disclaimer: not mine
rating: R, adult themes, sexual situations, language
pairing: Kara Thrace/Sam Anders, Kara/Randon Marine, ref: Kara/Lee
set: post-Measure of Salvation, pre-Unfinished Business
notes: Hey, Prolix_allie this is, y'know, that one fic I mentioned. Sigh. If they can do it, I can do it, too, dammit. (note to self: don't forget quiche)
Until We See Eye to Eye
by ALC Punk!
Laying in his bunk on the Sophica, Sam Anders tried not to think about his wife. For one thing, it was entirely possible that she'd never think of him again. For another, it was just stupid and maudlin to be thinking about the woman he loved when she clearly didn't want anything to do with him. Knowing Kara, she was doing her best Starbuck impression, playing cards, drinking hard, and frakking whomever was convenient. Only those who knew her would see the cracks around the edges.
Sam was a little terrified that if he saw her, he'd see more than cracks. He'd see the pieces of the woman she'd been, disconnected and floating. Sam knew he didn't have the skill to put her back together. Even if that was what he thought she wanted. Frak, but he wasn't even sure a good head-shrink could put the Kara puzzle into a semblance of order. But they'd have better luck than he would.
He remembered a child's story about a man made of eggshell who broke when he fell off a wall. Sam figured that was a pretty accurate analogy for the current state of Kara's brain.
Turning on his side, he resolutely banished his thoughts. He needed to sleep, there was a work-shift in the morning.
Kara's skin felt like it was going to crawl off. She'd ripped up at two people, daring them to punch her, before realizing that Adama's command to shape up might not include a stay in the brig for brawling. He wouldn't be surprised, but he'd be disappointed. And Kara hated to disappoint him, even if he'd disowned her.
Trying not to hit people made the itching worse, and Kara finally snapped when Kat poked her one too many times over the nightly triad game.
There was something satisfying in tossing the table and jumping Kat. She got in two good punches before Helo hauled her up and off the younger woman. Fighting him was natural. She was seeing red, and pounding Kat into the floor would relieve it. Or so she hoped.
"Frak--" Helo cursed as he struggled to hang onto her.
Kara jerked free and Athena slammed into her, locking her back against Helo.
You could almost smell the machine on Athena, and Kara wondered if that was just her imagination, or reality. Maybe humans didn't smell like Cylons, or Cylons didn't smell like humans. Not that it mattered in the end. Helo still loved the toaster.
The fight went out of Kara abruptly, but her skin still itched and dragged at her. "I'm good."
"No you're not," Helo contradicted her. He exchanged a look with Athena when Kara didn't struggle. Slowly, they released her.
Kara stood there, smirking, "Gonna throw me in hack, Mr. XO?"
"Yeah." There was a moment where he studied her as though trying to puzzle her out. Then he asked, "What the frak is up with you, Starbuck?"
"Didn't you hear, Helo? I'm a crazy-ass bitch." Kara replied, and then she laughed, the sound full of edges.
Spending the night in hack did nothing to improve Kara's mood. The itch under her skin was even more persistent, and it was compounded by getting grounded for her misconduct the night before. So she hit the gym, hoping the movement of muscle and the pounding of her fists into the bag would be enough.
Feeling the hits up to her shoulders was good. Finding a hapless marine, a little too stupid to be that useful, was even better.
If she couldn't fly, and it was a little early to drink, Kara would frak herself senseless. She laughed as the marine fumbled her bra off--sports bras weren't rocket science, and Sam--but she wasn't thinking about Sam. She was just going to feel.
Kara's boots hit the floor outside the hatch and then she turned and shoved him back into his rack. She didn't think about how long it had been until she was sliding down onto him. And then there was almost pain as she stretched, but it was a little late to back down.
The marine scrabbled at her hips, mumbling about her being so frakking tight, and then rolled them while she was still getting used to the feel of him.
For a second, panic flashed along Kara's skin. The intensity of the movement within her, and the feeling of being trapped--she punched at his shoulder, and he lifted up. The angle changed, and Kara grabbed onto that feeling, ignoring her pounding heartbeat and concentrating on the smell of sweat.
The fear slid away, buried under movement and slick skin.
Sam would have noticed.
The thought almost broke her rhythm, and she turned her head and bit down on the marine's shoulder, the taste of his skin not really pulling her free of the thought.
Sam would have noticed. He would have made sure she was ready and--
Lee. Kara suddenly decided. Lee, not Sam. Lee was safe to fantasize about, as long as she kept her frakking mouth shut. Lee was coiled muscles and sweat-damp skin and lips on her throat.
He was safe. Lee was married and pissed off at her. And even if he wasn't, he was safer than Sam. Lee couldn't see through her like she was glass--couldn't reach right through her defenses to tell her she was lying. Lee.
Sam--she could almost feel what he'd do to her. Her nerves dragged sense-memory out, and Kara cursed, losing the battle. Sam's mouth on her breasts, his hands on her hips--she could almost feel the length of his body against hers, skin shifting and sticking against her in ways she wasn't going to forget until she was dead.
The climax hit her unexpectedly, and she was dragged from fantasy into reality as the marine cursed in surprise when her nails dug into his skin.
Her mouth still latched onto his shoulder, Kara was at least spared the indignity of saying a name she didn't need repeated.
The marine gave a grunt and then followed her. Kara was a little surprised he'd lasted as long as he had, and glad he hadn't taken too long, really. Shoving at his shoulder, she was really beginning to regret this stupid impulse. "Off."
"Huh?" He stared at her, eyes unfocused.
She shoved at him again, getting enough room to pull free and scramble onto the floor. She cursed as she lost her balance and bruised her knees on the deck. "This didn't happen," she snapped as she stood and grabbed her clothing.
The poor boy looked way too young to be frakking Starbuck, but Kara refused to feel guilty. "Huh?"
Kara yanked her pants up, not bothering with her underwear. "This didn't happen. Got it?" She hissed. Her tanks almost got tangled when she pulled them on.
"Yes, sir," the marine said, still a little befuddled.
"Good." Kara left, grabbing her boots as she walked by them. This had been a stupid frakking idea: no sex to relieve the itch. Only brawling, if she could get away with it.
After bruising up two more marines, Kara found herself called into Lee's office. The great CAG didn't look all that thrilled to see her. "Sgt. Matthias has requested that you stop brawling with her men, Captain."
"They're pansies, Lee," she scoffed, hoping her use of his name would get him to stop the scolding before it started.
"Nevertheless, you're disrupting them. Stop."
"Fine. Whatever." Her skin was still itching, and Kara eyed him a little before tossing the idea aside. She liked Dee, really. And she highly doubted Lee would want anything to do with her, especially given his current forbidding look.
"You've got twenty-four hours to get your head in gear, Kara," Lee informed her.
"You're on the next shuttle off the Galactica, with a one-day pass. Go, play with the civvies, get in some bar brawls, whatever. But get this shit out of your system, or you're no good to me in the cockpit." There was something uncaring and cold in Lee's eyes.
"And that's all that counts, huh, Lee?" taunted Kara, "Making sure I'm good for cannon fodder?"
"You could just quit the service, Kara. You seem real good at doing that."
"Frak you, Lee," She snarled, vibrating with the urge to punch that superior look off his face.
"Not my job. Maybe you should find that husband of yours."
Kara wanted to hit him even harder. She didn't even want to consider the idea that finding Sam would solve more than one problem. She could get him out of her system, could get him to frak her until her skin wasn't itching and pulling with this stupid need. Not that she thought it was a good idea. Sam meant dealing with her words in the hold, and his, too.
Unconsciously, her hand moved up and touched the single dog tag still hanging around her neck. Zak's ring bumped against her fingers.
"I don't want to."
Lee shrugged, "Like it or not, Starbuck, you're off this battlestar for twenty-four hours. Now, you can spend that whole time stuck in the cargo hold of one of the ships out there, or you can do something constructive, like gardening on the hydroponics carrier."
He was serious. He was kicking her off the ship. Kara couldn't think of anything else to say, and she wasn't going to plead with him. It wouldn't kill her to be off Galactica, after all.
Lee had been smart: he'd assigned Athena and Helo to fly Kara's shuttle. The two of them were unmovable, no matter how much cajoling, ranting or begging she did. The others on the shuttle, off-duty, or medical personnel moving between ships on their daily rounds, tried their best to ignore her.
The raptor made several stops on its trip, off-loading passengers and supplies, and taking on others. At each stop, Helo suggested she get off. Kara stayed where she was, crouched in the back corner and certain she could wear them down to get her back on Galactica, over time.
"Last stop," Helo called abruptly as they landed in yet another cargo hold, "Time for you to go, Kara." He got up and stretched, then came towards her and caught her hand.
Kara tried to resist, but the thought of being childish enough to dig in her heels was too much, even for her. She let him pull her to her feet, but she still pulled away when he tried to escort her out of the raptor. "No, Karl, I--"
"C'mon, Kara," He stopped pulling her. "Think of it this way, a whole new batch of civvies to piss off and brawl with. And then you can come back to a nice little stay in hack and it'll all be better."
"Oh, frak you," Kara replied, then she sighed and pasted on her best grin. "Not that I really care. You go, play with your wife and I'll school these civvies in triad. Maybe one or two of 'em will have ambrosia to share." With a saucy wink at Athena, she clambered down the wing and backed off while they loaded the last of the supplies and did their pre-flight check.
Then the raptor was gone, and Kara was left on a ship she didn't know the name of, with absolutely nothing to do.
"Somehow, I don't think abandoning Starbuck was Apollo's plan, Helo," Athena muttered as she swung under the Sophica and headed for their next stop, the Plaiedes Wanderer. She wasn't entirely sure what to make of Kara Thrace, these days. Before the Cylons had returned, they'd reached some sort of careful footing. Not quite the friends they'd been, but not enemies, either. Now, though, even that seemed to be gone, when Kara wasn't feeling up to being sociable.
"Did you want to spend the rest of the day with a storm cloud in the corner?" Helo parried, his tone amused. He obviously had a point where he stopped liking Kara. Or at least stopped putting up with her.
Athena had to admit that she hadn't enjoyed Kara's presence much. Flying didn't give them time to chatter, even if Kara hadn't been all that chatty. "Guess not. Still... There's something not right with her, Helo."
He left it at that until just before they were landing. Athena didn't mind, losing herself in the simple mechanics of flying.
"I had a method to my madness, Sharon."
The words broke into her reverie, and she stopped listening to the random comm chatter from the ships around them to reply. "What sort of method?"
"Anders is on the Sophica."
Somehow, Sharon wasn't so sure that was a method to avoid madness.
Finding the booze and cards wasn't too hard and Kara found herself dealt in without too much trouble. She had to admit, the burn of the cheap rotgut felt better than the stuff Chief had made going down. If only because there wasn't anything left of her taste buds or throat lining when she'd had three shots.
The company was mostly mechanics and farmers, people who'd flourished on New Caprica, and seemed to have nothing to do with their lives now. Kara couldn't blame them, really.
With a cigar in her mouth, she fit right in, despite the better fit of her clothing.
"Your wife is here."
They weren't words Sam was expecting to hear. He looked up from the sheet he was folding and stared at Barolay. "How?"
"She flew?" Jean suggested, her tone sarcastic.
A harsh snort escaped Sam. Flipping the sheet onto the pile, he reached for another. He wasn't going to read anything into this, really. Kara was Kara, and she'd asked for space. He'd given her more than space, he'd given her no commitments to fulfill. Somehow, he didn't think she was there for him. "You sure it wasn't a mistake? Maybe she's just helping on the supply run."
"No mistake, Anders. She's playing cards down in the galley."
Well, that was nothing new. Kara liked her vices, and Sam hadn't ever seen a reason to dissuade her. Besides, he liked drinking and cards, too. He shrugged and finished folding the sheet. There were forty more, at least, and then another two piles to go through before his shift would be over.
"Don't, Barolay." He snapped, not looking at her.
She was silent for a moment, then made a frustrated sound and left him there to his sheets. Good. Sam shook a sheet with extra force, snapping it in the non-existent wind. He glared at it, ignoring the sudden sting in his eyes. He didn't want or need Barolay's commentary on his failed marriage.
Kara saw Barolay while she was raking in her winnings. Those around the table were starting to look a little less than pleased with her winning streak, so, eyes on the redhead disappearing out the door, Kara scooped up most of her stack and stood up.
"You can all try winning it back from me next time," grinning madly around her cigar, she turned down their offer to let 'em win it back now.
Exchanging a few hand-slaps, Kara headed towards the door.
Barolay was waiting for her in the hall.
"Gonna hit me?" Kara asked her, tone taunting.
"And give you the satisfaction?" Snorting, Barolay crossed her arms. "What the frak are you doing here, Thrace?"
"Slumming," replied Kara cheerfully. She leaned closer, "Where is he, Barolay? Or do I gotta," Kara tilted her head to the side, "search the whole ship?"
"You'd enjoy it, wouldn't you? Destroying the routines of this ship, wrecking the lives of anyone you come in contact with." The anger in Barolay's voice could have peeled paint.
Kara didn't care what Barolay thought of her. She rolled her eyes, "Dramatic."
"But accurate." Barolay snapped back.
"I don't have to listen to this."
"Yeah?" Moving up into her face, Barolay smirked, "Why not? What makes you so special, Kara Thrace, that you don't have to hear about the shit you do?"
"Feeling like judge, jury and executioner again, Barolay?" hissed Kara.
Jean's mouth twisted, but she didn't hit Kara, and she didn't back down. "That the best you got, Starbuck?"
"Yeah. Guess it is."
"If I find him in pieces, I'm going to follow and space you, pilot or not."
Kara felt a flash of irritation, then she shrugged. She guessed Barolay had a right to be pissed if she tore Sam apart. "I prefer him in one piece. Trust me." Licking her lips just made her itch more to get her hands on him.
"Three halls over, one deck down."
"Hey, Sammy. Miss me?"
He blinked. He wasn't really surprised to see Kara was leaning in the doorway, watching him like she wanted to eat him from the inside out. She wasn't brittle, ready to shatter into a thousand pieces. He wondered how he'd read her so wrong--or if he'd ever read her right at all. "Kara."
"Mmm." She swayed her hips as she walked towards him, eyes taking in the neat stacks of laundry. "Domestic. I see they're putting your skills to good use."
"It's something to do." He narrowed his eyes, studying the predatory way she was watching him. "What do you want?"
She took the cigar from her mouth and fiddled with it a moment before she looked back at him, "Well, Sammy, what do I normally want from you?"
"No idea." He folded another towel. "Why don't you pitch in and help me, then?"
"Laundry is not what I came here for."
Sam shrugged, tossing a towel at her, "So fold anyway."
"What if I don't want to?"
"Then you can stand and watch." Sam nodded to the last pile, "I've got this left to deal with."
Kara was clearly not expecting his response. She stood and watched him for a minute before joining him. Her folds weren't as neat as his, but that wasn't the point, really. Sam didn't say a damned thing as they worked their way through the pile. A fleet of over thirty-thousand people produces rather a lot of laundry. Some days, there were piles of towels and sheets so high you could bury an army of Cylons.
Helping him with the last sheet, Kara moved closer.
They finished it and Sam slapped it onto the piled table and then looked at her. "What do you want, Kara?"
"I can't just want to see you?" She shrugged, "Fine. Whatever." She turned and headed for the hatch.
Gods. He should do something to stop her. He didn't know what to say, except, "Kara, wait--"
She turned, hand on the hatch and looked at him. "Wait for what, Sammy? For you to decide you want me again? Maybe it doesn't work like that."
Moving, Sam took her face in his hands, "I never stopped--" he bent, kissing her.
Kara's hand grabbed his collar, dragging at it, and he was shocked by the heat that sprang between them. They'd always had passion, but this was different--maybe this was simply distance and time. "Sam--" she broke off, mouth bruising his as she pressed up on her toes.
He was going to say something, but he lost his train of thought when her hand went down his pants. Staggering away from the door, they pulled at each other, hands finding buttons and zippers and skin, until Sam lifted her onto one of the empty counters, dragged her pants amd underwear off and thrust into her. Kara's nails dug into his back, and he knew there'd be marks the next time he showered and didn't care.
It was fast, but he still had the presence of mind to make her climax, before she dragged him with her.
Afterwards, he sagged, leaning against her and pressing her back against the wall, and not really caring if she felt trapped. For the moment, he didn't have anything to do except breathe. He could taste her at the back of his throat, something he hadn't ever expected to taste again.
Kara came back to herself in a rush, her fingers gripping Sam's shoulders. She sucked in a breath and let it out, feeling pleasantly sore. "Mmm." She said, not really up to talking again yet. If she talked at all. Her fingers stroked through the hairs on the back of his neck as she shifted a little. That had been way better than that stupid marine.
Maybe in five seconds, her self-preservation reflex would kick in and she'd shove him away.
Her ass was rather stuck to the countertop, though.
Sam's mouth brushed down her neck, where he sucked hard on a spot. Kara would have objected to him marking her, but she didn't much care who knew she was frakking someone. And, frak, but he was her husband.
His hands roamed her sides before coming up to her breasts, gently teasing and brushing over her nipples. Since he'd kinda neglected to do anything with her breasts when they were frantic, a few minutes before, Kara purred softly in approval, arching up when he dropped his mouth to suck one hardening nipple into his mouth.
When he slipped his hand between her legs, Kara started laughing, her own hands tugging at his head, "Oh, Sammy. Trying to make up for being inadequate?"
"Don't think I was." He replied, voice muffled by her skin.
"Mmm." Kara wriggled against him, enjoying the post-orgasm sensitivity. "You were just fine, baby." Her skin no longer itched and pulled. For just an instant, she could believe things were normal. That four months of captivity hadn't happened. The thought itself made her tense.
"This was fun," she said, pushing at his shoulders and letting him help her off the counter when he pulled free of her, his eyes a little wary. Her pants and underwear were a tangled mess around one leg, and she kicked them off to straighten them out while Sam watched, silent.
"Just fun, then."
"Yeah. Just fun." Kara concentrated on dressing, finding her shirts half-draped over one of the pristine stacks of sheets. Getting dressed and getting out of there sounded like a plan. Before Sam tried to talk, or said something to piss her off (or said something to make her want to stay, but she wasn't going to consider that).
"Don't make this more than it is, Sam."
"What is it, then?"
"Sex." She shot a look at him and regretted it. Tightening her lips, she yanked at the laces on her boots.
He was waiting for her when she stood, pants zipped up, but his shirt gone, "Kara, don't--"
"Don't, what, Sam? Walk away?" Her voice suddenly thick with an emotion she didn't want to name, she met his eyes, "I can't--this is all I have right now, Sam. I can't handle more." She clamped her lips closed on the urge to apologize. Starbuck did not frakking apologize. Not to anyone.
"All right." He didn't try to touch her, "All right. I can be patient, Kara."
Patience would get him nowhere, but she didn't tell him that, instead turning away and heading for the hatch. "I'll--" her voice caught, but she steadied it, "I'll see you later, Sam."
"Good hunting, Kara."
She flinched before she yanked open the hatch and left.
Kara hopped the next raptor back to Galactica after sitting in the damned cargo hold for far too long. Once there, she made her slow way to Lee's office. Unsurprisingly, he was still there, bent over his paperwork. For a moment, she watched him, taking in the exhaustion lining his face. Then she cleared her throat and stuck her cigar in her mouth.
For a moment, before he realized it was her, the Lee who looked up at her was her old friend. Then his eyes hardened. "Starbuck."
"Hey, Lee." Airily, she waved at him, "I did as I was told and now I'm all better. Can I fly again now?"
"And what about the next time?" he asked, his voice cool.
"There won't be a next time."
"Look--" Kara crossed her arms, "I won't brawl with the marines," probably, "just put me back in the cockpit, Lee. You need me, and you know it."
He rubbed a hand over his face and then nodded. "Fine. You're back on CAP tomorrow. Don't be late."
Grinning again, Kara bounced on her toes, "Don't worry, Apollo. I'm never late." Walking out the hatch before he could say something to piss her off, Kara made a mental note. If her skin started itching again, she would call Sam. He was her frakking husband, after all.