lizziec: (Rocks fall)
[personal profile] lizziec
Title: Alone in the Dark
Author: [livejournal.com profile] trappermcintyre
Beta: Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] howlinchickhowl, who Beta'd this with about five minutes notice
Rating: T (theme of depression, mention of a suicide attempt)
Pairing: Mention of Lee/Dee with implied Lee/Kara
Genre: Hurt/Angst
Summary: From a prompt by [livejournal.com profile] sci_fi_shipper at [livejournal.com profile] leeadama_daily (prompt list here). Make a compelling case for Lee to become Fat!Lee. This is how it felt genuine to me. Spoilers through to Unfinished Business.

It started slowly, imperceptibly.

Dee was the first to notice anything was up. Lee was moodier, more distant. His smiles came more rarely. He was quicker to anger.

The junior officers in CiC were the next to notice the changes. The Commander would often go from slight irritation to cold anger with no in-between stage and very little provocation. They learned to keep their distance, to speak to him only if they couldn’t avoid it. To do their jobs so well that he would have no cause to direct his anger in their direction.

Lee himself was one of the last to notice. The changes had happened so gradually that he wasn’t aware that anything had changed until it hit him all at once. Dee had made several valiant attempts to talk to him about his worsening moods. He’d waved off each one, patiently at first, then as she brought up the subject more frequently, irritably. In the end they’d become full blown arguments.

He had pointed out to Dee that there were sensible reasons for all of the things she was bringing up.

Of course he was more stressed and irritable, he had a new and stressful job. Yes, he was putting on a little weight, but he was always busy and had no time to work out, and little motivation to do so anyway because it wasn’t as if he had to be in peak physical condition any more now he wasn’t flying a Viper. And there was such a lot that he could be doing instead, all that ever-present paperwork.

He told her, he was certain that the stress and irritation would go away as he started to get more of a grip on what was expected of him as Commander of the Pegasus. And of course the weight would drop off again as he learned to balance life and work and found time for the gym as well as the paperwork. No, he wasn’t sleeping well, of course he wasn’t because he had lots of rosters to worry about, supply problems, personnel problems. There was always something on his mind.

Consequently it wasn’t until things got so bad that he thought he was losing his mind that he woke up to the fact that he wasn’t fine; that the explanations were just excuses; that there was something very wrong inside his head.

What woke him up to the problem was never entirely clear to him after. It was, in fact, a number of things, a growing sense of unease from all the little signs that he’d been ignoring - the little signs that should have been screaming at him that he was not all right, not merely overworked.

The reason why the paperwork had been piling up and taking so long to do: he couldn’t concentrate.

The reason why his officers were avoiding him, why his wife was avoiding him: his patience was razor thin, his irritation constantly close to the surface. Pain and anger surrounded him like a cloak – what was wrong wasn’t the worlds it was him, and he felt trapped because there was no way to escape from himself. Time continued and with every passing second he felt that he was further and further behind everyone else. Out of synch, sleep walking through his life.

He remembered feeling like this before.

After Zak had died things had been dark, like the rest of his world was dimmed, but that was surely to be expected. It was grief for his brother, for someone who was one of his best friends. Anger at his father had replaced the grief in the end, his rage pushing him forward, colouring his world again, taking him along with the rest of the worlds as time continued.

After the Olympic Carrier he’d struggled; seen the faces of the dead every time he’d shut his eyes, dreamed of their deaths at his hand, been haunted by their ghosts wherever he’d gone. That had been hard, but he’d shared his own guilt in companionable drinking with those who had been there. An unofficial debriefing with copious amounts of ambrosia with Boomer, Crashdown and her. A talk with the President who had authorised the destruction of the Carrier. The nightmares had ceased, though the knowledge of his own culpability and guilt had never left his heart.

Things had been bad after his spacewalk. He’d realised he’d never wanted to come back. He’d felt ready to die and been dragged back against his will. That time there was no anger to sustain him, no one he could share his feelings of guilt with, just complete disillusionment with what humanity had become in the aftermath of the attacks. Or had they always been like that and the destruction of the colonies had just brought it out? Rumours of the Pegasus abandoning civilians to their deaths, Roslin being far more hard-line on Cain than he’d ever anticipated she could be, webs of intrigue, planned assassinations. How much further could humanity fall? But eventually things had improved.

But now. Now there was just darkness. A deep pit with no way out. An invisible weight on his shoulders. The feeling that he was always on the outside, watching, as life happened around him.

It was her of course. It was always her. It had nothing to do with the stresses of his new job - things wouldn’t be any better if he was flying a Viper. What was wrong inside his head all came back to her.

Before, whenever things got bad, she was there.

She had taken him out after Zak’s death and they had got completely drunk together, drowning their shared grief in alcohol for a short time. Remembering him, laughing about him, and when they were both so drunk that they could barely stand, sharing tears.

After the Carrier incident, she had been there, a companion who understood where he was coming from because she’d been there too, taken the shot too.

When he’d confessed that he wished he’d never come back after the spacewalk there had been companionable drinking, and though she’d never said anything she was always watching him, shadowing him when she could, trying to make sure she would be there to stop him if he ever tried to make good on what he’d nearly achieved by accident.

This time though he was alone. She had betrayed him and he was alone in the dark. After he’d nearly died he didn’t think things could have been any worse, but now he knew they could have been. Now there was no one who understood, who would get him completely drunk, to force him to spar until he’d punched out some of his fear and anger and sadness. She couldn’t fix what was wrong with his head, because she had been the one to break it.

Now there was just him. This time, he knew, there was no way back. He would remain unfixed.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizziec.dreamwidth.org/421827.html. There are currently comments on the original entry.

Date: 10 July 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] exbex.livejournal.com
Great handling of depression, especially that moment of epiphany when you realize just what is triggering it.

Date: 10 July 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)

Date: 10 July 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mserrada.livejournal.com
Lee's time on Pegasus before the Cylons return is rarely delved into in fic. You did a really good job of showing his increasing spiral, and the effects. All leading up to his revelation and that he didn't see any way of moving beyond it.
Broken, pudgy Lee makes me ache. Very nicely done.

Date: 11 July 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lizziebeth-c.livejournal.com
You did a really good job of showing his increasing spiral, and the effects.

Thank you for saying that :) The spiralling element was actually really important to me when I was writing, so I'm glad it came through.

Date: 11 July 2011 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kdbleu.livejournal.com
I think I like most that it's Kara, Lee's friend that's absent. Something very genuine about that. :)

Date: 11 July 2011 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lizziebeth-c.livejournal.com
In my notes for this fic that was the first thing I wrote down - "been like this before, why is this time different?" It all came back to Kara for me.

Thank you for commenting :)

Date: 11 July 2011 04:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pocochina.livejournal.com
This is exactly how I imagine his mind is working during that arc. To a T. It's a big part of why he's one of my favorites and you nailed it. Thank you for sharing this.

Date: 11 July 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lizziebeth-c.livejournal.com
Thank you for commenting. I could always really see Lee in the unconscious spiral of depression and not realising he was even caught in it until he was well and truly ensnared. I may well be projecting, but as I said in the notes this is how his behaviour in that arc felt genuine to me, though I know it may well not ring true with everyone (which is totally ok :))

Date: 11 July 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kag523.livejournal.com
Oh, lovely bit of darkness here! LOVED IT!

As always - I want MORE of this story... lead us (and Lee) into the rest of his journey. And that is only a huge compliment because this CERTAINLY stands on its own. Really well done! Looking forward to more from you!

Date: 11 July 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lizziebeth-c.livejournal.com
Thanks for commenting :)

Darkness seems to come easily. I'm not really sure I have it in me to have happy fics (not anything beyond a hundred word drabble anyway ;))

I wish I could write more, but I generally seem incapable of writing fics long than about 1000 words and stand alone. I'm not really sure why I have a mental block there, but it is - and sometimes very frustrating :)

I always like it when you comment on my entries btw - they're both helpful and make me feel good about myself, so thank you :) ♥

Date: 12 July 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sci-fi-shipper.livejournal.com
This is beautifully written and captures so well Lee's heartache and self-denial. He wants so badly for things to be okay, but they're just not and he can see, of course, in the end, that it's Kara that's broken him. Very sad. Nice work!

Date: 2 August 2011 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lizziebeth-c.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for your lovely comment - it really does help with the writing confidence :) Sorry it took me so long to reply! :)

Date: 2 August 2011 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winegums.livejournal.com
It really did destroy him, and you get the full sense of that here - I really like how you handled Lee's depression, how he sinks slowly into it from the sharpness of his initial pain.

Date: 2 August 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lizziebeth-c.livejournal.com
Thank you. I've always identified with what I see as Lee's depression, so I'm glad you found it believable :)

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