to find that he's dancing with Starbuck, albeit a bit unsteadily. Starbuck's raucous laugh peals out and Anders' giggle blends with it, making Dee smile again, if only for a second.
She tightens her fingers around Lee's hand and he returns the squeeze. "Seriously, Lee, I'm fine. I'm just tired. I want to get the packing out of the way and get some sleep. Stay. Enjoy."
He looks like he's about to kiss her, but there are too many people around for Dee to be comfortable with that; she pulls away from him and gives him a somewhat less than militarily precise salute. He grins at her, returns it with an extra flair and she turns and walks away.
"Everything's going to be fine," she says to herself, smiling.
… blink …
The steel band that had seemed to tighten around her chest was suddenly gone. And so was Lee's smile, replaced by a frown as his face closed in on itself.
Everything's going to be fine, Dee told herself. Smiling, she said aloud, "Yes, Lee Adama, I'm honored to become your wife."