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Gifts are Good
By trancer


The waiting was the worst. Waiting, wondering if the blood, sweat and tears she and the rest of the mechanics put into a bunch of wires, bolts, and metal plates was enough. If their work into a bunch of ships that had no business leaving the deck let alone fighting for their lives in a dog fight. Put their blood, sweat and tears into the only things keeping them alive.

Standing, waiting, listening, wondering if it was enough. Cally sat on the steps of a ladder. Hands balled into fists so tight, until her knuckles lost all their color, fingernails digging into sweaty palms. Sat and listened, along with the rest of the crew, as the battle broadcast over the PA system.

"What the Frak did you do to my ship!?!" Cally stomped across the deck.

"Your ship?" Starbuck pulled off her helmet.

"Yeah, my ship," she ran her gloved hand across the bow. Over blast marks and fist sized dents. Smoke still billowed from the engine, errant sparks falling from the wings. Only to be put out by deckhands with fire extinguishers.

Cally sighed, ran a forearm over her brow. "Such a mess. This is gonna take forever."

"I'm fine too," Starbuck hopped off the last few rungs of the ladder. "Thanks for asking."

"Poor baby," Cally ignored the Lieutenant, the nervous flip-flops in her stomach whenever the Lieutenant was near. Continued running her hands across the hull as she cooed softly. "I'll fix you up."

Cally lay face up in her bunk, staring at the mattress above her. In the distance, she could hear the latest party in full swing. A party, not because they'd won the fight, but because they'd survived. Fight, run, celebrate. Fight, run, celebrate. It's what their lives had become now. With no end in sight other than the vague hope of a new home. Filled the dead time with work, sleep and parties fueled by liquor from the Chief's still. All while they waited for the next crisis they weren't too sure they'd survive.

She'd become tired of partying. It was different now and yet, it was still the same. Cally standing on the edge, always looking in.

A soft knock interrupted her thoughts. Cally lifted her head to see Starbuck standing in the doorway. Still wearing her pilot's uniform, the zipper pulled down to her waist. One hand holding a cigar to her lips, the other holding a bottle of battery acid, or gasoline or whatever the Hell was cooked down below. The Lieutenant had a tendency to make Cally nervous. Then again, she was nervous about most things these days. But Starbuck, she made Cally's stomach do twists and flip-flops for reasons that had less to do with her rank and things best left unthought about.

"Hey," she rose onto her elbows.

"Hey," Starbuck returned. She sniffed slightly, running the back of a finger under her nose. "I never thanked you."

"Thanked me?" She rose to a seated position, sliding her legs over the edge. "For what?"

"The modifications," Starbuck paused to take a long drag from her cigar while she stepped deeper into the quarters. "She's all banged to Hell and back but if it hadn't been for you, we wouldn't have made it back."

"She?" Cally smiled. "I always thought your Viper was a he."

"Nah, she's definitely a woman. Bitchy and demanding one minute, soft and giving and caressing you like the best lover the next."

Cally swallowed hard, a nervous smile on her lips. "Just doing my job."

"I mean it, Cally. You saved my life out there." Another pregnant pause filled the air. Starbuck pulled the cigar from her mouth, licking her lips surreptitiously. "I brought you something."

"I don't smoke."

"It's not a cigar."

"I've had enough of whatever's in that bottle."

"It's not a drink."

"Well, what is it?"

"It's a surprise," Starbuck rolled her eyes. "Now, close your eyes and hold out your hands."

She eyed her suspiciously. "Why?"

"Gods dammit, Cally, would you just do it!"

Cally exhaled. Closed her eyes, mostly, squinting at Starbuck one last time before finally shutting them. She held out her hands, almost tentatively. A few beats passed. She could hear the bottle being set on the table. Smell the smoke from Starbucks's cigar. Could feel the bed springs sinking as the Lieutenant sat next to her. Then, she felt it. Something heavy but not quite placed in the palms of her hands.

"You can open your eyes, now."

She did. Followed with a gasp and the slightest of squeals, eyes going wide like saucers.


There was a chocolate bar in her hands. Real chocolate. Not the hard gritty squares found in their MRE's or served in the chow line. Real chocolate, like the kind sold at the corner store near her apartment. That smelled of fresh bread and cheese.

Cally ripped open the wrapper. Yanked a wedge off and shoved it into her mouth. It was real. And good. And creamy. And..

"Heavenly," whispered from her lips as her eyes dreamily closed. Her fingers pulling off another bit, sliding it between her lips.

"Thought you'd like it."

Cally's eyes snapped open. She'd forgotten about the Lieutenant. Who now sat gazing at her with a bemused expression.

"Sorry," Cally swallowed, wiping the back of her hand across her mouth. "It's been so long since I've had real chocolate."


"Would you like a some?"

"Yeah," Starbuck leaned closer. "I think I do."

After that, time moved in that way which was both incredibly fast and super-slow. Where her body was unable to respond because there wasn't enough time and too much of it. Where she could see Starbuck moving towards her, feel her hand on her cheek. The slightly callused fingertips grazing across her skin, leaving a trail of fire from her touch. Felt Starbuck's lips pressed against her own. Starbuck's tongue in her mouth. Tasted cigar, and ambrosia, and chocolate, most of all, she tasted Starbuck. Tongue, teeth and lips. Consuming and devouring. And it was the most heavenly taste ever, because now her heart was hammering in her chest. The flip-flops in her stomach tumbling up into her chest and back down again. A moment where Cally wanted time itself to stop, to stay in this moment forever because it felt too good to let go.

But, it did end. Cally lazily opened her eyes, peered into Starbuck's. The Lieutenant's gaze still focused on Cally's lips as her thumb gently caressed over them.

"He was right," Starbuck licked her lips and smiled. "Best damn chocolate in the Fleet."

"Would you like some more?" Cally groaned inwardly because now it was her eyes that were staring at Starbuck's lips and wondering if the second kiss would taste as good as the first.

"Do I get a kiss every time you save my life? Or am I going to have to give you a gift first, as well?"

"Gifts are good," Cally grinned. "Gifts are great."

"I'll keep that in mind," Starbuck rose from the bunk. Ignored the stifled pout from Cally. "Sure you don't wanna join the party?"

"Nah, I'm fine."

She watched Starbuck disappear down the corridor, all cocksure swagger. Her knees still shaking. Stomach still flip-flopping. Still tasting the Lieutenant on her lips. All while she wondered when the Lieutenant would be back. There was a light at the end of the tunnel now. Something to look forward to.

Cally rose from her bunk, zipped up her uniform as she headed back to the deck. She had a Viper to fix. She couldn't fly the machines, or fight in them but she could make damn sure they worked.

She could make damn sure that Starbuck returned, to stand in her doorway making Cally's stomach do more flip-flops. All in anticipation of -

A gift.

The End

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