"I've completed my journey, and it feels good," Kara said, her face making a lie of the words.
Lee began to nod and then abruptly stopped, running a hand through his wild hair, "You know what?" he said sharply, "No. Just. . . no. I'm done. Done with all of this crap."
Kara's eyes narrowed and her voice, so sad a few seconds ago, gained edge, "It is not crap, Lee. I came back from the dead. I led the fleet to earth. My destiny is fulfilled. My journey is complete."
"Do you even listen to yourself anymore?" he demanded. "Where are you in all of that mystical garbage? Do you really think that your life was all about being a pawn in some grand design, or whatever the hell you people want to call it?"
"You people?" The utter certainty that she was getting ready to move beyond this world was ebbing away as her decidedly un-angelic anger rose to the surface.
"Yeah," Lee said stepping into her space, his nose nearly brushing hers, eyes alight with challenge, "you people. Where are you going?" He taunted softly, "Off to join Baltar's harem?"
She hit him. One left hook to the jaw of the most infuriating man in all of existence, and the life poured back into her. The rage, the joy, the need to kick something, to kiss someone, to scream that she was so much more than a means to an end swirled in counterpoint to the sad serenity of mere seconds ago.
Lee regained his balance, bringing up a hand to touch his face briefly before he reached out and pushed her shoulder. Hard. "That all you got, Captain?" he asked, pushing her again as she stumbled back a step. "Show me how the Angel of the One True God fights. Show me that it is you in there and not some cheap imitation."
Kara gritted her teeth and shoved him hard in the chest. "You said that it doesn’t matter what I am," she said as he stepped up close to her, eyes boring into hers.
"I don’t give two fraks about what you are. I want to know who you are. The woman I know, my friend, is not some sad ghost without a mind of her own. You want to go? Fine. But you are going to have to fight me for it," Lee snarled as he slid into his familiar fighting stance. "C'mon, Angel, prove to me how far you’d go for the soul of Kara Thrace."
"What are you doing, Lee?" she asked warily as he started circling her. "Who the frak do you think you're fighting?"
"Whomever it takes," Lee replied. "Whatever it takes to get Kara back."
"I'm right here," Kara said, frustrated. She kept her eyes on his, not even daring to blink.
"Then it looks like I'm fighting you," he said before moving in.
Despite Lee's superior strength and speed, Kara had always been dangerous in a boxing match, her reach was almost equal to his, her reflexes better, her eyes a bit sharper. She got in one good uppercut to his solar plexus before he sharply jabbed her right eye. And then they fought. Really fought.
Kara exulted in the sting and the sweat and the pain, reveled in the nearness of her true equal, welcomed the hot tangled confusion of feeling that flooded over cold and empty certainty. She grinned when he got through her defenses with a sneaky feint followed by a fist to her gut. She rejoiced in the ache in her arms as she kept them high, guarding her face, looking for an opening to put yet another bruise on Lee. They hurt each other. They pummeled each other. They damn near killed each other. And if Kara had her way, this would go on and on and on. The clash of two Titans, the fall of the gods, the end of the worlds, all centered on one fight with one man who was too frakking stubborn to let her fade out of existence in peace because he cared that damn much. He cared so damn much that he was actually making her care again too, and the part of Kara who just wanted to rest, to be done with everyone and everything, to simply cease to exist, cease to feel, came roaring back to the surface in protest.
"What are you trying to prove?" she gasped out as her feet slipped slightly in the rich earth.
"That you are worth more than the sum of a cylon prophecy." Lee said, suddenly moving in close, grabbing her arms and ducking enough to head butt her sternum. "That destiny is nothing more than a crutch used by people who won’t take responsibility for their actions," he gritted out, digging his fingers in and swiveling his hips to the side to avoid her knee to the groin. "And that you better godsdamned well live up to all that faith I put in you, pull your head out of your ass, and start acting like Kara Motherfrakking Thrace!" He shoved her away from him and stared at her, a plea mixed in with the fury shooting from his bright blue eyes.
She sprung forward and rammed her shoulder into his stomach. He fell backwards and she, carried by her momentum, landed on top of him. "Bastard," she panted, raising her fist to hit him again. The angle was wrong, but she managed to get a decent swing at his pretty mouth. "Why can’t you just leave it alone?"
Lee spit out blood before replying, "Why? So you can disappear into thin air? Leave me standing alone in a field again? No frakking way. You don't get to take the easy way out this time." Lee grasped her upper arms, swung his legs up to plant his feet on her thighs and flipped Kara off his body and over his shoulder. She summersaulted in the air, landing flat on her back, head inches from his as they stared up at the sky, trying to catch their breath.
"Lee—" she began, her anger ebbing away as suddenly as it had come in the face of those words. She had nearly forgotten how dizzy he could make her, the violent mood changes he inspired, the wanting between them, and how it felt to have all of Lee Adama's determination focused on her.
"If the next words out of your mouth have anything to do with gods or destiny, I am going to gag you with my socks;" he said, "the ones currently on my feet."
Kara snorted, "I'd like to see you try." She hesitated before shuffling backwards to close the space between them. She propped her head up on his shoulder and he did the same. It was nice to lay there in the fertile soil of a brand new world with one of the few surviving friends from the old one.
Lee sighed, turning his face enough that she felt the warm air slide over her throat. "If you really need to go," he began, she heard him breaking a little, even as he continued, "I'll let you. I'll hate it, I'll even hate you, but I'll let you."
"I don’t need your permission," Kara said, linking her hands together to rest just under her breasts.
The silence stretched between them. "I know," he finally spoke, his voice heavy and a bit helpless. "I—there's just nothing more I can think of to get you to stay. Nothing more to offer or promise or declare."
"Making me hit you was your last brilliant idea?" she asked.
"It's worked for us before," Lee said, and she felt him tug at her hair as it spread over his chest. They lay for what felt like a lifetime without speaking, watching clouds slide across soft blue, listening to the long grass in the wind.
"What are you going to do with the rest of your life?" Kara finally asked as the sun began to set.
"Don’t know," he said softly, "don't even particularly care."
Kara sat up and swung around to face him in the half light. "Don't say that, Lee." She watched as he slowly sat up, his back to her.
"I am going to try this one more time," Lee said, looking out over the dimming, endless plane. "Maybe you'll even understand me this time when I say that I don't care what you are or what anyone else thinks or what your gods have planned for you. What I want is for you to be happy. What I want for me is to have you near." He turned his head so Kara could see his profile. "I'm not going to offer false assurances that I'll be fine and that life will be one happy frakking porch swing with some cylon model wife. . . but if leaving me, us, this planet, this existence, whatever, is what you want then. . . go. I'd never want to hold you back."
"Then what was all the fighting for?" she asked, willing herself to concentrate on the question at hand and not the despair in his voice.
He wrapped his arms around his knees and dropped his head forward. "I just wanted it to be a conscious decision." And Kara had to smile, even though he couldn't see it. He was so Lee, and there was great comfort to be found in that. Even in the face of miracles and destinies and resurrections, he believed with utter certainty that life was a choice to make, not a ride to be taken on.
The stars were emerging onto the canvass of the ever darkening sky, unknown constellations with no stories attached to them, when the moment, the location struck her. Kara scrambled to her feet. She reached under his arms and hauled him up. "Look!" She said, grasping his hand in hers and pointing with entwined fingers at one of the groups of stars. "I know that cluster! I've seen it. We've seen it."
"Under the Tomb, on Kobol," he said, voice hushed with wonder. He spun on the grassy meadow beneath the night sky, practically a pirouette, before letting out a glee filled laugh. Kara was enthralled by him. She hadn’t seen this Lee in years.
"Still don’t believe in the gods, Apollo?" She couldn't help but taunt, a large grin on her face.
"I believe in you, Kara Thrace. The rest is just background noise," He smiled, his face glowing with love and trust and joy, and she felt the pull again; the need to move forward, to lay down her burdens in the light of the gods' foretold stars. So, she made a choice. Kara wrapped her hands around Lee's neck and kissed his beaming, bruised face with breathless laughter and boundless affection.
"How about blowing this popsicle stand and climbing some mountains for awhile?" Kara asked, resting her forehead against his, smiling widely when Lee's hands crept over her shoulders and traced his fingers across her cheeks.
"Split the difference you mean? You go, but I go too?" Lee asked, running his nose up Kara's jaw line.
"What else are we going to do?" she asked, biting down lightly on his earlobe. "Move in next to the Tighs so that Ellen can chase you around the mud hovels? Help Baltar and his Six farm?" he kissed her neck. "Guide the new incarnation of the Quorum?" He groaned, burying his face in her shoulder and she laughed. "Then let's go."
Lee pulled his head back a little to stare into her eyes "Just- leave them to their own devices?"
Kara leaned until her nose touched the tip of his. "I think we've earned the vacation."
"You may have a point," he said, and his arms tightened. He held her hard and fast and damn near immobile for the first time since that day in the brig, and Kara slumped against him, her head on his shoulder. "I thought I had lost you," he whispered. "It's good to be wrong."
Kara, never one to miss a cue, replied, "Everyone has a skill," and sank her teeth into his shoulder even as Lee's laughter twisted around her and floated through the dark, fragrant air like an offering to the gods.