Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: 18+ Sex, alcohol. Non-explicit.
Pairing: Gaeta/Starbuck Spoilers: Er, this is set pre-mini, but spoils one little thing in Final Cut. Oh, and a few things from Valley of Darkness concerning Starbuck.
Length: 1,677 Notes: I blame this on musicforcylons, although it isn't exactly what she'd suggested. Summary: Starbuck is scary, he decides, staring up at her.

Opportunities Taken
by ALC Punk!

It happens because she's so frakking charismatic, and he's just not thinking and so he's drunk and half-dressed before he even realizes what he's doing. "We should stop." he says.

And she laughs so hard she sits up enough on the couch to over-balance and fall backwards, landing on the coffee table. It sets him off, and they're both laughing, the sound echoing around her too-empty apartment, and Felix wonders what the hell he's doing there.

"You're really funny, Mr. Gaeta," she says, dragging herself back onto the couch and straddling his lap. "I don't think you want to stop."

Starbuck is scary, he decides, staring up at her, "I really do." Damn honesty.

A hand touches his cheek and she leans closer and kisses him gently. "All right."

Then she's gone, bouncing across the room and into the half-kitchen, and he can hear her poking around and throwing something. It's enough to compose himself and button his pants (he's hard, but he'll deal with it later). "This is, ah..." He has no idea what to say, and starts actually noticing where he is.

It reminds him of the idiots that lived next door at the Academy: all mess and no organization. Except they didn't have color splashed all over the walls.

"Whatever." She drops onto the couch next to him, two glasses in one hand, a bottle of something orange in the other. "If you won't frak, you get to drink, Gaeta."

"All right," he agrees, because she's Starbuck and she's scary, and he knows he came here with some purpose.

They drink.

He stares at the walls, the paintings, the trash on the floor, but doesn't ask.

Halfway through the bottle, she gets up and turns on a player, the chip getting inserted with practiced ease. He watches her throw herself down on the floor, arms over her head, and wonders.

It's haunting music, full of a bitter emotion that makes him wonder about her. He's never seen Starbuck like this.

Felix still thinks she's frightening.

He's just been appointed to the CIC, and he thinks a mere pilot is scarier than the commander of the battlestar. Maybe he has his priorities frakked.

"Pour me another."

He sloshes orange something into her abandoned glass and leans over the table to hand it to her. She takes it deftly, doesn't spill a drop as she lifts up and downs it.

"Practice, practice, practice, Mr. Gaeta." She isn't slurring yet, but her eyes are wide.

The music draws to an end, then starts over again, winding through the apartment like a lost moment in time. He's halfway through the last of the bottle when he decides he could get used to this. To her. To just sitting on the couch, staring at the painted bullseye on the wall.

He thinks he's definitely drunk.

"I've got an idea," she bounces up to her feet faster than he'd thought she could. Her hands close on his, and he wonders where his glass went but lets her pull him to his feet. "We're gonna get tattoos."

"Huh?"

"It's a celebration, right? Right." Her hand slaps on his back, propelling him towards the stairs and he starts up them to keep from falling over.

He continues going because she's pushing at him, and there's no more alcohol anyway, and the room seems a little hazy, but who gives a frak? Not that he frakked Starbuck, but he could have, and that has to count for something, right? Right.

They're outside, suddenly, and he figures it's the alcohol that makes him lose time.

"This is not in the regulations," Felix mumbles as they stagger down a side alley (dear gods, she knows some seedy sections of town, and why did he agree to come with her?) and stop in front of a hole-in-the-wall.

"Yeah, whatever, get yer ass in there, Mr. Gaeta. We're celebrating." The last is said to the dark-skinned woman behind the counter.

She eyes them both, then raises a brow, "Yer drunk."

"We've got the cubits." Starbuck slaps a handful on the counter.

The woman shrugs, "What ya want?"

"Dunno." Starbuck looks at him, "What's your name?"

He doesn't want to answer, because people always laugh. But she's Starbuck. "Felix."

And she does laugh, but then she sort of sobers and shoves him down into the chair, "Good, good," her hands work, yanking open the mis-matched buttons on his uniform tunic, pulling it open. "Here. I've got the perfect idea."

The woman comes out from behind the counter, and hands her cigarette to Starbuck. "Well?"

"A cat." Starbuck pulls his tanks out of the way. "Right here." Her fingers trace over his skin, and just for a second, he regrets not frakking her.

Then the woman is moving closer, needle out, and he doesn't have anymore time to object, gets his mouth open, though. But it's too late, the needle's gone in. And it doesn't hurt. He thinks it should hurt as she watches her sketch on his skin, hands flawless and steady as the design spills out across his upper chest.

"Now me," says Starbuck.

And he jerks, realizing it's all over and he has a thing he can't quite identify through the alcoholic haze on his pectoral.

The woman moves and begins on the back of Starbuck's neck, and Felix takes the moment to button himself up properly (can't have the new officer of the deck coming back looking like he rolled a town floozy). Uniform straightened, he just leans back in the chair and drifts.

Eyes not closed, because sleeping would be bad. But the time passes, and he doesn't think. Mostly.

It occurs to him that his family would be so proud he'd let down his hair. That they would be laughing and offering him more ambrosia for daring to break out of his perfect little officer mold.

"You've got a stick up your ass, son," his dad used to say.

He'd stopped trying to explain that this was the posting he wanted, and he had to be this good and straight-arrow to get it.

Starbuck slaps him. "Wake up, Sparky, time to go."

Crap. He did fall asleep. He drags himself after her, forgetting the tattoo. It's time to get back to Galactica, before Tigh sends out MPs (unless he's too drunk to remember his responsibilities again).

Starbuck leans against him as they stand on the shuttle back. It's crammed with nearly thirty pilots and crew, all hoping to make their bunks and grab some shut-eye before the next day starts and they have to be alert professionals. "We gotta do this again, sometime."

He yawns. "Yeah. Especially the music part."

There's a sudden stillness to her, and then she laughs. "Kinky, Sparky, kinky."

He feels uncertain, but says, "Thanks." anyway.

The shuttle touches down on the hangar deck and the hatch opens. She slaps him on the chest, then shoves him down the ramp before he's quite ready. He staggers against another crew-member, who laughs.

"Sparky's had too much," Starbuck taunts, catching him up again. "I need to go put him to bed."

There's general laughter and mockery, and he flushes, and hates the fact.

"C'mon, Sparky."

They stumble together into one of the senior officers' quarters, and Felix doesn't care if he belongs there or not, and she doesn't care as she tumbles them both into a bunk. When she gropes him while he's taking off his boots, he gropes back out of reflex. Groping leads to kissing, and he wonders again why he stopped (and thinks, in one moment of clarity that it wouldn't have been right, then).

"Get a room!" Someone calls, which makes them pull apart, laughing.

"Frak you!" Starbuck fires back, shoving him onto the bunk and climbing on top of him. She's still laughing when she kisses him again.

Her movements are quick and sure, and he is certain he should be too drunk for this--was too drunk for it, before--but then her hand is down his pants. She knows exactly what she's doing, he thinks hazily as her lips move to his throat and suck hard while her hand moves on him. There is almost too much friction, but he doesn't care anymore, pushing into her when she moves back to kiss him again.

Too late, he thinks of his uniform--the only clean one, and he has to wear it on-duty in the morning. Because she's good at handling a stick, whether it's a control stick in a viper or not.

She laughs against his mouth when he groans and thunks his head against the pillow.

His hands touch her, lightly, but she's already pulling away, cleaning her hand and chuckling. "Sleep well, Sparky."

"Evil." He mumbles as she staggers towards the door and out into the hallway.

"You bet yer ass." Starbuck calls.

Then she's gone, and he's left to try to figure out just where in the frak he is, and if he can find someone to loan him a new set of uniform pants for the coming shift. And hoping he won't have a hangover. Really hoping.

Being incapacitated on his first day as Officer of the Watch in CIC would be a black mark he would never live down.

"Mr. Gaeta." And it's Ripper, the CAG, and Felix really wishes he could die as the pilot pulls him out of the rack. "No offence, but this isn't exactly your quarters."

"I'm sorry, sir," he manages.

"Good night, Lieutenant."

"Sir." He tries a salute, fails, then grabs his boots and heads out the door. He must be sobering slightly, because he knows where he is. Either that or he just really memorized Galactica's hallways. One deck and three hallways later, he staggers into his own quarters, waves at Dee and climbs into his bunk.

There's a niggling thought in the back of his mind that says he should be undressing, that he's sticky and uncomfortable. But it's too much effort.

Besides. Morning will come soon enough.

-finis-