Assignment For: sentraaquila Character: Hotdog Up to two things you want to see in the fic: a moment of peace, Hotdog's backstory Up to two things you don't want to see in the fic: fluff, pining for Starbuck

Disclaimer: not mine. Rating: eh, 13.
Setting: S2, post-Ressurrection Ship. Mild spoilers.
Thanks for beta-ing go to the fabulous sabaceanbabe and lovely gravity Note: This took longer than planned, as I had to fight off certain urges. Especially as people kept saying "Hot Dog is the Sam Guthrie of Galactica". mutters

January
by ALC Punk!

Everyone goes to the hall, sooner or later. Some of the pilots think of it as a hall of mourning, a monument built for the people who have died. For Brendan Constanza, it's like touching the past.

Seeing the pictures and images, the pieces of lives stored gave him a sense of family.

When he was young, his mother ran the family--she had to, with his father always off at work at the factory. She was barely tall enough to fly a viper, and she ran them all with an iron hand. Five children, all loud and obnoxious, didn't phase Anna Constanza. She simply took it all in stride, keeping them afloat, baking cookies, bandaging cuts, mediating arguments... Every kid in the neighborhood knew who to go to when there were scraped knees.

His father died in an accident, leaving him in charge. He'd been thirteen and the burden had seemed oddly fitting.

When other kids had been out, running around, he'd been holding down a part-time job. Once his sister was old enough, she joined him, working as a waitress. Paige--Paige had been so bright and cheerful she'd made enough in tips to send him to the academy.

Washing out had just been a fluke--he'd been told he was trying to make up for lost time as an irresponsible teen. He'd been a stupid brat, high on the freedom and when it was too late, he went back to working on transports until he'd started learning to fly.

And it was everything he'd ever dreamed of.

Some days, he wished he'd taken his leave two days early. He would have been home, chattering with his family.

--

He liked to think his mother, his sisters, would be proud. Because that would mean him surviving meant something.

When he came back from his first CAP, and the CAG nodded at him, Brendan felt like a pilot. He'd been out there before--hell, they'd all been out there before--but this was his first flight without his instructor along, or watching from the deck. And he felt he'd earned the wings Apollo had given him.

--

Brendan's sister used to tease him about being a daredevil. She'd mock him for hours on a variety of subjects. From girls to his dislike of ambrosia, to the way he combed his hair. Claiming it was something she was supposed to do, because all sisters were supposed to be obnoxious.

Paige was just dedicated to the art of being a brat.

Their mother told him one night that it wasn't because she hated him. It was because she wanted him to be the best, so she could follow in his footsteps.

He didn't believe that then, and he certainly didn't believe it now.

Still, he wished he'd had a chance to know his sister as more than the obnoxious brat with the fly-away hair and the utter certainty that she was a God, and he was a peon.

--

Sometimes, he prayed when he was in the hall. Prayed for the people who were lost, who would never know about the unending war against the cylons, the attrition that whittled them down and wore them to shreds. Often, he prayed for himself and the rest of the pilots.

Dear Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer...

Other times, he prayed for those who were left. His friends, the people he ate, slept, flew, showered, frakked and lived with.

--

The first time he thought about what his mother would say to Commander Adama, he found himself almost giggling. The old man would not have appreciated Anna Constanza upbraiding him for getting her son almost killed.

--

When the Pegasus arrived, he thought everything would change.

--

His mother would have sent Admiral Cain to sit in a corner, and probably to bed without supper.

--

He found one of the new recruits in the hall, one day. One of the kids from Pegasus. She was walking up and down, occasionally stopping to look closer, to touch a picture, finger a candle, trace a name.

Brendan wasn't trying to spy on her. He was just curious. So when she turned suddenly and pinned him with her gaze, he found himself without a thing to say, and then blurted, "Does Pegasus have one?"

"No."

Trying not to offend her, Brendan awkwardly ran a hand through his hair. "Why not?"

"Admiral Cain," the pilot stiffened a little more, "Believed that any remembrance of those who had died would merely hinder us in our mission."

"What mission?"

"To destroy the Cylons, sir." There was something that might have been hero-worship in the young woman's eyes. "Admiral Cain was leading us to victory."

"Uh, yeah." He waved a hand at the pictures and artifacts, "But you still came here."

"I was merely curious."

She reminded him of his sister Paige, caught reading one of his flight manuals. All innocent and wistful with the need to understand. Brendan reached out and touched her shoulder. "Who did you leave behind?"

When she didn't hit him for touching her, he took it as a good sign.

But she simply stared at him for a moment, then backed away. "Sir." She nodded and turned, slipping back down the hall and out into the hallway that would eventually lead her to her quarters.

Brendan dropped his arm and shoved his hands in his pockets before following her.

His only picture of his family was taped inside his locker. He wasn't quite ready to turn them into a monument yet.

-f-