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31 December 2013 @ 12:50 pm
BSG Fic: Black Sails at Dawn 5/?  

The sky was so amazingly blue. There were some small white clouds. A bird.

Kara looked upward, watching the bird and the deep blue sky, feeling warm and unwilling to move for a long time.

After a little while, she realized she felt grass beneath her fingers and when she moved her hands, there was dirt as well, grainy and moist. The scent of growing things touched her nose and she felt a breeze on her right cheek, stirring her hair.

She was lying on the ground, on her back.

Sitting up, she saw she was wearing her colonial tanks and BDU pants and boots and she frowned at them, sensing that wasn't right, for some reason. Why did she think she should be wearing something else?

She was in a field of grass and small flowers, with a scattering of large leafy trees. There was a sun above the trees, bright and yellow. It was all very beautiful.

It wasn't until she was on her feet and looked in the opposite direction of the sun, that she saw high towers, made of glass and metal, glinting in the sunlight. The sight of the city was a sudden reminder:

Her Viper. The storm. Sam's voice yelling over the wireless. Her mother's death. Accepting her own fear and letting it pass from her. Bright flash of light filling her vision.

"Where the hell am I?" she wondered aloud. "Is this Elysium?"

"No," a voice answered behind her. She turned to see "Leoben", the same one from her vision standing before her, watching her with those deep eyes. "The doors to Elysium stand shut," he added. "No one, not even you, can cross the threshold yet."

"But I'm dead."

He hesitated and gave a hint of a smile. "Not exactly."

She opened her mouth to ask what the hell that meant, but then snapped it shut. "Fine. If we're not in Elysium, where are we?"

Surprisingly he answered, "Earth."

"Earth?" This was Earth? She turned around again, slowly, the wild area to one side and the city in the distance. There were both birds and planes in the blue sky overhead. "The home of the Thirteenth Tribe," she murmured and ran her fingers through the tall grass with delighted awe. "It's real." Then she turned to look at Leoben. "How did I get here?"

"You brought yourself," he answered.

Realizing that tack wasn't going to get her any useful answers, she asked instead, "Why am I here?"

"Because it already happened."

She glared at him and thought about punching him in the face. "You enjoy frakking with people, don't you?"

His smile widened, but he didn't deny it. "Come. This way."

She followed him, heading for the city. Each step seemed to take them much closer than it should, until she stopped on the outskirts, where the houses were closer together. "How?"

"A form of projection," he answered.

"So this is all in my head?" she asked, not surprised.

"The surroundings are real; the projection is you."

She frowned, trying to figure that out. She could touch the grass, so she wasn't a ghost.

He ignored her incomprehension. "This way,"

Inside the city, which reminded her of any city on Caprica, with its homes and apartments, ground level shops, and vehicles that seemed different but similar. She couldn't read the signs, at first, until she thought back to the oldest scriptures, and realized it was a form of Kobolian.

The city seemed quiet, but she passed a school where there were children playing, and grandparents pushing babies in prams. Not one gave her a second look, even though her clothing wasn't like theirs. At first she was glad, since she didn't want to run into trouble, but then it started to feel very strange that no one looked at her at all.

Fed up with being completely ignored, she stood right in front of a business woman walking with a determined stride, "Excuse me--"

The woman walked right through her.

Kara gasped and turned to see the woman continue on her way as if nothing had happened. Leoben was watching her, glint of amusement on his face. "None of them can see us. We exist on a different level than they do."

"Because I'm dead?"

"Because you're more," he said, and started off again.

"So if no one can see me, what are we doing?"

"There's something you must see."

"This is so weird," she grumbled. Kara started to smell the sea in the air and noticed the buildings turning older and more ornate, as they moved into what seemed to be the city center.

Abruptly the buildings gave way to an embarcadero along a large body of water, either a large river or a bay. On the other side were the tall buildings she'd seen before, and now she could see an old-looking suspension bridge spanning the two.

They ambled along the waterside path and Kara enjoyed the feel of real sunlight on her skin - it was soft and golden, compared to the harsher light of the algae planet.

Curiously she began to hear the sounds of a crowd chanting something.

Closer, she heard the words more distinctly, as someone shouted, 'What do we want?"

And the small crowd roared back, "Peace now!"

The crowd turned out to be about a hundred strong, gathered in front of what looked like a temple. There was a woman dressed as a priestess or a sister on the top steps, and she was the one leading the calling. "What do we want?"

"Peace now!"

"Are they at war?" Kara asked Leoben.

"For the past four years, more if you count that as a mere truce."

But she didn't ask any more as she took an involuntary step forward as her eye fell on the man to the left of the priestess, leading the response. He was carrying a guitar, and he looked a lot like Sam.

She pushed closer to see, not even noticing when she walked through people, because the closer she got, the more it looked like him.

It was him.

It wasn't her Sam of today, worn down by prophecy and war, but a younger version from his playing days, with the same short, spiky dark hair and enthusiastic blue eyes.

The priestess raised her hands to silence the crowd. "And now we will sing the song Sam wrote for us and carry it to the rest of our lives, that this war must not continue. It is an abomination of the gods, and we call for peace! The world must change before it's too late."

The crowd cheered, and the priestess gestured, "Sam. Please."

Kara stared. His name was Sam, too? "He looks exactly like Sam," she murmured to Leoben.

"He is."

"But, this is Earth. How is this possible?"

"The Samuel T Anders you know is only a part of who he is and was," Leoben answered.

Sam stood to stand beside the priestess and started to play his guitar. It took a moment for the crowd to settle, but when they did, a hush fell over them, and he began to sing in a warm baritone voice.

"...And don't speak too soon, for the wheel's still in spin. And there's no telling who that it's naming, for the loser now will be later to win..."

As he sang and the crowd sang with him, he looked out, and then he looked right at her.

Reflexively, she looked behind her to see if he was seeing someone else, but there was no one else there. When she turned back, he was still looking at her, now with an amused smile.

Then his attention was pulled away by the song, to finish it, "And the times they are a 'changing..."

The chorus repeated, as a prayer for change and peace until the priestess raised a hand. "All of you, go in peace."

The crowd began to break up, people moving away. Kara stayed where she was, watching Sam. Then, she realized what it must be. Sam had told her about remembering dying before. "This is his previous life, right? But it's uncanny how he looks the same..."

"All this has happened before..." Leoben said, and trailed off with a smile as she glared at him.

Then she looked at Sam some more, wondering. Sam - on Earth. He'd looked at her. "He can see me."

Leoben shrugged. 'You want him to."

She moved closer, watching as Sam hugged the priestess and moved to the edge of the steps where he'd left his guitar case.

Without turning, he seemed to know Kara was approaching, saying, "I have to get back to work. Sorry." Then he glanced up. "I haven't seen you at a rally before. Are you new to the cause or an ISA spy?"

"A spy?" she repeated with a smile. "No, I'm not a spy."

It was strange -- he was Sam, but he didn't know her. He was playing guitar, had joined a peace rally, and had some kind of job that obviously had nothing to do with sports. So he wasn't exactly Sam either.

He smiled in an exact copy of her Sam's flirty smile. "Good. Glad to hear it. So what do you do?"

"I'm a ... pilot," she answered, leaving it vague since she had the suspicion he wouldn't approve of a combat pilot. "You? What do you do when you're not at peace protests?"

He raised his head to look toward a tall building not far away. "I work there. Dominion Systems. Research."

"Research?" she repeated incredulously. Sam was no dummy, but she'd never have pegged him as a scientist or engineer of any kind. "Really?"

He stood up, guitar case in hand, and mistook her surprise, telling her stiffly, "Yes. I know they're a military contractor, but I work in non-weapon areas. Now excuse me, I have to get back."

"Sure. Bye." She watched him walk away, thoughtful and curious.

"What he didn't tell you," Leoben murmured at her side, and she started, having forgotten he was there, "is that his non-weapons work is in fact a devastating weapon."

"What work? What does he research?"

"Come. We'll follow him, and you'll see."

They ended up at the top floor of the Dominion Systems building. Some time seemed to have passed: Sam was now wearing a sportcoat, waiting with his arms folded, staring at the wall in a sullen irritated mood.

Kara stayed behind him, and then Leoben took her hand. She pulled away sharply, but he explained, "Let me hide your presence," he requested. "We should listen."

"Well. Okay." She let him take her hand, as the secretary called Sam to go in.

Before Kara could blink, Leoben brought her inside a large, spacious office. The opposite wall was all glass with a view of the bay, bridge, and city on the other side. There was a big desk in front of the window - there to be impressive - and a big chair turned away, so the occupant could look out.

The chair turned around and she saw the face of the Cylon Cavil.

She flinched, expecting him to see them, but he had eyes only for Sam. It was actively creepy to see the Cavil model sitting there, facing Sam.

He glared in sour disapproval at Sam. "I pay you to work, Doctor Anders. Not attend peace rallies at the temple."

"I was on my lunch break. Sir," Sam said with formal cold politeness. Kara wanted to laugh -- Sam hated this guy who looked like Cavil. Some things never changed.

"Still, don't you think it looks bad that one of my top scientists is part of an effort to undermine his own company?"

Stunned by the words, she looked from Sam to Cavil and back. 'Top scientists'? Really?

"If a desire for peace undermines the company, then it's in the wrong business," Sam retorted.

"Oh, don't climb up your moral mountain, son. You knew perfectly well when you accepted the offer you'd be taking a paycheck from a defense contractor. But the chance to work on AI with my daughter was more than you could resist, wasn't it? So where were all your high-minded principles then?"

Sam flinched a little and stiffened his back. "AI is not supporting the war. We're a basic research--"

"To make our robots into more efficient, better killing machines," Cavil interrupted. "And sure, it'd be nice if they'd also help little old ladies cross the street, but what we want is for our centurions to become autonomous. If there's going to be a war, shouldn't it be with machines that don't die, instead of people?" Cavil asked. "I'd think you'd be all for it."

"The war is unnecessary and has led to the deaths of thousands of people," Sam started, furiously, "For nothing!"

"They attacked us first."

"That's what they say."

"Ah, yes, you would know, wouldn't you?" Cavil asked, his voice suddenly silky. "You were born in Piscia, weren't you? I have a Piscian ex-patriate in my staff, agitating for an end to the war. I wonder what ISA would think of that?"

"What? I'm not loyal to them! I hate them, too!"

Kara could tell by the abrupt silence that Sam's angry outburst had gone a step too far.

"You 'hate them, too'?" Cavil repeated and smiled like a shark. "Go back to work, Doctor. Make me a smarter robot. And stop attending peace rallies that make us look bad. Or you won't have to worry about getting fired, because you'll be in ISA interrogation. Am I clear?"

"You can't--" Sam objected, weakly, and it was obvious he knew that Cavil could.

"Am I clear?" Cavil demanded, cold and implacable.

Sam hesitated, swallowed and pressed his lips together as if he fighting the urge to vomit, and then spat out, "Yes, sir."

"I'm glad we had this conversation, then. You're dismissed."

Sam turned to go to the door - his back and jaw was stiff, but the rest of his face furious. He slammed the door behind him.

Cavil chuckled to himself smugly, then picked up the phone. Kara glared at him, wishing she could laser him with her eyes and then spun around, heading right through the wall.

She stopped in the middle of the empty conference room on the other side and confronted Leoben. "So, 'all this happened before' right? That's what you're going to say? That talk about robots and AI - it sounds like how the first Cylon War started."


"And Sam -- this Sam -- is right in the middle of it, as some kind of scientist. And that guy who looks like a toaster in the Colonies is his boss, and threatening him with, what, jail? Torture? What kind of frakked up place is this?"

"Earth was never the sacred refuge the Colonies believed it to be," he answered.

"Then why the hell send us there?"

"There is no other path. The circle must close before it can be broken."

She realized she was spending way too long in this place when that made sense. She let out an aggravated groan and shook her head. "You're annoying as frak, you know that?"

His smile was knowing, and made her even more irritated. She stomped off, heading through the wall to find Sam again. This business of being a sort of ghost was convenient for getting places in a hurry. It still didn't make sense that she could lean against the same thing that she could pass through ten minutes later, but then again she was dead, so this was probably all in her head anyway.

The thought niggling at her pushed its way up when she passed a window with a view of the city across the water, and for a moment it looked so much like the skyscrapers of Caprica City it hurt. This place could be a ruin, too, if the Cylons nuked it, as they had Caprica City.

No, it would be a ruin. There was no 'could be' about it. And Sam... she already knew this was a past life for him. He was going to die. She remembered what he'd said about remembering being killed in the temple on the algae planet, and the way his eyes, normally so bright, had looked so dark and lost in the memory.

Then she stopped and faced Leoben again. "Shouldn't he remember me? If I'm really back in time to his past, he should remember me, same as he does the Temple of Five. That was a past life, too."

Leoben's gaze flickered away and he answered, looking out at the sun-touched skyline. "He will remember nothing of Earth until he steps on its surface again. He knows too much already." And he glared at her, as if it was her fault. Then he held out a hand. "There's more you should see."

Reluctant to learn more, she nonetheless put her hand in his and let him lead the way.

Sam was in what seemed to be his office, a small and messy room, and he stripped off his jacket, hurling it into his chair. "Bastard," he muttered. Kara was about to let go of Leoben's hand and approach him, when a female voice interrupted.

"Hey, how'd it go?"

Kara turned to see president Roslin's aide Tory Foster in the doorway. It was bizarre to see her there, smiling at Sam. Tory Foster was here, too? She wasn't dressed that differently from woman Kara had met, in slacks and a short-sleeved blouse.

Sam snorted with sour humor. "At least he didn't fire me."

"He can't fire you," Tory reassured him and came into the room, and there was a flirty curve to her lips that made Kara want to hit her. "We need you." Her hand stroked down his arm lightly. "Here, not in jail. I know you feel strongly about the war, but if the project is successful we'll be saving lives."

He jerked away. "That's if any of us can crack it. Maybe it's impossible."

She folded her arms. "Our ancestors did it. We know it's possible. And we're so close, I can feel it. Come spend time in lab Beta with us, it'll make you feel better. We brought fruit cake," she told him cheerfully and left.

Thinking he was alone, Sam's smile abruptly vanished and he lifted a hand to rub the bridge of his nose. "Frak." But he let out a sigh, got a familiar look of determination on his face, picked up a flat rectangular tablet and left the room.

Kara started to follow when her gaze happened to catch the line of pictures on the shelf beside the door and she stopped, stunned by one of them. It was a photo of Sam taken outside, by the water. He had that guitar and to either side were Tory, Galen Tyrol, and both Ellen and Saul Tigh. All five had their arms around each other and they were grinning at the camera in genuine camaraderie.

Something in the picture made Kara's stomach tighten with apprehension. They looked the same as the people Kara knew -- not just Sam or Tory, but Galen and Saul and Ellen, too. It was a little strange, since she didn't think her Sam knew the other four well. He'd known the Tighs the best, before they'd left for New Caprica, but hardly Tyrol or Tory at all, and he hadn't spent time around them since his return from the Cylons that she knew of. He certainly wasn't close friends with any of them.

Yet in this photo they all seemed like they belonged together.

"They were so passionate," Leoben said, peering over her shoulder at the image. He sounded sort of admiring, but also sad. "And so arrogant that they knew best."

"They're all scientists, then?" she asked. "They work here? That's so bizarre... " The only one she could really see as a scientist was Tyrol. But Sam, the pyramid player? The Tighs? The colonel was so Fleet, she couldn't imagine him not military, and Ellen rarely seemed to think about anything serious.

"They are so much more than they knew." His finger slowly slid down the photo, and his face for a moment seemed terribly sad. "They brought it on themselves, I know, and yet ... I wish for them to be whole again." He turned to Kara. "But that won't happen until they learn some things are forbidden for a reason."

She chuckled. "You know you're talking to the wrong girl if you want me to convince Sam to obey the rules, right?"

He smiled and added dryly, "I have noticed. Come, it's time for you to learn what Sam's rule-breaking is leading him into now."

Strangely, by the time they caught up to Sam it was after sunset. He was leaving the building, wearing a coat and still carrying his guitar case. Kara wanted to approach him, but hung back as he crossed the plaza, walked down the embarcadero and headed straight to the temple.

At a side gate, he stopped, looked around furtively, and slipped inside.

Kara chuckled. "What is this? A spy movie?"

She and Leoben followed, entering a side garden where the same priestess was clipping some flowers.

"Samuel? What brings you back so soon?" she asked worriedly.

"I have bad news," he murmured. "I have to stop coming to the rallies. I got called to the CEO after lunch today, and ordered to stop." She nodded, unsurprised, but disappointed. He stepped closer to her and dropped his voice, "I'll continue the work from inside. But I can't come to the meetings anymore without ISA breathing down my neck."

"I understand," the priestess. "Do what you can, and go with Aurora's grace, Samuel. We believe in you. Together we will bring an end to this war."

She kissed his cheek and he slipped out the gate, leaving the priestess alone in the garden with her flowers.

Kara moved to the corner, to watch a small fountain burbling quietly over some stones and thought about what he'd said to the priestess. "Oh gods," Kara realized. "He's sabotaging the AI project, isn't he?"

"Once a rebel, always a rebel," Leoben shook his head in disapproval. "It's no wonder you two found each other."

"I'm not a rebel," she retorted, affronted. He just looked at her. Then, considering the truth, she gave a shrug and added, "Mostly."

Turning away she thought about Sam and decided she needed to find him. It was becoming easier to navigate now-- thinking about him brought her to the street, not far behind him. She followed behind as he hesitated, went down an alley, down some steps into a basement, and through the doors of what turned out to be a bar.

It wasn't a nice bar either, like she would've expected. But people seemed to know him, nodding to him in greeting, and the bartender brought him a glass full of something without an order. Sam sat on the end stool and had his feet resting on his guitar case, hunched over his tumbler in a distinct attitude of 'go away.'

She slid onto the stool next to him, and without looking at her, his mouth curved in a sardonic smile. "Great. The ISA girl. My day's complete."

"I'm not ISA," she told him. "I don't even know what that is, actually, other than it sounds like it sucks."

His eyes flaring with alarm before he turned to shush her, were all she needed to know about it. "Don't say that!"

She opened her mouth to tell him that he was the only one in the bar who could see her, but then he turned back to his drink. "Not that it matters. You can be ISA, or not, but I'm not going back to the rally. So if that's your interest, talk to someone else."

"You're my interest," she told him honestly. "Not the rally. I ... well, you remind me of someone. This guy I knew, all passion and fire and gods-dammed stubbornness. Refused to lay down and die when our enemies had him surrounded."

His hand tightened on his glass, but he didn't look at her. "And?"

"And... somehow he got some of them on his side and he brought her home. Now they have a kid." She added silently to herself, watching his profile, 'But here you are again and there aren't any Cylons to take you away this time.'

Sam chuckled hollowly. "If only it was that easy here." He swirled his drink in the ice and drained it.

The bartender came closer and Sam said, "Another, and one for my friend."

The bartender glanced in Kara's direction, following Sam's vague gesture at the stool next to him. She smiled brightly, but the bartender didn't see her, frowning and he shrugged. "Sure, Anders. But take it easy - curfew's early tonight."

"Sure, Charlie. Wouldn't want to get picked up by ISA, would I?" He asked, looking right at Kara.

She narrowed her eyes at him, glaring, "Now you're being a pain in the ass."

"You're the one stalking me."

"Has nobody ever told you you're not bad looking?" she retorted. "Do I need more reasons than that?" She laid her hand on his forearm, and flinched at the warm tingle that passed through her.

His gaze snapped to meet hers and he didn't move away. After a hesitation of looking into her eyes, he answered slowly, "No." He let go of his glass and covered her hand, fingers sliding over hers as if searching for the moment she'd pull away.

But Kara had no intention of pulling away. This was her Sam, some crazy previous cycle version, who was different and yet strangely exactly the same -- and hers wasn't hers anymore anyway. She didn't really give a frak about any of that right now, not when he was touching her. She wanted so much to sit on the edge of the bar, wrap her legs around him and kiss him until all this strangeness went away.

"Do I know you?" he murmured, bending his head closer to her and still looking into her eyes. "I feel like I should know you."

"You do," she confirmed, wrapping her free hand up his shoulder and the back of his neck. "You will. I've known you so long, Sam."

His gaze flickered with puzzlement but he leaned in to kiss her anyway. The case slipped out from under his foot and he tumbled off the stool, landing hard on the floor. "Ow. Frak."

The bartender peered over the bar. "Anders? You okay?"

"Are you hurt?" she asked.

"I'm okay," he answered shortly as he sat up, wincing as he tested his elbow gingerly.

She was going to salute his clumsiness with the drink the bartender brought, but her fingers passed through her glass. "Oh come on!" she muttered irritably. "I can sit on a stool but I can't drink? What kind of frakked up rule is that?"

He grabbed his stool to pull himself back to his feet. "What did you say? I didn't catch it?"

"I said it's too bad you don't play sports with coordination and grace like that," she teased.

"I played triad in upper school. Regional champs," he said and downed his shot.

"Triad?" she laughed at the thought of triad as a sport. "Really?"

"I was pretty good," he retorted defensively. "I had 80 percent from the line, and Central offered me a free ride to come play. But I didn't want to spend all my time playing ball, when there were more fun things to do."

She frowned. So 'triad' was some kind of ball game here, not a card game. That was almost weirder than finding out he was a scientist.

Sam cocked his head when he noticed her glass was sitting there untouched. "You're not gonna drink that?" he asked her.

"No, apparently not." She made a pout at the drink. The gods were nothing but a cruel tease.

"Then I will. I've had a hell of a day." He drained hers and then fumbled in his pocket for a small square of plastic, which he laid on the bar. "There. Now, I'm going home. You wanna come?" he invited her casually, as if she was just some random bar hookup. Which she was, to him, which meant she had to make herself more.

"I think I'd better, if you're always this clumsy. You'd probably fall down and break your neck."

"Think you're funny, don't you," he retorted. "I'm fine." He promptly stumbled into a chair as he grabbed his guitar case. She laughed, and was glad to see his irritation dissolve into a rueful smile. He nearly hit the doorframe on the way out, except she jerked him out of the way.

"Gods, you always need a keeper," she muttered and put her arm around his waist. It felt so ... familiar and welcome, and she couldn't help nudging him with her hip like she used to when they'd prowled around the empty ship looking for new places to make their own.

He must have felt some of it, too, or at least known he couldn't walk straight without her help, since he left her arm there and stretched his own across her shoulders. He carried the guitar in his other hand and they walked together through the evening. At the door of his apartment building, he opened it with the touchpad and ushered her inside the high vestibule. They crossed the tile floor to the elevator and up to the sixth floor.

"Sorry, my place is a bit of a mess," he confessed, as the doors slid aside. "I'm here mostly only to sleep."

Since she remembered how Sam had managed to leave his crap lying around in their room on Galactica, despite having so little, she wasn't surprised to see the pile of laundry on the arm chair or the desk strewn with books, computer tablets, papers and an artistic stack of beer bottles. It was surprising to see the computer system taking up one entire corner, though. There were two large screens, sitting on a smooth shiny desk surface, and blinking equipment underneath.

There was also another guitar and an amp on stands next to the computer, and he put the case down next to them.

"You uh, want a drink?" he asked.

Instead of dealing with the possibility that she might not be able to touch that glass either, she moved right up into him. "Not really. I'm interested in what you've got, Anders."

His lips tasted of fruity ambrosia, and the feel of his rough upper lip against her lips was a welcome burn, as she wrapped her arms up his back and stood on her toes to feel his strength all against her. She kissed him every time she considered blurting out anything stupid like how much she'd missed him and how a quick frak in the closet hadn't been enough. His mouth hadn't changed at all - pulling at her so she felt it deep down inside, urging more. His hands moved eagerly on her waist, skimming her sides.

She undressed him with quick fingers, taking advantage of his alcohol slowed reflexes, and pushed him back into his unmade bed. He looked up at her, amused and aroused by her aggression, and his low chuckle curled the heat low in her belly. "Used to getting your own way, aren't you?"

"You know it." She pulled her tanks and bra off, and smirked as his eyes dropped to her bare breasts and stayed glued there. Then she crawled up his body and used her knowledge of what he liked mercilessly, until he was groaning and tried to flip her over. But she laughed and pinned his wrists. "No, baby." she wriggled her hips, rubbing them together until he was biting his lip. "Not yet. Hold out for me."

He did, freeing his hands to run them all over her body, cupping her breasts and her hips and having a long enough arm to get his fingers between her legs. But she didn't let him finger her too long, wanting the rest of him.

And gods, it had been so damn long, and it felt so good to sink down on top of him and frak until the world dissolved into sparks and heat.

She let it fade, riding it out stretched out on his chest, as he panted and clasped her loosely in his arms.

"I ... had a feeling bringing you home would be worth it," he said and dragged a lazy hand up her spine. "You're amazing."

"You're okay."

His chuckle was loud under her ear and he combed his fingers through her hair. "That's a clever ploy to get me to prove otherwise isn't it?"

"Maybe." She lifted her head to grin down at him. "I bet you could do better if you put your mind to it."

He lifted his eyebrows. "You were the one in the hurry."

"So take your time."

Nothing else mattered.

Crossposted from DW There are comment count unavailable comments over there. Feel free to comment wherever.