Sharon's shoulder touches Helo's. Zarek's shoulder touches Meier's. Your shoulder touches Lee's. Roslin is sitting alone, clutching the Book of Pythia and turning its sodden, bloodied pages. Her hands are pale and blue-veined with cold.
You watch Lee watching her. He was the one who stood by her side in your absence. "Did you frak her?" you ask him.
His jaw clenches. "Did you?"
You think of Anders, how he told you, "Go find Earth." How you cried. You say, "Frak you, Lee."
You finish cleaning your guns.
Lee gets up and goes to the President. He pulls the blanket more tightly around her, rubs her hands between his own to warm them. She puts her head on his shoulder. The rifts running between you ache like your unhealed wounds.
You watched her hands as she peeled the orange. Thumb digging under the rind, which unfurled in a single dangling ribbon. When she'd finished, she dropped it onto the table. The skin sprung back into shape, a hollow sphere collapsing on itself. And in her palm the naked fruit, bleeding beads of juice.
She licked one slick finger, and held the next one out to you. "Madam President," you said. She said, "Taste it." You touched the tip of your tongue to her forefinger, demurely. The sugary burst of citrus mingled with the bitterness of the peel. You licked your lips.
"It came from the farmer's market in Caprica City," she said. "I packed it for a snack before I caught the transport to Galactica."
She opened the orange with her thumbs, splitting it and offering you half. "It's still ripe."
You don't look at her, but you're aware of where she stands.
"Lieutenant, I hope you know how grateful I am," she said, and didn't touch you.
The Arrow is all you can give her. When she stands next to you at the threshold of the Tomb, the trace of divinity vibrates between you like a plucked bowstring. She's behind you when you place the Arrow in the hands of the Archer, and her presence radiates like sunlight on your shoulder.
Standing on the mirage of Earth, you don't look at her. She's next to you still, and three men behind her.
She tasted like orange when she kissed you. Sharp and sweet, with one hand around the back of your neck. You didn't pull back until she let you. She's the President.
"Why didn't you eat it sooner?" you asked her.
"I had nobody special to share it with," she answered. That was a lie. "Or perhaps I just couldn't give up the last remnant I had of home. But anyway, it wouldn't have survived much longer." That was the truth. "I wanted you to have it, Kara, as a blessing."
She kissed you again. Her fingers were sticky against your face.
"How did it taste?" she asked you.
"Good," you said. In your religion, there's a harvest festival. Every year you went to temple with an offering of fruit for the ritual basin. Along with the rest of the faithful, you danced barefoot in the stone depression, crushing the sacrifice to pulp. The juice ran off through a drain, and you knelt and drank it and prayed for a mild winter. That's how the orange tasted.
"I want to devour you," she said, "like the orange."
There's probably no one who doesn't want to frak Laura Roslin. Your fingers trembled at the buttons of her blouse.
And these things came to pass: Lee Adama kissed you. Laura Roslin shook your hand. Each of them tried to kill Sharon and you didn't know how to stop them. Or why you wanted to. Laura Roslin looked into your eyes and whispered "Thank you," and your fingers touched across the Arrow of Apollo. And then she was gone.
You sit on your makeshift pallet in the hold, fingertips outlining the twin scars on your belly: one an angry-red pucker, one surgically clean. You spread figurines of the Lords of Kobol out in front of you, next to the pyramid ball. And you pray to false idols.
She was half on top of you, pinning you under a tangle of legs and breasts and bare skin. Her fingers moved inside you with overwhelming precision, mapping you like a landscape. They traced a circle firmly right there, right there, and you rubbed your clit faster and bit down on her shoulder. Her lips were at your ear, murmuring scripture: "I sing of Artemis, whose shafts are of gold, who cheers on the hounds, the pure maiden," and she shifted so that her forearm pressed across your chest, wrapped her hand around your neck. "Shooter of stags, who delights in archery, own sister to Apollo with the golden sword." She stole your breath as you came, convulsing in waves and seeing constellations flare on your eyelids: "Over the shadowy hills and windy peaks she draws her golden bow, rejoicing in the chase, and sends out grievous shafts."
You gasped, and blinked, and felt tears well up behind your sternum. "Frak," you whispered, too boneless to lift your hand and wipe your eyes. She laughed, lush and tender, pulling you into her arms.
Your lips stroked the bruise you left on her shoulder. "I'll go. For the Arrow."
"I know," she said. "I chose you." I chose you, Kara Thrace. "You have a destiny."
She kissed your collarbone, your breast, your belly button, and then the inside of your thigh, turning round so you were underneath her. Her knees were on either side of your head, and you ran your palms up her legs to the swell of her hips, wanting her. She didn't let you draw her closer. Not yet. "Don't forget who you serve," she said, and spread you open with her tongue.
When Laura Roslin let you make her scream, that is when you knew Me.