She's still breathing, light chest movement visible. He doesn't want to look lower because he knows what he'll see--swollen stomach, machinery below. A grotesque mockery of creation, and he can't endure witnessing it again. Kara's eyes are closed; he doesn't know if he could bear seeing her aware of her surroundings.

A hand grips his and he jumps as he turns around to look. Gods... his little sister is lying on the next bed; she's looking at him with accusation and he--

Sam's nightmare was interrupted by a sudden weight on his chest. Opening his eyes, he saw Kara's face in front of his, a mischievous smiling lighting it up.

"Hey, Sammy!"

"Uh--" His brain felt fuzzy and his heart was beating double-time. "What time is it?"

"Middle of the night." She sounded way too enthusiastic when she said it. "Did some donut runs, then I decided to stay planetside. Next shift is in two days."

Kara, sitting on top of him and happy; not on a farm hooked up to a baby-making machine. She'd already lit the candle near his bed. Sam studied her face--her dark eyes, the way her hair framed her face as it trailed halfway out of her ponytail. Last week when he'd seen her, she'd been distant, but now she was relaxed and clearly pleased with herself. Shifting across his hips, her flight suit squeaked as she leaned forward and put her elbows above his shoulders, her face close to his.

"So, did you miss me?" she asked.

Reaching up, he pushed a strand of her hair out of the way. "Hm." He put his hand behind her head, pulling her down for a long kiss. "Nope," he replied.

She pulled away and sat up, her weight across his hips. "Well, maybe I should go away longer, then."

Sam pushed himself up with one hand and grabbed her wrists with the other. "Didn't miss you at all," he told her, punctuating the words with more kisses. Lacing his fingers into her hair, he pulled out her ponytail holder and began massaging her scalp.

Kara sat still and made an appreciative noise in the back of her throat. She put her hands on his shoulders and leaned her cheek against his while he continued rubbing.

"How was your shift?"

"Boring recon. Boring supply runs." Her breath was warm against his neck. "I did a spiral in the raptor, though." She leaned back look at him. "Helo didn't think I could do more than two loops in atmo."

That explained her giddy mood--she was always more upbeat when she'd pulled a stunt during her shift.

Leaning forward again, she nudged him with her head as a sign for him to continue rubbing her scalp. "The rest was routine. We've gotten enough supplies down here now that we're slowing down the donut runs."

"Mmm. Looking for something else to do?"

"Why?"

Keeping his tone light, Sam replied, "There's some welding jobs available now. They need people who've used a torch before."

She pulled back again. Looking at him with eyes narrowed, she said, "Is this another attempt to act domestic?"

"Domestic? You with a welding torch?" He laughed. "You could weld a new bed frame. That might be domestic."

"Speaking of that--are you going to put this bedframe to use, or are you just going to sit there and play with my hair?"

Sam flopped back against his pillow and put his hands behind his head. "You're still wearing your flight suit. Too much work."

She wriggled her hips against his and he wanted to respond in kind, but the nightmare he'd been having was still clinging to him. Middle of the night--that meant cylons coming or a big raid or... nothing good. Kara's presence was comforting but he could still feel the memories revived by the dream. It was one he'd had far too often since leaving Caprica.

Kara was clearly impatient. "Too tired?"

"No." He waited a beat. "Maybe." He thought about telling her of the nightmares, or about the things that used to happen if they were awakened at night. He didn't, though. Instead he reached up with his hand and traced her lower lip with his index finger. "I really am glad you came. Can you wait until morning?" He wanted to add: and stay here with me, now?

She stared at him for a moment. Maybe the look on his face gave something away, because instead of making a joke about leaving and looking elsewhere to fill her needs, she sighed and leaned forward, burying her face against the hollow between his neck and shoulder. "Okay."

He trailed his fingers through her hair again, then shifted her weight so she was half on him, half on the bed.

"You're really not going to help me out of my flight suit, are you?"

"Nope."

She chuckled; he felt the movement from her laugh against his chest. "You know, for being my personal property, you're not very cooperative."

"S'right."

She sat up and peeled her arms out of the flight suit. Looking resigned and cold, she stood up and pulled off the rest of the suit as quickly as she could. He appreciated the view--the contrast of Kara's vivid personality with the gray and black tanks and gray panties made him smile.

Finishing up, she jumped under the covers with him, pulling away a large portion of the blankets.

"Hey!" he protested.

"That's the price you have to pay for not helping me," she said, and grinned sadistically at him.

He'd pay it. Between her weird pilot shifts and his job planet-side, they didn't see each other much. Add in her mercurial mood shifts; he tried not to hope for more from her but sometimes he just wanted to hold on to her and not let her leave... Nothing would make her run away faster, though. And this was okay, too. More than okay.

One benefit of seeing her here--the cold, damp weather meant she was draped all over him when she stayed the night. Too bad she was a blanket hog, he mused. She was already winding down from her adrenaline high; he could feel her relaxing against him.

Gods, this was the best tranquilizer--her weight on him, reassuring him that she was okay. The last pieces of the nightmare slid away for the moment.

Sam reached over to the clothing pile next to the bed and grabbed a pair of socks. Kara always woke up with cold feet; he decided to take preventive measures this time. He slid his hand down her leg and almost got whacked in the head by her elbow. He grunted as he moved his head away from her swinging arm.

"Whatever you're doing down there, it tickles." She gave him a questioning look.

"Giving you socks. So you don't wake me up later with your freakishly cold toes."

Kara snickered, then obligingly lifted her foot closer to his hand. "This a new kink of yours, Sam?" she asked as he slid the sock onto her foot.

"Cold toes?"

She poked him in the chest. "No, socks."

"Yeah, babe. 'Cause socks are sexy." He flopped down on the lumpy pillow again and pretended to leer. Kara laughed and draped herself over him again; they fumbled for a comfortable position. She yawned, leaned over and nipped his shoulder with her teeth, then settled back against him. It kind of hurt, actually.

"Fra, what was that for?" he asked.

"Marking where to start later." She grinned at him then leaned over and blew out the candle.

"I was gonna remind you anyway," he mumbled in the dark.