Dislcaimer: Not mine.
Rating: er... PG13? A little violence, some sex, some flirting, some het, some language.
Fandoms: newBattlestar Galactica, Torchwood, Stargate: SG-1 (sort of), Doctor Who
Pairings: Captain Jack Harkness/Everyone, Kara Thrace/Sam Anders, Tory Foster/Sam Anders.
Spoilers/Set: For BSG: post-Crossroads (picking up immediately after the fade to black), for TW: post-series one (handwaving certain aspects), for SG-1: er... after season six/referencing eight, for DW: mostly oldskool refs.
Notes: This went places I wasn't expecting, and now I have a whole new universe to play in and hash out the What Went Befores. (I mean, I know some of it, but there's other bits that I'm just not certain of) Knowledge of SG-1 isn't required, though if you know the show, it could be confusing.
Length: 12,000+ words

Unexpected Blue Skies
by ALC Punk!

They had thrown him into the cockpit with only the bare minimum of instruction--Sam Anders was a little surprised he hadn't been killed getting flung from the tube. But once in the free-fall of space, he'd found it easier. He'd always had a good spatial sense for who was where, which meant that he grabbed onto the tail of his leader, and hung on there grimly until a Cylon heavy raider blew him to frak thirty seconds into the engagement.

Diving after the frakker, he fired, trying to keep it away from the ships of the fleet. Around him, he could hear the wireless chatter as the other pilots fought what sounded like a losing battle against the Cylons.

Twisting his viper under a ship, he rolled with the heavy raider, a little scared at how natural flying felt. He'd never tried it before, and after the recent little revelation of what he was (not who, because, frak it, he was Sam Anders, and he'd defend the people he loved first before he adhered to some shallow concept of race), he wondered if that had something to do with it.

While he watched, the raider flipped and pointed itself at him, red light splashing over Sam's viper.

He sucked in a breath, waiting to see if it could take down his guidance systems. When it didn't, he fired, actually hitting it, this time.

The raider flipped again and dove further into the nebula. Sam stuck to it, weaving between ships and clouds with an ease he'd never anticipated. The clouds suddenly went red, then shifted into a dense grey and up ahead the raider disappeared.

Sam was jarred backwards as his viper bucked from some sort of turbulence--he cast a wild glance around, trying to see whether he was being shot at or not--

"Galactica, Longshot, I've lost the heavy raider, has anyone else got it in their sights?" Boy, had he. The thing had just vanished. The viper shuddered again and Sam wondered if it was his imagination that made it seem as though it was falling. There shouldn't be anything to make it fall, no planets, no moons, just the nebula.

As abruptly as he'd hit them, the grey clouds cleared, and he stared in shock as he continued to drop like a rock through atmosphere.

There was a city, far below, and a planet. And water--but he shoved those brief impressions aside and grabbed for the stick, yanking on it as he tried to slow his descent.

Gravity had suddenly become a problem.

"Galactica, Longshot. Do you read me? There's a frakking planet, here. I repeat, there's a--" he swore and broke off to concentrate on not dying abruptly.

Static was the only answer he was getting anyway.

Frak. He wasn't sure he could get back out of atmosphere--at least not without landing to get his bearings. For an instant, he considered ejecting, but then he figured he'd wait until his viper was incapacitated. It lurched, then jerked into a semblance of a stable flight, skimming the air instead of falling through it.

'Track's recent joke about meat pancakes would not be coming true, just yet.

Unless he tried to land, anyway. Landing in zero gravity, Sam could probably do. Landing on a planet, when there was gravity to compensate for might see him getting scraped off the blacktop for a while.

Now that he wasn't falling, though, he could gaze down at the scenery a little better. Definitely a city, with smaller, outlying cities and towns in the distance. This one looked about the size of Delphi. Trying his radio again, he said, his voice strangely quiet, "Galactica, I don't know if you're getting this--"

The relay shrieked with static and feedback and then a voice came back to him, replacing the cacophony of sound, "They're probably not. This is Captain Jack Harkness with Torchwood, and you're flying in restricted airspace, over."

Shit. Frak. "I apologize, that wasn't my intention, over."

"We need you to land, over."

Ah. Double frak. "Listen, this is Lieutenant Sam Anders, Captain, and that might be a little bit of a problem. I'm a bit new at this, and I am... a bit shaky on my landings, over."

"A bit?"

When the silence had stretched, Sam coughed, realizing they hadn't bothered with the over, that time. He hated the stupid military callbacks, anyway. "Yeah, to be honest, I've never actually landed in atmosphere, over." He probably shouldn't be sharing that information--he should probably be trying to fly the hell back up and out of the atmosphere. But this was a planet, for frak's sake. Being paranoid about them could wait until he wasn't smashing into the pavement.

Besides. He was the one intruding on their airspace. And if he could just pinch himself awake from this frakking nightmare, he'd be happy.

"That could be a problem. Why don't we tackle it once you're at the airstrip?" The Captain replied, adding after a moment, "I'm going to put Toshiko Sato on, to make sure we can get you to the right coordinates, over."

Coordinates. Sam suddenly remembered there were instruments on his viper, and eyed them, trying to remember what 'Track had said about them. "Yeah," he replied, "Go ahead, over."

It took nearly twenty minutes for he and Toshiko ("just call me Tosh") to sort through a workable conversion table for his coordinate system to theirs. Once the mathematics were computed out, Tosh directed him to the airstrip fairly accurately.

Of course, in Sam's favor, the landing strip was pretty visible from the sky, the strip of grey showing like an old scar against the landscape of roads, trees and houses.

"Right, ok. I know where to land," Sam muttered, eying it. "But actually landing..." He hadn't really been talking to anyone but himself, but he was glad that Jack replied a moment later.

"I'm going to talk you through it, Sam. Do you trust me? Over."

Did he trust a man he'd never met, from a planet whose name he didn't know, while falling from the sky and being completely and utterly lost? Sam barked a laugh, then replied, "Yeah. I trust you. Go ahead, over."

Sam listened to Jack, with the sweat dripping into his eyes and a combination of cold fear and sheer exhilaration churning in his gut. He was loving flying, he just wasn't loving the stopping side of things. There was a brief moment of panic as he circled the last time through and the landing gear didn't want to deploy. Then they did, and he was gliding down, pulling back on the stick at the right moment and bouncing against the deck.

Brakes. He needed his brakes to stop. Stomping the pedal caused the inertia of the viper to cut down, but he was still moving forward and the kinetic energy threw him against his restraints.

Ow.

The viper shuddered to a halt halfway down the long stretch. Sam sat in the cockpit, eyes closed, and felt the adrenaline pumping through his veins like a bad high. Gods...

"Hey," Jack said, "You ok in there?"

Sam took a breath, then opened his eyes and released it. "Yeah." He noticed one of the vehicles that had been on the airstrip pull to a stop. The doors opened, spilling a tall dark-haired man and a shorter dark-haired woman onto the blacktop. The man waved.

Now, Sam was paranoid. Now, he was beginning to regret landing. On the ground, they could shoot him, blow him up... well, they could have shot him out of the sky, too. "Going to shoot me?" He asked, unable to help himself.

"Nope. We just wanted to have a chat." Jack replied. The man waved again, and Sam made the connection that he was Jack.

Which seemed reasonable. Talk was cheap, but it had gotten more than a few treaties drawn up. Sam wanted to laugh at himself: what the frak was he thinking about treaties for? He was no frakking ambassador. Landing had seemed like a good option, though. Especially since he had no idea where he was and hadn't heard a thing from the Galactica. "All right."

Sam unbuckled his restraints and reached to release the canopy. He had a moment of wondering if this was all a hallucination, and if he'd die in the vacuum of space when he cracked the seal. He shrugged, though. Sometimes, you just had to trust in the Gods. He might not be speaking to them, right at the moment, but there was still some faith in him left.

Licking his lips, he hit the release. The seals opened with a hiss as the pressures equalized. Shoving the canopy back on its track, Sam paused before he pulled his helmet off and sucked in a breath.

Not dead yet. And not recycled air, either. Sam closed his eyes again and just breathed, taking in the smells. After months of flat, stale air, even the undertones of fuel and ozone were a nice bouquet.

"Gonna get out?" Jack asked, and this time, his voice wasn't piped through the radio.

"In a minute." Sam half-laughed, wondering what Kara would think of him now. The stab of pain that went through him at the thought of her was as painful as it always was. Trying to dull the pain with alcohol and mindless sex hadn't really worked.

He stood up, a little shaky after the hours in flight.

"You all right?" Tosh asked, her voice raised over the wind.

"Yeah," Sam said. It was a lie: his wife was dead, he was stuck on a planet he couldn't name, and he wasn't sure he wanted to go back. Shoving his thoughts into a box, he moved to the side and hoisted himself up and over, dropping to the ground easily. His boots took most of the shock and he straightened and shook himself before he held out a hand to the two people standing there. "Lt. Sam Anders from the twelve colonies. Where the frak am I?"

"I'm Captain Jack Harkness," the man introduced himself with an engaging smile as he took Sam's hand and held it a second too long. "Tosh, you've met--"

The woman standing next to him smiled, even as she stayed looking almost deadly serious.

"--and it's a little complicated."

"What's complicated about where I am?" Sam asked, shaking Tosh's hand.

"It's less where and more when--" Jack seemed to realize Sam still had no idea what planet he was actually on, and added, "And welcome to Earth, by the way."

Sam blinked. "Where?"

"Earth." Like it was a perfectly normal place to find oneself.

Sam wasn't conscious of pulling his side-arm until he was staring down the barrel at a spot perfectly between Jack's blue eyes. "No," he growled, "No. This is some sort of frakking Cylon trick, isn't it? Because Earth is a Gods-damned frakking myth--" and Kara's to find, according to a destiny he no longer believed in.

"Whoa--" Jack raised his hands, "Hey. Take it easy, Sam."

"You tell me this is Earth, and you want me to take it easy?"

"But it is Earth," Tosh pointed out, sounding surprised that he doubted it, "Where else would it be?"

"Not possible," Sam grated out. "I don't just fall onto Earth, by accident. For one thing, we're a long way away--"

"For another," interrupted Tosh, her expression worried, "You came through the rift. There's no telling what time you came from. Maybe you don't call this planet Earth, where you're from?"

"Twelve colonies," Jack said, snapping his fingers, as he recalled Sam's introduction. "You didn't just fall through time, you fell through space."

"Whatever the frak that means." Not dropping the barrel of his weapon, Sam stepped back, bumping into the viper. It was almost comforting to find it still there. "None of this makes any frakking sense. What the hell is the rift?"

"It's an anomaly in space and time," explained Tosh. She stepped towards Sam, "Are you going to shoot us?"

As though there was something incredibly ludicrous in the idea, and Sam realized that there was. He laughed, the sound cracking at the edges. "I don't know. Should I?" But he lowered the gun. They hadn't done this to him, probably. He couldn't be certain of anything, but standing here, pointing a gun at them was going to get him nowhere. "So. This is Earth, huh?"

"Yes." Tosh smiled in relief at him.

"Frakkin' Earth. I wasn't supposed to find it," he mumbled to himself. He sagged back against the viper.

"Sam?" Taking her life in her hands, Tosh stepped forward and touched his arm. "You'll have to give me the gun. All non-Earth weapons have to be checked before their owners can hang onto them."

He blinked at her, and then laughed a little, releasing the side-arm into her hands. His instincts were telling him he could trust her. "Don't break it. Colonel Tigh will read me the riot act." If he got back. If he ever saw the one-eyed Colonel again.

She studied it, then carefully poked the safety, "Is this on?"

"Yeah." He gestured, "That way, off, that way, on."

"Right." Tosh opened the case she was carrying and set the gun inside. "I'll just test this out, later, and get it back to you once it's passed its inspection."

"Thanks." Sam rolled his shoulders and then looked at Jack, "How does the rift work? And how do I get back? There are people counting on me. Or is this a one-way trip?" He finished, half-guessing that truth already.

Jack looked sad for a moment, then he moved and clapped his hand on Sam's shoulder, "The rift doesn't work like that. Let's go discuss this over tea."

"Alcohol would be better," Sam suggested.

"Once we've made sure we won't kill you with vodka, sure," Jack promised, grinning again.


They took him in the van to an office of some sort. Along the way, he watched the city as they passed through; it reminded him strongly of Delphi, especially the glimpses he caught of the less savory places. There'd been places in Delphi he hadn't liked going alone. He didn't share these observations with Tosh or Jack, and neither seemed inclined to ask him about his past and origins while they were driving.

Before leaving the airstrip, Jack had assured him that the viper would be placed in a hangar and kept safe, for which he was grateful. If it was the last thing he had of the colonies (not that he believed that), he wanted to be able to see it again.

Torchwood was underground, and Sam had the fleeting sense of the slabs of earth pressing down upon him, smothering him. He shook it off and nodded to Owen Harper and Gwen Cooper when they were introduced to him. Ianto Jones smiled as he handed him a cup of tea.

While he sipped at the sweet liquid, Dr. Harper poked and prodded him, listening to his heart and taking at least three blood samples. Sam was used to being poked, between drug tests as an athlete and the various check-ups from Cottle and his people while on Galactica, though he was a bit amused to discover someone with a worse bedside manner than Cottle.

"Jack," Gwen said, interrupting Jack's random conversation with Sam. That was fine with Sam, he couldn't concentrate on what Jack was saying, anyway.

Sam rubbed a hand over his face and half-listened while Gwen said something about readings Tosh had recorded, and how they coincided with other readings they'd taken of the rift before.

"Yes, I know--"

"No--Jack, listen," Gwen rattled the paper in her hand, "I was checking them against these--"

"Are those the readings from the night the Americans were testing their 'stealth' craft?" Tosh asked, moving to look around Jack's shoulder at Gwen's paper. "I was looking at those earlier."

"I know. You still had them up when the computer was recording the new readings," said Gwen, holding a second sheet of paper next to the first. "I wouldn't have noticed it, otherwise."

"Oh my god. Jack--" Tosh didn't wait for an order, she moved out of the pit, heading up to her bank of computers and monitors.

Sam shook his head, listening as she typed and chattered at Gwen, the words making little sense to him. He'd caught their reference to a singular god, but had already accepted this was Earth. One more difference wouldn't change that opinion--and he doubted the Cylons could pull off something this damned elaborate, anyway.

"It gets better," Owen said abruptly.

"I'm sorry?"

Owen shrugged and started putting away the blood pressure cuff, hands careful. "Loneliness. It gets better, or so I've been told."

A laugh escaped Sam, and he shrugged, "Yeah, I've heard that, too." Not wanting to talk about loneliness, dead wives, and losing everything he'd known (again), Sam changed the subject. "So. What do you people do here, anyway?"

"We catch aliens, as Gwen would say," Jack replied, having finished his conversation. He flashed a grin at Sam, then looked at Owen, "So, is he human?"

"As human as I can determine, without running his blood work."

The thought of his recent revelation made Sam almost open his mouth to tell them. But then, he decided to see if it were true--would he test as human, according to their rules, or would he test as something else? "According to my wife, I'm way too frakking human," he said, instead. The words registered after they'd left his mouth.

"You're married, then. I'm sorry." Touching his shoulder again, Jack gave him a sad look. In some way, he seemed to understand the loss Sam was feeling. "You probably won't ever see her again."

A crack of laughter escaped Sam, and he smiled, knowing it looked unpleasant, "Damn right I won't. She's dead."

The sadness in Jack's eyes shifted to something indefinable, "I think you could use some more tea. Ianto?"

"I'll put another pot on," offered Ianto, smiling above his suit like he didn't understand loss in any way, shape or form.

Sam shook Jack's hand off and stepped back. "I've put a lot of trust in you people, gave up my weapon, landed, let you poke me full of holes. How about some straight answers?"

"I try not to let little labels confine me," Jack replied cheerfully. "You're safe here, the rift can't be used to send you back, and we have just as many questions about you. What are the Cylons?"

"Robots."

"And the twelve colonies?"

"Exactly that. Twelve planets settled after the exodus from Kobol--" Sam shook his head, "History was never my strongest subject in school. Asking where we come from is definitely more a question to put to Laura Roslin."

Jack nodded, then shrugged, "You're not telling me much."

"I don't like being interrogated. Call it a failing."

"Who said this was an interrogation?"

Sam grinned, stepping towards Jack, "Normal conversations have a better flow, a give and a take to them."

"I like giving," offered Jack, eyes frankly amused as they watched Sam. "But in this case, we need to make certain you, and these Cylons, are not a threat to Earth. Now, are you going to explain more or should I have Ianto drug your next cup of tea?"

"That would be sacrilegious," objected Ianto, pausing in the act of setting the tea tray down upon the exam table.

"I was always more of a coffee drinker," Sam admitted, though he still took the proffered cup from Ianto. "Thanks." He frowned, "Now there's a question: how come you all speak the same language I do?"

"Maybe Earth is an off-shoot of the twelve colonies, or vice versa?" Jack suggested. "Not that this would be the first time an alien race harvested Earth genetic stock to start its own breeding programs, of course. And it certainly won't be the last."

Appalled, Sam stared at him.

"What? You think humans populate the galaxy because they're just that miraculously lucky?" Jack asked, looking surprised.

"Are you saying we're genetic experiments?" demanded Owen, "Because that is rather insulting."

"Not you, Owen. The planets out there that have been colonized in the name of truth, justice and Earth. Half of them were probably originally started because some mad alien scientist wanted to push the boundaries of understanding. Or in some cases, provide breeding stock for vampiric aliens."

Pausing for effect, Jack flashed them both a grin, "Not that any of that's true, anyway. Mostly. Though there are cases of Earth genetic stock being found in places it had no place being."

"We're searching for Earth," Sam said, feeling that if he talked, Jack wouldn't. And while the off-hand, casual flirting was refreshing after most of the fleet avoided him like hell, he wasn't interested. Not yet, at least. "The fleet is, anyway. The Cylons destroyed the colonies, razed the planets and now we're on the run."

"Earth isn't exactly going to welcome you with open arms, you know," Jack said.

Sam shrugged, "I was beginning to get that impression. Does the general populace even believe in the existence of space travel?"

"Well, some of them do, most think it's just a lovely hallucination, though."

"Gods." Sam pinched the bridge of his nose, suddenly craving a cigarette, a large bottle of ambrosia and twelve hours' uninterrupted sleep with Kara pressed up against his back. Knowing the latter two were an impossibility, he asked, already anticipating the answer, "Any of you smoke?"

"Nah, I believe in clean living."

"Them things'll kill you," Owen said. He shook his head, "As a medical doctor, let me assure you that the damage done to your lungs is extensive. And complete crap, if you're really cravin'."

"It's all right, I won't offend your delicate sensibilities." Sam rubbed his hands over his face, then sighed. He was exhausted. He'd been sleeping like shit for weeks, ever since he'd started training. And then there'd been Tory, and he'd slept even less. "I don't suppose there's somewhere I could sleep?"

"There's a couple spare bunks in the morgue," suggested Owen.

Sam wasn't sure he was serious, but he decided not to ask. "No. A chair? Someone's coat I could borrow?" Not that he'd get cold, as Kara used to complain when she was wrapped in three blankets and cursing living on the coldest planet ever while he wandered around their tent in his sleeveless shirt and bare feet. But a coat would make a decent pillow.

"C'mon, there's a couch," Jack said. He touched Sam's arm and then led the way up the stairs, around and then up again. A small room off the main area had a couch, a set of chairs, and yet another large-screen tv that was currently tuned to something that looked vaguely like a sport of some sort.

Had Sam been more awake, he might have been interested. Since he wasn't, he ignored it in favor of dropping down onto the lumpy couch with a sigh. "Wake me when the world ends."

"We're hoping that won't happen."

"Again," said Owen.

Ignoring both of them, Sam leaned against the arm and closed his eyes. It wasn't comfortable, but it wasn't standing, and it wasn't a flat slab of concrete or mud. He'd live.


Sam clawed his way free of dreams he half-remembered: white light and laughing children and death. He figured it was a product of too little sleep and too much information and rubbed his eyes clear. The television was still on, the sound off. He watched the pictures for a time, not really caring what they were, just needing some sort of other information in his brain. Something to make this whole problem seem less real, or more real. He was stranded, cut off from the fleet and lost.

And the kicker was, he was lost on Earth. Frakking Earth, the mythical place Adama and Roslin wanted them to reach. Sam might have believed in Kara, and half-believed in her destiny, but he'd never truly believed in Earth. It had seemed like a far-fetched dream, something to dangle in front of the common man to keep him docile as they fled from the Cylons.

Kara would be laughing her ass off, if she could see him.

"Did you sleep all right?" It was Ianto, looking polite and efficient. He held out a steaming cup of coffee to Sam. "I thought you might want this."

It smelled like the stuff he used to get at the corner market in Delphi, when he was still living in that horrible apartment on the lower east side. Gods... he took it and breathed in the steam. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," replied Ianto, ever-polite. He gestured at the television, "Did you want sound?"

"Nah. Nah, man. I'm good." Sam closed his eyes as he took a sip from the mug. The taste flooded his senses, and he gave a soft little sigh. Gods. He hadn't had anything this good since before the colonies went up. The ships in the fleet had stores of coffee, but it wasn't particularly good.

Jack wandered into the room and leaned against the doorway. "Hey, Anders. What else was around you when you came through the rift?"

"The fleet, a Cylon fleet, buncha weird clouds because it was a nebula or something." Sam was so not a scientist. He shrugged, "Why?"

"We think something came through the rift before you did, but we're not sure."

A sick feeling clutched at Sam, "There was a heavy raider in front of me. Gods." The damage the Cylons could do seemed unthinkable, for a moment. "Look, if that's what came through, you need to find it. Those Cylons were set on destroying the human race, they're not gonna stop just because this is Earth--and that's if they even ask, or care, about where they are."

"We have found it, sort of." Jack frowned. "It was picked up by the Americans a few nights ago. I've put a call through to my contact in the NID, to see if they can let us come have a look at whatever it is they found."

Sam stood up, "I should go with you. I can tell you if what they've got is more than just space junk." Or if it was Cylons, or another viper, though that seemed like a remote chance--he'd had no one else around him other than the raider, which was what seemed the most likely candidate. "And if it's Cylons..."

"You're going to tell me all about the Cylons, while we go," Jack said, his tone uncompromising. "I want to know what sort of threat they represent and where they come from."

Sam tugged at his flight suit, since it was beginning to slide off his hips. He'd been a little surprised at how easy it had been to get used to wearing the obnoxious rubber thing.

"He's going to need a change of clothes, Jack," Ianto interrupted. "He can't go wearing that, even the NID'd spot he wasn't one of ours a mile away."

"Damn. You're right." Jack looked Sam up and down, and sighed, "We'll have to send someone out to pick up something."


Ianto had found Sam clothing that supposedly made him fit into the rest of Torchwood. Sam shrugged into the long coat he'd pulled out of a closet, and felt a little weird. It was strange, having new clothing like this. Everything in the fleet had been used and over-used, without stores, it hadn't been easy to have 'new' clothing, though some had tried to make their own on New Caprica. That hadn't gone so well.

The flight wasn't a short one, and Sam spent most of the time detailing the Cylons, their methods, and getting into a little Colonial history. He felt talked out and exhausted again by the time they landed. Passing through the airports, customs, and other checkpoints gave Sam another lesson in the colonies being similar to Earth. He hadn't felt this poked and prodded since the last tournament game against Picon, when there'd been a rumor that the players were all shooting up, and everyone had been stringently checked. Jack had permits for every one of the weapons they'd brought with them, including Sam's colonial side-arm. Jack had said it was just a precaution to bring them along.

Eventually, they were released from the airport into the escort of a man who didn't smile. Corporal Thompson drove them in a jeep to the base where the artifact was housed. He never spoke, and he didn't seem to care that after a while, even Jack gave up on conversing with him.

Sam took the opportunity to doze, guessing he wouldn't get to sleep for a while. Next to him, Tosh typed away on her laptop, working on a report, or possibly writing porn. Sam didn't really try to look to discover. Jack had considered bringing Ianto, Owen and Gwen and ultimately decided they needed to stay in Cardiff to monitor the rift, in case anything else came through. Sam got the distinct impression that Jack wasn't really sure he trusted his team. He wasn't going to ask, though, since it wasn't any of his business.

The base itself put them through almost as many checkpoints as the airports had, and Sam put on his best 'been there, done that' look after a while, not really caring if they thought he was mocking their security restrictions. Eventually, they were shown into an office.

Jack looked around the room, then moved and took the chair behind the desk while gesturing Tosh and Jack into the ones in front of it. "I'm sure you're wondering why I've called you all here today."

Leaning back in his somewhat uncomfortable chair, Sam propped his feet up on the desk. "Not really, no."

Tosh rolled her eyes at them and pulled her laptop out again, beginning to type within less than a minute.

Bored, Sam put his hands behind his head and contemplated another nap.

The door behind them opened again, and a man coughed, "I believe you're in my chair."

"It's a very nice chair," Jack told him, not moving.

The man came forward and shook his head, "I'm Colonel Bauer, and you're only here because someone in your government convinced Kinsey this would be in our best interests. So get the hell out of my chair."

"Ooh, touchy." Jack gave him a brilliant smile, but got up with a sigh, "I'm Captain Harkness. We were told you would show us what your stealth craft picked up over Cardiff earlier in the week--a breach of protocol, by the way, stealing our UFO."

"It was an unexpected complication," the Colonel replied stiffly. He moved and took his seat. "And I'm not so sure I'm authorized to show you our prisoner."

"You have a prisoner?" Captain Harkness raised an eyebrow, "My contact only discussed the craft."

Sam got the impression that the Colonel hadn't realized that, though the man didn't move a muscle to betray himself. "Then your contact wasn't as well-informed as I'd thought."

"As for my jurisdiction," Jack smiled, the expression cold. "That craft should have landed in Cardiff, which makes its passenger my responsibility. And if you'd like to double-check that, I can make a few phone calls for you."

"Don't bother. At this point, I'm beginning to think unleashing our prisoner on you can only do my people good."

"Really?"

"She's been dangerous and uncooperative since we first picked her up--three of my men are in the hospital due to the injuries she's given them."

Violence. A Cylon, then, though it sounded like one of the human models and not a centurion. Sam followed Jack's lead and stood, as though expecting the Colonel to lead them out to see his prisoner then.

"We've run a few tests on her blood, and there are genetic anomalies," the Colonel continued as he got up himself. "Though those are all beside the point, given the violence she keeps exhibiting. She's tried to escape three times." He said it as though it were impossible for a prisoner to ever want freedom.

Sam liked the man even less. He laid a bet with himself that the model they'd trapped was a Six. She'd always seemed so innocent and careful, but he'd seen the damage she could inflict, more than once. And all of the Cylons were adept at violence. He was just glad it didn't sound like a Leoben model, though that would at least afford him the pleasure of killing one.

After all, he couldn't let Kara have the highest tally, there.

The Colonel led them through several corridors and through at least one more checkpoint before stopping in what was obviously an observation deck of some sort. He gestured at the curtain, "I'm not authorized to allow you to speak with her, but I'll show her to you. Not that she's talking, other than to demand her release and curse at my men. I wish they'd decide she was a threat so we could do more to soften her up."

Sam felt a little sick at that--the prisoner might be a Cylon, but being treated like an animal was dehumanizing. He preferred to just kill them, torture was inhumane and made them no better than the Cylons.

Reaching out, Colonel Bauer pushed a button and the curtain began to slide open, "She can't see us, of course. Although she has tried to break the glass before."

He said something else, but Sam was no longer listening, over the roar of the blood in his ears. He'd just lost his bet with himself. The woman in the cell wasn't a Cylon. Feeling way too many emotions and thoughts at once, Sam clenched his fists and closed his eyes to steady himself. He should have known. He should have frakking known. Elation spiraled through him followed fast by fear.

Opening his eyes, he found Tosh had moved to stand next to him, her face turned half towards him, as though worried.

Sam wondered if he'd made a sound, and locked down on his thoughts and emotions again. It wouldn't do any of them any good if he gave the Colonel some sort of hold over them. He tuned back into the conversation.

"Are you sure we can't speak with her?" Jack asked, his voice almost uninterested.

Bauer laughed, "You think you can get more out of her than her name, rank and serial number?"

"Well. We do have our methods," Jack replied, his smile whimsical for an instant.

Shaking his head, Bauer pushed the button again, "As I said, I'm not authorized to allow you to do that. You'll have to take it up with my superiors."

A shudder went through Sam as the curtain cut off his sight of her. He wanted to throttle Bauer and smash the glass, to pull her out of there and go on the run with her, blowing shit up and losing himself in Earth. He shoved the emotions down, pulling on the iron and steel that had gotten him through the occupation on NewCap. His voice almost lazy, he said, "Even if we'd get more out of her?" He chuckled, "Not to mention, she is kinda hot. Maybe your people just haven't been talking right to her."

"If you mean they haven't been flirting, no, that's not what they're here for, Lieutenant." The Colonel bristled a little, "And if she were declared a threat, I could try a lot more on her. But they're dragging their feet--something about humanitarian rights." He sneered.

Gods. Sam ached to rip his face off for those words. He felt sick and hoped it didn't show as he shrugged, "Honey attracts more bees than vinegar, sir."

"That's flies, lieutenant, and when I want your opinion, I'll ask for it."

"Yes, sir," Sam replied, sneering a little. "I just hope that stick up your ass is comfortable."

"Anders." Sounding as though he were halfway amused, Jack shook his head, "Don't argue with a superior officer, Sam. Colonel, I think we'll see your appropriated spacecraft and then we'll settle in a nearby hotel for the night."


As Sam had expected, the other ship was a viper. Sam hadn't shown any emotion other than boredom throughout the rest of the conversations, and he kept his mouth shut until Corporal Thompson deposited them at the hotel Jack had requested. As he watched the jeep drive off, he muttered, "Glad he's gone."

"Yeah?" Jack grabbed his arm and hauled him into the hotel, "Shut up and don't speak."

Tosh shot him a sympathetic look while Jack booked their room. All three were silent until Tosh had swept their room for bugs, and then Jack pointed at Sam, face implacable, "Who is she?"

"What do you care?"

"Is she a Cylon?"

Tosh looked between them and moved to set up her laptop, obviously not wanting to get involved.

That was probably wise, Sam decided, hands clenching into fists, "No, she's not a Cylon," he grated out.

"Not good enough. You reacted to her, Anders, like you'd been shot."

Funny, he'd actually been shot before, and it had hurt a hell of a lot less. He rubbed a hand over his face and felt his shoulders slump. The tension was still there, but he was too tired to put up a front anymore. "Kara Thrace."

"And?"

"She's my wife," Sam dropped his hand and fought back what felt like an hysterical laugh. "We have to get her out of there, Jack. She doesn't do well in captivity."

"Very few people do." Turning away, Jack's tone changed from belligerent to brisk, "Tosh?"

"Not good. There are motion sensors all over the building, laser tripwires, and every door leading to and from requires key-card access going both ways." Tosh said, her tone just as brisk, as though she'd expected Jack's question and had been planning her answer.

Sam felt a little impressed--he hadn't noticed all of that.

"I can't leave her there, Jack. Not again." The latter was almost rote, by now. He'd failed her before. This time, there was no revolution, no Cylons to stop, no frakking temple to defend. There was only Kara, and he'd be damned if he left her in there.

Jack considered him for a moment, then nodded and flashed a grin. "I'll see what we can do. Tosh--"

"Hack the systems and find a way around their security, yes." She heaved a sigh. "I used to be a scientist, you know. Studying spatial phenomena and the rift."

"And now you're a part-time hacker," Jack smiled at her, "Thank you. I'd just try to have her transfered into our custody, but I've gotten the impression that my welcome with Senator Kinsey is going to eventually wear out."

"Jack--"

"Thank me, after we're back in Cardiff," he said.

"All right. Is there anything I can do?"

"Keep your wife from breaking our noses when we get to her."

"That, I can... probably do," Sam told him, trying to grin and failing.


They waited until nightfall. Tosh had figured out a way to hack their computer-controlled systems and disrupt things long enough for them to get in and out. Hopefully. Sam was pretty certain they'd be screwed if they took too long. And any human guards would add to the time they took. The plan was simple: go in, pick up Kara, get out.

Jack had considered trying to get her transfered to Torchwood's custody, but he was getting stone-walled by Kinsey in regards to him actually interrogating Kara. Actually getting the man to agree to a transfer would take too long, or worse, they'd injure Kara or torture her trying to get information from her.

Which left them few options. Jack had made an oblique comment about contacting an underground group in the area, but hadn't followed-up on it. Either he didn't think they'd help or he thought they reported to Kinsey, Sam wasn't too clear on which it was, and only cared if they were going to actually make an appearance.

They'd spent the afternoon napping, eating a decent meal, and talking about anything that kept Sam distracted from the coming event. Sam was a little surprised to discover that he still loved to talk old pyramid games--he was in the middle of the time Rally bit the center-guard from the Geminon Grabthars when Tosh interrupted, suggesting they get to the base while she set up her virus program.

Jack drove, his control of the jeep a bit like Kara's control of a raptor. Sam just hung on and hoped there wasn't anyone looking for an accident around them.

They passed through the same checkpoints as before, Jack flashing his Torchwood ID and hand waving why they were back. It was a simple matter to park near the building and enter. The next set of guards weren't so pleasant, however, and Jack had to argue with them that the Colonel had called them in, and did they want to go on report for stopping them when his first attempt at flirtation was met with cold silence.

Eventually, they were passed inside the first set of doors.

Jack tapped his phone on, "Tosh? Go."

The other thing they'd spent the afternoon doing was memorizing what they remembered of the layout plus the schematics of the building that Tosh had retrieved. Sam gave Jack a mocking salute and turned left at the next crossing while Jack continued going straight, heading for the power junction boxes they'd seen on the map. It would add to the confusion, once Tosh's virus was neutralized.

Sam ran into one guard and simply told him he was lost. The man got too close and Sam slammed him into the wall, knocking him unconscious. He swiped his key card and weapon, tied his hands with his belt and stuffed his hat in his mouth.

Three more corridors, with doors opening easily, and Sam was beginning to tense up.

Even storming the detention center, with the Cylons disrupted and running for cover, hadn't been this easy. He slowed, following his instincts and not hurrying, despite his worry for Kara.

Just before the next corner, he froze, trying to figure out what had stopped him. Crouching down, he listened, trying to decipher the sound he wasn't hearing well enough. It was almost a scraping noise. It came again and then someone seemed to suck in a breath and a body came around the corner, pouncing him.

They tumbled to the floor, the other person scratching and punching. Sam fought back, grabbing for her hands and jerking them back behind her back before he fully registered who was straddling him.

"Kara!"

She froze, eyes wide as she stared down at him. "What the frak?"

Releasing her, Sam shoved her hip, "Get on your feet, we need to get out of here before someone comes looking to see who was making noise."

"You scared the shit out of me," she snapped, doing as he'd suggested.

Sam didn't have time to grab her and tell her all of the thoughts tumbling through his head, so he settled for getting to his feet and handing her his side-arm, "Guess I don't have to get you out of your cell, then."

"Asshole." She shoved at him, getting him in front of her, "Lead the way."

Pulling the revolver Jack had given him, Sam shrugged and began retracing his steps. He didn't know the time, and he wasn't sure how much had passed, but he figured Tosh's virus was probably nearly neutralized. If this all went well, he and Kara would be out and in the jeep before Jack and then all three would be on their way out of the complex with no trouble. Of course, that was if everything went liked clockwork.

Sam didn't believe in miracles.

Which meant he was unsurprised when an alarm began to sound a moment later. "Shit." He sped up, knowing there was still one checkpoint to get through. And Jack was supposed to meet them there. Hopefully, whatever he'd done to the power relays that would hopefully cover the rest of their escape.

"HALT!" The shout came from behind them, and Sam dove around the next corner, straight into the surprised arms of two guardsman.

He had time to smash a fist into the jaw of one before the other had his gun up and out. Sam barely threw himself out of the way before the man fired. Pain exploded through Sam's abdomen, and Kara shouted something from behind him, her own weapon going off.

The guard dropped and then Kara was dragging at him, trying to keep him from falling, "Don't you collapse on me, you frakkin' asshole. I can't carry your ass out of here!"

"Not..." Sam managed, hooking his off-arm around her shoulder. He still had his gun in his left hand. "Keep moving."

"Right." Pushing at him, she propelled them forward.

They were stopped by a door, and Kara growled as she tugged at the handle.

"Key card." Sam let her go and dug out the one he'd stolen earlier, swiping it through the reader. It clicked onto green and Kara shoved the door open, covering the area beyond.

"Hurry."

"No falling over," Sam muttered as he followed her, trying to hurry. He tried to shove down the pain and the sick sense of wrongness that deepened as the sticky wetness on his side got larger. He was losing blood. He'd seen worse wounds, of course, but this was his. Frak, he'd never realized he'd be such a baby.

His world began to narrow in, and he knew it was shock. "Turn left," he croaked as they reached the second to last junction.

"Sam?"

It was Jack, and Sam registered Kara's gun-hand going up and hastily called, "Friend, Kara. That's Jack."

"Damn," Jack ignored Kara and her gun and shook his head at Sam, "Next time, I'll rescue the girl, you can get the junction boxes."

As though the words were a cue, the lights flickered and died. A torch snapped on, and Sam grabbed Kara's shoulder for support. "Sorry," he mumbled.

"Sam--" she made an irritated sound and then moved closer, sliding under his arm and wrapping her own around his waist.

Jack flashed the torch at them, then moved.

They followed, easily matching their strides, having done it a hundred times before. Though they'd usually been drunk, then. Sam considered closing his eyes and decided that would be a bad thing. "Least I'm not fainting," he mumbled at Kara.

She snorted. "Yeah? You too manly for that, honey?" Her tone was light.

"Yup."

Sam must have lost time, then, because the next thing he remembered was being outside, standing in the floodlights and Jack cursing because the jeep had disappeared.

Tires screeched nearby, and alarms were beginning to blare.

"Tosh!" Jack shouted, "I need more time!"

Sam realized he'd called her again, trying to get another hack out of her, or something else. They'd have to steal a vehicle, and Sam suddenly wondered if Jack had had a good plan for explaining Kara's presence while they were leaving the base.

"There they are!"

"Jack--"

"I know. TOSH."

Tires screeched again and a dilapidated cross between a jeep and someone's idea of a motorized shark slewed to a halt in front of them. At least, Sam thought it was a shark. He also thought he might be a little light-headed from blood loss. The panel-door on the side slid open and a woman's head stuck out. "Get in."

"We're just waiting," Jack prevaricated.

"If you want to be captured by the NID, you can stay. If you don't, get the fuck in the car. NOW."

Kara was moving, pulling Sam with her. Sam couldn't really blame her--she hated being locked up. Besides, she'd definitely already been there and done that. "We need a doctor," she growled at the woman.

"Shit--Cam, get Janet on the phone, tell her we're coming in hot. Then get us the hell out of here!" the woman replied, turning to speak to the driver.

Jack followed Kara's lead, helping her get Sam inside. He protested their help weakly, trying to say he was fine and a big boy. Kara laughed a little at him, and then he was tucked against her on the bench seat, her hand clutching the fabric of his pants.

"Sam Carter," the woman said as she yanked the door shut, "GO, Cam."

The vehicle shuddered, then took off at a speed it shouldn't have been capable of.

"Jack Harkness."

"You, I know," Carter replied tersely. She grabbed one of the ceiling straps as they took a corner on what felt like two wheels. Jack easily kept himself from falling, but Sam lurched forward, only Kara's hands keeping him from hitting the floor.

"I'm afraid these two are classified."

Carter shook her head, "Look, I don't give a crap about what or who they are. My orders were to get you out when your little rescue operation tanked."

"We had a plan." Jack objected mildly.

"And it was a great plan," called the driver, "I can tell, 'cause we had to pull your sorry asses outta there."

"Cameron," Carter said, her voice amused. She glanced at Sam and Kara, then looked back to Jack, "They came through the rift, didn't they? The one no one likes to talk about, or believes in."

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

"And there's no such thing as a stable wormhole. Pull the other one." Carter turned to face forward again as the jeep plowed through a fence. The frame shuddered, but it kept going.

"Kinsey won't be happy about that," Cam noted.

Carter snorted, "I don't give a crap what Kinsey wants."

Trying to keep up with the conversation--peppered as it was, with people he didn't know--Sam felt his control on reality beginning to slip a little. He swallowed, "Kara..."

"Hey. Hey." Kara's hand came up and patted his cheek as she turned into him. "No passing out on me, Sammy."

"Don't call me that," he managed, hanging onto his consciousness only barely. For Kara, he told himself. He sucked in a breath, reminded anew that she was alive and right there with him. It seemed like a frakking dream. And maybe it was. Maybe he'd wake in his rack, alone and cold because Hammerhead had stolen his blanket again. And Kara would still be dead. Sam figured he prefered his current dream to reality.

Sam lost track of time when Carter suggested Kara press a pad of cloth to his wound. The pain was intense, and he barely kept from passing out. It was just enough, breathing in Kara's scent mixed with the smell of his own blood and the leather and oil of the jeep.

He woke more when the vehicle halted. Carter got the door open and climbed out, barking orders to the group of people. With Jack and Kara's help, Sam clambered out of the jeep. Once standing, he swayed until they braced him up between them.

"Let me--" Cameron tugged Kara away before she could object and took Sam's other side. Between he and Jack, they were able to steer the nearly-unconscious man through a door and down a corridor.

Then there was the smell of disinfectant and a doctor sounding irritated at everyone and everything. Sam tried to smile at her, but he was close to passing out. The doctor got them to put him on a bed and Sam sank backwards, grateful that he was no longer moving even if the room was spinning like a top.

"Kara--"

A hand grabbed his, fingers locking tight.

Sam figured he was allowed to pass out, then.


Waking up was something Sam wished he hadn't done. There was a dull ache in his side, a throbbing pain which wasn't bad until he realized it wasn't going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, the pain made him want to move, as though that would relieve it. He shifted without thought and hissed out a breath which attracted Kara's attention.

"Idiot," she muttered, sounding exhausted.

Sam turned his head and cracked his eyes open to look at her. She was sprawled in a chair next to his bed, her right hand easily gripping the gun he'd given her earlier. "You keepin' me safe from the cylons?" He asked, his voice cracking a little with disuse.

"Nah. Guarding my prize until I can sell you." But there was a relieved look in her eyes which said the joke was mostly for his benefit. Kara had been worried about him.

"Am I worth that much?" Sam raised his eyebrows, casting his doubts upon the validity of her words.

"Probably not. I might have to give you away," she squinted at him, then smirked. "Don't worry, honey, I won't sell you until you're all better."

"Comforting."

She grinned at him. "I figured you'd appreciate that."

"Oh, I do," he agreed, wishing he could move and tug at her waistband. The fact that she was alive and there was still boggling his brain. Though if there was any woman who would survive certain death, he had to admit it was definitely Kara.

"So," she said abruptly, the gun flicking up to almost point at him, "Are you real, Sam?"

"You're asking that now?" he replied, his tone disbelieving. "Baby, asking when I'm saving your cute little ass would have been way smarter."

"Oh, you were not saving me," Kara rolled her eyes and lowered the gun. "I was handling that perfectly fine on my own. You mostly just got in the way, what with getting shot and all."

"I'll try not to get shot next time."

"Good plan, Sammy."

"Anyway, Kara," Sam said, wanting to poke her for calling him that, but knowing that moving would hurt, "If we hadn't gotten the power off, you would never have escaped."

"Maybe." She shrugged, "I wasn't planning on staying there the rest of my life."

"Probably a good idea," said Jack, entering the room and the conversation as though he'd been there for hours. And maybe he had been in and out, checking on Sam. He could ask Kara about it, later.

Kara stiffened and raised her pistol again. It wasn't quite pointed at Jack, but the indication that it could be was there. Before Sam could tell her to take it easy, she asked, her tone caustic, "So, what the frak is in this for you?"

"In what for me?" Jack sounded mildly uninterested.

"This--me and Sam."

It occurred to Sam that Kara was still holding his hand in hers. Maybe it was just unconscious, on her part. Or maybe it was her way of reassuring herself that the world hadn't ended again. He squeezed her fingers gently, but didn't stop her. He was a little curious about Jack's motivation, himself.

"Maybe it's what I do," Jack suggested dryly. He nodded to Sam, "Doc says you'll pull through, by the way."

Sam resisted shrugging, "Death doesn't seem so hard anymore." He tugged at Kara's hand, "What happened to you, Kara?"

"Don't you know, Sammy? I fell down a rabbit-hole and came to Earth!" Her tone and words were sarcastic.

"This is Earth, Kara. Either that, or the people I've seen were all drugged or lying. And that's one hell of an elaborate scheme for them to devise just to convince me this is the fabled planet."

Jack snorted, "Like we have either the time or the budget for that sort of shit."

"Fine. It's Earth. Whatever." Kara dismissed the conversation with a wave of her hand, but the gun stayed in her lap within easy reach.

Not that Sam blamed her. He'd be paranoid, too. He tugged at her hand again, "So, did you know everyone thinks you're dead back on Galactica?"

"Obviously, I'm not."

"Death can be a tricky thing," Jack said, tone dry.

"Besides, Sammy, I'm way too lucky to die," Kara pointed out, her tone arrogant.

He'd missed that arrogance, just like he'd missed her body and voice. "That's my girl," he murmured affectionately.

Kara snorted, but didn't object to being called his. Sam figured she was just waiting for him to get better so she could beat him at pyramid, or something, in payback. "So, Sammy, what do you do for fun on Earth?"

"Save your ass. Get shot," he quipped.

"Oh, so you don't do anything fun," she mocked.

"Just evening out our score, hot stuff."

Kara snickered, "I'd argue with you about that shit, but I'd be afraid I was taking advantage of your injured state."

"Like that's ever stopped you," Sam taunted, "You're just afraid it's an argument you'll lose."

"I'll lose?" Kara hooted, then stood up and leaned over him, practically pressing down on his chest, "I'm not the one who was stupid enough to get shot."

"Nope," he agreed cheerfully. Despite the fact that it would hurt, he wanted very badly to pull her against his chest and kiss her senseless. She was alive, after all, and that wasn't a state he was used to, anymore. Frak, but he'd missed her.

Rolling her eyes, Kara straightened and fiddled with the gun, flipping the safety on before shoving it under Sam's pillow. "Move over."

"Hey--"

"This is way bigger than my rack," she pointed out. And it was, probably, and they did both fit there. Although Sam wasn't so sure about the logistics of groping her while injured. "So move over." A yawn escaped her, emphasizing the dark circles under her eyes.

Sam sighed and gave in, wincing as he tried to shift his body from the middle to the side of the bed. Unfortunately for him, he was actually injured, and while he was obviously somewhat drugged, he wasn't that drugged. "Ow," he said pathetically before looking over at Jack, "A little help here?"

"Uh-uh. Doc Fraiser might stick me with needles." Jack was obviously not enthusiastic about that possibility.

Sam couldn't exactly blame him, though he'd missed the scary doctor, having been unconscious and all. He blinked, then said mockingly, "Wimp."

"Needles, Sam," Jack replied, amused. He shook a finger at them, "Now don't you kids do anything I wouldn't do." He dropped the teasing look to give Sam a serious one, "Try to get some rest, man." He patted Sam's shoulder and then left the room.

Kara finished taking off her boots and came around the other side of the bed to help Sam move himself. She grunted with the effort, grumbling about him being too damned big. He shot back breathless commentary on women who were incredibly demanding, and tried not to whimper at the pain in his side. Once he was moved to her satisfaction, she went back to the other side and stripped her pants off, leaving them on the chair.

Climbing on the bed jostled him further, but he ignored the pain and pulled her close, breathing in her scent.

"Hey."

"Hi," she whispered as she propped herself on an elbow and stared at him.

Sam reached up and touched her cheek. He ached to pull her down and kiss her, but this was still her show.

"Try not to fall off," Kara murmured before she leaned down and kissed him.

The movement of her mouth on his seared him down to his toes. He forgot how to think for a time. When she pulled back a little, he gathered his scattered wits, and replied, "Romantic."

"Sam."

"No, no, I know--if you were all romantic, I'd have to worry you're a Cylon." A stab of his conscience reminded him that he was, and he hadn't told her. And he couldn't. Not yet.

Her eyes narrowed, "Pushing your luck, there."

"I am?"

"Yeah. I could shove you off onto the floor. This bed would be way more comfortable with just me in it."

"Nice."

"I can be nice. But you have to earn it."

"Never seen it."

"You are such an asshole."

"Funny. I don't see you getting out of my bed," he replied smugly.

"A little suffering is supposed to be good for the soul--besides," she yawned and wriggled down to tuck herself against his side. "Never said I was nice before you married me."

"Yeah. Didn't care, though."

"Would you shut up, Sam? I'm trying to sleep."

He chuckled softly, but obeyed her request. After all, he really did want to get used to the whole being alive thing. Although, as he drifted off to sleep, he was still pretty certain he'd wake up without her. His wife couldn't be alive and he couldn't be on Earth. This was all just a dream, a really frakked-up, obnoxiously real, dream.


Sam wasn't sure what woke him, or which of them woke first, but they were both fighting for the gun before he had his eyes open. Of course, Kara won after she shoved an elbow at him. While he was gasping for breath and trying to make his eyes work, she pointed the weapon at the woman in the white lab coat.

The woman glared. "I'm going to check his vitals, if that's ok with you." She sounded irritated. Obviously, she'd encountered Kara before, since that sort of voice was only the cause of repeat exposure to Kara at her worst.

"You must be Doctor Fraiser," Sam said, before they could get into an argument.

"Yes. Are you going to call off your guard dog, or should I have her shot and put us all out of our misery?"

"Try it," Kara suggested, her tone silky.

"Uh, no. No shooting my wife, please." He nudged Kara with his hand. "Relax."

"You relax," she shot back before pulling away from him and climbing off the bed to stay out of the doc's way while she worked on Sam.

Doctor Fraiser wasn't gentle as she checked him over. Sam figured it was revenge for having a gun pointed at her, and did his best not to whine. "Well?" he finally prompted, once she'd finished and was making a notation on the chart hanging from the end of his bed.

"You're not dying. Probably."

Well, that was reassuring. "Doc? How bad was it?"

She looked like she wasn't going to answer for a moment, before relenting. "The bullet went through cleanly, but it nicked a lung and broke a rib. You'll be sore for a while and I'd suggest not rescuing any damsels in distress for a while. And no sex for at least a week. We don't need your rib poking more holes in your lung."

"I'll keep that in mind," Sam replied. He wasn't embarrassed. Frankly, he was glad Doc Fraiser wasn't pussy-footing around in regards to his condition and what he could do. "A week, huh?"

"I'd say three, but you're both young and healthy." She scowled, "I don't plan on re-inflating your lung if you disobey. So try to behave."

A snicker escaped Kara.

"We'll try," Sam said. Promising anything Kara-related was a bit like playing roulette with a ball of volatile explosive. Besides, she'd been dead for two months. He figured they were both owed a bit of leeway. He was noticing their various estrangements and separations were getting shorter and shorter. First ten months, then four, now two. Maybe the Gods really did want them together.

The Doc shook her head, like she didn't believe him. But she didn't press it, for now. Sam figured if she really wanted them to behave, she'd shackle him to the bed and cart Kara off. As a parting shot, she said, "Get some rest. Both of you."

Once she was gone, Sam watched Kara prowl around the room, feet and legs bare. A few times she stopped at the door, opening it and looking out into the corridor. Eventually, she stopped and looked at him, "Are we prisoners, Sam?"

Glad she'd stopped, since he was getting frakking dizzy, he shook his head. "No." But it occurred to him that they had no identities, no lives on Earth and nowhere to go.

She half-shrugged and started moving again, pacing up and down next to the bed.

He let her, watching silently as he filled his eyes with her. He felt almost afraid that she'd disappear on him and just prove to be a mirage. Something he'd thought up while dying or delirious. She'd disappear, and he'd wake up in his viper, about to die.

"Sam."

"Yeah?"

She looked at him, then rolled her eyes and came back to the bed. "Move over."

"I did already."

"Move more," she ordered.

Sam snickered and reached out to tug at her t-shirts. "Come back to bed, Kara. It's cold."

"You are so...." She sighed and clicked the safety back on the gun before shoving it under his pillow again.

"I like playing with fire," he suggested, half-guessing what she didn't say.

"You wish," she muttered before climbing back in. She let Sam tug her against his side again and relaxed with a sigh. "This is real, isn't it?" she asked sleepily.

"Gods, I certainly hope so."

"Even after getting shot?"

"You're worth a few bullets, Kara."

"Sweet." She yawned again.

"I try to be."

"Uh-huh. Good night, Sam."

He let the silence fall for a few minutes, then said suddenly, "Promise me something."

"What?"

Sam closed his fingers in the fabric of her shirts, feeling the familiar pressure of the well-worn cotton on his skin. "Promise you'll be here when I wake." He knew he sounded pathetic, but he didn't care.

"I promise." Her arm stretched across his waist. "You'd better be here, too."

"Plan to," he mumbled before letting sleep drag him down again.


Kara had been there when he'd woken that morning. Sam had felt a little as though the world might decide to end again, but it hadn't. She was up and restless, so when Tosh came by to visit--explaining one of Carter's people had rescued her before the NID goons had gotten to her--Kara went off to find out about a change of clothing and possibly using their shooting range.

A little while after that, Doc Fraiser came to torture him, and Jack followed her.

They talked of consequential crap, what the weather was like, what there was to eat on the base, until Sam finally couldn't stand the small talk any longer and asked the question he'd been pondering for a while. "What happens to us now?"

Looking unsurprised, Jack shook his head. "We can't send you back through the rift--you know that."

"I know. Tosh talked a lot of math at me. I understood maybe some of it...." Sam looked down, then back up. "Kara and I arriving here close was a fluke."

"Yeah." Jack crossed his arms, "You both sound American, Carter and her people could find you a place to stay. Tosh can supply ID, of course."

"American--" Sam shook his head, realizing there was a whole new world and set of politics and things to learn. "Who are they, anyway? The American Torchwood?"

"Ah, no. No, they're the remnants of a U.S. Air Force group, apparently. I haven't heard the whole story, but they're good friends of UNIT's." Jack made a face, as though not entirely pleased. "And now Torchwood owes UNIT a favor."

Sensing he wasn't going to get more than that, Sam let it drop. But now he really wanted to know more about the story--perhaps this 'Kinsey' that had been mentioned figured into it all. "What if Kara and I want to join Torchwood--or Carter's group?" He asked, "We're not exactly the settle-down type, you know." And he really didn't think getting into a new sport would be all that interesting anymore.

"You're right, she's not," Jack said with pinpoint accuracy.

Sam looked away from his knowing gaze. "You didn't answer my question."

"Aliens joining Torchwood?" Jack replied, his tone light and oddly twisted, "Stranger things have happened."

"You drank someone under the table?" Kara asked as she sauntered in, an unlit cigar between her lips. "Hey, Sammy. Deciding my future?"

"Discovering our options," he retorted, the emphasis on 'our'.

"You don't need to decide anything now," Jack said. "Doc won't let you move for about a week, anyway. And if you want, there are ways to make it easier for you to live in human society without remembering pesky things like other planets."

Kara froze and looked at him, then shook her head, "No. No drugs or taking our memories away."

The idea that he could forget all that had come before made Sam shiver, and he slipped his hand under the pillow, not realizing until his fingertips touched cold metal why. He wasn't going to shoot Jack Harkness for a suggestion he'd made, though. Not unless he was going to go through with it.

"All right. Talk to the people here, see what seems like a good fit. You can always change your mind."

But Sam wondered about that as Jack left the room. If these people wanted he and Kara to settle down like normal Earth people, they could easily drug them and destroy their memories before settling them in an unassuming house in the middle of nowhere. At least, he assumed they could. Jack had suggested it so casually, after all. He'd hate to call their bluff.


The week passed in an almost surreal manner. Sam hated being bedridden, but Kara seemed to think it was the best opportunity ever and spent most of her nights playing poker and winning money from UNIT or Carter's crew. Midway through the week, Tosh left to help Gwen with some sort of crisis. Jack left the day after, still arguing with the UNIT commander, a Brigadier Bambera, over the jurisdiction of Kara, Sam and their respective vipers. Jack seemed to think possession was nine-tenths of the law, which meant Sam's viper was his and Kara's was someone else's problem.

Sam and Kara, of course, were everyone's problem.

More than one person tried to convince Sam that he and Kara were technically the Colonial Ambassadors to Earth. He less and less politely told them they were barking up the wrong tree until the morning one of the more officious idiots was oozing on about how he and Kara would contribute so much if they stayed in America and worked with the NID--the NID having finagled a place in amongst the group since UNIT couldn't technically bar them from the facility. Though Mr. Woolsey was followed all over the place by two very large marines.

The man's insincerity broke Sam's patience, and he threw his bowl of green Jell-o at him, shouting at him to leave, now.

"Well," said Woolsey, pulling himself upright and trying to look dignified with green Jell-o dripping down his shirt, "If that's the way you feel, the NID withdraw their offer."

"Good frakking riddance," Sam snapped.

The marines were kind enough to remove the man from the room before he had to throw something else.

Kara wandered in a few minutes later, and snickered at him, "Sammy, what am I gonna do with you?" She leaned her hip up onto his bed and tilted her head, "You know, I thought I was the one we'd have to worry about bailing out of hack."

"He was annoying," Sam muttered.

"Uh-huh." Patting his shoulder, she huffed out a breath and suddenly sobered, "What are we going to do, Sam?"

"I like Carter and her people, but..." Sam shrugged.

"America. It's big, way big," noted Kara. "And it also has the NID."

"Cardiff is small, but there is Jack and Tosh. And I think you'd probably beat Owen up a few times before you'd let him be."

"And UNIT is the unknown."

They'd talked before, quick snatches before they fell asleep or when they woke from nightmares during the night. Sam's were the mundane kind, full of Kara being dead and the people he missed in the fleet. He didn't ask about Kara's, though he could guess at their subjects.

Sam tugged at her hand, "UNIT, then. And if they kick us out, they kick us out."

A snicker escaped Kara, "You afraid I'll get us kicked out?"

"I'm afraid we'll both have a hand in it."

"True, Sammy." Kara leaned down and kissed him with a smack. "And maybe Bambera will just get smart and send you to the north pole where you can't do any harm."

"You sayin' I'm the problem, here?" he demanded, eyes laughing.

"Well, I'd hate to think I was the only one." She leered at him and scrambled up onto the bed, straddling him easily.

"Hey--" he caught her hands, helping her balance, "We're not supposed to do this, remember?"

"Sammy," Kara said, her tone dripping with patience. "It's been a week." She pushed at his hands, dropping down against him and kissing his mouth with an intensity that took his breath away.

"Way too long," he agreed, suddenly not caring if the Doc never spoke to him again.

"Uh-huh," Kara grunted.

There was no point in talking after that. Sam spared one thought for the phone call he'd make to Captain Harkness, and then he lost himself in his wife. He had one brief moment of utter terror at how easy it was, and then he reassured himself: this was him and this was Kara. It wasn't going to stay easy. But for now, he could enjoy it.

Even if his ribs were still way too sore for the pressure of her weight against them. If she injured him, Fraiser would never let him hear the end of it.

-f-

Final notes: For the record, Kara was never supposed to survive OR be alive in this fic. The original prompt in my notebook is "Tosh/Sam, promises". As you can see, that never happened--but then, given I had to mesh two disparate canons (and trample two others) in an effort to get it done, I expect Tosh/Sam to pop up in an outtake of some sort, one day.