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Seven Virtues, Minus Six

By:
Maren (marenfic)

For:
Zen (zenstate)

Fandom:
Battlestar Galactica

Pairing:
Katee Sackhoff/Callum Keith Rennie; Katee/Jamie Bamber

Rating:
PG-13

Notes:
For zenstate, who asked for Katee/Jamie or Katee/Callum. This is a little bit of both.

Summary:
Callum doesn’t know Bamber from a hole in the ground but sometimes he wants to bury him in one.

 
Callum nods as Sergio reviews the scene with him again but his attention isn’t fully on the director. He knows this character, knows this scene, and anything he might be wrong about isn’t going to be solved until he’s in the middle of it with Katee and he can see where things aren’t working. Of course Katee is making that a little difficult by being late. Only a few minutes, but it’s unlike her and he’s surprised and a little pissed. He hadn’t pegged her for the set diva type.

Sergio is still talking character motivation when Callum sees her coming out of the corner of his eye. He catches the devastated look on her face just moments before she takes a deep breath and schools her features, and by the time she reaches him the only sign that there’s something very wrong is in her eyes. She smiles at him brightly, but Callum can’t summon one in return and the reason has nothing to do with annoyance. It’s the brightness, too much, too false and she’s a good actress but not in this.

She fades as she reaches them and it’s not just her smile. Sorry, she mouths to Callum, touching his forearm with a brush of her fingertips, before she turns and nods at Sergio who has seamlessly shifted the focus of his direction to Katee. Callum keeps his eyes on her as she asks the director a few questions and by the time Sergio moves to start the scene she’s looking more composed.

It’s short-lived.

The director is calling out a few instructions to the crew, turning toward the cameras and Callum is about to flip the mental switch that will make him Leoben for the next several hours when Sergio turns back around and fixes Katee with a pointed look. “Oh, and tell Jamie the next time he wants to rehearse the current state of Kara and Lee, he needs to do it on his time, not mine.” His voice is light, teasing, but there’s a note of gravity that makes it clear he’s serious.

Callum can actually see Katee’s face turning white under her stage make-up. Her eyes widen and she swallows and she looks so damn vulnerable that any annoyance he might have been feeling instantly evaporates. He steps closer and touches her lower back, feels the heat of her skin seep into his fingertips.

“Good to see you again, Katee,” he says with a warm smile. “Ready to do this?” He has experience with being on a director’s bad side, with letting real life bleed into his work and he thinks that sometimes maybe all he needed was someone to help him focus. So he gives that to her, meets her eyes with his and the contact is intense and maybe even effective given her reaction. Her answering smile is small and grateful, but at least it’s real this time.

Sergio calls for everyone to take their places and Callum lets his hand drop, moves to his mark and accepts the plate of food from the props assistant.


“Knock me dead,” he murmurs to her before he settles fully into character, and she actually laughs, a short snort of sound that is accompanied by a look that is pure unadulturated Katee. It’s gone as quickly as it appeared but it was there. Only a moment, but it was there and later, when he’s not trying to channel Leoben, he’ll think about that look and maybe wonder why it mattered so much for him to see it. But now he’s got a job to do and Leoben doesn’t know Katee, doesn’t care about anyone but Kara and so now, now, that’s all that matters.

When the cameras start rolling, he watches Katee channel whatever is going on with her into Kara. He can’t decide if it’s the best or worst acting he’s ever seen.

*

Sergio calls for a short break and Callum grabs his cigarettes and a lighter before ducking out the door onto the lot. He sees Katee sitting on the back steps that lead to one of the other sets, drinking a bottle of water and staring at the concrete of the alley. She looks like she wants to be left alone and since Callum can usually relate, he starts to turn in the other direction.

“Callum.”

He stops and turns his head toward her. Katee cocks her head, smiles at him and waves him over with two fingers and he shrugs, walks over to her perch. He’s intrigued by her, attracted to her, whatever. Has been since the first time he worked with her. She’s enigmatic, one minute full of bubbly teasing energy and the next aloof and reclusive and he gets that, has had every interview and article since the second he came on the scene making similar commentary about his own dichotomous nature. Callum thinks it’s all bullshit, but then he lives in his skin 24-7 so he knows that even at his most intense and outgoing, the loner in him is fighting it tooth and nail. He wonders if she feels the same.

When he’s standing in front of her she scoots over and pats the space next to her. Callum sits down, shoulder, hip and thigh pressed against her, and offers her a cigarette before tapping one out for himself. He lights them both and watches her take a deep drag before taking one of his own.

Katee nudges him with her shoulder. “How did you know?” She gestures to the cigarette.

Callum cocks an eyebrow at her. “I know a fellow addict when I see one.”

She laughs and waves the cigarette at him. “Actually, I quit.”

“I can see it’s been a rousing success,” he counters with a smile.

They sit in silence for a few minutes, smoking and watching the distant bustle of crew members running errands during the break in filming. Callum is lighting his second cigarette when she breaks the companionable silence.

“Ron mentioned you’re shooting an indie. How’s that going?”

He shrugs, wonders if Ron had managed to hide his irritation that Callum hadn’t been more available for the first couple episodes. He’d been able to fit the Kara and Leoben scenes into his schedule but nothing else, not the scenes with the other Cylons, not even the extra background shots When he sent his availability over to Ron the man had hemmed and hawed about having to rewrite but Callum just stayed silent, only broke it to reiterate his schedule. The fact was, it was a good role on a good show but no actor would ever jeopardize a great movie role with a hot director to guest on a cable series.

He rubs his ear with his free hand, takes another drag off his cigarette and watches as the long column of ash falls to the pavement. “Fine. Good. I go back in to finish up at the end of the week.” It will be a challenge, switching back and forth between such different characters in such a short time frame. He’s looking forward to it. He likes challenges, always has. Dime store pop psychology, whatever, but it’s what makes him tick.

She nods and he can feel the brush of her hair extensions on his bare forearms. It’s casually intimate and fuck if it doesn’t make him feel something he probably shouldn’t . “It’s great that they shot in Vancouver. . . convenient anyway. You still keep your place here?”

Callum glances at her out of the corner of his eye, surprised that she remembers. He’s about to tell her yes, that he’s been spending more time at his loft here than in either of his other homes lately, when the make-up trailer opens and Bamber steps out wearing a face-full of prosthetics. He looks their way and Katee goes stiff beside him, back and shoulders straight and it’s so sudden and noticeable that he considers asking her if she’s okay even though clearly, she is not.

“Fuck it’s hot out,” she says, a little breathless and the look on her face isn’t quite as bad as that morning but there’s still a trace of panic there. She shoots up off the step and turns her back to Jamie, gives Callum a distracted smile and waves vaguely in the direction of the set. “I’m going to go back inside before this tattoo melts off. See you in a few?”

She’s off before he can answer, and her retreating form leaves his view to Jamie wide open. The man is watching Katee and for a second Callum thinks he might actually try to catch up with her. Then his eyes drop, swing to Callum and Callum stares back, holds his gaze until Jamie turns away.

Callum sighs, finishes his cigarette and grinds the butt under his shoe as he stands up.

He’d thought the thing with Bamber would have been over by now.

*

She flirted balls out the first time they worked together, smiled at him with that wide wicked mouth and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t interested. He can’t even say it was their age difference that prevented him from taking it to the next level; it hadn’t really registered then and maybe it makes him a pig but it doesn’t matter now either. Not with that mouth, that laugh, that body. But there was something about it that didn’t connect, something a shade too forced and insincere, so he held back. Returned the flirtation, but kept things on the professional side of the line and if he felt any regrets when she hugged him and kissed his cheek on his last day on set, he buried them and moved on.

When he got the invitation to the first season’s wrap party he almost threw it out. Partying with coworkers wasn’t really his thing; he preferred to spend his free time alone, hiking or golfing or painting. But he knew that Ron had plans for Leoben and that he wasn’t finished with the role, knew that he had a reputation for being aloof and sometimes difficult to work with. He was in town and available, so Callum decided at the last minute to make an appearance, buy himself some good will with a producer who looked to be primed for big things.

The fact that Katee would be there was a bonus. The fact that she was the first person he looked for when he walked in the door was hardly coincidental. She was standing near the bar, chatting with Tricia and she looked phenomenal in a short skirt that was no more than an inch past the cut-off for trashy. He had been getting ready to approach her when Eddie motioned him over to the table he was sharing with David. It was almost an hour later when he was finally able to excuse himself from the conversation. He’d put in his face time and was ready to leave but he wanted to say hello to Katee first.

He made a pass through the room, but she was nowhere to be seen so he decided to call it a night. The path to get out the front was crowded with people so Callum ducked out the back exit, made his way around the back of the building and into the alleyway that would lead him to the parking lot.

That’s when he’d seen her, and she hadn’t been alone.

He turned around quickly, before either she or the man who had her pinned to the wall, lips on her throat as his hand worked beneath her skirt, could see him. Callum was surprised, but maybe not as surprised as he should have been given that he’d just witnessed the relatively newlywed Bamber doing something extremely extramarital with Katee.

Now, well over a year later, the only thing that surprises him is that he still seems to be the only one who’s caught on.

Callum doesn’t know Bamber from a hole in the ground but sometimes he wants to bury him in one.


*
It’s late afternoon by the time he’s finished for the day and Callum thinks maybe if he hurries he can get in a few holes before the sun goes down. He’s on his way to his truck when Katee ducks out of her trailer, arms overflowing with . . . well, he’s not sure but there at least two bags and a few scripts. She juggles it, trying to manage the load in her arms and close the door, but one of her bags doesn’t survive the struggle. It drops to the ground, spilling contents over the pavement.

“Fuckfuckfuck,” Katee swears under her breath and Callum bites back a smile.

He alters his path and begins picking up her scattered belongings, makeup and hair stuff and a plain white cotton bra that shouldn’t provoke his interest, but does.

“Thanks, Callum.” She tries to smile but it doesn’t come close to her eyes. Her hand reaches toward her bag and Callum shakes his head and pulls it out of her reach.

“Let me carry it to your car.”

Katee shoots him a grateful look and nods. “That would be great. Thanks.”

“So you headed home for the night?” He remembers that she commutes back and forth over the border as much as possible and can’t imagine how big a pain in the ass it must be, especially with the hours she works.

“Nope. Night shoot tonight. I’ve got about four hours before I have to be back in makeup getting an entirely different set of extensions.” She twists her face into mock excitement before shaking her head. “Which means I’ve got just enough time for a nap but not enough time to actually get anywhere to take it.”

Callum didn’t know she was working on something else and he feels like an ass. He’s getting ready to ask her why she doesn’t just sleep in her trailer when he remembers her run-ins with Jamie, realizes she must be avoiding him, so he keeps his mouth shut. They reach her car and she hits the remote to unlock it. Callum opens the back door and sets her bag on the floorboard, then straightens to look at her. She has shadows under her eyes and he doesn’t know how much is from exhaustion and how much is a hold-over from the shit with Bamber.

“You’re welcome to come crash at my place for a few hours.” The offer is out of his mouth before the idea is even fully formulated but he doesn’t regret it, especially not when her eyes light up a little.

“Are you sure. . . I don’t want to be a pain in the ass.” Katee cocks her head and the late afternoon sun glints of her hair, tints the bare skin of her shoulders.

Yeah, he’s sure.


*

Katee’s quiet as she follows him toward his loft. Callum glances back over his shoulder as he unlocks the door, sees her biting the corner of her bottom teeth. He wants to reach out, run a soothing finger over the abused flesh and then he mentally chastises himself for being fucking stupid.

“Great space,” she says as they step inside. She looks around, gaze falling on the stack of canvases on one side of the large open room. “I didn’t know you paint.”

Callum nods. “Yeah, now and then.” More than that, actually, but he’s private about his painting and it’s habit to brush off questions, make it seem less of himself than it really is.

Katee takes a step toward the canvases, then stops and throws him an apologetic smile. “Can I see?”

Normally he would brush off the question with a “maybe later” or, if he’s feeling like a bastard, a flat out “no”. But for some reason it doesn’t bother him to think of her thumbing through his work and this is the first time today he’s seen her look animated, like her usual self. So he shrugs and nods.

She looks through them carefully, pulling them forward to gently rest against her knee as she studies the swirl and pattern of paint and brush. Callum moves to stand behind her, looks over her shoulder to see what she’s looking at. When she gets to a loose impressionistic waterfall he’d done after a trip to Belize, Katee breathes out slowly and turns to look at him.

“This is beautiful,” she says in this soft voice that has his breath catching in his throat. All he can see is the way the sun is coming through the windows and framing her in a halo, the way her hazel eyes look light and carefree for the first time all day. All he can think is you are beautiful, and it must show in his face because her expression shifts too. She sucks in a breath and her eyes change from carefree to something else, and then she’s stepping into him and pressing her lips against his.

Callum hesitates for a split-second and then he wraps one arm around her to palm the small of her back and he kisses her, slides his lips across hers and presses his tongue to the seem of her lips until she opens to him with a moan. Her hands come up to grip his biceps and she presses herself up against him and it’s his turn to make a strangled noise because he never expected this, and he expects it’s stupid but fuck he doesn’t care when he can finally savor the taste of her.

Her breasts are soft against his chest and he wants more of the softness, more of the firm insistence of her lips and hands too. The way she’s kissing him, deep and hard and just the right amount of wet, has him wanting so much more, things he can’t have from her and he’d realize that if he just slowed down and thought about it, so he doesn’t. He speeds up instead, kisses her harder, pulls her even closer and teases up the hem of her top so he can touch the bare skin of her waist.

The contact has Katee pulling away, out of his arms. She stands there, breathing hard with this look on her face like she’s about to run and he curses under his breath and opens his mouth to apologize.

Katee beats him to it. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have. I’m sort of involved with someone and it’s . . . complicated. Fuck.”

And then she’s moving, retreating as fast as she can back toward the door. Callum wants to stop her, tell her it’s not her fault because he knew all along how fucked up she is over Bamber, knew he shouldn’t want her, definitely knew he shouldn’t touch her no matter who started it. But after what he’s seen today he thinks that maybe she doesn’t need his apologies as much as she needs space.

So he lets her go, lets the door close behind her.

*

Katee smiles nervously when she walks on set the next day, ten minutes early and with two coffee cups in her hands. She offers one to him, takes a sip of her own. Callum accepts the coffee with a smile and leans back against the wall.

The silence is slightly less companionable than yesterday but Callum’s not sure what to do about it. He doesn’t want to pressure her or make her uncomfortable, doesn’t want to add to the sadness that has surrounded her these past two days. He doesn’t have a clue about Bamber’s feelings for Katee but he can tell Katee is in love and it pisses Callum off. Partly because he finds himself wanting Katee himself, but mostly because Bamber is putting Katee in an impossible situation and she deserves more than that, more than a married costar with three young children and career image based on being the good guy can give her. Callum’s never been that guy, never wanted to be that guy, but for all that his professional image runs more moody bad boy than heart throb, he’s still never fucked with a woman’s emotions the way Bamber is.

Katee leans back next to him and bumps his shoulder with hers. “Hey, sorry again about yesterday. My life is a little screwy right now and I didn’t mean to pull you into it. It was really unprofessional of me and. . . . ”

Callum turns to her and shakes his head, cuts her off before she can make what happened into an issue of working relationships. “No need to apologize, Katee, really.” He smiles over the rim of his cup, tries to put her at ease with a light teasing that he really doesn’t feel. “A beautiful woman kisses me, I don’t ask questions, I just enjoy it for as long as it lasts.”

She stares at him for a moment, eyes clouded with indecision and for a second he thinks she’s going to reject his offering and make it into something bigger and more uncomfortable. Then she shakes her head and laughs, and it’s soft but it’s real. “You say that like it doesn’t happen all the time. You must have women molesting you right and left.”

He gives her his most practiced lascivious grin. “It’s a good life.”

That gets him a full-blown laugh, another bump of her shoulder. This time when they lapse back into silence to finish their coffee it’s easier, less awkward, and by the time they take their marks to film their first scene, the tension in his shoulders has eased.

He looks at Katee settling onto the set couch in her robe and lets himself have one last moment of wanting something more with her, one last moment of wishing that she wasn’t caught up in a mess of a relationship. Then he puts it away, for now, and focuses on his job.

Callum Rennie can be a patient man when he wants to be.

 Comments

 Left By:
Voleuse (Voleuse)

At:
2006-12-26 00:50:26

 
This is lovely! Great narrative voice, great imagery, and I like the way you've portrayed the tensions running under everything.


 Left By:
Severuslovesme (severuslovesme)

At:
2006-12-26 15:39:16

 
I like this *so* much. It's great to see a Katee/Jamie trainwreck of a relationship from someone else's perspective, and I loved Callum's thoughts about Jamie and how he wasn't good enough for Katee. I also really loved how Callum was so drawn to Katee, despite knowing that it wasn't really the best idea, and your Katee is charming!


 Left By:
alanna (wisteria)

At:
2006-12-29 14:00:39

 
This was really enjoyable! The emotions were both spot-on and SO frustrating, especially from an outsider's POV, and I could really see this happening. Thanks for sharing. :)


 Left By:
V. Wishes (viciouswishes)

At:
2007-02-22 02:52:45

 
Wonderful fic. I really enjoyed how Callum stays on the outside and doesn't quite connect and gives Katee her space.


 Left By:
Guest (movies of 2011)

At:
2011-02-21 05:58:25

 
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