Sam lay in the dark, her warm body curled up against his. He was more exhausted than he'd been in a long, long time. Sparring with Kara Thrace, both mentally and physically, was far more draining than fighting the Cylons.
Far more satisfying as well.
It had been a long time since he'd met anyone that could fence with him the way she had. It lent her an added attractiveness; not that she needed it - he'd already found her to be one of the most beautiful, enthralling women he'd ever met.
But there was something else. Something under the surface. Something she just wasn't telling him. Frak it man, you met her less than twenty-four hours ago. You think she's going to spill her deepest and darkest secrets to you already?
"Okay, maybe not," he murmured near silently so as not to wake her. But he couldn't help himself from wondering. A part of him desperately wanted to be privvy to the mystery hidden behind those gorgeous hazel-green eyes. They sparkled brilliantly when she laughed but there was something deeper ... darker ... something that hurt. And the part of him that longed to play knight in shining armour couldn't resist the desire to find out and fix it.
Kara shifted and looked up at him. Or at least he thought she did - he couldn't quite see her eyes in the sheer darkness.
"Mmm," she said sleepily. "You said something?"
Now was his chance.
"What are you running from?"
She stiffened. "I'm not running. I'm here on an assignment to get the Arrow of Apollo. I told you that before."
"You've got it. Why not go home already? Why are you still here?"
His eyes, beginning to become accustomed to the dark, saw her teeth gleaming as she grinned. "So I can be with you."
He leaned up and kissed her lightly. "While I'm flattered, I'm not sure you're telling me the whole truth."
"You calling me a liar?" She lifted a hand to his face and traced his stubbly cheek.
"I don't know you well enough to know," he said honestly. "But I'd like to."
She studied him a minute or two. "You know I won't be staying here long right? I have to go back."
"I know," he answered, words soft and regretful. "You've got to go back and face whatever you're running from."
"No," she said, pulling away and sitting up. "I have to get the Arrow back to the President."
"Is it something? Or someone?" He watched her narrowly, noting how she bit her lip as he said 'someone'. "Do you love him?"
"What?" She covered her mouth quickly, realizing she'd spoken loud enough to wake the others in the next room.
"It's simple Kara. Do you love him?"
She exhaled long and hard. Sam was a virtual stranger - why should she tell him anything? He was just a passing fancy - someone to dally with to forget about ... But that wasn't quite true. She'd felt the sparks between them instantly, and they'd only grown stronger as the day had passed. The physical attraction was there for sure, but as they'd spent more and more time together, playing Pyramid and other games, she'd realized there was a kernel of something more. Something she was now realizing she wanted to explore.
"I don't know." It wasn't much but it was a better answer than 'none of your frakking business' which had been the first response on her tongue.
"Does he love you?"
"I don't know." The words came more easily this time.
"You wanna tell me about it?" he asked quietly. "I'm listening."
She laughed hollowly. "Sure, I'd tell you all about it if I could put it into words. But to put it into words I'd have to be able to understand it." She ran an exasperated hand through her hair, sticking it up on end. "And the truth is I have no frakking idea what the hell is going on, if anything at all."
"So you're not together?" he asked with surprising delicacy, considering the subject matter.
"Ever been together?"
"Want to be together?"
"Bingo. There's the problem. It's confusing."
The rumble of his chest under her head calmed her nerves. They'd become tense again at the memory of all that had happened between her and Lee of late. She sighed but it was without anger or regret. "Thanks."
"Making me talk. Sometimes I tend to clam up and not let things out."
She punched him lightly. "Thought you said you didn't know me well."
"I don't." He ran his fingers through her hair, smoothing it, then cupping her head gently. "But I'd really like to."
She raised her eyes to look deep into his, the only speck of light in the utter darkness.
"I like things simple, uncomplicated and I'm guessing you do too," he went on.
Did she? She really didn't know. Everything about Lee was complicated - the past, the present and the future. It was what she wanted, and yet didn't. She loved the push and pull of them ... and yet she hated it.
This - this simplicity Sam was offering her seemed awfully attractive right about now ...
"I like you Kara Thrace. You're fun, sarcastic, quick on your feet and you've got a hell of an attitude. Not to mention you're the sexiest woman I've ever seen." He stroked her face gently, his large hands making her cheeks seems small and delicate. "I like you a lot and yet I hardly know you. I want to get to know you better. I want to spend time with you. I think we could really be happy together if we gave ourselves the chance."
She smiled. "Aw, is Sammy falling in love?" she teased.
"Yeah, I think so," he said seriously. "But don't call me Sammy!"