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Title: Summer Has Come and Passed (The Innocent Can Never Last)
Words: ~2700
Rating: PG
Characters: Starbuck, Boomer, Helo
Setting: Pre-mini, Valley of Darkness
Summary: "New pilot can't trap a landing worth a damn."
Written for karathracelives  prompts "wanting a sibling", "Sharon Valerii", and "Girl's night out"
Beta'd by the lovely somewhereapart ! <3 Title is shamelessly stolen from "Wake Me Up When September Ends."




The other kids started to be afraid of Kara Thrace in the 5th grade.

It was one of those late autumn days where the air was crisp but the sun blazed too strongly to wear long sleeves.  From her perch on top of the monkey bars—she was queen of the godsdamned jungle gym—she could see Tommy Meers picking on one of the second graders, a new kid. And he was going to get away with it too; somehow the playground monitors always happened to be looking the other way when he was around. Lips pulling into a frown, Kara leapt down and landed in a cat-like crouch before crossing the blacktop to the bully and his prey.

“Hey!” she shouted and he turned to face her.

With two hands planted firmly on his shoulders, Kara gave him a firm shove backwards and Tommy hit the ground, skin rubbing off his elbows as they collided with the hard concrete.

Of course, the playground monitors saw that. When she turned to ask the kid to explain what was going on, he was nowhere to be found. Figures.

The end of the school day found Kara out on the playground tossing a pyramid ball around while she waited for her mother to come pick her up —finally free of her sentence to stay late and clean the classroom. That’s what you get when you stick your neck out for people.

She was in the middle of dreading the car ride home when that wide-eyed second grader walked onto the blacktop, staring up at her with naked admiration. Her lip twitched and she wasn’t sure if she was going to smile or frown. The boy opened his mouth, maybe to thank her, and she told him to amscray.

Like she needed some dumb little kid following her around like a puppy.

---

“Well look who it is,” Stubbs said drawing the attention of the other pilots sitting at his table. “The great Starbuck, slumming it with the Raptor pilots tonight?”

Kara flashed a grin as she dropped her dinner tray onto the table in front of an empty chair. “Thought I’d grace you with my presence.” As she sank into her chair she cast her glance sideways at Helo, his left hand occupied with keeping one of the tacky blue ice packs from sickbay pressed against his neck, and her smile fell. “What the hell happened to you?”

The others snickered like she was missing out on the most fantastic joke. “You haven’t heard?” Racetrack gave a roll of her eyes, as she poked at the oysters on her plate. Being docked at a shipyard for once meant that sometimes they attempted to fly food up from whatever colony they orbited, but oysters didn’t seem like they could make the flight and still be edible. Kara had completely passed them up and Maggie was looking at her food like she seemed to be having second thoughts. “I’m surprised the whole ship didn’t hear that.”

Kara arched an eyebrow towards Karl who seemed like he was about to nod then thought better of it considering his current condition. “New pilot can’t trap a landing worth a damn.” He wore a slight grimace as he spoke. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Chief was still yelling at her, the way she banged up the deck.”

“Is that what that was?” Kara asked, remembering the sudden loud noise that had jolted her out of some blissful rack time earlier. “I thought it was a sonic boom or something.”

“A sonic boom?” Maggie snorted an incredulous laugh. “There’s nothing in space to make a sonic boom.”

Starbuck jabbed a fork in her direction. “You try thinking straight when some rook’s crash landing wakes you up.”

Racetrack just shook her head and looked back down at her plate. When she finally glanced up, she had a hint of a challenge in her eyes.

---

Advantages to having short hair:

1) It’s easier to manage when putting on your helmet, though you do end up with the matted mess afterwards.
2) Less to shampoo and less to brush means that much less time spent getting ready in the morning.
3) You don’t need anyone to hold it back when you’re on your knees, emptying your guts into the toilet.

 Nevertheless, Kara heard an unfamiliar voice talking to her when the retching stopped. She hadn’t bothered sitting back up yet, but she listened to the voice. Female, scratched from screaming, and very, very naïve when it asked, “Are you alright?”

She wanted to shoot back, “Does it look like I’m alright?” but what came out was even more of her dinner, and she clutched the side of the toilet, firmly deciding against taking anymore bets from Racetrack ever in her life, or at least for another week.

When it finally stopped, she was cringing at the taste left in her mouth but also suddenly aware of a small hand pressed against her shoulder. She turned to see a babyface staring at her with dark eyes full of concern—must have been the rook—and when Kara could talk again she assured the kid she was fine.

“What happened?”

Kara wiped the side of her mouth with her thumb, groaning a bit as she felt her stomach churning once again. “Racetrack bet me twenty cubits I wouldn’t eat the oysters in the mess.”

The rook looked like she was trying not to giggle because it was common frakking knowledge that you don’t eat seafood in space—it’s called seafood for a reason—but Starbuck let it slide, mostly because she needed to lean over the toilet again as another powerful wave of nausea overtook her.

Starbuck found out the rook’s name was Sharon Valerii when she handed over a bottle of mouthwash with her name written on it in black marker. “Was it worth it?” Sharon asked.

“Every cubit.” Kara smirked and Sharon rubbed her back when she hunched over the toilet for the fourth time. At least this time it tasted like spearmint. 

---

She’d been messing with Helo when she called him on checking out Valerii’s ass when she stepped down from the Raptor, but the way Karl got a little bit flustered with his denial of the fact made Kara bounce her eyebrows in response to the brilliant new blackmail material she could hold over him if she ever needed a favor. “I’d like her more if I didn’t get whiplash every time she made a landing.” He was blushing just a little bit.

“You’re Raptor qualified, aren’t you?” he asked Kara later in the rec room as they lazily drew cards, no serious betting tonight.

“If it flies, I can make it,” she replied.

“Do you think you can give her a few pointers or something? Anything? For the sake of my back?”

Kara’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t teach. Not anymore and never again.”

Tossing a card onto the discard pile, she thought of the rook getting drummed out and frowned—the kid was trying and good at just about everything but making the trap. Maybe she could help her out after all.

Kara figured it was about time for another chat with the Old Man anyway.

---

Helo announced he was taking his shore leave on Gemenon, had tickets to a pyramid tournament and a girl to meet. Kara could see the flicker of disappointment when Boomer didn’t react to the news beyond rolling her eyes and giving him a playful swat on the arm.

“What about you?” Kara asked her, expecting to hear about two weeks packed with catching up with the people she’d left behind. When she just shrugged and said she’d figure out something, Kara blinked once in surprise before resuming piling clothes into her duffle. Sharon seemed so much the friends-and-family type that when she said she didn’t have much of a home to go back to, Starbuck almost forgot that all she had waiting for her in Delphi was an empty apartment.

It didn’t have to be empty though.

---

“Frak, Starbuck,” Sharon said, stepping on an empty plastic bottle the second she stepped into the apartment. “Don’t you ever clean this place?”

Kara was down the stairs before Sharon had finished taking in the sight. “You don’t like it, you know where the door is.” But Boomer didn’t leave, she just shook her head and took the steps two at a time until she hit the floor. Kara heard a soft thud as Sharon dropped her duffle at the foot of the stairs.

She fell into a routine of making herself comfortable in her place again, turning on a music player and letting the sound of her father on the piano make her feel a little bit like this was a home. She shrugged off her jacket and let it fall onto a chair before shoving a pile of papers off the couch, letting the junior lieutenant know she should make herself comfortable.

When Boomer landed on the couch with about as much grace as she landed on Galactica, her eyes shut and she looked like she could sleep out the entirety of her shore leave. Kara, on the other hand, headed into her bedroom and shrugged her way out of her clothes (sweaty and reeking of travel). She pulled on a pair of black jeans and relatively a clean top before heading back into the living room. As she passed the steps, she picked up Boomer’s duffle and dropped it unceremoniously onto her stomach. Sharon’s eyes shot open with a light “oof” and Kara grinned.

“Get changed. We’re going out.”

---

“Two shots of whiskey,” Kara told the bartender.

Sharon shook her head, and held up her hand in polite protest. “I don’t drink whiskey.”

Kara smirked—of course the kid didn’t drink the hard stuff, probably drank wine coolers or some lightweight shit like that. This would have to be fixed. “Tonight you do.”

“Haven’t seen you around in a while, Starbuck. Bar’s been hurting without you.” The bartender was smirking as he poured the shots, a bottle in each hand, four counts of liquid flowing into each glass.

She took one glass and raised it up. “Sorry; been out there protecting your sorry asses.” She grinned and flashed a look at Boomer who tentatively picked up her glass. “Cheers.” Kara closed her eyes and tossed back the shot and basked in the tear of alcohol down her throat, but a fit of coughs mixed with giggles drew her attention away from the rush. She opened her eyes to see Sharon caught between laughter and crying, fanning herself wildly with her hand. “What happened?”

“I.” She coughed. Her words were air, not voice, and she strained to get them out. “I got (giggle) fumes (hiccup) in my eye.” And she continued to fan herself as Kara joined her in laughter.

Sharon’s second drink was vodka cut with berry juice and seltzer until it hardly resembled alcohol anymore, but she sipped at it, looking content and already buzzing from that first shot. They spent the first half hour talking about what Boomer thought of Galactica. She liked the Commander—who wouldn’t?—and was just so frakking grateful that he gave her a second chance. Kara smiled to herself a little bit at that.

They spent another round of drinks and another hour talking about books—more specifically about the fact that Sharon’d snuck a look around the apartment, that she liked Kara’s paintings, and that she’d dug up a poetry book that seemed so distinctly un-Starbuck that it had stuck in her mind. The conversation spiraled from there.

Starbuck was on her fifth drink when Boomer was finishing her third, but Kara knew Sharon wasn’t going to be holding her liquor well tonight because they were back to talking about life on Galactica – or more specifically, the men on Galactica. When the junior let it slip that the situation had become distinctly unprofessional very, very quickly the last time she and the Chief had gotten into a fight about her landings, Kara prayed that Karl liked the girl on Gemenon at least half as much as he liked Sharon.

And that she actually existed.

---

Sharon spent the walk home draped around Kara’s shoulder, having a hard time finding her feet. She found her balance the second they stumbled in the door. A moment later, Sharon was flying down the stairs and into the bathroom, dropping to her knees in supplication to the porcelain goddess as the evening of drinking finally got the best of her.

Kara caught up to her on the second round of heaving and knelt beside her, sliding her hands around the sides of Sharon’s head and pulling the dark brown hair clear of the contents of her stomach. She didn’t have any mouthwash to offer her, so this was just going to have to do for now.

“You empty?” she asked when the gagging stopped. Sharon nodded weakly in reply. “Good, because you’re not throwing up on my couch.”

Kara pulled her up to her feet and helped her back over to the couch where she crumpled, exhausted and just on the verge of passing out. With a frown, Kara pulled off both of Sharon’s boots and set them down next to the coffee table. “Hey, come on, help me out here.” She prodded Boomer awake just long enough to sit her up and tug her tan jacket off. Kara stood again, dropping the jacket on the floor, and Sharon was asleep before her head hit the couch cushion.

Staring down at Sharon, she thought maybe taking the jacket off hadn’t been such a smart idea after all. The kid was going to get cold during the night sleeping in a tanktop. Ducking into her closet, Kara pulled out a spare blanket and tossed it over the tiny officer so it covered her up, mostly. For a moment, Kara even thought about tucking her in, but her own exhaustion pulled her into her bedroom and she flopped down on the bed, not even bothering to kick off her own shoes before the fatigue and alcohol finally lulled her into a deep sleep.

---

Karl had dozed off in the chair. Good for him. He needed some frakking sleep; the man probably hadn’t seen furniture in two months. Gods, had it really been two months already? They needed to keep moving, the cylons were going to find them if they stuck around in Delphi too much longer, but she decided she’d let him catch another hour of sleep before dragging his ass out of there.

Slowly, Kara pushed herself off the couch. Frak! Everything hurt like a bitch, but she still got to her feet, rooting around in the mess for another stogie. She leaned over, checking to see if she had left her cigar box at the foot of the couch and found a pile of wrinkled beige material instead.

She froze as she examined the fabric, stained pink on the chest, between a button and the breast pocket. A slosh of berry juice and vodka must have missed Sharon’s lips towards the end of that night.

Kara’s fingers dug into the cloth as her fists tightened on the jacket. Frakking Cylon Sharon. With something of a pained grunt she crumpled it up and tossed it over her shoulder; it was as good as thrown in the garbage. Not like she was ever coming back to this dump.

She patted the pocket of her paint-splattered jacket and was greeted by the jingle of car keys. Screw waiting around, Helo could sleep in the car if he wanted.

As she climbed the stairs, she paused by the door. Of their own volition, her  eyes scanned the clutter below; just for a brief moment until she felt reality (the need to get out, not the betrayal; it was not the betrayal) jolt through her and drive her from the room. Kara strode out into the hallway and slammed the door shut behind her for the very last time. 

It wasn’t like she needed that puppy-eyed rook in her life.

Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
callmeonetrack
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
Oh this was gorgeous!! So Kara, right from that very first snippet which mirrors the ending so perfectly. And what a great way to flesh out the Oysters story (Frakking Racetrack!).

I loved how you gave her the vulnerability in her actions, but also kept her so sharp and well-edged in her dialogue. UGH. LOVE THIS.

And I never really warmed up to any Sharon incarnation on the show that much, but I did like the brief scene between them in Scar and this sorta painfully hints at that too (for me anyway).

Gah, great job BB.
rayruz
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
When I saw the sibling prompt all I could think of was the line where Sharon told Kara she was like a big sister to her and thought about how the show never really showed that and I really wanted to play it up.

:) I'm so glad you liked it. I was really proud of the way this came out.
(no subject) - callmeonetrack - Jul. 15th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rayruz - Jul. 15th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - callmeonetrack - Jul. 15th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rayruz - Jul. 15th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - callmeonetrack - Jul. 15th, 2009 05:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rayruz - Jul. 15th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - callmeonetrack - Jul. 15th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC) - Expand
workerbee73
Jul. 15th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
I love how you wove so many things into this story-- her meeting with Helo, with Sharon, her connection with both of them. Just really beautiful and seamless. What an excellent start to the ficathon!
rayruz
Jul. 15th, 2009 12:29 pm (UTC)
:) Why thank you.
rose_griffes
Jul. 15th, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)
This is fabulous; I enjoyed it so much! The friendships formed and betrayal and... it's brilliant.
rayruz
Jul. 15th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you, I am rather proud of this one.
somewhereapart
Jul. 15th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Have told you this a million times, and will tell you again: love it! I love the little changes you made. The whole thing is just lovely. :)
rayruz
Jul. 15th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
:D Why thank you hon, and thanks again for all your help.
(no subject) - somewhereapart - Jul. 15th, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
grey_sw
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is great. I love the slice-of-life view of Fleet life before the attacks, and the Kara/Sharon friendship scenes are wonderful! I especially like the idea that it was Kara who got Sharon her second chance. Excellent job!
rayruz
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I used to do so much slice of life writing, I don't know why I stopped, maybe because slice of life is a bit harder than BSG than in other fandoms I've written for.

I especially like the idea that it was Kara who got Sharon her second chance
And of course that ends up coming back to bite her in the ass. No good deed goes unpunished and all that (especially when there are cylons involved.)
cosetteferaud
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, Kara!!! Love how you've captured our girl's voice in all these snippets... and especially how the first one mirrors the last. It's perfect. And your portrayal of Kara's friendship with Helo and Sharon is great too. It is a shame that BSG didn't explore that friendship because it could have been interesting, imo... I always felt that Kara was too isolated --the only "real" friend she had was Helo and I always enjoyed their interactions.

Btw, I enjoyed the oysters story... those "advantages to having short hair" is one of my favorite parts of the fic ;)
rayruz
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
I know... but I guess there just wasn't enough time... all they had was a few throwaway lines about the oysters and how Sharon thought of Kara as a big sister. So not fair. And I don't think she's the type to let too many too close but the few she does let in... Sharon being one of them... that's really got to hurt.

I'm so glad you liked it.
frolicndetour
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
This is great! I love all the little bits of canon you incorporated - the first meeting when Kara was puking her guts out from bad oysters, Kara never wanting to teach someone to fly again, Sharon looking at Kara as a big sister. Really nice job. :)
rayruz
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC)
Weaving together tiny snippets of canon is something I did a lot with the Buffyverse, not something I ever did much with BSG but I like it... I think I may start doing more of it.
elzed
Jul. 15th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
This is kind of adorable and sets up such a nice backstory for the two of them (well, two or three. Or whatever. Frakkin' Cylon multiples).

And I hope Helo's Geminese girl existed...
rayruz
Jul. 15th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I'm glad you liked it.

I don't know... I don't really think she did. :(
rebelliousrose
Jul. 16th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
Aww. This is charming. One thing I notice is that BSG vomiting has become a trope/cliche. Never have I seen a show where people spew this much. So it's nice to see you using it thematically.

I really enjoy seeing the relationships forming pre-series, and I loved the moment of Starbuck seeing the old shirt. Nice way to tie it together.
rayruz
Jul. 27th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
Thanks. I used to do this kind of thematic circle but never for BSG. It's strange. This is how I used to write for a different fandom.
opalsmith
Jul. 17th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
A great insight into Kara's character. I liked very much that Kara spoke to the old man for Sharon and got her a that second chance. Also loved the humour in the piece. Well done!
shah_of_blah
Jul. 27th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
I finally found time to read this, and I love it. It's a totally believable take on their friendship from start to finish. It's achy and sweet and so very Kara.
rayruz
Jul. 27th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
:D I'm so glad you like it. Yeah... I mean they say on the show there was a friendship but it was never really demonstrated.
bellaaurora
Aug. 4th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)
Awww! I love imagining their friend ship and you got them both right on key.
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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