Chapter One

Sam's proposal took Kara completely by surprise.

Sure, things had been going well between them. They'd adjusted to sharing a tent better than she expected, with the minimum number of arguments. She'd only stormed out three times, and hadn't punched him even once.

She was growing to like this new life she'd chosen. Waking in his arms and making love lazily, without the fear that an alarm would sound every moment. Working at her own pace, fixing broken machines, without the pressure of shifts and reports and imminent attack. Drinking at the makeshift bar for the fun of it rather than to blot out the terror of close calls and the sound of your friends dying. Kissing him goodbye without the sick fear that she might not see him again.

She didn't regret joining the fleet. It had given her what she needed for a long time. But now – now she didn't regret leaving it. Didn't miss it.

Except on those rare occasions when she heard a viper break atmosphere, saw it flicker in the sky overhead, and then abruptly looked away.

But mostly she was happy. Sam made her happy. That first attraction had only grown as she got to know him better, discovered who he was under the brash exterior. She had even returned the favour once, when she'd had enough alcohol, telling him about Zak, and what she'd done.

Things were going well. But when one day they were playing pyramid, and she tackled him to the ground, and he looked up at her, flushed and laughing, the last thing she expected him to do was to ask her to marry him.

She hated being taken by surprise.

She rolled off him, scrambling to her feet, turning her back, needing some breathing space.

"Kara." Something in the way he said her name made her turn to look at him.

He was sitting on the ground, watching her with an expression that was both rueful and resigned.

"I'm sorry," he said. "That just slipped out. Don't run away."

She took a deep breath. "It just slipped out? Does that mean you weren't serious?"

"No," he said, eyes fixed on her face. "I was serious. But it was sudden. I won't blame you if you say no."

"I don't-" She struggled for words, her thoughts blurring. "I don't know what to say."

He pulled himself to his feet slowly. "Well, it's a big step. We haven't known each other for long. And I know the idea of marriage must bring back a lot of memories."

"It does." She smiled at him gratefully as he walked towards her. "Sam, I'm not saying no, exactly. But I'm not saying yes, either. I need some time. Time to think."

She opened her arms to him and he stepped into them, drawing her close.

"Take as much time as you want," he murmured against her hair. "I'll be waiting."

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A few days later, she told him she was going to spend a few days on Galactica.

"I thought a change of pace would do me good. It'll give me some time to think about what you said, without any distractions."

"And get Helo's advice?" He grinned at her. "Or the Admiral's?"

She smiled reluctantly. "Maybe. Good thing they both like you, isn't it?"

The next day Sam walked her down to the raptor and saw her off with a kiss and a murmured, "Don't think too long."

"I won't." She grinned. "You know me. I never do."

As the raptor door clanged shut behind her she let the smile slide off her face. Took her seat, nodding to the other passengers, and closed her eyes, feigning sleep to discourage conversation.

As the raptor took off, she thought of Sam down there alone, going back to their tent alone, and dug her nails into her palms.

What was she doing here? Why wasn't she down there with him?

Gods, what was wrong with her? Why hadn't she accepted his proposal? Why hadn't she jumped over herself to say yes as soon as he asked the question?

It was what any sensible person would have done. Sam was a wonderful man. He was kind. He was reliable. He made her laugh. He was great in bed. He could deal with her moods and her temper. And on top of all that, he loved her.

She'd be an utter fool to throw all that away.

But then she was an utter fool. She knew the real reason why she had backed away from Sam's proposal, and it wasn't any crap about rushing into things or fear of commitment or memories of Zak.

It was because the first thought that had run through her head when Sam proposed was to wonder what he would say, what he would think. If he would mind.

The second thought was that if she married Sam, she'd be turning her back on him for good.

Just admitting it in the privacy of her thoughts made her furious with herself, made her clench her fists tighter.

She had promised herself she was done with all this. Done with him and the way he made her feel. Done with her heart jumping every time he smiled at her, done with that hollow feeling in her chest every time she disappointed him.

She'd moved down to the planet with Sam to get away from all that, to be free of him. Thought she'd succeeded, until her treacherous thoughts on the pyramid court proved it all an illusion. She was as firmly tied to him as ever.

She had to do something about that, before she gave Sam his answer. It wasn't fair otherwise.

She needed to resolve this.

So when the raptor docked at Galactica, she didn't get out. She was going on to the next stop.

To Pegasus.

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Authors Note: Any reviews are very welcome as always.