disclaimer: not mine.
set: between Ties That Bind and Road Less Traveled.
pairing: Kara Thrace/Sam Anders
notes: I blame Babylon Five. Sigh. Title stolen directly, obviously.
Late Delivery From Avalon
by ALC Punk!
Her head pillowed on Sam's shoulder, Kara dreams. She dreams of a battlefield, men fighting in some sort of metal armor that looks far too bulky to be useful. They swing swords which makes little sense to her. When she battles, she flies in a viper, ducking and weaving, firing bullets and taking names. She's not caught in the sunlight, the heat beating down on her. The dust of the field is stirred and trampled, rising to clog her nose and choke her throat.
A cough, and the battlefield shifts, rain falling (or is it blood, churning to red mud?) and coating them all in wet and mist.
The cries of the dying reach her ears, and Kara realizes that the battle is over, now. All that's left are the men who require aid, or those who require mercy. A hand grips her ankle and she jerks away, staring down at the man, half-blind with his own pain.
"Please..." his voice breaks on a cough, blood joining the spittle on his chin.
Even in the strangeness of her dreams, Kara can smell the blood that flecks his lips. Unwilling, nevertheless, she kneels down, her hand going to the pulse at his throat, fingers finding it weak and thready. "Lie still," she whispers, the sound getting sucked away by the mist that swirls ever-closer. He's so young, she thinks--but there's a weight of age in his eyes that belies the smoothness of his face.
"You must take it," he gasps, breath bubbling, the sound of his lungs filling with blood.
His hands grab hers, pressing something heavy into them. "It must be delivered to them," he says, with the last burst of his strength.
"I--" Kara stops.
He's gone, leaving her half-holding a sword. Standing, she brings it with her, grip tightening, wrists and arms taking the weight easily. Kara doesn't know a frakking thing about swords, just that you can swing them and cut crap.
The battlefield fades away, leaving her standing on metal grating. She recognizes it from pacing back and forth for hours, frustrated with her search for Earth. Kara glares at it, stamping her foot and feeling the decking echo with metallic creaks. The entire frakking Demetrius sounds like it's going to fall apart every five minutes.
That voice again, pleading and Kara turns from the end of the corridor and looks around, eyes trying to find the cause of the sound. But of the dead man who follows her into her dreams, begging her for something she doesn't understand, there is no sign. Only the sound of his breath, bubbling in his lungs.
Beneath her, the grating creaks again, and with a rending tear, it snaps, dumping her to the deck below.
The sudden drop jerks her awake, adrenaline pounding through her veins. Next to her, Sam is still asleep, snoring lightly. She remembers him striding into her quarters, worried, an argument--Gods, she doesn't even remember what it was about. Just that it ended in her throwing her paintbrush at him. The sex afterwards had been silent and harsh, leaving nail tracks down his back and fingermarks on her hips.
Asleep, Sam is... Kara shies away from thinking about it, turning her head from the shadowed planes of his face and curling closer to his side. She didn't used to cling. She still doesn't cling, not really. But he's warmer than the air of the ship and she's chilled with more echoes of things she can't understand.
Sleep eludes her, though, and she finally turns onto her back, staring up and catching the whites and darks of the paintings she's done over the days spent locked in here. Reaching up, she traces the line of her comet, finger touching only air. Pushing up a little, half-sitting, she traces it again, admiring the lines and dips of what's there, feeling them tug at her, almost like a memory of a memory that slides away again as she remembers the weight of steel in her hands.
Climbing over Sam makes her cranky, and she reflects that she'd forgotten how annoying he can be, his bulk dwarfing hers and taking up all of the bedspace until she was practically spread on top of him. Even in the large bed that had come with the Captain's cabin, he'd still managed it.
The pots of paint are on the table, some of them stacked on her charts, half-readable scribbles buried under minutiae and photos taken on recons strewn everywhere. She doesn't even think about clearing it all up as she opens one. Red.
Scrabbling a paintbrush from the rubble on the trunk next to the bed, she starts sketching a line on a bare spot. Before she realizes it, she's half-described the sword from her dreams. Slashing the brush across it, she makes it a muck of red. Grabbing another can, yellow streaks turn orange as the colors mix and run into each other.
Grabbing for another can, she knocks things off her desk, the crash loud in the almost-silence of the movements of the Demetrius.
"Kara?" Sam's voice is fogged with sleep as he struggles out of whatever his dreams were.
She almost doesn't answer him, and a part of her is still wrapped up in her own dreams. Dropping the can back on the desk, she opens another, popping the top off. Green. "Yeah." Another stripe down the mess of orange and red, and the green stands out with a startling brilliance.
The sheets shift and make noise as he pulls free of them and his feet slap against the deck. He's silent before he stands, coming to look over her shoulder. "Abstract."
She doesn't reply, sticking the brush back in the can and feeling some of the tension in her shoulders escape. Moving backwards brings her into contact with him, and she refuses to sigh, refuses to relax further. For the moment, her need to paint, to sketch out what it's in her head is calm. The nightmares and dreams tangle around each other, echoing like the grating does when someone below stamps upon it. It's Sam who shifts, arms sliding around her as his head drops, lips brushing the top of her head.
They stand, both silent, until Kara starts to notice that her toes are cold (even in this heat), and her hand is getting tired of holding the paint can. She pulls away, setting the can on the desk and capping it again. The brush she wipes almost clean and drops into the jar of water. She can finish cleaning it later. Without looking at him, she pads back to the bed, straightening the sheets, almost fidgeting. Once upon a time, this was Sam's cue to leave, his cue to dress and go, getting his boots from beside the door on the way out.
His fingers brush her shoulder and she glances up at him.
"You're cold," he murmurs.
Of course she's cold. She was standing on a battlefield, holding a sword as thousands died around her. Or she was standing on Earth, the sunlight playing down on her. She's no longer sure which is which anymore. Stay, she thinks, staring up at him, feeling a little more normal than she's used to. Earth and the way there is still pulsing at her, pulling bits of her skin away. But it's not all she is, for the moment. Climbing into bed she rolls onto her side and holds a hand out to him.
After he joins her, she feels the last of her tension go.
Maybe now, she'll sleep for longer than an hour or two. As the darkness closes in, his fingers trace random patterns on her skin. And maybe she won't. Her hand wraps round the solid weight of his wrist, and for just an instant, before sleep claims her, he feels as cold as steel.