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07 November 2011 @ 10:00 am
BSG fic: The Blessing of Proserpina  
Title: The Blessing of Proserpina
Rating: PG
Summary: On New Caprica, Sam and Kara's life together takes a surprising turn that changes everything.
Wordcount: 12K
Recipient: scifiaddict86 for the pyramidofdreams ficathon.
Beta: sabaceanbabe
Note: No one was more surprised than I was to be writing this. But it was a prompt and it was something I've never done before for Kara/Sam, both the pregnancy and yet-another-AU of the Occupation.

They faced each other in the middle of their tent, but across a wide gulf that had suddenly sprung between them in the last week. Sam didn't understand what had happened to change things so drastically, and he'd been rebuffed each time he'd tried to figure it out.

After tonight he wasn't sure he wanted to. Anger curdled in his chest, deep and dark, and he knew she'd finally pushed him close to his breaking point.

"Did you have to do it in front of the whole bar? Hanging on Hotdog of all frakking people?" Sam demanded in a low hiss. "In my face? Making me look like a fool?"

"You manage that all on your own," Kara retorted.

"Yeah, I guess I do. I married you, didn't I? Taking the Commander's leftovers," he sneered, and she jerked back, eyes wide with surprise and guilt. Did she think he didn't know? Or was she surprised she'd pushed him far enough to strike back?

And then she tried to punch him in the face.

Sam caught her wrist. "No, baby, you don't get to hit me."

Her mood turned, mercurial as lightning, from anger to mischief. "What about something else then? We could forget this night ever happened… " She pushed against him, her free hand sliding down the front of his pants.

"What the frak is wrong with you?" Sam demanded, twisting away and staring at her, wondering when the hell Kara had turned into a stranger. And worse, finding he was tired of trying to figure it out. "You know what? Forget it," he said shortly. "You've been a frakking nutcase for a week and I'm sick of it. You win; I'm going." He held up both hands in surrender. "When you're interested in being married again, come find me. In the meantime, I'm going to live at the bar."

He headed for the flap, angry and frustrated and tired of the whole mess.

Her voice was so soft and it was such a change from her previous tone that he almost thought it was coming from the tent next door.

"I'm pregnant."

He froze and slowly turned back around, his breath catching on a sudden lump in his chest. "What?"

Her voice grew a little harder and she lifted her chin. "You heard me."

He felt blindsided, and took a moment to find his voice. "I thought … that was impossible."

"Apparently not."

His mouth worked, before he found the next question. "And… and it's mine?" he asked.

"Of course it's yours!" she snapped, as if outraged that he could doubt it.

But he knew better and said nothing, just kept watching her, until she slowly nodded. Her voice went calm. "Yes. It's yours -- there wasn't anyone else, Sam. I know what you think, but that's all that happened. Never anything more. It was… stupid. Not that it matters, I guess."

He stared at her incredulous. It didn't matter if he was the father or not? "Why's that?"

"I'm not keeping it," she declared. "I'm not a mother, I don't want kids. I've never wanted kids. So I'm gonna get rid of it."

It was as if she'd shown him a bright light and then snuffed it out. Or let him have air and then shoved him back underwater again. All he could say was, "Oh."

"That's it?" she asked. "That's all you're gonna say?"

As neutrally as he could manage, he asked, "What do you want me to say?"

"I -- don't know. I thought you'd object."

He shrugged tightly. "Sounds like you already made up your mind."

"Well, yeah. It was an accident. Shouldn't have happened."

"I --" he wanted to protest, wanted her to reconsider, imagined a child with her golden hair and bright smile, and discovered in that moment exactly how much he wanted to see it happen. Then he felt ill and the walls seemed to close in. He swallowed and managed to push out, "I see."

"So you're okay with an abortion?" she persisted.

He wanted to yell out no and shake her and storm out, but he couldn't do any of those things. "Does it matter what I think?" he demanded, unable to keep the bitterness from his voice.

She glanced at him, then away, before asking, "Are you going to be angry with me?"

That was too much. "I don't know! For gods' sakes, Kara, you just laid this on me, I don't know how I feel about it." He folded his arms. "If you're going to get rid of it, I don't know why you told me in the first place."

"Because I'm not sure!" she blurted.

"You're not?" That admission was as surprising as the news was, though he felt a tentative flare of hope rekindle at her words. He took a slow, deliberate breath, knowing if he said something wrong, there was more at stake here than just the possible child. He had to keep calm. "Why not?"

"It's illegal," she said. "Not that it would stop me, I think Cottle would help anyway, he knows my records, but… then I keep thinking …" Her eyes dropped down to the stack of paintings and her voice lowered with it, as her hands went around herself. "You and me and the cabin… we said we wanted normal. To build a life. Could we do that if we have this hanging between us?"

He knew what he should say -- he should reassure her that it didn't matter, and that he didn't care. But… he did care. It did matter. Now that he knew, it wasn't something he could forget about.

But she went on before he could speak. "But how can I even think about a kid? It's stupid. Me as a mother? Who the frak thinks that's a good idea? I can't do it. I don't know how. I practically hit you just now, I'd be worse than my own mother was to me… I can't."

"Kara… I --" he started and then reconsidered his words, trying to be careful. "Look, all I can tell you is what I think, and you can take what you want from it. Your mother was wrong. What she did to you was wrong, but that doesn't doom you to doing it, too."

"What the hell do you know about it?" she demanded, defensive again. "You, with the perfect life before the attacks?"

He looked at her, eyebrows up. "Do you think being an orphan on Picon was all rainbows and ponies? My foster parents didn't give a shit about me, only the check; that's why I ran to the pyramid court as often as I could. I swore when I left that place I wouldn't be like them: I would never hit anyone. Not you, and never a child. I haven't and I won't."

She looked down blankly at her stack of canvasses. "But … what if I can't do that? I'm such a frak up, I don't know if I can… "

Understanding now that she was afraid, he wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. "You are Kara Thrace. You can do whatever the frak you decide to do."

She shook her head against his chest. "I can't - I'd be a terrible mother-- and that kid'll grow up to hate me…"

"No. No, Kara, you don't see what I do." He tilted her chin up to face him. "You care deeply, I know even if you can't say the words sometimes -- you have such love you can give to your own child... And you won't be alone, I promise."

She swallowed hard and her hands were tight on his back. "Are you sure, absolutely sure, that you won't go?" she whispered. "I want to do this, but I can't do it on my own. I can't -- I'll frak it up --"

"Hey." He framed her face in both hands so she couldn't look away and so she could see his eyes. "I promised forever. I meant it. As long as you want me, no matter what."

"You are so ridiculous," she protested, eyes suddenly liquid and she tried to smile, but it turned out all crumpled, "and sappy and absurd."

"That's why you love me," he murmured, grinning smugly

"No, I love you cuz you're hot and good in the sack," she returned with a breathless laugh.

"It occurs to me that's what got us in trouble in the first place," he retorted as his hands fell to skim her waist and hips.

She laughed and yanked him closer, into her. "Can't get into any more trouble, right?"

The next day, after thinking about it and realizing she had never actually said what she had decided to do or whether she had changed her mind, when they were back home in the tent, Sam knew what he had to do. He took her hands and inhaled a deep breath. "Okay, look, you took me by surprise yesterday, but I want you to know that either way, I'm with you, okay? Yes, I would adore a baby, but I also love you. And I don't want you to do anything that you feel forced into doing, because I know you'll resent it. So if you need to do this --"

"You need to shut up," her mouth came down over his, and he let her avoid the issue for a little while, but then wrenched free to object.

"Kara -- "

"We're gonna do it," she declared, looking into his eyes, and her own were resolute.

His heart suddenly seemed tight and full, and he couldn't breathe. He seized her shoulders and looked into her eyes to see if it was a joke. "Seriously?"

"I mean it," she confirmed. "We're going to be parents, and we will not frak it up."

"No, we won't," he promised For an instant, she looked queasy and uncertain, but then he grinned. He threw his arms around her, hugged her tightly, and kissed her hair and her cheek. "We're going to be parents!" And he picked her up and staggered around, while she laughed at him.

Not that it was always like that, but Sam held onto his patience, knowing no matter how hard she pushed, it was fear driving her. The one thing he couldn't do was let her push him into something rash and prove her fear founded. She was alternately sick and hungry and exhausted, she swore at him and picked fights, and he prayed it would pass.

Kara didn't want to tell anyone, and Sam went along with it, knowing it was her way of trying to keep her options open. So they kept it secret for a while, though Barolay guessed when they both stopped drinking. After Kara officially passed her first trimester and started to feel better, she was horribly prickly for two days, but on the other side, she snuggled up to him in bed, sighed, and said, "It's done, isn't it? This is gonna happen."

The words were out of nowhere, but he knew exactly what she was talking about. He smoothed her hair, which was growing out long and soft. "Yes. Now we get ready."

Her fingers feathered down his chest. "You know why I can do this?" she murmured. "Because I know even if I freak out with the kid, or if I do something wrong, you'll be a great dad. Just... promise me, if you leave me, take the kid, too."

He turned to look at her, about to protest that he'd never do that, but the words died on his lips. "You won't do that, Kara. But yes, if … something happens, if everything gets all frakked up, I won't be your father. If you turn into an unbearable harpy, the kid comes with me. Does that help?"

"Actually, it does." She said nothing more, but after that, seemed a little more relaxed about the baby. And she finally decided, to his surprise, that it was time to announce it.

There was a large group gathered one evening. They were supposed to be celebrating the first successful harvest, but since no one there had eaten any of it, it turned into drinking. The Tighs were visiting, showing everyone how it was done, but when the colonel tried to push a cup on Kara, not understanding her refusal, she stood, dragging Sam by the hand to stand next to her.

"No, Colonel, I'm not drinking," she announced loudly. "Not tonight, not tomorrow, and not for six more months. Which, Lords of Kobol, sounds like a frakking eternity, but the Doc said I shouldn't. Because it could hurt the baby."

Then she glared at everyone, daring them to make something of it. There was a moment of stunned silence as the group figured out what to say.

"A baby?" Ellen exclaimed in surprised delight. "Kara! I'm so happy for you! For both of you!" She bounced to her feet to give Kara a hug, which Kara accepted somewhat warily, and then Ellen hugged Sam, too. Impending baby or not, she still managed to put a hand on his backside before she pulled back.

Barolay raised her cup. "Here's to the future pyramid champ!"

"And Viper pilot!" Kat added, clicking hers against Barolay's.

"And all-around pain in the ass!" Saul said, sounding grumpy, until he added, "Well done, Starbuck. You did it right."

"Blessings of all the Lords of Kobol on all three of you," Nora added.

They all drank to it, even though Kara grimaced at the tea. "This stuff sucks," she muttered but tossed it down.

Sam drank his, basking in the warmth of friends and Kara at his side.

Time marched on, occasionally seeming to creep past, but also blasting past in a blur of daily details of work and settlement.

Kara started to show her pregnancy, and though she complained about her clothes, he liked to touch the swell, hoping he could feel the baby move.

The weather changed, turning colder and miserably wet with a persistent drizzle that left everything damp. Half of the town picked up a virus, which spread like wildfire. Kara remained ridiculously healthy, but Sam caught a virulent version that didn't pass as quickly.

He was asleep when the nightmare started, but when a hand shook him awake, he realized the nightmare was actually true.

"C'mon, get up," Jean pulled at him.

"What's going on?" he demanded and coughed.

"Cylons," she explained shortly. "Frakkers found us. They're everywhere. One of them stopped me in the street looking for you. I lied, said you'd been on Galactica, but they're gonna find this place any second. Let's go."

His head was swimming, and though he wanted to ask more questions, he couldn't think of any.

She helped him to his feet, grabbing his shoulder when he swayed dizzily. He felt like he was freezing and grabbed his jacket off the bed, even as Jean pushed him to the back wall of the tent. "Hurry, Sam."

"What about Kara?" he asked.

"Tyrol's with her. She'll be okay. She knows not to come back here." She lifted the overlapping canvas aside and peered out into the alley behind the tents. "C'mon, let's go."

She pushed him out, and he jumped down the little way from the platform to the ground. He meant to land easily, but his knees kept bending, slamming him into the dirt. The impact jarred something in his chest and he coughed hard enough to make his eyes water,ribs burning .

He felt Jean's hand on his shoulder, holding him steady, and felt the tension in her fingers as she gripped him tightly. "Come on, Sam."

Staggering to his feet with her help, he followed her. At first not tripping on the tent ropes took all his concentration, but eventually he realized that Jean seemed to have a direction in mind. "Where are we going?"

"Tyrol's. He said to meet there."

He was glad Jean knew where they were and where they were going, because he completely lost track. The tents all looked the same and twice they had to hide in some random tent as Centurions marched down the main street. He heard gunfire, but not as much as he would've expected for toasters swarming the place. There was a lot of distant screaming and announcements over the PA.

They came to a place where they had to cross the main avenue.

It was horrifying. There was a squadron of Centurions, all bright chrome, escorting a group of Sixes and Fours and one Two.

His hand fell to his thigh where he'd kept his pistol on Caprica, but this frakking place he had no weapon. Frak. He leaned back against the canvas and the pole behind it, trying to breathe without coughing even though his entire insides felt pinched.

The toasters passed out of sight, heading toward the ships, and Jean peeked again. "Okay, let's go. Put your hood up." When he didn't move to do it fast enough, she did it for him and put the soft hood of his sweatshirt over his head and lifted the collar of his jacket. "It's just like avoiding press after that loss to Aerilon."

He wanted to laugh at that, but breathing was hard enough. He followed her across the street, keeping his head down, and they hurried, trying not to be noticed or identified by anyone.

The ground wasn't staying level, but sort of wobbling and smearing, turning dark on the edges. Which was an oddly fascinating thing, but he didn't have long to see it because Jean jerked his sleeve. "Sam, don't pass out on me."

"I … don't feel good," he told her, pressing his free hand to his ribs trying to keep them still.

"I know, just a little farther," she urged and pulled his arm across her shoulders.

Cally was waiting there for them, and immediately ushered them in, lowering the flap. "Hurry."

But he was confused; this wasn't the Tyrols' tent. This one was barely furnished with a rug over the platform, one small table, and chairs. But he didn't have time to figure out a question.

Cally frowned at Sam in concern, clutching her baby to her. "You okay?"

"No, he's sick. Now what?" Jean demanded of Tyrol, who seemed to suddenly appear next to Cally.

Tyrol said, "Toasters have a list, and Anders and Starbuck are both on it. And it's not to give them awards. So we hide you."

"Hide where?" Jean asked. "Here?"

"Below," he answered with a glance down at the carpet under their feet. Then he bent, pulled it back to reveal the wooden platform of the tent. He lifted at the boards. Some of them came up, and an opening appeared. "Remember these, Sam?"

Sam peered down. It looked dim but not black. Charlie Conner's son had fallen into a hole by the river, and accidentally discovered that the entire camp was built on top of a system of caves and passages. Tyrol had asked Sam to help map it, which he hadn't finished when he'd gotten sick.

"Sam?" Kara's familiar voice called up. "Come down. Hurry."

He started down the ladder, and Jean called down to her, "Watch him, he's not steady."

When he reached the ground and turned, Kara's arms were there. He held her tightly, resting his head on hers as he tried to catch his breath without another coughing fit. "Oh gods."

"There's a couple blankets, and here's more light," Tyrol tossed down light sticks. "We'll bring food later."

Then he put the boards back that made the trap door, and it was immediately dark overhead.

There was still light in the cave from a lantern on the small table on which Sam had been drawing his map of the cave system a few weeks ago.

"There's water, blankets, a table, all the comforts of home," Kara said, with a dry laugh, drawing back and looking concerned. She put a hand to his forehead. "You're burning up. Take off your coat and lie down. I'll get some water."

He watched her instead of taking off his jacket. Her stomach was distinctly rounded now, and looked even more so in the shadow she cast against the wall. Baby… Gods, baby and now the Cylons were here…

She snapped her fingers in front of his face. "Sam. Stay with me. Drink." He took the metal cup and drank, then she took off his jacket, and pushed him gently toward the blankets. "Come on. Up there or down here, you need rest."

In the blankets, he coughed until the pain in his ribs was like a spike in his chest and he was covered with sweat. After the fit passed, and curled up and feeling weak as a newborn kitten, his breaths wheezed and there were black spots across his vision that wouldn't clear.

Kara wiped his face with a damp cloth, biting her lip. "You're going to be okay," she told him fiercely. "You're going to get better, Sam." She grabbed his hand and laid it on her rounded belly. "Not going through this alone, you frakker. "

"No, not alone," he promised hoarsely. He fell asleep, fingers gently rubbing at her taut skin and imagining the small life curled up inside.

He stirred to the sound of Kara's voice, talking in a sharp undertone. "No, that's not good enough. We can't stay stuck down here."

"They're looking for you, Starbuck," Tyrol insisted. "And him. Better to be safe than sorry, right? But if you want to leave, nobody's keeping you here."

Kara let out an aggravated sound that meant she hated that but couldn't argue with his point. "And if they find their way down here?" she demanded

"Then you're frakked," he answered. "Look, I don't know. Hopefully, if they don't find you two, they'll believe you were up on Galactica when they left and stop looking."

"What about Roslin?" Kara asked. "Shouldn't she be down here, too?"

"They're not looking for her. And she wouldn't come."


Sam opened his eyes and saw Tyrol by the table, which was now heaped with supplies, including some of their things from their tent.

"I figured you were bored, so I brought you a wireless," Tyrol told her. "It's broken, but there's some parts. Let me know if you need anything else. The Old Man's coming back, and we're gonna have to be able to talk to him."

He started up the ladder and Kara said, "Thanks, Chief."

He nodded at her, freed a hand to wave to Sam when he saw Sam was awake, and disappeared above.

Kara knelt by his bed. "Hey, how're you feeling?"

"A little better," he answered. He was wise enough at this point to be unsure if he was actually better though, since he always felt fine after waking up. He also knew better than to try sitting up right away and ruin it. "I see Galen brought you a toy to keep you out of trouble."

She made a face at him. "Very funny. He brought some more food and some other things I haven't gone through." She turned to regard the pile of stuff with a grumpy face. "Apparently, he's preparing us for hiding down here for a while."

He grabbed her hand. "We hide until they stop looking. Or they're gone. I don't know what they'd do with you, considering their creepy fascination with babies." He shuddered. Imagining Kara in their hands again was bad enough, but with a baby, it was worse.

"But they can't know about that, so why me?" she asked with a frown. "You, I understand, they know your name from Caprica, and they know you'll resist. But I'm no more likely to resist than any other member of the Fleet that's down here."

"Maybe it's my fault," he suggested after a moment. "On Caprica, some of them saw I have your tag. They know you came back for me."

Instead of being annoyed by the fact that he'd drawn their attention to her, she smiled and leaned down, one hand on his chest cupping her tag. "They know if they take you, they'll have to take me, too, because otherwise I would never stop until I got you back," she murmured.

She didn't say things like that very often, and he took it for the gift it was, absorbing the acknowledgment of her feelings deep inside where it seemed to chase away the congestion and pain, leaving a warmth behind. "Likewise," he promised, lifting the hand in his to his mouth to kiss her fingers. "Every stone, every wall. I got to be pretty good at blowing shit up."

She smiled, brushed his lips with a finger, and taunted, "Not bad for a pyramid player."

He figured that was as much mushy stuff as he could expect for the day, and retorted, "You're just saying that 'cause there's no court down here so I can't kick your ass."

"As if you could," she snorted.

"Yeah, not today," he agreed and started to sit up. She pulled, and then had to hold him when he coughed. When the fit passed and he wiped his mouth, he muttered wearily, "Gods, so sick of being sick."

She held the water for him. "It'll pass, just rest. Not as if we have a busy schedule down here."

It sounded like a good idea to lean back again and pass out, but he couldn't yet. "Gotta use the head. What are we doing about that?"

"This way." She helped him up and led him over to a crack in the floor at the back, near the back exit.

There were two entrances to this main cavern -- a passage that eventually wound its way to the exit near the river, and one that went deeper back and eventually dead-ended in a pile of rock. There were numerous cracks in the walls, leading to more tunnels, but they were too narrow for an adult to pass, leaving a self-contained section underground. The crack in the floor led to the underground river that had originally flowed through where they were, before dropping down a level in the limestone. The water down there was heavily mineralized, and though he suspected there might be very pretty caves somewhere, for now he was fine with using it as a sewer since it joined a bigger river and flowed to the sea.

He was dizzy and exhausted when he got back to his blankets. Just breathing seemed to take all his strength as he sat there, too tired to even lie down.

"Hey," Kara murmured, kneeling beside him. "Water?"

He opened his eyes again to see her worried face. Instead of grabbing the water cup, he held up a hand to her face, tracing her cheek with his fingers. "I'm not gonna die on you."

"Promise?" she asked softly.

"Can't promise forever," he answered. "Everybody dies, so one of us is gonna have to go first. But not now, not this frakking crap in my lungs. That much I promise."

"Holding you to that, Sam," she murmured and leaned forward to kiss him. She wanted more, and so did he, but when her hands fell on his shoulders, they felt like ice on his superheated skin and she pulled back. "Lords of Kobol, you're an oven. Water," she said with new resolution.

Then Kara forced him into eating some rations she'd mashed up with water into a thin gruel, which was even more disgusting than when the food was dry. "Eat it. You need food."

He held it away from him. "It looks like vomit."

"Then it'll look the same if it comes back up. Eat it."

"You delight in torturing me," he muttered, but he drank it. It really was vile, and it took effort to keep it down.

"I'm practicing for the baby," she retorted. "Since I'll apparently have two in a few months."

He wanted to respond, but another coughing fit ripped at him and his head was swimming when he curled up in the blankets, chills rippling across his skin. He tried to pull a blanket over his bare arms, but Kara stopped him.

"Cold," he objected.

She held a hand to his forehead, and shook her head. "I think your fever's spiked again from moving around. Close your eyes and sleep, dumbass."

"Thirsty," he requested, but when she lifted his head to give him more water, his vision tunneled and went black.

Days passed in a vague blur of feverish coughing and broken sleep. Kara hovered - sometimes he didn't understand what she was saying, but the bossy tone of voice made him do things he didn't want to do.

Once, he woke to find her sound asleep next to him. Her face, even in sleep, was anxious and strained and he reached a hand to her hair, wishing he could take all this away. It wasn't fair; it was enough that she had to deal with being pregnant, not the fear that he was dying. He wanted so much to tell her he was going to be fine, but his whole body ached, his head hurt, and he couldn't find enough air to tell her anything at all.

Finally, his fever broke and he was suddenly able to breathe again. The illness had left him still weak and coughing, but he knew he was on the tail-end of the battle at last.

The anxiety left Kara's face, and she started teasing him again.

He woke to Kara's irritated voice talking to someone else. Or at least he hoped it was someone else.

"I have to get out of here. It's been weeks and I've already been through the whole place three times, and built a wireless, and -- "

"Starbuck," snapped Tigh's voice in return, and that was surprising enough that Sam opened his eyes to check that, in fact, Colonel Tigh was in the cave with them. "What the frak do you want me to do about that?"

"I want to go to the surface," she declared.

Alarmed, Sam sat up, but Tigh had her impatience well in hand and he stated rather casually, "One of the toasters is living in your tent."

She didn't find a response for a moment. Sam found himself just as shocked. "What?" she asked. "Our tent?"

"One of the Leobens. Or hell, all of them take turns, what the frak do I know? And they roam town asking after you. I know they've gotten killed at least twice and they still wander around, looking for you."

"That frakker from the ship," she realized and put a hand on her stomach like she felt nauseous. "Oh, gods."

Tigh added, "And that's in addition to the flyers offering a reward for Anders." He glanced over, saw Sam was upright, and called to him, "You're worth an apartment in Toaster Central. So keep your frakkin' head down."

"Frak, we can't stay down here forever!" Kara objected and pitched a bolt at the wall.

"You better stay for now," he advised. "Toasters don't seem to know about the tunnels, so it's the best place to hide."

Sam pushed himself to his feet, coughing only a little, as he went to the table to join them. "Colonel."

"You look better," Tigh said, giving him a close scrutiny.

"Yeah, pretty sure I'll live now."

"Good. I aim to make this resistance headquarters." He slapped some papers down on their table. "This is all the intel we've got. If we're gonna chase the frakkers off this planet, we're gonna have to make the price high. So I want you two to start thinking. Planning. Keep checking the wireless. I know the Old Man will contact us. And …just in case." He put down a bag that clinked metallically, and Kara opened it, taking out a sidearm. "Guns," he answered. "Ammo. If they breach the tunnels, no point in you two being sitting ducks."

She checked one of the clips and her smile was wider than Sam had seen it for a while. "Thanks."

Tigh frowned down at her belly. "You want me to get Doc Cottle down here to check you out? You look about ready to pop."

"Gods, if only that was true," she muttered. "At least another month. Maybe I should meet him up top somewhere, since I don't think it's safe to bring him down here. He can't talk about what he doesn't know."

Sam was relieved she was willing to see the doctor, since that had been such a point of argument early on, but he didn't like the idea of her going topside with creepy stalker Cylons looking for her. But he held his tongue, knowing she had to get out, at least for a little while. They were both on top of each other in the cave, and especially now that he wasn't practically dying, she needed a break.

Tigh nodded, after flicking a glance at Sam. "I'll tell Cally to set it up with him. Disguise yourself and go during the day - at night curfew's tough and Centurions are out in force. No need to risk it."


"Does Ellen know?" Sam asked.

Tigh looked surprised by the question. "Of course not," he said, as if that was obvious. "Not about you two. We're keeping it very quiet. Take care of yourself, Starbuck." Then he shook his head, wry smile tugging at his lips as he glanced at her belly. "Never thought I'd see the day."

He took his leave through the trap door, and closed it carefully behind him.

Kara checked all the guns and said, sounding as if she were only half-joking, "Don't know if he should've brought guns when I'm feeling cranky and mad at you."

He eyed the firearms and ammunition now spread out on the table and hoped he was joking when he agreed, "Yeah, this seems like a very bad idea…"

"You can make it up to me," she offered and swept her long hair over one shoulder, presenting her back. He rubbed her shoulders and then coaxed her to lie on her side, so he could rub her back.

Kissing her shoulder, he slipped one hand to cradle the front of her belly, "You are so beautiful," he murmured.

She turned her head to find his mouth, and murmured back, "If I ever say in all this that I hate you, don't believe me."

Kara took a sidearm, but Sam figured her best defense was her disguise. She was wearing a long dress and coat, to make her look more bulky and hide her obvious shape. They didn't know if the Cylons knew yet that she was pregnant, but humans did, so it was possible the toasters knew, too. Plus she wore her hair long and made it dark with dirt, and a scarf over her head like a Gemonese.

Sam walked her to the far end of the tunnel system, glad he was back to finding his strength, too. The tunnel slanted up, and sunlight streamed onto the broken rock and piled dirt of what had been the roof of the cavern. Tree roots hung like thick spider webs from the edges of the opening, offering handholds at the top of the debris.

"Don't know which way I'll come back," she said. "So don't wait here."

"Be careful." He kissed her, suddenly afraid that if he let her go, he wouldn't see her again. He had to force himself to let go of her hand, and couldn't stir from the spot as she climbed awkwardly up the slope to the narrow tunnel entrance.

For a moment, the sunlight dimmed as she blocked it, and then she was gone.

A few minutes of tense waiting for any noise of discovery or gun fire followed, but when none came, he withdrew into the tunnels that seemed suddenly much darker and colder without her.

He waited in the central cavern, trying to distract himself with the maps of toaster activity, but starting at every tiny scraping sound up above.

Finally he heard the more definitive noise of someone walking above and moving the rug, then the removal of the boards. Sam turned down the light and moved behind an outcropping at the back passage, gun in hand, knowing that just because he expected Kara back it was entirely possible that someone else was coming first.

But then he heard a hiss, "Hey, are you here?"

Grateful, he put the gun into his thigh holster and moved forward to help Kara climb down the ladder.

He looked up into Tyrol's face, bending over the trap door. "Here, more fuel for the cook stove," Tyrol handed it down to him and a bag. "Food, a little tea. And a friend of Cally's knitted this for Nicky, but it's already too small."

Sam took the hat, struck for a moment by how small it was. "Tell her thanks, Galen."

Tyrol replaced the door and was gone, as Kara turned the lamp up.

"So?" Sam asked. "How did it go?"

She shrugged. "Fine."

"Kara. How did it go?" he demanded impatiently. "Did anyone recognize you? Did you get there safely? Did you see anyone? Come on, I haven't seen the sun in six weeks either."

She laughed and came over to kiss him. "Okay, okay. But first the good news: Cottle says I'm perfectly healthy. He didn't want to know where I'd been all this time, but he did some tests and an ultrasound. And he's pretty sure the baby's a girl."

She dropped that as if it was some random tidbit of information, not changing her tone at all, then she watched him, grinning as he seized her hands with excitement. "A girl? Really? That's... fantastic."

"Odds were pretty good it'd be one or the other," she reminded him, teasing.

"Hush, you. Now we only have to pick one name. Good thing we have time. So, Cottle mention when the happy day might come?"

"Another month at least, probably more likely two." Then she glanced around the cave glumly. "I doubt the Cylons will be gone by then. How long are we going to have to stay down here? I feel... Sam, we're not fighting back."

"We are," he reassured her. "We're planning, and helping."

"That's not the same," she complained.

"No, it's not," he agreed. He leaned against the work table where they had drawings of various structures and the camp and other papers of the resistance which they kept safe down here. "And I'd love to be shooting them, too. But someone has to collect intel and plan, and make ammo. That's what we do. Besides, we're targets; that makes being up top dangerous for other people, not just us."

"It's dangerous anyway! Sam, I heard -- " she shook her head, distressed. "Cylons shoot people dead if they're found with weapons on the spot. Some of them disappear and nobody sees them again. It's awful."

"Which is why it's better to be down here and not one of them in detention," he told her.

She stalked away, angry at him like he wasn't getting it. "Why do we get to be safe when nobody up there is?" She threw a hand up, pointing to the ceiling. "Other women with babies, other families -- we get to stay down here and paint in safety while they're getting shot at."

He let out a sigh. "We're not that safe, Kara. This is like Delphi Union -- we knew the toasters could stumble on it any moment. And yes, you're right, we could let other people come down here, too. I don't have a problem with letting Jean or Roslin or someone like that who gets in trouble hide with us. But," he paused. It wasn't easy to say, even though he knew it was the truth. "We can't fill these tunnels with people. It'll never stay a secret --It'll get too noisy, too hard to supply, and the Cylons will find out."

She let out a frustrated sound, but couldn't argue. "We need to do more to fight back."

"Okay. I could go with Barolay and Hillard when they plant the charges at the landing field," he suggested. He would do it, too, if she agreed -- she wasn't the only one who wanted fresh air -- but he didn't think it would happen.

It didn't. She faced him, startled and appalled. "What? No! Are you nuts?"

"I'm agreeing with you. We should fight back more, and not sit around in safety," he repeated her words back to her. "So I'll go--"

"The Cylons want your head on a plate!" she interrupted fiercely. "Absolutely not!" He waited, saying nothing, until she narrowed her eyes at him and folded her arms. "Frak you."

He spread his hands in quasi-apology. "I don't enjoy being stuck down here either, you know. I'd much rather be blowing the frakkers away. But I would never forgive myself if my impatience led to them finding this place and you getting dragged off."

"We can't stay down here forever, Sam. I can't."

"I know, me neither," he agreed with a sigh. "But at least until the baby's born and you're a little more mobile, and hopefully we drop off their lidar, when the toasters have the insurgency on their minds. Maybe we'll get lucky and the counter-attacks will make them give up and leave us alone."

She snorted. "We're not going to be that lucky."

"No, but as long as we're a little bit lucky, I'll take it."

Kara was painting, and Sam was sitting at the table, measuring gun powder into shotgun shells for the resistance, when they both froze at the sound of someone moving around above the trap door.

In silence, they both stood. Kara grabbed a sidearm off the table beside her paint box, and Sam, who kept his holster on nearly all the time after some hard-earned lessons on Caprica, put a hand on his gun. They both moved behind the rock outcropping, waiting as the trap door opened.

At first there was no sound, then Tyrol's voice calling softly, "It's me."

"What's the news?" Kara asked, heading back into the light to meet Tyrol as he slid down the ladder. His face didn't encourage Sam to let go of the gun, at all -- Tyrol looked very worried, even as he handed a bag of supplies to Sam.

"We've got a problem," he announced. "They grabbed the colonel."

"Oh, hell," Kara said in dismay.

"They took him to detention," Tyrol shook his head. "There's no way we can get to him."

"He can blow everything," Kara realized, and looked around their cave which had suddenly turned into anything but a haven.

"He won't tell," Tyrol said with confidence. "I can't believe the colonel would tell them anything. But still... we know they torture people. He may not have a choice."

"Do they know he's leading the resistance?" Sam asked. "Or did they just guess?"

Tyrol shook his head, pursing his lips. "Don't know. I hope it's the second, but if it's the first --"

"-means there's a traitor," Kara finished in disgust. "Gods, are humans really selling out to the Cylons?"

"Frakking NCP," Tyrol spat in disgust. "More than one of those. The ones I can be sure of -- like Barolay, she's doing surveillance to see if we can identify those frakkers. But they're careful so far."

"You need someone on the inside," Sam suggested. "None of my people, since the toasters must have their names, but somebody." He caught Tyrol's expression change, and his stomach knotted with apprehension. "What?"

"Cripkey's dead," Tyrol told him. "He shot two skinjobs, but the others caught him. Executed him in the street. I'm sorry."

"Frak." Sam turned away, shutting his eyes tightly to try to erase the image from his mind, and he inhaled deep breaths to try to breathe past the sudden lump in his chest. "Stupid frakker."

Cylons were whittling the team down, one by one. He'd tried to resign himself to that, but it still felt as if he'd been punched in the gut, again.

"I gotta get back," Tyrol said, nodding upward.

"Thanks for the warning, Chief," Kara told him. "Go. We'll be fine." After Tyrol had gone, she added, "As long as the colonel doesn't rat us out."

"He won't," Sam said, sure of that at least. He'd seen the amazement and pride in Tigh's face every time he looked at Kara. "He'll let them kill him first, Kara. But we should still be careful." All it would take was a slip of the tongue to confirm that Sam and Kara were on the surface, not on Galactica after all, and the Cylons would start looking more seriously. And they would start with his friends.

But today he had one fewer to worry about. Frakking Cripkey getting caught. Frakking toasters butchering him. And now Sam was never going to see that reckless grin or watch him float a ball into a goal without touching the edge ever again. Frakking gods letting this happen.

Sam could feel Kara's gaze as he went straight to where he kept his small pile of stuff and grabbed the jump rope. Lacking space to run in, he'd turned to the rope to exercise and it helped ease the restlessness. Now he wanted it to ease his urge to go out there and kill all the frakking Cylons or drink himself unconscious.

He didn't bother to count as he made the rope go round and round, trying to burn out the anger and the grief.

"So, names," Sam said, ladling the soup out of the pot for both of them. There was an onion in there, and it smelled so good, he wanted to eat it all himself, but he divided the share, giving her a little more but not so much she'd complain about it.

"I have names I hate for various reasons," he said, "but nothing I especially like. What about you?"

Taking stale bread cubes, she put them in the soup to soften and thought about it. "Me neither. I don't want to name her after anyone alive. And definitely not my mother, so don't even suggest it."

He smiled. "I wouldn't. Nor any of my foster parents."

"What about your mother?" she suggested.

He shrugged. "She's just a name to me. Maybe something more … symbolic? Proserpina? Since we're waiting for her underground while it's winter up above?"

Kara wrinkled her nose. "Ugly name. And she was stupid, eating those seeds when she knew something would happen. Not to mention she was married to Death, that's ill-omened."

He ate about half of his bowl before suggesting, "Artemis? She's your favorite."

"No, not after Nora died in her temple."

Sam flinched guiltily, remembering the argument they'd had about that-- Kara and Galen had been right to keep the guns out.

But Kara didn't seem to be thinking about that. She glanced over at her newest painting by the wall. There were bright smears of color in vaguely horizontal stripes; Sam liked it, as it brightened up the place and was less angry than her usual work but he never commented on any paintings unless she asked.

"I painted that, thinking of the baby," Kara murmured. "It reminds me of a sunrise."

He regarded the painting, chewing his bread, and then nodded. "Sunrise. Okay, I see it. And?"

"Aurora," Kara suggested with that little quaver to her voice that always meant she was feeling something very deeply and trying to hold it down. "What about Aurora?"

His smile grew and he leaned over to pat Kara's rounded abdomen. "Aurora. I like it."

It was a name full of hope, of seeing the sun again, and he liked that part about it best of all.

On to part 2

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