Notes: Dude. I know I said I was never writing that last scene, but it fit. so.
This's for Lizardbethj who is almost as silent as I am on the subject of birthdays. It's totally still your birthday, in CA.
Pairing: Kara Thrace/Sam Anders, ref: Kara/Zak, Kara/Lee.
Set: New Caprica through Taking a Break.
Rating: Rish, vague sex, language.
Further note: the Scissor Sisters are not conducive to angsty titles.
Questioning the Siren by ALC Punk!
"Tell me about Zak," Sam says.
And Kara, who hasn't told anyone about Zak since the Admiral (Commander, then), and Lee before and nobody else before that, turns her head to look at him in the half-light from the moon and stars that creep into their tent, does. She isn't sure why the words spill from her lips, they just do. And Sam's hand strokes along her skin--not for sex, but in comfort. It's something more tangible than the memory of Zak's need and the pain of seeing him go up in flames.
She clings to that, a little surprised how much she needs Sam's touch. A part of her wonders if this is healthy.
It's when he gently kisses the tears she allows herself away that she thinks maybe it is healthy--maybe this is the way real people are supposed to have relationships.
Curled against his chest, Kara listens as he talks about the people who died under his command. As if he is giving something back--she gave him Zak, he's giving her faceless people no one remembers. It's not quite the same coin, but it's what he has. And for that, she's grateful. Exposing Zak is almost like stripping her skin from her bones, and it leaves her feeling judged and guilty.
Sam's words change that. They tell her she isn't the only one who's ever had guilt or pain. The loss isn't the same, and they're both aware of that. But it still hurts him, as Zak hurt her.
This time, it's her turn to comfort with touch.
When Kara talks about Leoben, it's not like that. It's stops and starts and diversions, her hands restless and her body not anywhere near Sam's.
It's as if his touch, so comforting, might break her more than Leoben had.
She's grateful that Sam gets that.
She's not past it, she's just lazy. Flying is something she used to do to escape gravity, now it's just a routine that's almost as boring as watching paint dry. The only time that changes is when there's adrenaline coursing through her and sweat under her fingers.
Even better, when there's a body underneath her in her rack, her name on his lips.
She doesn't call him Zak or Lee or Sam or Leoben. She doesn't call him anything as his body moves against hers. But she sometimes thinks that he knows what name she's thinking when she comes.
"Kara," he gasps, her name like a prayer or a curse, and she can't help the laugh that spills from her mouth. It's ugly and angry, drowning out the sound of his breath escaping as his body releases itself.
When his hand moves to cup her cheek, she shoves it away, not wanting that gentleness.
After the algae planet, there's something different about both of them.
Kara doesn't put a name on it, just knows that they've turned another corner in the maze of their relationship. He knows about Lee, now. Not just guesses and looks at her with speculation, but knows.
She doesn't take comfort in that.
Sam telling her to go to Lee almost breaks her again, and she wants to shout at him that there's no point in it. That she doesn't want to take that step. Because Lee isn't the unknown. Lee isn't the man who can read her mood from two words. He's not the man who can climb under her skin and wake her in the middle of the night with guilt and remorse.
But she goes, anyway.
Maybe she's trying to prove something to herself, or to Sam. Maybe she thinks it's for the better if she's never happy enough.
She tells herself that Kara Thrace being happy means her world is going to end.
Fingering the dog tag, she stands on the deck, watching for Sam. He was supposed to go back, but got stuck talking with the Chief.
There. She spots him a moment before he notices her, and she wonders if he can feel that strange electric current run through him, too. Or if it's just her that has this stupid sensation every time she finds him in a crowd.
Gods. His eyes are so unreadable, and she wants the openness back, but she's not quite sure how to get it (or if she really wants it). "Sam..."
She could go. She could close her hand into a fist and walk away, back to her safe life of vipers and Lee Adama and pretending there wasn't anything more--and that was if Lee even bothered to leave his wife for her. He might not, given his words of earlier.
Zak, she thought, staring at Sam. Zak would have been the one behind her, laughing as he shoved her forwards into the unknown.
It's a feeling and an idea out of the blue and it shakes her in a way Leoben never did. Her hand opens fully, arm raising as the heavier piece of metal falls down, pulling the chain with it. Kara catches it before it falls to the deck.
"You forgot this." Her voice isn't uncertain, but she's breathless. Like she can't get enough breath with the elephant sitting on her chest.
"Kara," his head is dropping to the side, tilting away. "You don't have to do this, I know you'd rather have Lee."
She would. Lee would be simple. Lee would make her insanely stupid and far from happy, but he would be something she could figure out without having to think. "Sam. I do have to do this. I can't--I can't promise it's everything."
The silence lasts only a moment, and then Sam catches the bottom of the chain, dog tag wrapped in his fingers. He tugs at it, "I don't think I can give this back again, Kara."
Her hand opens, the chain dropping down. "I don't ever want it back, Sam."
The unknown scares the shit out of her. Sam understands, not pushing to stay with her. He kisses her and goes, promising to come the next time she calls.
Kara watches until he's inside the raptor, then turns to leave the deck herself. There are rooks to torment and flight plans to construct, and a mountain of paperwork that Racetrack hadn't finished the last time she'd been through the rec room.
"Hey." Hands circle her waist, tugging her back against him, "I can catch the next one. Can I buy you a drink, hot stuff?"
Tilting her head back, Kara stares up at her husband, and half-smiles, "Are you going to spend the night looking down my shirt?"
She pats his hip and turns in his arms, stretching up. "All right. But call me 'hot stuff' again, and I'm kicking your ass out an airlock."
A chuckle escapes him before his mouth claims hers.