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21 May 2008 @ 11:11 am
BSG Fic: "To Think Oneself a Man"  
BSG Fic, Episode insert for "Guess What's Coming to Dinner?"
Characters: Sam Anders
Gen, PG, 2000 words
Summary: Eaten alive by guilt and self-doubt, Sam makes a choice.
Note: I'm playing with the possibilities here, inspired by some of the discussions around the Four and this episode. Oh, and for my flist -- this is NOT the infamous Plot Kraken Sam-fic - that one isn't ready yet.

'You think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.'
-- John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, 1967

They didn't get it. None of them did. None of them had heard the whirr of that machinery or heard Gaeta singing like an angel. And none of them had that same urge to claw his own skin off because it was his fault.

The longer they stayed hidden, the worse it was getting. Gaeta had almost died and was now maimed for life, and Jean was dead - because of him.

He left the meeting, pausing in the main corridor as he decided. Back to the rack? Back to trying to pretend he was one of them, drinking and waiting for his flight to be called. Back to pretending he was a frakking human, when he knew better?

None of the others could do this, only him. They had people who depended on them - he didn't. Someone was going to have to step up and be the test subject, and so it might as well be him. If it went badly, at least they'd know that.

And Kara….he already knew what she'd think about it. But he'd had so much practice losing her, it was a familiar ache and didn't stop him this time.

He walked slowly enough that he hoped Adama was off duty by the time he got to the Admiral's quarters. "Anders to see the Admiral," he told the marine standing guard.

When the hatch opened, giving him permission to enter, he took a deep breath and stepped inside. His gaze went straight to the large painting on the wall: it was a picture of a battle from the First Cylon War, soldiers fighting the old model Centurions.

The Admiral was looking up at him, with a small frown behind his glasses. "Ensign?"

"Sir." He wanted to stand at attention properly, but he knew he'd just screw it up, so he settled for standing with his arms at his side, not too close to the desk.

"I wanted to report to you -- " he started and his voice choked up in his throat. "To tell you that I -- "

Adama waited for a moment, then took a bit of pity on him. "You shot Lieutent Gaeta. I know. Helo told me." He took off his glasses and leaned back, rubbing at his eyes before looking up at Sam again. "It was the heat of the moment. You supported your commanding officer in a confusing and desperate situation. In ordinary times, yes, there would be an investigation and possibly brig time, but these are hardly ordinary times, are they? I need my pilots in their birds, not in the brig."

Sam swallowed a throat as dry as sand. "I … appreciate that, sir." Even if he doubted Gaeta would. "But that's not why I'm here. Back at the nebula, before Kara came back-- something happened. To me. I suddenly… " Staring at Adama, he could barely push the words out of his throat. "You know those Final Five cylons that rebel Six wants to find? I'm one of them. I'm a Cylon."

Adama looked up at him in silence for what felt like avery long time. Anxiety was a fluttering bird inside him, making his clutch at his pants-legs as he waited for Adama's response.

He was listening so hard for Adama to call in the marines to take him to the brig it took a moment for him to realize that wasn't what Adama had said.

"I doubt that," he said and frowned more deeply. "I watched you play your first pro game. You were hardly more than a kid."

It was nice to get a confirmation that he'd existed back then and his memory of the game was real. Until he realized it still didn't prove a damn thing. "I guess skinjobs age if left in one body long enough. Or maybe I'm not the Anders you saw then, I don't know." He shook his head helplessly and he repeated, in a voice like smashed glass, "I don't know. I don't how or why or when… and frak, I sure as hell don't know the way to Earth or anything like that. But I do know it's true. Because when I was flying at the nebula, one of the Raiders … scanned me. Then they all left. The Raiders refused to fight because one of the Five was in the fleet." His gaze couldn't lift from the front of Adama's desk; he couldn't raise his eyes to see Adama's face. "I've been trying to deny it and pretend it's not happening. I even thought it might be a good thing." He laughed once, hollow and bitter. "Right. That worked out so well. I'm sick of lying and pretending, and I just… I just don't care anymore what you do to me."

And that was the pure truth. An inner voice of old instinct complained he was being a quitter and players at his level didn't do that. But remembering Gaeta in the infirmary shut it up; this was the only way. Even if they tortured him, it was hardly less than he deserved, after all Gaeta was suffering. And maybe it would work, and he'd actually know something that could be useful. Certainly people would be safer with him in a cell.

There was a long moment of silence, as Adama thought it over. When he spoke, Sam couldn't tell if the admiral believed him or not. "The Cylons don't know this." It wasn't quite a question, but Sam answered anyway.

He shook his head. "No. None of them do. Except the Raiders, I guess, but even they didn't react when I was on the baseship. It's so strange. They stare right at me and they don't know… That dark blonde Six thinks the Five are some kind of… saviors." He wanted to laugh, but it came out sounding more like a dog whimpering. "They're going to be so disappointed. I don't know anything. I don't know why I suddenly knew at the nebula, I don't know why it's some sort of cosmic joke that everyone I ever cared about got killed by frakking toasters and I fight them and hate them all these years, and now I find out I am one… " His jaw worked and he swallowed hard, admitting more softly, "I can't deal with this alone, Admiral. I'm going to end up putting a gun to my head, and the worst part is I'd never know if it was my decision or not. Frak, I don't even know if it'd work. So, here I am before I make everything worse."

At first, he didn't dare look up while Adama was silent. Even as he got up from his chair and moved to the side cabinet, Sam didn't watch. If Adama was going to get a sidearm and shoot him in the head, he didn't want to see it coming. Or have time for Cylon self-preservation to react.

Instead he heard the clink of glass on glass, and realized with a strange sense of let-down that Adama was just getting himself a drink. Adama swallowed and poured more before coming back to stand near his desk. He was carrying two tumblers with a finger of ambrosia in each, and put one down on the desk. "Anders, here."

"What?" Sam stared wildly at the drink on the table and then up to Adama.

"Drink, Sam," he nodded to the drink. "And sit down. I'm not airlocking you. I might put you in the brig, but I'm not going to let anyone else airlock you or torture you, so stop looking like you're at your own funeral."

"But -- " Confused, Sam collapsed on the nearest chair and didn't pick up the glass. "But-- I just told you I'm a Cylon, and you want to drink with me?"

Adama took up his desk chair again and swirled the ambrosia in his glass before setting it down on the table. "Drink, son." He waited until it seemed like he wouldn't speak unless Sam drank - so with a shaking hand, Sam picked up the glass and forced himself to swallow a bit. It went down like it always did - harsh on his throat, but warm in his stomach. Adama nodded in satisfaction and continued speaking in his gravelly, somber way, "President Roslin said, and I have to agree, there are strange forces at work these days."

Sam frowned at him, still trying to work through being asked to sit down and drink. "Sir?"

Adama shook his head a little. "The Fleet should've been destroyed at the nebula that day. We figured something had saved us. It turns out it was you."

"I didn't set out to save anyone. Hell, I was so afraid I'd start shooting my own people, I didn't even take the safety off," Sam protested. "And if I'd had the safety off, I could've roasted that pigeon instead of staring at it like a stupid rookie."

"And then the Fleet would be dead," Adama pointed out. "No, you 'woke up' when you had to, to save the Fleet. I can't figure that as a bad thing, and certainly it didn't work to the Cylon advantage." He picked up his glass and waved it in Sam's general direction before swallowing. "Now, there might be more ominous programming under that -- I know all about sleepers -- but I don't think so. Those Cylons don't know you're here, and they're willing to ally with us to find you. They're willing to accept death to find you, that's how important you are. So I can't believe you're another Boomer waiting to shoot me."

"I hope you're right," Sam said and watched the liquid in his glass slosh before draining it. He set the glass back on the edge of the desk with a soft click, then leaned back to look Adama in the face. "I can promise I have no intention of harming you or anyone else on the ship. But my promise doesn't mean a damn thing."

"I understand that. So here's what I'm going to do. You'll go to the brig, just in case, but on charges of injuring Lieutenant Gaeta. The truth of the matter will stay between us. You'll tell no one you're a Cylon and neither will I. And we'll see what happens. Perhaps you'll have a revelation. Or someone else will."

"Admiral…" he felt like he should object but trailed off. He felt a twinge of guilt about keeping the others' secret from Adama, but none of them had hurt anyone, and this was his choice alone.

"If destiny or the gods," Adama snarled the word, and Sam's lips twitched in rueful agreement, "have other plans for you, I'm sure we'll find out."

"Yes, sir. I think that's… wise."

"And no more talk about putting a gun to your head," Adama glared at him.

"No, sir." In fact, Sam felt a great sense of relief, as though he'd passed through fire and come through unscathed. The secret wasn't quite so horrifying anymore. He'd be safetly ensconced in the brig, away from harming anyone else. Adama knew the truth, and he still had confidence in Sam -- which let Sam keep a shred of it for himself.

He stood, preparing to deliver himself to custody.

The phone buzzed and Adama reached to the wall to grab it. "Yes?" he barked into the handset. He listened, expression becoming more grave. "Set condition one, hold the fleet's position."

He slammed the phone down and told Sam, "The base ship jumped. With the president and Helo and half our Viper wing aboard."

"Jumped?" Sam repeated blankly. "But the Hybrid was unplugged. It couldn't jump…"

"Apparently it could," Adama said, and stood up. A thought struck and he glanced at Sam, grimacing sourly, "It seems destiny already objects to putting you in the brig. Report back for duty. I need all my pilots right now."

The fear came back, punching him in the gut. He wanted to object, but he knew the decision was made. "Yes, sir."

Adama rounded the desk and stared into his face, grim and resolute as if by sheer force of will he could keep Sam on his side. "Keep your mind on your duty, Ensign. I believe in Lieutenant Agathon, and I believe in you. Don't let me down."

Sam tightened his lips and had to swallow hard to find his voice, shaken by the words of faith. "I'll … do my damnedest, admiral."

Warm eyes met his for a moment before Adama said sharply, "Dismissed."

He left the admiral's quarters, as the admiral took another call from CIC. The hatch door slid shut between them.

Sam nodded to the marines, turned in the direction of the pilots' quarters, and started down the corridor.

Doubt and fear and guilt were insidious whispers in his ear, sliding cold and clammy hands down his body. But he held onto Adama's words and tried not to listen, relieved that at least someone had forgiven him. Someone believed in him - even when he couldn't believe in himself anymore.

Now, if only he could prove worthy of that belief. Then the division between Cylon and Human would be meaningless, and he could, once again, be just a man.

Kelly...It's like Jello with a K and a Y: [bsg] eye dropscenterspire on May 21st, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, Sam...

I hope the Admiral takes the news like that (although, I have my doubts).

lizardbeth: Anders - cross outlizardbeth_j on May 21st, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
heh, me too (have doubts). It's funny, since my original thought behind this was to show what an incredibly BAD idea it would be for Sam to out himself, like some people were saying. But it didn't quite go that way...

Thanks. :)
Kali: Anders- wisteria_altorogue on May 21st, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
LOVE this. Sam's become one of my favorite characters, and I just ACHE for him sometimes. This is a beautiful scene.
lizardbeth: Anders - shirtlizardbeth_j on May 22nd, 2008 05:08 am (UTC)
thank you. And yes, me too. Sam's just killing me this season.
carpenyx: bsg - samcarpenyx on May 21st, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
Le sigh. I loved that. I really wish it'd be canon! :D
lizardbeth: Anders-streamlizardbeth_j on May 22nd, 2008 05:08 am (UTC)
Me too! I want it canon... *whimper*

elzedelzed on May 21st, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, that would be such a nice scene. And I can almost see Adama doing that (partly because he'd think Sam was just losing it, and talking bollocks, and partly because he just likes the guy. But I suspect he'd play it safe, and most definitely throw him in the brig... even if he might keep his secret. Or, say, maybe share it with Tigh. Omg, another scene there...)
lizardbeth: Anders - Leelizardbeth_j on May 22nd, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
yeah, this definitely turned into a bit of wish-fulfilment for me, since I don't think Adama in canon would be nearly so friendly for my poor guilt-ridden woobie.
patron saint of neglected female characters: anders-musicrose_griffes on May 21st, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
*love love love*

Yay, Sam fic! This is awesome!
lizardbeth: Anders-streamlizardbeth_j on May 22nd, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
thank you! It appears Sam won't leave me alone, so definitely Sam fic! ;)
amazingly_shiny on May 22nd, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Yay Sam fic!

This is truly awesome and I would love for it to happen like this.
lizardbeth: Anders - cross outlizardbeth_j on May 22nd, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
Wouldn't it be nice if it happened this way?

Thanks! :D
entertaining in a disturbing way: Anders Days so far from homelyssie on May 22nd, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
Oh. Oh, Sam. *siigh* But yes. He is so wracked with doubt and guilt, and, and, it fits in with what was on-screen--

more importantly, that second call had to be about Natalie, and the irony of Adama saying he trusts Sam and Athena and then, wham--

Well, it hurts. But in the good way.

entertaining in a disturbing way: Kara cartoonlyssie on May 22nd, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
(no subject) - lizardbeth_j on May 22nd, 2008 05:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lyssie on May 22nd, 2008 11:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - frolicndetour on May 23rd, 2008 03:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lizardbeth_j on May 23rd, 2008 05:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
weissmanweissman on May 22nd, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
very good, when the Admiral says LT Agathon does he mean Helo or Sharon?
lizardbeth: Agathonslizardbeth_j on May 22nd, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
Helo's a captain, so Adama means Sharon. Also, Sharon's the Cylon, which is why Adama says he believes in her and Sam too.

Artemis: sam & gun = hwtartemis_90 on May 22nd, 2008 05:55 am (UTC)
I loved this!

Somehow I don't think it will happen this way, but if one of the four would confess it would be Sam, and he picked the perfect confessor. I liked how Adama re-affirmed his history as well as propped him up.

Thanks for this!
lizardbeth: Anders - cross outlizardbeth_j on May 22nd, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
No, sadly I agree it's not going to go this way. Though, perhaps, if Sam learns more (like the way to Earth or how he's different than the Seven), it won't NEED to go this way either. But, right now, he's in a tough place. *snuggles poor Sam*

Thanks for reading. :)
Allison: k/a helmet-headfrolicndetour on May 23rd, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Oh, Sam! You've captured his inner turmoil and self-doubt very well here. He's got to be wondering WHY he shot Gaeta - even though I don't think he had a choice - well, that's the thing isn't it? And good call on him being relieved that the Admiral saw him at a game - because there aren't many (any?) people left who could confirm those memories. Except Leoben apparently. ;) Meep! I almost hope the Five are revealed soon, so we can stop wondering how everyone's going to react!
jane_doh1jane_doh1 on May 23rd, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
I just adored this story! Sam torn between his own guilt about hiding the fact that he is a cylon and wanting to confess, yet still protect the other three's choice to remain anonymous is just so HIM! And is it just me, or does Sam always seem to be less confident in himself and more confused when he is aboard Galactica? On Demetrius he seemed a bit more self-assured. But the emotion worked perfectly for the scenario you have written here - his being terrified of what he might do and preferring to sacrifice himself instead of risking hurting others just highlights his altruistic nature. Do you plan on doing a sequel to this story? I would love to see what happens from here if the information somehow leaks out about his revelation...
lizardbeth: Anders - gunlizardbeth_j on May 24th, 2008 05:09 am (UTC)
thank you! And I think you're right - on the Demetrius, he must've decided Sharon was never going to out him, so he could relax (and worry about Kara, too - it always helps to think about someone else instead of your own trouble). But on Galactica, it's just one reminder after another with too much time to brood. That's not a recipe for calm rational thinking, that's for sure!

I don't know if I'll do another, but I can tell you it won't be until after the next ep airs, just so I can see what direction we're headed...
(Deleted comment)
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders S4lizardbeth_j on January 1st, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
Thank you!

This was more tied to the episode but I think if I was going to do a full AU of that question - I'd look at what could happen if Sam had told someone before the Demetrius mission, (though I guess that would have to presume Kara didn't joke about shooting him-- or if he'd confessed before she had the chance to say it). It's an interesting thing to think about, that's for sure!
(Deleted comment)
scifiaddict86scifiaddict86 on April 20th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
Okay I remember reading this story but apparently I forgot to leave feedback sorry. I just have to say I almost wish this was canon although I loved that Sam could never bring himself to hurt Kara.
lizardbeth: Anders-Kara - don't dielizardbeth_j on April 21st, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
y'know, reading the remix and remembering this one, it does kind of make me wonder how this actually happening in canon would've changed things. Knowing how frakked up the canon became, esp for Sam in 4.5, I have to think it would've been better... *sigh* poor Sam.

But hurt Kara? no, of course not. Though it's not really a consideration here, since he believes she'll want nothing to do with him after it comes out. :(