Rating: er... 13ish.
Pairing: Kara/Anders Spoilers: vague for season three, all of previous seasons.
Setting: post-LYDB 2, pre-Occupation.
Notes: I've been trying to write this one for a long time, but Sam refused to actually talk to me. snort Stupid idiot.
Out on the Edge of the World
by ALC Punk!
Even when he was sick and delirious, Sam knew something was wrong. He wasn't sure what, but he was certain that having Doc Cottle visit and give him drugs was wrong. He'd heard the conversation with Kara, he knew there weren't any. He also knew that any time he asked for his wife, Cottle ignored the request. So did his nurse.
It took Sam most of a day to recognize that it was Jean who was shoving fluids down him and dragging his ass to the latrine.
It took the rest of that night for the fever to finally pass, and for him to get a straight answer from Jean.
What she told him wasn't helpful. Kara had disappeared, she didn't know how, she didn't know where, she didn't know who. The cylons were occupying them, that much she did know.
Cottle came by the next morning, poked him, prodded him, told him to stay the frak in bed and stalked off.
Not that he did. After two shaky starts, Sam was on his feet and half-dressed. His wife was somewhere, and he was going to find her. Feeling better already, he ate the last of the mush Jean had made that morning and headed out into the cold air. For an instant, he missed the heat of Kara against his side, arm around his waist.
Sam spent days scouring the camp and asking people about Kara. He tried to be careful, tried not to attract attention. But as time went on, and his only answers were either "Kara who?" and "No idea." he was beginning to panic.
About mid-afternoon one day, he spotted their new cylon leaders. And among them was a Sharon Valerii.
He followed them until she separated herself--still guarded by centurions, of course. The human populace wasn't quite throwing things and muttering, but they weren't happy to see a cylon walking their midst. Not bothering to fathom her reasons for wandering alone, Sam approached her, hoping this was the Sharon who had once thrown Kara's dog tag back at him.
The cylon turned and blinked at him, then smiled in recognition. "You're Samuel T. Anders. You had Starbuck's dog tag."
"Yeah. Um, about that." He shifted, trying to come up with the words. Finally, he said, "I was wondering if you could help me with something?"
"If I can, Samuel, I'm afraid that the cylon aren't going away."
"No, it's... I'm trying to find Kara. She was here, but now she's disappeared, and no one seems to know..." He trailed off when her eyes looked away from his.
"Starbuck." There was something that might have been guilt in her eyes, but she wasn't looking at him enough for him to tell. "Sorry, I don't know where she is. But I'm glad she's still alive."
"Are you sure one of your cylon friends hasn't mentioned anything about her?" Slight desperation colored his words with an edge. Sam tried to throttle it down. Being stupid wouldn't find Kara.
"I know that Leoben says she's special. But if she's here, it's out of my hands."
A sick feeling clenched Sam's gut. "Leoben?"
"He's one of the more... religious models, let's say," Sharon made a face. "Sees streams, rivers, life. That sort of thing. Patterns, I think he calls it."
"And he has Kara."
Sharon blinked at him, "I'm sorry?"
"Please, Sharon. I need you to find her. I need to know she's safe. That she's not in a farm or..."
"So... So, you weren't just a passing fling for her." Sharon looked away. "I can't help you, Samuel. Kara's special, and there's nothing I can do to change that."
It hit Sam that this was futile. He grabbed her arm, "Please, Sharon. She's my wife, I have to--"
One of the centurions backhanded him. The blow sent him sprawling, teeth and jaw aching. A hand against his skin showed him that the claws had ripped into it. His fingers came away bloody.
"No!" Sharon stepped in front of him. "Don't kill him. It's ok. Everyone stand down."
"Please." Almost hating himself, Sam heard the tone he was using. He was begging for the return of his wife. "Sharon, you were at our wedding, you have to help!"
Her eyes were dark as she looked down at him. "I can't." She whispered, and then she walked away.
The centurions followed her, their footsteps crunching in the cold gravel as they headed down the street.
Sam sat there, feeling his cheek begin to ache. His jaw felt oddly numb. He felt oddly numb. This was it, then. There'd be no other cylon who'd help. He'd seen the blonde one, once, but she was happily draped on their esteemed President. He doubted she'd make move one to find his wife. Bending his head, he fought back the tears that threatened.
"Up." A boot pushed him in the side. Jean. "Up, or I beat you senseless, Anders."
"Yeah? You'd be doing me a favor."
She snorted and held out a hand.
Sam stared at it a moment before taking it, letting her haul him to his feet. "Thanks."
"Not helping, is she."
Avoiding her too-knowing gaze, Sam shrugged, "She's a cylon." One who'd once saved his life. Who seemed different--the version of her on Galactica was certainly different.
"Yeah. Look, don't do anything stupid, OK?"
When he was silent, she kicked him in the shin. "Ow!"
"Give me your word, or I do it again. And then when Starbuck gets out, I tell her what an idiot you were."
"Fine." He shoved his hands in his pockets and met her gaze. "You have my word. Nothing stupid."
"Good. Now let's go get some food. It ain't pretty, but it's filling."
He ran Colonel Tigh to ground later that day. He was drunk, the blood on his cheek had crusted over, and he still had the occasional need to cough. The promise to Jean hadn't included not drinking. As far as Sam was concerned, alcohol was about the best replacement for his wife he could find. It would certainly make it easier to sleep when the guilt started clawing at him. He should have been there for her, been there to watch her back or back her up. Like he was supposed to. Like she did for him.
"Colonel!" Sam was clapping the man on the back before he could get out of the way. "Great to see you. Gots a favor to ask."
Tigh easily shrugged Sam off and moved away from him stiffly, "Pull yourself together, man."
"No, no, that's not what I was gonna ask you." Sam stabbed a finger at him.
The Colonel looked him up and down, disgust in his gaze. "You're a disgrace to the uniform."
"Don't wear one, 'member?"
"Well, soldier, you're gonna have to if we're going to utilize your talents to get the cylons off this rock." Tigh snorted, "Somehow, you survived an entire frakkin' year of them on Caprica, so you must know somethin'."
"Yep. Know lots." Sam moved forward. "Ya gotta help me find Kara."
"Starbuck's dead, kid. Get that through your skull."
The words were the perfect trigger. Too much to drink, not enough time to get used to the idea--not that he had even let himself think it yet. Sam swung at the Colonel, missing him by a mile as the military man dodged and then stepped in and hit him. Sam dropped like a rock, and Tigh followed, yanking his arm up and behind his back, shoving him face-first into the dirt floor. "Listen, you idiot. And you listen good. We're going to plan and we're gonna get rid of the cylons. And then you can fall apart. After they're gone and we're back on Galactica, I don't care if you walk out an airlock. But until then, this fledgling resistance movement needs you in one piece."
Sam blinked, the pain registering along with a vague surprise. "What resistance movement, sir?"
Tigh shoved him one last time and got up, releasing him in one smooth movement. "The one you're about to start. They won't be watching you as much as they'll watch me. You'll have to network with Roslin--" and here, his voice was almost disgusted, although there was a vague respect there as well, "--and anyone else you can think of. We need to pool our people, and start getting our lives back."
Not bothering to brush himself off, Sam pushed up from the dirt and wiped a hand across his mouth. "Fine. Good. Great."
"And if she's still alive, gods help me, we'll rescue Starbuck. It'll certainly make a change."
Sam closed his eyes and nodded. "Think I'll sleep, sir."
A hand prodded his shoulder, "Not on my floor, you won't. Get your ass back to your tent and into bed before I roll you into the street."
"Sir." Sam staggered upright and blindly headed for the door.
He was halfway back to his tent before he tripped, hit his head on something and passed out.
Sam woke up in his tent. His head hurt, his body hurt, his cheek felt like it was on fire. He was pretty sure he didn't remember making it back there on his own the night before.
The smell of smoke and something food-like drifted to him and he groaned as he sat up, blinking.
"Good. I was about to throw water on you." Jean informed him, hefting the bucket in her hand.
Sam attempted a glare that was more a wince of pain. "Why're you here?"
"'Cause you're an idiot." Reaching out, she smacked his cheek lightly, sending sparks of pain shooting through his head. She sat down on the bed and grabbed his chin before he could move. "Should've got this seen to already."
Refusing to whimper, Sam clamped his mouth closed while she cleaned the crusted blood and dirt off his cheek.
"It's deep, but it should heal. Probably scar, though." Jean said as she smoothed salve over the wound. "Next time, duck."
"Frak you." He muttered.
"Your wife'd kill me."
Kara. A wave of bitterness washed over him and he closed his eyes and pulled away from her, fumbling his way out of bed. If he hurried, he'd catch the Chief and his still just in time for the first round of the afternoon.
"Ah-ah." Jean got in front of him and shoved, knocking him back onto the bed. "You're gonna eat. And then you and me, we're gonna do a little planning."
Jean moved to the stove and poured from the pan into one of the mugs. "Yeah. Eat." She returned and held it out to him.
It smelled like chicken soup. Kara had burned her chicken soup more often than not. He swallowed against the memory of her and reached out to take the mug.
The cylons had taken his wife and weren't going to give her back.
The first swallow burned his tongue, but he ignored it, looking up at Jean. "Yeah. We're gonna plan." He took another mouthful, a bit more carefully.
She nodded, then stepped back, "When you're cleaned up, meet down at the usual place, 'k?"
They'd taken his wife, they'd destroyed their colonies, and now they wanted to be friends. Sam felt the pain turning into a burning anger in his gut. "Gotcha."
When she was gone, he finished the mug and stood. He had plans to make. He'd done this before, he could do this again. If the cylons thought the human race were cowed, they were about to get a kick in the teeth that would prove them wrong. And he didn't care if he died doing it.