'I feel out of place Just look at my face' - Morcheeba 'Blindfold'

blindfold by ALC Punk!

Starbuck is angry again. Galen can see it in the set of her shoulders as she works on the ship they're building. The framework has taken shape slowly, and he can see the dream taking form under the hands of himself and the others. Still, it won't help if she damages a part of it because she's frakking pissed.

"Hey."

Her shoulders tense even more, but she doesn't acknowledge him in any other way.

Settling to work on the starboard flange, he considers a moment. This is Starbuck, he's known her for over two years. Seen her intoxicated, drunk, in the throes of almost every emotion. He knows the best way to get her out of this mood is a good fight. Unfortunately, he doesn't know any takers on the latter. The flange doesn't take him long to fit, and he stops working to look at her. "Lieutenant."

"Chief." She acknowledges, head still bent. She hasn't relaxed any.

"Why don't you stop for the night. You look like you could use a stiff drink, sir."

"You buyin', Chief?"

He thinks her shoulders might have relaxed, "Yeah. It's a little harsh, but I know a place that's still serving."

Starbuck's hands still, "I'm not one of your deck crew, Chief, you don't have to--"

"Lieutenant, I'd rather you relax than break my ship before it's built."

Her head comes up and a flicker of a smile crosses her lips. "I have too much respect for this baby, Chief. After all," she pats a hand over part of the structure, "I get to fly her."

"At least she's not a goat this time, sir."

"No." Starbuck sets the tool she was using down in the tray. "Lead on, Chief, show me to the bar that's serving now the worlds have ended."

Shoving his hands in his pockets, he leads the way to the supply locker that contains the still. There's half a bottle of the freshly-brewed rotgut left and he nods at it. "You get first drink, sir."

"Thanks, Chief." She grabs it and drinks too long.

"Hey, go easy on that stuff, sir."

A snicker escapes her, "Call me Starbuck, Chief, this formality's over-rated." She takes a step and almost trips over her own feet.

Wondering exactly how tired she is, and guessing from the shadows under her eyes that he doesn't want to know, Galen catches her arm to steady her. "Sit down before you fall on your ass, Starbuck."

"My ass doesn't need fresh bruises," she agrees, then swigs the rest of the jar.

Wondering when he got elected (which is a laugh, considering there aren't enough people to hold effective general elections anyway) keeper of the children on Galactica, Tyrol steers her to the wall and sits, dragging her down with him.

"Very Chief-ly, Chief." She giggles, head back, and then sighs, flopping sideways against him.

"You're a cheap drunk, Starbuck."

"Sharon could've told you that," she points out, patting his knee.

For just a moment, he wonders if she's trying to twist the knife deeper. Then he remembers. She's Starbuck, half of what she says is heedless and pointless, and designed to push people away. "It wasn't a well-kept secret."

"No."

They both lapse into silence, and it occurs to him that he hasn't seen Starbuck relax since she returned from Caprica. Truth to tell, he doesn't think anyone's relaxed since the Fleet was re-united.

"I'm not as cheap a drunk as Karl is."

"No?"

"Nope." She turns her head. "You're nice."

"Thanks." Galen wonders if she'd be offended if he raised an eyebrow. The scent of the alcohol on her breath touches his nose, and he wrinkles it. "That was a strong batch."

"Thank the gods."

It takes him a moment to realize she's nuzzling his neck, nose almost buried in the side of it, just above his collar. "Uh, Starbuck..."

"You smell like engine grease, Chief."

"So do you."

"I like the smell of engine grease."

The hand on his knee shifts, sliding upwards.

"Starbuck," he repeats, catching her hand firmly.

"Chief." Her tone is even as she shifts, moving onto her knees and looking at him. "You're lonely. I'm lonely."

"You're drunk."

"No." Starbuck pulls her hand from his, "But, hey, whatever."

"Go to bed, Starbuck."

"That an order, Chief?"

Galen shrugs, "You rank me, Lieutenant."

"Yeah." She studies him for a moment, then leans in and kisses him gently.

It's brief, but it's enough to remind him that he's alone. That the only thing he has left is his job. The woman he loves is dead, or is another woman, shot and dead in his arms (and it's more complicated than he ever wants to decipher). He likes to think he's a simple man, with simple needs. One hands comes up to cup Starbuck's cheek and he kisses her back.

She's completely artless. All force and no finesse, like a guy on his first date who has no idea what to do with his hands.

Galen stops, pulls back. "Starbuck, you should--"

"Shut up," she says, moving and straddling his lap, kissing him roughly, pulling at the collar of his uniform.

He remembers this violence turned to passion from encounters with Sharon, except that Starbuck doesn't taste the same, and her movements aren't as practiced. The nails on her hands are too blunt for scraping, and he knows that Sharon never had the same amount of dirt and grime on her.

If he remembers the right things about Sharon, it will be that she smelled of sunlight and soap, and her smiles were full of laughter and happiness (until she died in his arms, but he's not thinking about that).

Starbuck wriggles on his lap, pressing against him, all animal heat and sudden need.

Without any gentleness, he pulls at the fasteners of her pants, yanking them down her hips. She wriggles, kissing him and trying to unzip his trousers at the same time. He'd be impressed at her ability to coordinate her efforts, but he's concentrated on other things. Once there's room, he slides his hand into her pants and between her legs, and strokes her.

"Gods." Her voice hisses out between her parted lips.

"Like this?" Such an innocuous question.

"No." And her voice is a growl as she twists on his lap, her own hand joining his, showing him, pressing, turning the fingers until he knows what she needs.

They always said he was good with his hands. Some part of Galen is still detached, watching Starbuck arch against his hand, pressing into the fingers sliding in and out of her. He finds it erotic, but at the same time, doesn't think a frak is going to do anything to solve his own problems.

Her reactions aren't Sharon's. The words spilling from her lips are harsh, the moans guttural. Sharon was softer, gentler.

And he had her blood on his hands for hours after she was dead. The guards hadn't let him use a towel, and he hadn't even thought about it. Dried to a tackiness that took a tough scrubbing with grease-remover to dissolve. Morbid thoughts for this sort of encounter, and he wonders when the hell he got so frakking twisted as Starbuck growls.

Every woman is different in the way she approaches sex, he thinks, as Starbuck grinds against his hand, breaking apart with a sudden cry.

Her head drops, forehead resting against his shoulder.

Carefully, he removes his fingers, drying them on her pants and reaching to tug her clothing back into place. He grazes a scar and pauses, feeling the vertical line in her abdomen. "What happened, Starbuck?"

"I got shot." Her hand closes on his wrist, pulling him away, and she moves again, sitting up straighter. "Doc had to patch me up."

His free hand touches the side of her face. "You've always been a shitty liar, Starbuck."

"Frak you, Chief." There's no heat in her words.

"You're drunk. Go to bed."

She pulls away and stands, staggering a moment, before getting her pants buttoned completely. Her eyes won't meet his as she looks down at him. "Nice ambrosia."

"Get outta here, Lieutenant." There's no point in standing. Not just yet, anyway.

"Yeah. Night."

When she's gone, he thunks his head against the wall with a sigh. Idiot. He glances down at his lap, the half-unzipped pants, and rather noticeable bulge.

Sharon would never have just left him--but then, Sharon wasn't really human, in the end.

He settles against the bulkhead, and starts thinking about the vipers that need over-hauling. He has time before the next shift to get himself under control.

-f-