obsessive_a101: (Laura - Hero)
[personal profile] obsessive_a101
Title: Down for the Count
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Genre: AU/Gen-Fluff (Relatively fluffy.)
Rating: K+ (some sporting violence)
Word Count: ~3795 (Woah. Unexpected.)
Spoilers: Not much... with it being A/U and all except for the circumstances changed that are mentioned. (^_^)"
Characters/Pairings: Laura Roslin/Kara Thrace; with cameos scattered throughout
A/N: For the "author's choice" leg of the [livejournal.com profile] bsg_epics' pentathalon originally. This is my first attempt at this pairing. Hopefully, it ends up okay... (^_^)" Dedicated to the originators of the "Immortal Goddesses" fic party - [livejournal.com profile] astreamofstars and [livejournal.com profile] lettterstonorah. I'm not sure if I'd ever have had the courage/inspiration to attempt this pairing otherwise. This is technically the second WIP that's Laura/Kara actually. LOL Still working on the the other one. :) Much of the boxing information comes from wikipedia, so I can not validate the legitimacy of what I am talking about in regards to the sport since I have little to no experience with it. I also interrogated my lovely, patient cousin who knows about boxing and a little bit of all types of sport-fighting, but yeah... (^_^)" All mistakes are my own.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: What if's are fun, and some times, circumstances are what we make of them.

An explicit narrative fits the trajectory – like a straight jab to the soft flesh of the cheek. Direct and precise. In this world, the cylons never come back, Kara Thrace never injures her knee beyond saving, and Laura says, “no”.

Instead, Kara goes pro in pyramid and remains with the Caprican Buccaneers until she is traded to the Lions for frakking the captain (hot but off-limits). She quits and joins the boxing circuit instead, working days in a biking messenger-delivery service. She trains because it feels good, and when she wins, it feels like she’s flying through the stars in a sea of flashing lights. She feeds off the cries and jeers and drinks as if there is no tomorrow after every battle. She has always fought for herself, but now, she fights for the crowd, her supporters, and her title (for the sake of an old, overlooked gym with the old, battle-scarred warriors who pat her on the back and the rookies that never make it out).

Instead, Laura cleans up her apartment, goes to the public pond, has dinner with a former student and decides she likes teaching too much, that it means too much (as the student explains, between compliments and clichéd dating lines, his efforts to apply everything she’s taught him to everything he’s teaching now) - even if the mayor is a friend, who shares nice, suggestive smiles. She renews her father’s age-old membership at the nearest gym under her own name and purchases season tickets for ring-side seats to fight nights all year round. Laura pays with her time and fascinated attention in return for form and beauty and the dissection of strength that has her father’s words in her mind and her mother’s hand guiding the texture of paint flowing from the brush in her hands.

XxX

She notices the young blond, recognizes her from the Buccaneer games she left playing on the television in the background when she works at her canvas or on the lesson plans spread across her coffee table. Background noise, but here…

Here, it’s the fight that is the center of her focus and the roar of the crowd that fades to a background track, and when the new fighter steps in and knocks out Regina Kuplos in the third round, she is caught, and she begins to notice whenever the cocky newcomer (Kara Thrace she learns) pummels away at the gym bag even as she stands in the opposite corner of the room working on her focus, following the trainer’s mitts and his commands with basic punches and strikes. (She feels her age after every session from the boxing classes she signed up for, but it is always exhilarating. In her ears, her younger sisters laugh and cheer and make-fun in equal amounts and for a few seconds she is free to remember, too occupied with each movement to be pained by facsimiles and memories.)

She pulls her eyes away from the sway of the young woman’s body and back to the black mitts offered by the trainer. “Two!”

Jab. Cross.

“Good, but keep your eyes on me while mentally visualizing where the strikes should go. You shouldn’t focus only on the combo, but also on what the opponent is doing in response to it.”

She knew that. She needed to focus.

Breathe.

“Four!”

XxX

Kara wins several belts in her rookie year (her mother having pushed her hard, and she achieves just as much as she has frakked up), and drinks some of her winnings away – the other part of her winnings is entrusted with her kindly old manager, who sees in her everything he had wanted his own daughter to be (and a secret gladness that she had not bothered to listen to her old man). He places them into a safety net account, having learned the value of foresight finally in his old age.

Outside of the ring, she rides her bike through all the different parts of Caprica City, at times getting chased by laughing kids who call her “Starbuck” while running her down the winding streets, acting as handmaidens of the goddess trying to catch her favored buck (possibly a result of the stylized deer marking her helmet – the company’s logo). She enjoys the game, laughing recklessly along and deliberately slowing and speeding to spur the game.

It is on a sunny day, playing this game, that a track girl from the neighborhood high school Euterpretes Academy almost catches her and she slips her balance, uncharacteristically, causing her wheels to skid even as the motor of her bike starts to rattle loudly as the entire vehicle begins tilting to the side. She reacts quickly enough to unseat herself before she can be crushed by the vehicle but hits the ground hard as a result. The last thing she hears is a young girl’s scream before everything goes black…

XxX

The world remains a bit blurry when she first opens her eyes. She recognizes that effect.

‘Ugh. Must be the drugs.’ She guesses that she is probably in the hospital, but no way is she going to figure out what happened yet. Maybe it was a fight.

Kara is expecting to drift off again – until whatever drugs whoever gave her wore off but just before, she sees someone bending over her – a woman with long red hair and green eyes. She hears a soft voice whisper something unintelligibly and feels a wet towel at her lips. She sighs, thankful for a relief that she didn’t know she needed until that moment and falls back asleep after muttering what she thinks is a “thank you”.

Later, she wakes to her body’s aching complaints, and sits up – a bit dizzy but thinking much more clearly. A nurse sees her and goes to alert a doctor. The doctor comes in smiling softly. “Hello. I’m glad to see you’re awake. My name is Dr. Aspus”

“Hey doc, me too. What happened?”

“As far as I gathered from the people bringing you in, you were in a small bike accident.” Suddenly Kara remembers – Starbuck, and the girl in the track shorts who had almost caught her, and blacking out after she hit the pavement, and a soft, firm voice telling everyone to leave her alone and Do not move her! and the still sobbing girl and a soft We can discuss this later, Elena, but first, call an emergency vehicle. Then sirens. Then an injection of morpha (she’s guessing – filling in pieces as she goes), and then nothing.

“Oh.”

“Though you’re lucky, there was nothing that was broken. You have multiple contusions, a few stitches for a laceration in your upper arm and right temple – probably why there was so much blood at the scene, and, as you probably already realize, a mild concussion. The helmet took the brunt of it.”

“So… does that mean I can leave?”

“Do you have anyone to take you home?”

“…I can just call a cab.”

“…One night, just stay the night in the ER – unofficially of course. I just want to make sure we caught everything and that the effects of the concussion aren’t worse than I thought. It’s almost eleven now anyway.”

Kara doesn’t want to, but she does feel tired and thinks she might as well. Her manager is going to be so pissed though.

Suddenly she shoots back awake, “Did anyone bring in my bike, or the stuff I was carrying?”

The doctor turns back at the curtain separating her bed in the ER from the other areas. “No, I think there were only your clothes, jacket, and helmet that came in with you. Someone did drop off your messenger bag though.”

Kara nearly fell out of the bed scrambling to check her bag, but it was only all her personal items. Frak.

XxX

Laura lets out a long exhausted breath when she gets home that night. She had not expected such a run in with Kara Thrace, and certainly not the circumstances. Right next to the school. Thankfully, Elena had chosen to call her instead of the police straight off the bag, or else both Thrace and the school children would have been in unnecessary trouble (reckless endangerment and juvenile delinquency comes to mind – that particular town faced a bit of prejudice from the district force as it was, and they didn’t need any more trouble). She spent the afternoon sorting everything out: comforting Elena and convincing her that she hadn’t accidentally killed anyone, informing the school administration, settling things with the local enforcement officials (“It was an isolated incident.”), and finally, dropping by the hospital ER and the Artemis Package Delivery Services. As it was, she is going to be filing paperwork for the next week, getting a headache just at the thought of it.

She deserves a bath that night, a nice, hot bath with a book and cup of tea.

Before settling to sleep that night in bed, her mind wanders back to the incident, and the unexpectedly familiar face and hair revealed when the paramedics removed the helmet. A bike messenger hmm…? Not completely expected, but not unexpected either. She falls asleep pondering the vague surprises of the young blonde boxer and messenger, wondering at the distinctive forms one takes between the upward guarded stance of boxing and the lowered speed resistance of a curled up body and crumpled form. And shudders.

XxX

Kara’s second surprise (and unexpected boon) arrives the next afternoon, when she goes into work, bandanged and expecting, completely, to be tossed out on her backside, but is instead told to take the rest of the week off by her manager – “who appreciated her dedication and attention to her job to have someone back with the parcels despite the accident and hospitalization”.

Kara spends the first few moments after this reveal thinking of a subtle way to ask about this mysterious person who apparently appears and disappears from the hospital like a ghost and, apparently, just saved her job for her without giving away the fact that she actually did not actually… do those things her manager just attributed to her (if anything, she should keep these brownie points for future rainy days).

“Karak, just go already. Don’t worry, I won’t dock the delay from your pay. Just be glad that the redhead came by when she did. This particular client probably would have thrown a fit otherwise.”

A redhead hmm… Kara remembers hints and glimpses from those pre-awakening moments of lucidness – red-hair tumbling in waves and curls, a soft voice, and a gentle hand… and green eyes.

And it just gets more and more interesting.

She would go searching for more pieces of info then. This called for a good old-fashioned detective hunt. At the very least, Kara rationalizes, she should know who to thank and possibly treat dinner to… right?

XxX

Elena is fidgeting nervously in one of the seats on the other side of her desk when Laura finally returns to her office after her junior honors class in the afternoon, the first period after lunch. Laura wants to teach more, but the combination of her administrative duties to help the principal keep the school together and functioning and her part-time teaching combined already makes for late nights and earlier mornings than her body prefers. Euterpretes specialized in teaching advanced humanities to students looking to supplement their science and math tracks, looking for enrichment in the face of the difficult environments fostered at home.

Elena is one of the best students in her morning rhetoric consortiums, and Laura stops her before she completely opens her mouth, shooting her a sharp glance of warning. “Elena, remember to plan what you’re going to say, and make sure that it will be something that I won’t be obligated to report to the principal. There’s only so much I can help if you continue to get into brushes like this.”

“Ms. Roslin, I apologize for the incident yesterday. I had not planned to cause an accident like that when I joined the other runners, but I was the fastest yesterday, and I was good, and I didn’t know the messenger would skid like that or get injured.”

“Hmm… understandable, but do think next time, Ms. Nikea, and attempt to avoid a repeat incident. As much as I appreciate your athletic achievement, I’d prefer to see it on the field and in a regulated event, so we can at least capture it for the record books, okay?”

Her wry smile is returned with a bright grin as Elena leaps lightly to her feet to return to her regularly scheduled classes and meetings. “Of course, Ms. Roslin, and thank you again!”

“Remember, no more motorcycles!”

“Got it!”

XxX

Kara’s first attempt to approach to solving the mystery brought her back to the scene of prior day’s accident, her remnant headache had mostly cleared, returning a lucid memory of those first few terrifying (adrenaline-filled) moments of spinning out of control and jumping off. As her eyes traced the skid marks in the concrete, she sends a prayer of thanks to the goddess for keeping her safe. It could have been much worse.

A snippet of memory from when she was still out of it, brought back the familiar soft voice of the woman… talking to a sobbing girl. “Elena.” Quick as a flash, Kara’s mind brings back an image of the long-legged girl that had almost chased her down completely yesterday, her vibrant eyes and exhilarant smile..., and the school gym uniform. Kara turns to the gates on her right and spots the plaque identifying the building and grounds as Euterpretes Academy.

She decides that, for once, discretion being the better part of valour, to wait outside the gates for a familiar face rather than gate-crashing and getting picked up and tossed out for trespassing.

XxX

Laura is not sure she should be surprised when she spots the increasingly familiar head of golden blonde hair by the school gates after the last bell rang for dismissal that day. Deciding that it would be better if she intercepted the visitor and figure out why she was there before any drama arose, Laura leant against the bars of the span of fence Kara Thrace was currently standing against, and back-to-back, as if it were a covert scene of information transfer that litters the mysteries she stashes away in her briefcase every morning from her nightstand.

“Kara Thrace, I hadn’t expected you to already be out and about to stir up pots again so soon.”

Kara’s instinct to the rather flippant tease is tamped down when hears the amusement and the sometimes present inner-voice reminds her, Remember, you’re here to express your gratitude – NOT to make a scene. She saved your job, possibly your butt as well.

“Well, I like to go out of my way to defy expectations.”

Laura smirks as she turns to the side so that her right cheek almost brushes Kara Thrace’s left in the gap between the bars. “I can see that.”

Making as enigmatic an exit as she she had an entrance. Laura walked backwards away from the fence.”I’d appreciate it if you deign not to die anywhere near these school grounds or make my students think they’ve accidentally killed someone. It makes more work for me, and I’d rather spend my time in other ways. I’ll see you tomorrow evening Ms. Thrace.”

“Aye, aye m’am.” Kara gives Laura the largest smirk her still aching muscles can form, and holds back on further enquiring about the last part of that statement. Just a mystery inside a mystery of course…

XxX

The next night is training night, and Kara is back at the gym already working on the double-end bag, injuries or no. Kara worries a bit that she’s possibly overdone it this time when she keeps on catching flashes of a familiar red, in her periphereal vision, but no, no Laura Roslin there (because that’s why they have networked computers right? To research and solve mysterious packages wrapped in easy smiles, smooth features, bright eyes, and long legs? Apparently a teacher and vice principal of the school she had crashed in front of – that explained things…. A bit).

She is almost tossed back on the floor though when she misses her next combo from the trainer when she finally does catch sight of the woman on the other end of the gym. “Hey, Paul, I’m not imagining this right – is that old lady there, really there, or did I get hit harder than I thought?”

“Nah, she’s really there. You’re talking about the redhead right? Laura Roslin. She’s an old member – used to come around every week with her father as a little sprite. Started classes here, finally, not long before you joined up with the league.”

Kara chewed on the new information as she stared at the footwork practice taking place on the mats along the wall across the wide and rowdy gym. “A beginner huh? The Old Lady isn’t that bad.”

Eli chuckles, “No, I’d bet she’s not. Her skills might be that of a beginner or an amateur’s, but her mind is sharp – that one. Used to come with her father apparently to the fight nights and grew up watching. I’d ask her about a match, and you wouldn’t believe how well she’s able to dissect a fight – the style, critical strikes, mentality, mistakes of each fighter, and alternative strategies for different possible outcomes… It was downright terrifying really. To be honest, if I had to recommend an up-and-coming trainer to watch out for, she’d be the one.”

Kara files the information away alongside the other more news-ish tidbits she found in the extranet. Just “an educator” huh - and I’m the one full of surprises? The world just has no idea, and Kara finds her interest increasingly piqued by this woman of the red hair, shapely body, soft voice, and hard mind (and punches Kara reminds herself as she watches her land punch after punch on the focus mitts even as she trailed after her trainer on the obstacle-laden footwork mats).

XxX

It’s worth her time to find out more, Kara thinks. At least, that’s the reasoning she provides for later heckling Roslin at her ring in the midst of some light sparring. Kara knows her sparring partner – Kendra. Another promising up-and-comer, she’s fast, and her attacks always come precisely timed and aimed – razor sharp. Kara is surprised that Roslin’s trainer allows this spar.

“Come on, Roslin! DEFENSE! Don’t leave yourself exposed – keep that guarding arm up!”

The old man with the grizzled white beard and dark eyes is completely focused on Laura’s feet, seemingly waiting. For what, Kara has no idea – all she knows is that Roslin is getting whipped by the dark fighter who lashes in and out of her defenses just like a knife fighter. (Later, she’d find out that that was Kendra’s previous profession.)

But then, Kara catches it. It was only a moment, but seemingly in rhythm with Kendra Shaw’s next attack, Roslin swivels her foot into the other boxer. Seriously, and they say I’m suicidal, and knocks the blow, and body, off balance – finally landing a blow in the solar plexus, but Shaw is a veteran and quickly pushes back and off. Wary now…

Kara’s thrilled and amused. “Shaw, you better watch out, the old lady’s a sneaky one!” Her laugh escapes heedless of the glare of both the sparring partners and grumpy trainer. The rest of the spar is much less one-sided. For the most part, it is almost completely Shaw attacking, and, Kara is guessing, Roslin working on her defensive and footwork maneuvers, reading Shaw’s attacks and throwing her off balance, forcing Shaw to adjust her rhythm and slow down in order to avoid getting taken down by an amateur.

Even though she hadn’t expected it to start with, it turns out to be a good match to watch, and by the end of it, when the trainers call the boxers off, Kara is tingling with a sense of excitement and adrenaline deep in the pit of her body.

She ducks under the ropes and helps unwrap Roslin’s hands, her trainer only giving her a gruff cursory glance to make sure she wasn’t there to cause more trouble.

“Come on, Jack, there’s no need to hover. I’m fine.”

“A few more of those body shots, and I would have needed to call the paramedics. I know you like to do it your way, but would it kill you to, just once listen to this old man when I tell you, stop letting yourself get punched in order to learn. Most people have the sense to learn with their guards up and avoiding damage.”

“I’ll listen when you start listening to me and stop dragging on a cigarette every time I step into the gym.”

“It’s the stress.”

“Aww, Jack, I didn’t know you cared. That’s almost sweet.”

“Stop it.”

“Hey, you’re the one ruining your own image here. I’m not doing anything. Right, Kara?”

“Huh, oh – yeah.” She had been caught up with the way perspiration was steadily dripping down from Roslin’s hair line and wondering how the woman had managed to get so deep underneath her skin without her noticing.

“You okay? To be honest, despite, what I said yesterday, I wasn’t really expecting you to buck off all common sense and show up today after what I saw the other day. You were pretty banged up.”

“Hey, I’m fine.” Kara bites her tongue to keep herself from saying You know me. For some odd reason, Kara’s pretty sure they’ve only really been acquainted recently, but for some reason, that phrase tacked itself on so naturally when she was speaking to Laura. “In fact, why don’t you and I go grab some dinner after we’re both done? I only have maybe another forty-five minutes before I hit the showers. It will be my treat – as a sorry and a thank you.”

Laura’s eyes are some shade between a deep, lively green and a mystery grey, tinged with some emotion that Kara can’t read as she shuffle her weight from foot-to-foot. “I’ll take you up on that. Thanks.” Her smile catches Kara off-guard, and Kara knows she’s grinning like an idiot back.

XxX

Dinner goes even better than expected when Kara discovers Laura’s secret weakness for the greasy, everything-on-top thin-crust pizza at the local college student pizza hangout. When Kara refuses to heed repeated warnings to stop laughing, Laura decides that the best way to shut her up is to pull her down for a kiss.

Kara agrees that it is absolutely THE best way to shut up.

Fin.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-18 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astreamofstars.livejournal.com
Aw, this is lovely! I'm so happy you decided to write them.

I love Laura the boxer, hee! And Kara the messenger girl, and the way they meet. I love Laura taking care of Kara before they even know each other.

This is adorable :)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-22 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obsessive-a101.livejournal.com
*hugs!* I was glad to finally finish at least one of my shippy L/K fics. I was just hoping for the best by the end - a bit out of it I still am. ><'

Thank you for inspiring me! : D


(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-18 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sisterbiscuit.livejournal.com
Wonderful! A sign of a truly good fic is that I want more - and this one fits that bill.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-22 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obsessive-a101.livejournal.com
Thank yoooou! For reading and commenting. :)

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