disclaimer: not mine
length: 1300+
rating: PG, language
genre: gen (dude, one or two "Kara will kill anyone if they try" references does not shipfic make), post-Revelations, Daybreakverse.
Pilots Characters: Outlaw, Longshot, Racetrack
Notes: inspired by that behind the scenes still, sorta. Set in Palmetto's (.) Daybreakverse

Routine Missions Never End Well
by ALC Punk!

"Motherfrakker!" Outlaw growls, grabbing onto the tree she'd tripped over and glaring down at the booted ankle that was causing her issues. It's the same foot she broke months before when she and Racetrack found earth. And while it has healed, she sometimes still got twinges. The latest had been a bit more of a stumble--not quite twisting the ankle, but sending a spike of pain up her leg while she heard a crunching noise.

A branch crunches to her right, and Longshot calls, without looking, "Find anything?"

Glaring at him, Outlaw wonders if the CAG was pissed at him or something. He'd been assigned to raptor escort duty for two weeks now, and his boundless optimism is enough to make even Racetrack annoyed and snappish behind his back. "Nothing yet."

Someone has decided that they should search out some sort of winter storage facility, caves were generally to be found in dense wooded areas and mountain ranges, or so the one geologist living had said, darting furtive looks of disgruntlement at the Cylon pilots lounging around during the briefing. Since half the space was filled with human pilots, and the mixture was a random assortment, it was hard for him to just glare at one species. According to him, they just need to find something accessible enough that the colonists can get to and from them without too much trouble. Rumor is, the President and Three are searching for a place easy to defend in the event Cavil and his forces arrived.

And they could arrive. Outlaw won't lie to herself or anyone else: Cavil would be out for blood, but he was also a patient asshole. He could wait a hundred years, being a machine, and then fall upon them.

"There was something on the radar," Outlaw finally adds, the idiot barely visible through the trees as he gets further and further away. She takes a step and grits her teeth against the pain. "Probably the opening of a cave, maybe a small stream."

Longshot's suddenly back, coming from the other side of the tree, his eyes thoughtful. "Yeah, thought I saw something up ahead. You ok?"

"I'm fine," she lies. "Why don't you be a good little Ensign and go check it out?"

The grin he flashes is all teeth, "That's what I'm here for, to do the drudge-work." With a cheerful little salute, he disappears again.

Using the trees, Outlaw slowly works her way after him. She's not about to let him take all the glory if they do find something. And while she might not need to prove anything, Cylons don't admit pain if they can help it. Not when half of humanity is just looking for a way to poke and injure them.

The pain in her ankle lessens as she moves more, and she's almost convinced herself it's fine when Longshot reappears, beaming. "Found it!"

"You did?"

"Cave system," he explains, hands describing an arc as he moves towards her, "I'm no geologist, but it looks stable. We can get a team up her to check it out tomorrow."

As he'd been talking, he'd moved closer, and Outlaw jumps when his hands close on her arms, pulling her away from the tree she's conveniently using. The movement jars her ankle and she can't hold in the hiss of pain that it causes.

"Thought you said you were all right," he says, his voice still conversational.

"I'm fine."

Pushing her back up against the tree, he squats, hands brushing down her legs, efficient and careful. She still flinches when his fingers close on her boot. Not that it hurts, but it could hurt. "Outlaw."

"It's just twisted," she growls.

His hands close around the ankle, fingers pressing in for a moment. Then he nods, "Probably. But Cottle will have the final decision." He stands, hands moving to her waist.

"What the frak are you doing?"

That grin lights his eyes and then he turns, reaching his hands back over his shoulders, "Gimme your hands."

It's almost an order and Outlaw finds her hands clasped in his a moment later. He dips a little, pulling her arms up around his neck and stepping back, hands grabbing her hips, "What the frak?"

"Hop up," he suggests, laughter in his voice. "I'll carry you."

"Don't be ridiculous, I can walk," she snaps. But her arms stay around his neck. He's tall and solid, and for just an instant, she wonders what it's like to be loved enough by this man (cylon) that you get to hold him all of the time. It's not jealousy that moves her to hop upwards. More curiosity. Besides, no one wants to tangle with the CAG, she keeps coming back from the dead.

It's a bit of a balancing act for a moment, and then his hands are locked under her rear, her legs sort of around his waist and a sense of exhilaration making her laugh as he starts to walk off, careful in his steps.

"Don't drop me," she orders, tightening her grip when he jumps up, making them both bounce. "And don't do that again."

"No sense of adventure," Longshot replies cheerfully, negotiating the woods, trying not to knock her knees or his elbows into any of the trees that crowd too close to them.

A laugh escapes Outlaw, and she's breathless with amusement when she replies, "Every day spent with humans is an adventure, Longshot. Or didn't you realize that, from your pedestal?"

He doesn't stop, but she can feel him tense, his muscles locking under her arms, as though he carries his stress in his shoulders. And maybe he isn't as oblivious as she thought he was, but it doesn't matter. He's a member of the frakking Final Five, and he's supposed to be doing something. She doesn't know what, though. And maybe he doesn't either.

"I see it," he finally says, his voice quiet. "And there's nothing to do but keep going on. It was the same on Caprica, New Caprica, and here, Earth. We're trying to change, to make a difference. But humans don't change as fast as cylons, Outlaw."

"Maybe we don't change as fast you think," is her equally quiet reply.

They're both silent until the reach the strip of land where his viper and the raptor are parked. Racetrack is up and off the wing, stalking towards them, reading them the riot act for not answering her radio call, or for not calling her--Outlaw can't tell which, because she's suddenly realizing how ridiculous they must look. And she can't help laughing as he breaks into a jog, bouncing her around.

"What the hell--?"

"It's her ankle," Longshot replies, laughing a little himself as they nearly knock 'Track over.

"I'm fine."

'Track looks at her, worry in her eyes, "Not the one you broke?"

Outlaw shrugs as best she can, trying to keep the grin on her face as she looks down at the other pilot over Longshot's shoulder. "Yeah. I slipped on some moss."

"Evil moss," Longshot teases, walking up to the wing. "Gotta watch out for it to strike next time."

"Shut up," suggests Outlaw, punching him in the shoulder after he lets her down.

"Mount up," orders Racetrack, shoving past both of them.

"We found caves."

That stops Maggie for a moment, and she glares over her shoulder at the still-grinning duo, Outlaw leaning against Anders. "Did you now."

He nods as he stabilizes Outlaw in her climb onto the wing, "Figure they can send people out to look more tomorrow."

Outlaw uses 'Track as a steadying point before ducking inside the raptor. The two still outside continue a brief discussion, but Outlaw isn't listening. This sort of planning is way above her pay grade. And as Maggie bustles in, shooting her one last worried look (cloaked in an annoyed order to lock down the hatch), it occurs to her that maybe they can change as fast as they'd like.

They just all need a reason.