Summary: Sharon and Tyrol misread some things on New Caprica.
Original Story: Charade by Kleenexcow (http://word-play-sam.livejournal.com/2
He used to wake up thinking about Boomer, most days of the week. That girl -- that rookie and his superior officer, more importantly -- was gonna get him in trouble. It was harmless flirting at first, but a charade they couldn't keep up forever.
The way she flirted was being a pain in the ass. Sniping at him for any problem her bird was having, insisting he fix it himself, and immediately, while profusely denying she'd done anything to screw it up herself. He wondered if that's what it was like, gods have mercy on your soul, to be one of the guys in Starbuck's orbit. But Starbuck had never once smiled at him outside of a card game, without some kind of menace behind it. And unlike Boomer, he didn't especially want her to.
He'd wake up thinking about her hair, the way she'd take it down from that stiff ponytail whenever they were alone, even if all their other clothes were still hanging off them, half-opened in an amateur rush to be touching each other. It was like a secret between them. Which -- he'd almost laugh to think about this later, if he could laugh about it -- turned out to be the first of many. Probably the first and last good secret he'd ever associate with her.
But that was all in their future, and right now there was just her hair, and her reflex of taking it down whenever they were together, against a storage locker or on some blanket in an empty causeway. So she'd be sure to fix it after. So nobody else would know.
Caprica hardly let go of Sharon's hand that day. "It can wait," she kept insisting to the doctors, swallowing her pain, until she tried to stand up again and relented that her leg was broken in two places and at risk of infection. So Boomer found herself doing most of the talking at first, with Caprica interjecting and encouraging through her unanesthetized torment -- she could jump in with the God stuff, the sisterhood and all that. She'd had the wise idea of bringing their own models onboard first.
Sisterhood, Boomer thought, and Caprica squeezed her hand a little tighter, as if she could read her mind. This sort of thing once felt creepy to her -- still did, in all honesty, facing dozens of mirrors to herself with identical, open expressions. She remembers who she is now, remembers everything, but still she's nothing like them.
"When you said you were more like me..." she said to Caprica once. "You were right. We're more like each other than them now."
Caprica paused, like there was something she wasn't sure about confessing. "I thought I was lying to you then." She glanced down but back at Sharon with her usual intensity. No secrets.
But there were secrets now, and they were no longer as alike. Caprica had been spending more time with the Three, who for whatever reason still looked at her with curiosity and at Boomer like a disease. (And the feeling was mutual, she guessed. Caprica seemed to have a very different understanding of forgiveness than she did.) And Caprica had Dr. Baltar now - President Baltar - whatever he was worth. Boomer watches him lean into Caprica's kiss on his cheek, grimacing from too much sobriety but reaching for her hand all the same, and she asks herself if she wanted this. (No, is her answer sometimes. He's sick.) Tries to imagine Chief so tethered to her, like the only thing that keeps him from floating away; like in her absence he'd become less and less of a person, rather than cutting off whatever pieces of himself had cared about her and not even seeming to miss them.
He started calling her Sharon. He liked the name but liked her callsign too, and "lieutenant" rolled off his tongue even easier sometimes -- a joke between them, he called her sir in public and when she was a brat. She never quite got used to his given name either.
"I love you, Chief," she said to him on the night the worlds ended. They'd never said it before, but it felt solid now. She'd been in the middle of it, left her ECO back there, and meanwhile on Galactica she was missing and dead.
"Me too, I love you too," he said in a heavy whisper, pure and instinctive.
"I don't know what we're supposed to do now."
"We gotta keep working. We just gotta run faster than them." She wrapped her arms around him, her hair brushing against his neck.
He wakes up thinking about Nicky most days of the week, and Cally lying next to him. He thinks about checking and double-checking the instructions for setting off a bomb, so it doesn't go off until they're far away -- it will only kill the people it's completely frakking useless against, because they don't die. He doesn't think about Boomer at all.
This was bigger than them, about the future of their two species and not missing their boyfriends as the others had put it kindly. (Less kindly, Cavil once said pets.) But they'd found Caprica's as soon as they landed, and he hasn't been with another woman since. Their reunion was a misery but a shared one. For Boomer, true love was being happy in the his happiness, with a little boy who wasn't hers, sworn to love the woman who shot her until they died. It was hard not to resent her end of the deal.
But the alternative's hard to picture too. Baltar lights a cigarette to busy his hands while the Cylons are talking -- to keep them from shaking, she imagines; Chief would busy his hands to keep from choking them -- and he slinks further into his chair at any mention of the planet's dead or wounded. He is like a pet sometimes, Sharon thinks, but doesn't share this with her 'sister'. Neither of them imagined things exactly this way.
He knows it's her when she meets him outside the factory -- but he always thinks that deep down, with every one of them. His body goes stiff, while she fidgets and makes no move to touch him.
("I'm a Cylon," she told him once. He heard her, didn't he hear her? He answered, "That's not even funny," whip-fast, like a door closing. And she didn't mean it, really. She was being dramatic.)
"We picked up Jammer yesterday," she tells him, all business. He thinks of saying I know, but his mouth doesn't move. "We're releasing him now. I thought you should know." He doesn't think about the fact she's saying we now. "I just remember... you used to be kinda protective of him." She shrugs, smiles in a wistful way that pierces him.
"Okay," he says in a tight voice that doesn't sound like his own. "Sure, thanks."
He thinks of the times he could've talked to someone. After her "accident", definitely. There was a moment when he could've said, "She was trying to kill herself. She thinks she's a Cylon," and he didn't say that to anyone. What if they think she is? he kept thinking. What if they give her Baltar's test or whatever the frak, and something goes wrong and it screws her up even more? And maybe just for a second, he thought What if she is? and slammed that door shut and didn't want to know. He made that choice.
"Nobody hurt him," she goes on. "Look, I don't- I don't know why they wanted to talk to him, what he said, maybe it was nothing Just be careful." He doesn't know what careful means and keeps his eyes on the ground. He thinks she's going to leave, but she stops and turns to face him again, speaking a little more forcefully. "Are you gonna talk to me at all?"
I blew up one of your shipyards yesterday, he thinks of saying, from some delirious self-loathing part of his mind. He wonders if she'd answer, that's not even funny and not even feel herself making that choice. And what if she did, would that be revenge? Maybe it'd just make them soulmates.
"Do you hate me?" she says with an awkward, longing laugh, like if it wasn't a laugh she'd be crying.
His eyes twitch again, and he makes a choice. "No."
"Do you remember when we used to talk about-"
"Yes," he says, cutting off whatever she was going to say before she can finish. He remembers everything.
She breathes in shakily. "Well, I just needed you to know, again... everything I ever said to you-"
"I know." Her face strains at its composure, and he can't stop himself from adding, "It wasn't your fault."
Like that, the relief overcomes her. "I didn't know what I was doing. And- not just me though, we were all so misguided. All of us," she says emphatically, already breathing easier with the conviction of it. Us. "I know what I'm doing now." That's supposed to be a comfort.
She'd missed this. All those times, the projections, imagining he was there. His head disappears between her legs and she knows this is the way they were supposed to be.
He has a wife, a baby. Should loyalty mean something to her?
"I talked to..." he begins to say, but quickly clams up. "Everyone says not to give you anything." A flick of his tongue makes her gasp and brace herself against the cramped bathroom door. "They don't know I'm giving you this." The normalcy of it is almost too much to bear.
She's in a new body than the one that last made love to him, but she still blames any clumsiness on him. "You feel different," she says, swearing he's put on some weight in his settled life. "It's not bad. It's just... it's been so long."
"Maybe your memory's playing tricks on you," he says, trying not to break his concentration.
"Maybe," she chuckles with a twinge of bitterness. "It wouldn't be a first."
She had another reason to be here but it fades from her quickly. He's not ready to hear it, any pitch about joining the New Caprica Police. And what she's doing with him was never pretense for that, but the other way around -- she had a silly, selfish fantasy that it would bring him closer to her. It would give them a secret to share, knowingly this time. This way is much less complicated.
It's just hours later when he finds the first message, taped to the inner lid of a trash can. It's a scribble of nothing, a vague promise more than delivery. I have access, it reads in part. If you're reading this... the words "end of a nightmare" are involved, dramatic and seemingly chosen in a momentary fear of using more specfic words like "overthrow." It gets plenty specific after that, though. There are instructions of dead drops and signals that will be sorted out and perfected eventually. The first thing he wonders is whether it's a trap. The thought consumes his mind completely, until the next best explanation hits him.
"I saw her a few days ago," he reminds the others in the bunker. "She came to me, told me about Jammer, and we've been in... contact since then."
"Contact," Tigh mutters, giving him a brief look of suspicion but then returning his attention to the documents in his hands.
"None of it's signed, but it can't be a coincidence." He tries not to betray too much sympathy, to remind them she'd been conflicted, helped them before. He can already hear the Colonel's voice in his head - put two bullets in the old man's chest, but sure, other than that she was a peach.
In reality, though, the Colonel just grunts an affirmative "Hmm," his attention still fixed entirely on this new bounty of information and the possibility of more. He can't deny the value of the source to them. He's the first to start calling their benefactor "she."
"Trust me," she says before slapping a plastic tie around his wrists and bringing him to an interrogation room. If he's afraid he doesn't show it. It could be that if he was wrong to say yes to her, he wants to be punished.
She remembers this kind of game, finding a pretense to be alone together, pretending to argue the whole way. "Don't frakking lie to me, human!" she growls, probably just a little too comfortable in the role to make either of them happy. There's a shout from another room and she sees him wince for a moment, glaring unsurely in its direction, but then it's forgotten, they can forget all this. She releases him from his bonds only to have his hands on her, and he does that automatically.
"Tell me what you know," she starts to say, but he catches her in a kiss. It's never been about that. They both knew so little, the last time they were really together. (Until they didn't. She remembers him grabbing her roughly in a shared cell on Galactica, an anger she'd never seen before in his eyes, and an even worse apathy that followed it. Her lips pressed against his forehead when he nearly died in her arms, and his hands desperately trying to contain her blood not long after that. She isn't in that body anymore, and he cut those pieces away.)
She remembers everything now, and returns his favor from before. (It seems fair, being now on her turf, to give him that comfort.) He moans when she unzips his pants and takes just the tip of him into her mouth, working him just to the edge of ecstasy and then stopping, returning to his level, their faces nearly touching. Maybe she was built for cruelty, after all. "I need you," she whispers, and they frak against a table that is -- as far as she can tell -- the only thing keeping them in this world at all.
As she straightens her clothes afterwards, ties her hair back, she thinks they may be in love again. It's too soon to say it, even think it, but this has meant something; they're hiding nothing from themselves anymore, or each other, no matter what charades they put on for anyone else. (We're more like each other than we're like our own, she finds herself thinking. Maybe it was about them all along.) It's a nice, fleeting thought that's overshadowed for now by practical matters. He'll have to fake an escape, she tells him. This may have been a silly plan to begin with, and something they won't be able to repeat the same way.
"Wait," he says, reaching to touch her arm with a casual intimacy she'll replay too many times when this is over. Like he's half-embarrassed to bring it up, half-concerned there's someone listening, he speaks in a low voice. "I need to ask you something. Floor plans are great, but we need the security codes to the munitions facility."
She can't consciously comprehend what he's asking for a second, though somehow all the air seems to drain from the room, an ill feeling in the pit of her stomach. "Give you codes? I can't do that, you're..." There's a confused twitch in his own gaze, and then a pale, dawning realization that probably mirrors her own. "You're one of the terrorists?" she blurts at him, unable to keep the disgust and indignation from her voice. She tries to make sense of it -- of course, part of her says, mostly followed by you're an idiot. You both are.
"Oh," he mutters. "Gods."
"What do you want with the munitions? What, are you running out of stuff to blow up?" He has his eyes closed now, some internal beating taking place that doesn't rival what she could do to him. The rest of the lie catches up to her, all at once. "So this was the mission? You were gonna... what, seduce me into betrayal?" He's putting his pants on as swiftly and silently as possible. "You think I'd do that for you?" The last words slip out before she thinks about them, and she's just left with the truth of her instinct. She would've betrayed her people once for him, if she had that choice. It's different now, and it's not fair. "You think that means anything to me?" She can make herself cruel, shut down the pieces of herself that meant everything to.
"I wasn't-" but in that moment his guilt turns to bitter acceptance. "I guess not."
"And what happens if it doesn't work, Galen?" It's the first time she's called him by that name since she can remember. Even dying, she reached for his rank like an old nickname between them. It comes out more serious and authoritative somehow: their ranks are nothing here, those lives are over. He couldn't keep her silent, couldn't get rid of her if he tried. She could kill him here and no one would blink.
"Sharon," he says softly, searching her eyes, and she wants to hurt him for ruining this. She wants to hurt them both. Or maybe she only wants to stop looking at his face. He runs when she tries to seize his arm, and she lets him run. "Hey!" she calls vaguely to the Centurion guards, or the useless human police, none of whom she'd kept nearby enough when she thought they were on the same side. She can't help feeling a numb relief that he's already fled past them.
She'll have to explain this. Her emotions got the better of her (that's no longer a death sentence, is it? that's the fuel of this entire wasteland of a planet). He hit her and escaped - no, they'd go after him. (She doesn't want him as a prisoner, she tells herself again and again. It's sick, what Caprica's got.)
When they take Cally, weeks later, she's not sure what to say either. She doesn't take victory in it, that's for sure, and he probably imagines he's being punished more than they really have the capacity to punish him. She doesn't know what evidence they've got on her, but she imagines it speaks to Chief's involvement more -- she can't possibly be innocent, but it probably comes down to something found in his tent, an initial on something. (Did somebody address him as C for old times sake, Chief the way she did? Nobody calls him that on record, it's all Galen as far as files is concerned.) Their police are frakking idiots, the type to miss these things. A lot of them come from Galactica. They missed a lot of shit then too, didn't they?
It's probably her duty to someone, to her people at least, to tell what she knows, but she doesn't see the point to that choice either. She owes nothing to anyone anymore. It seems like that should be more freeing than it feels.