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"No. No, no, no, baby, I've got you."

He always knew Kara's voice as soon as he heard it, but it takes him a heartbeat -- two -- to assign her name to that frantic denial.

He thinks--

He thinks been shot. The back of his neck is wet; his legs don't want to obey. Kara is a blonde blur in front of him, her hair falling like a veil over his face.

There's a cacophony of voices around him, but he tries with every fiber of his being to focus on hers.

begin reintegration of right hemisphere subcommand routines, patterns, the universe, sea, begin reintegration of command subroutines

"Galen, no, it won't be awkward. Seriously, the only person you need to ask for permission to date Tory is Tory."

"Heard you're taking Ellen to the ocean for your anniversary."

"We've been running simulations for nearly two months. It's just not working."

"You're not crazy. Not any crazier than I am."

there's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza, there's a hole in the bucket

His eyes blink, and the lights across the ship follow suit.

He remembers that he used to love music. He recalls piano keys beneath his fingers, guitar strings yielding for his touch.

He remembers finding his rhythm in the stepstepstepshoot of pyramid, the roar of an arena full of fans, the rock and tilt of a woman's hips, the clickclackclick of loading a gun.

Now there's not a whisper, not a sigh, on Galactica that he can't hear. He hears it when Helo tries to lull Athena to sleep with a softly hummed lullaby. He hears little Nicky speaking words not even halfway formed. He hears Laura Roslin tap a tuneless staccato against the frame of her bed when she can't sleep. He hears his wife humming and whistling and sometimes singing under her breath, always the same song, a song he used to play; in her rack, she catches herself humming again and stops short in sheer frustration, and there's so much he can do but none of it can push her into understanding.

She's right there on the edge. All she needs is to leap.

the long view returns patterns and repetitions

He sets his guitar aside, flexing his fingers and then letting his hand creep toward hers.

"Who said we're done?"

Her arched eyebrows make him laugh in response. "I did. It's been a long day, okay?" His hand closes on her wrist, tugging, and she grins but does her best not to budge.

"You're never gonna finish this song in time if you don't focus."

"You drop a lot of cryptic hints, honey--"

"Honey?" After that, she can't resist. She moves in close, her smile as predatory as ever. "That's cute, Sam. You kiss your girlfriend after calling me that?"

His head shakes, eyes rolling, but he opens his arms to greet her as she invades his personal space. "When I'm not the only one who sees you and hears you we can -- and should -- revisit that issue."

"But until then?" Her mouth is so close she breathes his breath.

"Until then I think you should inspire me."

Against his lips, her huge grin is as real as anything he's ever felt.

all has happened before and all will happen again

On Caprica, Kara's mouth contorts, her eyes bright as she snaps the chain around her neck and removes one of her tags. She presses it into his palm. He knows the odds better than anyone, but he can't afford not to believe her when she tells him she'll be back.

Above their new Earth, Kara's eyelashes are wet as she drops her dog tags into his hand. Even now he can hear the steady song of her heartbeat, the tremble in her voice when she says goodbye.

It's too final a word, but she'll find out soon enough.