Title: Not Quite a Fairytale
Word count: 1,167
Focus: Karl Agathon and Sam Anders
Spoilers: through 4x10, Revelations
Summary: Karl and Sam have a little talk.
Author's note: A sequel to Not a Fairy Tale, betaed by lizardbeth_j (thank you!)
From the corner of his eye, Karl noticed movement that had nothing to do with the light drizzle that had begun a few minutes before. Turning his head for a clearer look, he saw Sam Anders walk rapidly, not quite at a run, from the other side of a pile of jutting girders and concrete blocks, his steps unsteady. Sam looked down toward the shifting sand beneath his feet, but clearly didn't see the treacherous rocks half-buried; he stumbled and nearly fell, catching himself on the remains of a bridge support.
Having fallen a step behind, Karl touched Sharon's shoulder gently to get her attention and said, "Anders looks like something's up; I'm going to go talk to him." Sharon turned to look in the direction he indicated, where Sam still stood, looking back toward whatever he'd been running from. Even from this distance, he didn't look happy.
"Go," she told Karl, "I'll see you at home." After a quick kiss, she turned back toward the Admiral's transport, where she and Karl had originally been headed, and Karl broke into a jog toward Anders, careful to avoid his own missteps in the treacherous footing.
Between the sound of the water lapping against the rocky shore and his own preoccupation, Sam didn't hear Karl approach. Over the man's shoulder, in the distance, Karl saw Kara, sitting alone on the beach, hunched in on herself with her arms wrapped around her knees, apparently caring little for either the cold or the wet. It wasn't too hard to guess at the cause of Sam's preoccupation. As he watched, Leoben came into view and crouched down beside Kara.
Sam, also watching his wife, turned away, a pained expression on his face as he came face to face with… "Karl!" His eyes wide, Sam took a startled step back and caught a heel on yet another buried rock. He reeled, tried – and failed – to regain his balance, but Karl grabbed a fist full of sleeve and kept him from falling.
"Thanks," Sam said and patted Karl once on the shoulder, then glanced back again toward Kara and Leoben. "How long have you been here?"
"Not long." Karl shook his head. Sam's eyes didn't stray from the pair in the distance. Leoben now sat on the sand beside Kara, their heads together as they talked. He shot a glance at Sam, who clenched his jaws tight, his expression hard.
"Sam, that," he nodded toward Kara and Leoben, "is not what you're thinking."
Sam cocked his head to one side and looked at Karl, his skeptical expression so like Kara that Karl had to choke back a laugh. "You didn't see them together on Demetrius," Sam replied, a shadow in his eyes.
Helo couldn't help himself; a bark of laughter escaped and the best he could do was turn it into a snort. "Yeah, Sam, I did see – and hear – them together." He punched Sam lightly on the shoulder, recalling all the religious crap Kara and Leoben had spouted at each other – okay, it was mostly Leoben doing the spouting, while Kara had merely listened – before they'd disappeared into Kara's quarters. Even Sharon, who shared many of Leoben's beliefs, had rolled her eyes at them. "Leoben is full of shit and Kara knows it," Karl told Sam. Another glance showed the two were still talking, although they now faced each other, and Kara was gesturing emphatically. "Mostly."
Sam snorted. "Mostly, yeah. Except for the part about her destiny." His voice was bitter and he tossed something to the sandy ground with a sharp flick of his wrist to emphasize exactly what he thought of Kara's Cylon-imposed destiny. A small stone, rounded by years of surf and sand, bounced off a bit of broken concrete and became quickly lost to Karl's sight. It was only then that he remembered that Sam was himself a Cylon, that Kara had only just learned of that fact. It was a big thing to take in, something Karl knew first hand.
"Give her some time, Sam." Sam shifted his gaze away from Kara and Leoben and Karl saw he understood immediately that the words were neither a reference to Kara's destiny nor to the conversation currently taking place between the other Cylon and Sam's wife. "She loves you."
Sam looked away again. "Does she?"
"Are you kidding me? She married you. Kara wouldn't do that on a whim, no matter how it may have seemed at the time." He hadn't been there, when they'd gotten married, not that it had been public ceremony, but still, Karl had known Kara for a long time, knew her sometimes frakked up thought processes.
Sam scrubbed his hand over his face, wiped his eyes, and Karl felt a sympathetic tickle as water dripped into his own. "She said our marriage was a mistake."
"And you believed her?"
With a humorless smile, Sam replied, "She seemed pretty sure of it when she said it."
Karl just shook his head. "Sam, Sam, Sam. Haven't you figured out that she's at her meanest when she's backed into a corner? She doesn't bother really trying to hurt someone unless they're too close to her, unless she thinks she cares too much."
In the distance, Leoben stood and offered a hand to help Kara up. Unsurprisingly, she ignored the hand even as she got to her feet and stood beside the prophetic Cylon. "Kara loves you, Sam," Karl repeated. "She just needs a little time to adjust to this new reality." Sam raised a brow in question and Karl shrugged. "When I found out Sharon was a Cylon, first I ran like hell and then I tried to kill her." He couldn't stop a small smile as he thought about how far they'd come since they'd been on the run on Cylon-occupied Caprica. He raised his eyes to meet Sam's. "It's worked out pretty well for us, in the long run."
The rain came down more forcefully, coming down so fast that puddles formed in the sand, the already saturated beach unable to drain the new influx of water quickly enough. Rain splashed in the puddles, on the rocks, dripped into their eyes as they watched Kara and Leoben walk out of sight behind debris, headed inland. Shaking water out of his eyes, Karl put an arm around Sam's shoulders and steered him in the direction of the few ships that hadn't yet returned to the fleet. Sam resisted for only a second, then turned to walk beside Karl.
Loudly enough to be heard over the sudden downpour, Karl said into Sam's ear, "Give her some time, but not too much. Talk to her, Sam. She loves you. She'll listen."
Sam didn't reply. Karl let his arm drop to his side and continued on his path, needing to be with his family. He was surprised when Sam stayed beside him, standing straighter than he had before, his steps sure, and Karl felt a surge of hope rise within.