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Bad Reputation (BSG)

Title: Bad Reputation
Fandom: BSG
Rating: PG-13 for sexual themes
Characters: Kara, Helo, mentions of Adama, Zak, Gaeta, and Sharon
Setting: Pre-mini
Words: ~1700
Summary: She realized that there must be a bathroom stall with the words “For a good time, call Kara Thrace” etched into the wall.


Her bare back pressed against the cool brick, she realized that there must be a bathroom stall with the words “For a good time, call Kara Thrace” etched into the wall somewhere in the Academy.

Someday she was going to find it- just for kicks.

Everyone had a reputation- class clown, frak-up, burn out, brown nose, prodigy, slut- and everyone wore it like a flashing neon sign floating overhead. She’d been aware of the snickering and whispers around, when he sidled up beside her at the bar.

His neon sign flashed “Ladies’ Man. Has a girl on every colony. Not remotely trustworthy.”

Her own sign flashed “Wild woman. Uses and loses. Not remotely trustworthy.”

It really was an exceptionally good frak, she’d later remember thinking. He knew his way around a girl and she knew her way around a guy and she kept her legs wrapped around his waist so the people wandering in would only see one pair of legs in the stall and they both knew they weren’t fooling anyone and they liked it, and they weren’t actually drunk enough to use it as an excuse.

They hadn’t been drinking for very long, just long enough to lie about how smashed they were, long enough to make it okay that they knew that the evening was going to end in the bathroom, but not long enough to forget the night after the fact.

They were graduating in the morning, and what were the chances they’d ever be stationed together anyway?

---

She never liked the motions of starting a new assignment. Reporting to the commanding officer and the XO, trying to find an unoccupied rack, unpacking, reporting to the CAG, and breaking your way into already established groups of fighters. Sure, they’d always welcome you aboard because you’re all part of the same fighting force after all, but you could never get away from those flashing signs. Her sign flashed, “That girl who was involved with Zak Adama.”

The Commander was a nice man. Her first day on Galactica, he called her into his quarters to talk and it seemed for a few moments as though the wedding had actually happened. She would have asked him why. Why did he seem so fond of her when she barely even knew him? She’d only met him on two occasions before.

She didn’t open her mouth because she saw the sign. “My crew is my family.” Sure it said that, but in barely visible letters it blinked: divorced, one son dead, one son estranged, nearing retirement.

It would be her penance, for taking away his son. She’d be the daughter-in-law.

This ship was going to be her hardest assignment.

---

“I’ve heard about the legendary Starbuck,” she heard a voice behind her say. She’d been trying to concentrate on stomaching her dinner. “But I never really put two and two together. You got quite a reputation.”

The last time she’d seen the face, it was streaked with sweat, eyes full of lust, and she hadn’t been expecting to see it ever again. She’d been wrong.

“What reputation is that?” She asked, looking back down to her food.

“A few. Starbuck’s a hell of a fighter pilot. Starbuck’s the best shot that ever lived.” There was a beat as a smirk worked its way into his voice and he lowered himself into the chair next to hers. “Starbuck’s frakked half the fleet.”

She fought the urge to slam her hand down on the table. “I guess the fact that I don’t tend to pal around with my one night stands didn’t make it into the rumors,” she said, voice clipped.

He leaned back in his seat.  “I think that one went out the window when people heard about you and Zak Adama.”

He could see the whiteness of her knuckles, almost certain she would turn her hand inside out if she clenched her fist any tighter. “How about you keep your nose in your own business, Agathon?” she said icily as she rose from the table.

---

After Gaeta’d lost his shirt, quite literally, to Starbuck he’d taken to simply watching the triad games; he never actually got involved. In fact, he was rather content to sit on the sidelines and observe. Lt. Thrace wore a stone mask in these games; to be more precise, it was a self-confident air that made it seem like every hand she was dealt was full colors. Lt. Agathon on the other hand tended to give off signals. He never outright smiled or frowned at his cards; but whenever he had a good hand, his table talk took a turn towards cockiness.

Tonight, he was talking about a girl he knew on Gemenon, Lt. Valerii gave him a quick shove to shut him up. His hand was good.

Turn by turn, cubits dropped into the pile on the table, hands folded, and neither Kara nor Karl were backing down.  When Sharon declared she was out, it was down to the two of them with no money left to slap down on the table.

“Bet’s to you,” she smirked. Helo glanced down at his cards, prince high red, glanced at Kara’s face, her eyes locked on his, glanced at her hand where she played with the silver ring around her thumb that she never took off.

“How about the loser has to run up to CIC in their skivvies?” he suggested playfully.

“How about no,” she shot back.

“Sounds like someone doesn’t have a strong hand,” he smirked.

“Nah, I’ve just seen enough of you before. Don’t really feel like seeing it again.” Her words elicited a small round of “ooooohs” from onlooking officers. Kara continued to play with the ring on her thumb. “On second thought, yeah. Let’s go with that. Loser runs backwards up to CIC in his skivvies, whistling the colonial anthem.” She leaned forward, elbows resting on the table, eyes locked on his. “Plus I’m sure Gaeta here’d get a kick out of seeing what’s under those tanks.”

Trying to mask a hard swallow, Helo gathered his cards into a small stack and placed them face down on the table in front of him. He stared up into Kara’s eyes and then leaned back in his chair. “I’m not taking those stakes… I fold.”

Smirking, Starbuck placed her cards on the table and leaned forward to gather up her winnings. Out of curiosity, Gaeta snatched up the cards to get a peek at her killer hand. “Three on a run?” he asked.

“Frak me!” Karl cried. “I would’ve had you in your panties skipping up to CIC.”

Sticking cubits into any pocket she could fit them in, Thrace stood from the table. “It pays to know how to bluff.”

---

“Anyone know you’re up here?”

Kara had stolen away with a bottle of booze she was sure the XO didn’t think anyone knew about, sprawled out on the floor of the observation deck, staring up at the sky. “Apparently you.” She replied, raising the bottle to her lips and downing a rather impressive fraction of the contents.

Helo moved to sit down next to her, “You’re not on duty are you?”

“You think I’m that irresponsible?” She snapped, then looked back at the bottle. “Scratch that.” She held the bottle out to him, offering a sip.

He held up his hand and shook his head. “I think you need it more than me…”

“I just got out of meeting with The Old Man… He’s… he’s more of a mess than he lets on,” She grumbled, half in explanation, half to herself.

He reached his hand out, pushing some of the hair out of her eyes. “One month since…?”

She pulled away from his touch and stared back at him. “This better not be some lame come-on.” Off his confused look, she clarified, “You practically have ‘ladies’ man’ written on your forehead.”

“Oh right, because everyone’s reputations are 100% accurate.” He scoffed. “I don’t need to take a poll to know you don’t sleep around… as much as people say, anyway. Though I’d definitely bet you’re the best shot in the fleet.” 

“Yeah, well what about your rep. I have some pretty good first hand experience with it.” She said, turning her attention out into the vast blackness out Galactica’s only view towards space.

“Well… there’s no girl on Gemenon.”

“Hmn,” she muttered. “Guess you’re’a better bluffer than I thought you were.” She watched him shift his weight to dig something out of his pocket; the action definitely sparked Kara’s curiosity. “Whatcha got’there?” she asked, trying to hide the fact that her words were starting to slur.

Helo flashed a mischievous grin, and dug out a pair of pristinely wrapped lollipops and delighted in the look of disbelief that he got in return.

“You’ve gotta be frakkin’ kidding me,” she grumbled. “You’re so… macho.”

“Don’t knock it,” he said, pushing one of the candies into her hands.

Looking down at the treat, she set the bottle aside. “I don’t think I’ve had one of these since I was ten.” Her fingers fumbled drunkly at the wrapper. “I used to love them…”

He’d already gotten his undone and leaned back against the wall, contently enjoying his treat. “Who didn’t?”

Kara frowned softly as she put it in her mouth. “I wonder if Zak did… I never asked him about that kind of thing.” Her voice cracked, not much but just the tiniest bit.

“Hey, hey, hey…” Karl said, scooting closer to put his arms around her. “If you need to cry, you can cry.”

“No, I can’t…” She sniffed, exhausted as she leaned her head on his shoulder. “I’ve got a reputation to maintain…”

“Well,” he said, looking around the large amount of nobody in the room, “if you don’t tell everyone about my made-up girlfriend, I’ll keep your little secret.”

And for the first time since she arrived on Galactica, maybe even the first time in years, she could forget about reputation, images, and what other people thought of her, and she could just be. “Thanks.”

Helo just shrugged. “What are friends for?”


Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
callmeonetrack
Mar. 26th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Aw helo. Love him. Love them together. Wish we'd gotten another moment between them before the poof.
rayruz
Mar. 26th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
You know, I gotta admit, Helo didn't make a huge impression on me... but as soon as I started watching Dollhouse, Helo became that much more amazing because I loved Paul so much. I wish they'd explored more of their friendship on the show...
callmeonetrack
Mar. 26th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
I've always enjoyed Helo. He's so sunny and normal and not frakked up despite all the crazy shit that's happened to him. I like him being the sole ray of light on Galactica. BUT I think I really really loved him after I made a Kara-Helo friendship vid.
ozma914
Mar. 26th, 2009 07:34 am (UTC)
Oh, that was just absolutely made of awesomeness. So ... Kara.
rayruz
Mar. 26th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)
rebelliousrose
Mar. 28th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
Considering Tahmoh pretty much confimed in an interview that Helo and Starbuck had indeed in their past.....

I love the use of the sign imagery. And you have Helo's voice down, that soft "hey" series that he uses with people he likes.

One thing; I think you might mean "sidled up to the bar" and not "saddled"- it got kinky quick for me when I read that. ;}

I really, really liked this, especially the Gaeta segment.

More, pls?
rayruz
Mar. 28th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
XD Well thanks for letting me know, I'll go fix that typo now.

More fic will come when I have time, lol.
elzed
Mar. 26th, 2009 09:54 am (UTC)
*loves*

Helo/Kara - I always thought a little backstory buddyfrak was very likely. And I love the reputations...

;)
rayruz
Mar. 26th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked this.
shah_of_blah
Mar. 26th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
Very sweet. Lovely little friendship fic!
rayruz
Mar. 26th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Their friendship is something I always wanted to explore.
shamusandstone
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. Understated, plausible, and it's got some great character moments and turns of phrase.
rayruz
Mar. 27th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
brennanspeaks
Mar. 27th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
Love it. You've got Kara down pat.
rayruz
Mar. 27th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
musesfool
Apr. 7th, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
Aw, Helo. I enjoyed this.
lyras
Apr. 7th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
Really enjoyed this. Helo's such a perfect, uncomplicated foil for Starbuck. I also liked the Gaeta cameo. :)
wicked_sassy
Jan. 22nd, 2012 07:38 am (UTC)
Awww, I really like Kara/ Karl friendship fic. I feel like Helo wasn't that great in canon but that he really was a good friend for Starbuck, and you did such a nice job laying this one out!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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