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The Difference of a Feint From a Foul

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Her phone buzzed. She rolled over in bed, swatting her hand in its general direction. She missed and flopped there, half buried in covers. It buzzed again. With an annoyed grunt she did hit it this time, sending it onto the floor with a clatter. She hoped it was broken.

No such luck. Another buzz.

Kara practically growled, swinging her feet over the side of the bed and trying to disentangle her limbs from the covers.

"What is it?" Sam groggily mumbled behind her.

"Nothing. Go back to sleep."

She snatched the phone off the floor.

3 NEW MESSAGES

She rubbed at her eyes and hit the button to read them.

Lee Adama: Good morning sunshine :D
Lee Adama: get your ass up
Lee Adama: GO PANTHERS

She deftly punched the keys and typed out her message before mashing the off button and dropping her phone back on the nightstand.

The pillow sounded like it had been attacked when she flumped back down on it. Even when Sam slung his arm around her and nestled close, she couldn't get back to sleep.

***

Lee Adama was correcting the atrocious grammar of the most recent meat from Journalism school. When his phone went off, he gladly picked it up for the distraction.

Kara Thrace: I WILL FRAKKIN ROAST YOU

He spent the rest of the morning smirking.

***

Buzzzzzzzzzz.

She ignored it. On the court, Crip-Key failed a particularly idiotic showboat move and the Twins' forward snatched the ball. Kara sighed heavily and rolled her eyes.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

She gritted her teeth. If the phone had been sentient, it would have run screaming from the glare she shot at it. She snatched it up against her better judgment.

Lee Adama: I see you on TV
Lee Adama: you should quit leaning forward though with that shirt on

She pursed her lips, turned off her phone, and leaned even further forward, hoping she was too distracting for him to do anything productive.

***

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Even over the crowd and the DJ she could hear the damned thing go off.

She picked it up immediately, feeling the device in her pocket as the dance floor shook around her.

Lee Adama: Where are you?
Kara Thrace: Frak off im sleeping
Lee Adama: No you're not
Kara Thrace: What part of divorce papers finalized didnt you understand
Lee Adama: So I can't even text my best reporter?
Kara Thrace: I dont work for you

"Wha'cha doin'?" Sam called over the pulsing music. The Buccaneers had just barely scraped a win from the debacle earlier that day and some genius had suggested a victory party at the dance club.

"Nothing, Sammy," she said, quickly typing out the word "anymore" and stabbing the send key.

"Why don't you just change your number?"

"Because everyone knows this one. Come on," she said, turning off her phone yet again. It spent more time off than on these days. "Let's dance." She led him into the gyrating mass.

***

Buzzzzzzz.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

She turned it off.

***

It was weird being back at the office. "CAPRICA TIMES SPORTS JOURNALISM DEPARTMENT" it said in huge vulgar letters on the door. "Journalist" was a word Kara avoided. It made her think of the frakheads she knew in college who didn't know a metaphor from an adjective and just wanted something easy to coast through on.

She preferred "sports writer" and no one was going to fight her on terminology--not after she'd been named the Foremost Colonial Pyramid Expert for the past six years running. For some frakkin’ reason, all of those trophies were lined up on a shelf in Lee's office. She'd always wanted to remind him that editors didn't usually keep their reporters' awards for themselves, but whenever she was that mad she just snatched them off the shelf and launched them at him. She figured he got the message.

Sam followed her through the door and she paused in the small lobby. "Sam, stay here." She waved him vaguely towards one of the chairs. A small half-wall separated it from the reporters' floor, but it was enough of a waiting place to keep visitors out of the way. It was a stupid idea to bring him here, but they had been on their way to lunch and had to drive past the office to get the restaurant. It seemed as good a time as any to tell Lee off.

"Hey," Sam said, grabbing her wrist and dragging her towards him. He was making those goo-goo eyes and she smirked, but this really wasn't the place. "You sure you don't want me to come?"

"Thanks, Studly, but I can handle him."

"Ok," he said, hand going to her waist. "I'm here if you need me."

"I'll remember," she said, smiling as she pulled herself out of his grip. She swept through the little half-door and it swung back and forth in her wake.

Kara Thrace, Reporter sauntered up the aisle of desks and papers and helter-skelter chairs half-occupied by their frazzled owners. The big office was at the back--presumably so whoever worked in it could keep an eye on the rest of them, like that ever happened. Everyone nodded along the way. She waved, gabbed a bit, usual stuff. How're the kids. How 'bout them Bucs. Yada yada. She grew quieter as she drew closer to Lee Adama. Even with all the carpentry and glass between them, she could always feel when he was near. She wasn't sure if it was the preternatural sense of a predator or of its prey, but she knew she felt it, and she knew it was best to leap in on the offensive. "The best defense is a good offense" they said. She's written reams of prose about why that saying was false, but it was a comforting maxim to repeat in times of stress.

She burst through the door without knocking.

Lee Adama peered around his computer screen, then dropped his feet off the desk and sat up straighter.

"Well--"

"Don't start with me. Stop texting me 50, 100 times a day. Stop it. You didn't text me that much when all of the Canceron Hydras got food poisoning."

"Why?" he said, twiddling a pen.

"Don't ask me why you didn't--"

"No, why should I stop?"

"Because... I'M NOT MARRIED TO YOU ANYMORE. I don't have to put up with it."

"I can't text my best employee?"

"I don't work for you anymore either."

"I missed that memo."

"You probably burned that memo."

"I thought you said we'd still be friends," he pouted. Even from his tone of voice she knew he was goading her, and she knew she shouldn't let it bother her, but it did anyway. It pushed all her buttons and--rather than try and find words--she grabbed his wastepaper basket and upended it on his head.

For a moment, they were silent pieces of a ridiculous tableau. Then they burst out laughing. Lee's ringing peals echoed around the trash can. He was laughing so hard he didn't even bother to take it off. She yanked it off for him.

His phone played that annoying tinkly sonata. He held up a finger and she bit her lip to try and keep quiet. Then he cleared his throat and answered.

"Hello?"

She chewed her lip into oblivion to keep from giggling.

"What?!"

She rolled her eyes. She always got the melodramatic half of the conversation--complete with gestures which were entirely for her benefit. He locked his gaze on hers. She cocked an eyebrow at him. His was a game she was used to playing.

"Really? Uh-huh... all right... no?! No, I don't have anyone... hang on..." he held the phone against his chest. "Kara, can you--"

"I don't work for you," she sang at him.

"The strike is on!"

"Don't care. And whoever you're talking to is lying."

"I need someone on this, Kara!"

"Put Costanza on it."

"I can't, he's on vacation. Hang on. Yeah," he said back into the phone. "And they've... they've arrested Carl Lumley?" Now that got her attention. "For what? Hang on," he turned back to Kara, his shoulders taut now. No, this time he wasn't making shit up. "I need someone who can write this," he pleaded.

"What do you have all these writers for?"

"They're not writers, they're reporters. Kara, please?"

"No, haha," she cackled as if what she'd heard was knee-slappingly funny, "frak no. Tell whoever that is," she wiggled her finger at the phone, "no."

"Hey, Nadia? She said no. Yeah, Kara. Yeah, she's here right now. You wanna talk to her?"

He held out the phone to her but she stared at him impassively.

"She wants to talk to you."

She took the phone, hung it up, and dropped it in the trash can.

"Aw, damn it, Kara, that thing's new."

They were both smiling like idiots though. It was too easy to be around him. Too easy to fall back into the same old ways. That was dangerous. That was why she hadn't been in this office in months. Not since the divorce.

She sat down on the edge of his desk and his hand made its way towards her knee. He stopped halfway and smiled up at her sadly. "Come back and work for me."

"No."

"Why not?"

"Because you're a crap boss. And I'm getting married in the morning."

She felt like she'd punched him in the gut. He looked like she'd punched him in the gut. The Lords know they'd gotten into enough fights, but they didn't usually go for the soft spots. It was much more satisfying to crack bone on bone. She rubbed at the bridge of her nose.

"Anyone I know?" he finally asked.

"Yeah."

"Who?"

"Sam Anders."

He stared at her for a moment. "The captain of the Caprica Buccaneers."

"Yeah."

"That’s why you know there's no strike?"

"Yup."

They were silent. It was the most uneasy silence she'd ever sat through.

"Um... I have to go, actually. We're going to lunch."

His eyes snapped to hers, glittering strangely.

"He's here?"

"Yeah...?"

"Well, I'll take you both out, then!"

"Lee..."

"No, no, it's the least I can do. Consider it a wedding present." His voice had cracked on the word. He'd tried to hide it, but he knew he hadn't. Not from her. She'd heard it. He looked... sad. Upset. She'd punctured his happy bubble of cheerful self-sufficiency for the day. Frak, he was so fragile sometimes. It was always like walking on eggshells with him. Just as painful, just as destructive.

"Fine. But no work talk!"

"Fine," he said, grabbing his suit jacket from the back of his chair and shrugging it on. He pulled his phone out of the trash can and inspected the new scuffs. "So um... what exactly would the two top sports writers in the Colonies and a premiere athlete talk about at lunch if not work?"

She grabbed his elbow out of easy habit, grinning briefly before her face fell. She realized, once she'd latch onto his arm, that she probably shouldn't be so familiar with him, but it would be worse to let go now. It was too easy with him, much too easy.

"You're not stuck on yourself at all."

"Nope. I'm stuck on you." He grinned at her. She booped the end of his nose with her fingertip and shook her head. They headed out the door.

***

Lee jammed himself between the two of them, which earned him a stern look and a set of squashed toes. He grinned through a grimace and didn't miss a beat.

"So, tell me how you two met," he directed at Sam after he'd swiftly ordered three of the heaviest meals he could find on the menu: one for each of them.

Sam reached across the table and grabbed Kara's hand. "We met in Themis four months ago. She was--"

"Four months ago. Really? All that time?"

"It doesn't seem that long at all, does it, Kara? I feel like we met yesterday. I feel like I've known you my whole life."

"Make up your mind..." Lee mumbled. She squashed his toes again and he scrunched his nose. "And in Themis too," he narrowed his eyes at her. "She always was a fast worker."

"What?"

"What was that?" Kara's tone was threatening.

"I said she was my best worker. You're lucky to have her."

"Don't I know it," Sam replied. "So how did you two meet? Kara said you were married once."

"Once."

She rolled her eyes. That was apparently all the reply he was going to give. The waiter bustled back around, offering wine. Lee's eyes were following the man closely. Too closely. Closely enough that Kara was getting suspicious. He hustled away. "We had a back and forth in the sports editorials. He's a frakkin' idiot and doesn't know a feint from a foul, and I let him know it."

"Yeah, that's why they made me sports editor."

"They made you sports editor so I didn't kill you."

"That too."

"Anyway, I finally got sick of it and found him at a game and we had it out--"

"She means we decked each other by half time."

"That's what I said."

"No you didn't. We got arrested."

"The Times bailed us out after the game, though. They ran the brawl story instead of the game coverage since we'd both missed our deadlines being in jail."

Lee tittered. "Yeah, they weren't too upset about it when we trended for the week." She smirked back at him, trying not to laugh.

Sam looked like he didn't know whether to be amused or worried. "So..."

"So we ended up married. Yeah," she said. "That was later."

Kara gave Sam's hand a squeeze. Lee had a suspicious coughing fit and the waiter materialized once more with their food, elbowing everyone away from the table (and each other's hands) so he could put it all down. He disappeared again. Lee Adama's pet phantom waiter. She didn't doubt it for a minute.

"She really is the best reporter I've got," Lee started in, serenely cutting into the thick steak before him. "Why this Lumley case--"

"What about Lumley?" Sam said, fiddling around with his utensils. He seemed wary to eat that much before a big game, but just as wary to not eat it and offend his fiancée's friend.

"Lee says he was arrested."

"What!?"

"Something about stock fraud and fixing games," Lee cast off nonchalantly around a mouth full of cow.

Sam dropped his fork against his plate with a loud clatter. "The C-Bucs don't fix games."

"That's what I said," Lee insisted.

"Their owner doesn't either. That dirt-Eater mother-frakker Vergis has been after Lumley since the All-Star game because he saw we'd finish ahead of the Bulls. Why I--"

"That's what I said. I know it. You know it. But the public doesn't know it. That's why I said no one but Kara could cover this Lumley case with any kind of competence."

Lee often wondered how Kara's eyes didn't shoot lasers. He was grateful that they didn't, but they should have. He should have been dead hundreds of times over by now. He smirked. "It's not my problem," she spat.

"Kara, you've got to do this," Sam said.

She sighed heavily.

"Frak, if there's even suspicion they won't let us play in the Championship series. Not after two years ago with the All Reds. You could get him off, I know you could. I've read your stuff."

"But we have to catch the shuttle tonight--"

Sam waved that away. "If Lumley's in jail there's no use going to Picon. Please, Kara. You've got to."

She licked her lips and casually crushed Lee's toes. "Fine. All right. I'll go see him." She sawed away a chunk of steak and lobbed it into her mouth. "Gods."

***

She stopped in the threshold to the press room of the police station, hip leaned saucily against the frame. She observed the motley collection of sports reporters sitting around playing triad. Old Garafello was reading a book in the window seat.

"Well, I see you're all just as useless as ever."

They startled. "Starbuck!" they chorused.

"Hey, Kara!" said Helo--the sly one with the lollipop perched between his lips. He appeared to have an afternoon's worth of winnings piled in front of him. "Long time, no see. You don't call, you don't write. What is this? People would think you didn't love me."

"You're the light of my life, you cocky motherfrakker."She swung her leg up on the table and plucked the lollipop from his mouth. "I don't usually see you guys outside the arena. You all look washed out away from the sun. Or are you all so pale because you missed me?"

"We thought you'd skipped off to Themis for a quickie divorce."

"Yeah, what'd he do? Fix your spelling?"

"Haha," she intoned, plopping the sucker in her mouth. "None of your business."

"Last I heard, you was engaged to Anders."

"Yeah, how about it? You here to make sure he stays captain?"

"Here to roast Lumley once and for all?"

"Nope," she said.

"No?" they all chorused again. They were so good at that--speaking all at once, usually in perfect unison.

"Explain yourself, Starbuck, so we don’t all feel like idiots when the story breaks."

"Helo, darling Helo. It's no fun for me if you all know ahead of time." She gave the candy one last suck before dangling it back in front of his mouth. He snapped it back between his teeth.

"Where's the warden?" she asked.

"In his office."

She threw them all a cocky mock-salute and headed in that direction.

"Are you the warden?" she asked, stepping inside the office.

"Yeah."

"Any chance I can see Lumley?"

"No. He's closed to all visitors."

"Aw, that's too bad," she said, dropping a bill on the floor and bending to pick it up in the same motion. "Say, is this yours?"

"What? No."

"Says 500 cubits."

"Oh. Yes. Let me get my keys."

He led her through the press room and she smirked at them all in victory. Helo made a rude gesture while pretending to scratch his nose.

In the police station’s jail, there was only one person in custody. Kara wondered if they'd cleared it out for him. It was so dark it took her eyes a moment to adjust.

"Take all the time you need," the warden said, ducking out and closing the door behind him. The key scraped in the lock.

"Mr. Lumley?"

He was sprawled on the cot, hands behind his head. She walked into his field of vision.

"You're Kara Thrace," he said, not bothering to move a muscle.

"Yup."

"You're married to the Times' sports editor."

"Strike one," she said, wrapping her fingers around the back of the chair they had set outside his cell for her.

"You're here to get me to incriminate myself."

"Oo, strike two, but keep trying."

"I've read your stuff. You hate my guts. You hate me more than my ex-wife hates me."

"Can't deny that. Go on."

"I'm not supposed to see press. I could have you thrown out of here."

"Now, that's strike three, and by the rules of playground stick ball, you are now required to talk to me."

"My lawyer says differently."

"Your lawyer is a pompous ass who only knows business law. What you need is someone on your side. Someone to do a little digging and let the public know the truth."

"Why the frak do you care? You've skinned me alive in that column of yours for the past four years, ever since I bought the damn team."

She sat down. "That's true," she admitted. "You're a money-grubbing motherfrakker who doesn't give a damn about pyramid. I'd love to see you fry once and for all. But I also love the C-Bucs and think they can win it all this year, but not if you're in jail under suspicion of fixing. They won't let them play at all if you're in here. So what I need from you, Mr. Lumley, is information I can prove. I need to know how to access it, even if it's in the most heavily guarded vault under the Colonial Fleet Headquarters. You need to help me help you, Mr. Lumley. Together we can help the Buccaneers. Can you do that?"

He studied her for a moment. He could tell by her tone she was issuing a challenge, but he wasn't sure what he was being challenged to do. He apparently decided he didn't care. He nodded.

***

Kara was pacing back and forth on the sidewalk just outside the police station. She plugged one ear against the noise of the traffic in the street. Lee's phone rang and rang and continued to ring. She rolled her eyes. He wasn't even worth swearing at anymore. He finally picked up.

"Kara?"

"Lee, I need you to go to Vergis and charm the pants off of him."

"I thought we ruled prostitution out of our relationship years ago."

"Ok, well, charm the memory out of his hard drive. Take one of those thingies. Those swiper things you like so much. Get all the data you can. We need travel itineraries, e-mails, that kind of stuff."

"What are we looking for?"

"Threats. Plans. I can tell you the dates later. Not here."

"All right," she could hear him typing. "What are you going to do? Did you get the story?"

"I'm getting it. I've got to go to Lumley's house--" Her phone beeped and she looked at the screen. "Hang on, I've got a call from the police station."

She switched calls. "Hello?"

"Kara! Thank the gods. Listen, I've been arrested..."

"Sam? What the frak? Arrested? What did you do?"

"I didn't do anything! They said I was wanted for jaywalking. Repeat offender."

"THEY CAN'T ARREST YOU FO--" She paused, took a deep breath, and let it out through her nose. "They can't arrest you for jaywalking, Sam. Hang on. I'll be right there, I'm just outside."

When she switched calls again, Lee had hung up. She dialed him from her speed dial. It pissed her off that he was even still programmed into her phone. In fact, she was ready to throw her phone into a fire at that point. Motherfrakker.

His secretary picked up.

"Get Lee on the frakkin' phone." Her lips were pursed into a tight pucker. If anyone had come within her line of sight at that moment, they would've regretted it later.

"Kara?" his voice crackled through the speaker.

"You wanna tell me what the HELL you're doing?"

"What?"

"Sam's in jail."

"Oh?"

"Don't play innocent with me. The championship game is tomorrow. We have a shuttle to catch tonight. And I know all you're tricks, you've done this one before. You can't just have people thrown in jail. Jaywalking isn't even something you can arrest people for."

"Kara, I--"

"Don't you dare say you had nothing to do with it. I know you. You probably got him picked up for throwing gum on the sidewalk or something and then had a trumped up charge laid against him. Ooooh, I know you. You've got everyone in your frakkin' pocket."

"I don't have a clue what you're talking about."

She knew him too well. She could hear the edge in his voice just on the verge of laughter. She was on the verge of throwing her phone into the road. She started to, but halfway through the launch she clutched it tighter, held her arms to her sides, and took a deep breath. It was too expensive to chuck under a car. Besides, she needed it so she could yell at Lee.

"Lee," she said calmly, her anger just barely contained, "Go get what I need from Vergis, and if he does not kill you, I will think about doing the same."

She hung up and buried her face in her hands with a groan. When she stopped wanting to murder someone and end up in jail herself, she slid her phone into her pocket and bounded up the steps into the police station.

***

Kara and Sam were crammed side by side in the back of a tiny taxi.

"Look, just tell them the truth," she said, fussing with her phone. She wouldn't look at him. "It's completely unrelated to the Lumley arrest. In fact, tell them that's an ongoing investigation. Tell them... frak it Sam, I'm not your P.R. person. Tell them what you want."

Sam's eyes traveled from her fingers, to her face, to the city whizzing by outside the window.
"What are you doing?" he finally asked.

"Working on it."

"With Lee?"

"We're working on it, yeah." She was texting furiously.

"Will you get it cleared up?"

"Sam, we're not detectives. I'm a sports writer. Was a sports writer."

"You don't have to give it up, you know."

"Yes, I do."

"Well, I'm not asking you to."

They rode the rest of the way in silence. She mumbled to herself occasionally, biting her lip and then licking it soothed. Sam started drumming his fingers on his knee. When they pulled up outside of Atlas Stadium, there was already a crowd. It descended on the cab.

"I can give you a scoop. Tell you what I'm going to say."

"Just go."

He cracked open the cab door and paused. After a moment, he leaned in for a kiss. She met him with a half-hearted peck, never taking her eyes off her phone.

"I'll call you later," he promised.

"Bye," she said sweetly.

He slammed the door shut, disappearing into the mob, the screaming reporters, and the flashing cameras.

"Take me to 408 Pantheon Circle, please," she said to the taxi driver.

"Right," the woman replied.

As they pulled away, Kara hit "submit." It was the first thing posted on the Caprica Times Pyramid blog in months.

***

When they pulled onto Pantheon Circle, she ignored the grandiose houses and towering skyline. She ignored the view down the vista and the superb landscaping. She only had eyes for the man leaning against the front stoop of 408. She grinned despite herself.

When the cab stopped, she hopped out and paid off the driver. Lee was watching her with twinkling eyes.

"Did you get it?" she asked over the roar of the cab driving off.

He held up the disk drive with a smirk.

She bit her lip, but couldn't contain the smile. "You sly, sexy thing." She made to goose his ass but remembered halfway through the motion that she probably shouldn't. Her elbow got awkwardly tangled up in his instead. He snorted, shaking himself free of her and sweeping a hand through his hair.

"So you can get in here?" he said as he composed himself and slid the drive into his pocket.

"Should be able to. Lumley said he'd call his butler."

She bounded up the stairs and rang the doorbell. Lee fell in beside her. She thought she felt his fingers brushing against the sleeve of her coat. It sent a thrill up her spine. She slid her foot closer to his.

The door opened and they were faced with a middle-aged gentleman in a button-up shirt and slacks.

"Miss Thrace?"

"Yes. This is my associate Mr. Adama. Did you--?"

"Yes, I've got it all laid out, just like he asked. You're sure--?"

"Yes. Where is it?"

He stepped back and let them pass, quickly shutting the door behind them. "Through here. Second door on the right. I've got it all laid out on the floor. There's a lot of it."

Kara ignored the finery and frills dangling from the walls. None of that was of interest to her. Lee, however, gave a low whistle of appreciation as they navigated the hall. Kara echoed his whistle when she turned into the open doorway and saw the sheer volume of papers and documentation spread out before her.

"You know what we're looking for," she said to Lee. "Thank you," she added to the butler and he nodded, leaving them to their work.

Lee took a few giant steps on his toes into the middle of piles and plopped down with a pleased sigh. He started sorting papers.

She watched him with a smile. It was a smile that was too gentle for her face--one that she rarely showed to anybody or anything. It was the smile reserved exclusively for Lee Adama. Lee tended to call it "that face." She caught herself in reflection and followed him into the mess.

"You look happy," she observed, sitting down behind him. Their backs were inches from touching. She grabbed a paper and began inspecting it.

"I've got the biggest story of the year sitting in my lap and my best reporter at my back. I haven't been this happy in years." He already had one giant pile of irrelevant details and a tiny collection of important stuff. "May the gods damn the eccentrics who insist on keeping paper records," he retorted as if the stacks of paper had verbally assaulted him. "We could've done this with two clicks if we had access to his accounts."

"So could anyone else," she reminded him.

"You're right," he said, excitedly shaking his finger. "You're right. We'll be one up on them all." He dove back into sorting with gusto. Shiff, shiff, shiff, thunk. The rhythmic whir of papers should've been a soothing sound but it set Kara's nerves on edge.

She set aside the paper she was studying and rifled through a different stack. "I haven't seen you this happy since before they made you editor." She was listening hard for every hitch in his breath or change in his voice. He didn't say anything, didn't make a sound, just kept sorting papers. Shiff, shiff, thunk, shiff, thunk. "Not since that one time you pretended to be a doctor so you could get access to the Hydras' clubhouse, remember? You had your phone in your pocket so I could hear everything that was happening. And we scooped everyone on that scandal with the mascot. Remember?"

"Mmmhm," he intoned.

"Or, remember when we got locked into that janitor's closet at Atlas Stadium and we had to pay off Joseph to keep quiet?"

"Mm." Shiff, shiff, shiff.

"And the one time, remember, where we got so drunk at the Championship--"

"Don't."

"What?"

"Don't, Kara. Don't pretend things are ok. Things aren't ok."

"I don't--"

"Things haven't been ok with us for a long time. Did you forget that I woke up one morning four months ago and you had left me without even a note? Without even a word, you were gone. I get served with those papers three days later after I'd called the police because I thought you were dead. Things aren't ok with us, Kara. This isn't ok. Frak, I haven't even seen you in four months. I hate this. I hate that I can fall right back into these patterns with you. So don't."

"I'm sor--"

"Do not," he cut her off. "Don't say it unless you mean it. You get away with so much. You get away with frakkin' everything and it pisses me off. You say you're sorry when you're caught and you think it's all right. But it's not. None of this is right. So let's just get back to work and get the Bucs eligible, and forget this ever happened."

They bustled around in silence. Shiff, shiff, shiff. Kara had two documents. Lee had about fifty. She felt as if she'd been shot with a stun gun. Paralyzing shockwaves were pouring out of her heart. She swiped the mutinous tear from her cheek.

"I used to get so pissed off at you, you know," she eventually said, setting down the paper that was clutched in her shaking hand. "I'd say we couldn't really be married 'cause I'd never be that frakkin' stupid. We were just drunk and made it up and neither one of us could remember. But... that... Lee, I...." She gave up on the papers entirely. "Nevermind. Just... Nevermind."

"I've got all we need here. Let's go."

"I'm sorry, Lee. I'm really sorry. I don't... I never know what the frak I'm doing. I'm just a screw up. All I know is pyramid and a good story. I can't do real life stuff. I never could."

He stood, tapping the papers against his leg. "You're right," he said calmly, evening the corners with his thumb. "For once. You're right about everything. You're a screw up, and you know pyramid better than the damn players. You're the worst person I've ever lived with. But that doesn't... that doesn't stop me from..." he heaved a sigh. "Nevermind."

She smiled, standing and brushing off her legs. This had always been their problem. Always. Words--nice words, not fighting words--had always failed them. It should have been funnier that two of the top sports writers in the Colonies couldn't communicate, but mostly it was just depressing.

"Come on," he said, holding out his hand. "Write me this story and let's get on with it."

"You could do it."

"Nah, I can only do the culture stuff. That's why they made me editor."

"I thought they made you editor because you're the only one anal enough to edit our feral commas into submission."

"Shut up and write my scoop."

She took his hand with a grin. "You still don't know a feint from a foul."

"That's what I kept you around for. Even when you were wrong, you knew what the frak you were talking about. Let's get going."

"I thought you just liked it when I would grab you by the collar and rip your clothes off at lunch."

"Now, that I do miss."

***

She didn't have to bribe the warden to get into the jail this time. She just had to threaten to turn him in for accepting bribes. The cellblock was still as dingy and deserted as before.

"Mr. Lumley?"

He sat up immediately. "You again."

"I've got all the things you said I'd need."

"Know what to make of them?"

"My friend does."

"Your editor."

"My friend."

"Your lover."

"Can we not play this game? There really isn't much time if you want the Bucs to play in the Championship."

"Well, you've got all the pieces. Use them however you want."

Buzzzz.

"Excuse me." She felt weird apologizing to such an asshole, but it felt weirder to be rude to an interviewee. She pulled out her phone. It was Sam. "Hello?"

"Kara?" His voice crackled through the poor reception. She wondered if it was on his end or hers. Probably hers. The police station had notoriously crappy network connections.

"How'd the press conference go?"

"They arrested me again."

"What?"

"Some woman said I was stalking her."

"What?"

"I was walking home from the stadium and this woman was in front of me and she called the cops."

"Sam--"

"I wasn't stalking her, Kara, I swear by Apollo--"

"Did this woman have red curly hair?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Apollo's a good one to swear by." She started furiously collecting everything she had spread out. "Listen, Sam, I'm upstairs now. I'll come down and get you, just hang on. By the gods, I'm going to run out of money by the end of the day bailing you out of jail."

"What do you mean Apollo--?"

"Not now, I'll tell you later."

She hung up. "I have to go."

"Troubles?" He shouldn't sound so gleeful about it. She very briefly contemplated leaving Sam in jail, just so when she got Lumley off the C-Bucs would still be frakked. But traitorous thoughts like that were always quickly quashed from Kara Thrace's head.

"There will be if I don't go now."

"Boys fighting over you?"

"Sound skeptical again and see which way I spin this," she said, flicking the stack of papers with her finger.

***

She whipped open their apartment door like she was fighting with it.

"Kara, what--"

"Look, it's this chick that works in the office." She tossed her keys into the bowl on the little table in the entryway. "Hell, it's one of the reporters. He always has her do crazy stuff like this when he needs people in trouble because she gets a kick out of it." She was having trouble kicking off her shoes and grabbed hold of Sam's shoulder to steady herself. "He's had her get at least three players arrested on various occasions. Hell, he's done it before. He's pretty enough that the cops believe women follow him home." With a grunt she finally got her feet free and bounded down the stairs to the living room.

"Ok, but the Apollo thing--"

"We all end up with nicknames. They call me 'Starbuck' because they say I can make or break the big stars. They call him 'Apollo' because they've always said he was a god. I always said it was because he's a tight ass."

"Oh, so it's an inside joke."

"Sure. Look, get our tickets and meet me at the spaceport. I have to write this or there's no point in going at all. They shouldn't be able to hold Lumley on suspicion without bail as it is, so that's a start." She was grabbing things and throwing them pell-mell in a big bag. Her notebook, a fresh shirt, something or other that he couldn't see. She slid her feet into a more comfortable pair of shoes. "Look, really, Sam. I'll meet you, but I've got to go." She stopped briefly and stood up on her tiptoes to peck him on the lips.

"You going with Lee?"

"I've got to, darling, it's his story."

"It's your story. It's just for him."

"Whatever, I've got to go."

"Hey!" He grabbed her shoulder as she pelted for the door. "How about a real kiss?"

She smiled, rocking up again to lock her lips on his. The kiss deepened and she pulled his body to her with a moan and a giggle. Her hands roved from his shoulders across his back and headed for his ass.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

"Frak," she pulled away, glaring at the screen of her phone. "I've got to go, Sam. I've... I'll call you.”

She was gone before he could say anything more.

***

She burst through the door to Lee's office like a tornado.

"Oh, good, you're here. I want you to--"

She crossed the length of the room in two steps and punched him hard on the jaw. He shook his head to clear it and stared up at her in surprise. His desk chair had rolled back a good three feet.

"What the frak?"

"You got him arrested again. That's twice in one day, Lee. If I didn't have to write this so we could frakkin' play tomorrow I'd burn every bit of this and throw the ashes in your face."

"Kara!" He stood, reaching for her shoulders to placate her, but she batted his hands away like she was swatting gnats.

"I'm getting married tomorrow and there's nothing you can do to stop it."

"All right." He put his hands on his hips and swiveled as if to sit back down. He caught himself halfway through the motion, whipping his head back around in complete confusion. "What the frak are you talking about?"

"Sam got arrested for 'stalking' Kat about an hour ago."

"Kat's been right here!"

She jabbed her finger up under his nose. "Don't you lie to me, Lee Adama." Her glare held him in place. They stared. They started and stared.

He broke first, biting his lip to stifle the grin that was trying to break free.

"You did!" she cried in awe. "You did, you motherfrakker! That's two times, Lee!" She was giggling by then. It was impossible to hold a straight face with him being such an idiot. Gods, he had always been like that. It had always been impossible with him--especially when he did stupid shit and thought it was funny. Because--when he did it--it always was funny. Damn him.

She shoved him hard, as if to say his behavior was not ok no matter how hard it made her laugh. "Move your ass. I'm commandeering your desk for important business."

He stepped aside with a flourish and she plopped down in his chair.

"Your desk pisses me off."

"Why?"

"It's perfect." The immaculate cherry surface gleamed before her. She pressed her fingertips into the gloss, just to muss it.

"So?"

She took all the papers she had and spread them across the surface as messily as possible. "That's better. When is this thing due?" It looked like a photocopier with the flu had sneezed on his desk.

"I'm keeping you until six."

"Six? Lee, I've got a shuttle to catch at six."

"Fine. Five."

She pursed her lips; he had given in way too easily and it made her suspicious. "Fine. Stop hovering so I can write this thing."

He perched on the opposite side of the desk, back to her, waiting. He crossed his arms, tapped his heels against the furniture.

"Stop," she said after a few minutes. He stopped. She was typing away.

"How's it going?" he said after a few more silent minutes.

"Fine. Would be better if you'd shut up. I've been writing it in my head all day. It won't take long."

"All right. We have to take those papers to the police station, too. Get them to arrest Vergis and let Lumley out."

"Uh-huh."

"That was a great post you made earlier, by the way. It's got a ton of hits already. They're on the edge of their seats waiting for you."

"Uh-huh."

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz. She hit the button to get the phone to shut up.

He stood and began pacing back and forth. The hard heels of his shoes clacked rhythmically against the floor. After a few minutes, she said: "I'm going to punch the crap out of you if you don't stop."

"You already did that today. Did you forget our strict limit of one per day?"

"Broke that contract with our divorce." She kept writing.

"You hungry?"

"Yeah, get me--"

"I know."

He was gone for about 45 minutes. He came back with five boxes of Canceron food, a set of chopsticks, and a fork. He came around the desk and leaned in to drop a box in front of her, slapping the fork on top.

"How's it going?"

"Almost done." He was still close. Too close. Entirely in her space. "Thanks for the fork."

"Mmhm." Gods, he was smelling her hair or something. She could feel the warmth of his breath on her neck. He had his hand on the back of the chair.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

"Gods, who the frak keeps calling me?"

"Who knows."

He sounded far too innocent about that. When she turned to shoot him a glare his face was inches from hers. There was barely enough room for air.

"Hey," he said. His voice was husky. She couldn't decide if she wanted to punch him or kiss him. Probably both, if she really thought about it.

She licked her lips, eyes focused on his mouth.

"Hey."

His fingertips trailed across her jaw. Somehow they were kissing, her fingers wrapped in his hair.

"No," he mumbled, pulling away. "No, no," he stood up straight and stepped back, frantically running his fingers through his hair. "You're engaged. This isn't... this is wrong."

She groaned in frustration. "Gods damn it, Lee."

"We're saving the Bucs right now, and you're getting married tomorrow. There isn't--this isn't the time for these things. We're back where we started now. You punch me, I'll punch you. We won't ever be more than this again."

She stood and reached for him, smashing their lips together. She nibbled down his jaw, to his neck, bit his shoulder and he groaned deep in his chest before he pushed her away. "No. Finish your article."

"I'm done, frak you," she dove back in, fingers working the buttons of his shirt. "Mm, Lee."

"No, Kara--"

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

"Frak it all." She yanked away from him and snatched her phone. It was flashing the words "Sam Anders" at her and she felt her cheeks color. She answered it, still holding Lee by the front of his shirt.

"Hello? ... What? ... Again? What this time? Running a red... but you weren't even driving! ... Right. Yes... y--yes..." her voice cracked as she devolved into uncontrolled giggles. "Yes, yes, I'll--" she took a deep breath. "I'll send someone over for you." She hung up, flopping down in the chair and burying her face in her arms.

Belatedly Lee realized that she was crying.

"Hey. Hey! What's the matter?"

"I thought..." she drew another long draught of air, "I thought you were serious. I thought you really--" she sobbed softly, "really meant it. I thought you wanted me to marry Sam and leave you alone forever. But y--y--you had him arrested again. I'd've g--g--gone to the spaceport and he wouldn't have even--even--even..." she wailed one long sob. "Frak you," he heard through her distress. "Why can't you ever just say what you mean instead of getting people thrown in jail!"

He dropped his hands to her shoulders and gave them a squeeze. "Oh, Kara. You really are an idiot if you thought that."

"I--I--I" she caught her voice. "I'm going to hit you so frakkin' hard."

"Come on, quit crying," he said, pulling her up off the desk and kneeling before her so he could wipe at her cheeks with his thumb. "Hit submit on that thing. We've got a championship to go to."

She laughed through the tears. "You. If the C-Bucs lose because you frakked around with their captain, you're going to be sorry."

"Oh? You going to do something about it?"

"Remember that night on Sagittaron?"

"Yeah--oh."

She laughed then for real, her tears running dry. She swiped at her face and took a deep breath, then met his eyes and smiled. He smiled back. "Asshole."

"Well," he said, twiddling his fingers on her knees, "I've got us three tickets on the eight o'clock shuttle to Picon."

"Three--?"

"Yeah, you, me, and Sam. You didn't think I'd deny the C-Bucs their captain, did you?"

"Oh, that'll be comfy."

But they laughed, and laughed, and kissed, and laughed.

"I'm not going to get drunk off my ass at the Championship this time, Kara," he said. "If you want me to marry you again, you'll have to ask me sober."

She swatted at his arm but he dodged, dodging again when she aimed a swipe at his middle, and purposefully putting his ass in the way of her flailing hand. She smacked it with gusto.

"Ow! Frak me." He rubbed at the tender flesh. "I'm going to have a bruise."

"Shut up and marry me. Again. Asshole. We have a Championship to cover and I don't have time for your crap."