disclaimer: not mine
rating: PG13, sexual innuendo, near-naked people.
pairing: Kara Thrace/Sam Anders
set: Demetrius arc
length: 2100+
notes: happy birthday, lizardbeth_j! This was started a while back when someone prompted me with Sam doing naked tai chi...

loss of tension
by ALC Punk!

"Frak." Kara threw down her pen and rubbed a hand over her face. This was getting her nowhere, it was getting this stupid ship nowhere, and the feeling in the pit of her stomach wasn't doing anything except just being there. She could feel Earth, she just couldn't get there. Could barely concentrate enough draw a straight line on the frakking star chart, plotting their next jump, either.

Casting a glance around the large quarters of the captain's cabin, her eye was caught by the half-finished painting. Maybe that would help. Getting her fingers slick with paint, slapping color down until she wasn't thinking anymore--

There would be a sort of mindlessness to it.

A scrape came from the hatch to her quarters, and Kara looked over to find Sam stepping over the threshold, like she'd said he could come in. Shaking her head, she grabbed for another map, not planning on having a conversation with him at all, if she could help it.

"Found the way to Earth yet?"

Not the most promising of conversational starts, but Kara figured he'd decided it was his turn to be an asshole. She shrugged, "Oh, yeah, I'm just makin' us go in circles 'cause it's fun."

"Maybe you should stop." He made a strange sound and then moved, leaning over her to stare down at the map.

He was just brushing the back of her chair, but she could still feel the heat coming off of his body, and smell the sweat on his skin. Gods. She closed her eyes and tried to ignore the reaction. Of course, with her eyes closed, the sensory impressions were even more acute. "Maybe you should all shut the frak up."

"Gaeta says he's not jumping us again until you get a better idea where we're goin'."

"I got a mutiny on my hands now?"


Kara shoved her chair back, missing him by inches as he moved out of the way. She was frustrated and angry as she looked up at him, "Don't give me bullshit, Sam."

He looked away, then back at her, his eyes serious, "I don't know, Kara. Maybe. Most of them--most don't know what the frak to think. And we're all a little tired of going in circles because you can't get a fix on whatever this is."

"So, what, I should pick someone to shoot? Make an example of what happens if people question me?"

"No. Y'know," he shook his head, "I don't know why the frak I thought I'd come up here. You obviously don't need anyone's advice on how to lead people."

"From you?" A derisive laugh escaped her, "You learned your skills from the movies, Sam. I don't see that helping me any here."

"Is it time to prove who has the bigger dick, Kara? I'm not sure you can whip yours out as easily."

Kara stared at him in shock for a moment before she began laughing, leaning against the table as her whole body convulsed with the movement. Gods. It wasn't funny. It so wasn't funny, but she hadn't laughed like this in forever and she couldn't help it.

Dimly, she noticed him moving away and figured he was leaving her, given that she was acting like a crazy person. A part of her wanted to laugh harder at that, wondering if he knew she'd always been insane.

This was just another side of her madness.

When the hatch clanged shut, she turned back to the charts, reaching out for one that she hadn't unrolled in a while.

Sam grabbed it, reaching around her, body suddenly just there, pressed up against her back. Gods, he was warm. "You need a break, Kara."

"What the frak would you know?" She snapped, yanking the chart free and turning to glare up at him.

"I know you're lost. I know you can't think straight with all the interference in your head--" He backed away from her, eyes serious. "C'mon, Kara. What was it you said last time: fight or frak?"

"You're everyone's sacrificial lamb? Sent to frak me into sanity, Sammy?"

He snorted, "I'm a better option than Gaeta, Narcho or Seelix, Kara." He leaned down into her personal space, and grinned, the look not quite reaching his eyes, though he wasn't pissed. "Or we could try something else to get you focused."

"Like what?" Itching to shove him away, Kara didn't, unwilling to let him know he was actually getting to her.

"Something Hilliard used to make us all do--" Sam's voice was muffled a little bit as he pulled his shirts off, "--when we were having trouble as a team. It's some martial art he picked up on Leonis, according to Barolay."

Blinking as he moved to drop the shirt on her bed and started taking off his boots, Kara hazarded a guess, "You all had an orgy?"

He laughed, "Nah. It's... It's stretching and movement. A balance of body, mind and spirit--" he shrugged a little, "I wasn't all that great at the whole balancing part, but I got the movement part." Dumping his boots and socks, he started on his pants.

Kara decided he was insane, and leaned her hip on the table, watching the show. It wasn't like Sam was hard on the eyes, after all. "Uh-huh. And it requires being naked, huh, Sammy?"

"We usually stopped at shorts," he said, looking a little self-conscious for an instant as he stood with his pants around his ankles. He snapped the elastic on his boxer-briefs and grinned at her, "I'll protect your delicate sensibilities and keep these on."

Gods. What the frak was she doing, listening to him? Kara shook her head, wondering why she wasn't kicking him out so she could work on her next navigational point. Though she had to admit he was distracting her. Possibly even in a good way. "That's so kind, really." Standing, she turned away from him and bent over the maps again. "You, uh, do whatever you want."

Sam didn't reply, and for several minutes, the only sound in the room was the movement of him behind her and their combined breathing.

Taking the occasional glance over her shoulder at him was not a problem, Kara firmly told herself. Even if she just wanted him gone. The buzzing in her head from the interference was getting worse, though. As if his presence was exacerbating it. Clenching her hand into a fist, Kara felt her amusement flow away, leaving behind just the anger again. Shit. She should have shoved him out, or onto the bed. At least after sex, she felt like she was closer to where she should be.

Frak. Kara threw down her pencil again and turned, growling, "Sam."

He blinked at her, eyes distant for a moment, body moving in some complicated way that wasn't entirely rhythmic. The movements slowed, and Kara could see the fine sheen glistening on his arms and shoulders. She refused to look down at his chest, but knew if she leaned over and licked a line from his neck to his navel she'd taste the salt of his sweat.


She swallowed. "Does it really make you concentrate?"

"Not... concentrate, more..." he frowned, as though he wasn't sure how to put it into words. "You're thinking about the next movement, and the one after, and how you're flowing into them. You're not thinking about anything else."

"Did it really help the Bucs? Or was it the reason you all sucked so bad?"

He laughed, "Hard to say. Sometimes it did. Sometimes it didn't."

"Gods." Kara shoved both hands through her hair and stared at him, then snorted, "Fine. Show me how to do this."

For a moment, he was silent, looking at her. Then he nodded and straightened. "It helps if you're not wearing so much clothing," he suggested, though his tone wasn't helpful. It was more matter-of-fact than anything else.

Kara wondered if he was even thinking about her naked, then discarded the thought. Of course he was. Men were easy like that. She raised her eyebrows, "How naked do you want me, Sammy?"

"Bra, panties," he replied, tone still fairly neutral.

"Your mind, Sammy," Kara muttered before she pulled her tanks off and bent to kick off her boots.

"My mind is perfectly fine," was his comment.

Glancing up at him, feeling the heat of the cabin pressed against her skin, Kara was a little gratified to see that he wasn't entirely unaffected. The look in his eyes was pretty damned interested in following the curve of her spine.

Smirking a little, glad to find that the distraction was clearing her mind (at least a little), Kara straightened and unbuckled her belt. "Pants, next, right?"

"Yup." Sam turned away and paced a square of floor, bending to move papers and photographs out of his way until there was a mostly clear space for them to work in. "The first thing to do is start breathing right."

"In, out, Sam. It's not a hard concept."

He chuckled and stepped into the middle of the square. "Close your eyes and hold your arms out to the side. Breathe in, raise them. Breathe out, lower them."

Kara rolled her eyes, "This is stupid," she informed him.

"How do you know? You haven't even tried."

Like that was going to get her to behave. Nevertheless, she found herself shifting to echo his stance, legs spread and arms held loose at her sides. "Fine, fine. In, out." She demonstrated her (shocking) ability to raise and lower her arms as she breathed and was a little disturbed to find that the simple movements pulled at her muscles, almost settling her into place.

"You're ready for the first movement," Sam said.

Kara opened her eyes, surprised to discover she'd closed them. "Show me."

With a nod, he shifted, moving his arms and torso, contorting and swinging around. It wasn't graceful, it wasn't exactly attractive, but there was something magnetic about it. And he did it again, slower, before she had time to ask.

"Cute, Sammy. You should take this act on the road."

His grin flashed briefly before he raised his eyebrows, "Your turn."

"Oh, no--"

"C'mon," he coaxed, stepping towards her and catching her wrist. He tugged her towards him and slid around to stand behind her. "Like this." He took her other wrist, holding them loosely and shifting, moving, pressing up against her and directing her into an awkward version of the first movement.

"This isn't going to work," she muttered.

He released one of her wrists and brushed his fingers up her arm, "Breathe, Kara."

For some reason, she did, sucking in a breath and leaning with him. They breathed out together, and Kara snickered a little.


This time, he let her move on her own, only shifting his hands along her arms to tug her further over and around, pulling her up to settle back against his chest once they'd finished.

"Better," he murmured.

Kara stepped back into him further, and wiggled her ass against him. "Want somethin', baby?"

"Focus," he said, tone amused. His hands stroked down her sides to her waist and he pushed her forward again, "First movement again, then we mirror. Then we'll try the second."

Without bothering to answer, Kara moved again, feeling her muscles shift and pull. Her eyes half-closed as she returned to the standing position. Sam slipped around her again, standing far too close for her comfort. When he started the movement, she thought it would be fine. She was shifting, gliding--

And then one of them bumped the other, upsetting the careful balance, and Sam stepped to regain their equilibrium and Kara tried, too.

They both went down in a tangle of limbs and snickers. Kara landed on top, half on his chest, half on the floor. "Brilliant, Sammy. Now I have more bruises."

His hands stroked down her back, and he rolled, pulling her beneath him and smirking a little, "Yeah, but how's your head doing?"

Kara pushed up, brushing her lips along his cheek, "I dare you to frak me, Sam." Then she snickered and shoved, unbalancing him and pulling free to scramble to her feet. "Just as soon as I finish working on this last set of coordinates."

From his position on the floor, Sam grinned, "I think I can wait."

Looking back at him, Kara opened her mouth to say something flippant. But there was something in his eyes that stole her breath and so she turned and picked up her pen, fingers and eyes following the lines and numbers on the star charts.

Just one more set of coordinates...

The pulse of Earth tugged at her mind, clear and mellow.