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Astronaut

Title: Astronaut
Pairing: Lee/Dee
Rating: PG-13 for dark-ish themes
Words: ~2000
Summary: Why had Lee met Dee for drinks on Cloud 9 the night of the hostage situation? 
Notes: Based on a deleted scene from Black Market, spoilers through 4x11. Thanks to lls_mutant  for the beta. Title yoinked from an Amanda Palmer song.




Is it enough to have some love
Small enough to slip inside the cracks?
The pieces don’t fit together so good
For all the breaking and all the gluing back


The Starlight Lounge on Cloud 9 could be anywhere.  Well decorated with dim lighting and an extraordinarily well stocked bar, it could be any club in the Colonies. It was the kind of place that could make you forget the worlds had ended—Lee could see the appeal. It seemed as good a place as any to go out for drinks, talk, just try to have a nice evening out.

The bar was relatively crowded when Lee arrived; he ordered a drink before scanning the room.  He spotted Dee sitting at a table with an empty seat beside her and wove his way through a few groups of people to reach her.

“Hey,” she said, when she spotted him.

“Hi.” Lee took a moment just to look at her in the white dress with her hair done. Although the bar had a dress code, he hadn’t been expecting this. It took Lee a second too long to realize that he was staring, and he let out an embarrassed laugh as he took a seat. “You look good.”

The corner of Dee’s mouth quirked up as she huffed a little laugh as well. “Thanks.”

Lee lifted his drink to his lips and took a sip, suddenly hit with the realization that this could be a painfully awkward evening. He knew Dee, worked with her, but seeing her off duty, away from Galactica, was something else entirely. When was the last time he’d actually had the chance to just talk to…anyone?

“It’s nice to get some time off,” Dee said, steering them away from uncomfortable silence.  “I don’t think there’s been any actual R&R for—” she trailed off abruptly. “It’s been a really long time.”

“Thank the gods we found Pegasus,” he muttered, trying to convince himself that this was a good thing, pushing aside the thoughts of what that ship meant for them all. “We’ve finally had enough people that…the Admiral can afford to give time off.”

For a night off, they talked a surprising amount about work, about the Old Man, about Galactica. It was a perfectly fine conversation, but not exactly what he’d been hoping to talk about. Then again, it was hard to find anything that would make a decent segue until Dee finally blurted out, “I’m surprised you asked me out for drinks.”

In the blink of an eye, Lee saw himself in the rec room, bottles of alcohol littering the table. “Bright shiny futures are overrated,” he’d said. He’d finally said it out loud and Kara’d agreed and he’d thought maybe, just maybe he wouldn’t be alone in this anymore. Another drink, and Kara was saying they should take what they wanted right now, but that something turned out to be nothing and he was alone in this again.

“I just thought it would be nice—”

“Does this have anything to do with what I told you on the hangar deck?”

---

Lee’d just come back from Cloud 9; he’d barely even stepped off the Raptor before Dee was telling him that the Admiral had asked to see him. Strange enough, she generally wouldn’t come down here to tell him something like that in person, and she kept step with him as they walked across the hangar together. “I heard what you said after they rescued you,” she’d finally said. “That you didn’t want to come back.”

“I was sick,” he’d told her, trying to push it aside, trying not to think of it himself. “Delirious. Whatever I was feeling I didn’t mean to dump any of it on you.”

“I’m glad I heard it. For the longest time I thought I was the only one.”

“Only one what?” he’d asked, heading for ladder off the deck.

“I keep thinking we were so lucky, surviving the first attack. But sometimes I think I’d be better off back on Caprica.”

With that he’d turned back, climbed back down to her and looked her in the eye. Dee was young, so young. A few months ago, maybe a
you have your whole life ahead of you platitude would have worked. But not anymore. Instead, he’d settled on, “Don’t you ever say that…

---

Lee nodded. “You don’t beat around the bush, do you?”

“Communication is my job,” she said.

Lee glanced down at his nearly empty glass. This was the whole point of this of this evening, wasn’t it? She was asking, she was listening. So why was it so frakking hard to just… talk? Everything had been so dark right after they found Pegasus. It hadn’t been at first; at first Pegasus seemed to be the answer to everything.  But like any wish come true it came with its consequences. The plotting and assassination attempts were just the final proof of something that had been true for a long time—they may have gotten out alive, but they weren’t living anymore. They were barely surviving, everything right had fallen by the way side, and for what? To settle a dispute between leaders? What were they fighting to protect anymore? What was the point of going on?

Lee realized he’d been sitting there with his mouth open, trying to force the words out. So instead, he picked up his glass and drained the remnants.

“Was that the…” Dee paused, searching for the right way to phrase her next thought. “Was it the first time you ever…?”

“Ever tried to kill myself?” he asked. “Yes. Ever thought about it? No… no, not by a long shot.” The words shot out of their own volition before he even knew he was saying them.

He looked up to see Dee holding her own glass tightly, but all of her attention focused on him. “When did it start?”

“I don’t know exactly,” he said. Lee traced the rim of his glass with his forefinger, for some reason, with that admission, the words flowed more easily now. “It was sometime after my brother died. It’s funny, I remember exactly what I was doing when I found out. But after that, everything starts getting dark and blurry.” Lee scrubbed a hand over his face, suddenly feeling weary, eyelids heavy. “I mean, Zak was my kid brother. When we were growing up, I was always the one looking out for him, making sure that he didn’t see our mother on her bad days, that he had clean clothes and a lunch packed for school, that he got his homework done. Because he was the baby and I was the big brother and it was my responsibility.

“And Zak, he just wanted to do everything I did. When he started to walk his favorite thing was just following me around, and it didn’t stop.” He felt himself begin to smile, a dark, remorseful smile, but a smile nonetheless. “Which pissed the hell out of me when I was in high school and he was in middle school and all he wanted was to go everywhere I went, do everything I did, and all I wanted was a little time to myself.” Lee shook his head, but Dee was just listening to him, she didn’t know Zak, didn’t know the history, didn’t need to be told the whole long sordid tale of how Zak came to die, and suddenly it was so much easier.

“He really looked up to me, and I didn’t really start to appreciate that until I was in my twenties and he was still an obnoxious teenager.  And then he was older and more mature… and then he was gone and I was devastated. I was so consumed by all this rage and loss and I was just… so alone. My mother was deeper in the bottle than she’d ever been, my father…” he trailed off and shook his head again. “I didn’t have anyone or anything and every day life just felt like going through the motions and…”

Lee took a deep breath and said the words like a sigh. “One day it occurred to me that being dead would just be so much easier.” Finally, he met her gaze. There it was, out in the open. There was something in the way that Dee looked at him, eyes wide, that made him realize just how young she looked under all the make-up. She wasn’t even twenty yet, younger than he’d been at the time of Zak’s accident, and something in his heart broke for her. “It took some time, and some pills, but… it got better.” He knew the assurance was a weak one at best, it got better, but it didn’t last; otherwise they wouldn’t be sitting here in the first place.

“See, I remember the exact moment that it started for me,” she said. “It didn’t really hit me right away. Those first couple of days, I was so worried about getting through it alive that I didn’t have the time or energy to think about anything else. But when I finally had a few free minutes, I went to see if any of my family had made it off of Sagittaron. Socinus said that they weren’t able to transmit pictures around the fleet to search for missing persons, so I could just put them on the board outside.”

Her eyes grew distant like she was seeing the memorial wall all over again for the first time. In recent days, it had just become another fact of life, the power of it fading away with the memories. “There were just so many photographs, and it didn’t even scratch the surface of how many souls were gone. Half an hour later, we lost the Olympic Carrier. That was it. That was the first time I wondered if I’d have been better off dying with everyone else than living like this.” 

Something in his heart had jumped and twisted at the words Olympic Carrier, and suddenly, despite the crowd, it felt like they were the only two in the room. No one else had seemed shaken by the experience—his father, Kara, Roslin, it was just another fact and they were all moving on like they couldn’t see that that moment was the beginning of an end. And yet, Dee could. Lee could see the guilt and the doubt that lingered there. Lee was struck with the sudden urge to kiss her, but he didn’t act on it.

“Have you… uh… have you talked to anyone about this?” His thoughts raced, trying to think of someone, anyone she could have talked to. “A professional? A friend? Billy?”

Dee nearly laughed. “I could never tell Billy. I don’t even think he’d understand.” Her voice took on a quiet, almost envious quality. “He’s so full of ideals and hope, and he can find it again even when he’s lost it…” Her voice trailed off, and then seemed to snap back. “He proposed to me today.”

“He what?”

“He all but got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He pulled out that ring... and it was like an electric shock. I could barely say anything.”

“Well, maybe you're regretting that you didn't say yes.”

====================

She’d been smiling at him. Laughing, face bright, asking to hear his speech about the future over and over. He should’ve known what she was going to do. He should’ve seen through the façade, should’ve been able to stop her. But in the end he couldn’t save her, couldn’t save her because he just didn’t see it coming.

Dee’d put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. She’d taken herself out of the world because she thought she’d be better off dead, just like she’d told him the first time he’d wanted to kiss her.

It had been a long time since Lee Adama had felt it—that urge to just give up. He remembered it, though—the promise of darkness taking over, taking away all the pain. He remembered the relief he had once felt when he made the decision to let go, to let death claim him. Nothing else would matter—no more responsibility to shoulder, no more lives depending on him, no more of a world where assassination became the preferred method of working out professional disagreements. It would all be over.

Of course, the SAR raptor had gotten to him before it was too late, dragged him back into the world he had been so ready to leave. It took time to recover, but looking back he was grateful for that second chance. It had been a long time since he’d had those feelings, but it occurred to him too late that the same had not been true for Anastasia Dualla.  


---

And you may be acquainted with the night,
but I have seen the darkness in the day,
and you must know it is a terrifying sight,
because you and I are living the same way
. –“Astronaut” Amanda Palmer 

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
ecstaticdance
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
I am certainly not going to ask you to hand in your L/K shipper card. :)

Thank you for sharing this, Ray. It's bittersweet, and reads very true for Lee. He was always so intent on picking up other peoples' burdens, trying to protect them and take care of them. And to know so intimately what the other person was feeling, and have a sense of at least not facing it alone -- maybe helping each other... I think that would have been very tempting for him.
rayruz
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you.

I knew that "Dee was good for Lee" but I needed a why and I think this is it. I think there's something more open here... Lee isn't smothered by complications and has someone who understands his guilt.

Glad you enjoyed.
callmeonetrack
Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
I can't believe I just read a whole fic without Kara in it! What's wrong with me?!

Hee just kidding. I wish I could say it makes more sense to me now...but...no it really doesn't. I mean I understand your rationale but they still just don't...there's nothing there. Depressing indeed. :(
rayruz
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
I guess the idea was he could get something from her that he couldn't get from Kara and maybe, just maybe that little bit was enough for something to start. It certainly shouldn't have sustained marriage, much like Kara and Sam's fling shouldn't have.
callmeonetrack
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, I mean... I always understood why Lee would want to love Dee. I mean he says it over and over again: she'll be good for him. Like medicine or whatever. Sensible and not daring, won't hurt him, etc. etc. It's just...so... MEH.

rayruz
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes it is.
callmeonetrack
Jun. 3rd, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
I feel like a bad friend because I can't dredge up more enthusiasm...but MEH! THEY'RE SO MEH, Ray!
rayruz
Jun. 3rd, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
Can you muster up pity for Lee and his man pain?
callmeonetrack
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:04 am (UTC)
Eh not really. Perhaps that's the prob.
rayruz
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
Your icon. It kills me.
ivanolix
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
This was really bittersweet, but it played true. I always liked that deleted scene, and this feels perfect for continuing on from it. I like the notion that their relationship, ill-fated as it was, at least had something in common.
rayruz
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
I needed something, anything to feel like their relationship worked. It was the only thing I could really see them bonding over. Since they don't seem to have anything in common.
scifishipper
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
I like Lee's perspective on Dee's suicide. And I agree with one of your comments, that they did have that one thing in common, probably in common with a lot of people in the fleet.

I've written some Dee fics and despite my distaste for Lee's decisions about Dee (marrying her and staying with her), I think she was good for him in many ways. I like the fic and see the connections you are making. There's something powerful in connecting to someone who knows what it really feels like to want to give up and die. My favorite part is when Lee talks about Zak's death - very sad and moving. I also love the last two lines. Lee had hope, Dee none. :(

Well done, Ray.
rayruz
Jun. 5th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
I think it has something to do with D'Anna's statistic in Final Cut... no one in the fleet has asked to step down... I think there's this collective idea that they're the only one having these negative thoughts... no one else is complaining about it, so no one else must be feeling it... and everyone is thinking the exact same thing and repressing all the same thoughts. That's my take on it.

Glad you enjoyed.
shah_of_blah
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)
Oh, I liked this and it didn't have Kara in it! But really, it was very dark and hurty. And the last line really packed a punch.
rayruz
Jun. 5th, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
She was mentioned... like once. LOL.

Yeah, this was definitely interesting to explore. :( Poor LeeFace.
aurora_0811
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
No revoking the shipper card. This was really well written and I can really hear Lee ringing true with all his internal angsting.

I totally get how this headspace could lead to something with Dee. His desire to have someone get him in a very simplistic way where everything could be easy in the relationship because everything else they are going through is just so draining.

It's so very sad too. :(
rayruz
Jun. 5th, 2010 02:21 pm (UTC)
Lee and his angst... :( It needs some company.

And I mean taken in the context of this being their conversation right before Billy is killed and Lee gets shot... that's... alot. Originally when I was writing this it took place after Sacrifice, after Billy had died and Lee was in sickbay... but it was just not working right... this worked much better.
(Deleted comment)
rayruz
Jun. 5th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
I mean much like Sam is this easy, uncomplicated thing for Kara, I think it's the same thing with Dee for Lee. No crazy baggage, it just is... and it's refreshing, but probably not the most solid foundation for a relationship.

Glad you enjoyed!
damao2010
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
Well, let me start by saying that I have never hated Dee in general or because of her relationship with Lee.I understand that it was an easy, uncomplicated relationship, and she was good for him. But, despite all that, I'm not a huge fan of Lee/Dee fics .

However, you have come up with a very interesting and powerful reason for their connection. And I think everything boils down to the fact that Lee was so lonely and had been lonely most of his life.

I would never think of Lee as having such regular bouts of depression,though, ( dating back to his brother's death and leading him to seek some sort of professional help - for the pills you mentioned. I felt that was a little too much, but, overall, I really liked your story. It gave a bittersweet edge to their relationship and made her death even sadder. Thank you for sharing.
rayruz
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC)
That bit about Lee being depressed in the past is actually a reference to another fic called Running that I read on ff.net a while ago and presented Lee in withdrawal from medication right after the end of the worlds. I loved that fic and sorta built that into this story.

I am glad you enjoyed.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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