Ron Moore said he doens't mind, however, Battlestar Galactic and all related elements, characters and indicia © Ron Moore, Sci Fi Channel and Universal Studios, 2003. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situations -- save those created by the author for use solely on this website -- are copyright Ron Moore, Sci Fi Channel and Universal Studios.
Notes: Thanks to emeraldsedai for fabulous beta fixings. Inspired by these pictures.
Kara could feel his presence standing over her. The lack of nervous shuffling, followed by a polite cough confirmed it. She cracked open her eyes and looked up. At the sight of his damp hair, the towel around his neck, and the scissors in his hand, she sat up grudgingly. "Tell me again why I agreed to do this today?"
"Because I asked nicely." Kara rolled her eyes. "And because I know you have nothing better to do right now." Lee handed her the scissors. She took them, acknowledging the truth of the latter statement with a tilt of her head and a glare.
"I could have had a nap," she grumbled.
"Need that beauty rest, do you?"
"Frak off. I'm not the one so concerned over his appearance."
"I can't help it if I have certain standards to maintain." His flippant tone didn't make that statement any less true. She remembered being in his dorm room, a lifetime ago, and taking great pleasure in sitting on his bed to rumple the covers and knocking things over "by accident"—just to see how fast he would set them right. Good old meticulous Lee. He was such a tightass. "Besides, this just doesn't feel right," he added ruefully, running a hand through his hair.
Lee looked down at her expectantly. Hopeful. And damn if she couldn't just say no.
"But scruffy looks good on you, sir," she said as a last ditch attempt. He didn't move, though his eyebrows raised a fraction of a hair. "Oh, that's right. Captain Apollo doesn't do scruffy, like the rest of us. He has hygiene," she groused.
"That he does." He still hadn't moved. She sighed. The sooner she agreed the sooner it would be done.
"Fine." She sat up, patting the side of the rack between her legs. "Then down on the ground." Lee complied, seating himself so his shoulders were in line with her knees. Kara smoothed out the towel and ran her hands through his hair in appraisal.
She chewed on her lip. Start and let instinct take over? No, not for this. It would always grow back, but she would have to look at it for the next month if she made a mistake. She had better, and less trivial, ways of reminding herself that she was a screw-up. Though a lot of those involved Lee too.
His hair had gotten long. Her brow furrowed as she continued to toy with it, mapping out a strategy. A little planning sometimes went a long way. So did being able to cut in a straight line. Lee rolled his shoulders, and—was that a purr? She smirked. Well if he liked having his hair played with so much...
She gave into the urge to make it stick up all over like he had touched a live wire. It was a pity that style wouldn't fit under a helmet. She giggled.
"Kara?" He sounded equal parts wary and curious.
"Just trying to make this more enjoyable." She wondered if it was long enough for pigtails or braids, and considered if she could test her theory when he was sleeping. Too bad she was going to cut it all off—another missed opportunity.
"Enjoyable for you or for me?"
"They aren't always mutually exclusive. Come on, you're not having fun?"
"I'd consider this more a matter of necessity." He would. Lee never used to let his hair grow past his collar. The longer hair made him look softer—not that she'd spent a lot of time thinking about it—but soft wasn't a good look for the CAG. He already talked about feelings more than enough. Though he could always use it to his advantage—underestimating Lee was never a smart thing to do.
She took pity on him and smoothed down her handiwork and started snipping with quick, deliberate movements. She licked her lips in concentration.
"I don't see why you couldn't have found a professional. If there are a few pilots among the fleet, there have got to be a few stylists."
"Yes, because I could send out a call for stylists and not become the laughingstock of the ship."
Kara let out a bark of amusement. "I'd like to have seen you try. And what makes you think you're not the laughingstock already?"
"Very funny Kara."
"I'm frakking hilarious and you know it."
"I think you should become more acquainted with the differences between laughing with and laughing at."
Oh, she knew the difference, and the rest of the pilots and deck crew did too. Laugh at Starbuck, get your ass kicked. She'd only had to demonstrate a few times before everyone got the hint. And it had worked, except for Lee. He always was the exception.
"Well, Lee, you've certainly helped me learn the laughing at."
"As long as you're learning something from me..."
Her tongue traced her lips unconsciously. "I could teach you a lot of things."
"I learn from your shining example all the time." He paused. "Like how not to end up in the brig." Set them up, knock them down. He had learned that from her too.
"You've learned what not to do from the best." She let a perverse sort of pride colour her tone.
"I certainly have. Do you keep track?" He sounded curious. She wondered if he had kept count at the academy; it was a Lee thing to do. The number had multiplied considerably in the time since then.
"Yeah, I'm waiting for a big even number. Then maybe I can convince them to put up a plaque - or at least let me add a few personal touches."
"What about a get out of jail free card for your 100th night?"
"Nah, I always have you for that," she said, playing memories of Lee's face overlapped by cell bars in the back of her mind like a slide show.
"You gave me lots of opportunity to practice."
"See, I'm good for something."
"You're good for many things."
"Lee, stop, I'm blushing with such high praise."
"I just hope you're good at cutting hair."
"We'll find out soon enough."
They lapsed into a comfortable silence punctuated by the snip, snip of the scissors. Kara had found her rhythm and continued gaining speed. She'd always been a fast study.
"It's not a race here," Lee protested.
"If you're going to question my methods, you can find someone else to do this." She knew very well that there wasn't anyone else he could have asked. He had her, and the old man. And the President. Now that would have been a funny sight.
"How much are you actually taking off?" His hands were hovering over his knees, and she could see his muscles straining, stopping himself from reaching up to feel how much she had cut. He would trust her with his life, but not with his hair. Funny that.
"Just a trim, like you instructed, sir. And I'm almost done." She could see him force himself to relax—but she couldn't have that. She grinned, continuing, "Though it's too bad I don't have a razor handy. I could spell out CAG—only because dipstick wouldn't fit. Too many letters." She tried to trace it on the back of his skull and he flinched slightly. "Nope, your head's not big enough. I'm surprised," she drawled, enjoying his discomfort.
"I'm not the one who has the big head."
"Of course not. Sir."
"I know where you sleep, you know. And I control the duty shifts. I don't want any surprises, Kara." There was a measured warning in his tone, but she would bet if she could see his eyes the corners would be crinkled in amusement.
"You'd use your position of power and compromise your ideals for this? Lee, I'm shocked!" But she wasn't really, because he'd never actually do that, and they both knew it.
"A man's appearance is a very important in commanding respect." There was protesting laughter in his voice.
"I think you could command respect with the word dipstick on the back of your head. I mean it's already written across your face."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence."
"You're welcome." For all her teasing, Kara knew Lee needed this. Needed his hair, and his uniform, to be perfectly neat and ordered. Then he could all pretend that everything else was too. And that she could give him this was no small thing.
Kara ran her hands through his hair to make sure it was all in place, snipped a few more errant strands and removed the towel from Lee's shoulders, careful not to dislodge the hair, rolling it into a ball to be dealt with later.
"Thank you. Will I still be saying that after I look in the mirror?"
"I'll leave you to find that out for yourself Lee." His paranoia was endearing.
"Kara—" he grabbed hold of her arm and dragged her with him to his locker mirror. He inspected his reflection critically, and his grip relaxed. He looked outwardly the same as when he had first boarded the Galactica; all the changes were firmly hidden on the inside again.
"Are we done here?"
"Sure. And Kara?" He turned to look at her, and their gazes locked. "Thanks."
"No problem. I'll be sure to send you my bill."
"No need." A cigar was pressed into her hand. Kara's eyes widened. Lee responded with a grin that she was tempted to smack off. Or to share. Sharing won out. It was a nice gesture, and she was running a little low on—a lot of her favourite pastimes. She could make a list.
Kara nodded her thanks and returned to her rack to enjoy. It was nice to have friends. Though if he'd mentioned the cigar in the first place... he could have saved himself a lot of arguing. Inhaling deeply, she closed her eyes in pleasure. Evidently, she should start doing favours for Lee more often.
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