Characters: Sharon Valerii, Kara Thrace Pairing: Starbuck/Winning Genre: gen, a bit o' angst, fluff Notes: I stole names from the X-Men. I am tired. I also stole from Hellblazer. Title courtesy Snow Patrol Set: Early season one, probably not long after '33.
Might Not Last a Day
by ALC Punk!
"You only put up with me because of him."
Boomer settled into her chair and shrugged, "I'm not stupid, Starbuck. All the caustic remarks you make about rookies--and I've been here almost as long as you." And maybe that was part of the problem--Kara saw her as a little too close, so she pushed at her. Shoved her away like she did everyone else save Helo and the old man. Sharon sometimes wondered if she would kill for that kind of loyalty.
"Whatever." Starbuck leaned back in her chair and stared up at the ceiling. As if it she didn't care whether she picked a fight with Sharon or not. Or maybe she just didn't care about anything.
"Gods. You're such a bitch, Starbuck. I don't know why Helo puts up with you."
"Well, he can't anymore."
That struck home, and Sharon looked down. "Yeah." Her fault. She'd been stupid, let him convince her he'd be safe. And now he was probably dead.
"Hey. Don't go all cry-baby on me now, Boomer."
"I'm not." Angrily, Sharon glared at Kara. "Although I don't understand why you're not upset."
"What do you want me to do, cry? He's dead. I get that, and I move on. And so should you."
The words were like anvils onto the weight of her guilt. Sharon wrapped her arms around herself and shrugged, "It would be nice to know I wasn't the only one who missed him."
A snort, and Starbuck stood. "Gods, you're such a kid."
"Yeah, 'cause repressing is so adult. You can't keep it all inside, Starbuck. It's gotta come out sooner or later." Or Starbuck'd end up like Tigh. Or worse. Dead and floating in space like little Specialist Constantine, too frakked-up to stay in the fight she'd deliberately ejected from the cockpit of her viper into the path of fire from the cylon raiders.
"That's what they all say." Kara replied breezily. "I think I'll go find the traveling triad game. Win me some credits and ambrosia. You in?"
"Of course I'm in. Maybe I can beat some sense into you along the way."
"Not possible, as our dear old CAG used to say." Starbuck waved a negligent hand towards what was probably meant to be the dearly-departed Caprica and environs.
"You know, Major Spencer liked you, Starbuck. But you were always such an undisciplined ass." Major Spencer used to lament that Kara Thrace was just too damned good a pilot for her own good. Ripper had kind of had a soft spot for her, same as the commander did.
"It wasn't a compliment."
Sharon shot her a look of disgust. "Do you ever listen to yourself?"
"Nope." A maniacal grin stretched Starbuck's lips. "Think I'd learn something?"
"Yeah. That you're an ass, an idiot and far too arrogant."
"Oooh. Almost alliterative there, Boomer." Kara patted her arm. "Maybe next time."
"Gods. Why the frak do I put up with you?"
"'Cause I'm the best you have."
"Did I mention arrogant?" Boomer demanded as they stepped into the rec room. There was already a card game in progress, though the people involved seemed rather bored with it all.
Kara laughed and grabbed a chair, "Deal me in, ladies."
The two male pilots, and one female CIC officer eyed her, then dealt her in. The 'ladies' at the table were all new faces. Lt. Rictor Esteban was a refugee from the battlestar Greymalkin. Crashdown had been on leave on Picon when the attack happened and ended up on one of the civilian ships. He was career officer material with so little seasoning Sharon sometimes wondered if he'd been kept in a bubble all his life. And the last new face was Tabitha Smith, another refugee--although if the Galactica hadn't been decommissioned, she might have ended up there, given her laziness and insubordination.
Petty Officer Dualla, who'd simply been watching, came from the other table and tossed a handful of credits down. "I'll take some of that action."
"Ooh, Dee, eager to lose that hard-earned cash, are we?" Starbuck winked.
Crashdown snorted, "I've already bet that I win the next three hands, you can't queer that, Starbuck."
"Of course she can't," put in Specialist Smith. She smiled sweetly at Crash, then glanced at Starbuck, "Unless you're as ace as they say."
"Oh, I'm better."
Boomer poked the back of Kara's head. "Hey, a little humility never hurt anyone."
"A little humility usually ends up in pieces."
The cards were passed, bets exchanged. Bored, Boomer wandered around the room, letting the chatter fade to the background for a bit. Then she ended up grabbing a stool and sitting behind Dee to watch. Starbuck mocked them all a bit, then settled to smirk negligently across the table at Esteban. "Your call. Better be good."
He snorted and laid out his hand.
"Oh no, no no no!" Crash threw down his cards, "Damn." He shrugged at Smith, who rolled her eyes and glanced sideways at Esteban. As if she was switching her allegiance and offer of sex for the night.
"Uncanny, isn't it? I show up, and everyone starts losing." With a smirk, Starbuck laid out her winning hand.
"Natural selection at work?" Boomer suggested from her perch against the back of Dualla's chair.
Dee groaned and tossed her cards down, "Does that make us all primates?"
"Nah, just easy," mocked Kara.
"You dye your hair," said Smith suddenly. She smirked at Kara. "You remind me of my aunt, Jeannie. She never could stand her natural color. Bet you can't, either."
"Do I look like I have time to dye my hair?"
Deciding to do a little mocking of her own, Sharon said, "Actually, Starbuck..."
"Dye takes, what, ten minutes to set these days? You could do it." Smith said. She was warming to her subject, malice glinting in her eyes. "Is that why I hear you're sometimes late for CAP?"
"Stay out of this, Ric."
Starbuck stood very carefully, and leaned over the table. "There something you want to say to me, Specialist?" Her tone was lazy.
For her part, Sharon hastily got to her feet and made her way around the table. If Kara decided to throw a punch, she'd better stop her. Didn't need their best pilot in hack while the cylons shot at them. Sharon liked to think she was worried about her own ass out there and not just doing it to protect Starbuck.
"Yeah. Yeah, I do. You're a disgrace and a waste of oxygen, not to mention way too over-rated."
"You forgot 'undisciplined frak-up'," Starbuck informed her before laughing.
Boomer grabbed her arm, "C'mon, Starbuck, let's go somewhere less play school."
"Nah. I'm good."
Remembering the last time Kara had sworn she was good, Boomer kept a firm grip on her. "I'll believe that after we're out of here."
"Hey. This is me, remember?"
Smith snorted, "What, Starbuck, too afraid to start a fight now that being thrown in the brig leads to an airlock?"
"Nah." Kara met her eyes, tilting her head to the side, "You're not worth it. Easy marks aren't any fun."
Relaxing her grip, Sharon shook her head. "Provoking her into kicking your ass isn't worth it, either."
"I'm not just some kid you can brush off, sir." Tabitha Smith was bristling. "just because you've been here longer doesn't make you better than us."
"Nah. But being able to out-fly, out-shoot, and out-frak you does."
Rumor had it that Smith had been involved with half her graduating class while still a freshmen. Given her inability to add the simplest equation, most people assumed she'd made her way through basic on her back. Literally.
"Hey! Can we get back to the game?" Crash sounded vageuly irritated as he waved the cards at them.
As if he had a magic switch in the back of Smith's brain, she shrugged and dropped back into her seat. "Yeah, whatever."
Sharon figured she was hoping to frak him. Good. Crash needed some damned loosening up. She let Kara's arm go and crossed her fingers. "Behave, Starbuck."
Rolling her eyes, Sharon pulled a handful of credits from her pocket and dropped into the last chair. "Deal me in. I feel like teaching Starbuck a lesson."
"As if that'd happen."
Throwing a piece of paper at Kara, Sharon grabbed for her cards. "I'm gonna make you eat those words, Thrace."
"You can try, rookie, you can try."
For just a moment, Sharon wondered if the 'rookie' had been an insult, this time. She looked up and caught Kara's gaze. And for that tiny moment, she decided maybe it wasn't.
Then she looked back at her completely awful hand, and wondered how fast she was going to lose.