disclaimer: not mine. they might be a bit off from canon, though.
set: 4.4 (escape velocity)
pairing: Kara Thrace/Sam Anders
genre: fluff, angst, missing scene
length: 1700+ - rating: pg13, language (I can't help it)
notes: I wanted fluff. I got this instead. Title from the entirely angstily appropriate 'The Only Thing' by Stabbing Westward

the air I breathe by ALC Punk!

She was cute.

OK, so, calling Kara Thrace cute to her face was probably a bad plan. And it was possibly something Sam wasn't even allowed to think, in conjunction with his wife.

But she was.

Even passed out from exhaustion, covered in sweat and grime and smelling like she hadn't showed in days, Kara was, not to put to fine a point on it, cute. Sam rubbed a hand over his face, and wondered if he was cracking up from the whole being a Cylon thing or if it was the heat.

Maybe he was. Shit, he was almost as tired as Kara, if his brain was falling apart like this. Helo had sent him to check on her after she'd thrown a can of paint at Seelix earlier in the day. Stepping over the now-dry spill, he'd wondered if she were more pissed about her lack of direction or because Sam was still on board. Probably the former. He didn't want to consider the latter. Not with his head still occasionally ringing with music that wasn't there.

It was hard to decide what he believed anymore--and after the last time they'd talked, Sam wasn't exactly sure Kara believed in anything, either. But Sam was sure about one thing: he loved her. It was scary and simple and a part of him he couldn't stop. And maybe it was the part of him that was trying to cling to being a real person.

Kara shifted, mumbling, the sound breaking him from his thoughts.

Grateful, Sam moved around the table, jostling her shoulder, "C'mon, Kara. Wake up so I can put you to bed."

"Mmf." Was the intelligent reply.

Grinning tiredly, Sam leaned down and pulled her up, sliding his shoulder under her arm and hoisting her to her feet. "Lazy," he muttered as he dragged her towards the (luckily) empty rack.

Kara came awake, just a little, and tried to help him.

He was pretty sure she was calling him names, questioning his parentage and ragging on his choice of deodorants, but since he couldn't really hear her, he let it pass. After all, she wasn't threatening to shoot him.

Maneuvering her onto the bed, he got her legs up and bent to pull her boots off. A whiff of her feet made him whistle softly, but he shrugged. Sleep first, then shower. When neither of them would fall over. "C'mon, babe," he murmured, rolling her further onto the mattress and bending to brush her hair back from her face.

"No..." she mumbled, coming awake a little more. "Sam?"

"Hey." Undecided, he stayed perched on the edge, "You need to rest, Kara."

She pushed up, wincing as her cramped neck protested, "No, I gotta plot the next jump--"

"No, you gotta sleep." He pushed down on her shoulder, keeping her from getting up. "Kara, you're a walking zombie. Just sleep for a little, OK?"

"Can't." Her tongue darted out and she looked away, "Can't sleep. The dreams..."

Pulling back, Sam bent and untied his boots. "I don't know if I can help with dreams." He shot her a glance, pleased that she hadn't struggled the rest of the way out of the bed. Sitting on the edge, he pulled off his boots and then rolled onto his side, pressing up against her. "But I can keep you from getting up again."

"Romantic, Sammy," she mumbled, dropping back flat.

"I try."

There was space between them, but Sam wasn't going to push them. Especially her. He knew, at some point, he was going to have a massive freak-out about all of this. And Kara... he wasn't certain he wanted to know what her response to his new status would be.

"Can't sleep," Kara muttered, wriggling closer.

Sam shifted a little closer, too. "Y'can do it. Count vipers."

"Mmf."

Grinning a little, he wriggled closer, slipping his head close enough to bury his nose in her shoulder. "You need a shower, Mrs. Anders," he mumbled sleepily.

"Frak you," she replied without any heat.

"You'll fall asleep in the middle," he pointed out.

Kara made a disgusted noise and shoved at him, "Will not. You're the idiot who can't frakking get it up after ten days without sleep."

Not opening his eyes, he knew she was half-smiling. He let his lips stretch into a grin, brushing up against her shoulder. "That's cupcake to you, babe."

A snicker escaped her, followed by half-choked giggles, and she rolled ont her side, wrapping her arm over his head and neck. "Oh, Sammy," she sighed, settling down, her voice slurring, "What am I going to do with you?"

He could totally think of a very large number of things she could do, most of them pornographic. Almost all required them to both be awake, so he didn't answer. Besides, he was sleepy, and so was she. And if there were nightmares, well, they'd been there and done that. And maybe just him being there would be enough. He hoped so, because he really wanted to be able to let her know she was adorable when she drooled on her maps.


Sam had been asleep almost instantly, but Kara couldn't sleep. It was frustrating. She could feel the exhaustion edging her vision, turning everything just a little fuzzy and grey. It was worse than the five days they'd spent awake, jumping every thirty-three minutes. All she wanted to do was relax just a little more and let Sam's breathing soothe her into sleep. To feel a little bit of the love he felt for her seep into her veins. Maybe it would give her some sort of comfort.

Instead, all she could feel was Earth. The pull of it was a constant ache in her bones, gnawing away at her nerves until she wanted to scratch her skin free and dig in, deep.

Gods. If someone had asked her if she wanted to be some frakking prophet, to know the location of Earth and lead everyone there, she would have said no. She would have run until there was no breath left in her lungs (cigarettes cause cancer, mama). But she didn't have a choice. She'd never had a choice.

Unable to sleep, Kara carefully pulled free of Sam's grasp and climbed over him.

Once standing, she swayed with her exhaustion. The sensation of floating was beginning to get stronger, though the gnaw in her gut grounded her almost enough to keep it at bay.

She still didn't notice Sam's boots until she was falling, her feet tangled in them.

Hitting the deck chin-first, she bit her lip, the taste of blood warm and coppery in her mouth as she tried to get her arms to work, tried to get to her feet.

"Shit," she cursed, shoving at the decking and finally getting to her knees.

Gods. Why was she doing this to herself? Answer: Earth. She'd been there, she'd tasted the rain on her tongue and felt the grass between her toes, the breeze so sweet she still ached with the loss of it. Kara closed her eyes and bit back the feeling that she was a failure. If she was a failure, Roslin was right and they would never see Earth. So she couldn't be a failure, right?

It was hard to feel comfort that the old man had given her a ship that smelled like shit.

"Kara?"

Sam. Trying not to laugh, she reached up and rubbed at her eyes, "I'm ok, just--"

His bare feet made slapping noises as he got up.

Why did he have to love her? Kara closed her eyes, wishing he would just go away before she hurt him again. She would, she knew it. She was too tired to even muster a semblance of cruelty, but it was there, waiting. The feeling frightened her a little and she wondered if she truly loved him at all or if her words had been right.

Convenient Sam. She shivered a little, missing the transition from him standing to him kneeling, one hand on her shoulder.

"Hey. Come back to bed, Kara."

So convenient he wouldn't go away when she didn't want him there. She swallowed. Frak. She was too tired to deal with this, too tired to think--and Earth was still pulling at her bones. "Can't sleep."

"Yes you can."

Wanting to cry with frustration, Kara slammed a fist into the decking and then winced, curling around the now-scraped knuckles. "Sam, just. Stop, all right?"

He shifted closer, arm sliding around her waist and just knelt there, close enough that she could feel him breathing, but not pushing. He was getting smarter about when he could push and when he couldn't. Kara closed her eyes and let herself relax back against him, one hand coming up to slide their fingers together.

I didn't mean it. You weren't convenient or safe, Sam. I'm sorry you're married to a head case who will never know which way is up. But the words wouldn't come, and the thoughts behind them shifted and swirled, tugged under by the smell of fresh rain. Starbuck never apologized, never explained herself. Kara tilted her head back against his shoulder and blew out a breath. "I don't think I can move, Sam."

The admission made her feel worse than before. She had always hated being weak.

He didn't reply with words, shifting to stand with his muscles making popping noises. Kara wondered how long they'd been kneeling, but didn't think she wanted to know. Once he was standing, he pulled her up and kept her from falling.

"Bed, please," she mumbled, suddenly ready to fall over and pass out.

Two steps and she did fall, sliding down onto the mattress and shoving the sheet out of her way as she wriggled towards the middle. Sam followed her down, mumbling about idiots, his fingers brushing up against her swollen and bruised lip.

Kara winced. She'd forgotten the pain in all the emotional chaos. Testing it, she decided it wouldn't scar. Barely awake, she grabbed Sam's hand, tangling their fingers again as he settled against her back. Mustering a last bit of energy, she whispered, the words slurred due to her lip, "'night, Cupcake."

The fingers around hers tightened, and a breath of air tickled the back of her neck. "I love you."

It wasn't enough to wake her, just enough to send the alarm, following her down into sleep and uneasy dreams. Don't love me, don't love me, don't love me...

-f-