disclaimer: not mine
rating: PG, language, suggested violence
characters: Sam Anders, Kara Thrace -- ie, two married people who are also the pairing.
set: episode insert for 'Guess What's Coming to Dinner?'
notes: I have no commentary on the episode, yet. I am so tired of titles, it's not even funny.

void gives the lie to null; end of line
by ALC Punk!

Sam is so frakking tired, he can barely see straight. The ride on the raptor, the de-brief with Racetrack, the de-brief with the Admiral, half a dozen other conversations, they're all a blur. He can sort of figure out where he is just on account of the amount of pilots in the bunkroom. And he can find his rack blind-drunk, so finding it dead-tired is a snap.

An old nursery rhyme floats through his muddled brain when he tugs back the curtain and finds the bed occupied.

But Kara's no innocent, and Sam has never thought of himself as a bear. She's still in her tanks and flight suit, one boot half-off. Like she was starting to undress and fell asleep before she could finish. Sam's pretty sure he should feel surprised, but he doesn't have the energy.

Nudging her leg wakes her and she stretches a little, staring up at him, "Sam?"

"My rack," he says. It's obvious, and stupid, but it's all he's got right now. He tries for something else and can't find anything but the stench of sweat, blood and fear. It still hangs on both of them, after the last day. Days. Gods. He can't remember when he last slept.

Kara makes a non-committal noise and stands, grabbing his arm to steady herself once she's upright. She leans in and wrinkles her nose, "When's the last time you had a bath, soldier?"

"Can't recall, Captain," he replies, letting his hand cup her elbow. He's just steadying her. Really.

It's not like he wants desperately to move closer. To lean in against her and close his eyes and pretend the last frakking day, months, year haven't happened.

He keeps telling himself that, anyway.

"Sam." She stops, forehead bumping against his shoulder. "If I'm sharing a rack with you, you're taking a shower first."

"You're not so flowery yourself, Captain," he mumbles, clinging to the comfort of old mockery.

They don't need to talk to push away from each other. Kara raids the stash of soap at the foot of his bed and he grabs towels and clean clothing. Kara's stuff was mostly sold off, but she shows no compunction in raiding 'Track's tanks and they stop on the way to get underthings and pants from the quartermaster.

At this time of the night (day?), the head is mostly empty. Kara barely pauses to strip her things off before wandering down to the end. Sam follows her and closes his eyes against the hot water that pounds down on both of them. They can both just barely stay on their feet, and Sam half-pays attention to the fact that the skin he's soaping isn't his.

But he's too frakking tired to have more than a passing interest in this pertinent fact. Hell, even when he ducks and staggers, catching himself with his arm against the wall, catching her between them, his body ignores her.

She laughs, a strange sound after all the silence, and nudges his hip. "Nice to know something can stop you in your tracks."

With a yawn that cracks his back and neck, Sam offers up his only explanation before moving back under the water and rinsing off. When Kara joins him, he lets her crowd him out of the spray, content to just stand there, waiting for her to turn the water off.

Getting dry isn't really worth the effort, but they attempt it anyway. Sam covers her head in a towel and briskly rubs, causing her to emit a sound that could be considered a squeak. She retaliates by hitting his side with her towel, not that there's much force in it. With only a little more shoving and groping, they get dry enough to pull on their clothing.

Sam had forgotten how refreshing being clean is. He actually feels more alert as he and Kara make their way back to the bunkroom. The dirty clothes get shoved in the laundry, and then it's awkward. Sam looks at her, uncertain that she's staying. Sure, she'd said so before, but now they were clean.

With a disinterest that Sam's pretty sure is fake, Kara sits down on the edge of his rack. "They haven't assigned me a bunk yet."

Carefully, Sam sets his boots next to his locker, then looks at her, "I snore."

"Yeah," she whispers, tugging the blankets into a semblance of order before climbing beneath them and wriggling to the back of the rack. "You do."

There's no paint cans to move, no brushes to stick him at odd moments. It's almost normal. And Sam decides that's ok. For the next four hours (if they sleep that long), he's going to pretend that the last forty-eight haven't happened. He's about to climb in after her when he stops. Gaeta. He was going to check on him, find out if he was losing the leg or not.

Sleep drags at him. So does guilt. With a sigh, he moves back to his locker, pulling his boots on, "I need to check on one more thing."

Kara is silent for a moment, then she joins him, her feet bare. "I'll come with you." It's not like she can say anything--even if her words wouldn't be reassuring. Letting anything approaching the truth slip free would eventually get back to the Admiral.

"You don't have to." He doesn't deserve her being there, giving him comfort for something he shouldn't receive comfort for. He shot a man, destroyed his life in an instant, and he doesn't even have to deal with the consequences. For an instant, Sam wishes they'd thrown him in the brig.

Her hand bumps his arm, fingers closing on his wrist a moment later, "I won't sleep."

They're both silent as they make their way to the infirmary. The smell of blood and antiseptic chokes the back of his throat and Sam starts breathing shallowly through his mouth. Following the bustle, he and Kara move between the beds and orderlies until they have a clear view of the operating theater. Crossing his arms over his chest, Sam slips closer, leaving Kara on the edge. The whine of the saw turns his stomach even worse and when the blade (he can see it, and the skin it's going to cut) begins to move downwards, he has to look away.

He's seen so much blood and pain, he's not sure he can handle more.

From her vantage point, Kara watches him, her eyes distant. There's no condemnation there and he wishes there were.

Maybe if she hated him a little for what he'd done--but she never had time to. There was the baseship, Barolay, the Six, the Hybrid, the Eight...Earth. It had all happened too fast for any one emotion to get hold of her. Or him.

Swallowing his guilt, he looks back, in time to watch Cottle finish his work.

Maybe he's not so tired anymore. Turning away, he walks past Kara, not really seeing her anymore. Gods. It had seemed like the right choice to make, then. Get their attention, stop it before they lost their chance--

Now there was blood and guilt to deal with. Recrimination that he couldn't even absolve himself of with a stay in the brig or a firing squad (not that he wanted to die, though he was wondering if he could--would he just come back again, somewhere in a tangle of wires and memories?).

Sam finds himself back at his rack, some of the pilots awake and moving around, laughing and joking, doing paperwork. It's so frakking normal, he almost leaves.

"Get in," Kara mutters, bumping into him and yawning when her head tips back so she can glare at him.

He's already half-asleep when she joins him, bare feet pressing back against his legs. Sam can't even complain about the ice-cold skin.

There's a little bit of shifting until they're both comfortable. Kara's got two-thirds of the rack, sprawled every which way, her back up against Sam's chest. It's something he got used to, on New Caprica. She liked having the bed to herself, he was just an extra-warm blanket of convenience.

With his brain still filled with images of Gaeta and the sound of bullets, sleep finally drags him down, tumbling him into dreams of heat and loss.