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14 November 2008 @ 11:15 am
Fic: Between the Lines of Fear and Blame  
Rating: PG
Characters: Sam Anders and Lee Adama
Word count: 2200
Summary: Post-Revelations Lee tries to help.

Note: I found most of this yesterday in semagic - IIRC it was meant for the bsg_slashathon comment-a-thon, but since it got too big for a comment and refused to get slashy, I abandoned it for other things and forgot all about it. I thought I might as well as do something with it. Title from The Fray's "How to Save a Life."

This is in the same general 'verse and set up as Standing on the Edge , but stands alone. And yes, I wrote LEE! Try not to hit your head on anything if you faint! ;)





"Frakking Toaster!"

Lee could hear the shouts from down the aisle between the tents, and he saw the people - men and women all bunched in a crowd, shouting and cheering. His stomach lurched - it was just as bad as he'd expected. "Disperse the crowd!" he ordered the marines with him and started to help, shoving people out of the way. A stray rock hit his shoulder, as the crowd was forced apart by the armored soldiers.

He knew what he would see, but it still came as a shock to push his way into the middle of it and see the crumpled figure on the blackened sand, in Fleet tanks and black pants. Still one person fought off the marines, rushed forward and kicked the helpless man. Lee grabbed the assailant by the shoulders and pushed him into to the marines. "Back off! Leave him alone."

"Toaster lover!" Someone called out from the crowd, but the marines pushed them back, and after some more catcalls and grumbling, the people finally went off.

"Oh Lords of Kobol," Lee murmured and knelt down beside the victim, who was curled up in a ball. His hands were bound in front of him by many twists of rope, and he was covering his face and head with them as best he could. But Lee didn't need to see his face or even the tattoed wing on his arm to know it was Anders. It really couldn't be any one else. Tigh and Tyrol had gone back to Galactica, and Tory was on the base ship. But even if they'd been on the surface, it would still be Anders. Perhaps because he'd been a celebrity and something of a folk hero for being in the resistance twice, the revelation had caused people to turn on him with a sort of virulence that even the regular Cylons didn't seem to get.

There was a moment's strange disorientation - Lee remembered Anders next to him, shooting Cylons on the algae planet, but of course, now they all knew Anders was actually a Cylon himself. But when he gave a choked moan, Lee swallowed back his confusion and reminded himself that he'd given amnesty. Not that anyone deserved this sort of mob justice. "Hey, Anders. It's okay - they're gone."

Anders shuddered and twitched away. Then, belatedly, he seemed to recognize the voice and lowered his hands. "Apollo?" he asked hoarsely and coughed.

"Yeah. Looks like you've had a bad time of it." He put a gentle hand on Sam's shoulder. His skin was like ice. "Gods, how long have you been outside? You're freezing. Here, let me undo this -- " He plucked at the rope, unwrapping it from Anders' wrists and forearms - until finally he could throw it to the ground. The rope had left bloody abrasions on the skin. "Can you stand?"

"Sure," Anders said. He straightened and got to his knees with slow, deliberate effort and paused to breathe, panting shallowly while he clenched his jaw in obvious pain. He still needed Lee's hand to pull him to his feet. The side of his face was caked with bloody dirt from a wound in his hair and was probably the reason he stumbled and nearly fell on his face.

Lee caught him - gods, he was heavy - and slung one of Anders' arms across his shoulders. "Come on." Side by side, he could feel how Anders was shivering. "Let's get you back to your tent, where you can get warmed up."

Anders made a token effort trying to pull free. "No. Don't. You shouldn't walk with me."

Lee glanced at him, surprised and a bit touched that Anders was trying to think of Lee's reputation. "Look, the people who would bother me about helping you already hate that I gave you amnesty, or that I broke up their mob just now. But I don't care -- I'm not going to stand there, while they beat you to death."

At first Anders didn't say anything, then let out a grudging, "Thanks," before falling quiet.

Lee helped Anders to his tent. He stopped just inside the open flap, shocked. The floor was bare dirt, with a crushed toiletry kit, a shredded blanket and a shirt cut to ribbons strewn across it. Otherwise the tent was empty, and Lee knew he'd been issued more. It must have all been taken. "Oh for frak's sake," he muttered. "You gotta go up to Galactica, Anders. Someone did this with a knife. It's not safe."

"Better a knife than an airlock." Anders spoke without rancor, but Lee winced with guilt, remembering looking down at him, standing in the airlock, his hands bound while he waited for someone else to decide his fate. Lee realized Anders was still waiting - except now the decision had been taken into the hands of desperate and angry people who wanted to blame someone - anyone- for the various disasters.

"Well, you can't stay here. These frakkers could come back." Lee turned around and took him one aisle over, to his own tent. Compared to the vandalized emptiness of Anders' tent, his own seemed plush, with a tarp across the floor, blankets on a cot, and a box for his clothes. He pushed Anders down on the cot. "Sit down. You need me to go get Cottle?" he asked, looking down with some concern. Anders slouched over, big frame shrunken down, and he winced when he moved, coughing lightly.

"No, I'm okay. Just bruised."

Lee wasn't sure he entirely believed that, but he didn't think he would get more answer anyway. He pulled the top blanket from where it was folded at the end of the cot, shook it out, and got close to put it around his shoulders. "Here, at least stay warm."

Anders looked up, and somehow, in the dim grey light, his eyes looked startlingly blue. "Thank you." A shadow of some thought passed through his face, and he looked down again. He started to stand up. "I should go."

Lee moved closer, right in front of him, to block his way. "Where else are you going to go? You don't have so many friendly faces around these days, and I won't let you go back to your tent."

"Friendly?" Anders repeated and laughed hollowly. "Gods, if you're my 'friend' I'm really frakked aren't I?"

Hearing the bitter and ragged edge to his voice rocked Lee back and he protested, clenching his jaw, "I am your friend. I know... there's .. things," he added awkwardly, "that make us not friends, and maybe we didn't meet under the best circumstance, but I admire what you've done. And unlike a lot of them - " he waved a hand, meaning the ones who'd been beating up on him, "I watched you fight the Cylons before. I know you weren't faking it. You didn't know, and it's gotta be the worst thing in the universe to find out." He hesitated, hearing his own words and realizing they were true, and he added more softly, "I know none of this was your fault, Sam."

"I wish it was," Sam muttered. He pushed both hands through his hair and then had to grab for the blanket as it slipped off, tugging it tight around his shoulders again. "I wish I was a secret evil Cylon mastermind and I've been planning this the whole time. Then all this would be funny."

Lee's mouth twitched in a bit of a smile, that faded all too soon at how not-funny everything was. "I'm just as glad you're not, but I understand. I'm going to talk to the Admiral about getting you some security." Sam shook his head in refusal, but since he didn't speak, Lee ignored it and grabbed his hand towel and a water canteen. He sat at Sam's side and wet the towel. "Here, let me clean some of these cuts."

Sam let him, holding very tensely still and flinching as Lee dabbed at the injury on the side of his head. The blood made it look much worse than it probably was, but still, something had hit him in the head which was always dangerous. "Do you feel dizzy or sick?"

"Hurry the frak up before I puke on your nice blanket," Sam grit out between his teeth.

Lee chuckled. "I'll take that as a yes." With the caked blood and dirt removed, he could see how the wound was swelling. "You probably should see Doc Cottle."

"I've had concussions before. I'll live."

Lee pulled back to look at him. Now that Lee had wiped off the dirt, he could see that Sam looked pale and sweaty, even though his skin was cool. It was shock, maybe a touch of exposure from having no jacket in the cold, a probable concussion, plus gods knew what sort of bruises, and he was trying to shrug it off. "Are you really that tough or do you not care?" Lee asked softly. "Y'know, I've been there, Sam. When you feel like you just can't do it anymore, and you're all alone--"

Sam turned his head and his face was set with a sudden cold fury. "Shut the frak up," he hissed. "What do you know? When you find out you're a frakking MACHINE, then you can say you've been there. So frak you and your pity, Adama."

He stood up, the blanket falling from his shoulders, and promptly staggered, hand outflung to find something to catch himself. His knee buckled and hit the ground hard. He let out a gasp and then swore breathlessly, "Frak." Even though he was down already, he swayed as though he couldn't find upright. Nevertheless he tried to stand up again, lurching to his feet as if he was just that determined to get out of there.

Lee grabbed his shoulder before he managed to fall on his ass. "Gods, you are a stubborn bastard, aren't you?" he muttered, and shoved him at the cot again. "Sit down. You're not going anywhere tonight."

Sam sat down again. It took him a moment to recover his breath, then deliberately, he eyed the empty half of the cot then Lee, and his mouth curled up in a smirk. "It's a little small for both of us. Unless you're planning to get really close..."

Lee felt his cheeks get hot and he had to glance away. Sam snorted, and his voice was dryly amused, "Kidding, Adama. I think I can hold back. If you can."

Lee glanced back, teasing retort on his tongue about Sam's reputation as tabloid fodder back before the attacks, but the words died, unspoken. Sam was ashen pale, and he had a hand across his chest, holding his breath. Lee let out a short sigh and shook his head. "You know I'm wise to this bullshit, right? You're not the only person around here who gets aggressively provoking when you're hurt. So lie down before you pass out."

"It's your bunk. I'll take the ground." Sam shifted and put a hand down on the cot, as if he was prepping to get up again, but Lee forestalled that with a grip on his shoulder, keeping him down.

"I didn't have anyone try to beat the hell out of me, did I? I can take the floor. Since I think you're too hurt for me to be that close," he joked, but Sam didn't even seem to hear.

He stopped trying to get up, but he stayed tense. After a moment, he admitted, "I don't ... really want to owe you more."

Ah, so that was it. Lee's hand squeezed his shoulder and let go. "You don't owe me anything. Hell, I owe you, don't I? Without you, we'd all be dead."

Sam's expression flickered with doubt and denial, but in the end he held back whatever he wanted to say. "All right. If you're sure?" he said, and when Lee didn't take the implicit invitation to tell him to get out, Sam eased himself back, careful of his ribs and head. He let out a soft breath when he relaxed that got choked in his throat, and he shut his eyes tightly, one hand clutching the blanket in a white-knuckled fist in a dead giveaway of how much pain he was actually in.

Lee realized what else he could do to help. His fingers fumbled in the cold, but he got the box open and rooted for the first aid kit. Luckily, the kit was complete and he loaded the injector with the right cartridge. Flipping back the blanket, he injected the morpha right into Sam's thigh. Sam jerked in surprise, and his eyes shot open. "What the frak?" He froze in tense anxiety, staring at Lee in suspicion. Lee bit his lip, struck by the idea that even after all he'd done to help, Sam still thought Lee might try to murder him.

"It's just morpha. Try to get some rest. You're safe here."

Sam watched him for the longest time in silence, unspoken questions and uncertainty slowly draining out of his face, until he let his eyes drift closed again. He murmured, slurring his words a bit as the drug took hold, "Would've saved a lot of trouble to open the airlock."

"No," Lee shook his head. "There's been enough death. It's time we all learn to live, don't you think?"

Sam didn't answer, though if that was because he was almost asleep or he didn't agree, Lee couldn't tell. Not long after, Sam's breathing grew more regular: it was still shallow and occasionally faltered with a pained hitch but otherwise he seemed to be sleeping peacefully. His fingers loosened their death grip on the blanket. It occurred to Lee that he had a Cylon sleeping in his tent, and it didn't matter at all. A small part of him felt that it should, that he should hold onto the hate for the loss of the Colonies and all the people who had died there, but that hatred seemed hollow when faced with an example of where that hate led.

It mattered more that he had Kara's estranged husband in his tent, but no matter how things went in the future between the three of them, he knew he couldn't regret helping Sam now. It wasn't often that 'right' and 'necessary' were the same thing, but he knew they had been tonight.

Lee fixed the blanket over him, and smoothed it with his hand. He made a bedroll for himself on the floor between the cot and door, set his watch to wake him in two hours so he could make sure Sam could still be roused, and turned off the lamp.

As he lay there in the dark counting Sam's breaths, with a cold draft against his cheek reminding him of the horrible wasteland surrounding them outside, it felt good not to be alone.




--
 
 
 
the_jackalopethe_jackalope on November 14th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
oh lovely. Poor Sam. And a heroic Lee, so that's nice.
lizardbeth: Anders - Leelizardbeth_j on November 15th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
thanks! It was fun to write Lee for a change.
cujoycujoy on November 15th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Poor Sammy! Whaaa.

Sam turned his head and his face was set with a sudden cold fury. "Shut the frak up," he hissed. "What do you know? When you find out you're a frakking MACHINE, then you can say you've been there. So frak you and your pity, Adama."

And ahhh, I love it when a Fic makes me like Lee, something the show itself sometimes fails to do.

Lee fixed the blanket over him, and smoothed it with his hand. He made a bedroll for himself on the floor between the cot and door, set his watch to wake him in two hours so he could make sure Sam could still be roused, and turned off the lamp.

This just filled me with warm fuzzies. Thanks for the lovely story.

lizardbeth: Natalielizardbeth_j on November 15th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
I am fairly convinced we are going to get something like this, with people coming after Sam. which will be very mean to our woobie. *sobs quietly*

I'm glad I made Lee likeable! My first try at Lee, isn't that shocking? ;)
cujoycujoy on November 15th, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
I'll be sobbing with you. ::whaaaa::

And I say again, you did a great job with Lee, especially for not writing him before.
Anastashia: Lee Happy Lookanastashial on November 15th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
I liked that very much. I did wonder where Kara was the whole time though.
lizardbeth: Kara happylizardbeth_j on November 15th, 2008 05:50 am (UTC)
thanks!

Oh, I suspect Kara is about 30 minutes away from finding out what happened when she wanders back into camp, and getting really pissed off that no one came to find her!

(or really, it's the artifact of the original story being designed for Sam/Lee slash, sorry 'bout that)
cattm: tankscattm on November 15th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
Nice. Thanks for sharing.
lizardbeth: Anders - Leelizardbeth_j on November 15th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC)
thank you! :)
leafmeal: clapping jokerleafmeal on November 15th, 2008 06:02 am (UTC)
Ooh. Poor Sam. I can totally see this happening, and by the third or fourth concussion he's gonna be hightailing it to the baseship and the safety of his kind whether he really wants to or not. While Kara is off struggling with her guilt over leading them to a wasted ruin.

Great, in-character interactions. You made me like Lee for a while. That's an achievement!
lizardbeth: Anders - Leelizardbeth_j on November 15th, 2008 08:18 am (UTC)
yeah, totally. the tragedy here is that it could be humans who push Sam to be a Cylon, even when he doesn't want that.

aw, poor Lee! But thanks! :D
patron saint of neglected female characters: moon and treesrose_griffes on November 15th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
Sweet. But you've got to stop being so mean to Sam! ;-)

I really enjoyed the descriptiveness of this--I could easily visualize the dirt and blood and Sam's pale skin. Nicely done!
lizardbeth: Anders - no shirtlizardbeth_j on November 15th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
I know, I know, I'm so mean! (and I'm really just practicing for the main event *g*)

Thanks!
entertaining in a disturbing way: Anders Days so far from homelyssie on November 16th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
OH, SAM. Sigh. Stupid toaster. And Lee! Although it doesn't surprise me. Lee, above all of them, has given the FF the benefit of the doubt (he may have punched Tigh and wanted to airlock him, but that was as much for his father as anything else)

Sigh. January would be nice.
lizardbeth: Anders- demetriuslizardbeth_j on November 17th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
heh, The OMG!LEE! was really for anyone who might be surprised that I was writing him, since I've never done his pov before. I do think Lee would've airlocked them in turn if D'Anna hadn't given in, but I don't blame him for that, and I don't think they would've either.

JANUARY. I am filled with impatience and dread. At this point, it's like ripping off a band-aid-- I may cry like a baby, but I just want it done!
rogueavenger007 on November 19th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
Sometimes you forget that there should be a dynamic between these two without Kara involved, I really liked this... Though there is more than just that being alive thing that he owes Anders (unless it's also for Anders not killing him due to Kara).
lizardbeth: Anders - Leelizardbeth_j on November 19th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
thanks! yeah, they're interesting good guys, and they established a mutual respect because of, or maybe in spite of, Kara. So it was fun to do something with just them, but after all the cards are on the table to see what they might do.
emmiereemmiere on November 24th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. I do think that Sam is going to take a lot more outright abuse than the other three. Poor guy's just an easy target.

And I always like anything that can make me like Lee more than the show often does. I love the bit at the end where he sets his watch to make sure that Sam's still able to wake up.
lizardbeth: Anders with ciglizardbeth_j on November 24th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
thank you!

and yes, poor Sam. meep.
burning meadows: BSGburning_meadows on February 13th, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
this was absolutely wonderful! i simply can not express how much i loved this story...beautiful!
lizardbeth: Anders - Leelizardbeth_j on February 14th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC)
thank you! I'm glad you liked it!