Authors: callmeonetrack and rayruz
Characters: Lee Adama/Kara Thrace, mentions of Zak, Gianne, and others.
Summary: AU- Lee Adama had never been like other people.
Length: ~4700 words
A/N: co-written with callmeonetrack, actually it was her idea :) Written for the_applecart prompt: Lee won't join the other colonists on Earth 2.0 because of his secret from kag523
After several long, almost unbearably difficult years full of strife and fear and sacrifice, they were here. They’d finally made it.
In the middle of the battle-torn CIC, Lee Adama swallowed, dread taking hold, gripping and squeezing his heart as the massive crater-pocked satellite known as Luna sunk from the screen as the crumbling hull of the Galactica passed over it. He stared dumbly at the planet filling the dradis screens, eyes unable to focus on the swirling greens and blues of Earth. All he could think of was that moon.
Lee tore his eyes from the screen and they darted from face to face seeing shock, weariness, blank uncomprehension, and relaxed slightly. Unlike the first time they thought they’d found Earth, there’d be no need to cover this time with jubilation and cheering or--gods forbid, impromptu stripteases (he’d completely overcompensated with that one!). Not even a slow clap echoed throughout the silent command center.
His gaze continued its sweep of the room, alighting finally on Kara, as it so often did. He was watching closely, so he saw the exact moment when the set of her jaw eased and her mouth parted, lips trembling slightly, eyes growing wide as her expression transformed, the wary determination of a soldier at war giving way to the wonderstruck visage of a child on Solstice morning.
The cylon hybrid had been right after all. Kara had lead them to the end of line, the undiscovered country. And she was the harbinger of death.
Lee swallowed hard.
At age 14, on one sweltering summer night, when Caprica’s two moons hung low and swollen in the sky, Lee Adama had run away from home.
He hadn’t stoppped running since.
Escaping the blanket of guilt and anger that permeated the Adama household whenever his father was on a battlestar tour and his mother was left to fill the hours with bottle after bottle of Caprica’s finest, Lee had slipped into the woods behind their house one night. His brother had been away sleeping at a friend’s house, and freedom had beckoned, winning over Lee’s sense of obligation for once. Running across the nature preserve that bordered their lands, his burdens had lifted with every step, his heart growing lighter...
Until he’d run into a bramble patch and been cornered by the snarling massive gray wolf that sunk its fangs into his thigh.
What had happened next was surreal, his body changing, clothes ripping and pain thundering through his limbs as they lengthened and curved, coarse fur rising from his flesh. Lee’s heart had pounded, beating in triple time, and he’d run, instinctively racing on four paws rather than two feet this time, to a nearby pond. As he stared into the calm surface of the water, familiar blue eyes staring back at him from an entirely unfamiliar body, his brain furiously churned, trying to rationalize his new resemblance to the star of that Delphi theatre creature feature he and Zak had watched just last week. Terrified, he’d run again, moving with speed and power he hadn’t known possible over the acres of grassland in the preserve. His fear receded, at the pure beauty of being in motion, his body nearly flying over the grassy open plains, adrenaline and exhilaration flooding his veins. Lee ran for hours until finally, he’d tired and lain in the cool grass, exhaustion dropping him into a deep slumber.
When he’d awoken the next morning, naked and shivering in the cool dew-soaked grass, Lee had looked down at his body, sunlight illuminating the pale skin of his hands and feet, where paws had been hours before, and the teeth marks in his thigh, and he’d sighed with defeat. He limped home, slipping furtively into the house, though his caution was wasted on his mother, sprawled face-down on the couch, fingers still loosely clutching the neck of a bottle.
Lee spent the next five years hiding his secret from his family, arranging to be away from home on most full moons, slipping into the woods again when he couldn’t. It was remarkably easy to fool them, especially as Zak got older and developed his own interests and circle of friends and stopped insisting on tagging after Lee everywhere. The ease helped kindle the resentment he already felt toward his neglectful parents, especially his father, whom somehow Lee had begun to rationalize was completely at fault for his condition. If Bill had been at home, Lee wouldn’t have had to run, and wouldn’t have been bitten, and wouldn’t have transformed into this...this monster.
He found refuge in the last place he wanted it. Resentment or not, BIll’s expectations and Lee’s own keen mind for strategy, led him to the military. It was a risk, but Lee gambled--correctly--on the tours of duty in deep space not venturing near enough to any of the colonies’ moons often enough for it to be a problem. On the rare occasions they did, Lee was clever enough to switch CAPs and bar himself behind the hatch of a forgotten utility room in the lower bowels of whichever ship he was stationed on. It was during one of these long restless nights that Lee realized with grim resolve that he was never going to be able to leave the service.
Over the years, Lee cultivated his self-control into a finely honed instrument. He repressed the hunger, the urges to rip and kill and sink his teeth into flesh, when they came, takings his frustrations out on punching bags (he got quite good at boxing) or, when planetside, indulging his baser nature by hunting small wild animals, but never humans. That was a line Lee would not cross.
No one suspected his secret. Lee erected an invisible barrier around himself that few penetrated. He had only a handful of people he’d consider friends and he was careful even with them not to let them get too close. His brother Zak was the only person he truly had worried would find out the truth, but the age difference between them, with Zak just entering the fleet academy at Delphi as Lee completed his time at War College and embarked on his first tour of duty on the Triton, meant he saw his brother infrequently as the years passed.
However, the first time his iron-clad self-control slipped was on a rare visit to see Zak. His brother had written him a letter, raving about the woman he was seeing, his instructor at the academy, hinting that he was planning to marry her and wanted Lee to meet her. For his part, Lee had been lulled into complacency with his...condition. Things had been going well for so long, he barely felt the urges anymore. His life was calm, easy. He made plans to visit (he did miss his brother quite a bit), barely giving heed to the fact that the weekend of his trip would fall upon the full moons.
But Lee’s carefully cultivated control proved to be no match for Kara Thrace. From the moment her apartment door opened and Lee’s eyes met hers, he’d felt a...gravitational pull to this woman. His little brother’s girlfriend. He should have felt more shame, and he did, feel some, but the compulsion he felt as the evening wore on, to be closer to her, to see her eyes light with laughter at a joke he shared, to see her wide mouth--and those gorgeous, perfect lips, he’d noticed--curve into a dazzling smile, was so irresistibly strong that it was not that different from the moons’ sway over him. More than attraction, there was something else, something more elemental deep inside that had him sharing secrets with her long after Zak passed into a drunken stupor. He’d been on the verge several times of confessing his own long-held secret fear: that if those who loved him discovered the truth, they wouldn’t any longer. She unsettled him, this Kara Thrace, filled him with a yearning for something unnamed. The urge that snapped its jaws at his tight control returned in an entirely new form.
He was almost relieved, in the end, when the glass fell and broke and woke Zak, and Lee could return to the refuge of deep space. He thought of Kara often, more often than he should have, but life mostly returned to its placid routines. Lee would never willfully betray his brother, and he was careful to never visit them when Caprica’s moons were full again.
Months later, when Zak died, Lee’s only solace had been the fact that the funeral had been held on a waning cycle. He’d stood at his brother’s funeral, grateful that it was the last time he’d ever have to see his father (the man who’d killed his little brother with his blinding fealty to the Colonial fleet) and mournful that it was the last time he’d probably ever get to see Kara.
He tried to forget her in all the usual ways, throwing himself into his job, drinking the nights away over triad games with his crewmates, and feeling more unbearably lonely than ever before. He saw her face, smiling, trusting, beckoning him, when he closed his eyes at night, and it didn’t take long to realize his old habits were no longer working to quell the constant pangs.
He tried more drastic measures.
Lee switched to reserve status and took his leave to Aquarius, a tropical planet with no moon. He got a desk job on base and after several weeks on the crystal-blue watered shorelines there, Lee wondered why he’d let the loyalty to a family that (save for Zak) had never been reciprocal, keep him from this paradise for so long.
After a few months, he met a woman, a lovely girl with blonde hair and green eyes, whose gentle laughter didn’t remind him in the slightest of Kara’s full-bodied cackles. Gianne was pleasant, cheerful, easy to be with. Two months after they began dating she came to him with trembling lips, one hand on her flat stomach, and hope in her eyes. Horror ripped through Lee at her declaration that she was late. He ran. Back to the base, right into the recruiting office, where he asked to be assigned to a tour. The fear of procreating, of passing this...nightmare, on to a child, was so large that it actually subsumed the guilt. For a while at least. His relief when he got a telegram a few weeks later, saying she’d miscarried was tremendous. Lee realized all over again that he’d never have a normal existence.
Life went on.
And then the cylons returned, and it didn’t.
Unlike the remaining 40-something thousand members of the human population, Lee did not hate the cylons solely for the genocide. He also hated them because his careful, safe routines were shattered along with the colonies. They brought him back into the orbits of his father and Kara, both of whom had unrivaled talent in piercing Lee’s self-control. And worse, they brought him back into the orbit of unexpected moons. Galactica’s flight across the galaxy was unpredictable, uncharted in advance.
Lee lived on constant alert, not just for the enemy’s presence, but for the hormonal pulls that indicated they were traveling near a moon. The protective shields on Galactica, and even on his viper, were strong enough that Lee wouldn’t transform, but he still felt it inside, that yearning hunger and restlessness that made him just a bit more reckless than he could afford to be.
When Kara had gotten stranded on that red moon, just a week after the attacks, Lee had nearly lost his mind with frustration. Fruitless hours spent circling the moon in his viper, he’d grown desperate to find her, redeploying the CAP, nearly using up half the Fleet’s reserve fuel in the process. And the scariest part of it, Lee reflected later, was that he didn’t think it was crazy at all. He would’ve burned through the rest of it to find her if his father and the president had let him.
(In his more honest moments though he wasn’t quite sure how much of that sentiment he could blame on the moon’s hold over him and how much he should attribute to Kara’s.)
After several months into the search for Earth, Lee had realized that finding the mythical planet might be more of a curse than a blessing. Surely, the planet would have at least one moon, if not more, which would not be quite the salvation for Lee as it would for everyone else in the fleet. On Kobol, after Kara had fallen asleep, Lee had tossed their blankets aside and crept back to the tomb, notched the arrow in the bow, and found himself staring up at the constellations. Earlier, Kara’s despair at clawed at him, made Lee point out the nebula, insist they had a map and a direction to Earth, and reveled in her smile. Now he realized he may have cursed himself once more. He’d spent the night in the tomb, his gaze fixed on the pale yellow crescent shining overhead, wondering what he’d do when they found it.
And now the dream of Earth had become a reality.
Lee stood just inside the small tent he’d erected when they landed 12 hours ago, and looked out into the open field before him. The colonists, military and civilians united for once, filled the plain, gathered in groups dotting the grassy expanse, talking boisterously. He saw his father sitting with Laura, swaddled in blankets, beneath the shade of raptor. Lee felt a sharp pang; her time was growing short too.
He scanned the crowd, memorizing faces--Romo telling one of his many colorful stories to Hoshi and Cottle; Tigh and Ellen, arm in arm next to the Chief and Brendan, Nicky between them holding their hands; Karl, one arm propped on the cane he’d walk with for the rest of his life probably, the other wrapped around his wife, a beatific smile on his face. Laughter trickled across the distance to him, and he recognized Kara’s distinctive cackle followed by a lighter childish giggle, and he sought her out, finding her whirling in a circle with Hera. Her hair, so long now, bounced in the sunlight, and her face was so joyful, it stole his breath.
Memories flooded him of the way she’d danced on the night of the Groundbreaking years ago. The night he’d let the vibrancy of New Caprica’s trio of full moons overtake him, imbue him with undue hunger, and worse, courage. His predatory nature emerged, and he’d recklessly stalked Kara, dragging her out to that field, intending to finally share his horrible secret...and instead confessing his love, pledging it before the Gods. It had been the best night--and the worst mistake--of his life. As she had slept in his arms, he’d awoken, tremors already racing under his skin, transformation imminent. Lee had had to run then, leaving her alone in the field, as he’d sought refuge in the woods. It was the slowest night of his life, and when finally day broke, Lee had run back to the field, calling for her. But he had been too late. Kara had thought he’d rejected her, gone back to Dee, despite his promises, and she had, in her usual competitive fashion, done him one better, not only returning to Sam but dragging him off to a preacher to marry her then and there.
Gutted and licking his wounds (metaphorically), he’d returned to Dee, to Pegasus, eventually settling into marriage and then sloth. Neither helped. He’d tried to shut his heart down, tried to return to the discipline and self-control he’d once wielded like a razor. But in the end, his need for her had won out, and they danced a vicious and brutal dance, circling and weaving around each other, taking turns running and retreating from this impossible burning connection that threatened to consume them. Even Kara dying then returning hadn’t been enough to nudge them off this eternal sick cycle carousel.
And now, all the mistakes had been made. Dee was long gone, Sam soon to follow. Galactica was making its final journey. And Earth was the beautiful verdant salvation Kara had taken them to. He could still hear her words: “You’re going to love it. I promise.” Bitter anger filled his soul. This should have been their time. Finally.
But Earth’s moon would be full tonight. Lee Adama would have to run.
Kara’s laughter filled his ears again and he watched her spin, swinging Hera in a circle in the high grass. Turning her head suddenly, Kara caught him staring, and she winked at Lee, before lowering Hera onto the grass, tickling the little girl until she shrieked with delight.
He watched her a few minutes more, her face so open, so alive, so clear of the pain it had worn for almost as long as he’d known her. With a heavy heart, Lee finally turned and slipped out the back of the tent, pack in hand.
Kara’s laughter was the last sound he heard as Lee slipped beyond the tree line of the forest at the edge of the camp, never to return.
One month later
Hunting at night was not normally the best of ideas, but the full moon cast bright enough light and Kara wasn’t sleeping any way, so hunting was a better use of her time. She might as well be doing something useful, productive, something to actually help the fleet settle on this frakking planet, unlike a certain person who would go unnamed.
Kara stopped and leaned against a tree, tightening the leather straps that kept her spear together. Bullets were too valuable to use for hunting, and being able to ram a pointy stick into an animal for food was a good way to blow off some steam. Everyone else seemed to be so relaxed since finding this new planet, but Kara couldn’t put an end to the energy that pushed her forward and onward and kept her from getting a full night’s sleep.
It’s not like she was really built for settling down, like so many people were these days. It wasn’t like she was expecting to—even wanted to—build a cabin with Lee and start popping out babies. But she couldn’t help but feel frakked over when he ran off right when they got here, not even so much as a goodbye. After all the shit they’d gone through together, maybe she had deserved at least that.
The sky started to lighten, sunrise was just beyond the horizon. Kara still hadn’t given up hope that she was going to find something to bring back to the camp to cook up for breakfast. That was when she heard a low crackling in the brush. She crouched down low, edging her way slowly towards the rustling leaves.
She saw it before it saw her. A wolf. Blood at the corners of its mouth. Bigger than any she’d seen. Odd, Kara thought. She hadn’t seen one yet in the weeks they’d been settling, but what the hell did she know about the animals living on this world.
Her stealthy approach was cut short by the snap of a stick underneath her boot. The sound alerted her prey, the wolf’s head whipping towards her. Its eyes flashed yellow in the dim light, locking onto hers. Still, and snarling the wolf stared her down, silence hanging heavy between the two of them as red light slowly started to filter into the trees. Kara readied the spear, arm steady, grip tight, ready to strike. She held her breath, waiting for her moment.
And she missed it.
The wolf huffed and spun on his hind legs, dashing off through the woods. It took a moment for her to realize what had just happened and take off after it. Sprinting, battling branches away from her face, Kara trailed the wolf. She raised the spear, reading to strike, when a stray root caught her by surprise.
The wolf let out a pained yelp as the spear struck its leg, but it didn’t slow down and vanished out past the edge of the woods. Kara scrambled to her feet, snatched up the spear, and sprinted out after it.
The plain beyond the field was bathed in an early morning light as the sun just peeked over the horizon. But, there was no sign of the wolf. Instead, the only sign of life was a naked human body at her feet, a naked body that actually happened for some frakking reason to be Lee! Idiot. Naked in a field, idiot.
“Lee!” No response. Kara nudged him with her foot, and he started to stir. “Get your ass up, Apollo. We’ve got a wolf on the loose.”
Lee’s eyes slowly fluttered open, met Kara’s gaze and bolted open wide. “Kara! What are you doing here?”
“Funny,” she snapped, tapping the spear against her ankle. “I was about to ask you the same thing, but we’ve got a wolf on the loose and—”
Kara trailed off as Lee pulled himself to his feet, he winced, lost his balance for a moment before recovering, hands clasping in front of him to cover himself. But Kara’s attention wasn’t on his dick. No, she was noticing a shallow gash on the back of Lee’s leg—the same leg she’d struck on the wolf.
Strange coincidence. Her gaze flicked up to meet his face when she noticed a small spot of blood under his bottom lip—just like the wolf.
“Lee…your...you’re...” she said, pointing at his leg, words failing her. The facts didn’t quite add up in her head. Werewolves weren’t real. Then again, she’d died and come back and still didn’t have a single frakking explanation for that, either. “What the hell is going on here?” she spat, taking a deep shuddering breath. “YOU’RE A FRAKKING WEREWOLF?”
He was staring at her in horror, mouth open, distraught eyes pleading with her. “Kara, I - I didn’t want you to find out like this. I didn’t want you to ever find out.” Lee forgot his modesty, his hands lifting, reaching out for her. Kara took a step back instinctively and his face fell. Dammit. She grimaced, heart twisting at his obvious distress. But she needed to concentrate on what he was saying and there’s no way she’d be able to if Lee was touching her.
“That’s why I ran.” He lifted his eyes from the ground, fixed his gaze on hers again. “It’s why I’ve always run. My whole life, I’ve never told anyone, but I wanted, oh gods, I wanted to tell you so many times. I just, I couldn’t.” For a moment, Kara felt angry. She’d thought they’d changed, moved past all the old bullshit in the last few months. But clearly Lee still didn’t trust her.
“You thought I’d rat you out?” she asked, hurt and incredulous.
“No! No, I--” She watched his Adam’s apple quiver as his throat worked, one hand raising to scrub across his mouth, his eyes slightly wild. Lee sighed, blowing out a hard breath. “I was too afraid...of what you’d think. Kara, I’m...I’m a monster. ”
The anger fled at his confession. Kara knew that feeling. She knew exactly what it was like to always be hiding the worst parts of yourself, to fear what other people would do if they knew your true nature. She’d been terrified for months to tell anyone about the other earth, finding her own damn corpse and what that meant. She’d gone to Lee and wanted to tell him, but fear--and her usual bad timing--had held her back. And when he’d found out anyway, because of frakking Gaius’s big mouth, had he turned against her?
Kara stepped closer to him, invading Lee’s personal space unitl they were nose to nose. A smirk curved her lips as his eyes widened. “Yeah. You kind of are. So what?”
“Yeah. So what?” She lifted a hand, cupping his cheek. “C’mon Lee. What were the words again?” The smirk turned into a grin, and Kara repeated, mimicking his baritone slightly, “I don’t care. You’re here, I’m here.” Her thumb smoothed his skin and she stared into his surprised eyes, her voice normal again, as she spoke clearly, carefully, with total conviction. “This...is all that matters.” And she leaned in, and kissed him, the long, slow press of her lips to his making a promise.
It only took Lee a few seconds to catch on, his arms rising, wrapping around her, nearly crushing the breath from her, his embrace was so tight. She broke the kiss, needing air, and she could see doubt already replacing the wonder on his face.
“Kara, this--It won’t go away. I’m not going to ever be normal, have a normal life.”
“Mmmm,” she squinted at him. “And that’s different how?”
His lips twisted like he wanted to smile, but he just rolled his eyes. “I’m serious, Kara. I can’t stay here.”
“Why?” she wondered. Then a thought occurred to her. “Oh, when you change, do you...hunt? Eat people?” She paused. “Cause I could suggest a few that, you know, I’m sure wouldn’t be missed.”
Lee shot her the same disapproving look he always had when he was trying to be serious, and she was giving him shit. It was kind of nice. “No, never! I hunt animals when I have to. I just...I don’t trust myself.”
“Then trust me.” Kara reached down for his hand, threading her fingers through his. “We can stay or we can go, I don’t care. Wouldn’t mind seeing what this place has to offer. Maybe climb some mountains and shit.”
“Kara...” Lee’s grip on Kara’s hand tightened. “I don’t want to hurt you. When I change, I’m not me anymore.”
Kara huffed out a short laugh, a smile curving her lips. “Yeah right. I saw the wolf, Lee. I saw you. You took one look at me and ran off.”
“You were holding a spear.”
“You knew it was me.”
He paused and, for the first time since they arrived on this planet, he really smiled. Kara had to admit, in the sunlight, it looked really frakking beautiful. “I did.”
“So. Where to?”
Lee looked down, his nudity having been forgotten. “Well, first, somewhere I can get some clothes.”
“Do we have to?” Kara asked through a smirk. She planted her hands on her hips and took a step back to truly appreciate the sight in front of her. “Because I kind of like this au nautrale thing you’ve got going on.”
“Kara,” he warned.
She shook her head. “Come on.”
It was still early enough that no one in the settlement had woken yet. They were able to pack up the few supplies they needed, get Lee a pair of clothes, and start walking towards the horizon before anyone could see them leave. It was fitting, Kara thought. She was a ghost, he was a werewolf, and they were one vampire away from a wacky supernatural drama. They didn’t belong with the rest of them. They belonged with each other.