lizziec: (BSG - Apollo & Starbuck Viper & Raider ()
[personal profile] lizziec
Title: Intervention
Author: [personal profile] lizziec
Beta: Huge thanks to [ profile] sci_fi_shipper, who was a brilliant beta with excellent character insights.
Rating: PG-13 (theme of depression)
Pairing: Implied Lee/Kara
Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Angst
Summary: Lee gets the help he needs after his spacewalk. Slightly AU end for Resurrection Ship Part II. Spoilers up to and including Resurrection Ship Part II.

That's just it, Kara. I didn't want to make it back alive.

Kara sat quietly on the edge of Lee's bunk for what seemed an age after the admission. She had never seen Lee like this before, not even after Zak’s death. He had been full of grief and anger then, but she had never felt that he had given up. She was at a complete loss for words in the face of such hopelessness. Everything she could think of to say was trite and clichéd. In the end she gave up on words and went straight for her locker instead.

None of the collection of bottles inside were what they claimed to be. There was no Picon Whisky in those bottles any more, none of that Gemenese Gin that had once been so popular among a certain subset of Galactica's officers. Those bottles labelled with long since disappeared brands from dead worlds now held various amounts of varying vintages of the Chief's best moonshine and Kara felt that tonight what Lee needed more than whatever unoriginal platitudes she could come up with was to get staggeringly drunk.

As Kara dogged the hatch she was thankful that every bunk had their curtains open revealing neat, uniform military corners, proving that they really were alone. Kara then poured out two glasses of one of the better vintages of the rotgut that passed for good alcohol these days and prepared for a long night of companionable drinking, though even as she did so her mind was working. Tonight they would drink. Tomorrow she would get him some help.

***Section Break***

“Sir, do you have a moment?”

Bill Adama looked up from the file he was reading to see Kara Thrace half way through the hatch looking rather hesitant. “Sure Starbuck, have a seat.” With a smile, he gestured towards one of his sofas. “Water?”

“Please.” She found herself a spot, but did not look any more relaxed for sitting.

Bill poured a drink for them both before joining her. “Okay, what’s on your mind?”

Kara fidgeted, avoiding his eyes. “I’ve been to see Lee, sir, and I have some concerns.” She gazed at the clear liquid, swirling it around the tumbler. “I’m not even sure I should be telling you about this.”

Bill frowned in concern. “Go on, please.”

Kara grimaced.

He sipped on his drink, waiting for her to continue. When he felt it had been long enough he cleared his throat, causing Kara to look up from her glass and meet the Admiral’s eyes. “I’m worried about him, sir. He said some things to me about what happened out there. I don’t think he should be cleared to fly again yet.”

There was a pause as Bill digested what she had said. His face became impassive as he struggled to be the commanding officer, not the father. “You know that Cottle has cleared him physically?”

She nodded. “Yes sir, that’s why I came to see you. I really don’t think he should be getting back into a Viper any time soon.”

The Admiral stood and poured himself a glass of something stronger. His back was to Kara, ramrod straight, when he spoke again. “Tell me what he said, Captain.”

***Section Break***

Lee scowled as he stepped through the hatch into sickbay. His head was aching and his stomach turning in on itself as a result of the night spent drinking with Kara the previous night. He could remember the realisation hitting him that Kara was only having one drink for every two or three he was having, but then his memories became patchy. From the number of empty bottles in the bunk room this morning though his memory loss clearly should not have been a surprise.

“Can I help you, sir?” A medic called him back into the present.

“I was told that Doc Cottle wanted to see me, Lieutenant, uh, um...” he trailed off, trying to force his jumbled mind to recall the name of the medic.

“Ishay, sir.” She provided helpfully. “The doctor is with a patient at the moment. Take a seat on this gurney and he’ll be in as soon as he can.” She pulled the curtains around to give Lee some privacy before leaving him to cool his heels for a bit.

As he waited Lee found his limbs trembling slightly. Unable to stand the feeling of it, he started pacing around the curtained off cubicle. Three steps along the side of the gurney, one across the end, three along the other side before he turned around and started again. Lee lost count of the number of passes he made, and was past caring. The exercise stopped the awful quivering in his arms and legs that made him feel so out of control.

By the time Cottle eventually pulled open the curtains and stepped into the bay, Lee was calmer. “Do you know why you’re here?”

Lee shook his head in reply. That at least was the truth. Lee did not know for sure, though he suspected. He had a hunch that his admission to Kara after Cain’s funeral was behind it.

“I suppose that was too much to ask,” Cottle grumbled, pulling a half-smoked cigarette from his pocket and lit it up, clearly enjoying the hit of nicotine as he inhaled. In answer to Lee’s questioning glance at the stub, Cottle explained. “Damn shortages. Trying to conserve them by only smoking half at a time.”

“So why did you call me here, doc? You’ve already cleared me for duty again.” Lee did his best to sound baffled at the summons to sickbay.

“Admiral wants to make sure you’re fit to fly.” Lee noticed the way that the doctor was scanning him with his eyes.

“Come on, doc, I’m fine. You examined me yourself. You know I’m fine. You said there were no ill effects from ejecting.”

The doctor raised his eyebrows and frowned, and that was when Lee knew he was in trouble. “There’s nothing physically wrong with you, captain, but I’m not convinced about your mental state.” Lee started at that pronouncement, but Cottle continued on, completely unperturbed. “You’re looking like hell. I bet you haven’t slept properly in days. I know you spent the last half hour pacing.”

Lee stared at a spot on the wall just behind and to the right of Cottle’s head, his face as impassive as if he were playing cards. “Thrace has noticed there’s something wrong. That means that you must be in whole worlds of trouble.” The doctor sighed as he noticed he’d smoked his cigarette down to the filter, and stubbed the smouldering end out. “Doctor Stoffa is coming over from the Thera Sita. You’re going to meet with her, captain. When she gives you the all clear, you’ll get your flight status reinstated.”

***Section Break***

The slamming of the hatch to the bunkroom brought Kara back from the world of her book. She looked up from the page she was reading to see Lee standing in the doorway looking as pissed off as she had ever seen him.

“Give me the room.” Lee’s voice had sufficient steel to it, and his bearing had enough authority that every pilot in the room scrambled to get out at least as quickly as when they were called to battlestations, eyeing Captain Adama nervously as they hurried past him.

Kara gathered her things and tried to follow, knowing even as she did so that it was futile. Lee was clearly livid.

“Not you, Starbuck.” She could see his jaw flexing as it only did when he was angry and desperately trying to keep a lid on it. He wasn’t shouting. Kara wished that he would shout. It was better than that cold, sharp edge to every word.

The last pilot cleared out, the hatch clanging behind them sounding unnaturally loud in the now quiet bunkroom. Kara stood up, making herself as tall as she could with her back completely straight and her chin tilted up in defiance.

“What the frak were you thinking Kara? What made you tell my father? You know he told Cottle?” Lee’s voice rose with every word until he was shouting so loudly that it reminded Kara of her drill instructor in basic training.

Lee stepped forwards until he was right up in Kara’s face. Up close she was startled by his appearance. His eyes had deep circles under them, his hair greasy and matted. She wrinkled her nose from the smell, wondering when he’d last taken a shower.

“You know I’ve been grounded? I’ve been frakking grounded until I’ve seen that gods damn shrink. Proved that I’m not going to crash my Viper into something or botch a landing on purpose or make a suicidal run on a raider.”

She softened. Lee was more of a mess than she had realised.

“Lee, I...”

He cut her off roughly, his angry tone snuffing out what sympathy she had. “You know what Kara? I don’t want to hear it, not a thing. I don’t want to hear a frakking word you have to say. Just stay away from me. I don’t want to see you anywhere near.” He turned to leave.

Anger flared brightly within her at his words. “Frak off then, Lee. Run away and whine to daddy until he changes his mind.”

Lee halted with his back to her. “Shut up, Kara. I’ve had it with you, and I’ve had it with the Colonial Fleet. I told you before, there’s more to life than flying Vipers.”

“So you’re just gonna walk away? Pretend everything’s fine?” She took a quick, calming breath, gripping the chair in front of her to stop herself from punching him.

He started to move out of the room again and Kara found herself shouting after him “What’s the matter, Adama? Face down a horde of Cylons but one human makes you chicken out?”

He spun round to face her, tightening his jaw, his eyes hardening like blue steel. Bullseye.

He got right in close again, squaring off with Kara, his eyes tiny and focused. “Frak you! You don’t have the first idea, not even the first clue.”

Lee turned sharply on his heel and marched out, leaving the hatch open and her standing alone in the middle of the bunkroom. As she watched his retreating back, Kara kicked the chair in front of her, screaming in frustration, “FRAK!”

***Section Break***

“The time is yours, Captain. I’m not going to force you to deal with anything that you don’t feel comfortable with. You can use this time to talk about whatever you want to.” The doctor looked him up and down, assessing Lee. “Or we can sit here in silence if you would prefer.” The sentence hung in the air, giving Lee the urge to displace it as it started to echo around in his mind.

The silence the doctor had alluded to was not true silence. From just beyond the closed hatch the bustle of a busy Battlestar continued. Lee closed his eyes, listening to the footsteps on the floor grating, the casual conversations, the occasional barked order. The chaos of the world out there replicating what was happening in his head, his thoughts so jumbled that he was finding it hard to sort one thing from another, to make anything out clearly above the din.

The second hand of the clock ticked loudly, bringing him back into the room. Opening his eyes, Lee saw the doctor looking at him patiently, inviting him silently to say something to fill the silence. Lee fixed his eyes on his fingers instead, concentrating on linking them together and making patterns with him, trying to disguise the fact they were shaking.

One thought raised itself above the rest of the din in his head, screaming at him and Lee tried to force himself to speak it, but found his tongue heavy, his lips unable to move. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to speak. He knew that the sooner he got this meeting over with the sooner he would be cleared to fly.

“I can’t.”

Lee’s voice cracked as if he had never used it before. The words echoed in his ears so loudly it was as if he’d shouted them.

Doctor Stoffa put down her notebook, leaning forward in her chair. “You can’t what, captain?” Her tone was low, matching Lee for volume.

“I can’t.” Lee spoke a little louder this time. “I can’t talk to you. I don’t even know where I would start. The thoughts. I can’t keep them straight. They’re too much.” Lee stopped gazing at his fingers and looked up. “This is too much.”

Now it wasn’t just his hands that were shaking. His voice wavered as his legs started to twitch with nervous tension, and his feet drummed on the floor.

“It’s okay captain.” The doctor’s voice was soothing, “I’m going to take you through an exercise to calm you down. We’re going to try and make things a bit quieter. You don’t have to do anything. I just want you to close your eyes and listen.”

“I can do that.” Lee smiled weakly as he shut his eyes.

“I want you to concentrate on your breathing. Don’t try to slow it down, just be aware of it...”

The trembling in his body started to lessen as Lee let the doctor’s voice wash over him, calming the racing thoughts in his head.

***Section Break***

After the session with Doctor Stoffa, Lee had wandered the corridors of Galactica aimlessly, his head so unfocused that even the simplest decisions felt impossible. He was unable even to decide what to do with himself now he was free. The fuzziness of his mind extended even to his physical state. Lee’s limbs were so heavy it felt like they were made of lead, every step taking more and more effort and he couldn’t imagine working out. What he really wanted was to fly and be alone in the emptiness of space, but he didn’t trust himself to fly now, even if he hadn’t been grounded.

What I want is a bottle of ambrosia and the privacy of a room to myself to drink it in, but it’s the end of the worlds. I don’t think somewhere like that even exists any more.

And so he found himself in the pilots’ ready room doing paperwork, or trying to. He couldn’t concentrate for long enough to get anything done, so really, he was staring blankly at the pages in front of him.

The hatch creaked as someone stepped through, closing the hatch after them, but Lee’s head was so leaden that he couldn’t even force himself to look up. When the person started to walk across the room though he didn’t need to. The footsteps were as familiar to him as his own.

“Starbuck.” Lee’s voice was flat. “If this is about another pilot, I don’t have time now. Come bitch at me tomorrow instead. I’m sure you can hold a grudge that long.”

“That’s not why I came, Lee.” Kara perched on the edge of his desk, offering a bottle of whisky with an outstretched hand. If Lee had been feeling better he would have wondered where Kara had sourced it from, but as things were, he took it wordlessly, swigging back an enormous mouthful, enjoying the burn as it hit his throat. It was the first thing since his meeting with the doctor to feel effortless.

Kara watched him drinking, looking at him in a way that made Lee feel like she was seeing right into his soul.

“How was the session?”

Lee started in surprise, exclaiming before he could stop himself. “How did you know that was today?”

“I was on deck when Helo brought the doc over from the Thera Sita.” Kara tried to sound casual. “So, how was it?”

He took another drink, sizing her up, trying to decide how much he wanted her to know. He wasn’t sure yet whether he’d even forgiven her.

“Awful,” Lee eventually replied tersely, holding a long breath before he could force himself to elaborate. “It’s worse than before. At least then I could do the frakking paperwork.” He gave the pile on his desk a shove, and swore as the papers littered the floor. He looked her in the eye. “Why did you do it Kara?”

Kara took one of the tumblers from the pile near the water jug, and poured herself a large measure of the whisky before settling back on the edge of the desk.

“A good friend once told me that flying while thinking about dying is a bad way of doing business.”

She paused to take a sip, eyeing him intently. “I think it’s good advice, Lee.”

This entry was originally posted at There are currently comment count unavailable comments on the original entry.

Date: 31 August 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw Kara, trying to get Leland some help. <3

If only they'd all been sent to therapy! Lol.

Nice ending callback too!

Date: 31 August 2011 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If only they'd all been sent to therapy!

That's exactly what I thought when I was writing this. Wonder how Canon as a whole would change if the main characters were forced to see a shrink :)

Thank you for your comment :D
Edited Date: 31 August 2011 01:02 am (UTC)

Date: 31 August 2011 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm such a sucker for Kara trying to help or comfort Lee. I love how you captured both her connection to Adama and her trust in him, as well as her inappropriate use of alcohol. Lee's reaction to the shrink was spot on. Poor, boy.

Date: 31 August 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Where words fail there is *always* inappropriate use of alcohol :)

Lee's reaction to the shrink was spot on.

Thanks :)

Date: 31 August 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
At least as screwed up as we know she is, Kara knows how to take care of Lee :) Lovely and poignant!

Date: 31 August 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you :) I love that she looks after him here. When I watched RS PII I was really struck by how thrown she seemed by Lee's admission, so it was nice to write an alternate ending where she does something.

Date: 31 August 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is heartbreaking and perfect. I'm always struck so hard at just how much he treats Shevon like a shrink, and couldn't admit on his own that he needed that. I have no idea if the PTBs knew consciously what they were doing with Lee's depression, but you've shown and described it all perfectly. The exhaustion, the nervous energy, the brain-static, all of it. especially:

Proved that I’m not going to crash my Viper into something or botch a landing on purpose or make a suicidal run on a raider.

ouch. He thinks he's criticizing and distancing and instead he's tipping his hand. Like always.

and oh, Kara. I love her trying to find her feet here and figure out what to do with that load he dropped on her, and how his whole act can get to her even though she knows what's going on.

this is all just - oh, Lee. thank you for posting this.

Date: 7 September 2011 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm really really sorry for taking so long to get back to this beautiful comment. I've been rather low on brainspoons.

This comment just blew me away when I saw it (as, by the way, did the shoutout on your journal. Seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart for both).

I'm so glad you got Lee's depression-symptoms there. That bit of description was the first thing I wrote, and one of the only things that remained unchanged through beta-ing and my self-editing, because what I see when I look at Lee throughout that arc is all of the horrible symptoms of depression that you can't see from the outside but are always there on the inside (I know, over-identifying much?).

He thinks he's criticizing and distancing and instead he's tipping his hand.

Yeah, if he hadn't already proven that he needed to see a shrink then he did it there. No one said to him that they thought he'd do that, but the fear was in Lee's head that he would.

how his whole act can get to her even though she knows what's going on

See, that was really important to me, because Kara is still Kara. And more to the point, even understanding that someone has depression doesn't stop their behaviour being damn irritating (or so I'm told ;)) and the friends and family will never be able to completely adapt to the irrational, sad, tired person who has replaced the person who they care for.

Hm, this reply has turned into an essay. Sorry. TL;DR - Your comment was gorgeous and meant an awful lot to me.

Date: 8 September 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
what I see when I look at Lee throughout that arc is all of the horrible symptoms of depression that you can't see from the outside but are always there on the inside

exactly. I know this arc is controversial, but between this and S3, I think Lee is one of the best portrayals of someone with depression at this life stage that I've seen. I'm really grateful the show took this risk with him, because whatever else you could say about Lee, he wasn't someone who could be easily dismissed, and I think that's what tends to happen when a person (real or fictional) collapses rather than explodes.

...clearly I'm right there with you on the Leemoveridentification. ♥

also, I forgot to mention this the first time around, but I loved the detail with Cottle and the half-cigarettes. hee!

Date: 31 August 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was really nice. Loved the line from the DB flashback.

Are you planning on going on with it? I would definetely read more of this. ;)

Date: 7 September 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks :) I'm really glad you liked the callback.

I'm not sure about continuing. At the moment there's no clear idea of where to go with it in my head, but if I get one then I will go on :) I wouldn't expect there to be more though ;)

Date: 30 November 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lee's battle with depression is so real here. The way that Kara tries to help him both with booze and a shrink are a nice twist on canon.

Concurring with the compliments above on the callback line. Well-played!

Date: 15 December 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Awww! Good for Kara recognizing Lee needed some professional help that she could give him. I love the theraphy bit, Lee depression is very real.

Well done!

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