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22 February 2007 @ 04:08 pm
BSG Fic: Holding On and Letting Go (Anders, PG)  
Title: Holding On and Letting Go 1/1
Author: lizardbeth_j
Spoilers: Takes place before and during "Taking a Break..."
Rating: PG
Pairing: Kara/Anders, Anders/OFC (sort of)

Summary: Sometimes the cracks are on the inside where no one can see.

A/N: This wouldn't leave me alone today. I'm not sure why, but I do know it came out of some thoughts about how we all assume that Kara's the broken one. And for all you old skool fans, "Serina" is a nod to the old series. I've been trying to find a way to bring her into modern BSG, and this is it. (and no, this is not the x-over crack I mentioned yesterday)



Jean found Sam where she thought she would -- throwing a ball into the makeshift pyramid goal. It rattled in the basket and down the chute before rolling out the front again. She watched from the doorway as he hurled the ball through the hole, retrieved it, and then threw it again. The motions were mechanical but angry as well.

Her lips flattened. She'd seen this before, more often lately when he returned from Galactica. It made her want to hurt Kara, and only knowing that Sam wouldn't approve stayed her hand.

But he hadn't been to see Kara today, so it wasn't that.

"Anders?" she asked.

Clang!

"Hey," he answered flatly.

She approached, a slow and cautious path, feeling more concerned. He'd done this during the Resistance too, some deep anger rising to the surface and finding expression in hurling the ball like he was punching something.

"Sam," she started and said his name until he stopped. Even then he clutched the ball in his hands and wouldn't look at her, standing tensely as though waiting for his first free moment to throw it.

She put her hands on the ball and tugged, keeping a constant but low pressure. "Let it go," she murmured. "Sam, let it go."

He released the ball, and it was as though that also cut the supports holding him up. He slumped and he let out a breath, closing his eyes and looking so tired, she wondered when he'd last slept.

=============

"Anders, it's not safe."

He crept closer to the edge, binoculars in hand. "I want to see."

His feet skid on the loose shale and he rode the little avalanche until he could catch the pine tree and hold himself there. The rocks tumbled down, like a waterfall, over the cliff.

But he had a fine view of the plains of Philippi. They looked normal at first -- farmland stretched out as far as he could see with the glint of sunlight on water. But the city of Philippi wasn't there. Where there should've been skyscrapers, there was nothing. But the binoculars told the real story: metal girders thrown like children's toys around a new lake where the river had settled into the crater of the explosion.

Nothing and no one could have lived through that.

Only his imagination could supply the look of terror on her face as the bomb fell and those precious seconds before the shock wave hit and she was incinerated.

All for a stupid interview with a Continental League player drafted by the Panthers.

He whispered, "Serina."

It was the last time her name would pass his lips for years.


==============

"Come here," she led him to the side of the room and pushed him gently to sit on one of the boxes of spare parts, while she took the barrel of machine oil next to it. "Talk to me, Sam. What's wrong?"

He chuckled once, without any humor. "You're being all maternal again, it's weird."

She just leveled a stare at him, waiting. If he thought he was going to get her off the subject that easily, he didn't know her as well as he should.

"It's nothing," he tried next. "I'm fine."

"Right. Did you hear something from Starbuck?" she asked. He flinched a little, but shook his head.

"Then what happened?" she asked. "I've only seen you like this after you see her, or, before.... when we were killing toasters."

At first, in the Resistance, he'd had a hard time killing the skinjobs. Actually, killing them came easy, but afterward, he'd often gotten drunk and went to pound balls on the court. But there were no toasters to kill here in the fleet and the relative safety of the Luna II.

He looked down at his hands. "Really, it's nothing. I'm not sleeping well, that's all."

"Why not?"

"Bad dreams," he admitted in a murmur, and she lifted her brows in surprise, at the answer and that he would admit it at all.

"I don't think anyone has a shortage of those," she said. "I know I don't. Those farms, and being shot at, and the occupation --"

But he shook his head. "Not like that. This is different. It's always the same."

He paused and then asked softly, "You remember before the colonies blew up - I told you about Serina?"

She nodded. "I remember." She hadn't met Serina, because Sam had started dating her during off-season, but she knew which one he was talking about. At training camp, he'd talked to her every day, even with mobile reception so chancy up in the mountains. Jean remembered teasing him about being "in love".

==============

His agent Leo had set it up. There was a two-month break between the last game of the season against Aerilon and training camp, and Leo had thought it would be a good idea to keep his name out there. A journalist from Caprica Sports Monthly would come to his house, and they'd do a short interview and some photographs.

The magazine had offered a nice chunk of money for the privilege, but he didn't need the money and it felt a little violating. But eager fans meant the Bucs wouldn't trade him to someplace dismal, so he agreed, with some reluctance.

When the doorbell rang, Leo went to answer it. Sam heard the tapping of high heels in the front hall and stood up to greet the journalist and her photographer.

She came in and he very nearly stared. Gods, she was gorgeous. Why had nobody told him Serina Delphino was such a stunner? Light brown hair hung in expensively-cut wisps around her Aphrodite-statue face and the wide smile she was directing at him. In her heels, she was very nearly his height, and her red blouse and gray suit managed to look conservative and yet show off how thin and leggy she was.

She paused on the threshold at the sight of him, and he stirred himself to go to her. Her handclasp was strong and professional. "Mister Anders, I'm Serina Delphino."

He put himself together with a small effort and corrected, with a smile of his own, "Sam. Please. Welcome."

He greeted the photographer too, but never remembered his name.

The interview passed quickly, and even though he was more private than she wanted, she somehow got him to reveal that he'd bought the house down the street and given it to his sister and her family.

During the photograph session, she made quips and pulled faces to make him laugh. He feared his reputation for being the serious captain of the Bucs was about to go down the drain.

On the way out, when the photographer was outside loading the equipment, she smiled at him with a look he recognized. "I don't usually do this, I promise, but ... if you'd like to meet off the record," she said and tucked her card in his shirt pocket. "Call me."

Then she turned and walked out the door. One week later, she was back in his house and this time, she got to see the red sheets of his bed.


==============


"You're having nightmares about Serina?" Jean asked, trying to be sympathetic, and yet terribly confused. She'd died in the attack and because he hadn't mentioned her since, she'd thought he'd moved on.

"Not just her. Well, yes," he corrected himself and gave a dry laugh. "Sort of. I dream about all of them. You see, there's something I haven't told anyone. She was a Cylon."

She stared at him, unable to process for a second. His mouth made a bitter smile. "Yeah. It's funny, isn't it? Of course, I didn't know. I don't even think she knew. She never did anything suspicious that I can remember. But when I started seeing her twins after the attack, it wasn't hard to figure out."

She didn't even have to ask which model, knowing that Sam would choose the long-legged, tall one with the big eyes and wide smile every time. "A Model Six."

==============

Serina. She was blonde this time, but other than that, looked the same. She was walking with an Eight, and two Centurions were following in their wake.

"Take the Centurions first," he murmured, and at his side Sue-Shaun nodded. "Go."

The world erupted in a hail of gunfire, as he and Sue-Shaun fired.

When it was done, all four Cylons were in the dirt.

He never knew if he or Sue-Shaun shot her first. He told himself she was a Cylon. A skinjob just like the others. One of the enemy who had tricked him into loving her while infiltrating the colonies.

But the image of empty eyes and that familiar body riddled with bullets joined with the others in his mind. That night he could only chase it away with two hours of pyramid practice and a flask of ambrosia.


==============


He didn't confirm directly, watching his hands pluck restlessly at the fabric of his pants. "Do you know how many of them I've killed? Eight I'm sure of. Possibly fourteen more. And that's not even counting the ones that died on missions I sent other people on."

She was horrified that he was keeping track. "Sam, you know they don't really die. They're toasters."

"They're people!" he roared, coming off the crate suddenly. He took a step toward her and she found herself shrinking back, heart leaping with fear. He caught himself though, chest heaving and his hands clenched at his sides. "Sharon Agathon is a person, Jean. A person who made a choice. They all are. Except some of them don't have choices. And neither did I. I know that. And I'd frakking do it all again. But I hate what I have to become to kill them, I hate that I have to not care every time I pull a bullet in a woman I loved once, and I hate that I don't know if there's any Sam left any more. Sometimes I feel like I'm just some... killing machine waiting to be turned on again."

"Sam..." she started, feeling rather helpless. What the frak could she say? There wasn't anything. She was sure this mess with Kara wasn't helping him any, but he'd already made it clear that he didn't want to hear about it.

Then he added four more words, "There's one on Galactica."

Frak. There was a Six on Galactica? "There is? Why is she alive?"

"She was on Baltar's base star, and I hear she's in the brig to give up dirt on him. She helped Sharon escape with Hera." His hands worked, opening and closing, as he looked past the room, no doubt toward the cell that held the Cylon prisoner.

But his lips twisted into a bitter, defeated grimace. "And I'm too much of a coward to go ask if she knows me."

"Gods, Sam," she breathed, trying to think. "What would that prove? Even if she is Serina, what could you do?"

"Something. Nothing. I don't know." He walked to the other side, his back to her. "Sometimes I just want things back the way they were. Back when life seemed worth living, not this futile running and hiding and killing. I'm so tired of it all."

He laughed once and rested his head against the wall. "Frak, listen to me, dumping all over you. Like life doesn't suck for everyone."

"That's okay," she reassured him. She crossed to behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. "I'm glad you finally told me. It's been eating you inside all these years, hasn't it? But it's time to let go." He made a soft sound of denial, and she rubbed his back slowly, with long, soothing strokes like he was a nervous horse about to bolt. "One of the things that I love about you is that you hold on to things, Sam. You hold on to who you are -- you hold on to your morals and your soul, even after the rest of us gave up a long time ago. But if this is killing you, you've got to let go."

"What if I can't?" he asked, muffling his voice against the wall. But he leaned into her, and she let him, offering her own strength when he needed it.

She rested her head against his shoulder, wrapping her arm around his waist. "You have to. You're only going to find a new life if you let go of the old one."

And she knew they weren't talking about Cylon ghosts any more.

"I know," he admitted in a murmur. "Thank you." He turned his head to kiss her hair. "Don't die on me, Barolay."

"Not planning on going anywhere, Anders."

==============

Sharon got him into see the Six who called herself Caprica. He stood outside the plastic cage and looked at her. The way she curled up her long legs on the cot and pillowed her head on her hands was achingly familiar.

She glanced up with little curiosity, but the instant she saw him, she was on her feet and across the cell to stand before him.

"I wondered if you would visit me," she said with a smile. "Sam Anders."

He swallowed and took a deep breath, trying to quell the anxious roiling of his stomach. "How do you know me?"

Her smile widened. "Of course I know you. You're the one from the basement on Caprica. I killed a Three so you would live. And later, on New Caprica, I took your name off the census list. You officially stopped existing and they couldn't arrest and execute someone who didn't exist."

Every day on New Caprica he had expected the Occupation authorities to take him to detention and that day had never come. Twice she had saved him, even though saving him would mean he could continue to fight and kill her people. His eyes couldn't leave hers. "Why? Why did you keep saving me?"

She put a hand flat on the glass, and in her eyes was pity and love. "Because my sister still loves you."

He stepped back. Away from her. Another step. Another. Until he was outside in the corridor. He couldn't breathe.

"Sir? Are you all right?" one of the guards asked in concern, but he pushed him away and started walking. His feet knew where he wanted to go.

"Sam?" it was Kara's startled voice as he entered the pilots' rack room. "What are you doing here?"

"Shut up," he ordered and kissed her, trying to forget. Trying to lose himself. Trying not to feel how he was fraying at the edges.

It didn't help, because he knew it was merely a flicker from a fire he'd tried to hold, only to have it burn what little of him was left. It was time to let go.

He didn't want to be the one to leave something unsaid, not this time. So he ended by telling her, "I love you."

He let himself have one last look at her face, and turned to see the other pilots studiously ignoring them.

He could feel the weight of her gaze on him as he walked away.

It felt a lot like falling. But his hands were finally empty.





-
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entertaining in a disturbing way: Jean Barolay yes plslyssie on February 23rd, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
Sigh. Oh, Sam. And Jean. Because she's about the only one left who could get to him (Sue-Shaun might have, but she's been gone for far too long).

And. And.

This makes Caprica's Pyramid Games so much more awesome, in a way. 'cause she totally did it because she was curious about her sister's boytoy.

lizardbeth: Anders want it?lizardbeth_j on February 23rd, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
yes. oh Sam. I clearly have a kink for poor, broken Sam. *g* And Jean-the-sister/confessor.

And I just SO want the show to acknowledge that Caprica and Sam are connected. I went and made it more explicit, but it's still there.

checking out the boytoy, hee! poor Sam, always the boytoy.
entertaining in a disturbing way: Jean Barolay yes plslyssie on February 23rd, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
It's funny, because the boytoy was a completely unconscious word choice.

Sigh. They should. But that would require better thinking on their part. (I kind of really want Greg Pak to sneakily start writing little 'Caprica Resistance' inserts into his comicbook)
showmewrtr: multi-colored rileyshowmewrtr on February 23rd, 2007 03:53 am (UTC)
Wow! What a powerful piece. Very nicely written. Thank you for sharing!
lizardbeth: Anders Thudlizardbeth_j on February 23rd, 2007 05:31 am (UTC)
Glad you like it! *g*

(and your icon is hypnotizing me...)
weissmanweissman on February 23rd, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
Another perosn realizes the truth -Great job- Plus the ending WOW, maybe thats were the second of the next generation comes from

"They're people!" he roared, coming off the crate suddenly. He took a step toward her and she found herself shrinking back, heart leaping with fear. He caught himself though, chest heaving and his hands clenched at his sides. "Sharon Agathon is a person, Jean. A person who made a choice. They all are. Except some of them don't have choices. And neither did I

Bob
lizardbeth: K-A Rapturelizardbeth_j on February 23rd, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

Yeah, (this version of) Sam understands. But of course, that knowledge is what hurts him. Still, I am mightily fascinated by the idea of bringing Sam and Serina back together to see what would happen, so... your next generation guess might not be far off. *g*
d*: rock and rolldirty_diana on February 24th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
Interesting premise, cool writing flow. I enjoyed it. :)
lizardbeth: Mitchelllizardbeth_j on February 24th, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
Thanks! And I note by mysterious coincidence of fate that you have a Cam fic sitting in my flist right this very minute! So yay, for multifannishness! *g*
Une Frakkante Cylonne: Tricia- piggyback ride- leiascullysunshine_queen on January 27th, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you so so so so so much for linking me to this. She's still in love with Sam, my heart, my heart! And Caprica keeps saving him because of that! Oh, my darlings, each one more precious than the next. (And Jean Barolay! And Kara! <3)
lizardbeth: Anders-Thealizardbeth_j on January 28th, 2012 12:38 am (UTC)
I've been uploading some of my older stuff to AO3 so I remembered this one existed. I thought you might like it! :)